Zenfolio vs. SmugMug – 8 Months Later

Zenfolio-SmugMugIf you’ve followed my earlier posts, you’ll know that on October 26, 2012 I switched the web hosting provider for my photography business from SmugMug to Zenfolio. At that point I had done quite a bit of research and what I found was that Zenfolio was the most comparable solution to SmugMug when it came to pricing and features.

I’ve written three posts on what my experiences have been since the switch, but am now announcing another change (mentioned below). To bring everyone up-to-date, the posts that I published earlier are (from earliest to latest):

[NOTE: This review was published before the release of SmugMug’s new page design tool which was launched on July 30, 2013. An updated post about the new design tool can be found at NEW SmugMug – 6 Months Later]

Zenfolio is less expensive than SmugMug, but one aspect I’ve liked the best is that it’s much easier to get the look and feel I wanted than it is with SmugMug. Both offer very similar features. Most importantly though, both have plug-ins that integrate with Adobe Lightroom which makes the overall workflow much easier.

The Result?
It’s now been 8 months into the switch from one to the other and I wanted bring everyone up-to-speed on what I’ve found. Now for the bombshell… what I’ve decided to do is to move my hosting back to SmugMug for one primary reason, SEO.
NOTE: Check out my updated posting about the SEO issues with the NEW SmugMug.
For those who may not be familiar with SEO, what it stands for is search engine optimization. SEO is a technique used to push search engine rankings higher so that more people will find a web site. More people, more clicks, more traffic, more prospects.

Why SEO is So Important To Me
I’ve reviewed many of my marketing strategies over the past year. What I’ve found is that the most effective marketing tool I have is my online portfolio. I’ve found several new clients this way and it’s become a much more important marketing channel. To do well with online marketing, it’s important that my photographs are ranking well.

In prior posts, I’ve written how one of the major shortcoming with Zenfolio is the way it handles SEO. This is highlighted in my “Zenfolio vs. SmugMug – SEO” post listed above.

The bottom line is that after 8 months with Zenfolio, all I have to show is a total of 11 keywords indexed by Google, even after following all of the SEO guidelines recommended by them. Again, this is the primary reason I’m making my move back to SmugMug.

When I was with SmugMug before, I had over 250 keywords indexed by Google. In addition, many of my images were indexed and were ranking well on the SERP. It was working well, but at that point I just didn’t want to pay SmugMug 50% more after their big increase in pricing. This was the main reason I started looking and made the switch.

In hindsight though, I need my photography to be more visible online through search and social media. Yes, SmugMug is still more expensive, but it’s small difference and one that I just can’t afford to be concerned about.

In Closing
I hope everyone has gotten something from my prior posts, but now it’s time to get back to my photography. As always, if you have any questions please reach out to me. Be sure to revisit soon as I’ll continue to write about other experiences I have from not only an economic, but more importantly, an artistic perspective!

*If this information is helpful and you’d like to sign-up for a SmugMug account, please use my referral link. You’ll receive a discount on your membership and I’ll get a small referral fee. It would be greatly appreciated. The link is:

Chip Jones

Chip Jones is a Photographer / Digital Artist from Edina, Minnesota. He specializes in Photography and Digital Fine Art for Commercial and Residential Interiors.
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