- Easy uploader for your photos, with watermark option
- Ability to sell anything you like – If you are looking at a photo lab to host your site and cart, see how open their system is.
- Great templates and the ability to change as often as you like – MorePhotos has the ability to have a theme site show up on Dec 1stand back to your original Jan 1stfor your Christmas specials or any other holiday.
- One of the new trends is to pay before you can see the images, a grad portrait company tried this and tripled his sales. To enter you pay ten dollars, he adds another ten dollars and once you are in you have a twenty dollar coupon to start shopping and great thing about this he has no complaints from the parents. You may want to check if the hosting company offers this service.
- Remember it is your site and you should never be put in a box when it comes to running your business.
- Percentages of your sales, be very careful with this one, you have to do the math. I have sat with photographers and went over numbers and some were paying more in July because of the percentage then my service would cost all year, and I would hear “Well I don't want to pay you in January when I'm not busy.” Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, Do the MATH!
- Make sure the sites are responsive, in other words the site will automatically adjust to any monitor, phone or tablet, in the end the site looks the same. You avoid scrollbars and text that is way too small to read.
- Look for a friendly host, one that you talk to you live if needed and keeps long support hours.
- You might say to yourself I don't need a shopping cart, I do in person sales. And I would say great, so after you are done and your customer is leaving your studio, you tell them you will post their images on your site for all their friends and family to see. This exercise is like handing that customer 20 of your studio brochures to hand out. She is going to send all of their friends and family to your website to see her images. This marketing tool is the main reason to have a proofing/shopping cart so your customers will introduce you. The money it would take to give the same exposure any other way would be insane.
- And please do not rely on hosting companies to keep your high rise images for ever, they are on computers, they do go bad, things go wrong, get hacked, you name it. So also keep your own backups, and I mean backups in a couple of places, off location.
Alright, we have talked about the design and the domain name, now you need a company to host your site. There are a lot of hosting sites out there with many different options and levels of service. Generally the less you pay for the service, the less service you receive, and remember this is not a race to the bottom. I find it interesting when a company owner, photography or not, wants to find the cheapest service out there. Funny thing is, they do not practice the same when it comes to their service, they might tell me that they want $200 dollars or much more an hour and will not spend $50 dollars a month on their web site. If you are in the trap of asking yourself every time you see something “how much does it cost?” Stop that now! Instead, ask yourself “how much will it make me?” That will tell you if it is worth it or not. Because if it cost you $10,000 dollars and it will make you $20,000 dollars it is worth it and you will find the $10,000 to make it happen.
Your hosting company can simply host your website for you, but there are many specialty companies, MorePhotos included, that tailor their services to photographers. They have developed easy to use templates that are designed with photographers in mind. And they have integrated shopping carts so you will be able to proof/sell your images online. I would recommend using one of the companies that specializes in sites for Photographers not just any hosting company. The reason for this is photographers need special features like watermarking, ways to upload more than one image to a shopping cart at a time and of course image protection to name a few. Most companies do not need these special things.
Success Tip #1: Having a Website... What is Myth and what is Fact.
Below are some of the items that should be researched in depth regarding website and shopping cart features that are must haves:
Writing by Michael Connors – www.morephotos.com