Your SmugMug Site Passes the Mobile-Friendly Test

If you’ve heard the recent rumblings about Google’s plan to make their search results better for mobile users, you might be wondering if your site meets Google’s new criteria. If you’re using SmugMug, you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Every aspect of your SmugMug site has been put through its paces to make sure it passes the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

You don’t need to change anything or scramble to meet their deadline. We’ve got your back!

Wait, What’s the “Google Mobile-Friendly Test?” Why Does It Matter?
Think how often you pull out your phones and other mobile devices to perform a quick Google search for something you’re dying to show someone. Ever run into results where pages scroll left or right beyond your screen? Or had to pinch-zoom a ridiculous amount just to see what’s on the page? It’s frustrating. And Google doesn’t want anyone being frustrated with their results.

So Google’s decided to reward sites that display well on mobile devices. They’ll be using a set of criteria to measure the mobile-friendliness of websites. Starting April 21, 2015, sites that meet those criteria may rank higher in mobile search results. You can test your website using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

Passing this test means your site could be shown higher in Google’s search results whenever someone searches using a mobile device.

We know how important it is for your website to be found, so we made sure that all SmugMug sites pass the test. You don’t need to lift a finger! (Of course, if you want to keep your site out of search results, you can do that, too.)

What’s SmugMug Done to Pass the Mobile-Friendly Test?
We built flexible site design into every corner of SmugMug. (If you’re a long-time SmugMug user but haven’t upgraded your site, this mobile-friendly feature is worth it.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re viewing your site on an iPod or a 4K cinema display, your design and photos will automagically fill the screen perfectly without any annoying side-scroll or zoom action.


Menu and navigation items adjust to fit the screen and are spaced out to help users avoid any mis-taps when trying to view different pages or photos on your site. Galleries automatically optimize their layout to fit mobile devices. Carousel swipes smoothly for your mobile admirers.

And we long ago overhauled our slideshows to use HTML5 instead of Flash.

New SmugMug sites have always looked stunning on mobile devices, and we tweaked a few things after Google’s announcement to ensure any New SmugMug site will pass the test with flying colors.

Tip: Be cautious when using negative margin values on SmugMug content blocks, or adding custom CSS that moves the margins off the page. This might cause your site to fail the mobile-friendly test.

In short, we did everything possible to make sure your photos always display beautifully at any size on any screen.

How Can I Improve My Search Ranking?
Now that you know you don’t have to worry about your site losing rank because of mobile-friendliness, you might be interested in learning how you can bump your rank a bit. We’ve got some great tips on making your SmugMug site more search engine–friendly and growing your organic traffic:

Keep Uploading and Sharing
We hope we’ve put your mind at ease regarding your SmugMug site and Google’s new mobile-friendly test. Keep photographing and sharing what you love and know that we always have your back.

And don’t forget our Support Heroes are always standing by to help!

Related Links

Release Notes: New Drop Zones, Lightbox Customization, Carousel Improvements, Private Sharing, and More.

Spring has sprung, and we’re celebrating with a slew of new features and improvements released during the past few weeks.

Auto-Scroll and More Photo Options for Carousel
You wanted more options for the new Carousel content block, and we heard you! Now you can enable auto-scroll, looping, randomization, and keyboard navigation. Plus you can choose from additional photo sources: Popular and Recent Photos.

Get the full lowdown on the new Carousel control options here.

Customize Your Lightbox
Showcase your photos the way you want them to be seen with a customizable Lightbox. Show your background, hide or show the photo tools, enlarge or minimize your Buy button, and more. Go minimal or extra informative. The choice is now yours.

Learn how to tweak your Lightbox to display your photos the way you want.

Drag-and-Drop Customization Got Even Better
New drop zones in the Customizer are now larger and highlight where you can drop new content blocks on a page, making it easier to see exactly where you can place your content.

Brush up on customizing your site with drag-and-drop content blocks.

Privately Share Photos
Now you can share your photos with only the people you choose. With our new Private Sharing feature, you can send unique invitation links to friends, family, and clients to give them special access to photos meant for their eyes only.

Read more about this new sharing option and tips for including it in your workflow. And check out this informational webinar for a walkthrough on how to share your photos privately.

Miscellaneous
Here’s a list of all the other fixes we’ve released:

  • Stats: Logged-in owner views are no longer counted.
  • Menu: Child menu items set to open in a new tab now do as they’re told: open in a new tab.
  • Profile/Cover Photo: Deleting your profile or cover photo no longer breaks your profile content block on the page.
  • Mobile: Images viewed in the Lightbox on mobile web now look even better.
  • Vimeo: Private Vimeo videos no longer display where they shouldn’t.
  • Email: Emails sent using the “Contact Link” on your website now clearly indicate they’re from your visitors and not from SmugMug.

