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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> So…I need a website
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03/20/2008 10:13:57 PM · #1
I have seen a lot of them and picked some bits and pieces from here and there that I would like to incorporate into my site. I have two questions (the second being more important that the first):

1. Do it myself (little knowledge, but some spare time), or pay someone to make it perfect, functional, and fairly quickly?

Obviously the most important part of a photography website is showcasing the product, usually through photos and/or slideshows. I have noticed some websites where photos/slideshows load painfully slowly, and others where they load/play quickly and there is no downtime of “…Loading…Please Wait…” In the “instant gratification” society most people live, a slow loading site will be easily skipped over by a potential customer…right?

2. Are there ways to get photos/slideshows to load/play quickly; and can I expect this feature in a “from scratch” website that I tinker with, or do I need to pay someone to ensure this facet of site functionality?

I have plenty of other questions, but they are more specific and I don’t want to bore away any good answers to my first two!

Thanks again!
-drew
03/20/2008 11:06:27 PM · #2
1. Paying someone doesn't guarantee the site will be designed "perfect,functional and fairly quickly." If you have more money than time then pay someone, otherwise, learn to do it yourself.
2. Slow loading sites are often Flash sites or sites without optimized jpegs. A few years ago all business websites were designed to load fast even if the user was on dial-up. Flash on a splash(intro) page was a no-no. Now, sites are designed for broadband and most professionally designed sites I visit are useless to a modem user. Perhaps they figure anyone using a modem doesn't have any money to spend on their photos/services so they don't care if those people can see their site. Flash DOES look great on broadband.

If all you need is a web presence, I would recommend one of the free blogging services until you can either learn to design, or pay for, a site. As an example,' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' grigrigirl has a fancy flash website but also has a dial-up-friendly blog.
03/20/2008 11:31:12 PM · #3
So basically, most of slideshows I see on people's website are essentially the same animal, behind the scenes. Some are just faster because of how the individual site owner optimized the data (photos) to allow quicker loads. Am I close?

I really have more time than money now, and the site idea I have is pretty simplistic. I guess if I learn enough and get things going, then (if my above statement is correct) I can optimize the data going into the slideshows to cut down on loading time.
03/20/2008 11:32:02 PM · #4
I recently moved my website over to wordpress. Its blog type but has tons of free themes, plug ins and its so simple an idiot like me can do it. I'd look into it as there are so many customizable things you can do with it its unreal
Wordpress

Matt
03/20/2008 11:42:16 PM · #5
Originally posted by drewbixcube:

So basically, most of slideshows I see on people's website are essentially the same animal, behind the scenes. Some are just faster because of how the individual site owner optimized the data (photos) to allow quicker loads. Am I close?


Not really... You can make a big difference with optimising the images but...
- Not all hosting vendors/plans are the same.
- The number of images & how they are loaded makes a difference.
- Different technology & coding methods behave differently... flash is not always slow and html is not always fast.
- Depends on where the server is compared to the client browser & what is between you. Different people experience the same place differently.

Start with the opt on the images...
03/20/2008 11:54:13 PM · #6
Originally posted by robs:

Originally posted by drewbixcube:

Am I close?

Not really... You can make a big difference with optimising the images but...
- Not all hosting vendors/plans are the same.
- The number of images & how they are loaded makes a difference.
- Different technology & coding methods behave differently... flash is not always slow and html is not always fast.
- Depends on where the server is compared to the client browser & what is between you. Different people experience the same place differently.

Start with the opt on the images...

After reading this and perusing a few "Website Building A-Z" articles, I am picturing a scene from a Karate Kid type movie where the pupil has bloodied his knuckles trying to break a board, and then when he breaks it and begins to celebrate, the master brings out a thicker board.

