Forums > General Industry > your own Portfolio Website ?

Photographer

johel

Posts: 190

Paramount, California, US

what are you using to build your web site

i need to my website but not sure where to start what you recommend i want to have full control i don't want to use expensive  web designer

Format, Squarespace, ????

hope to find something better

Thanks

Joe

May 23 17 06:22 pm Link

Photographer

James S

Posts: 1043

Spokane Valley, Washington, US

I use WordPress on my own domain.

May 23 17 06:28 pm Link

Artist/Painter

LeboGraphics

Posts: 139

BRONX, New York, US

I also use WordPress. You can manage it yourself once it is set up. Easy to learn.
Feel free to email me if you have questions.

May 23 17 06:38 pm Link

Photographer

Barry Kidd Photography

Posts: 3199

Red Lion, Pennsylvania, US

WordPress

Yep.  WordPress.  As in WordPress.org. Not WordPress.com.

It gives you complete control over nearly everything from design to SEO. 

It's a learning process.  Don't worry of it sounds or feels a bit daunting at the start.  Make like Nike and "Just Do It!"  Your site will grow, change and evolve as you do.  None of us starts as some kind of website hero out of the box.  Overtime you'll get better.  You're site will get better and start ranking higher in Google Search. 

Avoid Squarespace

My persional advice is not to start with Squarespace or other builders like that.They all have severly limited SEO capability.  Start with something like WordsPress from the get go.  That way you haven't lost valuable time when you do start getting serious.  Many people will give rave reviews to crap like Squarespace.  Even here on MM but I'd say avoid that junk.  Sure you can easily make a pretty site but pretty isn't all that a site needs.  It needs functionalaity and you can learn that as you advance in your knowledge of WordPress and web design in general.

There may also be some "hero" come along and talk about hand written code is what works.  Dude, if you could write code you would already have your answer and not be here asking.  That is not a learning curve you need to look into for now. Just ignore those comments if you get one. That dude is just trying to be cool and impress people with his/her vast knowledge of websites -n- shit.

SSL Certificates

Also invest in an SSL certificate for your new site.  This will allow you to display a secure https version rather than http.

Google is starting to smack down on non https sites really hard.  On May 10th of this month that smack down was increased.   Websites with out SSL certificates instantly lost as much as 2/3 or more of their referials from Google Search. An SSL cost no more than 24 or 25 bucks a year for or an information only site with no need for e-commerce suport.

The way I see it, a site without an SSL simply can't compete anymore.  Not in the long run that is.  Comparable sites with SSL and 301 redirects to https will always have the atvantage from now on. You may as well join the SSL crowd from the start.

Last, if you are new to web design and hosting don't fret over words like SSL, http vs https and 301 redirects.  It's all just fancy web lingo for making your site more secure.  It is however something that you'll want to speak with your web host about when you set up your site. so at least learn/research those basics and what they mean before you make the call.

Web Hosts

Many hosts now have special Wordpress hosting options with less users on a server.  This allows for faster download speeds. They also have 24/7 support on the phone with WordPress guru types to help you if you need it.  A good host doesn't charge extra for those calls in the middle of the night, or any other time your looking for help with an issue. It's part of your package.

My host is StartLogic and have had good luck with them for the last 10 or so years.  I have heard that HostGator has an excellent WordPress package, perhaps one of the best, but I've never used them and can't verify that.

May 23 17 06:40 pm Link

Photographer

DeanLautermilch

Posts: 256

Hollywood, Florida, US

I use Wordpress and nobody likes my front page. I don't care as I do.

May 23 17 07:11 pm Link

Photographer

AgX

Posts: 2278

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

James S wrote:
I use WordPress on my own domain.

Same.

May 23 17 07:46 pm Link

Photographer

johel

Posts: 190

Paramount, California, US

Barry Kidd Photography wrote:
WordPress

Yep.  WordPress.  As in WordPress.org. Not WordPress.com.

It gives you complete control over nearly everything from design to SEO. 

