The Internet is a great place for creative people to grow their careers and one profession that benefits most from this are photographers. If you are one of them, you’ll need a platform to get started, but between Smugmug and WordPress, which one will give more exposure for your skills and business brand? Here are some details that you need to know.
What Is SmugMug
Established in 2002, SmugMug is a website builder that is designed for photographers that works via the drag-and-drop technology. In other words, what you see during the editing process is basically what you can expect on the front end of your site.
The company currently offers 4 types of annual pricing plans, each with added features with higher membership fee;
- Basic – $3.34/ month
- Power – $5/ month
- Portfolio – $12.50/ month
- Business – $25/ month
If you are interested, you can take advantage of the 14 days free trial to experiment the platform yourself.
What I Like About The Builder
I have a large collection of photos that I shoot as a hobby and tested them out using SmugMug. Here are some of the things that impressed me.
- Their gallery feature is very flexible to use and it allows you to upload images from iOS, Android and even Dropbox, with unlimited online storage.
- It has all the things that make a stunning gallery – vivid display, fast loading (even for high quality images) and various gallery styles to suit your need.
- It comes pre-built with an eCommerce store which allows you to sell your images easily. And if you are looking for more income option, it also allows you to install Google Adsense with just a few simple clicks.
- For a simple website builder, they have a pretty large collection of knowledge base that will walk you through technical tutorials and some basics in online marketing.
What I Find Lacking
In the followings, I will explain in regards to the platform’s usability, search-ability and costing.
- Having reviewed many website builders in the past, I must say that it takes a while to understand how their editor works. It isn’t exactly as intuitive as I thought. Probably because I am always used to blogging platforms and haven’t worked a lot with gallery-based type ones.
- Although I like their professional looking site designs (aka templates), I am disappointed to see that they only have 24 types to choose from. I don’t think that’s enough to meet the popularity of digital photography trend nowadays.
- It’s good to see that they have some basic SEO settings in place for web pages, but I am not seeing any Alt Text. In case you don’t know, Alt Text (alternative text) is an attribute that search engine looks for when indexing images because it might contain keywords that are relevant to the online users. It would be a shame if your gallery contains hundred over photos and not a single one is detected by Google.
- If you are totally new to building a website, you might take up SmugMug’s in house domain offers which they partnered with GoDaddy. I searched for a domain that I really like and guess how much it would cost me – domain, privacy protection and a business email – for a year? A whooping $63 dollars! Honestly, that’s way too expensive for a domain name.
- Now, to my main point. A photo website is great for presenting a portfolio, but in the eyes of Google, those are ‘thin content’ that will take forever to rank (or never rank at all). In other words, your work will never be seen by a new audience. If you are running a business, you’ll not be getting a lot of customers either. You’ll need a dedicated blogging platform to create ‘rich content’ and the way I see it, SmugMug isn’t one of them.
“Are You Saying That I Should Blog?”
That’s exactly what I mean. I know pictures can represent a thousand words, but when you write, you can share up-to-date details of your work/life/values/inspirations more explicitly and guess what? People actually like to read these kind of stories that portray yourself as a human being, not just a photographer.
When you blog, you are allowing yourself to engage in virtual conversation, if you will, with the general public, fellow photographers and potential clients – all wanting to get to know you better not because of the work that you do, but for the kind of person that you are. How many times have you read an interesting blog and went on to check out who the author is at the ‘About Me’ page? 😉
Thus, your content becomes your brand, and when you have a unique brand that people trust, you’ll be able to sell your skills in whatever ways and forms.
Why I Choose WordPress by SiteRubix
Simple. WordPress is one of the most updated blogging platforms that you can use to publish galleries AND content at the same time. Here are three features that you can benefit from this open-source and free software;
- It’s easy to organize your content. All of them have their designated folders within WordPress.
- There is a ton of photographic themes (free and paid) to choose from. There’s a slim chance that your site might look the same as another.
- The settings will help to optimize textual content and photos for SEO, meaning it’s a better platform to help Google discover your site.
The end result of all this is that you are able to produce ‘rich content’ that are both engaging and visible on the internet.
And the reason I choose SiteRubix hosting is because they offer far more reasonable domain fee and it is linked to an online training program that teaches you how to write awesome content (there I go again) for your audience.
So there you have it. Would it be SmugMug or WordPress? I think it’s obvious who is the winner here. I hope that the end of this article is the beginning of a new career breakthrough for you. If you need any help getting started as an online brand, check out Wealthy Affiliate for more WordPress tools and training resources.
Have any thoughts or questions about this topic? Share them in the comments below.
You might also be interested in;