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Author Topic: New website help  (Read 3193 times)
jhemp
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« on: January 10, 2011, 10:16:19 PM »
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Hey everyone,
   I'll start by saying this site has really helped me in my transition from film to digital.  Super informative articles and wonderful reviews.  Now I would like to ask for some help from the members of the forum.  I have recently finnished scanning all my 4x5 and medium format negatives and created my website.  Whats bugging me is my website's pictures look fantastic on my monitor that has been calibrated to my printer, but on some other monitors the highlights are blown out and it looks horrible.  I figure theres not much that can be done because everyones monitor will be set to different values, but I dunno.  I'm feeling rather nieve because I've made the digital transition without anymore direction than this website.  I resisted switching fully into the digital era until last year and I feel my stubborness has held me back.  So If some of you could have a look and send me some feedback that would be great.  Butcher me in your critiques if I need it.  Thanks
  www.jhemphillphotography.com    www.jhemphillphotography.com
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popnfresh
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 03:57:04 AM »
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I think the website looks great, but more importantly your photography is first rate, both technically and aesthetically. You have every reason to be proud of it.

As for the way your photos look on others' monitors, there's unfortunately nothing you can do about it. Most monitors are never calibrated and if yours is a professional quality display, have a smaller color gamut as well. You made tbe right decision to optimize your photos for your calibrated monitor. Anything less than that and they simply wouldn't look their best on any screen.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 08:26:58 AM by popnfresh » Logged
John R Smith
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 04:06:24 AM »
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J

Your photos look absolutely great on my (calibrated) monitor. A very nice website and really fine work, too. You have done an excellent job with your scans and file preparation for the internet.

Most casual PC users do not calibrate their screens, and there is nothing you can do about this. Consequently, their displays will usually be 1) Too cool and 2) Too bright.

So don't worry, and stick to your guns.

John
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tom b
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 11:07:59 AM »
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Butcher me in your critiques if I need it.  Thanks

A Dr Phil moment… you really didn't mean that did you?

Taking aside the photography, to be honest you have a basic start to a web site.

You need to remove the recent work from your splash page and have it as a separate navigation item. The quote should fit on one line.

The recent trips page is fine, just lose first paragraph on the page. Then how are you going to navigate to the next trip?

The Landscape Work page is redundant, you have a whole page of thumbnails which are repeated in the slide show.

The slide show is a mixture of B&W, colour landscapes and a skate park. I would like to see separate slide shows with a description of where and why you took the images. Plus how would you navigate to this and future slide shows.

The Portrait Work page has the same problems. Redundant thumbnails half of which aren't labeled and a mixture of colour and B&W.

It's a start but only a start, a lot more thinking about navigation and the purpose of this site needs to be done.

And please don't ever say "Butcher me in your critiques if I need it." That is the neediest comment you can make.

Good luck with your site, your landscape photographs are fine but your design skills need to catch up.

Cheers,





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PeterAit
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 11:23:08 AM »
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Wow, great site and photos - bravo.

You are right, there's not much you can do about your visitors' monitors.

FWIW, I get a "this website is suspicious - you should leave now" message from my security software when I visit your site. I have no idea why.
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Peter
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View my photos at http://www.peteraitken.com
candide
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 11:42:04 AM »
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You need to remove the recent work from your splash page and have it as a separate navigation item. The quote should fit on one line.
The recent trips page is fine, just lose first paragraph on the page. Then how are you going to navigate to the next trip?
The Landscape Work page is redundant, you have a whole page of thumbnails which are repeated in the slide show.
The slide show is a mixture of B&W, colour landscapes and a skate park. I would like to see separate slide shows with a description of where and why you took the images. Plus how would you navigate to this and future slide shows.
The Portrait Work page has the same problems. Redundant thumbnails half of which aren't labeled and a mixture of colour and B&W.
It's a start but only a start, a lot more thinking about navigation and the purpose of this site needs to be done.
And please don't ever say "Butcher me in your critiques if I need it." That is the neediest comment you can make.
The only thing I would agree with is taking your recent work off the landing page and making it a separate subsection. I like having both the thumbnails and the option of running a slideshow. Sometimes you just want to see an image or two and don't need a whole slideshow. I think it's very easy to navigate it the way you already have it. I also don't think your landscapes need descriptions of where and why you shot the picture. The titles alone suffice. You're making art, not a travelogue. And I don't think your portraits need even titles. They appear to be commissioned work for private clients and there's really no need to advertise their identities on the internet, unless they want you to. They stand on their own quite well as examples of your skill as a portraitist.
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Justinr
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 12:12:20 PM »
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People are fed up with me pontificating about websites and probably rightly so but hell, I'll go ahead anyway.

