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How To Build a Real Estate Photography Website For Free

September 27th, 2009

This last week I was helping Clay Baldwin, in Houston find a way to create a presentable, professional looking website for his real estate photography business without spending a bunch of money while he was getting started. Clay is using phanfare.com for tours but needed a way to present his contact information and services so agents can find him from the real estate photographer’s directory.

I did a little Googling and found yola.com. Yola lets you build a pretty decent looking site with a choice of almost 200 free templates. Clay built his site in a few hours with just a single photo on the front page but yola also has a flickr lightbox widget you can point at your flickr account (or Smugmug) and it will grab the most recent photos from your flickr stream and create and thumbnail matrix and slide show with those photos.

I’m blown away by how easy it is to create a complete, professional looking site for free. Yola also includes a very professional looking blogging platform. A free site has a URL of the form lohrman.yolasite.com but Yola will be happy to sell you a custom URL. They will also sell you custom templates. The free templates can each be customized with your own text, header images. The premium templates are $19.95 and save you time in putting together a complete site. For $9.95 Yola will remove the little “Make a free website with Yola” banner at the bottom so no one has to know that this is a free website.

My conclusion is that Yola is ideal for someone just getting started in real estate photography. It’s also useful for established photographers who want to build a site dedicated to real estate photography. I see many photographer websites that have too many different types of photography presented together on the same site so there is no strong implied message that, “I shoot real estate photography!” The resulting impression on someone looking for a real estate photographer is weak. With a product like Yola, there’s no longer any reason not to have a dedicated real estate photography site.

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14 Responses to “How To Build a Real Estate Photography Website For Free”

  • I know nothing about website design. I am seeking a way to do simple 1 page websites for listings that would include a slideshow and button links to neighborhood info and the realtor’s web site. I’d like to have a few different designs available. I have looked around at some of the specialized property tour services and find their designs too busy and gadgety. I am looking for clean, simple, easy and inexpensive. Is this something I could do with Yola?

  • David- I don’t see why Yola wouldn’t work for this purpose. You can create multiple sites. It is certainly simple and inexpensive. Try it out and let me know how it works out.

  • I’m sorry, but that’s far from looking professional. Especially with the Yola ad at the bottom.

  • I have to agree with Same. While it may be good for temporary, proofing, or single property sites, a professional looking portfolio site it is not. Best to look into at least the $100 (one time fee) Bludomain sites, they look much better than this for minimal cost. I’d go so far as to say the free site builder included with most hosting services is better than this.

  • I’d say wordpress (wordpress.com) is a pretty good way to go.

  • Does not look professional at all……

    Spend a few bucks over at Themeforest.net

    http://themeforest.net/

    They have tons of professional looking templates in html, wordpress etc and you can talk directly with the designer if you need help with customizing or any information.

    The free sites look like just that (cheap!), and i find it amazing that this site is promoting that as a way to showcase peoples work when a few weeks back there was a blog about how the presentation of your work (photos) is just as important as the photos themselves.

  • Larry, as always, than you so much for the information. As a newby to the field, I am operating on a shoestring budget. It probably took me a few hours longer than Clay, as I played around with the banner pictures in Photoshop until I had what I wanted.

    I’ve never made a website before, and I found that Yola makes it very easy for beginner’s in website building.

    Until I start making a huge profit, I will stick with this. It probably loads a little slower than most sites — but hey, it’s free.

    A huge thanks to you, Clay and most of all Yola!

  • Frances- Glad it worked out for you. As CJ, Ryan and Joe have pointed out these are not for everyone but I think they are a great way to get started.

    I like these better than trying to make a free WordPress blog look like a website.

  • Thanks for this. I think this can be used to build a website for home owners or agents who want to show their property other than (as well as) the MLS. With this you can better control the photo quality rather than leave it to the MLS service.

  • […] Source and Read More: photographyforrealestate.net […]

  • Larry, this is great and just what I was looking for. Yola is easy, and with a little creativity can produce a pretty decent web site. Yep it’s not flashy (no pun intended), certainly well below pro quality, but it gets the job done. Here’s what I was able to do: http://www.scottdphotos.com/

    Keep up the good work,
    ScottD

  • […] if there was some where that did free virtual tours. I believe Leandro’s question grew out of the post I did a while back on free websites. At first I was a bit put off by Leandro’s question. I was within nanoseconds of responding to […]

  • @ScottD, I know its been a while since your post but your website, thats not Yola is it?
    Larry, do you still consider Yola a reasonable site provider, does it work with the I-pad issue?

  • @Gary- The interior and exterior galleries on the site hat Scott DuBose gave a link to above does not work on the iPad because they are flash. That doesn’t mean that yola.com doesn’t have some slide shows that are not Flash based or will degrade to HTML5 or javascript when they are viewed by a iPad. I’ve not done research enough to know if yola.com has some iPad visible slide shows… I can’t believe they don’t.

    These days you have to be careful with all site and tour hosting vendor… many of the popular slide shows are still flash.

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