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Feb
15
2011

Tuesday Photography Tips & Tricks | The Top 10 Reasons Why Showit is the Best thing for Photographers Since Sliced Bread

by Jody on February 15, 2011, posted in Photo Tips & Tricks

If you took a moment and looked at all of the tools you use for your business (Pictage, ShootQ, Quickbooks, SmugMug, PhotoJunction, Album Exposure, etc.) and had to pick ONE to get rid of which would you choose? If you had to pick one that you would forever be able to keep, which would it be?

For today’s Tuesday Photography Tips and Tricks, we want to share with you one of the biggest tools, if not THE biggest, that we have used and continue to use for our business that we would not be able to do without.

If we did not have Showit, we have no idea where our business would be. Seriously. You think we’re exaggerating. We’re not.

Showit in a nutshell:
A tool made by photographers for photographers to build your own fully customizable website.

Your website is your public face. It represents you. As photographers we are unique and creative individuals. Don’t we want that to reflect in our site? Don’t we want the freedom to do whatever to our site that we want instead of being constricted to templates?

Top 10 Reasons Why Showit is Amazing (and why we love it)

1. Flash + HTML + HTML5: Even though the site is flash, Showit creates an HTML file for every page so your site is searchable, AND when you publish it, it automatically publishes it in HTML 5 format so it can be viewed on all mobile devices!!

2. SEO that is the bomb: Read more here to see the full awesomeness

3. FULL customization: Away with templates, and enter in Style Groups that you can use as a foundation to start your website on (that are FULLY changeable), or you can start with a blank slate. Showit offers a variety of free Style Groups to choose from. It’s awesome!

4. Designers on hand: Don’t want to build your site from scratch? Want a fully custom site built for Showit? Oh, there are some great designers to partner with! SiteHouse is a company created by Promise Tangemen – a creative GENIUS (with a background in photography!) and when it comes to branding and design she is KILLER!!! Visit SiteHouse by clicking below!

We love, love, love, Promise’s design and aesthetic. Ever seen Jasmine Star’s kick booty website? Yup, Promise designed it.

Even if you get a designer to design your site, you still have full access and the ability to go in and update, modify/add images/tweak text, etc. It’s awesome :)

5. Easy ability to change: Something we love about Showit is it is SO easy to change things. Don’t like the color of the font after all? Want some fresh bio info on your bio page? Want to put your navigation on the side instead of the top? Want to add images to your site? Remove a gallery? Add a new page? No sweat. You can do that SO easily instead of goin back and forth with your web guy.

Below is our first Showit Site that we created-

Old home page:

Old About page:

So our first site was cool and all, but we decided that we wanted to crisp it up a bit and thus about 6 months ago launched our new and improved site! And guess what… we did it all for no extra cost :)

New Home page:

New About page:

After we had the above website for a few years, we decided to rebrand and get a website built by visual identity specialist, Melissa Love. Here is what we have now (which we can still change/tweak/add photos, etc. at any time!).

6. Custom Client Sites: THIS IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT SHOWIT! Through Showit you are able to create +Sites which essentially are custom URLs for each of your clients! You can do this for their engagement sessions, create their own custom wedding websites, then plug them into Facebook (more on that below) – how much cooler does it get!

Look at the below custom site Melissa built that we can duplicate for all of our clients!

We have utilized +sites for the photography side of our business and have created a site for photographers and for our workshops! (This all is included in your monthly Showit subscription). You can click below to visit the actual sites.

Site for photographers:

Site for our IN-CAMERA workshops:

7. Facebook Integration: We love how Showit stays ahead of the curve and is always up on cool and savvy things like being able to embed your site on Facebook! And yes, this includes +sites too! How cool would it be to create a custom site for your clients then embed it on their facebook wall to share with all of their family and friends??? This is awesome for your brides and awesome for marketing YOUR brand!

8. Suh-weet Widgets: Pay Pal buttons, Smug Mug galleries, Full screen option, want to embed your tweets, your blog feed, YouTube, SmugMug, or Vimeo videos, and the list continually grows!

