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Thread: Getting a Web Site,HELP

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    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Getting a Web Site,HELP

    I am thinking about getting a web site for myself. I do not know anything about them.
    I read that having a flash running your pictures is not the best thing to have.
    What company or services do you suggest that I look it. Many of you have had experiences with site that do not work well and I am hoping to avoid this.
    All your help will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Rick Rickard
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Hi Rick,

    Can you describe what you'd like to do with your website, or more importantly, what you'd like your site to do for you? Are you wanting a gallery setting? a blog? is for selling or just a way of sharing your work, or an online brochure or calling card? If it is for selling images, do you envision it as a self-contained site with e-commerce/shopping cart features, or simply handling orders via e-mail or order form?

    There are more questions to follow-up, but that may be a good start. Don't be intimidated by the process of putting a site together. It doesn't have to be difficult. There are lots of ways you can do it yourself, or you can purchase a templated solution, or you can organize your list of needs and some example sites you like and have someone build it for you. Lots of options.

    Oh, and as for Flash sites: I hate them, but they have some advantages accompanying their disadvantages. As a visitor I cringe when I land on a Flash-based website (of any kind), but Flash does offers some things of use to some and can be incorporated as part of the technologies used in a site. In my opinion Flash is way over-used. In fact, I was just perusing the site of Pulitzer awarded photographer whose work I really like and was annoyed to the point of leaving before viewing more than half of the images. I'll go back, but I needed a break from the ridiculous unresponsiveness and delays of the site. But maybe that's just me.

  3. #3
    Oxide Blu
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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post

    ... I was just perusing the site of Pulitzer awarded photographer whose work I really like and was annoyed to the point of leaving before viewing more than half of the images. I'll go back, but I needed a break from the ridiculous unresponsiveness and delays of the site. But maybe that's just me.

    It's not just you -- me, too. I have often abandoned viewing a website because of the inconvenience of the embedded flash.

    Fwiw, some folks think using flash prevents copying of their photos. It does not. If I can see it on my computer, I can copy it. As I have said before, anyone that does not want to give away their images should never put them up on the web.

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    O.B., that's quite correct about copy protection. It does prevent simply dragging an image to the desktop or "right-clicking" to save, but it has zero effect on those that would do a screen grab by any number of means.

    Flash as a tool to display a focussed element can be of use in some presentation styles, such as slideshows or videos (or a programing tool for certain uploading procedures and such), but I prefer a Flash-free experience for primary content in most cases.

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    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    I am looking to sell my work for stock. So A site used as a calling card,brochure and sharing my work,would be what I am looking for.
    Thanks Dale
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Rick,

    A site as you describe, where it is more of a brochure or catalogue is pretty simple and can be done in many ways. In my opinion (for what it's worth) one need not use a Flash based site for this, but others may feel differently. Flash will make it a little less easy for folks to copy your work, but that likely applies more to people who might grab you image for their Facebook page than it applies to someone in a position to use your shot for anything like a webpage for commerce somewhere. The latter will simply use a utility to capture the screen, as Oxide Blue points out. Watermarking is an option, but some find them distracting, and they can be cloned out to some extent. We just have to expect some abuse if our images are on-line.

    So, if you want a prepackaged presence on the web, you could look at Wordpress as a means of starting with a free application to get your feet wet. Wordpress started as a simple blogging application, but it has matured into a "content management system" (CMS) which will handle much more than a simple blog. There are many "themes" that one can find for free, or can purchase for a modest fee, and some are specifically aimed at photography in design. One can also host their site at Wordpress.org if their not yet ready for working with their own hosting solution, etc. or your can install Wordpress at your own host, using your own domain name, etc.

    Some folks use SmugMug as a sort of "website" but I consider it more of a "web service". There are some that have been personalized to the point of feeling very much like a private website. Folks using SmugMug in this way are typically looking for more than you describe in the way of print order fulfillment, schwag, etc. To me, it's about the same concept as Photoshelter, with some variations b/n each.

    Another option is Zenfolio, but again, this is kind of hosting and sharing web service that is different than a "real" self-operated, stand-alone web presence. I only list these few options (and there are others) because for some folks its the easiest and most practical for them, and you've not specified what you've tried or use currently in the form of any web tools.

    To build (or have built for you) a fairly simple website and set it up with your own domain name is not difficult, but like anything that is new, there is a bit of a learning curve. And there are some conventions in design which are worth learning and adhering to for the convenience of your visitors. I would suggest that if you choose a totally self-directed approach to get a couple of books to help with the process. I can suggest a couple.

    A bigger issue to work out is that you say that you are looking to sell your work as stock. So the biggest issue is getting buyers of stock to see your work, and it can be difficult to get those eyes to travel to your site where they can see your work. Stock buyers are now not only shopping at Getty Images, Corbis, Jupiter Images, Photoshelter, etc., they're also looking at the micro-stock sites for the 50 stock images. What's worse, is they're trolling flickr and asking for them for free, but of course there are also those trolling flickr who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars or more for the use of an image there (though the latter is far rarer now).

