Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SiteWelder Review

Company name: SiteWelder

Website: http://www.sitewelder.com/

SiteWelder is a photo website software allowing you to create photo websites and online portfolios on SiteWelder servers. The process is pretty simple, once you register in a system just login to your interface to upload your images and move them into the galleries. You can also create text pages in the WYSIWYG editor (but only up to 10 pages) and add pdf files and video to your website. The system is template based and as they say one can easily change the look-and-feel of the website to one of their 500+ layout/theme combinations. It’s also possible to integrate your existing website design into SiteWelder for additional fee and order custom modifications to the standard themes.

A standard SiteWelder account has unlimited galleries with up 750 images on the server, if you need more you have to pay $5 a month for an additional 250 images. There’s also a shopping cart linked to Paypal so you can sell your photos online.

Among the list of features provided they also list “easy search engine indexing and optimization” but it doesn’t seem to make sense as most of the static (html, php, asp whatever) pages are indexeable by default if only the content is not inside some kind of a script. There’s also site statistics available as the part of the service but you can usually get all possible data from google analytics. Also, speaking about SEO optimization, the structure of the URLs is important as well but I can’t say that a link like /gallery.html?gallery=still life %2f food is friendly.

Nice addition to your photo website is a random home page gallery option that displays a different image on every new visit to the home page. Well, it could be even more interesting to have a slideshow option on the home page, right?

Though the SiteWelder software has lots of nice features, there are other factors we should take a look at.

The price. There is a one time $250 start up fee and $450 yearly hosting. That’s a bunch of money to spend while the functionality is nice but not exclusive.

Hosting. You can’t choose your hosting company and have full control over all the settings. While the advanced hosting package costs $10 on average a month (150 GBSpace), $450 a year is a way too much.

You have a website but at the same time it feels like it’s not fully yours. You depend on the system.

Designs. SiteWelder is offering lots of designs but they are not attractive. I agree that it’s complicated to integrate a complex detailed design into the system but at least the style should be up-do-date. If I were to create my own static portfolio I would choose Wordpress (Creating A WordPress Photography Portfolio: Plugins, Themes, Tutorials). There are lots of free designs available, tens of plugins and you can built in Google analytics.

Good thing is that we haven’t seen bad customer reviews, so if you can spend $800 a year and don’t need something special you can rely on SiteWelder. Still why don’t you check all the solutions available on the market?

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