How to choose a good domain name and website hosting for Photographers. Photography Marketing Tips
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How to choose a good domain name and website hosting for Photographers. Photography Marketing Tips


I get it all this marketing and website stuff is confusing and let’s face it not the reason that you fell in love with photography stay tuned and I’ll do my best to simplify domain names and website hosting and give you some practical guidelines to help you get your website working for you hey gang are you just a little technophobic do you even know what a domain name is are you getting ready to build a website and trying to avoid all the rookie mistakes well you found the right video I’m going to walk you through the most important things to consider before you build a new website or embark on a site redesign before I begin let’s answer an important question in this day and age of having multiple social media profiles and loads of different places to display your photos online is it still a big deal to have a website the short answer yes the problem with displaying your work on social media is that you don’t own a space you have little to no control over how it looks and works and you’re basically just a part of the noise all of which makes it hard to compete for a potential clients attention so the smart approach is to think of the social media web sites as one of your methods of advertising and your website is the best way to display your work your online portfolio if you will so before you build a website you need a name for it in web speak that’s called a domain name your address on the Internet it is the way people will hopefully remember how to find you you only need one domain name to build a website but there are some good reasons to loan additional domain names for your business to give you an example my primary website is www.antakungfu.com in domain I bought them to be sure that there was no confusion if somebody types in Joe Adelman is a domain name using one of these other extensions they’re gonna find me not somebody else no I’m not saying that you have to do that but it is a consideration you don’t need to build a separate website for each of your domains you just forward the additional domains to your primary website now traditionally the thinking was that the dot-com domain extension is the most important one to have especially if you’re running a business that philosophy is rapidly changing part of the reason is that the dot-com domain extensions are running out it’s harder and harder to find available dot-com names that suit your needs more importantly we now have over 600 vanity domain extensions things like Pizza Dot life guru XYZ rocks dot sex and of course that camera dot photo dot photography and one that you may not associate with photography dot space these new domain extensions are more targeted and like dot photo and dot photography that space is targeted towards the creative community of designers photographers and illustrators and since it’s relatively new there are a lot of good names still available so of course I don’t own 600 plus domain names but I do own all of the relevant ones these new extensions like dot photo dot photography and dot space are quickly becoming very popular and the general public is beginning to recognize them as a place where you can find photographers in particular dot spaces quickly becoming known as a domain extension for photographers artists and designers so in my case www gol muncom leads to my portfolio website www.jfn.co.jp/toho in my live streaming shows here on YouTube and WWE tag swag com leads in my online merchandise store and well you get the idea all of the other domains that I own forward to one of these domains it’s important for me to point out that you can so have subdomains a subdomain would be something like HTTP blog Joe Adelman comm or HTTP store Joe Edelman comm so instead of using the www it is replaced by blog or store or whatever you choose this sub domain can look feel and work just like your primary website or it can look feel and work like a completely different website your ability to use this feature is limited by the company that hosts your websites most of the template website companies don’t offer this as an option so I’m only mentioning it so that you’re aware of the possibility if you decide to manage your own website more about that in a minute your clients are hiring you not a big company not a team they’re hiring a person and you are a big part of the hiring decision don’t think it’s all about your photography so my advice is go with your name don’t add the word photography to your domain name unless there is another person with your name who is well-known for something else even then instead of adding the word photography to the name consider using a dot photography or dot space domain extension these things confuse people when they hear you domain name they don’t know if you’re using a numeral six or a spelled out six not to mention that it’s easy to forget the – what do you purchase a domain name you’re required to provide details like your address email and phone number this information is added to a publicly searchable database called who is so if you don’t want your address and phone number added to this database there is a service called private registration that allows your personal information to be kept private there is of course an additional expense for this service you purchase a domain name from companies that are referred to as the main name registrars probably one of the biggest is GoDaddy calm GoDaddy is registered to sell pretty much all of the available domain extensions a domain name can cost anywhere from an average of $12 per year to $30 or more per year depending on the extension GoDaddy will frequently run sales where you can get your first year of registration very inexpensively GoDaddy is also an official registrar of the dot spaced domain extension the private registration service that I mentioned runs an additional eight to ten dollars per year depending on the registrar for this reason I recommend using Google as your domain name registrar by the way I’ve put links to all of the companies that I mentioned in this video in the description section below the reason I recommend Google they keep it simple and inexpensive to register a domain for one year cost $12 private registration cost nothing they include it for free the only downside to Google is that they do not handle a lot the vanity domain extensions so they’re not able to register dot photo or dot space domains you need to go to GoDaddy or another registrar for those full disclosure dot space has paid me to mention their domain extension in this video I want you to know that I own a dot space domain which I paid full price for prior to agreeing to this sponsorship I purchased mine because I was becoming aware of its growing popularity in the creative space now that you have at