What Is Zenfolio?
On the wide spectrum of website building solutions, Zenfolio lives on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your photography website. It contrasts with solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately. I wrote a post on Website Builders, Explained for more background.
Using zenfolio is sort of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control with all software, but especially with website builders.
Everything may fit together just right with a website builder like Zenfolio, but that may or may not be what you’re looking for.
As far as competition, Zenfolio competes with all-inclusive hosted website builders like Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, Gator, and WordPress.com, and photography website builders like Smugmug, Format, and Carbonmade.
Compared to their competition, they focus on providing an all-in-one solution that includes everything photographers need to grow their business, from modern templates that are easy to customize to ecommerce features that allow you to sell photos directly from your site.
Instead of operating like a traditional drag-and-drop website builder, Zenfolio has you select from a menu of options around what type of photography you do, then gives you a selection of recommend themes that you can switch out later.
This structure appeals to beginners who have no design or development experience and who want an easy way to get their photos on a good-looking website ASAP.
Speaking of pricing, Zenfolio’s pricing is fairly competitive when compared to other website builders, especially when you take into account all of the features you get with their plans. Their mid-tier plan, Pro, has a ton of advanced functionality like payment processing, watermarking, and marketing features, and is just $10/month, while their Advanced plan offers even MORE and is just $15/month.
When you compare that to general website builders like GoDaddy GoCentral, Website Creator, Wix, or Squarespace, you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck with Zenfolio.
But something to keep in mind when thinking about pricing — it’s not just about the price, it’s about how you want to use your site.
If you’re looking for more customization, or a simple portfolio website with no advanced features, you may want to consider another option. It makes no sense to overpay when you don’t need the features that bring Zenfolio a lot of their value.
One other quick aside – a disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.