PhotoShelter Websites: 2021, Here We Come
This year seemed like it would never end, yet here we are. It’s nearly over. We accomplished several celebration-worthy updates here at PhotoShelter for Photographers, but not everything was perfect. I want to look back at 2020 so I can share the successes, be open about the key lessons we learned, and detail some key changes for 2021.
Although a lot of the work we do is behind-the-scenes, under-the-hood, and barely noticeable, these are some of the noteworthy updates that the PhotoShelter Product Development team was able to release in 2020:
Killer SEO: Search engine optimization is of critical importance to our members. It’s also confusing and time consuming to keep up with. One of the benefits that comes baked into a PhotoShelter account is that we take care of that for our members.
This year we put a lot of energy into this area. From website code tuneups, faster page rendering speed, clearly labeling which IPTC fields need to be filled in for best results, to a comprehensive guide to SEO for Photographers.
I’m particularly proud of how the team was able to get this done. But, the SEO work never stops. More tweaks are coming in the first quarter of 2021.
Google Images’ “Licensable” Badge: We got some advanced notice from the Google Images team that this photographer-friendly licensing program was in the works, and we wasted no time in supporting it. Months later, when it was officially announced, we were ready on day one. As of today, we are still the only photo hosting platform providing support for this program, which means our members are likely to see traffic from buyers who are searching Google for images to license.
FileFlow for Android: Our popular image downloading mobile app for iOS is now available for Android devices. FileFlow is our free app that makes it easy for your clients to download your images to their phone, one-by-one or in batch.
Website Template Responsiveness: The responsive design updates we made to the website templates made sure they continue to look great on all of the modern mobile devices people are using today.
Expanding the Team: In the first quarter, we added three new members to our development team, and have been able to get them up to speed.
Here Come the Challenges …
This is where I get super honest and transparent.
The successes listed above are especially meaningful to me because they happened while we were overcoming obstacles, including changes that COVID-19 forced upon us. Although we’re proud that we didn’t have to lay off a single employee, the plans we had early in the year to add members to our development team needed to be put on hold.
In addition, working entirely from home took some adjustment. The team needed to learn how to communicate in a new way, without organic in-person meetings that can easily be taken for granted back when life was “normal.”
We have great developers at PhotoShelter, but because our 2020 product release plans required expanding the team, we lost some of the horsepower I expected to have when I planned out the year. The work we did on the new website templates and Site Builder took a direct hit, and we missed our release target dates.
We promised a mid-December “early pre-release” for the new Site Builder and accompanying templates, and we did meet that date. You wouldn’t know it because we decided not to promote it, and for one really good reason.
We are fortunate to have a group of users who provide us with valuable feedback along the way. Although we’ve made outstanding progress, the feedback we got from that group suggests we’re not ready to roll this out to the broader community of PhotoShelter members because there are still features missing. I am so grateful for the folks who have volunteered their time to share critical feedback — it’s helping us make a much stronger new Site Builder.
The new Site Builder is a massive project with a lot of moving parts. It’s incredibly innovative and will change the way you think of designing and updating your website. The “templates” become just a starting point for your own creativity. This is an innovative approach because it means you’re not limited to anything that’s been pre-designed by someone else. It gives you control over every component of your website without having to touch any code at all.
I am anxious to get the first version launched so we can start collecting member feedback.
On a personal note, I know that I need to be doing a better job of communicating with you along the way. To do that we have created a members-only article you can follow in our Support Center that will give weekly updates on our development progress. The goal is to provide more frequent, yet smaller updates on what we’re doing. Those who are interested can keep track and contact me directly with questions or feedback.
Another change: I’m not going to commit to specific launch dates anymore. I’ve learned my lesson. Instead I’m going to be radically transparent as I share our progress with you along the way.
I’m anxious to get into 2021 because I know that it’s going to be a year filled with exciting product releases, including the new Site Builder and other things that I’ve successfully managed to keep quiet about.
We continue to be impressed with the members of our community, who have shown such resilience through the pandemic. If you’re looking for some inspiration, you should take a look at our most recent guide, The Photographer’s Outlook on 2021.
Thanks for getting through 2020 with us.