least one domain name and you’re ready to build your website where do you begin if you have the time in patience to maintain your own website you can use a platform like WordPress I don’t mean the free wordpress.com I mean using a hosting service like GoDaddy and WordPress software to create your own website now while this does give you more control it requires a lot more effort and it is much more website than most of you will need if you want to see a wordpress site in action you can check out my blog www.geogebra.org press and hosted with a company called site ground which I prefer over GoDaddy and most other hosts I’ve had less than stellar customer service experiences with GoDaddy over the years and I believe that it has a lot to do with the size of the company site Brown is a smaller hosting company with servers located all around the world and excellent customer service be wary of companies that offer free websites companies such as Wix have wonderful marketing campaigns and will allow you to build a simple template website at no cost but then they’re gonna place ads all over your website and sucker you into spending at least $10 per month to remove the ads and while $10 per month doesn’t sound like a lot of money in my opinion Wix websites sucked for numerous reasons and you can purchase much more attractive templates and hosting with companies that cater to photographers and creatives for even less cost so just don’t take my word for it Google Wix sucks in quotes and read for yourself now many of you have heard of Squarespace probably because a lot of other YouTube photographers hold you hostage while they read a Squarespace script before they start their videos in my opinion Squarespace is okay if you don’t mind using the same template that tons of other photographers are using in other words if your goal is to blend in go for it more social proof google Squarespace sucks also in quotes and you can learn more from the people who abuse the service I use a company called format based in Toronto Canada format is a young company that was assembled with the idea of building websites for creators specifically photographers designers and illustrators their templates are gorgeous and all of them are responsive so they work and look great on mobile devices more importantly they’re extremely easy to modify mostly drag-and-drop their hosting plans come with ecommerce and proofing options included and start at six dollars per month their plans come with unlimited bandwidth so if you suddenly become very popular your website won’t be shut down and they also have 24/7 customer service that I can tell you from firsthand experience is very responsive and friendly full disclosure format is not paying me to say any of these things I found this company six month ago tried their 14-day free trial and loved what they had to offer I reached out to them and they offered me a year of hosting in exchange for mentioning them in a video because of my commitment to you guys my subscribers I’ve made them wait six months so that I could fully kick the tires and be sure that I was committed enough to become a paying customer six months from now besides how can you not like a company that has an office dog named Snapple but seriously formats platform makes it very easy for someone just getting started to have an attractive and professional-looking website up and running in minutes and it is robust enough to support the needs of someone like me do you understand that it’s not uncommon to use two different web posts depending on your needs it’s extremely difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution I already mentioned that I use WordPress software hosted with SiteGround from my blog because I have some very special needs to support my calendars and workshops and things that I do here on YouTube and then I used for matcom for my portfolio website if you’re a photographer who wants to show proof online and handle print sales with a fulfillment being done by a lab and then shipped directly to your customer companies like SmugMug pixie set and Zenfolio have some excellent solutions for that that will allow you to upload your photos set your prices send a link to your client and then the client can place an order that is fulfilled by a photo lab and then shipped directly to the client and you receive the profit now while SmugMug pixie set and Zenfolio also offer website templates I’m not really a fan of them and I would encourage you to use two websites if you need the proofing and fulfillment features one for your marketing portfolio and about page in order to attract new customers and the second would be a site for your existing clients where they can view their proofs and place orders once you have a client it’s not a problem if the proofing and buying portion of their experience looks a little different than your portfolio you would still use the same logo and colors in other words what I’m recommending is that you prioritize the look feel and functionality of your marketing and portfolio for the best presentation of your work and the best user experience the post shoot portion of your web presence requires you prioritize the proof viewing and print buying process and in my experience I’ve yet to find a company that does both really well the bottom line do some research don’t just select your web host based on price and don’t think that you need every whiz-bang feature available do you understand that a website is never finished one of the greatest strengths of internet marketing is that it is virtual back in the day if you printed a brochure it better be perfect because you were stuck with a few thousand copies of it today you launch a website that can be seen by millions and you can also change it update it and fix it in minutes as needed as your images improve or your message grows so to begin find a company with designs that you liked and that you’re able to easily modify so that you can remain unique amongst the crowd be sure to actually take advantage of the free trial and see if you’re able to learn how to use their templates easily and be sure that they offer the features and services that will allow you to grow and as your business grows don’t be afraid to use two different companies and domain names to create the best user experience for your company okay that’s all for now next up branding and website design I’ll walk you through my recent rebranding and also outline what you need in your website and what you should be sure to avoid in the meanwhile check out my live top chat shows here on YouTube Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time that’s UTC minus five each week I do a portfolio and marketing review of a photographer’s website and social media to help them improve their marketing efforts so until next time in between working on your website and social media get out there and practice remember your best shot it’s your next shot so keep learning keep thinking and keep shooting audios

