Right from the start of the web hosting industry it was recognized that the number of people who would want web sites would be far greater than the number of people who wanted to deal with the hassle of creating and maintaining them. Web hosts capitalized on this fact almost immediately, and created business models that would attract middle men, more commonly known in the web hosting industry as “resellers.”
Today you can find web host resellers all over the web. Like the hosts themselves, the quality of their services varies, as does the need for them. The question of whether you want to go it alone or work with a reseller depends on a few factors outlined below.
How complex is your site?
Some photographers can and often do get away with a site that’s bare bones but still elegant and attractive. If you aren’t afraid to spend six to 12 hours in self-education, the amount of time in which you can learn the basics for doing this type of site, this may be beneficial as this is education you’ll be able to put towards other things later. Then once you get your site up, it’s not uncommon that you’ll rarely ever talk to your web host again. Remember that the whole point of having a web host is to have a web presence stable enough that you don’t talk to them with regularity.
While there is nothing wrong with this, a lot of photographers want something a bit snazzier. There is certainly a lot of that in some of the software out there, but snazzy often comes with a commitment curve. If you are not willing to agree to this, and if you have a reseller who is (especially if they already have experience with this kind of software), then you might do better to go with one.
Do you need Ecommerce?
Some photographers simply show their wares online and sell offline. Others handle their sales directly from their site. This is one area in which you might lean even more towards going with experience. Ecommerce software is an element that the professional webmaster needs to know as a matter of course, but which the beginner will rightly often loathe the concept of, due to the large learning curve and many variables of installation and execution.
Marketing – A reseller specialty
Web marketing is an ever evolving game. If you are the kind of photographer who isn’t content to rest on their laurels and wants to blast out as much marketing for their site as is possible, then you would strongly want to consider a reseller: this kind of tactic is their bread and butter.
Lastly you want to treat resellers like any other business. Look at their costs, find out exactly what all they offer, and definitely ask for references. In this case, you would be contacting clients who are still current customers, so you can get honest, up-to-date reviews for sites that you can pull up now. Treat resellers with the investigative skepticism with which you approach any business transaction.
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