I've been getting quite a few questions recently from other photographers on who designed our portfolio site.  So I thought it might be useful to create an FAQ post on that topic!  If you're not interested in this topic, feel free to skip today's post and come back soon!  Here we go: Who designed your main site?

Up until a little over a year ago, I was designing my own website.  I did everything from html templates to trying out flash templates to creating a site on Wordpress.  I found that I was spending more time on that than shooting and I wasn't very happy with how it was looking because, well, I'm a photographer and a wanna-be web designer, not a real web designer.

I then faced a choice of how to make our site.  We didn't have a ton of money to throw into it (who does?), but we wanted it to look good!  I settled on either bludomain or showit.  I know there are a bajillion other ways to do it, but those two companies are widely used and are geared towards service for photographers specifically.  They both have their pros and cons, but we decided on bludomain simply because it was a one-time cost (outside of the low monthly cost of hosting which I was already paying for our blog).

Bludomain is a great solution if you're looking for a quick setup.  You basically choose a template, create your site by uploading images and filling in the text boxes.  Their support is good and they install all of the technical stuff on your server for you.  The drawback for Bludomain is that you really have to choose your template wisely because there isn't much customization once you buy it.  So be careful and fully understand what each template does and doesn't do before you jump in if you go with them!

Now, having said that, we are hoping to switch to Showit in the near future.  If you haven't checked them out, you really should.  It costs $39/month for their pro subscription, but you can find some coupon codes around to make it a bit cheaper.  The guys at Showit are  amazing and are working hard to make their flash sites searchable by search engines (which is commonly used as a protest against flash pages) and viewable on smart phones like the iphone (which is actually somewhat doable with showit now).  With Showit, you can also embed your whole site on facebook and tag clients in the site so that it shows up on their wall which will bring more people to your site.

We created a free showit site a few months ago and we love it!  The free version is a good first step, but you can't have your own domain - it has to be yourdomain.showitsite.com which doesn't look that great in my opinion.  BUT if you're starting out and have no money to spend, this is a GREAT option!  Going with showit does take a bit more setup and can be a little confusing if you've never designed anything like this before.  They have templates you can use, though, to help you get started and there are designers that will design the site for you for a fee.  The software is free to download so it's worth checking out to see what you think!

I hope that helps a bit.  I know there are so many options when you're looking to start something like this and it can get quite overwhelming.  Let me know if I can help in any other way!  I'm not the expert on the topic, but I've always found it helpful to get other photographer's ideas and opinions so I'm here to help as well!

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