Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zenfolio and the Art of Web Maintenance

Over the years I've kept tinkering with the gallery portion of my Web site, adding features, streamlining maintenance, improving usability. But I kept putting off the most daunting task of incorporating print ordering. I realized after a while that as I listed my requirements and plotted my development path, I was slowly and tediously inventing Zenfolio.

After taking the trial version out for a test spin for a few days, I realized that Zenfolio neatly addressed the main issues I was confronting. I occasionally get queries about prints of images and, although flattering, I find it tedious to deal with billing, printing, and shipping. The same issues apply to photos for friends and family. I enjoy doing it but it is very tedious to deal with soliciting print orders, dealing with different size requests, etc. With Zenfolio, I can forget about all that and let the site handle all the billing and fulfillment chores. Plus I like the classy look of some of the Zenfolio site styles as well as the raft of configurable features.

So, I've taken the plunge and bought myself a Zenfolio subscription and retooled my Web site to incorporate Zenfolio for the gallery portion. (Some use Zenfolio for their entire site.) I have a couple images being published in April that I suspect will garner a few print requests so this will be a good test of how this new approach works.

I realize this all comes off like I've become a Zenfolio salesman but that's not the case—I'm just pleased with how well it addresses some of the issues I was dealing with. There are other services that do similar things like Shutterfly. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, take one of them out for a test spin to see if it meets your needs.

Next up for me, I want to fold the blog into my Web site. I'll be converting over to Wordpress hosted on my site and we'll see how that goes. I may even actually put out some more frequent updates. We'll see.

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