What tools do you use for web creation

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by tom l, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    I shoot varied events that I post online for sale. Most are dance recital pictures, an occasional sports event or a wedding or portrait session.
    What I am curious about is what tools people are using now to create their photo web sites. In the past I used breeze browser pro for quick website creation. More recently I use Lightroom for organizing my photos and handling my cameras raw files. Therefore I would like to take advantage of tools that work with lightroom. So far I have been using the LRG templates that work with light room and offer Paypal support. Everything works and I'm selling this way but I find myself having to manually tweak copies of the LRG templates for each different type of event.
    I'm curious what others are using and if there are better alternatives to LRG. Something with a little more control over the final output, less hand editing of the templates and yet suitable to a variety of styles. Ideally something that keeps the workflow within Lightroom.
  2. Tom,
    I'm using Lightroom to generate galleries, and Microsoft Expression Web to create a standards compliant home page and several linked pages. I'm not delighted with it, but it is fairly flexible. I am not tryint to sell images online, and need to move into this. So I'm interested in the other responses we get here.
  3. see also similar thread almost the same (link )
  4. I used a website "webs.com". It was very user friendly and they have hundreds of templates that you can use to create your website. Their basic service is free and extremely simple. If this was rocket science I couldn't do it. I am not a computer whiz and i had very little trouble. If you want to check the results, www.mlphotographer.webs.com.
    Steve Walter
  5. Thanks Jim & Steve for the replies.
    Steve, I like the aircraft photos very much (I probably have a B-26 photo I could send you taken back in the 50's) but I do not like the banner advertisment at the top of the page.
    The very first ad I saw on your site was that jiggly "You've won" ad that drive me nuts. :)
  6. JDM - your linke tells me "404 - page not found"
  7. Ah, sorry about that. The thread is still there, and it's not a "cross-posting" of course, just two hearts beating as one....I thought anyone reading this would also want to look at the other. Let me try again (link )
  8. After spending a lot of time and some money on a number of websites and using various software to create the sites .I have found as others have that Webs.com is pretty good and does not cost you a penny if you want the basic package ,which is as good as lot of pay as you go sites!It does have some small adds on it if you have the free one , but what do you expect ? I have looked at it many times and i don't find it too bad .You can loose the adds by upgrading and get more space and extras etc.
    All in all it a pretty good deal,
  9. Has anyone used Dreamweaver to create their sites? I've got my training wheels on for the free trial and it seems that with some effort one could produce great sites.
  10. I use Dreamweaver, PHP and MySQL to do websites and I don't recommend trying to do your own if you want to have dynamic uploads and e-commerce sales. The computer science part becomes overwhelming rather quickly.

    I have seen some nice sites using frameworks that are available via commodity web hosts like Joomla and Drupal. I have not tried deploying one of these skeletons but I will bet there is some skilled labor in there somewhere.

    There are two types of sites, active and static. An active site uses a database and a serverside scripting language to enable you to have blogs and galleries with uploads. Static sites require you to edit the page to add anything to it.

    Blogs are very important as they provide lexical "fish food" for the spiders. A spider is an application that reads web pages for inclusion in the search engines. They read text and not pictures so accompanying pictures with a good chunk of descriptive text will get you better page rankings. The page title and the description meta tags figure prominently into the page ranking formula.

    Have a look at my gallery pages in the gallery site to see this at work.

    I am working on integrating social media and blog sharing and am getting good results so far. I have a Facebook share link on my Free Desktops page and give the deep linking code with a link back on the large image page.

    I am getting good incoming linkage off of this program. Last time I looked I had gained 400 incoming links from posting the deep link code. In that past I had tried to hold tight to the work and that is a path to an epic fail. The rules have changed and we must change with them.

    Flash is a dead horse in that respect as it does not spider and the page ranks of flash sites are usually very low. If folks can't find you then all is lost.

    If you want a static site Google "Free Website Templates", pick one that you like and have at it with Dreamweaver or one of the free HTML editors. I have done many sites with free templates and get a good result but there can be a certain level of CSS adjustment and debugging that needs to go on with them. It is good to use DW's File->Check Page->Browser Compatibility and the W3C online compliance checker before investing too much time in a template.

    If you have a wedding or portrait studio and you don't have a web site get one now as you are losing money and working way harder then you need to on the proofs and ordering.

    If you do fine art it is better to start sooner then later but don't expect a gusher of money. It will pay off in the end but you need to do the work, I am headed for 2k this month from my gallery site which has been there since around 2000.

