Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Choosing A Photography Website Host

A number of weeks ago I posted that I was considering putting together a new website. There were several reasons, but two which were of paramount importance: 

  • when I initially coded my current website using Dreamweaver there was no concern about how people might view the site on mobile devices.  The situation is very different at the current time and, best I can tell, optimizing a site for display on mobile devices entails quite a bit of work.
  • Because of he way my site is set up, it is quite an endeavor to add images and thus it has not been updated frequently at all.  I need a site that is easy to update and maintain.

And so I began looking at the options. I pretty quickly ruled out templates that you buy because, once again, I wanted to avoid relearning the coding and CSS that I learned in order to program my site years ago and which would be needed to make custom changes. Life is too short to both photograph and code. I then began to look at the major prefab sites:

  • Zenfolio
  • Smugmug
  • Photo Shelter
  • Squarespace

Yes, I know there are more, but these are the ones that seem most popular and utilized.

Before starting my research, I had to decide what issues were most important to me, as it seemed unlikely that I would find everything I could hope for in one location. Perhaps such a list would be useful to others who are also thinking about photography website hosting. These are the issues I found important.

  • the ability to utilize a custom domain so that my URL could remain the same
  • at least half a chance of being able to import my blog so as not to either lose all the posts, have to pay to have the blog hosted elsewhere, or to have to start from scratch
  • be responsive....that is to say be optimized for mobile devices
  • use no Flash, as Apple devices will not display Flash
  • allow storage and download of digital products such as eBooks
  • be customizable so that the site doesn't look like thousands of others that are out there already
  • be relatively reasonably priced
  • have clean, modern looking templates
  • be relatively easy to use
  • have responsive customer service and support
  • optimally have the ability to embed audio for my Carrie Furnace Project, on which I spent quite some time preparing the audio clips
  • be able to do e-commerce and yet take only what I consider to be a reasonable 'cut' of one's sales while also allowing for self-fulfillment of print orders

And so the search began.

Allow me to cut to the chase.  I ended up choosing what I suspect most will think is the most unlikely of the bunch.  Squarespace.

In the next post I will talk about what my reasons were and what the pros of my experience with Squarespace has been thus far.  After that I will post about the cons....and while there certainly are some, I do think that the pros outweigh them!