Smug Tip: Customize Your 404, Search Page and More

One of the most popular requests we’ve heard from our customers was :

“Why can’t I customize my system pages?”

With the latest updates at SmugMug, Power, Portfolio and Business users can customize certain pages that were untouchable before.

What you can change?

First, be sure that you’ve migrated your site to the new SmugMug (which may take a while because of the number of people who have done this in the last 24 hours), then replace the “XXXXX” in the following links with your SmugMug nickname.

They’re not listed in your Site Organizer since they can’t actually be moved around, but we’ll include them in your owner-only navigation, soon.

404 page

What: The error page that shows when people try to visit a page on your site that doesn’t exist.

See it:

Tip: Your fans may be frustrated trying to find something specific on your site when they get this page. Don’t be afraid to drag and drop in a text box and type up something friendly that invites them to contact you.


What: Timeline view, which lets you (or viewers) search for photos shot within a specific date range.

See it:


What: Your keyword cloud, which shows you all the keywords you’ve entered into your site, and how many photos are found under each.

See it:

Tip:  Keyword clouds are also available as a content block, found under  the “Discovery” section of your site customization. It could look great on your Browse page, which is included by default of many of our design layouts.


What: The page your fans and clients see every time you share a gallery protected with a viewing password.

See it:

Tip: Drop in a title and/or text box inviting them to email you if they can’t remember the right password.


What: Your public photos and videos that other people have voted “Thumbs up” (now called “Like”) and commented on the most.

See it:


What: A clean, simple, but extremely useful search field where anyone can type in a search term. Good for finding photos, galleries and videos.

See it:

Tip: A search box is also available for dropping into any page on your site as a content block. Find it under the Discovery section in your site customization.


What: A page that lists all the folders (categories) on your site. When you’re logged in, your unlisted and private folders will show up here, too.

See it:

Tip: This page comes already linked from our default design layouts, and is a great place to drop in additional content boxes like the keyword cloud, the map, and the timeline search.

What you can’t change

There’s some core content on a few pages that you can’t change, for obvious reasons (like the password fields on the password page). But you’ll know that these can’t be touched when you mouse over them in customization mode and you’ll see a little lock icon in the corner.

How to do it 

We’ll admit that this feature hasn’t yet got all the spit-and-polish that we want, but we hope to fix this with along with other stuff that will get ironed out over the coming weeks. Now let’s get started!

1) Type in the URL to visit each page, as per the full list above. Just be sure to use your SmugMug nickname in the domain instead of the “XXXXX.”

2) Click Customize > Customize Site from the top of your page. We’ll open up the new Customization Mode with lots of content to pick and choose from. Click to expand each section and drag and drop the boxes into any area that highlights green on the page.

3) Once the boxes are on your page, mouse over them and click the little wrench icon in the top corner. You can can configure and change virtually any setting to perfect the content, as needed.

4) Save your changes when you’re done. Remember that while you are still in preview mode, you can publish your changes and you’ll be the only one who sees it until you officially, permanently “Unveil” your website.

Link them up

From here, you’ll probably want to add a link to these pages from your website’s menu bar so your visitors can use them (with the exception of the 404 and password pages, which will automatically be displayed to viewers at the proper time).

To do this, simply open your Site Customization mode again and click the wrench icon on your menu content block.  Add a new link by hitting the “+” sign and select “Page I Choose.” From there you can browse your site and select any of the system pages you’ve just customized. We’ve pre-loaded a few of the ones listed above for easy access.

Have fun! As always, let us know if you have questions, problems or creative customization ideas that you’re willing to share.

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SmugMug brings you beautiful, personalized online galleries. We love photography and believe that taking pictures makes life better. We're here to help make it fun, enjoyable, and easy for all.

58 thoughts on “Smug Tip: Customize Your 404, Search Page and More”

    1. Jason, right now the date search is its own page but we love that idea to have a content block that has that ability. One workaround for right now could be to add a search box to your date page, but we understand this won’t give you the most intuitive URL.

      Suggestion noted!