It's a learning process.  Don't worry of it sounds or feels a bit daunting at the start.  Make like Nike and "Just Do It!"  Your site will grow, change and evolve as you do.  None of us starts as some kind of website hero out of the box.  Overtime you'll get better.  You're site will get better and start ranking higher in Google Search. 

Avoid Squarespace

My persional advice is not to start with Squarespace or other builders like that.They all have severly limited SEO capability.  Start with something like WordsPress from the get go.  That way you haven't lost valuable time when you do start getting serious.  Many people will give rave reviews to crap like Squarespace.  Even here on MM but I'd say avoid that junk.  Sure you can easily make a pretty site but pretty isn't all that a site needs.  It needs functionalaity and you can learn that as you advance in your knowledge of WordPress and web design in general.

There may also be some "hero" come along and talk about hand written code is what works.  Dude, if you could write code you would already have your answer and not be here asking.  That is not a learning curve you need to look into for now. Just ignore those comments if you get one. That dude is just trying to be cool and impress people with his/her vast knowledge of websites -n- shit.

SSL Certificates

Also invest in an SSL certificate for your new site.  This will allow you to display a secure https version rather than http.

Google is starting to smack down on non https sites really hard.  On May 10th of this month that smack down was increased.   Websites with out SSL certificates instantly lost as much as 2/3 or more of their referials from Google Search. An SSL cost no more than 24 or 25 bucks a year for or an information only site with no need for e-commerce suport.

The way I see it, a site without an SSL simply can't compete anymore.  Not in the long run that is.  Comparable sites with SSL and 301 redirects to https will always have the atvantage from now on. You may as well join the SSL crowd from the start.

Last, if you are new to web design and hosting don't fret over words like SSL, http vs https and 301 redirects.  It's all just fancy web lingo for making your site more secure.  It is however something that you'll want to speak with your web host about when you set up your site. so at least learn/research those basics and what they mean before you make the call.

Web Hosts

Many hosts now have special Wordpress hosting options with less users on a server.  This allows for faster download speeds. They also have 24/7 support on the phone with WordPress guru types to help you if you need it.  A good host doesn't charge extra for those calls in the middle of the night, or any other time your looking for help with an issue. It's part of your package.

My host is StartLogic and have had good luck with them for the last 10 or so years.  I have heard that HostGator has an excellent WordPress package, perhaps one of the best, but I've never used them and can't verify that.

Thanks that is valuable info.  i will look in to it and learn about it

May 23 17 10:45 pm Link

Photographer

Black Z Eddie

Posts: 933

San Jacinto, California, US

There aren't that many "home built" websites that I like.  Most that I've been seen pretty much sucks.  They have that MySpace, Angelfire, GeoCities, etc feel to them.   And, they feel slow like they are running the servers in their homes.  On top of that, they look like crap on mobile devices.

Not everyone can be a web designer much like not everyone can be a photographer, model, singer, dancer, race car driver, football player, etc.  You just gotta face facts.  smile

As a start, unless you're some kind of web page designing savant, use something like Squarespace; or have someone build it for you.

Of course, I'm not saying you shouldn't attempt, especially if you have the aptitude and desire to build one.  How else are you going to learn.  But, if your intent is draw in visitors/clients, don't display to them a crappy looking slow performing website.  I fucking hate that shit.  It's 2017 for god's sake.  lol

May 23 17 11:37 pm Link

Photographer

Roberto De Micheli

Posts: 133

London, England, United Kingdom

I have 2 web sites.

The old one was created with JAlbum + a skin and then customized by hand by me. It is fully spec'd with even e-commerce capabilities but I don't like it anymore and use it pretty much only as archive galleries. The costs are hosting and domain name.

The new one is built on an online platform, 4ormat.com and you simply select a skin and upload your photos. It looks much better than my old one and it is easier to maintain but it is much more limited in terms of functionality. The costs are domain name and a monthly fee.

