SmugMug is a specialist web site constructing for creating customized picture and video web sites. That seems like a well-recognized thought, and plenty of web site builders declare they’ll do one thing related, however SmugMug provides a lot, way more. 

Your web site can host limitless images and movies, as an illustration, topic to a couple measurement restrictions (150MB for images, 3GB and 20 minutes for movies). 

A cell app allows enhancing and archiving your content material from wherever, and your media could be freely embedded on different web sites, together with an choice to publish on to a Fb album. No want to fret concerning the variety of viewers you would possibly get, both: there are not any site visitors limits. 

SmugMug can be utilized as a easy supervisor to your library. You are capable of kind your media in numerous methods, add titles, captions and key phrase, rotate images, apply color results and extra. 

You may also customise your website’s feel and look, create digital collections and sensible galleries, share content material by way of social media, even allow and average feedback in your work. 

SmugMug’s Primary plan helps media internet hosting and a really primary web site, however there are many limitations and also you’re solely ready to make use of a yourchoice.smugmug.com area. It is yours for $5.99 (£four.28) a month, dropping to $three.99 (£2.85) on the annual plan. Sounds low cost, however if you happen to’ve any curiosity in customising your website we might give it a miss. 

SmugMug’s Energy plan allows utilizing your personal customized area. It gives greater than 20 web site templates and may limit entry to folders, galleries, pages and your complete website to the individuals you select. It is priced at $eight.99 (£6.42) a month, or $5.99 (£four.28) if you happen to subscribe for a full yr, and could be our alternative for a starter SmugMug person. 

The Portfolio plan offers you an entire net retailer the place you possibly can promote your content material as customized greetings playing cards, picture presents, digital picture and video downloads, and extra. It is $23.99 (£17.14) a month, or $14.99 (£10.71) paid yearly – good worth for an ecommerce package deal. 

The Marketing strategy throws in a number ecommerce and advertising options: prospects can select favorite pictures, there’s help for customized coupons, customized branding to your purchasing cart, branded thank-you playing cards in shipped orders, and extra. There’s loads to love, however it’s additionally notably costlier at $41.99 (£29.99) a month, or $29.99 (£21.42) a month paid yearly. 

Should you’re , excellent news – SmugMug permits potential prospects to trial its service for 14 days, no bank card particulars required. 

Setup

Signing up with SmugMug is way easier than we anticipated. No cellphone numbers, firm names or bodily addresses: simply your title, electronic mail deal with and a password. It did not even ask us to verify our electronic mail deal with. 

A Getting Began web page offered us with panels for the 4 most important setup duties: Begin Including Photographs, Select a [Website] Design, Get Organised, Begin Promoting.   

Different builders would possibly pressure you to comply with these duties in a selected order, however SmugMug is way extra versatile. If you are going to use the positioning primarily as an online library to your media, you possibly can add your photos first. If the web site is essential, you would possibly browse the templates. Selecting Get Organised allows establishing a folder construction earlier than you add, which might make sense if you realize precisely what you want. It is actually as much as you. 

We chosen the Design choice and located solely eight layouts. That is not as dangerous because it sounds: they’re diversified, look nice and are all very customisable. You’ll be able to preview every website in desktop and cell views (not tablets) at a primary degree, though a number of the extra superior results (lightbox, slideshow) did not work for us. 

If you cannot determine proper now, it is secure to maintain the default SmugMug template. It seems good, could be tweaked to fit your wants, and also you’re capable of swap layouts later with out shedding your content material. 

SmugMug iOS

No matter your design determination, importing your photos is simple with SmugMug’s feature-packed add web page. You’ll be able to drag and drop images out of your native machine; fetch them out of your Dropbox or Amazon Drive account; import pictures from Flickr, sync with LightRoom, or add immediately from SmugMug’s iOS and Android apps.

Photographs are imported to galleries, that are successfully web site folders. You’ll be able to nest these (Holidays/USA, Holidays/Greece), set their web site visibility (anybody can see them, solely guests with the hyperlink, solely seen to you), and password-protect something delicate. 

The excellent news does not cease there. Even the import course of itself delivers greater than anticipated, with the flexibility to recognise duplicate pictures and provide you with a number of methods to cope with them (skip, permit, change.) 

