Thursday, December 24, 2009

PhotoBiz Review

Company name: PhotoBiz


PhotoBiz provides the whole range of web services for photographers, including online proofing, flash websites, slideshow galleries and “mini sites”. They have five flash website design collections containing over 70 templates. The company’s pricing model consists of two parts: one time set-up fee which is $125 (regular $250) and 6 basic monthly plans, starting from $15/mo.

The template design gallery by PhotoBiz leaves a positive impression – there are lots of various themes available and many of them are stylish and original. You can preview each template, however there is no trial period available, so you can’t test the administration system. You can switch designs both within separate collection and between different collections. No additional costs required to do this, and the system will automatically update everything you’ve already done to the website - definitely a plus. $125 one time set-up fee gives users a complete access to all five design collections. But we find it strange that it’s positioned like an advantage. Every of the PhotoBiz’ template design categories has a particular number of features, some collections are simple while others provide an advanced website functionality. On the one hand, this is good as you can choose the package right for your needs, but in fact you pay the same money both for simple and extended functionality. So what’s the point? I think it would be more reasonable to keep the price stuck to the set of the features the photo website software provides.

As other companies we have already reviewed, PhotoBiz say they do care about SEO. The system creates the mirror html sites of the flash website and thus your website should get to the index of search engines. Let’s make a test, here’s one of the websites that left a positive feedback towards PhotoBiz software on the Testimonials page (unfortunately, no links to the testimonial submitters’ websites are given). We can see the title, meta description and keywords in the index page of the website and you will see this info in Google as well (I’d suggest PhotoBiz to make some small manual on writing friendly and useful meta data though). Now let’s find what pages from the website have been indexed by google using the “site” command. Great news- there are 25 pages found! Hooray PhotoBiz! The only thing you guys should look at is the structure of the URLs, links like are friendly neither for users nor for search engines.

Our testing proved that PhotoBiz doesn’t lie telling customers sophisticated XML site mapping and deep linking are implemented in their flash websites. The tested website is still far from being SEO-friendly in full measure, but the overall situation with search engine optimization of PhotoBiz flash websites is on a decent level. Besides, the company offers SEO expert consulting to their customers which is a benefit as well. By the way, we noticed that many testimonials are dedicated to the PhotoBiz Support team. It seems, the company pays much attention to helping their customers.

PhotoBiz would be even closer to being an excellent photo website management service if it wasn’t a hosted solution. Yes, again users have no choice when it comes to site residing. Well, at least their monthly plan system supports a reasonable disk space split, so that it’s easier for a user to find the one according to the amount of imagery they are going to host.

In general, PhotoBiz offers a high quality web photo CMS solution with many nifty features included. However, the system of set-up fee + monthly fee makes it rather expensive but I think it’s worth it (if you can afford it). Still, the ability to host website on user’s own server would definitely lower costs and this is something you should take into consideration.

You will find links to reviews of other photography websites available on the market on the right. Good luck with your new website!

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