Digital Content Delivery Made Easy
Case Study: Photography Business Online
Recently a client approached me whom has a side hustle doing event photography. They photograph birthdays, weddings, baby showers, you name it. They do this currently as a side hustle, and plan to expand the time spent doing it as they enter retirement. They came to me seeking advice on creating an online presence, being able to offer their clients their photos digitally and being able to collect payment from their clients when they purchase their photos.
To me, this seemed like an exciting opportunity to explore a profession that I didn’t know much about, but am sure there are many people interested in it. The key takeaway was they didn’t want to invest much into the online presence and wanted to keep the fees for selling and running a website to a minimum.
– Domain via Google Domains
– Hosting Via SiteGround
– WordPress For Website / Content Management
– Divi For WordPress Theme
– Easy Digital Downloads For Digital Content Delivery
Using the list above, and coming to a yearly cost of $173 dollars as of this writing. Half of that is the Divi theme, but if you were to find a free or cheaper theme your cost of hosting and domain could be as low as $84 for the year. Thats really affordable and perfect for the side hustle, weekend warrior or full-timer. Hope our time and research is able to help you, now on to the whole article, if you care to read further about the case and a deeper analysis.
Figuring Out A Solution:
One of the first options that came to mind was a website a photographer that took some pictures for my engagement photos used, called PixieSet.com – Not an affiliate link.
They have a free account, with a hefty 15% commission rate, and a 3gb limit. Then their basic plan for 10Gb of space, no commission and customization is about $96 a year. Which is not terrible at all, add the cost of a domain (I recommend using Google Domains BTW, domains.google.com -> not an affiliate link) $12 a year, and for $108 you have a pretty easy site and ability to sell your photos.
PixieSet works well for some, creating galleries, hosting the files and connecting with payment gateways. However the client also wanted to have the control of their website, how it looked, have a booking page and flexibility to offer more in the future.
In so, after searching the world wide web, testing and playing, we came up with a custom solution, using mostly free tools that offer a lot of flexibility, a high level of customization and ability to offer digital downloads at pretty reasonable prices, that anyone can do.
This setup doesn’t just apply to those that are in the photography business, although this is what our case study is geared towards. Anyone offering anything for sale that is delivered via digital download can use this setup. Music samples, voice overs, audio books, pdf files, e-books, you name it, this setup will work. So lets dive in!
1 – Domain Name:
As mentioned earlier, I recommend Google Domains -> domains.google.com. Why? $12 a year for most domains, that includes privacy. Privacy hides your name and contact info from WhoIs databases, most other registrars charge a separate fee for that, with Google it is included in the $12 a year. Can’t go wrong. Especially if you are going to buy multiple domains, its affordable and easy to use.
2 – Hosting:
So we have our domain name, great. Now we need website hosting. For this project, and many other projects I work on, I am using and recommending WordPress. Which is a free, one of my favorite things, Website content management system, that allows anyone make a website site easily and quickly. It is very intuitive to work with, but it needs a web host to run on.
For Web hosting, especially if you are planning to make multiple sites in the future, I recommend having a good web host like SiteGround, siteground.com. For $72 a year, you can have their GrowBig plan which allows multiple websites, 20Gb of space and much more. For that price you cannot go wrong!. Plus their backend software installs WordPress for you in a few minutes, you are up and running quickly!
3 – Theme:
This article will not be going over installing a theme, customizing it, creating a site as a whole. There are plenty of those types of articles out there, and just as many themes, especially for free. Theme and overall site design is so important and specific to the individual and what they would like to accomplish, that that needs to be a personal decision. What I can recommend is the Divi theme, by ElegantThemes, https://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/divi/ -> Not an affiliate link. Their Divi theme is so customizable and easy to use, I highly recommend checking it out. I will say it comes in a bit expensive at around $90 a year, but you get a access to all their themes and plugins, so it turns out to be a great value.
4 – Plugins:
Plugins, these are 3rd party apps that work with WordPress to get our desired outcome. There are so many plugins you can use, to do so many different things, from managing galleries to SEO. In our case we are focusing on a plugin to help with providing digital downloads of files, after having collected payment.
For this job, we found, EasyDigitalDownlaods. https://easydigitaldownloads.com/ ->Again, No affiliate link here. You can use the plugin for free, again another favorite thing of ours if you haven’t noticed. However there are paid options that offer extended options, so it is recommended you check those out as you might need them.
In this case study, the free edition offers all the abilities the client requires. It allows us:
– Create Pages for Digital Downloads
– Password Protected Pages
– Collect payment through PayPal or Amazon
– Provide the customer with the link to download the file(s).
– Set amount of times the customer is allowed to download the file.
Putting it all together:
After purchasing the domain on Google Domains, setting up the account on SiteGround and setting our domain to direct to our SiteGround account, we set SiteGround to install a WordPress instance. This Article doesn’t cover setting up Google Domains name servers and SiteGround account, but both are very easy and the documentation on SiteGround is quick and easy to set that up.
Here are some links to those tutorials.
Link to find SiteGround Name Servers: https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/getting-started/initial-domain-setup/
Link to Google Domains Change Name Servers: https://support.google.com/domains/answer/3290309?hl=en
Link to WordPress Tutorials on SiteGround: https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/
After getting our WordPress Installation up and running, we installed our Easy Digital Downloads Plugin.
For the purposes of the rest of this article, we created a quick how-to video to install the plugin and get it setup real quick. This video covers:
Install of the plugin
Settings pages, that you’ll want to customize
Creation of a Digital Product to offer
So check it out here:
Thanks again for reading this case study, we hope it has offered you some value!