Roberto

May 24 17 09:25 am Link

Photographer

johel

Posts: 190

Paramount, California, US

Black Z Eddie wrote:
There aren't that many "home built" websites that I like.  Most that I've been seen pretty much sucks.  They have that MySpace, Angelfire, GeoCities, etc feel to them.   And, they feel slow like they are running the servers in their homes.  On top of that, they look like crap on mobile devices.

Not everyone can be a web designer much like not everyone can be a photographer, model, singer, dancer, race car driver, football player, etc.  You just gotta face facts.  smile

As a start, unless you're some kind of web page designing savant, use something like Squarespace; or have someone build it for you.

Of course, I'm not saying you shouldn't attempt, especially if you have the aptitude and desire to build one.  How else are you going to learn.  But, if your intent is draw in visitors/clients, don't display to them a crappy looking slow performing website.  I fucking hate that shit.  It's 2017 for god's sake.  lol

well that is way i make this post hoping to find the magic easy way to build site and update and is true now days no one have time for noting we all want fast we don't want to spend 10min in web site we want 10 seconds or less is crazy now days

May 24 17 10:09 am Link

Photographer

johel

Posts: 190

Paramount, California, US

Roberto De Micheli wrote:
I have 2 web sites.

The old one was created with JAlbum + a skin and then customized by hand by me. It is fully spec'd with even e-commerce capabilities but I don't like it anymore and use it pretty much only as archive galleries. The costs are hosting and domain name.

The new one is built on an online platform, 4ormat.com and you simply select a skin and upload your photos. It looks much better than my old one and it is easier to maintain but it is much more limited in terms of functionality. The costs are domain name and a monthly fee.

Roberto

can you protect w/password  to selected pages for customer review  ?

May 24 17 10:11 am Link

Photographer

Roberto De Micheli

Posts: 133

London, England, United Kingdom

johel wrote:

can you protect w/password  to selected pages for customer review  ?

Yes in both sites

May 24 17 11:06 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3036

New York, New York, US

Not that you are going to want to hear this, but there are some website systems that have been developed for photographers. I have sites from two of the leaders: Photo Folio and Livebooks. They are more expensive than Squarespace or Wordpress sites. I personally do not like Wordpress for photo sites. I looked into the at one point, but I strongly prefer the sites/systems that were developed specifically for photographers.

I consider Photo Folio better. I would say best but I haven't tried everything out there. It is an HTML5 based system. It is $34/month vs. $18/month (paid annually) or $26 (paid monthly) but it really is head and shoulders above Squarespace. It was developed by a photo editor specifically for professional photographers. The Design X template system is so customizable that it really is hard to be called a template. They do also have some pre-made starting points if you prefer. Great US-based customer service. You will see hundreds of top photographers who have abandoned bespoke websites for this web system.

Livebooks was formerly a flash-based system, but has recently migrated to HTML5. I'm in the process of updating my Livebooks site. It is too soon to tell how it will work. There is less flexibility within the system but possibly a little more than Squarespace. They have a deal for emerging photographers at $20 month. Like Photo Folio, that includes hosting and you can use your own domain name.

May 24 17 12:58 pm Link

guide forum

Photographer

Giacomo Cirrincioni

Posts: 22219

New York, New York, US

Dan Howell wrote:
Not that you are going to want to hear this, but there are some website systems that have been developed for photographers. I have sites from two of the leaders: Photo Folio and Livebooks. They are more expensive than Squarespace or Wordpress sites. I personally do not like Wordpress for photo sites. I looked into the at one point, but I strongly prefer the sites/systems that were developed specifically for photographers.

I consider Photo Folio better. I would say best but I haven't tried everything out there. It is an HTML5 based system. It is $34/month vs. $18/month (paid annually) or $26 (paid monthly) but it really is head and shoulders above Squarespace. It was developed by a photo editor specifically for professional photographers. The Design X template system is so customizable that it really is hard to be called a template. They do also have some pre-made starting points if you prefer. Great US-based customer service. You will see hundreds of top photographers who have abandoned bespoke websites for this web system.

