What’s the point of having your own website if you can’t make it yours?
That’s entirely the point, which is why every SmugMug account comes with a whole bunch of ways to switch it up.
We also know that not everyone has all day to find inspiration in the clouds and push around pixels. So, today we’re sharing super-easy ways you can change up the look of your site without having to take a day off from work.
1) ALL: Change the Theme
Themes give you the most bang for your buck. We’ve got over 70 of them and it takes just two clicks to set one in place.
HOW: To set your new site-wide default theme, click the Themes button on your homepage and choose one to preview. When you love it, simply click the button again and choose “Save Theme Choice” to make it stick. More about themes.
2) ALL: Display Your Map
Did you know that your fans can browse your photos by location? We’ll automatically pin your public, geotagged photos onto a map shown right on your homepage.
HOW: Click the Homepage Layout button on your homepage and choose Around the World. The box will appear, and you can move it up or down the page according to taste. More about maps.
3) ALL: Feature a Slideshow (or a Video)
Grab their attention with motion. A buttery-smooth slideshow of your best photos or your masterpiece movie will get them anchored and asking for more.
HOW: Visit your homepage and hit the Homepage Layout button > Slideshow. With a Power, Portfolio or Business account, you can feature a video under the Single Photo or Video option, too. You’ll see an “Adjust: Settings” link in the top corner to specify what you want to show. More about your homepage boxes.
4) POWER, PORTFOLIO, BUSINESS: Add a Header and Navigation Bar
Adding basic branding to your site instantly gives your website a more polished, unified feel. Plus, your fans will always know where they are and where they should go next.
HOW: Open the Easy Customizer and click on the Header section. It’s simple to add a basic text header that links to your homepage, and a navigation bar that features the galleries you want to be seen most. As you tinker, you’ll get a live preview on the left. Click the Publish button to post your changes live.
5) POWER, PORTFOLIO, BUSINESS: Copy-and-Paste Customization
We’ve got tons of resources where you can search for specific customization tricks and exact code needed to make it happen on your website. From hiding stuff to moving stuff around to ginormous edge-to-edge slideshows, you can do it all.
6) ALL: Tidy Up!
Rearrange your virtual living room. Changing your gallery organization and swapping old portfolio photos for fresh ones can breathe new life into a stale site.
HOW: Display Categories on your homepage, unlist old galleries, create archive categories to “hide” stuff so your fans see the best pics first. Read up on our privacy options and review how custom Categories work for you.
There’s a lot you can do, but we’ve summed it all up for you before. Take a ride in the wayback machine and visit our first Smug Tip of the Week, the Customization Edition.
What quick and easy tricks have you done to make you love your website again?
You want a blog to go with your website. Seems simple, right?
Maybe, but you wouldn’t believe how often our Support Heroes often get questions about how to do this on SmugMug. If this sounds like you (or were just thinking about it), then you’re in luck.
First of all, why WordPress? It’s great for frequent updates and extra SEO, and it’s a great complement to your SmugMug portfolio, proofing and print sales. Here are three different ways you can have both a Smug site and a fabulous WordPress blog… the best of both worlds!
As an extra-special bonus, we’re giving one very lucky photographer a lifetime membership to the ultimate SmugMug-friendly WordPress portfolio site: Photography BlogSites. Read further for info, and scroll to the bottom see how to enter.
1. Joined With a Link.
Our friends over at FastLine Media are pros at creating custom SmugMug sites with beautiful blogs. Owners, brothers and pro photographers Justin and Brandon recommend setting up your SmugMug site like a portfolio, displaying only your best photos to keep your audience captivated. Your Smug site will contain text pages (About Me, Contact, Pricing, etc), a few public portfolio galleries and your unlisted client galleries.
It should also contain a link to your blog. A simple WordPress blog linked from your site is the perfect place to post photos and write some thoughts about a recent event you’ve shot. You get to share more photos publicly than just the one or two images you add to your portfolio, but don’t have to go as far as sharing every photo from your clients’ private galleries. Your blog becomes an extension of your portfolio, and you get to decide how much.
The benefit? Like SmugMug, WordPress has great SEO benefits. If you shoot a wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, you could make the title of your post, “Jack and Jill’s Wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.” Due to the magic of WordPress, those keywords in your blog title automagically appear in the browser title and meta description. Booya!
As a bonus, see how to make SEO work for you on SmugMug.
