Welcome to the forum!

As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

website revamp

I'm after a little bit (or a lot) of cc on my site. I have given it a complete overhaul and since doing so have not had much response from it by way of emails. I wanted something different, not sure if it's worked? www.chesterphotography.co.uk

Comments

  • SkipperlangeSkipperlange Member
    edited October 2014
    I think it's too busy, too many bells and whistles. There's too much going on and you have to suffer through a lot of clutter and moving images and large print graphics to find what I'm looking for. And I never did find the most important thing if I'm looking for a photographer -- his portfolio. Is there a portfolio there somewhere? If so it needs to be very obvious, like right on a top menu bar and saying "Portfolio." I do see a really big word PORTFOLIO in the middle of the page early on but you can't click on it and there's a collage of photos underneath but that's it. Is that it? If so you need more and you need categories, like portraits and headshots and seniors and weddings. 

    I'd get rid of 90 percent of it and get back to simple simple simple. No one cares about quotes from famous people. No one cares about Facebook at 80 percent (whatever that means) And what the heck is "Eating Cake" at 100 percent mean? Why is the print so big?

    I'd lose the scrolling down format. Just show me a simple home page with options like portfolio and prices and contact information. 

    Sorry to be so critical. If you want bells and whistles you did well but I think you are just confusing your prospective clients. 

    Check out Blu Domain's templates. They are cheap and simple and easy to do and look good. 
  • The initial landing page is not bad at all. Not a fan of slideshows as the landing page so saying I like it is a big deal!

    The menu bar is easily visible but should include a PORTFOLIO link

    I was not even aware that you could scroll down and found it by accident. 

    After clicking on any of the links on the menu bar, the HOME will not take you anywhere. It is a dead end :(

    I don't think it is a bad design at all and it shows creativity but at the same time, discrete pages are easier to maneuver. It was difficult to know where one page started or stopped with your layout.   

    Overall, not bad at all. A few changes and you are set. 



     

     
  • cakencameracakencamera Member
    edited October 2014
    I wanted something different, hence the scrolling and slides. I have to admit I am getting disheartened by.. well all of it to be honest. My first site I spent a long time, and I mean a long long time building it, it wasn't great and after asking for some cc I realised it was time to make a change and try something different, I know you guys across the pond don't have the same humour as us Brits. My site was suppose to be quirky and fun, there are a couple of problems such as the home button not taking you home after going somewhere else....like just further down the page, you just scroll back up? Technically it's suppose to be one long page, easier for mobile?  Not only am I getting bad feedback from my site but from my images too from a couple of pro's on Facebook. I know I shouldn't take it to heart, and it's all subjective blah blah, but.... 
                         I have been told there is too much going on from a few now who have viewed my site so I do need to make changes again. Another thing that's troubling me is since changing my site and my prices I have noticed my emails have almost ceased from Brides. Do you know if a theme change alters SEO ranking? Might it be the site itself as you say too much crap and not enough portfolio? or the price hike? 
    Perhaps I should go back to basics and follow what everybody else does like the rest of the sheep? , I don't mean that in a sarcastic way, I do like to be different, but if it's not working, it's not working. 
  • It is difficult to say what works and what does not. You have to compare it to last year at the same time in order to compare apples with apples. You can't compare now with peak booking season. See what I am saying?

    As far as design, it is a tough call and I have no idea if my site is any good so I understand how you feel. 

    The initial layout (landing screen) is rather nice, looks clean and is easy on the eyes. I would keep that look but include a portfolio link and you should be set. 

    As far as slideshows: You have a few seconds to make an impact and when I had different pages as my landing/home page, I had a lot more "drop offs". In other words, they would view that page and leave (drop off). By changing it to a page where there are dozens of photos, the "drop-offs" has greatly reduced and stats for other pages (About, Contact, etc) has gone up. Instead of one photo to get their attention, they will hopefully see something they like among all the photos and then click Contact :)


    Also, outside of Europe, no one laughs. Ever.  
  • Ha, ok, thanks buddy. I was really lacking self esteem yesterday, sorry if I came across as an arse.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    a few comments:


    1. your website loads too slowly. You're competing against the distraction of Facebook and tons of videos of cute cats. So if your website loads too slowly, people are gone. You have a few seconds only. 


    2. Banner images:
    2.a) There is a photo that is clearly mis-focused. Remove it.
    2.b) the photo of the bride outside the church, looking at her flowers. She isn't out of focus enough / in focus enough. The plane of focus, and choice of DoF needs to be more deliberate. Right now it looks like an error with her being a touch soft.
    2.c) Close-up shot of the hands - his nails could use some Photoshop to remove spots.
    2.d) Bride in the window frame, looking away to the camera left - the lighting on her is uneven and bad. Delete it. You only want your best work.
    2.e) The scraggly old guy in the B&W photo needs to go. Cool photo, but entirely out of place with the rest.


    3. The navigation isn't consistent. 
    When you scroll down, there is a Portfolio page, but this doesn't appear in the menu.
    Make sure the flow as you scroll down, matches your menu.