  1. You have ruined my smugmug experience , everything all over the place now, i really don’t have time for all of this , time to find another site i think. i have less choice of skins than before , it all looks horribly cheap now.

    1. I don’t understand people’s negative reactions when companies make changes. Do you really think they sat down and were like: “Wow guys we really need to make our service suck! That will be good for business.” SmugMug did everything in their power to make the service better. Yes there are going to be issues at first, but without change there can be no progress. And frankly the photography industry is ever changing. I am personally glad that SmugMug is adapting with it. I would be far more concerned if it stayed the same. Also if it looks cheap to you change it. There are far more customization options than there was before and it is far easier. I’m willing to bet if you looked at it for 10 minutes with an open mind you could make it look as clunky and old as it used to look.

    2. I guess taste is subjective, but wow, I’m actually shocked there’s people that think the old SmugMug is better than the new. There’s still some things I’d like changed (my customizations don’t show on the shopping cart for instance), but I think my new smugmug site looks soooo much better than before.

    3. I’ve found the new designed are highly dependent on how you actually organize your site. Going from the previous smugmug to the new one required me to reorganize all of my photos. I quickly saw how the content blocks used specific sections and how the “site wide” and “this site only” reacted to it. I spent about one day going through and re-organizing it and it all fell into place after that.

  2. Nathan, you can add a contact link in your menu. Add it the same way you added the other links: Customize Site then click on the tool icon for your menu. Add a new link and select “Contact Form” from the drop down menu next to “Link to” option. Hope this helps.

  3. Does anyone know how I can add like a blank page for about me and other things? Im having trouble figuring out how to do that! THANKS!

    1. If you go to Customize/Customize Site/Entire Site/Settings, you can turn off the Smugmug Footer and Header. It still says Photos hosted by Smugmug, but you can move it to the left or right so it’s less visible.

  4. Better than paying for someone to design your sit. This is one thing I wanted to do for a few years now but afraid I would mess it up. And I know I would have I hate CSS and all that stuff

  5. I think this has promise, but it’s like Netflix’s (failed) rollout of “Qwikster”

    At this point, I like my old site, although there are a few things that I want to modernize, which I hoped would be available with this.

    Still, not including the full size slideshow is really an oversight that should get someone fired on the design team. That’s the best part of my site and if not included on an update, will cause me to migrate all my photos to a different hosting platform.

  6. I can’t figure out how to get my “Legacy” favicon to work. Is there a new format or something? My old .png doesn’t work and I tried making a couple different sizes/file types as suggested in help but no luck. Anybody else have this problem or know what my malfunction is?

    1. Yeah, mine favicon is also not “sticking.” I go through the motions of selecting a picture and clicking Save, but then it doesn’t show up. I have been so busy with other things though, I just added that to a mental list of things I’ll get to eventually.

      1. I think the browser cache thing is outdated info because when I change or delete my favicon in SmugMug the changes show up immediately (at least in Safari and Chrome).

        Writing this because I wasted a lot of time thinking it was the cache when I first ran into this problem and hope to help others avoid the same!

    2. I haven’t been able to make favicons work either. I emailed support about it and they eventually stopped responding (and I was not being a jerk or anything either in any way at all). In fact I did a screen cap video to send them to show them how I was trying to use them in case I was doing something wrong.

      Maybe it’s a known issue for them.. I have no idea…

    3. I was having a bunch of problems with my favicon as well but it’s working great for me now. Not sure if it was something on SmugMug’s end that they fixed or it was the new favicon that I created, but try going to my site at and see if the favicon is displaying.
      If it shows up, try using my favicon to test whether smugmug just doesn’t like you favicon file (
      The favicon I created was 64×64 PNG with transparency and exported for web.
      Good luck!

  7. Is anyone having an issue with the LR Plug-in after migrating to the new SM. I’ve downloaded the latest version w/LR 3.4, but still shows ‘no photos’ on LR.

  8. The keyword function you described doesn’t work for me gives me a list of only about 10 keywords. I have applied hundreds of keywords. I’ve seen this same thing when I’ve tried to add a keyword cloud as a content block to my existing galleries: a few of my concert-related keywords (probably the keywords I’ve used most) are listed, but it’s only a tiny portion of all my keywords.

