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Thread: A quick site comparison..

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    Red face A quick site comparison..

    Hey Guys,

    I know everyone is prob sick of this but I was after a little bit of feedback/testing if possible.

    My Old site

    My New site

    Just interested to get peoples feedback on the new layout compared to the old, and whether they encounter any errors or have any feedback.

    My main reason for this is that I was having a few issues with the old flash site, and being flash based, its not very search engine friendly. Hopefully i can make this new one a bit better for google, as its more a "blog" style

    Still a bit more content to be added to the new, but you should get the general idea

    Appreciate any feedback at all!

    Cheers
    Cheers, Brad




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    Hi Brad

    Had a quick look (this redesign probably explains why I couldnt get into your site the other day - I try to look at AP members sites when I converse with them in the forums).

    I think the new design works fine. It is a bit of a dillema with Flash and if I had to say I probably find the first site more appealling but understand the problems with Flash. Focussing on the new site I would say that maybe the main page could have less images. Its a personal preference but I find it takes away from the images - one large shot looking more impressive than 9/12 small ones. I also liked you having a photo in the 'About' section.

    One thing I am not really clear about is the purpose of the site. If it is to show all your recent nice shots that mean something to you and family/friends with some great shots in the mix then I think you nail that. If it is supposed to just show your best shots and be a photographic showcase then you may need to critically access what goes on and if it adds or degrades your portfolio.

    Now the massive disclaimer - your website is heaps better than mine and I need to address some of the same issues I raise so take from these comments what you will.

    Good luck with it - wish I had developed such an interest and talent at your age.

    Cheers
    Josh
    Check out my new site - www.wattsgallery.com - feedback welcome

    Gear - Canon 5D, 40D, 10-22, 24-70 2.8L, 200 2.8L, 50 1.8, 430EXII

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    Firstly let me say thanks a lot for the detailed feedback! Really really appreciate it the time you have put into it!

    With the 9 images on the front page, the way it works, is that if i make a new post with images, it will automatically go to the top left and bump everything down, so that the new stuff is always first... But i can see what you mean, do you think it would work better with say 6 shots opposed to the 9?

    Also was it pretty self explanatory that if you click on one of the thumbnails that it loads that gallery for that thumbnail??

    As for the photo on the about section, I have been meaning to put it up, ill try and get it on today!

    The purpose, I guess its a bit of both, but Im now leaning more across to the portfolio side of things, hence trying to get it SEO friendly! I have got a fair bit more of my newer stuff to add, but is there anything that I have posted that grabs your attention that shouldn’t be up. I was a bit too heavily focused on content at this stage I suppose...

    And regarding your website, it looks good, you have done all the hardwork, I think It just needs some design tweaking. If you want some suggestions or help (not sure how good ill be) let me know

    Thanks again for the feedback!!

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    Ausphotography Veteran yummymummy's Avatar
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    I really like what you've done with the new site, I found it easy to navigate, and the photos look great with the colour background you've chosen.. well done!!
    Happy to take all constructive Critique, please don't rework or edit my photos. Thanks!

    Canon 6D, 2 Canon 50D's gripped, Canon 1000D, Canon 70-200 F2.8 ( non IS),Canon 70-200 2.8, Canon 24-70 2.8, Sigma 85 1.4, Canon 50mm F1.8.. yongnuo speedlights and triggers, and manfrotto tripods.


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    Quote Originally Posted by yummymummy View Post
    I really like what you've done with the new site, I found it easy to navigate, and the photos look great with the colour background you've chosen.. well done!!
    Cheers thanks

    Did you find it pretty straight forward that you had to click on the thumbnail to load the gallery?

    Thats one thing im worried about at the moment

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Last edited by mercho; 15-04-2010 at 8:00am. Reason: spelling

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    I like it - it's very clean, and I do appreciate the lack of flash.

    Did you find it pretty straight forward that you had to click on the thumbnail to load the gallery?
    I had assumed that it was going to open a larger version of the shot, but clicked on it to find the gallery. So I guess in relation to your worry, you might add a statement saying "click on an image to load the related gallery" or something such just to make it clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maccaroneski View Post
    I like it - it's very clean, and I do appreciate the lack of flash.



    I had assumed that it was going to open a larger version of the shot, but clicked on it to find the gallery. So I guess in relation to your worry, you might add a statement saying "click on an image to load the related gallery" or something such just to make it clear.
    Thanks Tony! I might see if I can add a little statememnt somewhere explaining

    Thanks for having a look!

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    I think both your old site and new site look good in relation to their design, the new one has a more 'modern' look to it though. I prefer the older one, mainly because of the load times on the new site, having to wait for things to load up etc. If the load times could be a little quicker than I reckon it would be even more effective.
    please ask before PP my images

    "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wideangle View Post
    I think both your old site and new site look good in relation to their design, the new one has a more 'modern' look to it though. I prefer the older one, mainly because of the load times on the new site, having to wait for things to load up etc. If the load times could be a little quicker than I reckon it would be even more effective.
    hmm so youre experiencing a longer load time with the new compared to the old? I have found it the other way around?

