What are the advantages of WideRange Galleries over other popular website software?
I am a professional web developer offering personal webmaster service and attention along with the robust gallery administration program that enables you to manage all the content of your website. I will handle the entire project for you from start to finish, from design to programming to hosting, so that you end up with exactly what you want.
Most popular website software companies are geared for general websites. While it’s easy to set up a basic website with these platforms, they offer limited or no features for photographers or selling prints, and in the long run require much more work to manage large collections of photos and print products. The WideRange software, on the other hand, is built from the ground up for photographers, with an emphasis on selling prints online. It features many powerful tools which make it easy and efficient to manage large galleries of photos and print items, saving you many hours of hassles down the road.
Other free programs that are available, such as WordPress, require confusing setup and ongoing management hassles. Also geared for general web use, these programs usually come with lots of features that you probably don’t want or need, and lack other features that you do. Oftentimes the unsuspecting photographer who has a fair amount of web experience will try to build his or her own site using these types of templates and plugins, and usually find themself in a never ending rabbit hole of web development, never quite able to achieve exactly what they envisioned. They spend hours of frustration at the computer when they should be out shooting more photos.
Since I have developed the WideRange Galleries software specifically for the needs of professional photographers, it has the features you want and none of the bloated code, confusing interfaces, and unnecessary features. I designed the interface to be extremely powerful, yet as streamlined and self-explanatory as possible, which means it’s easy for you to administer your own site.
Additionally, our custom design work and tailored coding leads to a more unique and polished website design that will look more professional than the masses of cloned cookie-cutter plug-n-play gallery sites which all end up looking the same. WideRange Galleries websites offer excellent SEO search engine optimized code, clear and user-friendly print ordering tools, and a clean and intuitive web browsing experience for your viewers and customers.
Plus, WideRange does not charge a commission or percentage of your sales!
I am not a photographer, I’m an artist of another medium. Will your program still work for me?
Though most of my clients are photographers, the galleries and product system are easily adaptable and will work great for any kind of visual artist, as long as you have digital images of your work to upload. I have built gallery websites for painters, illustrators, art agents, and even for a jeweler!
How easy is it to add photos and update content?
It’s very easy! The admin control panel has detailed instructions on how to get started, as well as thorough help documentation that explains the finer points. Once you start using the admin you will quickly get the hang of it. The more you use it, the more you will realize just how powerful and flexible the program is. I am always glad to offer guidance and support should you have any questions.
How well do the gallery websites perform in search engines?
WideRange Galleries websites are VERY search engine friendly; this has always been a top priority for me. The websites are built with modern and streamlined HTML5 syntax with SEO features including:
- Strategic keywords placement and descriptions for all pages and photos
- Custom URL page addresses where you can also insert relevant keywords
- Alt and title tags for all images and links
- Canonical meta tags to prevent duplicate content indexing and to inform the search engines of priority pages (for example galleries with multiple pages get ranked under the first page)
- Sitemaps to give the search engines a comprehensive, easily indexed list of all pages and photos
- Semantic HTML5 element tags throughout, to further clarify content for search indexing
WideRange Galleries websites provide a solid SEO foundation, while the admin control panel gives you all the tools you need to optimize your pages’ keywords and content for search engine performance.
That said, it is up to you to choose your own keywords and write relevant text, as well as promote your website. Of course no matter how search-engine-friendly your website is, it still takes time, effort, and quality content to rank high in the search engines. Having lots of similar content, lots of words for the search engines to read, and lots of similar external links to your site are all good ways to improve your site ranking.
For more information about search engine optimization, please read my article “What to Know About SEO” here.
Can I self-fulfill my print orders?
Yes, you can! WideRange Galleries does not do automated print fulfillment, which is a huge advantage over other gallery website companies who force you to use their print fulfillment then charge you a percentage of all your sales. WideRange does NOT charge any commissions or take any percentage of your sales, so this can save you potentially many thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
By self fulfilling your print orders, you have the flexibility to produce your own prints or choose whatever print lab you’d like. Generally speaking, you can get much higher quality print products and superior professional service from reputable print labs, compared to the average quality and service that the mass production automated-fulfillment shops offer.
When a customer purchases a print through your WideRange website, you will get a payment notification email with all the customer and order details. From that point on, it’s up to you to fulfill the order and communicate with the customer.
Can I sell other stuff on the website?
Yes! In addition to selling prints, the admin panel allows you to set up and sell almost any variety of other products or services, such as workshop listings, greeting cards, calendars, or even automatically downloadable items such as screensavers, ebooks, or video tutorials.
You can also create a variety of discount codes, and charge accurate address-based sales tax.
How is stock licensing handled?