Stay tuned as always for more great features and improvements coming through this space!

Related Links:

The Answers to All Your Private-Sharing Questions

Last week thousands of you joined us for a webinar about SmugMug’s latest, greatest feature: Private Sharing. (Did you miss it? No worries. We recorded it for you!)

We’re thrilled that you were as excited as we were about it. We received some fantastic questions during the webinar and after. Below are all the answers to the questions you had about Private Sharing.

Don’t see your question among the FAQs? Feel free to ask it in the comments or send it to our Support Heroes, who are always standing by to help.

How does this affect my current privacy and security settings?
We haven’t changed your existing privacy and security settings. Everything you had visible before is still visible, and anything you had locked down is still protected and under wraps. In other words, your passwords remain intact, Unlisted galleries are still Unlisted, and Private galleries are still available only to you.

The settings tab was renamed and the security drop-downs look a bit different, but the settings are the same as when you set them.

Where did the Security & Privacy tab go?
The settings didn’t go anywhere, but we’ve split them into two new tabs: Security & Sharing and Photo Protection. All your Access and Visibility toggles are in Security & Sharing. Your photo-protection settings—like external embedding and right-click protection—are now located in the Photo Protection tab.

How do I change my privacy and security settings now?
Everything’s still in your Settings menu for galleries, folders, and pages. You can find them in the Security & Sharing tab. 

Where can I find the private sharing settings?
You’ll find your private-sharing options in the Security & Sharing tab, too! Set any gallery, folder, or page to be accessible by “People I Choose” to enable private sharing. You can manage your invitations within the contextual Settings, or from your Account Settings using the Contacts tab.

To secure your entire site with private sharing, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People I Choose.”

How do I set my password now?
For gallery, folder, and page passwords, you’ll create them in the Settings > Security & Sharing tab. Change your Access to “People with Password,” then create your password and password hint the same way you did before.

To set a sitewide password, visit your Account Settings and select the Privacy tab. At the very top, change your Site Access to “People with Password.” Create your password and password hint, save and exit, and you’re set!

Can Google find my privately shared photos?
If you have your Security & Sharing Visibility set to “Public,” and you have Web Searchable enabled, Google and other search engines will be able to see that a gallery, folder, or page exists, but they (and anyone not invited) won’t be able to see the photos within. If you don’t want Google to know the photos exist at all, we recommend changing the Visibility to “Unlisted” and disabling Web Searchability.

What can my guests do with their Guest Account?
They can view and enjoy all the photos you’ve privately shared with them, as well as comment on SmugMug users’ photos. They won’t have access to any other SmugMug features unless they upgrade to a full account.

Can my guests upload photos to the privately shared gallery?
Only if you allow it! You can control this using the Guest Upload setting for the gallery.

How is this different from Sharegroups?
The sharing part might look really similar to your users, but the privacy of your photos is entirely within your control when using Private Sharing. If you share a group of galleries using a Sharegroup link, your friends and family could forward that link to anyone—allowing strangers and folks you may not have intended to view your Sharegroup photos.

With Private Sharing, each invitation link is unique and tied only to your friend’s SmugMug account. Once their invitation is redeemed, it doesn’t matter if they forward their invitation link to others. No one else would be able to use it or accidentally gain access to your photos.

Use Sharegroups if you want to share a group of galleries that you don’t mind others viewing if the link gets passed around. Use Private Sharing if you want to ensure your photos remain completely private and inaccessible to anyone you didn’t intend.

What about my Pro brand? When my clients sign up for a guest account, will they see my brand or SmugMug’s?
Once your client clicks to view any privately shared photos, they’ll see your site branding. On their own account page, which contains all the links to shared photos, your client will see a very basic SmugMug-brand page. It looks like this:

Is there any way to import an email list?
Not yet, but that’s a great feature request!

Can I customize the invitation email?
Not currently, but we’ll add it to our feature requests.

If a gallery is Public and then you share it with someone specifically, is it no longer Public and only viewable by the invited people?
No, you’re actually tweaking two different settings. Visibility (Public) and Access (Share with People I Choose) are settings that operate independently of each other. “Public” Visibility means anyone on the Internet can see that something exists on your site—so they could come across your galleries by browsing your site. Access controls whether they can actually get in to view the content.