And did you know that:
- You can just copy and paste the URL of your photo (or video) from your SmugMug gallery and drop it into your WordPress editor. It’ll automagically embed itself at the perfect size.
- You can encourage more sales using our easy Buy Links. Grab one now from Get a Link, and copy and paste the code into your WordPress editor. When fans click the photos on your blog, we’ll pop up the shopping cart so they can easily buy a print, gift or download. (Just make sure the shopping cart hasn’t been disabled in your gallery settings.)
2. Go DIY.
Did you know that we have a huge list of useful apps that our customers have written for you? Our code-savvy fans have built all kinds of tools to help you post videos, slideshows and galleries to WordPress. And more. Take a look at the full list here on our Hacks and Apps page, and scroll down to “WordPress.”
Disclaimer: We do our best but we can’t guarantee every product or provide support for the third-party apps on that page. Questions? Contact the app’s developer. Most of them are great folks who love to hear from you.
3. Be No-Brainer Beautiful with Photography BlogSites.
We’ve posted about our friends over at Photography BlogSites before, but it’s worth another mention. They are hands-down one of the easiest ways on the web to create and maintain a beautiful WordPress-based portfolio site that comes with a matching blog. They handle the heavy lifting. You enter the content, you write the posts. You can even apply one of their gorgeous themes with a click, customize it to taste and have it port over to your SmugMug site, too.
Here are some beautiful examples. See more here!
Get Set Up for Life With This Giveaway.
Our friends at Photography BlogSites are ready and waiting to give one fortunate pro photographer a lifetime pass for their very own blogsite. (Regularly priced at $399/year)
How to enter:
- Like our Facebook page HERE.
- Like Photography BlogSites’ page HERE.
- Leave a comment below this post telling us which of their four coffee-flavored themes is your favorite.
We’ll pick a random winner and announce it here on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012. Good luck!
*** UPDATE: We have a winner! It’s Brigette from Outer Focus Photos. Congrats, Brigette and we’ll contact you with keys to your brand-new website. Thanks to everyone! ***
And remember that even if you aren’t the winner, you still win: Simply sign up for a membership and authorize the connection to your SmugMug account. Photography BlogSites automatically applies a $50 discount off your first year of beautiful blogging, just for being Smug.
Happy blogging and good luck! Don’t forget that if you’ve got questions about building your own Smug site + blog, our customization heroes are always happy to help.
In case our super-awesome Support Heroes haven’t already tipped you off, we have a growing library of help videos ready to guide you on some of the most important features on your SmugMug site:
They’re pretty self-explanatory, so go check ‘em out! If you’re like us and would rather see how to do something straight away, these vids are just what the doctor ordered.
Best of all, they were lovingly crafted by one of our very own veteran Support Heroes, Seán. You’ve probably shaken his hand at one of our trade shows, because he sure knows his stuff and loves to teach. Thanks, Seán!
What’s on the program?
So far we’ve got videos covering image protection, Pro pricing and – the latest – how to use the Easy Customizer:
But we’re not finished, yet. Our help library continues to grow so don’t be afraid to bookmark that page and keep checking back for more.
Let us know in the comments if there’s a topic you’d like to see. We love to hear what you think!
We updated your site-wide branding to add a feature that lots of you Power and Pro Smuggers have asked for: Custom banners for your mobile site!
One Easy step in the Easy Customizer
To do this, fire up the Easy Customizer and look for the brand-spanking new “Mobile” section on the right-hand side.
Just upload a 400 x 72 pixel image containing your logo, name or whatever you wish and Publish your changes.
Anyone who views your site on a mobile device will see it at the top of every beautiful page.
Remember that we automatically serve up the lightweight mobile viewing style to people browsing on-the-go. Want your guests to have the exact same experience on a desktop as on a smartphone? Disable the mobile site from your Control Panel, under the Settings tab.
Extra link love:
Once upon a time in a galaxy not-so-far away, you just needed a website.
Then blogs were all the rage. And now in this modern era of technology, you have to also consider social tools like Twitter and Facebook. If your business has offshoots, each with its own site and blog, you could have four of more different places to log in and update… and your social media sites, too.
It’s time to pause and start thinking of these as pieces of a single web presence. Your main website should be your hub, not your headache.
The Secret Behind Beautiful, Cohesive Online Presence
Our new seamless integration lets you sync your SmugMug site with your Photography Blogsite, slurping over your galleries and settings and (best of all) pushing your customization from your Blogsite back to SmugMug instantly, with a click. What better way to unify your unique web presence between your portfolio, proofing galleries and your blog?
