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Thread: New site for Aussie market - Feedback please

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    New site for Aussie market - Feedback please

    Hi, as many of you know I have a Smugmug site, and it offers some great services and hosting features, BUT I feel they are letting me down in not allowing for regional services, specifically, charging in AU dollars and getting the printing done through local labs. And in not doing so, many people email me requesting other options. I started a redbubble site in a hope to allow people an aussie option but the product choice is VERY limited, for example, can't get a simple 8x12 print from them, so it was doomed to failure.

    So in an effort to improve my services to my Australian clients, I went searching for a host that gave me the ability to provide many of the service I offer on Smugmug but via a home grown solution. And to that end my new site was born via Photomerchant. They seem to be a relative new comer to the marketplace and are not quite as polished as my other site, but they offer the basics, and for me, that is enough for now.

    I'd love some feedback on layout, content, ease of use, if you would buy an image from me or not, and if not, why not? Anything really that will help present a professional front. Also if you could leave a comment on a photo so I can test the feedback functions in the admin panel that would be great, thanks.

    The URL to my new site is: http://allannielsenphotography.com but as I have just moved the domain you may need to use this alternate link for a little while if you end up at smugmug.

    I will also be posting my images on the new site from the Abbey Medieval Festival this weekend as a test for the speed of the site.
    Last edited by Allann; 09-07-2010 at 10:04pm.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Allan,

    I have seen Photomerchant before, I know someone who initially set up their site with them.

    I agree they offer some similar features of Smugmug, the big differences being that pricing is in $AUD and printing can be done locally without the wait for mail to get things here from the USA. They are my only 2 gripes with Smugmug.

    A few things I noticed straight away with Photomerchant;

    1) They don't have the huge previews Smugmug offer, and it seems that display is only 1 size.
    2) When adding to the shopping cart, it is very slow to respond to the point it would turn me off ordering more than a small handful of images.

    This is where Smugmug comes into it's own, the huge image previews with user configuration of the sizes, the slideshow option and of course the excellent site speed.

    Have you though of integrating Paypal to your Smugmug site?

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    Also remember that Ausphotography site advertisers offer full gallery websites with shopping carts, although they do not offer in-house printing services. I think it depends on what each photographer wants from their website:

    www.onlinegalleries.com.au
    www.estyles.com.au
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    Allan - a bit of feedback on the Photomerchant site.

    Overall, I think it looks very good, with excellent presentation of images (and you have some corkers there!). Photomerchant seems to offer the basics as a selling site as you say. The only niggly thing (which I presume is a Photomerchant failing) is that there's no "next" or "previous" when viewing sets of images.

    In terms of your presentation on the site, there are a few things I think need to be changed.

    First, on the home page your blurb changes tense a number of times, from third person to first person and back to third person. Also, there's no reference to any other photographer, yet you use "we" when in first person mode.

    Your "about" page is actually more of a contact page.

    In fact, what is on your home page is probably mostly stuff I would be inclined to put on the "about" page, and then make your home page with just a short paragraph "welcome to .... blah, blah, blah" plus a bit of info on navigating the site.

    Then, on your about page, choose a single tense to present the information. Personally, I'd go for first person singular, but that's my choice. Whichever you choose, keep it consistent.

    Finally, either rename the current "about" page to "contact" or leave it there but with the bio stuff at the top.

    Hope this helps Allan? Good luck with it.
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    That's great feedback Cheryl, I'll get onto that as soon as I get home.


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    Cheryls feedback is spot on

    I still think doing it myself is better and cheaper. Yes, I dont do direct fulfilment, but based on trials I dont want to load up 500 full res images to enable this to occur is practical either

    I'll be interested to see how you go.

    Id remove the (c) from the front image also (which is a cracker)
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    At this time I get an error page on both links.


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    The site does seem pretty slow... I think the gallery page loads ALL the images before displaying any of them, rather than downloading them as clicked on. This is pretty common but makes for a horrible first time experience... enough that many won't come back to see its faster the 2nd time around once the images are cached.