In case your web site wants are easy, there’s little else to be taught. Add pictures, create galleries as required they usually’re instantly out there for viewing on the web site – you do not even must hit a Publish button. 

A closing Profile choice allows personalising your website along with your title, contact electronic mail, profile and canopy picture and social media hyperlinks. Fill in any of those packing containers and SmugMug customises your website accordingly. For instance, add your Fb URL and SmugMug shows a Fb icon on the positioning with that hyperlink. 

Put all of it collectively and SmugMug provides an effective way to get began. It is easy to make use of, you possibly can produce a great-looking website at pace with out having to leap by means of hoops, but it is also full of highly effective features and options. 

SmugMug editor

Editor

Open your web site in SmugMug and you will find a easy and easy interface, a minimum of initially. Many of the window is taken up by an energetic copy of your web site, which works as regular (you possibly can click on hyperlinks, view pictures, add feedback and so forth), whereas a single toolbar on the high of the display has choices to add and organise your pictures, customise the positioning or promote merchandise. 

Having your web site displayed in a clickable, energetic type is nice for understanding the way it will work, however not so handy for enhancing. You’ll be able to’t click on on a heading to vary it, as an illustration, as is commonly the case with different providers. 

Stepping into actual web site enhancing begins once you select a related choice from the Customise menu.   

Sitewide adjustments embody the flexibility to decide on a brand new website template from one in all 26 well-designed options. Every of those could be additional customised with a brand new theme, altering your web site’s color scheme and background pictures. 

A ‘Content material and Design’ function opens the web site in SmugMug’s full content material editor, the place you may get entry to extra low-level tweaks to vary the web site structure or add new performance. 

The editor allows including numerous content material blocks to your website. These begin with the fundamentals: headers, textual content blocks, dividers, menus, pictures, movies and extra. Discovery instruments resembling a search field and a key phrase cloud make it simpler for guests to find your images, and there is additionally a map to show your geotagged imagery. 

An honest set of social media blocks vary from easy hyperlinks and icons to Share buttons, feeds and feedback. 

There’s little integration with exterior providers other than Google Calendar, AdSense and Google Translate, though you might be able to add others with blocks to insert customized HTML and CSS. 

Select a block, drag it over the web page and SmugMug reveals you the place it may be positioned. Drop the block and it is robotically formatted to suit the area out there. That usually works effectively, however if you happen to want extra management you might be able to resize the block or reposition it manually. 

Most blocks could be extensively customised by hovering your mouse cursor over them and hitting the Choices button. Do that with a gallery, as an illustration, and also you’re capable of change its structure, picture measurement and side ratio, spacing, caption place and alignment, paging model (scroll or click on), kind order and extra. 

The editor does not help right-click mouse actions or keyboard shortcuts past the same old plain textual content copy-and-paste. That is a pity – right-clicking an object to see the actions it helps could be a fast solution to be taught and use a builder – however utilizing the editor within the common approach is simple sufficient. 

There’s one vital downside right here: SmugMug does not help Undo. You’ll be able to normally keep away from complete catastrophe within the editor by ending the present motion and discarding adjustments, however that is hardly handy, and it will not assist in all conditions (you’ve got by accident deleted one thing necessary). Should you’re proud of a primary website and infrequently use the editor, this won’t matter very a lot. However if you happen to’re engaged on a serious challenge and at all times making adjustments, it might develop into an actual usability concern. 

Media

SmugMug is all about presenting your images and movies effectively, so it is no shock that the editor provides loads of instruments to assist. There are content material blocks to show single or a number of images, slideshows and carousels, in addition to your personal movies and clips from YouTube or Vimeo. 

Most blocks provide a stable vary of configuration choices, together with measurement, side ratio, caption and click on motion (open a gallery, use the lightbox, go to a URL.) 

Slideshows specifically are very tweakable. You’ll be able to have them begin robotically, current slides in an ordinary or random order, set a delay between slides, select from 15 transition sorts, set a transition pace, determine which playback buttons to point out (navigation arrows, play/ pause, fullscreen) and extra. 

