Sometimes we are too connected to the website we are creating or the people we ask for feedback are too connected to us to be brutally honest. What we all need is access to an internet savvy Petulant Child. The kind of kid that has “Why, What For” and “So What” playing as a constant loop through every conversation they have.
I’m lucky enough to own said petulant child, which I keep under lock and key in the deepest recesses of my brain. Fortunately for me and my business he’s not allowed to speak to the general public without asking me first. I’ll be letting him review some local websites and I may or may not ask the site owners permission, I suspect if I find any major issues I’ll give them a heads up.
There are two things that hit you straight away, first is the top quality image on the home page swiftly followed by some music set to auto play when the page loads. As I’m calmly taking in the detail on the roses and admiring the nice Bokeh effect the Petulant Child is drawing my attention to ‘THAT MUSIC’ and I can not repeat the language he is using. I’m not as put off as he is but I have to agree with his sentiment, music on a business website is usually a massive no-no.
I’m a little distracted by the music but I’m more distracted by what to do next, the pause button for THAT MUSIC is where I’d expect the menu to be and the only other elements on the page are the title and tagline. Luckily the petulant child is wildly clicking on everything and we discover that the title and tagline is actually the link to the main site.
We arrive on the main site and we have what I suppose you could traditionally call the about us page acting as our main landing page, but we do have some traditional menu across the top of the page. I’m interested in the quality of work so I’m drawn to the portfolio page but I’m a bit confused by the lack of structure, if I was just browsing then I’m sure displaying all the images in a slider style would be fine but if I’m here looking to hire a photographer for a particular event then I’d like to just see relevant images grouped together. The petulant child has picked up on a technical issue, if you click on an image to get a bigger version the slider of images (behind the now enlarged image) continues to scroll behind so you could miss the image that grabs my attention.
We have further pages which give more details about the services offered, the first of which is commercial photography. There’s a slight contradiction here, the page is very text heavy but is trying to make a point about better use of imagery. Each of the paragraphs could have a supporting image and if possible some supporting facts, as a commercial enterprise my focus is not on good imagery but on the ROI of good imagery. The petulant child doesn’t understand the pricing structure either but I think it’s quite simple £30 an hour taking pictures plus £20 for each hour for post production (or £50 an hour).
It’s wedding packages next and the page is very sparse with just some pricing information, unlike the Commercial page there isn’t even a contact section at the bottom. We are keeping a common theme going through these pages but sadly the commonality comes from a slight contradiction on the page, there are some very defined packages on the page and then a footnote which hints at a more bespoke offering.
The final page is the contact page, which does what it says on the tin.
I’ve looked at the code for the page and it’s obvious that the site is a Wix site so some of the things I’ve mentioned can’t be changed but if I had free reign there are a few things I’d change.
- Remove music from site home page.
- Add social media links and ability to share content via social media.
- Run the text from each page through Grammarly or install their browser plugin to check spelling & grammar.
- Localise the site, add location details to improve local searches.
- Add obvious Call To Action (CTA) to the Home page.
- Change subsequent homepage from the Me page to the Portfolio page.
- Change Portfolio page so different services or styles of photography are shown grouped together.
- Add CTA to each page that directs visitors to Contact Me page.
- Consider changing text for menu.
- Remove shadow from text and standardise shadow around content box (currently only on Wedding page).
Often the conundrum faced by photographers when they come to create their websites is they have to add all this stupid stuff like text, buttons and contact forms. I’m sure most would just like to upload their best shots and then get back outside before they lose the light.
Sadly even photographers need to eat so they have to embrace all aspects of web design so their sites act as a good shop window for potential customers. Often their online galleries miss the essential next step by focussing on delivering the images and not on what a potential customer does if they want to hire you (your Call To Action).
I think Simon Biffen got the balance right and I think his site recently won a Web Award, as did a WPHUNTERS WordPress theme called Clean Photo. Have a look over those for some more inspiration, if you have any comments feel free to add them below and if you want your site reviewed why not Get In Touch.