When we founded PhotoShelter in 2005, we did so with…
I’m just going to come right out and say it. After today’s updates to PhotoShelter, I can’t think of a single reason why every single photographer in the world shouldn’t have a PhotoShelter website.
The updates we announced today mean that any photographer can have an attractive SEO-friendly website that has full image searchability, an integrated e-commerce shopping cart capable of selling prints, products, Rights-Managed and Royalty-Free and Personal Use downloads, built-in high-end image delivery systems, modern-day photo marketing tools, and an industrial strength online archive — all in one spot, for free.
Knowing all this, you’d have to be insane not to take advantage of it.
I could bust into a marketing rant and list all of the features of this update, but I won’t. We’ve already done that elsewhere, and we’ve already written a press release that sounds like, well, a press release. But I’d rather talk about why this update is significant – from my own personal point of view.
In an ongoing attempt to be found by their customers in community sites and search engines, photographers are making use of everything possible – a free Facebook account, a free Twitter account, a free Flickr account, a free LinkedIn account – so it would only make sense to add a PhotoShelter account to that list. At the very least, it’s added exposure – one more place in your online footprint where someone can find you, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
There are many parts to this release, but I’m only going to talk about the 6 things I feel are the most important – at least to me.
1) No more PhotoShelter-branding and design, for free and basic accounts.
We removed the pages that looked like PhotoShelter and replaced them with a nice new clean design (in a theme called “Maui”, see the before/after photos above.) There is no longer a “PhotoShelter” version of your website – so your customers will experience your brand – and only your brand- while they are looking at your images, no matter how they find you. Upload a logo and tweak the configurable template to your liking.
Result: A better user experience for your customers; better branding for you, and now everyone gets at least 1 website theme backed by our powerful tools.
2) The addition of 2 new (empty) pages to use however you want.
Result: More functionality from a PhotoShelter website.
3) Cleaner/shorter URLs.
This places the photographer’s individual site label (or name) ahead of PhotoShelter (yourname.photoshelter.com). Simplifying the URL structure to be shorter and cleaner will improve navigability for your visitors, is in line with industry best-practices. (Yet, all of your old URLs will still work!)
Result: Improved photographer branding and a better visitor experience.
4) Super simple integration with WordPress blogs using Graph Paper Press themes.
This couldn’t get any easier. If you’ve got a WordPress/Graph Paper Press blog, you can automatically integrate it with your PhotoShelter website with a single click. I’m not kidding – it’s that easy. I suggest you go try it out – I am still amazed this works.
Result: Tighter integration with a WordPress blog that’s easy to update as your blog changes.
5) Automatic Google web page sitemap and image sitemap submission.
Getting your images into Google Images has always been such a mystery – until now. We’re automatically creating and submitting sitemaps directly to Google for photographers’ websites that drive Google indexing down to the single image level, aligned with Google’s latest sitemap protocol (their first public guidance regarding Google Images indexing.) Here’s the key — we’re showing Google exactly where to find your images and your web pages, so Google can now discover and index your content quickly. When combined with our built-in SEO features like the SEO Grader, that help you optimize your site to climb the search rankings, you have an even more badass tool for driving website traffic through Google search.
Result: More website traffic, specifically via Google Images. Serious time savings for you.
6) Adjusted sales transaction fee structure.
Standard and Pro accounts now have lowered sales transaction fees. Although the Basic account remains at 10%, the Standard account has been reduced to 9%, and the Pro account is now only 8%. It’s one of the ways we can reward high-volume users of the PhotoShelter system.
Result: Decreased the cost of doing business for Standard and Pro account holders who sell images using PhotoShelter ecommerce tools.
The changes we’ve made came directly from member suggestions in three main areas: make PhotoShelter easier to use; make the PhotoShelter websites behave more like fully functional websites; and make it easier for Google to find your images.
We are committed to consistently making PhotoShelter easier to use and a more powerful tool for photographers, and there’s a lot more to come. Reminder: You can try any level of PhotoShelter for only $1 for 14 days.