One of many extra attention-grabbing choices allows displaying a number of images based mostly on dynamic standards, resembling key phrases, add date and the variety of views. This makes it straightforward so as to add a Current Photographs or Most Standard block to your entrance web page, or to make use of the key phrase search to show a gaggle of images on a selected matter. 

A stable vary of enhancing instruments permit defining picture titles, captions and key phrases; making use of watermarks and a few easy color results; rotating and cropping your pictures, or assigning them a location (click on a map or manually enter its latitude and longitude.) All of those actions could be utilized to a number of pictures concurrently for fast batch processing. 

Video settings are extra primary – participant measurement, caption, and auto play – and there are not any video partitions, video backgrounds or some other uncommon extras. SmugMug customers on the Primary plan can embed YouTube clips, however you should improve to get help for Vimeo, which appears unusually imply (most web site builders provide you with each as commonplace.) 

SmugMug requires Adobe Flash to play movies, too, an issue for guests on iOS gadgets or anybody who has disabled Flash for safety causes. 

Your images and movies are displayed in SmugMug galleries. These are massively configurable, each in look (model, kind order, seen controls) and content material (Good Galleries can show pictures based mostly on key phrases, date ranges and extra.) 

The web site additionally helps a variety of social options, from easy buttons to share hyperlinks for content material, to the flexibility for guests to remark in your photos and even add content material of their very own. That is probably an effective way to interact your guests and assist to construct a group, and a function you will not normally see elsewhere.

SmugMug has its video points, then, however if you happen to can stay with these, otherwise you’re largely eager about SmugMug’s picture dealing with skills, there’s loads to love right here. 

SmugMug ecommerce

Ecommerce

SmugMug Portfolio and Enterprise plans present a completely hosted ecommerce answer which lets you promote your images and movies. 

Choices vary from charging for digital downloads, to enabling guests to buy a number of of your photos as prints, playing cards, picture books, wall artwork, mugs, cellphone circumstances, mouse mats and various different picture presents and merchandise. 

There is not any have to arrange a storefront to make this work, as your content material is already effectively offered within the present galleries. All you get is an elective Purchase button which permits prospects to buy all the pieces in a gallery, or the particular images they want. 

You additionally haven’t got to fret about fee suppliers, taxes, delivery or the rest. SmugMug’s personal skilled purchasing cart takes the order for no matter content material and merchandise the shopper has chosen, and ships the order from the US or the UK, relying on the shopper’s location and your preferences. 

There’s a little work to do, notably in establishing your tariffs. SmugMug’s Portfolio and Enterprise plans allow setting costs per gallery and even per picture, and you may also worth content material by decision or licence (private or business.)   

For probably the most half, although, SmugMug’s retailer options are quite simple to arrange and use. No have to take our phrase for it, both: the 14-day free trial offers you full entry to SmugMug’s excessive finish Marketing strategy, so you possibly can check out all its extra superior options for your self. 

SmugMug support

Help

Most web site builders tuck their help part away in some distant space of the positioning, hoping you may solely go to often, if you happen to’ve run into a tough downside you possibly can’t remedy in some other approach. 

SmugMug is, effectively, slightly extra enthusiastic. Once we began our challenge, a welcome electronic mail arrived from a ‘Consumer Success Supervisor’ providing assist and saying that “even if you happen to don’t have any questions, hit reply and say hello. I’d love to listen to from you about what sort of images you’re taking pictures and the way you discovered SmugMug.” 

Should you desire a self-service strategy to help, an online knowledgebase has some top-quality, detailed articles. Here is a Quick Start guide to SmugMug it is well-presented with interesting screenshots, properly organised, not lengthy sufficient to be intimidating however peppered with hyperlinks to additional articles the place you could find out extra. 

If you cannot discover a solution on the web site, actual help brokers can be found 24/7 by way of electronic mail. We posed a product query and 7 minutes later obtained a superb reply which lined all of the angles, however nonetheless invited us to answer if we would have liked extra.

SmugMug could have its occasional quirks, then, however with the standard knowledgebase and speedy help it is probably you may discover a workaround for many points with the minimal of trouble. 

Closing verdict

The dearth of Undo help is an issue, however if you happen to’re trying to share, current or promote your images, SmugMug is without doubt one of the finest providers round. Give it a strive.

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