Photographer's Corner: Setting Up Your Site to Sell
As photographers, we would like the purchasing process for our customers to be as easy as possible. It would also be great for everything to work as anticipated on the photographer’s side—smoothly and efficiently. However, when setting up your site to sell, it is not always possible to figure out, ahead of time, the best workflow or which tools you should take advantage of.
To save you some time (and minimize hair loss), we have compiled some ideas about selling workflow efficiency and highlighted specific tools that may be useful for you in the process of setting up your site. Also, feel free to leave comments at the end if you have any bits of wisdom that you feel like sharing. This is a community after all.
With customizable websites, different display-sized versions are automatically created for each image uploaded into a gallery. Having multiple sizes allows the flexibility for viewing your images on a variety of browser window sizes (if your galleries are dynamic). If you think ahead and create images for uploading that are at least the largest display size possible, then you can maximize the quality of how your images will look on your site.
If you are using your site for storage and want to download your original files at a later date, add all pertinent information such as keywords to your files before uploading them. This way the information is still available in the original file if you need to download it back to your computer.
Because many sites can also be used for placing orders, knowing the best size to upload can be confusing. The ideal solution is unique for each person’s chosen workflow. Here are some scenarios to consider:
In this situation, it would be best to upload images that are the minimum resolution of the largest display size available and will meet the resolution requirements for all products that you offer through your partner labs.
2. You want to upload edited files into each order before they go to the lab
In this situation, it would be best to upload images that are the minimum resolution of the largest display size available in the gallery. This will lower the total amount of time it takes to upload your files. Having the option to view your orders before they go to the lab will give you time to upload larger, edited files to the order before approving them.
It is also important to consider how your client is going to navigate to their gallery. Some folks are not concerned about privacy of images and use one landing page from their site menu for all client galleries. The client can search through the thumbnails or use a search feature to find the name of their gallery.
However, if you are concerned about keeping your client’s images private, consider using a private entrance page, where your clients can enter a unique code to find their gallery. It’s also a good idea to add a password to the gallery so outsiders cannot see the images if they come across the link, and to set up the gallery so that search engines do not include these images in search results.
Special Notes for Zenfolio Users about Image Protection
The Client Access page does not entirely protect the images from being publicly viewable. Here are some additional actions you can take to make sure that your clients' images are completely private:
If you want to learn more information about the people who visit your site, you can enable Visitor Sign In for your galleries to collect their name, email address and phone number. You might even ask a question such as, “How did you find us?” to learn more about which marketing efforts are working or who referred them to you.
To shorten the number of clicks it will take for your customer to add a product to the cart, you can enable Featured Products in your galleries. These products appear as links next to your images. When your client is browsing through the gallery, they can be inspired by your product suggestions, click on the link, add the product to the cart, and continue shopping.
When it comes to photography, it is easy to enjoy viewing images in the gallery and put off buying prints until later. To give your clients more incentive to commit to a purchase in your desired time frame, consider using any of these three options:
Testing is the last step before inviting your clients to their gallery. It is always good to log out and test the gallery before sending out a link because it can be embarrassing to have something go wrong when a client is trying to view their images for the first time. It is also good practice so you know how the ordering process works.
When you are confident that your site is ready, you can send a beautiful email invitation to invite visitors to their gallery. This is a great way to communicate with your clients and keep them excited about viewing images and buying products.
Building strong SEO for your site requires patience, common sense, and continuous action. Here are the steps you can take to get the ball rolling:
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