They’ve even built in a safety feature that lets you restore your old SmugMug customization if you change your mind.
All in One Site Powered By WordPress
The inspiration for the design of Photography Blogsites stemmed from years of working exclusively with photographers to brand and create custom sites. Their strategy was to make pros’ lives easier, boost SEO and give them the power to manage their own online brand.
Their all-in-one portfolio websites are ready-to-go 30 seconds after you sign up and are powered by WordPress, CSS and HTML. This means that your site looks perfectly beautiful and beautifully perfect across all computers and mobile devices. And it’s easy to customize.
Bonus features: Share and Buy
You know that SmugMug already comes fully-equipped with share features, but if you use your Blogsite as your main portal, don’t worry about losing those tools. Their ‘Blaze’ social media tool lets you quickly share and re-share any gallery via Facebook and Twitter. People following those links view the gallery on a re-sharable page, too. Go viral!
While your fans are browsing, they can buy, too. Simply dig into your Blogsite settings and turn on SmugMug’s Buy links so your fans can add items right to the shopping cart. As usual, our print labs will print and ship the orders and all you have to do is collect your profits.
Special Pricing for SmugMuggers
If you’re thinking about setting this up for your business, you’re in for a treat. They’re offering SmugMuggers special discounted pricing at just $29/month or $299/year. (Regular pricing is $39/month and $399/year) Sign up here!
Or if you never want to worry again, try their Lifetime Deal at $499 which includes full access to all of their themes, hosting, support, maintenance, upgrades and so much more. The price is valid until September 15, 2011 and you’ll get no additional charges, ever. If you want peace of mind, act now because this deal won’t stick around for long.
… and a Giveaway for Two Lucky Pros
To celebrate our new partnership and synchronization with Photography BlogSites they are giving away 2 Lifetime Memberships. (Value: $499, no hassle) Here’s how to enter:
1) Like us at Facebook.com/smugmug
2) Like them at Facebook.com/PhotoBlogSites
3) Reply to this post with a link to your SmugMug site.
One entry per person, please. Winners will be picked randomly and announced Friday July 29.
Enjoy your site!
Wow, we are pumped to see so many folks enter this giveaway. Alas, there can be two winners, and here they are, picked randomly: Lance of Gym Star Photos and Amy of LMZ Photography. Congrats guys! You each win a Lifetime Membership to Photography Blogsites.
Thanks to everyone who put their name in for this giveaway. SmugMug customers get special pricing for a limited time, so even if you didn’t win this giveaway, you can still walk away a winner.
Stay tuned for more fun news and giveaways.
Did you know that SmugMug has long been partners with Go Daddy, one of the best domain registrars in town? Through the years, tons of happy Power and Pro SmugMuggers have easily bought and set up their own URLs through our joint site, Smugmugdomains.com .
We recently gave the site a face lift, so it’s easy to use and easy on the eyes:
If you were on the fence about grabbing your own URL for your site, it’s dead simple to get one now.
Custom URLs in Three Steps
Does it get any easier than this?
1. Search for an available domain.
2. Purchase it from Go Daddy.
3. Plug it in to your SmugMug Control Panel. You’re done!
Already With GoDaddy but New to Smug?
Just point your CNAME ‘www’ to domains.smugmug.com and your A record ‘@’ to 220.127.116.11 .
Transfer From a Different Registrar
If this sounds great but you already have a domain with another company, you can transfer it to Go Daddy.
Just go here and click on the “login to Go Daddy” link. Look for the “Transfer” option under the black “Domain Names” drop-down at top left. They’ll walk you through the rest.
Of course if you’re ever stuck, confused or just plain have a question, shoot our Heroes an email. We’ll getcha hooked up in no time.
Our Support Heroes know how the idea of customizing your Power or Pro site can seem daunting at first, but never fear! We’ve provided a lot of resources and tools to help you get a site that you love. Today we’ll hear from Customization Specialist and Support Hero Eric Trimble about the different options you have at your fingers to get the site of your dreams.
So you have your SmugMug site, uploaded your photos, possibly even made a sale or two. Congrats! But now you’re looking to kick it up a notch and want to go from this:
Nervous? Don’t be. We’ve got lots of great resources you can use to personalize your page and to make your brand stand out.