Oh well, back to bloodying the knuckles...
-drew

Message edited by author 2008-03-20 23:54:45.
03/21/2008 12:12:18 AM · #7
Another option is to use one of the free or reasonably priced pre-made photo galleries. I see some of the members here use zenfolio. I've never used it but you can do a forum search to find user's opinions. There are many more. Also check out the websites that members post on their profiles. When you find one you like, PM that person and ask what they are using. You may find they have done your research for you.

03/21/2008 12:25:14 AM · #8
drewbix, I, as always, will plug my site first (www.AdamMathiasPhotography.com). I did make this all from scratch, everything is dynamic so it is unbelievealby easy to update and maintain, I usually get nothing but good feedback on it, etc. However, I taught myself to make this. And to get to this level, it took me a good year or so of STRONG work. Okay, maybe I am a slow learner, but pro's have commented on my solid codeing. The point- if you dont have that much time, want something more unique, etc, hire somebody. If you do have the time, realise you are going to have to be very patient. Last option (again a plug for myself)- Hire somebody (ahem) who will work with you to get it as close to perfect for you as they can, and will do it for a cheaper rate, because they (ahem...me) are looking to improve their web design portfolio
03/21/2008 12:27:09 AM · #9
If you decide to do it yourself, one way to put up a website is to start with Linux hosting and use Gallery.
//gallery.menalto.com

Check out some sites built with Gallery from the following demo page:
//gallery.menalto.com/gallery/demosites/

Many hosting organizations include Gallery as part of their standard package (like the following):
//www.domain.com/hosting/standard.php
About $10 per month or less for the hosting (depending on how long you sign up for).
About $10 per year for domain registration.

Or, if you want to experiment for free, try Google Sites, Standard Edition:
//www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/editions_spe.html
Note - be sure to read the "terms of service" and make sure you know what you are getting into...

03/21/2008 02:28:01 AM · #10
I had a terrible crash with Gallery, )-; I currently use 4images littlegett.com/Gals/ I know a bit of coding so I can really go inside the code and make it more personable.

But for something simple, with many threads on it the PicLens plugin for your website is a wicked simple and easy way to generate gallery's for your site. If your user doesn't have the plugin, it is basically a page with a bunch of thumbnails. but still customizable. creaturefotography.com/ gives you a sample of mine.

Supposedly you can integrate gallery into wordpress, however I haven't had much luck with it being flexible enough for my needs. (i.e. if changing the way the blog looks skin/theme, it doesn't work right) I didn't play with it terribly long, but I gave it the old college try.

There are other programs that generate gallery's for you like Coffecup and others. It just really depends on what you need exactly, how much you want to put into it /time/money/effort and how soon you want it functioning.

Now, the major problem I see, is that it will never be perfect, no matter what anyone feeds you. But it can be functional and quick. I can have any number of gallery's up and running within a couple hours. (most the time is waiting for the domain/host to set the site). Customization takes longer of course.
03/21/2008 08:45:09 AM · #11
php slide show is a nice little script also. It simply reads the imags stored in its directory and creats the slide show. This can be incorporated into static html sites etc to give you the slideshow functionality.

//www.zinkwazi.com/wp/scripts/
03/21/2008 09:48:14 AM · #12
Thanks everybody for the ideas/tips so far! I guess I need to sit down with someone that does this to line things out of what I can handle and what things I can pay someone to do more quickly.
03/21/2008 09:53:28 AM · #13
With Lightroom it is quite easy to make some pretty decent slideshows--both html and flash--that can stand alone or be incorporated in another web page. The templates included with Lightroom (and others available online) can be customized. This was "created" in just a few minutes.

03/21/2008 10:16:02 AM · #14
drew hit me up at the gtg. I started a new site a couple months back and it is easy if you use Lightroom
.www.grizzphotos.com
03/21/2008 10:31:02 AM · #15
Originally posted by griz210:

drew hit me up at the gtg. I started a new site a couple months back and it is easy if you use Lightroom
.www.grizzphotos.com


that doesn't look like a lightroom created gallery. Did you have to do any additional coding?
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