Comparison Reviews by Industry Experts
Zenfolio Review: Is It Still Among the Top Web Builders in 2020?
For a successful career in photography, a photographer needs not only to be excellent at taking photos but also have a stunning platform for showcasing their work. Luckily, thanks to website builders such as Zenfolio, photographers can easily create stunning photography websites even if they do not have any knowledge of coding (HTML).
With that said, this post provides an in-depth Zenfolio review to help professional photographers learn about this site builder, and thus, determine if it is right for them.
What Is Zenfolio Web Builder: Definition and Usage
Zenfolio website builder is a photography portfolio site builder that enables photographers to create stunning websites where they can display, share, and manage communications with existing customers. Apart from that, users can access an e-commerce functionality that allows them to create online stores to sell their works. Launched in 2006, Zenfolio is now used by over 100,000 photographers across the planet and is preferred due to its accessibility. About that, one only needs to sign up on the platform and proceed to create stunning websites in simple clicks and maneuvers.
With that said, below is a detailed assessment of the web creator’s usability and fees.
How Easy to Use Is Zen Folio?
As said before, registering on Zenfolio is amazingly straightforward. However, this tool still falls short as far as usability is concerned. See, even though this web creating tool is comprehensive and has excellent functionalities, how one can leverage these great capabilities is not clear.
Upon signing up, one receives an email containing 3 simple steps to help with the onboarding. Nonetheless, despite the overall good intention and effort, the instructions are basic and offer nothing tangible to work with.
To know more regarding working with the builder, users can take lessons with a “Zen master.” However, it’s worth mentioning that for a tool which offers many conveniences with their built-in features and great templates, this step beats the purpose. So, considering the issues highlighted above, this web builder’s onboarding process is wanting.
Zenfolio Offers a Free Plan During the Trial Period
Photographers can use Zenfolio at no cost for a trial period of 14 days. Better yet, it is not necessary to avail any credit card information to access the same. Over the two weeks, one can access all features provided by the platform, try out various customizing options, and work with multiple templates. After that, if happy, a user can upgrade to any of the offered paid plans.
Zenfolio Pricing: Are the Plans Competitive? And When to Pay?
Against the fees of other web builders, Zenfolio pricing is pretty competitive. It is especially the case when one considers the tons of features they access with the various plans. Pro (at $10 per month), their middle plan, offers a host of great functionalities, for example, marketing, watermarking, and payment processing. The Advanced Plan (at $15 per month), comes with even more features. Last but not least, there is also a Starter plan at $5 per month.
Photographers who are after an uncomplicated portfolio site or better customization should consider another builder. There is no point in overpaying if one does not necessarily require the characteristics which set Zenfolio apart from the rest.
What’s to Like About Zenfolio?
The key advantages of associated with Zenfolio include:
- Easy website set up
One thing that really stands out about Zenfolio is the fact that anyone can use it to build an amazing website in minutes- with no prior experience required. Once you pick a plan and create your account, the builder will propose a template depending on the kind of photography you do.
- Unlimited storage
Unlike most websites which offer limited space for users to store and display their shots, Zenfolio gives its users unlimited working space right from the basic plan. With the $5/ month starter plan, you can upload as many photographs and videos as you want.
- Competitive prices
Zenfolio charges an affordable fee for the features that it offers. Of the three pricing options, Advanced is at the top and has all characteristics of the two previous plans plus dedicated phone and live chat, customer pre-order online, multi-user account access, option to set order minimums, among other features, for just $15 a month. You get better value for money with Zenfolio than with regular website builders.
- Automatic optimization for mobile
With most people accessing the internet on their phones, it’s safe to say mobile optimization is crucial for any website owner. Zenfolio websites are automatically optimized for use on mobile. Zenfolio also helps users access lots of free Android, Blackberry, and iPhone apps they can utilize in photo management.
- Access to a vast system of photographers
Depending on the plan you choose, you will enjoy free (single or multi-pack) or discounted listing of your work to an extensive directory of other photographers in different genres known as photographer central. This platform is a great place for users to connect with new clients.