    4. Your menu placement isn't consistent. It starts at the bottom of the frame, and then jumps up to the top.


  • Thanks Neil, I'll sort the images and try and sort the menu out, I'm not the most techy person when it comes to wordpress but I'll struggle through. 
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited October 2014
    What about a new website name?  I think we can take the website name up a notch or so.  

    Actually, Im trying to find something catchy for myself.  Here are some examples which came off the top of my head:

    wonderfulchester.photography
    photographyin.london
    chester.camera
    chesterwedding.gallery
    chesterphoto.gallery
    chesterphotography.zone
    chesterstudio.photography
    weddingphotography.zone

    etc...

    I have another unrelated business where my website name has become a problem.  My website name seems to easy to misspell so emails sometimes go into nowhere.  So its important that its easy to remember and rolls off the tongue.
  • Thanks Michaelv but I'm gonna stick with the name. I do wish I had used a different name like my own to begin with, but a lot of people have said my site sounds professional, I just wish it sounded a bit more personal. Besides if I change it now I'll be back to square one ranking wise surely?
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    "Besides if I change it now I'll be back to square one ranking wise surely?"

    That most certainly would be a consideration for sure.
  • You can have two or more website names at the same time directing to the same page.  For example, if you type in www.yahoo.com and www.yhoo.com it goes to the same page.   

    Actually, that photographyin.london sounds like a good one.  Imagine an email chester@photographyin.london versus chester@chesterphotography.co.uk.  Lets hope you are in London.  If I was in London I would snatch that one up in a heartbeat. 
  • Ok, so I do have well, 4 websites, but one i do have is wrexhamweddingphotographer, can I direct that to my chesterphotography one? and if I do will it not confuse people? Thinking they have landed on something different than which they have clicked on? I have made up a website for the wrexham one, but it's very similar to the chester one, I have since found out that having two website that are almost identical Google penalises you for it? 
  • I dont know if Google punishes you.  If they did or did not I dont think they will tell you.  I do know everything can be directed to one website.  Based upon my previous post, I have a simple website name that Im going to scoop up.  The problem with my existing website is that people tend to spell my last name wrong adding or subtracting letters at will.  I have something catchy in mind.  So stay tuned...
  • MichaelV , how do I direct one domain to my main website? I have a mental blockage
  • There is a way to do it and each time I messed with it...it took me hours to do it.  It may take someone more familiar these controls a lot less time.  I use GoDaddy and I decided to dig right in trying to modify the various settings myself.  After a few hours, I figured out that I should have called their customer service line first and go through a walk through.  I know these matters are pretty simple, but for myself I guess I should have taken a course on the world wide web back in the 90s.  
  • Cakencamera, Call your website host and they should be able to take care of having one domain name directed to your main website. The term they use is 'pointing'. Tell them you want X domain name to point to your main website. I think you will need to get your domain host on board too (for example, Go Daddy or Register.com, the business from which you are renting your domain name). Your website host is different, that's like BluDomain or the people who keep your website live and active. It is a very simple thing, I do not think you can do it on your own. Maybe cost you something, not sure.
  • Thanks, I've sorted it all now. Neil, I've taken your advice!  My mobile site is now up and running too. Hopefully it's a damn site (get it?) better now. JUst finished shooting a wedding, my back is in half, it's my birthday too, hopefully rum will get me through it! 
  • Hi 

    I've worked on designs for many sites so I've broken down the feedback below. The key thing to note is that you are starting out with a lot here, which is great. That being said, really good design is about scaling back and conveying the same thing with less noise. Just like you wouldn't bemoan taking fifty shots to get a great one, don't feel the need to keep a single thing on the site purely because you've spent time/money on it. It only has value in so far as it helps you achieve your goal. 

    Page load time: This is probably the single biggest issue - when it hangs that long it feels broken and people leave. The rest doesn't matter if this can't be fixed. Your web host might be slow or the images loading may be slowing it down. Speak with the developer to pinpoint and correct this issue. There are so many animations I wouldn't be surprised if it was bloated javascript as well. You can even use a site like Odesk to hire a developer to review this specific issue for not much money at all. It would be well spent.

    Logo: Your ornate elements (the flourishes and lens) conflict with the flat and stenciled type and camera. These are two different design languages that aren't working well together here. The combo of the "C" and the flourish in the lens is one too many design metaphors - I personally prefer the "C" and would lose all the flourishes in the logo. They don't go with the rest of the site. If you already have printouts of stuff with the flourishes don't worry - you can remove them on the web work and have them in other places that work (like print).

    Typography: I counted 15+ types here, which is far too many.  You want to use 3-4 max.  The obvious conflicts are in the quotes, where the letter spacing in each type is competing, but it is also just generally jarring to have this many types. Use fewer to convey the same impact. I'd particularly focus on switching all of your body text to a standard readable font like Verdana or Helvetica. The current one is super hard to read.

    Slideshow: Top down slideshows are extremely hard to pull off and here it feels very jarring. I would switch to from right to left for sure. Most of the transitions I've seen judder on the site from top to bottom, which can occur for many reasons, most of which are out of your control. Minimize the number of things that can go wrong for the user that you don't control.