9. Mobile Sites: Yup. Showit automatically generates a mobile version for your site so the viewing experience is the same as what you’d see on your laptop ! Check out our site on your phone – ZachandJody.com.

 

10. Saves Money: Custom sites can be SUPER expensive. We have had friends who have spent thousands on a website and a year later, they are ready to change things and now have to spend thousands again. We have been using Showit since the beginning of 2008 and have yet to even come close to paying what some of our friends are, AND we have changed and tweaked our site continuously throughout the last 3 years. Using Showit is $39/month. That’s it! No additional fees – nothing. You get it all.

11. (Ok, so we have run over our limit of 10, but there are so many good things about Showit!) You don’t pay until you actually publish your site. Yup! You read that right! Download Showit. Play around with it as much as you want, and you do not pay until you make your site live.

12. Free mini site: For those of you who may be just starting off and want just a little site for now to get your name out there – you can create five pages and publish them online for free! Fellow friend and photographer, Kristine Neeley has one of these sites! Click below to visit her site:

13. Fantastic help: Need help? Have a question? There is a plethora of information on Showit Wiki including tutorial videos. You can submit a ticket and the Showit Studs are AMAZING at helping you! There is also ClubShowit where Showiteers gather to help each other out and share questions and give feedback, AND every Wednesday at 1:00PST there is the Hangout where the man Kevin Sturm goes online live covering Showit topics and answering questions at showitfast.com/live.

14. Community: Showit has a great community. Not only through Club Showit, through their Showit Facebook page, but also EVERY day Showiteers gather for Showit’s live Broadcast every day at noon central on Showit Live. The Showit team puts out AMAZING information, not only regarding Showit topics but regarding your business and the latest things in the industry.

15. Great people behind the company: We personally know DJ and Kevin Sturm and these guys have great hearts and are sincerely there for us. They as well as the rest of the team are great people and it’s exciting to be a part of something where you know the people behind the company truly care about you.

For those interested, here is a screen shot of what it looks like in the backend :)

Whew! Ok, that was a little more than 10 things, but Showit is seriously the bomb and has been HUGE for us in shaping our business.

We have friends and talented Nashville Wedding Videographers, Eugene & Heather of 2Duce2 who have created their site with Showit. Check out their site below and THEN check out the BOMB video they put together about their new site.

Watch the quick video!

Seriously, Showit is AMAZING and has been phenomenal for our business. If you are sick of your site, Showit can change your life!! :) :) Soooo, if you’re curious about Showit, you can visit their main web page as well as visit their Get Started Showit Wiki page.

For those going to WPPI, Showit is going to be having their own events and Q&A’s and times where you can sit down with their techs and either get help for your site, learn about Showit, etc. Follow the link to view Showit’s Vegas Schedule.

Just to let you guys know, Showit does not pay us or compensate us in any way to talk about them :) We truly love Showit and we can’t help but share about the awesomeness of it.

Who else out there uses Showit? What’s your favorite thing about it??

  • http://www.faithteasley.com Faith

    I LOVE Showit! I just launched my Showit site earlier this month and I can’t imagine using anything else! :)

  • http://Www.epicdanger.com Nikki Aka EpicDanger

    I just switched from my bludomain site over to showit and straight up love it! The techs are rad and quick and the site is so simple to put together. I’ve only been live for about 3weeks and have lots to tweaking to do but all and all I’m in love!

  • http://www.brittanibowling.com Brittani

    Thanks so much for all of this awesome info. on ShowIt! This is an investment I truly can’t wait to make and hope to by the end of the year. This looks like a tool that would absolutely grow your business leaps and bounds all the while enhancing your clients experience. Thanks Zach and Jody!

  • http://Www.lifestylefotografieblog.com Anouschka

    Couldn’t agree more! <3 showit! One of THE best decissions i made for my business :-)

  • http://www.sitehousedesigns.com PROMISE TANGEMAN

    HOLY BLOG POST!!! WOW!! thank you soo much. you guys Rock!!

  • http://www.stack9design.com Linda Stahowiak

    Quick question, but first thanks awesome post. What about a blog? Does showit offer blogs? I now need to convince my husband and other half of our company to do it!