    1. Try going to “Customize”, “Customize Site”, hover over the keyword cloud and click the wrench icon, then change the Max Number to 255. The default is 10 keywords if you don’t specify the max number.

  9. These customizations are really cool! One thing I can’t seem to customize however, is ShareGroups. Because I want to share unlisted galleries I can’t simply create a password protected “page” with a set of Galleries (because the unlisted ones won’t show up), but ShareGroups work *very* well for this.

    While ShareGroups do get my general theme applied, I can’t customize the content of the page (title, Gallery layout, navigation bar, etc..)

    Do you know you’ll provide better integration between The New SmugMug and ShareGroups in the future?

    1. Hi Ian, right now Sharegroups (and Events, if you’ve got a Business account) will inherit your site-wide customizations, but the ability to customize each one like its own page is on our radar. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. I LOVE ALL THE NEW CHANGES… WORKS AMAZING FOR MY BUSINESS!!! Thank you for all the upgrades; it really has brought SmugMug to a whole new level. The one thing I wish I could customize a bit more is the Contact form… I would like to be able to add my logo and more questions which fit to my business.

    Thanks a mil!

  11. Love the new smugmug… don’t mind the negative comments… it was a great job and now is by far the best picture management service out there.

  12. There’s a few things that I would like to see (keep my theme in the shopping cart for example), but overall I think the new SmugMug is FANTASTIC! I was literally shopping around for a new photo hosting service when I saw the email for the new SmugMug redesign. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  13. One minor thing I would like to see changed is the Search Page. What I would like is to have that Search Bar with my Map and Keyword Cloud content blocks below it, but the problem is there is a large blank space under the Search Page Search Bar that can’t be changed and that looks bad. I tried making a custom page with the Search Bar, Map, and Keyword Cloud content blocks, but the problem with that is, unlike the special Search Page, the regular Search Bar content block doesn’t have the buttons below it to search by Galleries or Videos and those buttons are important to me.

    Can you either remove the white space from under the Search Page’s Search Bar, or add the ability to display the gallery and video buttons below the Search Bar content block? Even better would be if you did both!

    Here are screenshots showing what I’m talking about:

  14. Contrary to the title of this post, I can’t edit the 404 page. Can’t add or see anything being changed. Let me know when this is working as advertised. Thx.

  15. I agree with the people that like the new site. I am far from what it will eventually looks like but already like the change over the old. I somehow lost my Bio page which I miss but am sure they mentioned that subject before I migrated over. I’m having a web designer work their magic and make my basic design a lot better.

  16. When using “Include folder content” on the homepage navigation buttons, the drop down is too long and won’t scroll. Also, how can I set the menu up so that the most recent uploads show at the top of the drop down menu? Tried the most “Date Added” in all galleries option but that only changed it on the galleries page, not the drop down menu. Having an EXTREMELY difficult time finding the “This page only” editing option. Stumbled on it once, but cant find it now even when I go back to organize or customize buttons. Happy that some have found the transition to the new smugmug so easy, but as far as I’m concerned so far it is a train wreck. Been working for weeks trying to figure all this out with little progress. Tutorials have been little help.

  17. I appreciate the effort here but I am not finding it as easy as the old Smug Mug.I want to be able to organize my pictures on my home page like before. So far, no can do.The new site looks better but to me is not user friendly. Sorry.

  18. I would like to have the “visitor view” back so I can see how my clients view their gallery. It is difficult to assist a client if we are not looking at the same setup.

  19. A SmugMug newbie and still learning my way around, but loving it. Here’s a question … the search function doesn’t seem to include pages?

    On our site,, we’ve got a gallery for a seaplane flight ( as well as a blog page containing more text and a Youtube video (

    When I type “Catalina” in to the search bar, only the photos show up. Nothing shows up under videos either, even though the title of you Youtube video says Catalina. Does this video option only search for videos uploaded directly to SmugMug? Would be handy video links too.

    Is there a setting I need to change to be able to search through the pages?

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