If you have a gallery set to Public visibility and People I Choose for access, and a stranger finds the privately shared gallery through a search then clicks on it, they won’t be able to see anything within that gallery. Instead they’ll see an error message alerting them that the photos are private and can only be viewed if they’re invited.

Tip: To avoid having even a preview image show, double-check that you don’t have a feature image selected in your private gallery’s settings.

If you want to prevent your privately shared galleries from even showing up in searches, you can turn off web searchability in your Account Settings and change the gallery’s visibility to Unlisted.

Does private sharing work with the SmugMug mobile app?
Not yet, but we’re actively working on it!

If I add a new email address to a gallery I’ve privately shared with others, will only the new address receive an invitation when I save?
Yes. We won’t send new invitations to people you’ve already invited previously.

If I add new galleries to folders that I’ve privately shared, or new photos to galleries, will my private guests receive a notification that I’ve added content?
Not at this time.

If I privately share a folder, does that automatically give the people I choose access to all subfolders and galleries within that folder?
Yes. The access you set at the highest level will override any access settings applied to anything within that level. This is also true if you choose to use sitewide Private Sharing in your Account Settings. Anyone invited to privately view your site will have access to all your visible galleries, and you won’t be able to choose a different access setting for individual galleries. However, you can invite additional people at the gallery or page level.

If you choose to use sitewide private sharing, you can still send individual invitations for each gallery, folder, or page, and all your galleries will be protected with Private Sharing. And if you invite someone privately to view your entire site, then they’ll have access to everything on your site.

In other words, if you have crazyuncle@myfamily.name invited to privately view your entire site, you can’t exclude him from the Making-Fun-Of-Crazy-Uncle gallery via gallery settings.

However, you can completely restrict galleries from everyone, even invited guests, by setting the Visibility to “Private (Only Me).”

On my Shared with Me page, will it show galleries from multiple SmugMug users?
Yep! Anyone who’s shared photos with you will appear on your Shared with Me page. No more hunting down stray links or gallery passwords. Everything shared with you, no matter who shared it, will be in one place for your viewing.

Can photos appear on my Shared with Me page without my knowledge?
Nope! You have full control over what shows up on your Shared with Me page. You still need to accept each invitation for privately shared photos, so you’ll only see what you choose to see.

Transforming Our Support Heroes: Behind the Scenes with Hellgirl

Last week, our latest collaboration with photographer Benjamin Von Wong took our SmugMug employees to new heights—literally. I was lucky enough to be one of those employees, though I am the unlikeliest of models. How did I end up on that rooftop with my superhero colleagues? Read on!


“Kerry, it’s your turn. Step up!” the photographer called to me, excitement in his voice.

Step up where? This ledge:

Which was followed by this drop:

And this is the safety harness that was certified to keep me — all 300 pounds of me — from plummeting to my death.

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All the other models on the photo shoot wore harnesses, too, and I saw with my own eyes how many safety precautions were taken to make us secure. Logically, I understood that nothing bad would happen to me.

But I just couldn’t shake the feeling: I’m 2 people in 1. I’m going to be too heavy to pull up.

All I could think was:

If I fall, I’m probably dead because I was too fat.

Somehow I managed to step up on the ledge, and the photographer snapped a few photos.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot.
(Warning: Do not attempt on your own. The photographer is a trained stunt person. All models wore safety equipment.)

When we were done, all the other models were excited to see how the pictures turned out. After all, we were on a skyscraper dressed as superheroes, getting our pictures taken by world-famous photographer Benjamin Von Wong.

But I wasn’t looking forward to seeing my photo at all. I had this nagging feeling: I’m going to look like crap. I may be on a fancy photo shoot, but I’m still a fat girl.

Here’s how my photo turned out:

Hey, that isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be.

Actually … I kind of look badass.

How the heck did this happen? How did I get to be a model on an awesome photo shoot? Models aren’t fat girls like me. But here I was, on top of the world.


Just one year ago, I was at the lowest point of my life.

Self-portrait. Photo by Kerry Ellis.

My struggle with weight began right after college when a surgery on both feet left me unable to walk long distances for exercise. I ballooned up from a size 12 to a size 22.

I gained some experience after graduating and managed to get a great job writing for NASA. I had been there for 8 years when the phone call came from my boss:

“Kerry, I’ve got some bad news. I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. Actually, you were supposed to be laid off yesterday.”

Me working from home. Photo by Kerry Ellis.

This job was all I’d known for nearly a decade. What was I supposed to do now? How was I supposed to pay for my house?

I hung up the phone and burst into tears. Here I was, a 35-year-old grown woman, and I felt like a scared 14-year-old again. Completely lost.