    Great images though... well done!

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    I can't work out how to buy a photo.

    And a minor annoyance but even when you go to a page for a shot, it gives you a link to the "unique photo page" which if you click it just gives you the same page.

    Otherwise it is nicely laid out and there are some great shots there.

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    Cheryl (kiwi), I have updated the site as you suggested, but with a minor difference, the contact page is now just a contact page. I left the "about" info on the front page (for Search Engine optimisation reasons) but change the tense as you mentioned.

    Keith, I haven't had that issue yet, any chance you can give me a little more detail, what browser are you using, "both" links point to very different sites, on in america and one here, so I'd be guessing the issue is at your end

    Zac, thanks for taking the time to have a look, I have sent a helpdesk request through to the host to see if there is something that can be done to optimise the experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maccaroneski View Post
    I can't work out how to buy a photo.

    And a minor annoyance but even when you go to a page for a shot, it gives you a link to the "unique photo page" which if you click it just gives you the same page.

    Otherwise it is nicely laid out and there are some great shots there.
    Thanks tony, I'm assuming you were looking in the Portrait gallery. These images are not for sale, so I think I need to add text to say that. However, the event galleries are both set to allow sales and an "add to cart" button is next to each image.

    Yeah, I'm not sure what the unique photo thing is for either, have already posted a question with the host, because if it is the link to be used to say, add the image to AP, then it doesn't work, and worse still, doesn't allow me to set the size.

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    Spot on Alan. I think you should add some explanation about what is and isn't for sale, if only for muppets like me

    I think that the difference between Photomerchant and Redbubble then in terms of product offerings is really horses for courses. What you gain in variety of print sizes you seem to be losing in framing options - so I suppose it comes down to whatever you're after.

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    Photomerchant has been getting a lot of press lately and they have some pretty competitive pricing, albeit a little more expensive then smugmug...but with the added benefits of $AUD and local printing. I've still got a bit left on my subscription to smugmug so i'm gonna hold off. Had a look at your site Alan and it looks good, albeit a tad slow. Hopefully photomerchant really takes off in the time i left left on smugmug so i can make a switch

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    Yeah, I still have my smugmug site but my domain now points to the new one. I have one big gripe though, I can't link my images from there to AP, I was going to show my new Abbey medieval festival images here but there is no way to share images . This makes me very sad.


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    You mean like this ?


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    Or this, lol


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    That's just teasing, how did you get those links?

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    If you bring me a cup of coffee I will show you

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    - black, no sugar

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    Here's a little more feedback (for Kiwi)

    1. You can upload small images to Direct Fulfilment galleries and then put an Order Hold on them that allows you double check image cropping, check that watermarks are removed from the image and that the resolution is high enough to support the order Print Size.

    2. The image cache url that you found above may/may not work, it was not designed for the purpose of sharing images and will break if you change the image in any way, possibly the gallery. They are thinking about putting in a sharing feature, but it needs more votes from users.

    3. The shopping cart pop-up uses a technology called Javascript and the speed at which it opens is dependent on the speed of the users computer. The first time that the shopping cart is opened it may take a little while as it needs to dynamically import all the product options that you have made available. After it has been opened once, it should be much faster on subsequent occasions. Suggestion was to limit the sizes to more standard sizes and not include every possible combination.

    4. When a Gallery loads, the page does wait for the thumbnails to be loaded but it does not wait for the larger preview images before displaying the contents. The thumbnails and preview images are optimised for the web and are compressed to load as quickly as possible for the theme you have selected. Once the main preview image has loaded, the page does automatically start downloading the other preview images on the page, so that when a thumbnail is clicked, it is likely that the preview image is instantly loaded (rather than waiting for it load). This setup gives your customers the most optimal way to quickly browse a page of images. At no point will your website visitors be viewing the original files that you have uploaded - only the compressed versions we have made from your original upload.

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