For you folks who don’t want to go back through the original review here’s a quick refresher. There are plenty of other website options out there but if you want a hosted website platform that provides functionality for complex Rights-Managed and Royalty-Free licensing, print fulfillment, and client management, the best options are Photodeck or Photoshelter. The result of that review was that both systems are decent website platforms for photographers. My thoughts were that Photodeck had a better mobile experience, video upload support, and no commission fees. Photoshelter had a public buyer portal, virtual agency option, and more print vendors.
This part covers why I switched. If you just want the comparison you should probably skip this section and go to Photoshelter vs. Photodeck.
First the disclaimer. I’m a photographer, not a professional reviewer. These are simply some of my notes and observations as a customer of both systems. And since I sell prints and stock photography the information here is slanted toward those offerings. Lastly while I try to be accurate I may have missed a thing or two.
I’ve had a Photoshelter website on their “classic” platform for a few years now. About a year ago I added a Graph Paper Press template to my Photoshelter website which I did a post about at http://photoblog.velgos.com/2012/12/new-photoshelter-graph-paper-press-website. Overall I’ve been satisfied with Photoshelter but a few things happened recently that made me start to look at other options.
The problems. I ran into another photographer and they asked to see some of my work. So I got out my iPhone and pulled up my website to try and show them some images. It was painful. I had to push, pull and pinch to get an image to display right. Then after all that maneuvering I clicked “next” and five seconds later the image came up and the push, pull and pinch started over again. I didn’t end up showing him much of anything. Later that month I got a call from a potential customer saying he’s trying to use my website to find an image using his phone and it was pretty difficult. “Not a huge deal” I thought. How many people really use a mobile device for serious website browsing? I checked Google Analytics maybe a year ago and mobile traffic was minimal. So I checked again. Wow! One-third of my traffic is from mobile devices. Of that, a little under half is IPhones and the other half is IPads with a small mix of other phones and tablets. So I then tried to use my website on my Ipad. The experience was better than on the IPhone but it was still pretty old school. Like on the IPhone I had to push, pinch and wait a few seconds for the next image to load. Yeech.
My completely redesigned photography website based on Photodeck is done.
It was time for a change. My Google Analytics stats were showing over 35% of visitors where using phones and tablets. My previous website was based on Photoshelter and the mobile experience was okay but not great. Now the design is more modern and similar to Flickr and Pinterest. It’s fast, simple, clean, and images look great on mobile devices.
I’ll do another post on Photoshelter vs Photodeck and some interesting results I found evaluating both platforms.