    If you know a geek try to work with them as web technology, while it seems simple, is very complex and you will take some lumps going it on your own. By the same token beware of folks selling snake oil for big bucks and shop around. If you pay someone you should get a very nicely designed active site in the 1500.00 to 3000.00 range





  11. I have enjoyed using Sitegrinder very much. It has a very intuitive interface and allows creation of personalized websites which aren't based on templates. Here are a couple of sites I have built using it:
    The program is actually a plug-in for Photoshop and allows the user to design websites based on layer comps. It also has a fairly extensive gallery creation module which is very important for photographers.
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I use jalbum to create galleries and then hand code html to link them and create splash pages. It's not really that difficult.
  13. I'm not a professional, but I wanted to be able to show my photos on something that I created, so I used Microsoft Frontpage 2003. It was fairly easy and I like the simplicity of the site. It is, however, a work in progress as I learn more about website design and photography. Recently, I have had some issues with uploading, but there are always issues since I am outside the country. Anyway, if you want to check it out: 4theloveofafrica.com
  14. I started with Frontpage some years ago but have now updated to Microsoft Sharepoint Designer (an upgrade of Frontpage).
    As a photographer, I was more interested in creating an interesting site rather than having the patience to learn html coding. These two options write all the code for you.
    Then its up to you how you want to design each page and the links between them. It took some time to get used to it all, but now pages are easy to reconfigure and update. I created a masterpage and work of that each time.
    I got Lightroom at the end of last year and added flash galleries (much better and more dynamic than the html pages I had made before, and easier to maintain). I found it really easy to link the two different types.
    I also spent endless nights looking at other peoples sites (especially the winners of PDN Annual Awards) to get ideas for layouts.
    My motto is 'Simple is best'. Make the site catch the eye from the outset but then let the images do the talking. Don't have too many links to other pages and don't try to put too much information on each page. Overcrowded pages, over complicated transitions or gallery pages, flashing banners and ads are a big turn off to me. I'm there to look at the images.
    Here's my site as an example - www.simonjefferson.com
  15. I already posted this, but mistakenly posted on the other live thread on the related topic of web design issues. Apologies to anyone who is wondering what it is doing there.
    I produced my first website ten years ago, hand scripted in HTML, which seemed to me to be the only way to go back then. I don't think I ever got more than 500 visitors.
    Once you start learning HTML you realize that you need to know CSS. So I learned CSS. To turn CSS into a powerful tool you need to know a little JavaScript. So I learned some JavaScript. So in 2002 I was able to produce a better site that attracted a lot more visitors. I also produced http://www.photolucid.com which still exists - albeit in a slimmed down form - and still attracts visitors by the hour, if not minute. In 2003 I produced another site that received around 40k visitors in the first month, and still occasionally picks up over 1000 visitors a day, although it often plummets to 50 a day.
    To make websites really functional you need to learn a server-side scripting language. So I have now acquired a reasonably solid grasp of PHP.
    What I have learned is that if you want visitors, you must create something at least a bit unusual, if not unique, built around a concept. Simply sticking images in galleries in today's Flickr mad world might be a fun thing for the relations, but isn't going to generate serious traffic. Unless your one-word name begins with R and ends in N, that is. Most cheap website kits will not help you to produce anything that doesn't look remarkably like a lot of other websites that no one visits. If you are work shy, but have money, get a young, innovative, but not yet established web developer/designer to do the job for you. Otherwise get some very big books. Or at least learn some basic HTML alongside Flash.
    There are, of course, techniques for generating traffic that don't depend upon anyone wanting to visit the site in the first place, but there isn't a lot of point to this unless you are hoping to make a living from Google Ads.
  16. Thanks all for the replies. In my mind I am most interested in systems designed to automate the output of pages ideally from within Lightroom. From the recitals I shoot, I have literals hundreds of photos to post for each show and so efficient workflow is essential.
  17. Not sure if some of these templated web systems for photographers help with lightroom:
  18. I'm using two different template based sites designed for showing off photographer's work. The first is called Showit Sites, and it offers the most customization of any I've tried. Very simple, very intuitive, and feature rich, but customer support isn't very good. You can view an example of it at my Temecula Wedding Photographers site.
    The other one I use is Photobiz.com. Photobiz has a few dozen templates, it far more restrictive in layout customization, but displays images beautifully and their customer support is top notch. You can view of sample of that site here at my Southern Ca wedding photography site.
    The last one I use is just a blogger template. I pull all of the images in from my smugmug.com account. Because photobiz and showit sites are flash sites, they won't be indexed by search engines. Both have html mirrors, but google webmaster guidelines frowns upon such redirects. So lastly, for rich index-able content, I keep the temecula wedding photography blog on blogger.com.
    If anyone would like more info on the pros and cons of each of these tools, just ask!
  19. I use Lightroom to generate galleries in html format. After that I use a simple text editor to rewrite the index file in php code so I can perfectly fit the layout of my website: www.Photonmessage.com . For the "on the way" section I'm using wordpress with a custom theme (unstandard modified).
    You can find several html and php guides and learn to do some nice stuff using only a text editor. If you don't want to learn html and/or php can be useful: frontpage by microsoft; golive by adobe; nvu (that is free) and so on...
  20. Just got photobiz. Service is EXCELLENT. I had one site that was html and this one is now flash.
    I set this up in a week! http://www.platinumimagingphotography.com
    Hope it works out for u, because I love it! =)

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