About Ralph Robinson

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37 thoughts on “How to choose a good domain name and website hosting for Photographers. Photography Marketing Tips

  1. Thanks Joe once again great info and no time wasting and straight to the point.Top marks for how you present everything.

  2. Wow, thanks for such a timely post. I've been racking my brain, and feverishly searching online, over web hosting. I purchased my domain through Google a few weeks ago but couldn't find any hosting companies with good reviews that charged a reasonable rate. It looks like my domain name and a site on Format will run me $90 a year.

    I do however have a question that you may be able to answer. Format lists 100 images, 3 products and proofing as part of their basic package. Are the proofing images counted towards the 100 image limit, or is the 100 images for the visible portfolio only? I ask because, I believe I mentioned it before, I've started a small headshot studio and can easily end up with 75-100 photos per client. The vast majority of these are digital sales(corporate/social media headshots), so printing isn't a prime concern.

  3. Thanks so much for mentioning format.com. Checked out their site. Amazing and the prices are great too!! Thanks again. I was looking for alternatives to sqaurespace.

  4. Great video with great tips and info. Btw Joe, I used your Backblaze link and currently backing up!!!! Gonna take awhile tho, LOL.

  5. Joe, this short video, along with your tog chats on the subject of website marketing are first rate. The content and research is excellent. Thanks.

  6. Nice trick you have there up on your sleeve Joe, you present it talking so fast that those of us who do need to think about it have to watch it more than once, but I don't mind, it's a useful and highly informative learning material for everyone 🙂 Keep up with great work and keep them coming!

  7. Thanks for the very useful information, Joe! I know from experience that Wix really sucks! But if they used only 10% of their marketing budget on customer service, they would be okay for portfolio hosting! But they are too big and ignorant.
    I was on my way to Squarespace, but will take a closer look at Format before I make a final decision this summer.

  8. I am loving this series, Joe. They are mind opening.
    I have a question. Another photographer has "myname.com" domain registered. What should I do? Go for mynamephotography.com ? Or something else? I want my clients to be able to find me quick.

  9. I found 22slides very appealing for the website creation and gandi for hosting. So far, glad with both services. Yet only one of them has 2step auth.

  10. Hi Joe, thanks for the tips! I would suggest you to include recommendations for online payment processing services for those photographers who may sell downloadable images and/or payment gateways for photography sessions, in their websites. I'd love to hear your experience regarding this.