Grover do you have any Beta’s to test I was enrolled with Apple for Big Sur , and I don’t mind trying things out , im not an engineer but it may be interesting to see if I find the new layouts easy to use ,as if I can do it anyone can
Thanks David. I’ll keep your name handy for when the time comes for this.
I’m currently a photo buyer (editor) for Wilderness Travel and I’m leaning toward PS for posting about 500 – 1000 of my own images. I appreciate the honestly of this article. As I am beginning the process I am excited to read about your impending new Site Builder. Can you tell me if incorporating a blog function is part of that? I know many members feel constrained by the current template offers but I think they are quite elegant. I have a few weeks of editing and keywording ahead. Should I hold off on the design of my site in lieu of a much improved Site Builder?
Hi Brian. The new Site Builder won’t have a “blog” like WordPress, but it will give you the ability to insert text (headlines and body text) into galleries. In our research, that was what people meant when they mention the word blog. The new Site Builder doesn’t have a date of completion assigned yet (I learned my lesson), so you may want to get started with our current set of designs, and then you can move over to the new one when it’s ready.
I, too, have long been interested in Photoshelter having a native blog function, rather than needing to import a blog that I maintain elsewhere, and have even written in that regard in the past, so I am a bit disappointed to learn that this has been interpreted differently.
We all understand that launch dates slip but that is not a reason for having no launch dates at all. This is very frustrating.
Hi Dom. We do have launch dates, but we’re not sharing them until certain criteria are met and the product is tested and stable. In the meantime, I am releasing regular progress report updates for those interested in following along. You can find that in the member center, here: https://support.photoshelter.com/hc/en-us/articles/360059401754
I agree. Things without deadlines never get done.
Looking forward to the updates! Thanks for your hard work in this challenging season. At the end of the day, Photoshelter is rock solid, always working, and it is the backbone of my business. Thanks to Grover and the team for pushing the project forward!
And the story of updates going on and on 😉
Hi, not been a user for that long, almost 2 months now, have found a few issues that have been reported which seem to be not getting anywhere.
Share buttons do not work on all galleries unless you in the index area and sharing URLs to Twitter do not have images, just links unless you in the index area again. I have been told a few times its being looked into but somehow I don’t believe it.
After 7 years with SmugMug and their major issues, I thought I had escaped some, only to find a new set of issues. the issues around not being able to add writing, or using custom css, adding and removing unwanted menus and having the ability to create a personal homepage are very odd in the modern world of websites, In fact, your video states how important it is to have content and not just images makes me wonder why you didn’t have the options when you first started making your sites.
At the moment how the website is, it is no use to me because of my wide subject range, the homepage is fixed and will not display multiple options.
yet the single image with the info and carts are well thought out.
As I am dyslexic I tend to work with people who have the same issues or with people who don’t have that much skill with websites and they often do not understand items like navigation arrows or to click on the websites name to get back to the homepage. far too many website builders build their sites based on everyone knowing the internet.
I hope this new website you buildings is better than the fixed one you have now and I would of loved to be a new site reviewer if I had the chance. as I see sites in different ways to most.
Thank you for the update!
I’m really excited about the new potentials coming our way, I see that my ‘shop window’ is going to look so much more polished. I’m a new – re branded business trying to establish my services in a very saturated market and first impressions are so important.
I fully appreciate the scope of this effort, it must be huge. While I mention scope..
Sorry if I’ve missed any prior communications, but are there plans to enable photographers to offer framed prints / photo books / products etc from galleries where customers can select images with products, see how they look then order? I appreciate this is not a simple task.
This would be a great experience for the customer and increase profits too.
Any date for this being implemented? It is now a year since it was announced.
July 2020 was mentioned then passed. Then December 2020. I bought my new domain name in October so as to be ready for the December launch.
I am just asking. It seems reasonable to ask. I am not particularly interested in how hard it is and all the struggles just want to know a date.
Out of interest, Google is making major changes in May 2021. Things like, page experience, so making a page engage, offering info and choices and not just images.
So if Google wants more info placed on pages and your site doesn’t allow next to nothing, where does this leave you? and users who spend a lot of money per year?
Do you truly believe just having images on a website with being enough?
How the website is at the moment will hit rock bottom with Google
So can you try and reply to us customers?.