Livebooks was formerly a flash-based system, but has recently migrated to HTML5. I'm in the process of updating my Livebooks site. It is too soon to tell how it will work. There is less flexibility within the system but possibly a little more than Squarespace. They have a deal for emerging photographers at $20 month. Like Photo Folio, that includes hosting and you can use your own domain name.

I'm on www.aphotofolio.com and I love it.

May 25 17 05:50 pm Link

Model

Ionalynn

Posts: 298

San Francisco, California, US

I've been with wordpress for years, if I had to start from scratch I might go with Squarespace.

Template sites have enough customization that they don't all look alike & allow the user to get a site updated fast without wasting time with code when they should be wasting time hustling clients & shooting.

A number of photography sites are NOT user friendly, & many people get confused about what they are using a website for.
Is it to sell to clients?
Is it a portfolio to shop to ad agencies?
Is it a review of past & present fine art projects?

http://carlephotography.com/

May 25 17 06:02 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3036

New York, New York, US

Dan Howell wrote:
Livebooks was formerly a flash-based system, but has recently migrated to HTML5. I'm in the process of updating my Livebooks site. It is too soon to tell how it will work. There is less flexibility within the system but possibly a little more than Squarespace. They have a deal for emerging photographers at $20 month. Like Photo Folio, that includes hosting and you can use your own domain name.

Update.
I was working with Livebooks to migrate my site to Livebooks8 (their HTML5 system). In digging into their back end, I found them to be more rigid than Design X from Photo Folio. I was set to dive deeper and build out my site even with the reduced flexibility because I found a look that I liked. However when I did and apples to apples comparison of pricing and features, Photo Folio was a leader. My choice was to start a 3rd site from scratch with Photo Folio rather than migrate to Livebooks8. On top of that I got a multiple site discount from Photo Folio which made it even better.

The latest version of Design X has new starting points (they call Designs) that are basically templates but you can still dial in custom features to a very precise degree. The amount of control can almost be daunting, but the starting points accelerate the development of a site to the point that I got my newest site to about 90% in roughly 5 hrs (though I had most of the assets close at hand). You can even store multiple customized looks in the back end and switch fluidly between looks (if you've put the work in advance) and even toggle between them daily if that is desired. Not sure why it would be, but it is nice to know that I can make a seasonal change without dumping a previous look.

With that said, Livebooks8 has a plan for emerging photographers with a tighter set of specs for a lower cost that is worth looking into. It is on par with Squarespace and offers a more flexible backend, though probably fewer options on templates.

May 25 17 07:45 pm Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 7735

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

I've moved all of my websites, with the exception of my blog, off of Wordpress and on to Adobe Muse constructed sites for the following reasons:

- MUCH more control over the design of the site.
- Easier to use
- Way more powerful than Wordpress
- Sites SEO really well
- Most importantly, security. Wordpress security sucks donkey balls. The sites can be easily hacked if you aren't constantly updating plugins and the software itself and when they do get hacked, they are a mess to fix.

I switched all my sites over to Muse and I couldn't be happier.

May 27 17 06:13 pm Link

Photographer

Barry Kidd Photography

Posts: 3199

Red Lion, Pennsylvania, US

Shot By Adam wrote:
I've moved all of my websites, with the exception of my blog, off of Wordpress and on to Adobe Muse constructed sites for the following reasons:

- MUCH more control over the design of the site.
- Easier to use
- Way more powerful than Wordpress
- Sites SEO really well
- Most importantly, security. Wordpress security sucks donkey balls. The sites can be easily hacked if you aren't constantly updating plugins and the software itself and when they do get hacked, they are a mess to fix.

I switched all my sites over to Muse and I couldn't be happier.

I've been playing with Muse but I haven't been able to get it down.  I mostly have problems with SEO. 

For my Wordpress site I rely heavily on the SEO for WordPress plug-in by Yoast.  When used properly with attention to detail a new post can rank on page one of Google Search literally in less than a min after posting it. Once a few back links are created for it can go to any where from No. 1 to perhaps No. 3 or 4 in just hours.  Assuming of course that  you immediately you use the "Fetch as Google" option in Webmaster Tools after publishing the post asking "Big G" to crawl the page/post.

