Zenfolio has been offering easy, affordable, attractive online galleries for photographers for the last four years. Previously, photographers would have to build and host their own website elsewhere, linking externally to Zenfolio galleries to handle sales and client proofing. With their new release, to be launched at Imaging USA (Jan. 10-12), sites can be hosted entirely with Zenfolio. This eliminates the cost of two hosting accounts and greatly improves the visual presentation of the site thanks to comprehensive and customizable theme packages.
We recently had a chance to sit down with Zenfolio CEO Alex Peyzner to walk us through the upcoming features.
With the new release comes a whole new set of options for building pages. Foremost of these is theming. At launch, 10-15 themes will be available, but because the themes are customizable and downloadable, many more will quickly appear once the Zenfolio community gets their feet wet. Themes control the look and feel of the entire site from the main page to the individual galleries.The pages are Flash-free except for gallery slideshows. This move will satisfy mobile users, but at the cost of a completely designer-controlled viewing experience. Also included with Premium accounts is the ability to upload PDF files natively—a handy feature for publishing printable price/service menus.
A website is only worthwhile if people can find it, to that end Zenfolio has created a handy page with direct access to the Google, Bing and Yahoo webmaster tools. Sitemaps are created on the fly in the background, providing the search engines with an easy way to index the entire site. Advanced control over META data isn't offered yet, but input for the “description” field is. Because photographers’ sites can be fairly sparse on words, and search engines currently only index sites based on text, populating the description field allows for a hidden bit of verbiage to help get viewers to the site. Tracking visitors is made easy with built-in Google Analytics integration (below).