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I'm a Minnesota mom, dreamer, & photographer with a joyful and timeless style. You might notice I'm quite passionate about my work. I love it!

Hi, I'm jennifer.

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Is A Tonic Website Worth It?

May 3, 2023


Business Advice

That Moment When You Decide to Upgrade Your Website

Back in 2018, I had just started my photography business. I had a bare bones Smugmug portfolio website and all the glee and fresh excitement of starting a new venture in life, looking forward to all the growth. *Cue thoughtful music*

Two years later, after becoming more established, somewhat finding my editing style and niche within all the different types of photography, I decided I needed to UPGRADE. I wanted more than a two page site. I wanted to become – *deep breath* – a brand. In my basic photography education with Amy & Jordan, I had heard of a platform called Showit that was apparently amazing so I decided to do some digging. (Friends, if you don’t know this side of me – when I decided to dig, I DIG. Imagine me in college, happily writing a research paper with all the citations.)

The Search for A Beautiful and Functional Site

I started out with Showit’s in-house designs. Hey – a lot of free options there! I cruised over to their designer showcase and saw lots of nice options for a couple hundred dollars. A bit of a bite at that time in my business, but I thought, okay – the thing is I have to actually like one specific design, and decide forever that it’s worth putting my money down on it. *Cue intensified action movie music*

I noticed that the top designer featured by Showit was Tonic. So I moseyed over to their site. My heart stopped. First, from the designs. I quickly realized the bar and drink theme was not going to help me at all since I have zero knowledge in that department and don’t drink alcohol. So I took the quiz to find my perfect match. I LOVED IT.


Then my heart slammed for the second time. After the dollar sign… was a FOUR FIGURE PRICE TAG. As a budding photographer, my green excitement withered. I mean how in the world can I justify THAT?!

So I tried to kick myself back into the “realistic and practical” box. I could use one of these free Showit sites and be all set to go after some hours. I was willing to do that. So, I signed up, tried to put that beautiful template behind me, and nestled into what became a week of website drag and drop design. (Yeah… I don’t know code. Hence the perk of Showit!)


One Year Later

Jumping to 2019, I was elated that my business had grown. So happy… except, I never forgot about that Tonic website template (I suppose this means their designers are very good at their jobs). In fact, I became a near criminal: I tried to figure out which fonts were a part of that template and designed a similar website. (Mind you, it was NOT a perfect match).

So one day I had to look in the mirror and tell myself that this wasn’t right. As an artist, I had to give credit where credit was due. At this point, everything I kept adding to my site was COMPLETELY inspired by Tonic’s website design, and I just couldn’t live with my pitiful attempt anymore. I needed the complete package. I didn’t have the fire of building out each webpage anymore… and I just wanted to be proud of my site, know that I wasn’t stealing intellectual property, and move on!

So I bit the bullet. Thankfully, I hit upon a rare sale. I leapt… and wow. I DID NOT REGRET IT.

Why Postponing the Tonic Website Purchase Was My Worst Decision

Folks, fully shifting into a website + blog on Showit and a gorgeous Tonic website template that fit my brand was absolutely so smooth. Everything about figuring out how to customize it was so easy. All the pages looked like they belonged together. I had the gumption to finally (once I had set up my new site), DELETE my imposter website and actually revel in feeling like I was a legit business. With a legit website.

What I didn’t realize before I purchased? I was actually saving myself THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. In a previous job, my boss had paid $3k for a custom designed site that tethered him to the designer for every change he wanted to make (which also meant more $ spent). I could literally change anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. As soon as I shot a wedding, I could upgrade my home page with that beautiful image.


So my thoughts turned against me again, but for the right reasons: WHY ON EARTH DID YOU WASTE 14 MONTHS OF YOUR LIFE TRYING TO BE A WEBSITE DESIGNER?! I had no good answer. My main answers were “because I wanted to save $800 dollars” and “a penny saved is a penny earned.” WHAT IN THE WORLD. I was definitely NOT in the business mindset of setting myself up for growth.

So in the end, I had wasted something valuable. I had wasted my time. (I think I’m almost over it now. Almost.) Scroll to the end to save even MORE on your Tonic website with my code 😉

Your Website: for A Hobby Versus A Profession?

You see, if you’re a hobbyist making hardly any monthly income and you want a website, there are tons of free options out there. You can make do with anything, because chances are you aren’t losing that many sales or clients simply because you have a plain Jane or potentially awkward website.

But what if you want the sale? What if you need the client?

What if you want your prospective internet customers to be drawn in to what you do so that it’s easy for them to trust you and inquire or say yes to the purchase? That’s where my calculations were completely off. You see, “a penny saved is a penny earned” – ONLY when that penny didn’t have a guarantee of multiplying into a dollar. If you take your precious, hard-won business and bury it into the sand with a stuffy/awkward/amateur design… of course, it won’t multiply that much.

But if you take your darling business and give it the sunshine (showcasing your work well) and soil (a epically-designed online home) it needs, WOW WILL IT GROW. I mean, jeepers, I’m not an influencer with 100k followers… but even those people are buying Tonic website templates!

My Final Thoughts on A Tonic Website

So, reader, this is your sign to SKIP OVER THE MONTHS (OR YEARS) OF WEBSITE DOLDRUMS. Just SKIP. Swipe LEFT! Nix the drama and decide: do you want the (arguably) best home for your business?

If the answer is yes, I can assure you that Tonic offers waaaayyy more than just a snazzy site. They have resources, oh do they have resources. Here are just some of the ones I’ve used:

  • How to Attract your ideal clients
  • Setup and easy tutorials
  • Best SEO practices for Showit
  • Customer showcases to get inspired for your colors & vibe
  • Add-on services for design (if you just want to pay for them to help you do it!)

Oh, and one more thing! You can actually get live support within Showit from their team – like if you can’t figure out how to embed the code, they have a whole help center waiting for you, plus live messaging! (They email you if they can’t respond right away).

The Full Process of Setting Up a Tonic Website

Hint: You can only run a Tonic site with Showit

Part of the shift to a Tonic site (or any website running on the platform Showit) is the cost of Showit itself. Showit is a partnership between WordPress Hosting and Showit (all the design components). The price tag of Showit has three tiers.

  • $19/month (just the site)
  • $24/month (site + basic blog) *the one I use*
  • $34/month (site + custom blog that can handle custom plugins for WordPress)

After Purchasing A Tonic Website Design, You receive a Design Key

Once you pay for your Tonic site, you will receive a design key which “unlocks” your purchase. You’ll log into Showit, navigate to your website settings, and add the design to your library (with a simple copy + paste!)

Then, your design fun begins! Customized your new Tonic Website with everything you’ve got! You’ll need to swap out all the images and replace most of the demo text with your own swanky copy.

Can You Migrate your Website from WordPress or Squarespace?

The answer *cue the Hallelujah Chorus* is YES! Showit is proud to offer migration help!

Say Yes to Thriving – and Use this Discount at Tonic Site Shop

If you are READY for smooth sailing and a glorious new online home, guess what? You can actually save HUGE on your website! Use the code JENNIFERSANDERS for 20% off anything Tonic. (They actually offer more than just websites: we’re talking canva marketing templates, add-on pages for your website, the WORKS!) Head over to Tonic Site Shop and chat with them – they are a bunch of easy going folks that feel more like friends, ready to lend a hand to your big glow-up.

PS. You can check out my Tonic website here! 🙂

PPS. If you are a photographer wanting to know what other business tools I used, you can find them here!

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