Are you looking to set up your own website where you can upload pictures of family trips for your friends and relatives to see? Setting up this kind of site is a fairly straightforward process. The first thing you need to know is your options so that you can decide which platform is right for you. You can choose between Shutterfly, Wix and your own website.
Deciding Which Platform to Use
Shutterfly is the simplest option you can go with. It’s free and easy to set up. All you have to do is create an account and set the privacy settings. After setting up an account, you can choose a design and create a Shutterfly page. Shutterfly offers a very basic template that doesn’t have much flexibility. If you don’t really care about the look and want a simple platform to put your photos on, Shutterfly is a great option.
Wix is another free site that allows you to build your own website. They run you through a simple site building process. You start out picking the category of your site and choosing one of their many high quality templates. The Wix design process is more involved and you can customize multiple elements of the website. The website builder is very easy to use, so even the most technologically challenged person will be able to build a Wix site.
The final option is of course your own website. In order to set up your own website, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and set up web hosting. The preferred platform for many people is WordPress which can be one-click installed via many web hosting providers. The benefits of building your own site is that you’ll have your own domain name, be able to run custom scripts/functionalities, have the ability to customize your site exactly to your liking.
Some Basic Tips for Building Your Photo Site
Tip #1: Start with a layout
You want to start out with a layout before you even begin designing your site. It will be incredibly helpful to sketch a rough draft on a piece of paper so that you know what the goal is. Come up with the header, pages, navigation, initial images, widgets and anything else that may go into your design. That will make the actual design process easy.
Tip #2: Categorize and set up multiple galleries
Don’t make the mistake of putting all your photos into one gallery. Categorize different trips or timelines and build a gallery for each trip. That will make it easy for your family and friends to get an idea of what the photos were about and find the photos they’re looking for.
Tip #3: Choose your best photos
Instead of dumping all of your photos onto the site, take the time to go through all of your photos and choose the best ones. This has two benefits. First, it decreases the load times of your site. Second, it’s a better way to present your photos and your visitors will have a better browsing experience.
Tip #4: Group or order your photos
When you’re given an essay to write, you organize your writing in a strategic manner. Your logical points are connected and there is a flow to your writing. You want to do the same for your photos. Order your photos in a chronological manner or group similar ones together. That will create a more enjoyable and understandable experience for your viewers.
Tip #5: Build Multiple Pages
If you’re going to be putting up many galleries on your family trip site, you may want to think about setting up multiple pages. Putting all your photos on one main page can lead to long load times. Instead, set up separate pages for each trip to avoid the long load times and organize your content.
Tip #6: Create an Intuitive Navigation
You want your photo website to be easy to use. In order to do that, you need to create an intuitive navigation menu. Think about all the content you want to add to your site and categorize them. Then, build a navigation menu that makes sense. The obvious pages you’ll need is the Homepage link, About Us link, and Contact Us link. Make the category links you place on your menu flow and feel natural. Organize them in an order that makes sense.
Tip #7: Tag Your Photos
Tagging your photos is essential if you want to be able to go back and find the exact photos you’re looking for. Tagging is basically a function where you attach keywords to your photos. For example, if you tag all the photos of Julie with the keyword Julie, you can search for Julie to return all the photos of her. If you tag all the photos from the Vegas trip, you can search Vegas and all these photos from the Vegas trip will appear.
Those are the basic options and tips to consider when building your family trip photo website. Because this will most likely be a simple site, the small details (like how you group the photos) will matter. Put a lot of thought into how you’ll be building your site and galleries if you want to provide a great experience to your visitors.