  11. Joe, on the subject of domain names I was hoping you would have discussed the issue of having a phonetic name. That's an important consideration I think. For example my name is "David Putzier" and that seems like a horrible domain name for a business. I could never just say my domain name to someone without having to spell it out or write it down. Its not memorable either. Your name is fairly phonetic. Also what about if you have an "iffy" last name like Hitler or Crapper or something!! ????

  12. It was well worth the wait for this tutorial! As always it was well researched and presented with great tips for anybody looking to create a Web presence. Thank you Joe for all the important information.New comers to this medium of marketing, take note and avoid the pitfalls of free Web site offers. Great stuff Joe!😎 👍

  13. Are you familiar with proof sites like Shootproof, Collages, and Instaproofs? I have used them all and found Shootproof to suit my needs best, but am curious on your thoughts to these sites.

  14. Hi Joe, I have a friend that wants to make a (paid) website for me. I told him I was considering doing something like Format. His response was "Any service that ask you to pay like format or wix or others. You dont own the site. You only own the content. If there is ever a problem, you will have to start from scratch. You lose all data, customer info etc." What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

  15. Hi Mate, Thanks for explaining things in such a non techi jargon. It makes sense and I appreciate it a ton. Subscribe and Shared :). I would love to hear your thoughts on my domain name dilemma. I have recently started a Leadership and development program for kids age 5 to 13. My company provides this leadership program through the medium of fine arts. I named the company Trans-fo-minds (short for transform minds). Although I am in love with this name, I do feel that it is not easy to remember (debatable) would you recommend sticking with domain name transfominds.com or T4MG.com (G for globle). I feel that t4mg will be more easy to remember for parents. Please advice

  16. I've been absolutely paralyzed about choosing what to do about making a website. I'm not saying your guide is the gospel, but it's definitely fantastic for figuring out how to start. Thank you.

  17. Ha, ha, I went with SquareSpace because, as you said, many YouTubers (or more like, all of them) would hold the video hostage as they read off a script about the service. I did look into other sites, like Format, but not many people were talking about these other hosts. If they were talking, the articles weren't too helpful. Perhaps after this year subscription is up, I'll look into Format.

    Thanks for your tips, Joe. I'm not a people shooter, but I still find your tips helpful regardless!

  18. First of all: Awesome videos! It really helps a lot.

    I got two questions:
    1: What if my name is horrible to spell? Its not like someone might forget a letter like in your name. In my case it's a very old medieval word, that nobody with my mother tongue knows nowadays :/ As it is old it is horrible to spell properly.

    2: What if I plan on changing my name? When I get married in 2-3 years I don't want to keep this name, as it is complicated and not very flattering.

  19. Hi Joe,
    You channel helped me great deal and much appreciate you efforts and unique style.
    My first name is "Fahad" (Leopard) in Arabic, would "Fahadography" cut it? how you feel about it? specially it's available as domain and social media.

    The variation of my firstname lastname are taken.

    thx a lot!

  20. Man, Joe, you are a God send! This was info that I was in dire need of for launching my portfolio on line. A billion thanks to you Joe, I'm your pupil for life.

  21. Hey, Jo. At what level do you need to be where you have that many domain names? Is that for people that specifically have photography competitors with their same name? Or is it for people making accidental misspellings when trying to find you?

  22. I have a quick question that I've been losing sleep over. So, I'm a music composer and have been working as such for a number of years now with a website and all. I've also been working as a retoucher and have decided to go freelance as I do with music. My dilemma is, when putting together my retouching website, should I have a different website for each trade, or could I have both trades advertised under the same domain (identity)? Simply speaking, should I worry about people thinking that because I do two different jobs,
    they're getting a 'jack of all trades' like quality and thus make sure I'm not associated with Alex Harris 'the music composer'? Thanks in advance!! and great video!!!!

  23. Hi Joe
    I agree with everyone else about how good this video is. I looked at your website to see if there were other videos in a similar vein – do you have any others with information/advice on setting up your own website?
    Thank you and keep up the good work!

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