- Free 14-day trial & satisfaction guarantee
You can sign up for the fourteen-day free Zenfolio trial to see how it works before you commit. Moreover, if you pick a pricing plan and are not satisfied with this website developer for whatever reason, it’s possible to cancel your subscription within 30 days and claim a full refund.
What’s Not to Like About Zenfolio Website Builder?
While Zenfolio has many benefits and unique features, there are also some few cons:
- Limited fonts
You only choose from the 12 default text fonts available when using this site creator as users can’t implement web fonts. It’s, therefore, a little limited for those users who wish to style text in many varying fonts.
- A bit complex for new users to get used to
The builder’s interface can be a little complicated for a new user to navigate, search for a specific feature, or fully exploit its capabilities. That’s because there are a lot of features, links, and options available. But it’s quite handy once you get a little used to it.
- Phone support for advanced members only
It isn’t easy to speak to representatives via telephone unless you’ve subscribed to the advanced plan. Dedicated phone assistance is only given to users on the advanced package. However, you can get live chat customer service as a pro member or email assistance on the low tier plan.
- Annual subscription
To pay the lowest price, you’ll have to get the yearly plan in advance. Customers who buy yearly plans save significantly as compared to those who opt to pay month by month.
Useful Zenfolio Features to Help You Monetize Your Efforts
One of the standout characteristics of this tool is modern galleries. These straightforward galleries have endless price lists along with a photo and video uploads. Apart from that, the gallery functionality can be shared, it is protected by password, and has filled pricing lists that enable you to start selling right after you start your web page and share/ upload your products. Also, it is worth mentioning that, with this feature, you’ll have no hassle with client proofing.
This website maker also has built-in pages, each available in different languages. Among these, are the typical web pages such as Pricing, Contact Us, Testimonials, About Us, and so forth. This built-in functionality allows you to write content and post videos/ photographs fast, thus enabling you to save time when getting your site up and running.
Good Speed and Security
This server works fine in Europe, America, Sydney, and Singapore. Nonetheless, if your users are in places such as Tokyo and Bangalore, then you might be disappointed because the servers are not well-optimized to cater to these areas.
Still related to speed, this website maker has no specified guarantee of uptime. It, thus, means that users will not get any uptime assurance, which can be quite disturbing, especially because every photographer wants their site to be up throughout. Apart from that, there have been reports saying that this tool has constant micro downtimes (a few instances each month). By considering this information, there seem to be problems with the platform’s functionality or ineffective management. But even with that said, it is still essential to note that no significant downtimes have been reported.
About security, Zenfolio does not enable you to manage the security of your site. Moreover, there is no HTTPS.
Excellent Choice of Fantastic Templates and Personalized Designs
There are 12 Zenfolio templates to pick and personalize. Users are bound to have a pleasant experience as every template is top-notch and easily adaptable. You also have Gallery and Homepage for every template based on your liking and arrangement on the page. Here are the well-designed Zenfolio themes:
It’s worth mentioning that with this website editor, you can conveniently create your own design if these are not appealing to you. However, you’ll require HTML/ coding expertise.
About customization, every theme can be edited, enabling you to adjust parameters such as color, background, and font. Apart from that, users can tweak the site layout with any of the options and delete or include specific aspects based on their preferences.
Responsive Customer Support on Email
This company does a commendable job regarding customer service and support. For one, there’s a Support Centre that enables you to search for solutions to pertinent queries fast. Moreover, you can watch their elaborate explainer videos to get accustomed to various functionalities. This step helps you grasp strategies that see you personalize your art to attain high conversion rates.
To get assistance from a representative, send an email. However, while the company provides client assistance 24/7 around the year, be ready to wait for long before you get a response to your message.
For Starter and even Pro users, the absence of other means of communication can be entirely aggravating, particularly, if they have issues that need to be solved ASAP.