Me with Britta. Photo by Kerry Ellis.

I’ve never liked asking people for things, but when you lose your job, that’s what you have to do — ask everyone for help. After sending out hundreds of emails and posting to Facebook and LinkedIn, I heard about an interesting opportunity. Not a full-time job or anything, just a short writing assignment for SmugMug.

As a photographer myself (and longtime customer), I loved SmugMug and had been trying to get a job there for ages. Actually, they’d already rejected me once when I interviewed there 5 years ago. But no matter. This was a chance to get my foot in the door at my dream company, and I took it.

I completed the writing assignment for them, and the article somehow got the attention of Chris MacAskill, President and Co-Founder of SmugMug. It turns out he was the one who had vetoed hiring me 5 years ago.

He told me he’d made a mistake. Oh, and would I like to join SmugMug full time?

The next day, I packed up everything and moved straight to California to start my new job.

Me in my new office at SmugMug. Photo by Schmootography.com.

Within my first few weeks on the job, Von Wong was in town and SmugMug asked him to do a fun photo shoot for the employees.

SmugMug employee — that’s me! That’s how I ended up as a model on this phenomenal photo shoot.

The SmugMug family on the skyscraper.

The whole thing feels like a fairy tale, like something that only happens in movies. I landed my dream job and moved across the country. I felt on top of the world. But looking in the mirror, my outside didn’t match how I felt inside.

That’s why this photo means so much to me. It makes my outside match my inside.

It’s a reminder that, even when I was at my heaviest, I can look amazing.

Since this photo was taken, I’ve dropped a dress size. I’m eating healthier and working out regularly. If I could look amazing then, then I can continue to look amazing.

I went from rock bottom to a superhero literally on top of the world. How is this even real? This is the stuff of movies.

But this is my life now, and it’s pretty freaking awesome.


Afterthoughts

As great as this photo makes me feel, I almost didn’t write about it. I wrote and deleted this article 3 times before hitting publish.

The Internet is cruel. I’m already bracing myself for the comments people will make:

“She’s still fat.”

Or my personal favorite that’s been popular lately — “Why is she promoting unhealthy habits?”

It’s not about celebrating being unhealthy. It’s about loving yourself so you can continue to work on yourself. If you start the journey from a point of hate, that’s where you’re going to end. You may lose the weight, but you’ll still hate yourself. The root problem is still there — that’s why so many diets fail.

Start from a place of accepting yourself, so you love yourself as you continue to make progress.


Credits
Photography by Benjamin Von Wong. Read how he pulled off this photo shoot on his blog.

Media Requests
You may quote or republish this article and its photos on your own publication—please credit and link back to the original.

Find more photos from the photo shoot on Benjamin Von Wong’s blog and the behind-the-scenes video.

Transforming Our Support Heroes… Into Actual Superheroes

My old boss, Steve Jobs, used to say, “One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.”

Kaydin Carlsen, SmugMug Support Hero

Kaydin Carlsen, SmugMug Support Hero

Our heroes are photographers, from moms who capture priceless moments with iPhones, to elite pros who shoot astonishing photos like the one you see above.  To help them, we built a team of 40 support people, mostly photographers.

Working in customer support is a hard job. In most companies, more than a third of customer support employees quit every year. Which means on a team of 40, on average you can expect to lose 12 people a year. So, few people believe they’ve heard us correctly when we say that in over a decade, only one of our Support Heroes has ever resigned.

Our customers sent so many emails to them saying, “You are my new hero,” we called them Support Heroes.

What’s our secret?  We don’t have scripts or thick training manuals. We simply ask our Support Heroes to be heroic.

Which gave photographer Benjamin Von Wong an idea:  take their photos where only real superheroes would dare go. He wanted to make them into superheroes without green screens or special effects.

What do you see when you imagine a superhero?  Standing strong on top of a building, overlooking a city, hair blowing in the wind?  That’s what we saw, so we did a photoshoot on the ledge of a skyscraper.

Here’s Von Wong’s amazing story.

SmugMug Films started with a simple idea:  to tell the story of our greatest heroes, the photographers who inspire us.  The films have taken flight on their own, and today we’re excited to introduce one about Von Wong’s inspiring rooftop shoot:

Who inspires you?  Do you have a story of a photographer worth sharing? Let us know, we might just pop over to film it!

All the best,

Chris MacAskill (aka Baldy)

Co-founder, photographer, regular guy, and on this day a terrified hero wannabe.

Chris MacAskill on skyscraper