  • http://randyphotography.com Randy

    Gave it a try and then moved on. Issues I had.

    1. I love flash but iOS doesn’t nuff said
    2. No blog integration so you will need two web solutions which is over kill when there are good choices out there for a CMS based website.
    3. Hard to update text on different pages, the interface is not easy to use after you set it up.
    4. Cost is high. You can find simple java based full screen slideshows (that also work in iOS) for much less.
    5. Support often is overwhelmed leading to days before you get answers..nice folks but its a business decision and we aren’t all best friends with the owners…don’t mean to be ugly, but it’s true.
    5. If your coming from a CMS solution you will hate it trust me.. I came from expression engine and missed my power settings.

  • Zach

    Randy-

    Thanks for your feedback! To address all your questions in a row:

    1. You can build a custom iphone version of your site (like we mentioned in the post) for free that works on a smart phone. No site looks good (even HTML sites) when scaled down to an iphone, so creating one that does makes perfect sense.
    2. Depending on your marketing, you may need a complete custom blog or integration into Facebook (which Showit does) to push your brand. Showit is more concentrated with where people are communicating which is on Facebook. I would say look at your analytics, figure out what percentage of your business is coming from your blog and turning into dollars in your pocket, then decide if having a blog and website even makes sense, and if you need them to be from the same company. Our website is the face of our business, and the time spent on it is money either in or out of our pockets, so I would say that Showit has helped us create tens of thousands of dollars of revenue.
    3. There is a learning curve to Showit, as there is to every new program. Once you are shown your way around (tons of videos and tutorials) it’s really easy to get around. To update something on Showit, especially text, is so simple. I’m not sure what you’re running into with that. Sorry about that!
    4. Cost is low, and to get a site that looks like ours, you could easily pay thousands just for the design alone. We have paid exactly $1,400 since it launched 3 years ago. Talk about inexpensive marketing! Even if it’s cost was much higher, we would still use it because of the freedom it gives us to control our business.
    5. Support with Showit is what they do best and that is why they have created all the videos, groups, tickets, tour stops and the list goes on of ways to help their users get the most out of their product. They even put on a live show every day of the week to help their peeps! Who does that?
    6. We only became friends with the team in the last year, but have loved the company since we started using them 3 years ago and have found them great from the get-go.
    7. Not sure what the CMS thing is, but the back-end is like Photoshop with layers. Once you learn it (there is a learning curve with any great piece of software) then you can tweak and adjust stuff really fast! Showit is about creating freedom and giving us a lifestyle that makes sense, and that is exactly what they have done for us.
    We’re sorry to hear it didn’t work for you, but not every product is right for everyone. If you love your current site http://www.randyphotography.com, then stick with it my friend!
    -Zach

  • http://www.kristinnicolephotography.com Kristin Nicole

    Love showit soooo much. I think it is one of the best decisions I have made for my business. There is just nothing else like it! Worth every penny and more. Love being able to tweak things any time I want. Great blog post!

  • http://www.larissaphotography.com/blog TJ McDowell

    From what I’m hearing about Showit, I’m actually pretty impressed. If we didn’t already have an all-star web designer, we probably would have done a Showit website.

    What’s pretty unique about Showit is that they’ve tried to design a system that works for photographers. They know photographers love flash, but they also recongnize the value of SEO, so they’ve created a system that handles both. Another thing I like is that the websites don’t look nearly as “template-y” as a lot of the other photographer website tools out there.

    The CMS thing that Randy is talking about is a Content Management System. You can definitely use WordPress or another CMS to build a great site, but I think we’re talking apples and oranges here. Have you run across a WordPress plugin that creates 2 different versions of your site – one for flash and one for html? If you have, let me know because I don’t know of one.

    Thanks for sharing Zach!

  • http://www.stack9design.com Linda Stahowiak

    We are signed up and will be designing it this weekend! Thanks again for this great post and helpful information! Once we are live, would love your feedback! Thanks again!!

  • http://lydiaphotography.com Lydia

    I LOVE Showit!! Lifetime subscriber here!

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