If I was the guy from the nerd’s world, you would have by miles the worse website ever! sorry to be so blunt but get with the times. You are even worse than SmugMug and I thought no one would ever beat them.
You have identified a long term problem for Photoshelter in terms of Google CEO. It used to be great and now it is almost useless.
I had a to and fro with Photoshelter about this and it was always what I needed to do, what the deficit was at my end. Eventually it turned out that changing from the old template I used to the one without any text on the homepage was the single biggest problem.
This is another reason why this long wait for the improvements is so frustrating.
I’ve been a member since 2005 and am happy to continue being one. But, a big BUT, is that Photoshelter has not kept up, it has not developed as fast as it should have. Really using it is much the same as in in 2005. That can’t be right.
I just wish that the company would concentrate more on the actual business and face up to what its customers needs. I do get tired of all these blog posts about the state of the world when some more attention to the shop-floor would help all us paying customers ( or at least those of us unable to code for ourselves).
Sorry and rambling, my dyslexia doesn’t always let me write what i want.
7 years with SmugMug, the only time I would ever see my images show was when i embedded into HTML otherwise, placing filenames, titles, the keyword would matter nothing, might as well not bother.
As I dug deeper and deeper, even had some top-class developers would state block by robots text is stopping the images from being crawled. Basically, a photographer website blocking images from being shown in google images.
Also they don’t allow full coding, like iframes which are great for making product cards. Si I started to leave just a few months ago.
Went to have a hosted site via WordPress, but no host will take my amount of images, leaving me stuck with the likes of smug and others.
Along comes photoshelter. I took the test site out, tested SEO performance, testing crawling, testing SEO and that comes out to perfect, i,m already scoring 98-100% SEO in lighthouse. The site reads as 100% crawlable. That’s why I took the site out as a longer test. I’ve used other testing sites and they too show no issues. I do know content is key within the images too. keywords are stated as SEO friendly but they are not.
I soon found issues with the homepage, offering 0 adjustments and in fact you can call it a website without a home page, it is terrible.
As i was taking the test out, someone started a new site is coming out. So i went for the full pro site.
I,m now wondering if its beyond their abilities to make this site work. their works has been around pictures only, and the world is changing super fast, Our god, Google, the SEO god will not see our sites as anything after may. You can’t link out, you can’t add text with keyword tags. It is now more important to be not just a photographer but also a bit of a writer too.
Content is key now.
issues I have found already. sharing to Twitter only shares a link when you are not on the index page, in fact the buttons don,t work and my opinion is this sharing issues with causes the images not to show on Twitter are the same issues with google not show images either because index images on the so-called homepage will show on google and on twitter.
They keep telling me its a different issue with twitter but I don,t not believe them. But as normal they like to blame the user, i,m used to that with Smugmug. These are pros and never get things wrong haha.
I have to say, if the site is left like this in its 1990s style its going to fail big time.
Its a shame they can’t even come up with a rough date and this is an update, if it came out tomorrow and is as limited as smugmugs coding options I will not be staying as the site is worth nothing to me.
For photographers, it is near impossible to find the perfect site, I feel there isn’t any.
Ps they never really listen to the users. sorry photoshelter, be careful you don,t go the same way as Smugmug. to big for your boots.
Well, it’s been months and no updates and you seem to struggle to reply to YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Now one key part of running any business is communication and you don’t seem to be any good at it. take the free consultation when I first joined your site. I thought it was brilliant me sitting there waiting for the chat which never happened.
Bugger me! and I left SmugMug after 7 years for this. What the hell was I thinking!
Can you manage a reply? with some info with this new fantastic site and one where you state it has a homepage like you know all other websites out there.
It’s 2021 people not the dark ages of website designs.
Be brave and reply? I don’t bite much!!!
I submitted my website to Google – the help from Photoshelter was excellent. So once again I really praise the support and technical staff.
But out of c 60k images Google only listed around 10% – the remainder we’re deemed to be duplicates ( or whatever the correct term is).
To my knowledge, there’s not a great deal you can do about duplicated items. There’s only so much you can put, my understanding is Google deems to key that gets shown, so if you have 50 images and URLs with a similar name Google will only show one.
