The Honeymoon is Over
I’ve been a Zenfolio fan-girl for more than six years.
When they enabled blogging natively on their platform in 2012 I jumped ship from Blogger and moved my blog, committing whole-heartedly to the Zenfolio paradigm.
I noticed several deficiencies in customization compared to Blogger right away, but mistakenly believed that Zenfolio would up their game and keep development going for their loyal customers who happened to be bloggers. I was wrong.
Moving my blog to Zenfolio was (probably) the worst decision I’ve made for my website
As I’ve grown as a blogger, I’ve repeatedly tried to add functionality to my website to increase usability and stickiness to keep people on my site as long as possible. I have been stifled at nearly every turn.
- There is no way to insert third-party code into the page template – I wanted to add a non-intrusive popup in the lower-right corner asking people to sign up for my newsletter.
- There is no way to insert third-party code into the post template – I wanted to add code that would automatically link three related posts encouraging people to click through to other content (I ended up doing this manually – searching through my list of posts and doing the copy/paste thing)
- They limit the number of characters in the sidebar field (but don’t tell you the limit) – I post affiliate ads and discount codes for my readers. It got to a point where each time I tried to add something new I had to delete something else or it refused to save.
There have been countless little things that I’ve had to construct workarounds for, which, over time, has made my blogging workflow cumbersome and incredibly time consuming.
Zenfolio is holding my blog content hostage
Yes, you read that right – they do not allow downloading/exporting of your blog content (or custom pages)! There is no way to export your blog, either for backup OR moving the blog in an easy fashion to another platform.
I have HUNDREDS of posts and I’m furious that I can’t move my data. If I were to cancel my Zenfolio account, my content would be gone. In no way is this okay!
I’m not ditching Zenfolio…yet
The honeymoon might be over, but I’m not quite ready to kick Zenfolio to the curb. They excel as a portfolio. Their gallery features are great. Its obviously their bread and butter…blogging is not. Zenfolio is a great way to display your images to potential clients. Its fantastic for portrait and wedding photographers who want an easy way to set up private client galleries.
They also still have my blog content(!!!) – I’m working on manually copying and pasting my blog content to a new WordPress website that my husband and I are building. (I’m not ready to share that URL – its in rough shape still). This process could take months. My life would be SO much easier if Zenfolio allowed me to export my blog!
C’est la vie – sometimes you have to go through growing pains to build a business (and recover from stupid mistakes).