This is incredibly important when covering popular events.  The page must be able to be found while people are still enthusiastic from their time at the event. In the past I've even updated a blog post live from an event when I have access to a press room where I can do so. That way my post and images from the event can be searched, found and seen during the event it's self.

Until Adobe streamlines their SEO or a fantastic widget is developed that covers more than just schema and markup language there's no way that I can use it. 

I've downloaded a few SEO widgets for muse that deal specially with SEO but I haven't found anything that comes even close to Yoast SEO.

As for security.  There may be no more than 5 or 6 days in any given year that don't log onto my wordpress dashboard.  I keep it up today.  My only real issue with wordpress is when an occasional compatibility issue pops up with a some plug-in or another.  Then I'll need to disable the offending plug-in for a few days.  Since I tend to use "popular" plug-ins in most cases those issues are fixed with a new update very quickly.  Either way that always frustrates me.  It may happen once or twice a year but that truly is my only complaint with WordPress.

May 30 17 09:16 am Link

Photographer

Jorge Kreimer

Posts: 3246

Los Angeles, California, US

Format:

www.gershonkreimer.com

www.jorgekreimer.com


Highly recommend it!

May 30 17 01:13 pm Link

Photographer

goofus

Posts: 410

Santa Barbara, California, US

I use portfoliobox.net

they are easy to use and helpful

but...I'm not trying to impress a client or anything

Jun 13 17 12:08 pm Link

Photographer

johel

Posts: 190

Paramount, California, US

goofus  wrote:
I use portfoliobox.net

they are easy to use and helpful

but...I'm not trying to impress a client or anything

love to see your site

Jun 13 17 01:25 pm Link

Photographer

Tiffny Sherell

Posts: 15

New York, New York, US

I've been using wordpress(.org) for blogging for over 5 years and will definitely be using it for when I make my porfolio website. I'd recommend it over anything else.

Jun 18 17 05:58 pm Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 25420

Portland, Oregon, US

Don't ask me -- I'm a dinosaur.  I was on (what became) the Internet back in the late 1970s.  My first web site, put together in the mid-1980s, was implemented with pure HTML (which was pretty simple at the time).  Later, I used (and loved) Microsoft's Front Page, one of the first WYSIWYG web site editors.  Then, when MS abandoned Front Page, I reluctantly switched to Expressions Web because it knew how to handle old Front Page websites.  Then MS abandoned Expressions Web, and I gave up.  I'm sure there are some robust but easy to use apps out there -- I'm too lazy to find them.

Jun 18 17 07:37 pm Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3036

New York, New York, US

Tiffny Sherell wrote:
I've been using wordpress(.org) for blogging for over 5 years and will definitely be using it for when I make my porfolio website. I'd recommend it over anything else.

So you are recommending one system that you've used for blogging over every other system for portfolio sites even though you haven't used it for a portfolio site? 

Ok, gotcha...

Jun 19 17 04:23 am Link

Retoucher

anchev

Posts: 1180

Sofia, Sofija grad, Bulgaria

johel wrote:
what are you using to build your web site

Text editor.

i need to my website but not sure where to start what you recommend i want to have full control i don't want to use expensive  web designer

Me too. That's why I code it myself.

Jun 19 17 06:13 am Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 32170

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Dan Howell wrote:

So you are recommending one system that you've used for blogging over every other system for portfolio sites even though you haven't used it for a portfolio site? 

Ok, gotcha...

Good point!

Jun 19 17 06:16 am Link

Photographer

Tiffny Sherell

Posts: 15

New York, New York, US

Dan Howell wrote:
So you are recommending one system that you've used for blogging over every other system for portfolio sites even though you haven't used it for a portfolio site? 

Ok, gotcha...

No. I've used Blogger, tumblr, MySpace, WordPress.com and Facebook. They all suck in comparison to WordPress.org.
Edit: and yes, I've used each as blogs and as portfolio sites.

Ok, glad you got it.

Jun 19 17 08:59 pm Link