Get an Easy Banner and Navbar
First things first. A banner and a navigation bar are two really simple things you can add to your header to instantly improve your site. If you have a graphic you like to use, or just want plain text, you can add them using the Easy Customizer. Try the Navbar Builder (found under the “Header” section) to get a simple navbar in minutes.
Simple Cut-and-Paste Tutorials
Good news! For most things all you need to do is a simple search through our help pages, then copy and paste of existing code. Some of our top requests include:
1) How to show your galleries to show on a separate page from your homepage. We’ve got an easy tutorial on Dgrin showing how to do just that. Check out the code in yellow on that page and simply copy and paste it into your Advanced Customization as shown.
2) How to get an “About Me” page or a page that shows the services you can provide. What you’re looking for is a simple HTML-only page where you can drop in whatever content you wish; you can add whatever text, links or images that you need. Look here to see step by step instructions on how to do this.
3) How to create your own Contact form. Then for anyone who has ever used our slick, online form to contact the SmugMug Support Heroes, we have that same form built in for our Pro level accounts. We recommend that you use this so that your customers can easily contact you. And it’s so easy to do! Try the code provided here to make the popup contact form appear when you click the link in your navber (or anywhere else on your site).
Get a Knock-Their-Socks-Off Homepage Slideshow
Would you like to have a big, beautiful slideshow of your images that stretches to fill every inch of browser space? We have two ways to do this, created by some of our wonderful volunteers.
Option 1: If you are looking for something to showcase your images, I am a fan of the JFriend HTML 5 slideshow. It’s huge, has great transition effects, and is very simple to implement.
Option 2: But lots of folks swear by the FastLine Media slideshow. It’s just as big, just as beautiful… just a little different.
Either way you choose to go, they’re both great and you can’t go wrong. Neither are Flash-based, so they’re visible even to people who browse your site on iPhones and iPads.
Free Guided Help
SmugMug’s customization lets you have virtually limitless creativity. And much of what you might want to do is already written and waiting for you on our forums at DGrin. Join in, search for a topic and post a new thread if you can’t find the answer!
Not only do we have some very dedicated volunteers, but you can also find our resident customizer (hey, that’s me!) patrolling the forums and helping out ’round the clock.
But even with all this ready and waiting, maybe you’re not looking to get elbow deep in CSS. We have you covered there as well. We keep a list of third party companies that are our Certified Customizers. You can contact any of the companies here to discuss your ideas and get a quote.
They’re happy to work with you and build the site of your dreams.
Got skills? Come customize for us!
Last but not least, we’re currently seeking out talented web- and graphic designers to be one of our Certified Customizers. If the idea of tweaking sites makes your heart go pitter-patter, come join us in the mission to make every gallery gorgeous. Send us an email with your specs.
We recently debuted a list of SmugMug Certified Customizers for our Smuggers to have and to hold. Great customization has been a top request of our users for years and we have been listening!
We’ve spent the last few months forging tight relationships with some great folks who’ve proven they deliver consistently gorgeous SmugMug sites to SmugMug photographers.
Here’s seven amazing companies who we trust to get the job done. Check out their sites and more examples below:
4) My Pro Foto
6) BIG Folio - Providing seamless integration of SmugMug galleries with your existing site.
What does it mean to be SmugMug Certified?
They’re fun and friendly to work with, but above all these guys know Smuggers and cater to their needs. We’ve done a lot of work with these companies and know that they deliver quality, act with the highest ethical standards and are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy their clients. They also really, really love SmugMug… just like you.
Here’s the criteria we use in our selection process:
- Received consistent, positive reviews from our customers
- Have proven ability to scale and ship designs quickly, without compromising quality
- Outstanding customer service
- Elegant visual aesthetics that appeal to our customers
- Exceptional understanding of SmugMug’s API and website capabilities
Love what you see? Contact a customizer through the above links to share your ideas and get a quote.
In the coming months we plan to work closely with our certified customizers to build better tools for Smuggers to enjoy. Having partners in touch with so many dedicated customers will help us get great, detailed feedback on what you want and how you want it. We can’t wait!
If you’re looking to get your site customized but are having trouble deciding which designer to use, check out this thread on Digital Grin.
And if you’re a Smugger who wants to recommend a company, or if you’re a customizer who wants us to consider your services, say it right here!
We hope that you’ll give these folks a chance to create the site of your dreams. We promise you’ll love them.
Here’s to building beautiful sites together,
The SmugMug Family