    Menus: this works well imho, except your "Contact Us" one is off - it is linking to your separate contact us page and not to an anchor (like the others). Super important page so I'd correct that.  It would work equally well on the top of the page.

    Animations: The "zoom" in on portfolio items is really extreme. Scrolling your mouse around has a very jarring effect, but this animation doesn't add anything to the site. I'd play with this to reduce the level of zoom or I'd remove it so on scroll over the title card is what is shown w/o zoom. I'd definitely remove the animation from your "About us" photo.  Just put your name separately there in text. Also odd to have it in the services section.

    Navigation: It is unclear that you scroll down to move on. Not a huge problem though since the links are anchors to the bottom.

    Style:
    -Quotes - These really add no value in my book. They aren't "bad" but they distract from your images, which should tell the whole story. 
    -Is the gorilla photo yours or stock? It is very distracting and not driven towards your target audience at all. I'd remove it completely along with the quote.  It also has two depth planes which isn't replicated anywhere else on the site. 
    -About us "stats" - The awards and publications are interesting, and everything else is distracting. It looks like you've tried to fit content into a template designed for a different purpose. Do you really want to convey that your camera skills are "95%"? I'd redesign this section to feature the awards and publications info as well as a few client quotes. I'd avoid saying "Our clients love us!!" and instead show that with a client quote or two.
    -Why are you highlighting that you don't have a studio? How does it help?
    -FAQ - the structure is good, but I'd remove "MORE" and "more about" etc. You only have one FAQ, so no need for "MORE"

    I hope this all helps - it is a thorough review but intended to be constructive and not critical. I think with edits you can really streamline the experience.  

    -Bob
  • Thanks Bob, I really appreciate taking the time out to give me these pointers. I will take what you've said and try my best to get them done. It is a WordPress theme and yes some of these things are out of my control, and are a template, but I'm sure if I ask in the WordPress groups on LinkedIn some kind soul will help me. 
    Page load time is something I'm going to struggle with and I do believe it's the most important, I have reduced all the image sizes right down and used smushit on them all too, so Im not sure what else can be done there apart from me speak with my host about it. I was using cloudflare, but I couldn't seem to set me emails up properly, so instead I just gave them the boot, maybe I should try again with them now my email is sorted? 
  • The gorilla is actually a composite with myself and the guy on the left ha
  • Sounds good :) Wordpress is a specialized thing - it is certainly approachable and I love tinkering with the templates but I've also hired people for very specific tasks where it would take me a disproportionate amount of time to delve deeper. I'm thinking specifically of the page load issue but also the font options (reducing the number of fonts utilized for different font classes is a trival CSS expercise for a WP dev - would not take long at all to make the fonts more uniform throughout and consistent whenever you use a certain class (i.e. "heading", "body")). I've had a ton of success with Odesk - you can post a job and there are wordpress-specific devs who can fix these things incredibly quickly for a small amount. You can even describe a few things and post an hourly rate and ask for a time estimate when hiring the contractor.

    There are a bunch of wordpress hosting sites out there and I've used wpengine and pagely - both of which have been good. It is PROBABLY not your host though - it is probably the amount of stuff being loaded on the page. There is a lot of javascript stuff happening with scrolling/zooming/effects and that all adds lag as well as the slideshow and the images that are loading there. Skilled WP devs will be able to figure out why that is ocurring specifically and probably be able to optmize the load time. For example, perhaps the pages is loading all the images at once before loading the remainder of the page and displaying the first image - that could be reconfigured so that one or two images load first in conjunction with the other page elements etc. - the optimization is around sequencing.

    Hope that helps!
  • I'll go check odesk out. Thanks Bob
  • I've found odesk, hopefully somebody out there can help. When you say little money, I wasn't really sure what to put? 
  • I'd look specifically for wordpress devs and look at their average hourly rates.  It looks to be around $10-25 dollars.  I'd look for one with good reviews that emphasizes wordpress fixing skills and contact directly through odesk to propose the job.  You just want to be specific about the scope - this is an example of one that looks good: https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~010c56519d2d1a194e/ These issues shouldn't take someone skilled more than a few hours, and you should be able to find someone who can help for around $10-20/hour.  
  • BobG, I'd like to thank you for steering me in the direction of ODesk. To begin with I didn't want to thank you, in fact I hated you! (sorry), my first freelancer was hopeless, hopless to the extent he made my site a complete mess, he changed things without asking, he made it load slower and go annoyed when I told him I wasn't happy. The second freelancer however was the opposite, a Russian and very very good at his job. He fixed what the last guy broke and made my site load and run a hell of a lot quicker, and only cost me $30. Money well spent. Thank you

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Glad you got someone who worked out for you and are now happy with site.

    My only question, did/are you able to change password/login so he no longer can access it 'just in case'.

    Link to this guy, I made need his services some day myself. Thanks.


  • I haven't changed passwords no Trev, I imagine if he did tamper with my site his reputation(if it isn't already) would be ruined
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Thanks for the link, appreciated.


Sign In or Register to comment.