Photoshelters SEO should work but it doesn’t that well for some reason, but I have to say Google has changed so much that it’s more content based with keywords places in text, anchor text so on.
Google’s web core vitals have started to work and photoshelter is reading at 0%, So how I see it, no matter what you do with titles, filenames descriptions won’t matter whatsoever unless photoshelter changes.
I ran some tests on my old SmugMug site before closing it down as they too had SEO issues, All I did was add text and images as HTML content that had that page rank 3rd with all the images showing on Google.
I often wonder if gallery driven websites is a thing of the past. Take Nextgen galleries for WordPress, they block images from being indexed into Google no joke! so what’s the point in having a website that’s photo-driven only but all images never visible. It is like having a photo album and digging a great big hole, throwing it in and forgetting about it.
A more fundamental question is what is the purpose of Google Images? For my village I see it giving priority to poor quality images from local businesses – so who benefits? What is the point?
Typically Google serves up just a couple of pages of pages even for subjects when there must be millions of images.
I think it is time to forget about SEO and concentrate on attracting visitors direct who might be interested in the content.
Its both, Most of my sales are via image search, a keyword and then a direct link from the image.
As things have changed it’s more content with high-quality links, traffic as you say. The issues are companies like photoshelter expects everyone to be world-famous, searching for that person name. So you don’t know me, I don’t know you so I would not search for names but a keyword so would look for URLs and in images. remember photography is images based.
What is the point of doing photography when images are never seen lol?
There’s so much more going on in websites now and photoshelter lags behind by miles. I mean no homepage whatsoever. just an index page thing that looks like another gallery, that’s how bad their site is.
Like everyone here, I’ve been waiting patiently for promised updates to become a reality. Everything looks old and stale. I’m convinced I’m wasting my time and I’m now going through the process of choosing another company to do business with. I think PS still works for those with a market in place, but not for those looking to show and sell their fine art photography, or even license images.
Unfortunately they don’t care. I have been shouting for years now and now progress. PS can be best photography platform espicially for portfolio but simply either they are lazy or they are careless for their customers. I am using shopify for selling now because these guys are not giving the good options and also they are super expensive.
For some reason PS keep deleting my comments – WTF PS?!!
I can’t be bothered to re-write my post from yesterday that was removed or not allowed (would love an explanation as to why, but very much doubt I’ll get one from anyone at PS!)
Just curious what other members think about the ‘Members-Only article’ that to quote Grover “will give weekly updates on our development progress” has not had an update in over two months!! I get how PS perhaps doesn’t want to share updates to the web at large, but to continue to keep us paying members, who have been waiting patiently for many years for evolution and upgrades to this platform in the dark is incredibly frustrating – Another promise broken by PS!
I’m already in the process of switching to an alternate solution, but it’s such a shame as there are so many things to like about PS. Sadly PS care more about their more lucrative platform than us measly photographers!
So, with no updates, 2021, 2022 will come along, and just a date change on this blog should cover 2022?
Not a single word or update since December 2020. You can’t even fix this sharing problem, let alone come up with a site that works.
For users who wish to have a site try the free blogger. I’ve coded my own site, the layout I wanted on PS but get fed up with waiting. https://kateyjanephotography.blogspot.com loads of work and pages still to get done.
I know how you feel. I like what you’re doing with the new blog, and I’m just a little jealous of your home on wheels. Working on my website is a lot of work, ie, keywording, etc, while still being lost in cyberspace, which makes me even less motivated to upload anything more. 🙁
Well, they state on here that adding text is hard, I,m a beginner coder, I took an image text wrapper and added my own styles with responsive images to comply with different devices and its not too hard. so to add a HTML text block to the homepage.
If I can do it whos dyslexia as hell, I,m sure these so-called developers can!!
Cheers about the motorhome, trust me its been a ton of work to make into a home. all this so I can live an adventure lifestyle.
Did some testing with PS SEO and found you might as well not bother with the headline and descriptions, also they told me to use keywording, placing your name so on in the keywording area. As soon as they said that alarms bells started as Google for years-long stopped the keyword thing and I was right. the keywording is only for the website search.
I know about being bothered, I,m using it to update my SEO images, downloading them as the best thing about ps is that you can update the entire file.
