Two years ago I needed to create a proper website for my photography business. I researched what it would cost to have a website custom designed and the quotes were around $6000. While I’d prefer to have a site that is custom built, I just didn’t have the money to invest at that time. I researched various wordpress site templates and found Flothemes. Their templates were reasonably priced, and stood out from the rest for their attractiveness and simplicity. Plus, they were built by photographers with photographers in mind. So I dove in and built myself a snazzy new website.
That site worked fine for the past couple of years, but it started to get too clunky and was looking dated. Flothemes templates have gotten so much better over the last few years. Fast forward to two weeks ago. Flothemes had a sale that I couldn’t resist and I bought two new templates, one for my wife Larissa’s boudoir brand (Larissa Boudoir, NSFW) and our wedding brand (Henington Photography). I wanted to get these sites built quickly and Flothemes made it so incredibly easy to do. In what follows, I’ll provide my real world thoughts on the theme varieties, the process of building the site, customer support, and my overall experience.
Flothemes offers a wide variety of styles in their templates. With classic, editorial, and modern options, they offer something for most photographers (and videographers). For our new wedding website I chose the Fiji II theme because it was minimalistic and modern. For our boudoir brand, I chose LVY II because it was elegant and classic.
Every theme comes with a home page, about, portfolio, investment, and blog pages (and more!). All of the themes also come prepackaged with multiple variations of every page. So if you love the home page but don’t love the about template, there are alternative options. Also, every page is fully customizable. So you can easily add or remove features to fit with your own brand.
2. Getting Started
One of the most intimidating things about building your own website is figuring out how to obtain a domain, install wordpress onto your domain, how to get the template installed etc. Flothemes makes this a breeze with multiple video tutorials and guides. Whether you’re an html wizard or literally have never created a WordPress account, you’ll be able to get started building your website with Flothemes in minutes. And if you decide you don’t like the theme you bought after you get it installed, Flothemes gives you up to 30-days to select a new one.
3. Site design
Once you’ve installed your site on WordPress, Flothemes makes it simple to get started building your website. Their step by step process walks you through the process and if you follow each step in order, you should be done with the majority of your site by the final step.
When you’ve built the main shell of your site, you can customize almost every page. It’s worth it to take your time and play around with the various options. You can add videos, testimonials, press features and pretty much anything else you could want.
Flothemes also recently released a new feature called Flex Blocks which allows you to customize your site even more. With Flex Blocks, if you can dream it, you can probably create it. Now you don’t have to be a web designer to add a completely customized feature on your website. Check out the video below to see how it works.
If, in the end, you decide you’d rather have someone build your site for you, Flothemes also offers packages where they do everything from install the basic framework to build the entire site for you. They are also starting to offer copywriting services, so if you have a hard time coming up with words, they’ll help you with that part of the process, too.
The reality, however, is that designing a website with Flothemes is about as easy as it can possibly be. I was able to design both of our company’s websites in three days per site, start to finish. If you’re pretty new to working with wordpress, it might take you a bit longer, but not much.
All of the Flothemes templates are designed with SEO in mind. They also provide an extremely useful guide to seo to help you understand all of the little things you need to know from tagging your photos, to adding your sitemap to Google. And if you want to take your SEO to the next level, they offer a full SEO audit for $999. Of course you should also check out the SLR Lounge Marketing and SEO course to learn just about everything you need to know about running your business and optimizing your website so it’ll be found on search engines.
5. Customer Support
The customer support at Flothemes is also great. They have a huge database of videos and tutorials answering almost every question you’ll have about building your website. They respond quickly to e-mails and are typically able to diagnose and solve any problems you might have with little delay. They also have a large online community forum on Facebook where members are always willing to help. If they can’t solve your problem through the forum or e-mail alone, they’ll go into WordPress and make the fix for you.
The pricing of each template is very fair. Most themes start at $279 but they often offer great discounts throughout the year. When compared to the full cost of designing a website from the ground up, you can’t beat their prices for a fully designed website and blog.
I honestly have to try really hard to think of areas where I think Flothemes can improve (and this is NOT a sponsored article, seriously). When it comes to designing a website, they truly do make it unbelievably easy. One area where I think they can do better though is in providing updates for their legacy themes. Two years ago when I built my first website using the Como theme it got frequent updates and worked great. In the last year or so though, that theme got left in the dust by the newer more modern themes they were putting out. Only their newer themes, for example, offer the Flex Block feature. It’s my understanding, however, that this is precisely what they plan to do going forward, namely continuing to refine and provide new features for their current themes rather than just pumping out lots of new themes. I think that’s the right approach as they already have a beautiful and diverse catalog of themes to start with.
Building your own website isn’t easy. Figuring out how to buy a domain, build the site, make it look good, and then make sure search engines can find it is a daunting task. There’s an easier way though. Flothemes does what they say they do; they provide a simple way to design a beautiful website. I couldn’t recommend Flothemes more highly. It’s what we use for our company and I don’t think anyone else compares when it comes to creating easy to build, beautiful templates for WordPress.
What platform (or developer) did you use to build your website? What has your experience been?