If you are a photographer you understand how important it is to have a portfolio which defines and shows the work you do. There are number of website builders, hosting platforms and custom code shops you can opt from to build your website and get going. Last year I was in search of switching my website platform builder from Strikingly to some other provider. While I was sitting on google to search for the right provider for my website to showcase my portfolio I came across Sticky Folios.
For those of you who don’t know what is stickyfolios, it is a similar website building platform to showcase your work and portfolio to potential clients.
In stickyfolios language:
They build marketing software for photographers.
I read tons of reviews of sticky folios and thought to give it a shot and called the support person to ask for a trial instead directly signing up. Interestingly, they were running a promotion for $1 and 30 days trial. I signed up on it immediately.
I started working on creating my stickyfolio portfolio of my work and style and realized that the features offered by stickyfolios are not enough for me and in fact were not right tools to show my work to my customers / clients.
Here is the full list of features supported by Sticky Folios
I kept my search on found Squarespace, where I settled and love my website today.
So, without further delay here are my top 5 reasons why I think StickyFolios is not a tool to build your Primary Portfolio Website on.
REASON-1 (NO SEO / SUPER WEAK SEO)
As a photographer you don’t only want to create a portfolio, you want it to be present online in front of your clients to get more business. The idea is to market your work to people you don’t know today and want to make them your client’s tomorrow. Who is better than google to do that for you. Interestingly, google wants you to play by their rules.
Sticky folio work on one pager landing pages. They don’t have a way to SEO your site pages or different section URL’s for you to rank higher on google. They however have a section for SEO which literally has four fields to put your site Title, Meta description., Analytics Id & FB Tracking Id. Unfortunately, those are not the only things google accounts to rank your website.
For a platform who claims to be the marketing software for photographers, this was my first reason to not go ahead with StickyFolios for my website.
REASON-2 (IMAGE META TAGS)
As a photographer we always create stories through our images and every story has a title and the end. Each image we create as a photographer, creative editor, story writer or may be just a designer has a story title to it.
I was surprised to see in Stickyfolios that I can’t customize my image titles, meta tags, descriptions on their platform. It’s like asking a publisher to print a book without “verso” announcing a Title Page or the Story Name. These texts are commonly called as “alttext” These alternate texts not only helps clients who have images in their web browsers switched off but also to customers who have enabled screen reader due to visual impairment.
These tags again help us as photographers to SEO our websites and convey messages to all of our customers.
Tip: As a photographer it’s the number one thing for you to show your work to your clients by adding those meta tags “alttexts” and helping google to show your website when someone search for photographers near me. This is how their image uploader looks like with no information on image texts, captions, alt texts etc.
REASON-3 (ONE SIZE FIT ALL)
Customization, creativity, thinking & design is in the DNA of any photographer or creative person. When we are asked we can’t think or design when we are supposed to pay for a service, it’s a big no way for me. Of-course I am on a commercial shoot and being paid and I am supposed to follow the directions of my creative editor / director, makes sense.
After I started creating my website on sticky folios, I realized that one can only do following in terms of customizations when building a website with Stickyfolios:
- Hide / Show the content blocks they have
- Change the fonts
- Change Text
- Update Logo
- Change Button Colors
You can’t customize the stickyfolio templates. For ex: Would you want to show the gallery as a bleed (Full Screen) page rather than the blocks of images, sorry you can’t do it OR you want to show the pricing table in a different structure, nope no way. So stickyfolios have like 5-6 section templates where the best you can do it hide or show section block if you want to customize, else it’s all about creating an album with some About Me and Content Sections. These are the sections you can work on to change few things on their templates. Interestingly the options are same and don’t change with the template you are using.
REASON-4 (NO DEVELOPER ACCESS)
From my past career I am an IT Engineer and knows how to code and make look and feel changes to my website, if needed. The other thing I didn’t like about StickyFolios is that anyone who subscribes for stickyfolios in my area, my website will look pretty similar to him and there’s no difference since stickyfolios have standard 5-7 templates and you can’t customize them. Now this was a game changer.
I am not sure if you would want it or not but like you can’t customize their standard templates, you can also not write your own CSS (a language describing style of the content) on their templates to match your branding with their styles or Adding extra sections or modifying forms etc.
REASON-5 (NO DEVELOPER ACCESS)
Adding a booking form or contact page on your website with StickyFolios, forget about adding extra fields. They do have an option to add custom questions, feedback points though, but no extra fields.
This was like asking for my money to handcuff me. I decided not to create my website with stickyfolios and use Squarespace. If you are wondering how much they charge then here’s the stickyfolio pricing for you. They offer following two plans billed monthly versus annually.
And here’s the squarespace pricing. With Squarespace they offer 4 plans (2 for websites & 2 for online stores). I chose the business website plan costing me $18 when billed annually ($216) and saving me $183 from Stickyfolios. The highest plan of squarespace when billed monthly would cost you $40, which I strongly doubt you will need. In any case you will get more and save more with squarespace.
Compare both of my portfolios below (Stickyfolios & Squarespace) to see the difference yourself.
With Stickyfolios I liked their design of landing page so I coded that myself on my squarespace site. However, with squarespace I have tons and tons of flexibility to use lead magnet, forms, blogging, look and feel, redirection etc.
Most importantly the SEO and Ranking can be easily managed in Squarespace.
Please note that neither I am nor the content above is associated with Squarespace in any way. I am not a squarespace affiliate and my blog is not a way to promote squarespace. This blog is NOT being paid by squarespace and is purely my experience with two service providers.
I have been asked multiple times then why I signed up for sticky folios and how do I make use of my money with that platform when my website is somewhere else.
Leave your comments below and let me know if you want to learn why stickyfolios still matters in your photography marketing and lead generation. I will write my views on that to share with you. Also, what platform you use for your website and why you feel it’s better.