If you’re setting up a photography business, the quality of your website is all-important. It could mean the difference between success and failure. Your website needs to be able to show off your work, to look professional and to show how special you are.
To have a great website, you need the right hosting package. Every small business needs a web hosting package that has sufficient speed, uptime, security, support and more. However, photographers need more. Specialist web hosting companies for photographers offer different types of packages, for a smoothly running visual site, with elements of e-commerce.
Hosting Options for Photographers
You could choose an established business web host, such as Bluehost or Siteground, and take out an everyday business hosting package. You can then use specialist photography plug-ins and themes, like Imagely, to add photographic features to your site.
Your other option is to choose from a range of specialist web hosting companies for photographers. These companies provide a one-stop solution for everything a photographer will need in a website.
Top 4 Website Hosting Companies for Photographers
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform for building websites. From choosing a domain name to hosting, to designing, you can do it all with Squarespace. You can even market your website through the platform, and add e-commerce plugins to enable transactions through your site.
What sets Squarespace apart from other hosts that offer website building options is that Squarespace is very visual. If displaying images is essential to your site, as it is for photographers, Squarespace is a great option. Their templates for photographers enable you to show your portfolio easily in full-screen mode.
Squarespace also understands that your expertise is in photography, you are not a web designer. When you take out a package with Squarespace, you have access to their template design team who will help you design your website to your exact specifications. They are there 24/7 to answer your questions and make sure your website does everything you need it to do. As part of your hosting package with Squarespace, you receive a domain name and free SSL certificate.
A business package with Squarespace starts at $18 per month when billed annually.
While Squarespace is aimed at all visual businesses, PhotoShelter is different because it’s exclusively for photographers. They currently host more than 80,000 photography sites.
Photoshelter offers everything you might need for an effective photography business site. Choose from 9 templates to display your work, but customize them, so your site looks exactly how you want it to. Add a shopping cart to sell your photographs. You can even partner with Photoshelter’s approved printers. Store your work on PhotoShelter’s super-fast Cloud servers.
All of PhotoShelter’s hosting packages offer a domain, a mobile-ready template and a mobile app. The main difference between their packages is the size of storage. The top package with PhotoShelter provides unlimited storage and costs $45 per month.
SmugMug is another hosting service aimed solely at photographers. It aims to offer a safe and beautiful home for your photography business, where you can protect, share and sell your photographs.
Like the other services we’ve looked at so far, SmugMug offers a range of templates for your website, but everything is customizable to your needs. SmugMug makes it easy to design galleries and portfolios, and to organize your photos into folders, making them easier to find for you and your customers. Add a shopping cart so your customers can make purchases without leaving your site.
SmugMug’s support team are available 24/7 to help you make sure your site runs smoothly. All packages offer unlimited photo uploads. Prices for the business package start at $29.99 per month and allow you to use your own domain name. SmugMug offers a free 14-day trial period so you can see if it’s right for you.
The last hosting company we’ll look at is Photodeck. The philosophy of Photodeck is minimalism, keeping anything unnecessary away from your site and letting your photographs take center-stage.
Photodeck also prides itself on the speed of its sites. PhotoDeck websites are typically faster than 92% of all websites tested through Pingdom. The average server response time is a fast 22 ms.
Photodeck also offers a service for videographers, so if you’re moving from stills into moving images, it could be worth investigating. Photodeck’s e-commerce facility is second-to-none, making it an all-in-one solution for your photography business.
The main package from Photodeck is called Studio. It offers a customizable domain name, an SSL certificate and everything else you would expect from a hosting company. Prices start from $60 per month. There are many less expensive hosting packages available from Photodeck, however. Plus, they offer a 14-day free trial option.
If you’re serious about your photography business, you should be looking at a specialist photography hosting package like the ones above. While the display options are fantastic, as well as the storage and e-commerce facilities, the primary benefit is ease of use. While your competitors are sweating over their website, you’ll be out taking amazing photos.