I've been browsing lots of different pay and free website hosting sites and I can't make up my mind. I'd like to be able to choose the design and layout etc, but I know nothing about web coding, so I need something thats pretty straightforward and easy, but still capable of creating a beautiful site.
What do you use for your website? What do you like or not like about it? Will you share a link so I can see it?
I use Squarespace.com. It's very easy to choose and customize templates if you know nothing about coding. If you know how to code, there are options for that. If you hire a designer, they've made it easy to give a designer access. They've recently added commerce options. You can link to and sell from your SmugMug account if you have one. Their customer service is fantastic. If you don't have a domain yet, they can host one for you.
I have used SmugMug for many years. They did a price increase last year that drove people crazy, but still are a very good deal if you consider there is no charge for storage (unlimited storage) and lots of control over pricing/discounts and packages. If you think you are going to sell less than $100 a year, another website might be better. If you think are going to sell mover than $100/year then Smug is likely the best value.
I recently signed up to viewbook.com after looking at a lot of photography template sites. I really recommend them. Very clean, professional and easy to navigate sites. I paid for the Pro account, about $190 a year. 5000 image allowance, client access areas, blog integration and super large, sharp images. Very easy to use. A lot of pro photographers use them.
I use Weebly. It's an amazingly easy platform that offers a lot of functionality for free and a lot more for minimal charge (like less than $30 a year). Tons of templates that you can use "as is" or make changes to as you become familiar with very basic code. It makes it easy to intigrate your social media into your site too. www.sarahlwilsonphotography.com
I signed a two year contract with GoDaddy because my husband swears by their level of customer support, but it's not really geared towards photography. I switched to Zenfolio and love it! you can use their templates, download your own or simply create from scratch. They are extremely flexible with their space and you can create multiple galleries as well as secure pages for client sign-in. They provide learning videos for free to alter your website and customize it.
My second choice would be Collages.net. Collages not only provides some great website building and support but has incredible marketing collateral that you can brand.
I looked at LiveBooks (thanks, Jim!), but decided on ZenFolio. With the upgrade to professional status, I can use my own branding.
Hi RDault, I'm new as a semi-prol and needed a simple, clean site that didn't cost much. My portfolio isn't extensive, so I needed something that could grow with me but looked really good from the get-go. I was really glad to have stumbled upon www.squarespace.com recently. I just put my site up a couple of weeks ago so it's still a work in progress: www.amygreenerphotography.com. Square space provides 24 hour customer service, several different template choices and hosts your site so for $8/month, I find it to be very reasonable. I bought a one year package to get the $8 rate, but you can try it on their trial for two weeks and then go month to month for $10.
I, and many other photographers, use LiveBooks. They have quite the selection of templates and then modify them to your needs for a small additional fee if you need them too. The best feature in my opinion is that I change images and pages by myself in no time at all. To put new images up takes me less than five minutes.