I see, here, a lot of discontent with the provided service, and I have to say that it is mirrored by my own frustration. More than a year ago, I heard of the new designs and began planning a much needed makeover for my website, hoping that some or all of my past complaints with the current designs would be rectified by the promise of coming flexibility. Here we are, now, in 2021, and the makeover is incomplete. Several months ago, I had a quick need for my website to be more evolved than it was, and simply had to make do with the contemporary offering. It was, by no means, what I wanted, but it served its purpose. I got what I’m paying for, I guess.
But that’s the point. I’m not using the stock side of the service. It seemed like a nice extra at the time I signed up, but, really, I just liked your designs and back-end dashboard better than the competition. A couple of years ago, you nearly lost my business to Squarespace. I almost liked their designs better and had even begun putting together my new website, but I discovered that I pay you less than I would have paid them for a similar package and opted to stay where I was. With the additional incentive of new, more malleable site designs, I soon found out, Photoshelter was still the place to be.
Is it still, though? I’ve been paying my monthly fee and receiving at least what I expect on the promise of something new and grand for over a year and have been given very spare information along the way. If Squarespace has since improved on their websites, they might start looking attractive once again. A survey of the going competition might well be in order.
If you would like to continue to have my business, I would be perfectly happy to stay. There is already much about your service which is top-notch and would be sorely missed. I would like to know that my business is important to you, though. I would like a more detailed explanation of the delays and a faith-affirming projection of a launch. Soon, please. I look forward to hearing from you.
I’ve run 4 small one-person business in the past, worldwide china dinnerware, furniture restoration and photo restoration services and now photography since 2013.
one of my reviews from a customer
I was looking for a special high quality photo to give as a Christmas present to my friend, I came across this site and I am very glad I did. So many amazing images to choose from, you are spoilt for choice. The website is easy to navigate and I purchased the image of a robin on high quality paper., my friend was over the moon with the clarity. I even received a follow up email from Katey to ask if I was pleased with the service. We all shop on the internet now, but this is one of the only sites to give the personal quality of service we all want and are used to getting in a shop. Would whole heartedly recommend to anyone, keep up the good work.
If a one-person business owner, can do 100% of all the work and then reply to people asking questions I,m sure you can. I take pride in replying to every person but sadly you do not have the same pride as me.
If I had more coding skills I would set up a far better photography website builder built around giving users the full ability to make the site theirs and not a site built on what suits the maker’s ideas.
Sadly, if anyone is thinking of starting a WordPress or any other site to post their work and have a massive amount of images, no-host will take your work. You will hit their node limit in a flash. you get 2 other choices VPS 120 GB SSD Storage and dedicated 1TB (Mirrored) Storage $209 per month. no-host is unlimited, All the hosts I have spoken too, all state they are not suited to photos unless you reduce the size and quality of images.
So in a way photographers have stuck up a creek without a paddle, boat and water.
https://kateyjanephotography.blogspot.com i rather put my blog site than your ps site as i have more pride in my blog site which i enjoy coding and making it personal!!!
Monitoring my posts hey, ohh the truth is so painful to take.
Type of posts needed here are phrasal types then?
Now blocking customer comments is not a good thing. it means i will be leaving.
So what is happening?
Isn’t the overdue for an update?
They keep banning my posts, as you know humans are terrible at being told the truth.
I stated, will they just change 2021 in this line PhotoShelter Websites: 2021, Here We Come to 2022.
I was lied to by PS after they said the new site is coming this year, also told their site design isn’t designed to handle such a wide range of subjects like what I do. So I took this site out and got rid of a 7-year-old website, ruined everything for ages to try and get a better lightbox design combined with the new site which would suit my style and now finding PS is just stringing people along.
Terrible communication towards customers.
I am not interested in your conspiracy theories. I just want information.
Since you clearly do not trust Photoshelter I suggest that you go elsewhere and take your animosity with you.
If what I say upsets you then move on as I take no crap from people and lying companies.
I hate being lied to.
Okay, why prolong the misery?
I,m into BDSM pmsl.
No point in being soft, you have to push companies like this otherwise they string you along. I pushed the otherwise to make changes to help others.