WideRange Galleries websites do not have automated image licensing tools like image-use calculators. Therefore, licensing is done by request. A customer contacts you, then you quote them a price, and when they are ready to pay you can send them to your generic payment page. High-res image files can be stored and distributed when needed on a service like Dropbox or Sync.com.
WideRange sites offer some useful features for maintaining a large collection of stock images. Specifically, there is the ability to set up a search index, like a glossary of suggested search terms. For example, here’s the search index on my own photography site. What this enables me to do is keep only my best photos in my galleries (so as not to overwhelm them) but then I can have lots more photos available through this search index. A bonus is that these search index pages get indexed in Google search results as well, since they are linked up and available on the website.
Here’s an example of Catalina Island images I uploaded when their tourism agency requested hiking photos from the Trans Catalina Trail. I wouldn’t put all these in a normal gallery, but I can still make them available through the search page.
Another useful technique for submissions is to create a “hidden” gallery (which isn’t visible amongst your other public galleries) and then you can send that gallery page link to the editor/publisher/client. Only people who have the direct gallery address will see that gallery.
I (and other clients) also often include a basic “Licensing” page that just explains the basic process of requesting image licensing, such as here.
How much will it cost?
Please see the Pricing page for information about packages and pricing. In addition to the one-time build fee, I do require that clients use my servers to host the website. This costs $240/year. Read more about our top-notch servers below.
I do not charge any commission or percentage of sales; but keep in mind that PayPal and Stripe keep a 2.9% cut of all payments processed (this is a fairly standard rate for many credit card processing companies).
What about web hosting?
I require clients to use WideRange Galleries hosting services. This is an absolute necessity because of the way that the code runs from a central core set of files.
I lease a top-of-the-line dedicated server from a reputable, high-performance, secure datacenter based in Michigan. The hosting fee is $240/year. I will set up your account and email for you and will take care of any issues that may arise.
Note that I do not handle domain registration; you will need to sign up for your own domain name and pay your annual fee (usually around $15) directly to your domain registrar.
Do you provide support after the site is built?
Yes I do provide support. I am always happy to answer questions and offer advice free of charge. If you want some additional web work after the site is completed, I’ll give you a flat rate quote for the work to be done.
Do you ever make upgrades to the software?
Yes I am constantly refining and improving the admin software, and periodically adding new features and upgrades — sometimes minor details, sometimes major overhauls.
With the latest WideRange Galleries software (v.5), new admin features are automatically implemented and free of charge. Please note that while many new front-end website features are also automatically implemented, occasionally I might have to charge a reasonable upgrade fee if the optional new features require manual reprogramming on the front-end website.
What if I need some new features that your gallery program doesn’t have?
I am always open to suggestions for new features for the websites and/or admin program. I cannot guarantee that I can implement any possible desired feature, but usually I am able to build them into your website and/or the admin program for a reasonable price. I will give you a quote for how much each extra feature will cost, if there is an extra cost.
I want to hire you. What is the process for getting this done? How long will it take to finish?
The first step is to figure out which website package you’d like, as explained on the Pricing page. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
After emailing and/or talking with you on the phone about the details of the project, I will email you a link to a simple contract which you can sign electronically via a secure and easy online contract portal. I require the signed contract and a ½ payment deposit to schedule the project. The remaining ½ is due upon completion of the project. The payment can be sent via Paypal or credit card, or by mailing a check.
If we are creating new designs for your site, we will create several “mockups”, or initial design ideas, in photoshop. These are pictures of how the website would look. The first round of mockups could be considered rough drafts, and based on your feedback we will change and refine those designs. The more feedback you provide, the more info we have to create a design that you will be happy with. This process repeats until we’ve nailed down the design. At this point, I will start programming and cannot go back and make major design changes.
At the same time that I’m working on the website, I will install your admin program so that you can start creating your gallery structure and uploading your photos. Once I’m done programming the site and testing it on numerous browsers and computers, I will launch it live whenever you’re ready.
The whole process usually takes about a month, but a lot depends on how quickly you can provide feedback during the different stages of development.
Please note that I schedule website projects on a first-come basis, so if you are interested please contact me sooner than later.
Can I just buy the shopping cart to use on my existing website?
No, the shopping cart is custom built from the ground up to work specifically with the WideRange Galleries system. It is wholly integrated with the rest of the system and does not function as a standalone cart that can be used in other applications.
Can I do the design work myself and just have you do the programming?
Sure. This would be the “Self Design Package” as explained on the Pricing page. Creating your own designs reduces our workload and therefore the total price too. There are certain limitations to the designs that will work, and I will let you know if something won’t fly. If this is the route you want to take, you’d create your own photoshop files and I would take those and program the site with your graphics.
Any other questions?
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the websites or services.