Free Merchant Account Tip: Tweak Your Photo Merchant Site

A feel good vibe emanates from someone who's just seen his or her photo used for something - a brochure, a site, a magazine. The pride, the glory - all those feel good emotions just run through you and just makes you want to become a better photographer.

Given that your picture was sold directly off your brand-spanking new website, the feel good vibes reach exponential levels.

Having your own website to showcase your photos can do wonders for your bank account. Especially if you handle stock photographs. Stock photos are photographs sold for licensing purposes (the company is paying for the right to use your photos - but not exactly to buy the photos themselves). There are many uses for stock photos - in business, advertising, print, marketing material both offline and online. If you're just starting out, here are some things you need to know:

  1. Copyright is already a given. Under the constitution, anything that is made tangible (an idea through art, photo, lyric sheet, etc) has been given automatic copyright and the owner of such items can exercise such rights.

  2. Determine what niche you're trying to fill - and if it's feasible. If you want to sell fast, make sure your photos are commercially in demand. It's like selling meat to vegetarians - if there isn't any demand for it, so your photos remain untouched, unbrowsed, and unbought.

Despite the success of any photo ecommerce site, one should never rest on what one has achieved - continue huffing and puffing to blow the competition away.

  1. Get a Photo Storefront software system. The Internet is littered with photo storefront software systems that allows merchants to upload pictures directly to the site. Look for one that protects your photos (automatically resizes images and provides watermarks, copyright protection marks, etc). The software system should be easy to integrate with your site.

  2. Optimize Pictures. If you have a license for a photo storefront software system, it should automatically resize pictures for better optimization and faster loading time. If you don't, then it's advisable to upload smaller-sized images. Viewers won't have the patience for your photo to load - much more a whole gallery.

  3. Be more of a person, than a business. A bit of personal information can help you attract more customers. They may be coming for your photos, but knowing the person behind the camera can enhance customer loyalty and increase repeat visits. Now, don't put your whole autobiography for the world to see - a resume, a short bio, and a bit of trivia on photography and you will do your reputation good.

  4. Provide credit card processing (get a merchant account, free or otherwise).

    It's a fact of life - the plastic card gives people the power to shop, and satisfy their impulses. Make it easier for them to purchase your photos, and faster for you to reconcile your accounts.

  5. Customer reviews and ratings. This one doesn't just apply to photopreneurs, it applies to anyone who has an an ecommerce site or a business. Allow your customers to rate or review your pictures. Customers are more trusting of other customers who make reviews - in fact, a big percentage of shoppers' decision depend on those reviews.

It doesn't matter what you sell - if you sell yarn balls for cats, or landscape photos, or you do business to business transactions, constantly improving your services, products and your ecommerce site is crucial to your survival in the business world.

After all, there's always room for improvement.

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