    Ill see what i can do! What browser are you using?

    Thanks for having a look!!

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    Hi Brad,

    Nice work in ditching the flash. Most people don't realise how bad it truly can be for site visitors, especially in corporate environments or on older machines.

    I would work on losing the front splash page, and giving people direct entry into your site. It serves no purpose, just makes me click an extra link before i can learn anything about you.

    I suggest ditching the front page, and just redirecting to the first wordpress page, but adding your splash page image above the gallery thumbnails, and also adding some more text about you to the page as well. You will notice your page rank increase by doing this.

    This text should include your name again, and have more of the keywords scattered thoughout some coherant sentences. You can then link these keywords off to the relevant galleries, but Google wants content! Actual useful readable content, so it needs to be descriptive and concise without just being a keyword loaded paragraph of marketing stuff.

    Also consider rotating the main image every 4 or 5 seconds with another awesome image. Showcase your best shots in here in the style that you want to work in, eg portraits and landscapes. Don't put the macro fruit shots in, it looks like stock photography. There are some great javascript image carousel scripts available that load quick and look fantastic.

    I've attached a quick mock up to show you what i mean.

    You also seem to have gone a little overboard on the META keywords, and under on the description. Some of these will be beneficial to you, some of these won't have any benefit at all. It's important that the keywords support the page content also, and this is where your front splash page lets you down.
    I would get this list down to approx 30 keywords, with the 15 most important at the front. Your description should be an actual description, not the page title over again.

    Your keywords also don't need to repeat 'photography' every time, so i would go with something like this:
    keywords="bathurst, photography, professional photographer, freelance photographer, family portraits, portraits, weddings, glamour, pregnancy, maternity, landscape, kids, baby, photography studio, ... + about 10 more-ish that you deem important... + Bradley Merchant, Brad Merchant"

    Description="Professional Photography services in the Bathurst and Central West NSW region by Bradley Merchant, including Weddings, Portraits and Commercial photography."

    Add a photograph of you to your about us page, it makes it personal. This is a personal site, you're not trying to pretend to be a huge corporation. Give your customers an idea of what you look like in your environment, so get a situational shot of you in the field doing a landscape shot or something like that. Not a facebook style photo.

    Your contact page needs some actual contact details on it. I know you have a full time job, but at least include your mobile number and that you live in Bathurst and service the area. People like to be able to contact you in different ways. Young people are emailers. Older people are phone callers. Don't miss an opportunity by not gaving people an option to get in contact with you.

    I would seriously consider whether you want to keep the 'News' page. Will you update this all the time with 'interesting' things? If not, dump it. Nothing looks worse than old news.

    Your gallery seems to work fine, with the exception of a color photo in the black and white section

    One thing i would suggest though, is to go to www.zarias.com and check out some of Zack's website critiques. He is harsh but fair, and has some great insights on what to include and exclude in your photo galleries.

    He also has some great ideas on keeping professional and personal photos seperated while still not hiding your personal photos.

    Overall though, it's a nice site and i think a definate improvement over your old site and even if you made no other changes a client would still find it easy to navigate and hopefully engage your services.

    Cheers.
    Brett
    - BTW, i'm a web dev for a large corporate, have taught web design and development to uni level and do web consulting for small businesses.
    Nikon D700 + D90 - Nikon 50mm f1.4, Sigma 24-70 f2.8, Nikon 70-200 f2.8VR, Sigma 18-200mm,

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    Attachment now attached

    Stupid forums and their rediculous size limits, and even more rediculous post editing rules.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nator View Post
    some awesome feedback
    Nator thanks a lot for taking the time to prepare feedback that detailed! Really appreciate it and I love your ideas!

    Really like the design you attached too, that looks awesome, ill see what I can come up with similar!!

    Alright Ill try to address all of the issues

    The front page was mainly there to grab hits for the flash page, but I can see what your saying, it doesn't serve a purpose except to grab google hits. Ill look at getting rid of it over the next couple of days if i can get into the top 10 hits without it

    The Meta Keywords were automatically generated by google from Keywords. Is there any harm to leaving them in? But i know what you mean there are a few there..

    Ill change the description, that was a rushed copy & paste

    Photograph for 'about' on its way

    I was a bit hesitant about contact details with supplying my mobile, but I will do it to allow as much possible contact paths, thanks for picking that up

    And yeah the news page is going, again was just for content, but ill get rid of it

    Have to head in a minute, but ill be sure to check that page out!

    Again, appreciate all of the effort you have put in to critique the page!

    Ill make some changes and post here when they are done!

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    Glad it was helpful.

    Some of the critiques at zarias.com go for up to an hour, but if you just watch one episode, you will get the idea.

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    Ausphotography Veteran yummymummy's Avatar
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    sorry, yep I did find it straight forward to click on it to get to the gallery

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