Effective SEO and Marketing
This tool offers effective marketing and SEO capabilities, among them, are optimized HTML pages, custom meta tags, free photo marketing campaigns, integration with Webmaster tools and Google Analytics, integration with your blog, and so forth. As such, with all these abilities, this maker allows you to grow your brand organically by leveraging deliberate search marketing campaigns.
What`s worth special attention here is the integrated picture blog. With it, this web maker enhances your site, enabling you to post your image slideshows, video clips, and latest photos for your visitors to see. All this is particularly easy given that you can share your portfolio via a direct link to customer galleries.
For even more effective SEO, your site’s sitemap is automatically availed to all big search engines. Apart from that, the content sections that are indexed by Bing, Google, and other search engines are indicated clearly.
Integrates with Google Analytics & Social Platforms
Zenfolio can be integrated with social platforms easily. It permits photographers to share shots they add to their website to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, as well as Twitter. This builder also helps you check visitor behavior, like the length of time spent on your website as well as pages they click on, automatically through linking to Google Analytics. The integration procedure is simple. You’ll begin viewing visitor data on the Google dashboard in a day. Apart from sharing media and viewing site statistics, you can as well promote your photography site through emails and coupons.
Set Your Prices and Receive Payments in Over 18 Currencies
This creator assists you to do e-commerce on the photography site. It has an online shopping cart which can be branded to your liking. Photographers can also accept payments in over eighteen currencies, choose from a host of global delivery or shipping options, and email shopping carts to anyone you like. Among the products you may sell on Zenfolio websites include handcrafted photos, greeting cards, printed pictures, digital downloads (if you possess their licenses), customized collages, and any vendor-granted product.
Users fix the prices for their photographs/ albums. You’re also allowed to pick the shipping option for each sale, charge VAT on completed orders, and include promotions on pending orders. Zenfolio’s fees for transactions are low, and site owners can receive payments through credit cards and PayPal.
Create Coupons and Promo Codes with Zenfolio
Zenfolio gives you tools that you can use to promote both your photo site. Among these are discounts and coupons. Through the user account dashboard, one can build and monitor new campaigns, gift certificates, coupons, etc. Users can, for example, give new clients a 20 percent discount when they make their first order. If you wish to make coupons or promotional campaigns for clients for free, pick the pro or advanced plans.
Zenfolio is truly an excellent tool for creating photography websites. It’s so simple to create a site with it, as it gives users unlimited space to store photos, and offers tons of templates. By specifying your type of photography, this builder assists you in developing a site that ideally suits your niche. It’ll take some time to get used to the majority of complex features. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful all-inclusive solution for those photographers who require to market their talent and possibly do photography business.
The pricing options that Zenfolio provides come with different options. If you’ve just started photography and require basic features, then the starter package is a wise choice. But if you’re an established photographer who is looking for more control and exposure to more new clients, their advanced plan may be the option for you.
Since Zenfolio gives new clients a two-week free trial period, consider testing it out to see if it works well for you.
Reviews from Zenfolio Users
Here are a couple of Zenfolio reviews from actual users:
“I like that Zenfolio is so simple. I picked a template then edited it a little to my liking. You may still use it as it is if you prefer. My site was up in no time. The site functions well and allows me to upload as many photographs as I want. I can also showcase my work to all or select visitors and receive payments for purchases easy. Definitely worth recommending to others.”
“I heard about Zenfolio photography websites a while back and decided to give it a try. Six months on and no regrets. My site was easy to build, and I had my own customized domain name (no unwanted branding). I also find that the pricing is pretty affordable, and the features plenty on pro plan.”
“Compared to many options out there, I believe Zenfolio is better. I’ve used it for a couple of years now and do not have any complaints so far. It loads quickly, has fantastic viewing quality, and chat customer care is just superb. If you’re looking for a practical tool that lets you upload as many photos as you wish, then Zenfolio is the ideal pick.”
“I started my photography business using Zenfolio. It is good for beginners and established photographer as well. You will enjoy unlimited storage, easy delivery to clients, and convenient payment methods. The only thing they can do better is to add more templates.”