Customized website

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by laurie b, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I am trying to start my own photography business and have joined Smugmug. I don't have the time, patience or understanding of HTML to do the site myself. I found a web customizer recommended by Smugmug to do the customization of my site. They are charging $1000.00 to put together a website for me. Does this sound reasonable? Thank you!
  2. Laurie,
    There's two parts to it:
    First, a web site, for a professional photographer, is an investment, not a cost. In other words, it needs to bring in more business than it costs to operate. There are annual domain registration fees, hosting fees, merchant fees if you accept credit cards through it, updating, etc.
    Second, it takes a while for your web site to gain traction. I spend close to an hour or two every week on SEO (search engine optimization) and a year later I am now starting to see real results.
    With those two things in mind, the question needs to be asked of you, 'is $1000 a viable investment for you?'.
    Frankly, for $1000, there are a lot of good designers out there that can do your own site for you. The one thing that keeps coming up for people is whether or not you have your own domain name. People/clients see greater credibility in a company's domain name than being part of a larger site like Smugmug or Zenfolio or Collages or... For example, would present a more professional and polished image.
    For hosting images and galleries, several of those sites I just mentioned allow you to incorporate or use your own domain name. IF SmugMug allows you to use your own domain name, then go for it. Otherwise, I'd look elsewhere.
  3. Okay - just looked at SmugMug (it had been quite a while and their Pro-Level service looks really good. You can use your own domain name!)
    BTW, just for giggles, a search on GoDaddy shows that BivonaPhotography is available, so you probably have several versions that are available too.
    This is when having an uncommon last name can pay off (like me).
  4. Thank you! Yes, I did get my domain name through GoDaddy and now use it on Smugmug. I paid about $7.00 a month for it. I got the pro subscription on Smugmug for $75.00 a year (half price) which is well worth it. Smugmug has its own E Commerce as well which is great. I tried doing HTML on my Smugmug site but it was very frustrating for me. If you look at my siteyou will see that I just started but got lost in the sea of HTML and stopped. BTW, I thought about using my last name in my site but thought it was too confusing! lol. I've heard a lot about custom websites costing $500.00 so I didn't know if $1000.00 was too much.
  5. Like anything, you get what you pay for - including web design. The most important aspect will be to keep your images fairly fresh. For example, if you shoot weddings, you don't want a bunch of images from the 80s :)
    SmugMug will let you do that with ease.
    Google the name of the person doing the design to see other sites he did (assuming it's a "him") and ask him for a list of references.
  6. Thanks Rob. He has a bunch of examples online and they are all well done. Do you feel $1000 is reasonable? There is no way to say if I will recoup my money since I'm just starting out. I just have to hope that people hire me!
  7. Hope and market like crazy! Whether or not it is reasonable really depends on whether or not you can recoup your investment and how long it will take to do so.
    Since it is a SmugMug site that's being customized, I'd imagine that you'd need to pay a bit more to have someone familiar with the uniqueness and quirks of SmugMug as opposed to someone designing from the ground up.
    I wish I could give you a definitive yes or no, but there's no crystal ball available.
  8. You think HTML is hard, try PHP! That will make HTML a walk in the park!! :)
    Nice photo's by the way.

  9. Yes Rob, he told me he specializes in SmugMug and there are a lot of quirks so it would be harder for someone not familiar with SmugMug to customize the site. If I just had that crystal ball to project future
    Jack, I don't even know what PHP is and I can't even imagine!!!! Thanks for the complement on my pics! I appreciate it!!!
  10. I use Smugmug and Zenfolio. I think that Zenfolio can have a more professional looking appearance straight out of the box. Although I use Smugmug for my personal photos and I like their service, modifications are challenging for one unfamiliar with CSS. I plan on linking to a Zenfolio portfolio from my iWeb created webpage on my own domain name. I do my best to avoid HTML and CSS at all costs...
  11. I did my site for under a $100 and I just started as well.
  12. Dave S - I like your website. Can you share with us how you did it?
  13. Thank you all for your help! I will check out Zenfolio as well. Dave- very nice site. How did you do it for under $100?
  14. One thing I don't like about smugmug or other shared hosting sites (even if you have your own domain name) is that people can click out of your page and end up on some other photographers site and end up buying from them!
    I did the same thing as Dave - paid for a year of hosting & my domain name and took the time to do it myself. I am close to finished, I have alot of typed content to add, most of my images are uploaded, alot still need to be polished, but I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are alot of free templates to use for making image galleries and websites. I ended up going through 3 versions of my site before I finally settled on its current state. There is no cart setup yet but the framework is there once I make the database. If you do decide to tackle html, learn CSS too, it is highly invaluable. My image galleries use the free code 'Lightbox2' if you want to give that a look. So much better than using flash IMO. Another nice thing about making it yourself from scratch is updates are a breeze, as are minor formatting changes. Hi - Just a heads up as many people do seem to be unaware of policy... Please see this link: " No signatures on forum posts. You may not post a block of text or and/or an image and/or your website URL at the end of your posts saying who you are and/or containing a quote and/or other material unrelated to the subject under discussion." Users my have their websites on their community page on only. If you are referencing your site for people to see because it is relevant to the thread.. Simply suggest they click on your name for site/contact information. Mary Ball - Admin/Moderator -
  15. First I register my domain name for 6 bucks then have the same site ( ) house my site for 3.99 a month adds up 47 + 6 = $53 ruffly the Ii went to this web site ( ) and bought this template for $35 then edit it to my liking.

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