How to setup portfolio site?

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by hoi_kwong, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Happy Holidays.
    I'm a website dummy despite I'm planning to setup a portfolio site to showcase my work in a professional way with personal domain name rather than sitting in Flickr or Google Photo. First of all, I don't take photo for living, may be in future, who knows. Years ago, I had an account with Zenfolio, easy to upload without resize my picture but it doesn't look like a personal website or it's very complicate (to a dummy) to link my own domain to Zenfolio account.
    What I need is a gallery style portfolio site, able to play slideshow on home page, have the options to lock selected albums with password and have the potential to upgrade to a business website with SEO features in future.
    Any service provider suggestion for a website dummy ? It will be nice to have one stop service, offering domain registration, hosting and easy to use free templates from one service provider.
    Thank you.
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Wordpress will do pretty much everything you want but good templates are probably not free. Like Zenfolio, WordPress uses a CMS so you won't be stuck with a static website that has to be reloaded every time you want to add a photo. Most hosts provide for managed WordPress hosting and it's very simple, you don't have to go to the WordPress site, and you use your own domain name. A lot of people use Bluehost, it's got a very attractive intro deal at $4/month. I use Fatcow, they've been great and also have a $4/month deal. They have a WordPress-specific account that should fit your needs.
    I went to tumblr for my website, which also uses a CMS, I happened to like a very simple theme that cost just $10 and I'm not trying to sell from it. It took about three minutes to connect it up to a domain I purchased. I also use WordPress, but for a much more extensive site that isn't specifically photography. It's quite simple despite the complexity of the site, but it does use a more expensive theme designed specifically for online "magazines."
  3. I agree with Jeff to a point. Wordpress, or any CMS, are good if you don't want to get into running your Website. The cost is that your entire Website will be effective stuck in that CMS format, and there is a lot of up frontend learning and work to set the Website up. After that all you have to do is keep it updated or hire someone. There are a lot of companies who will create a Wordpress Website for you and manage it if you want, but the cost there is them since they're doing all the work.
    The other option are the many available Website hosts who have an array of templates to use where you just work with the content after setting up the design. The only thing there is to read the details about the domain name to ensure you own it than just "leasing" it. The former gives you the right to move it, the latter means they own it in your name, but the former is the more common now.
    That said, your best bet is to sit down with a Website designer and developer to go through the process of creating one, which means laying out everything you want in the Website, setiting up the organization and structure, and then the design. This is often called storyboarding it, which is always a good idea to keep you from having to complete redo the Website in the future.
    Once done, then the decisions become easier to know what type of Website you want to use to present it and then operate and manage it. This is important as many photographers create static Websites which work well for displaying their work and adding galleries, but often are limited to expanding it to other avenues of work or presenting a broader array of products or services.
    Good luck.
  4. Thank you Scott for your detail information.
    The reality is I cannot afford to hire a web designer and spending too much time or money on a non-business website. I prefer something more personal and yet simple for dummy like me.
  5. I'll go back to what I said, before you get into choosing the technical details, I would suggest storyboarding your Website (Google 'Storyboard Website"). This lays out everything you want, the organization and structure, and the basic design elements. Then checkout a lot of photographers' Website(s) to see the diversity of themes, designs, organization, etc., along with who does the work. That will give you some ideas of what can be done.

    With that you can then look at the technical details, meaning who does what you want and then for how much. You might find many on-line Website and domain name hosts fits your needs, and if not, you have the information to talk so Website designers. They should give estimates of the upfront and maintenance costs. If you want to do it yourself, from scratch, Website host or CMS, you'll have the learning curve, but with all the work up to that point, you'll know exactly what you want to do than learning the work and designing the Website at the same time.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The cost is that your entire Website will be effective stuck in that CMS format​

    Isn't this just as true, actually more true, for a static website? The biggest problem I had with my static website is that there was very little I could change without a lot of work. With a CMS website, you can try a new skin and immediately have a different website. It's far easier to keep it looking fresh and up-to-date than a static website, especially for a custom one.
    there is a lot of up frontend learning and work to set the Website up.​

    I set up my tumblr-based website in less than an hour. And, while there is a learning curve for WordPress and the dashboard is a bit more complicated than it should be, it's not that much work to get it built.

    I've built websites from scratch, using a gallery builder, and on two different CMS platforms. I would never do the first, I would never pay anyone to do the first, I would only do the second if I thought I would use the same builder forever. One of the big issues with a website designer creating a static website is that you will be dependent on them as long as you have the website. Add a feature? Pay them. Swap out a design? Pay them. Add commerce? Pay them. All of this is free, except for your time, if you learn how to use WordPress or tumblr.
    BTW, you can often find out what a site is built on by looking at the source code. You don't have to be able to read it, just find keywords. For example, WordPress sites always have numerous instances of "wp-" and tumblr sites reference tumblr. You can usually find the theme used also by searching for "theme."
  7. As for "static" Website, my entire Website is individual Web pages connected through the internal links. I use templates to keep consistency throughout the pages and can use any Web page editor which works in code. In fact I use several versions of Dreamweaver, along with BBEdit, Coda, Espresso, TextEdit, etc. They all work on the all the pages, but I use different ones for different sets to simplify things for me. I can edit, add or remove individual ones without effect the whole sutie of them as well as do global changes to all at once.
    As for CMS, I looked at Wordpress and talked with a few Website companies who tried to steer me to CMS, namely Wordpress. They would do all the frontend work to convert my Website and build templates, and then help manage it until I learned how to run it, but in the end I was looking something in the low 4 figures for their work. And their point was that once I converted it, I was stuck with it and couldn't undo it without a lot of work.
    My point to the point was that CMS is a good way to good if you're starting and don't want to spend the time learning Web editors. You just need to learn Wordpress, and make sure your Website host has it and keeps it updated. There are a lot of easy, WYSIWYG Websites for photographers with the whole suite of options and services, all of which wasn't there when I started my Website.
    I also have a Tumblr account, but not for photography, just fun, and it didn't take long to find a theme and keep it updated, but personally I wouldn't use Tumblr or any social Website except to display your work and you're willing to give the photos away. No social or photography Website can secure photos available to the public (not password protected).
    In the end, it's up to the individual which works for them. I've been working with html since 1994 and am comfortable with it, albeit less sophisticated than I could be, but it works for what I want. I don't use e-commerce and likely won't since I only provide prints or cards through personal contacts. My photography isn't for income but other interests.
  8. If you want simple with some great templates I would say either SquareSpace or SmugMug. They may cost a little more than a cheap web host with your own WordPress install but they both have great support and have everything you need to get started with your website to selling your photos.
  9. it


    I use Squarespace, but a friend of mine with a much more complicated site uses Wordpress. He hired to programmer to customize some backend stuff for him and it works incredibly well.
  10. A good portfolio website depends on many factors.
    I suggest you Word-Press Best CMS For Creating portfolio website How much of the work are you willing to do? It depends on what you are looking for, there are many that would charge just $100, but you will get a pretty low quality website. i can personally design and configure a Word press portfolio website in about 10 hours - that's the easy part and the least time consuming part of website design.Admittedly.Good Luck!

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