Good job some of us bite, i,m not here to be lied to and no one should, or to suck up either.
Enjoy your day.
Thank you for the services you have provided to date.
Unfortunately I must leave your platform behind end July 21. If you can advise / indicate of a reasonable time frame in which improvements are expected I may re consider. I really have been hanging on as long as I can as I really do value PS.
My business is growing momentum and I’m pitching to high profile customers. Sadly PS simply does not meet all their requirements or help my artwork stand out because of its outdated look and feel. I’ve been advised by three separate marketing specialists and my mentor (who previously used PS) to move on.
Advertising and selling the end products (for example; framed prints) to my customers is far too clunky in comparison to other service providers.
This really is a shame, and I genuinely feel sad about my decision. The lack of communication from PS has only left room for speculation and I suspect (wrongly I hope) the reason we’re not being given updates is because if we knew the true timeline PS is working to, we’d likely take our business elsewhere. I do also feel less valued as a customer by being kept in the dark
Please surprise me with an update and extinguish my speculation!
I, ve asked a simple question today, i want a yes or no answer from ps in an email if they are going to bring out the new site.
if they can,t answer with yes or no, you know then they don,t know themselves.
As they are unable to communicate whatsoever we know the outcome.
I m not a person who likes being lied to or strung along, so I asked Grover and staff members for some truth because this site design can not handle a wide subject photographer like me.
As no one can give a straight answer a yes or no, I managed to talk to Grover last night and a bit of what he said (In the coming months we will begin a wider roll-out of the new Site Builder in various stages of beta release).
staff member (I also understand that the amount of time these templates are taking to be finished, I do apologize for any inconvenience this causes) not very helpful!
i was told the site is this year, I still am not sure, Grover has been the closest yet to state something will move soon.
Oddly, if they had a homepage that could be customised, it would solve 90% of the issues I have with the site.
Theres a new update here (dated June 17) ….
Curious after all these years if you are still committed to client proofing. Your current system seems so outdated. Especially when you consider the fact that after a client selects their favorites, we have to make a new gallery for them to download. Seems unintuitive.
There are 168 days left in 2021 so it looks like the text above will be edited from
PhotoShelter Websites: 2021, Here We Come
PhotoShelter Websites: 2022, Here We Come and then I wonder how many people stick with this company after that?
Ok things are starting to ramp up here in the UK ‘after’ the worst of Covid so I am wondering if there is any news yet on the new PS website layout etc.
Happy to test the beta version if you need some feed back
Yet another month passes by and the only info I can find is that you have new developers. Does that mean you had none in the first place and why have all those faults I have reported about the website haven’t been fixed?
So 2022 here we go lol, followed by 2023 here we g ohh we have no customers left.
Simply they don’t care. Many of my friends asked me about photoshelter I have not recommended to anyone. unfortunately I am stuck with them but I will not stay forever either.
I know that feeling, wow the worse liers ever.
Wa with Smugmug for 7 years, wish I never left, only left smug because of their crappy lightbox area where it’s hard for buyers to find what to buy. They are also very rude but don’t lie as bad as PS.
Like you I,m stuck now.
Just renewing the domain name I took out last year to use on the new system.
How on earth are you going to get anyone to believe you when you state in 2022 new site here we come. Do you truly think people trust you now?
July 26, 2021, is the last time you posted, it’s now September. You will be known as one of the most unreliable companies who can’t be trusted ever. full of the lies, shocking treatment of customers and if you were a shop in the highstreet you would have been closed a long time ago.
Well done, you managed to fix the share button issues after all these months? I wonder how long this fault has been there?
PhotoShelter Websites: 2022 Here We Come
Here’s your song!!! The Monkees “Daydream Believer” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvqeSJlgaNk
All I want for Christmas is my new website builder…
My new website builder…
Is it to early to ask, Santa?
PS. I’m talking Christmas 2021.
If you have been bad Santa won’t give you your new website but if you have been the golden child it is still hard luck with PhotoSanta lol cuz they are bad Santas!!
91 days left in 2021. this post was started on December 28, 2020.
Wow, what a dishonest company!!!
You would have to be as thick as 2 planks to reply to a post that says 2022. Here we come and believe the post!!
I want my money back!!