    So the point is, the battle is not to get the site up, but to get others to see it, so as you are putting your site together you may want to make sure you have other content on the web pointing to your site. For example, if you have a flickr account you can put links in the description of your photos which will take a visitor to your site to view the image in a different environment and to see others, etc.

    Sorry for the long post, but just wanted to cover these points in the interest of clarity.

    To put your own website together independently you will need:

    1. A domain name, e.g. www.ricksimages.com
    2. A web hosting service
    3. Either a package such as Wordpress or a concept of how you'd like the pages of your site to be presented
    4. Possibly a "gallery" plugin for your site, depending on chosen options
    5. An FTP application and text-editor if you want more control than simply working through a web-based control panel
    6. Some time and a little patience


    Each of these items is pretty easy. Domain names can be registered via Go Daddy or many other registrars. Avoid Network Solutions, who was once the big fish, but they use tactics which are frustrating to users, and they're expensive for simple domain management.

    Hosting is equally easy, but you will read of frustrations with hosts, so to me, service is far more important than price. The cheapest hosting services are of no interest to me. They cram too many sites on the shared servers, downtime can be to great, customer service and tech-support can suck. Lots of good ones, but don't shop in the bottom price sector. I like Host Gator and pay about $8 per month, but there are others. Go Daddy will host for you too, as will many of the places that you might register your domain name, but the Go Daddy site is so cluttered that I prefer the calmer environment of other hosting options. I buy my domains through Go Daddy and am hosted at Host Gator (Host Gator charges more for domains). Other hosting options, such as Media Temple, Rackspace, Pear, etc. are more than needed at the stage of just starting your first site, though I use them for larger projects.

    The other items on the list will fall into place as you determine which approach you are comfortable with. I would suggest that you think about what you want your site's primary sections to be, e.g. Home page, About page, Gallery, Contact represents four simple sections. One can then break the gallery in categories, etc. Determining this design structure will help you decide how to move forward.

    I hope this helps a little. I know it's ridiculously long and you may have fallen asleep on your keyboard long before getting to this point. If you'd like more info, I'll be happy to share what I have experienced. I well remember the day I first started with the process and it was a bit overwhelming and need not have been.

    Dale
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 4th January 2010 at 09:33.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    I plan to sell,only to stock agencies. When I apply to an agent, will direct them to my site to show my work. Not interested in others finding my site.
    My web site will only be to impress an agent, so they will want to use my work in the future.
    Your information will be very helpful, but i head is spinning. This will be my first site.
    I will start will one of the services you have recommended and chech them out. And go from there.
    And Thank You very much for all your time on this.

    Rich Rickard
    Last edited by Scargos2; 4th January 2010 at 10:52. Reason: adding was not finished
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Rick,

    For your application of focusing on a site to show to specific people the site should be very easy to do. Whether you go with something like Zenfolio or install something else. One can do both, obviously.

    You could do something at one of the services, and also dabble in a Wordpress installation as an experimental blog (about your cat or whatever) to get a feel for such things.

    Good luck with your process.

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    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Hello Dale,
    You mentioned a couple books for me to look at. What are there names

    Thanks Rick
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Hi Rick,

    My recommendations of books was geared toward you looking into building your own site, or installing a package of some type, such as Wordpress, PixelPost, Gallery 2, etc. and doing some customization, not for using a service like Zenfolio and the like. So with that in mind here you go:

    Creating a Website: The Missing Manual. This is good for one trying to wrap their head around the whole "domains, hosts, HTML, etc." list of stuff. It's quite basic, but one could actually put up a functional (and better than many) website with just this book. (I edited my post and replaced the first book I had linked here which is the earlier version by the same author. It was titled "Creating Websites: The Missing Manual" but was replaced by the predecessor to the book listed above. This is the second edition of this newer title, and third of this type from the author. I don't have the newest version, but have the old one published in 2005. I expect that this newer one will be better, so linked it instead of the old one.)

    After that read, one can benefit from HTML, XHTML and CSS. Of course these could be read together, but the first book will describe more of the whole hosting and server stuff, and some other basics that might ease one's mind.

    And Web Standards Solutions by Dan Cedarholm. Anything from Dan will help one to build better websites.

    In my opinion (and in my experience) one can build nice sites with just those three books and some additional reading on the web. Lots and lots of other reading available, but this little library and some interest in digging through the web if one gets stuck is a good start. To repeat though, I had the older version of the first title above, so I'm making an assumption regarding the linked title, expecting the updating to be an advantage.

    Let me know if I misunderstood and I'll try to help.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 4th January 2010 at 16:36.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Scargos2's Avatar
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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    I went with Wordpress and purchased a photographer theme from Photocrati. Using Blue host to host my web site, it is working out great.
    Thanks for all the help
    Sunny Florida Rick of Fla

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    Re: Getting a Web Site,HELP

    Rick, Congrats! That's a great option, successfully used by many.

    Cheers!

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