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Why Does Making Comments On The PFRE Blog Require A Website Address?

Published: 28/03/2016
By: larry

ComentURLsJames recently asked:

Why do your forums require a website? Do you not realize some of us are novices just starting out and have not made enough money yet to incur the expense of a website?

First of all, what James is talking about is that starting back on April 5, 2015, everyone leaving a comment on the PFRE blog is required to fill in the website field of the comment with a valid URL. There are two basic reasons I instituted this feature of the blog:

  1. Mike ONeil summed it up nicely. He said, "Very simple, I get more value from what I read if the person writing is someone who has experience in what they are writing about. A website lets me verify what they say."
  2. Anyone, even a novice can have a website for free. Real estate photography is highly internet oriented and having a website is the first step at getting started in this business.

I should also point out that the decision to do this was effectively a community decision (see this post for the full details). Notice that 77% of PFRE readers supported making this change. After having this policy for about 12 months, I have to say I'm very pleased with the way this feature as worked out. A huge part of the content of this blog is the comments of the readers and I think this feature has improved the value of the comments.

For novices, here are two very easy ways to create get started in building a personal site:

  1. Create a Flickr account and use that. This is actually a photographic site and allows you to also post your photos on the PFRE Flickr group to get feedback.
  2. Create a Facebook page. While this isn't as photographic oriented as Flickr it allows you another way to connect with potential clients and other real estate photographers.

In summary, everyone in business needs a URL! It is very easy to create a free page on the net for free. So I don't feel like insisting on a URL to comment on PFRE is a hardship.

9 comments on “Why Does Making Comments On The PFRE Blog Require A Website Address?”

  1. Another thing if just starting - spend $10 - $15 and reserve you domain now! The most desired may already be taken, but search for a desirable alternative. If/when you later incorporate, if no under that name, it can be registered as a DBA (doing business as). If you don't have the time/desire/premium material to make a very basic website - or make active with very basic non-RE photos replacing the entire page later - you can simply park it at the ISP. (I have 4 domains in park or redirect status now). Search past posts on this site for ISP suggestions as many offer unlimited websites (different developed domains taken live) while some charge per each active domain.

    In short, open a Flickr account as Larry suggested, or develop a simple website...but at least reserve the domain.

  2. A professional looking website does not have to be a big expense. I have been using the platform since 2007 and have built nearly 30 websites for clients over the years using Photobiz. One of the reasons that I highly suggest them it their customer support is really good. One of the reasons I like Photobiz as a website platform is the customization. No two websites have to look the same. If you know nothing about building a website they have people who will guide you through it as well as a load of simple to understand video tutorials. You can literally be up and running in a day with a new website.
    If you are going professional, even part time, you need a website for three important reasons.
    1. A point of referral: someone refers you, the referral can look you up. This is how I get most of my business via my website.
    2. Contact information: people can seek you out and look you up. An easy SEO program will also help you get found in your community.
    3. Displays your work so potential clients know what to expect when hiring you.
    Photobiz sites start at $120.
    I have no commercial or financial affiliation with Photobiz, I'm just a client.
    I pay $25 per month with Photobiz. The best $25.00 in advertising and marketing I can invest in.
    Best Regards,

  3. This site is a great resource for new and experienced shooters, but I like the requirement that helps narrow the participation for meaningful questions and replies. There are some talented folks here who offer not just good advise, but whose websites offer educational examples. Kudos to the site manager for attempting to limit to quality content.

  4. If you are in business, you need to have a website. I'm not a fan of Facebook and even if somebody has a FB page, their business still needs it's own website. WordPress and Drupal make it easy to put together a site without needing to learn HTML or a complicated program such as Dreamweaver. One can make some very creative sites if they do know an advanced creation program and/or how to create code by hand, but it isn't a requirement.

    When I talk with people putting together a business, I recommend against using a hosting company's templates and layout tools. If they raise their rates the next year or one needs services they don't supply, the web site is not transferable to a new host. It's also very wise to read the fine print of contracts from companies offering super cheap introductory deals. Many of these will put one in the position of having the hosting company own the rights to the domain name. It can be advantageous to register your domain name with a company separately from the company hosting your website. If you need to switch hosting companies, your former host has no hold over your domain name.

    Simple hosting costs can range from $60-$96 and a .com domain name is $10-$12/year. My .pro domain is $35/yr and I went with that as my name choices were taken with other TLD's.

    I think the requirement of having to post in the open has cut down on trolling here. We don't always agree, but that stimulates thought where trolling is just abusive.

  5. My two cents- the Photoshelter platforms are excellent graphically, there are templates for us non-HTMLers, and the rates are fair. Lots of tutorials and free downloads for marketing and growing your photography business.
    I looked at a bunch of different providers, but I think the Photoshelter aesthetic makes its clients look better and it's specifically geared to photographers. I have several integrated fine art print providers that clients can order different sizes, paper finishes, etc depending on the images they are buying. I still have a long way to go with content, but I love how easy it is to use.

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