Yep, the web is the worst place to display photography because you have no control over how it is viewed.

Grey is good, certainly better than pure white but the textured background is probably not the best idea, just plain grey would be nice. I also wonder if the photo borders would be better in black rather than white. That may vary with each photo of course but black provides a solid edge whereas white can be a little more vague.

Do you have the option of choosing a larger display width? 800 pixels will show without scrolling on most of the smaller screen sized gadgets but 700 will look lost in a wide screen monitor. It used to be so simple, 1024 pixels wide less around 30 for the scroll bar did the job well, but no longer, we now have to adapt to the latest whizz bang must have inter active web node display system or whatever which means further constraints on creativity.

The image file sizes are rather large and take time to download. 100kb is plenty big enough for a colour at 700 pixels wide let alone a B&W where near 50 is probably fine. From memory your homepage photo is 350kb!

Personally I am not over fussed by mixing colour and B&W thumbnails on a page, but I can see why others might be. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Justin.

 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 12:14:04 PM by Justinr » Logged

Mark Anderson
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2011, 12:26:17 PM »
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I think your website looks quite attractive, and moving around inside it seems natural and intuitive. I did notice that the top image on your Recent Works page has a possible blown highlight on my monitor, perhaps one of those views you would find "horrible." I haven't calibrated my monitor for a couple of months now because I haven't been printing lately. So perhaps I am more representative of the "average" visitor to your site. I personally didn't find it particularly objectionable, or taking away from the site overall.

Having just published a website of my own http://toursabroadchina.com, I'm curious as to how you are trying to drive visitors to your site. My case is somewhat different as I am trying to sell a product -- fine art photo workshops to China -- but I think anybody going through the process of designing and then publishing a website would like to attract as many visitors to their site as possible. At my age - mid-60s - I do not find myself a natural twitterer, or poster on Facebook, and yet have become convinced that utilizing social media to drive visitors to one's website is a good strategy. Assuming you want to drive visitors to your site.

The other strategic issue is how to make your site more visible to the various web search engines, Google in particular. SEO, search engine optimization, is important. I am constantly searching online for great photographic websites, but they are not always easy to find through the search engines. I used WordPress to create my website, and for each image on my site WordPress provides a Title, Alternate Text, and Caption fill-in fields. I was advised to use all of these, because while search engines cannot "see" images, they do see each of these text entries. The Alternate Text box is particularly useful because whatever you put in that box is not viewable by visitors to your site, so you can populate that field with keywords you think people may use in their online searches.

Best of luck with your website.
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Justinr
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2011, 01:12:03 PM »
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SEO is easy, pay Google or hope that your competitors don't!

To be honest Mark with something like 5 million sites joining the web every week (I think that's right) you are going to get lost in the blizzard. SEO will only get you so far the rest is up to you selling your site and services to potential customers. There was a brief period when site searches were meaningful and you expect a response from certain search terms but those days have been swamped out by the sheer number of sites vying for attention and all using the same tricks to shout 'look at me'. Google as a search engine is quite corrupt in that it will place sites that pay them high in the rankings whether they are any good to you or not. For serious searches I always use Bing which usually gets me what I want a lot quicker. My advice is don't rely on the net as a lead generator, only think of it as a part of your marketing armoury unless you are willing to fork out to the Big G, but even then the money could probably be better spent elsewhere.

Justin.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 01:21:37 PM »
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. Google as a search engine is quite corrupt in that it will place sites that pay them high in the rankings whether they are any good to you or not.

That is NOT true ... you are confusing paid placement with Search ...

You cannot influence google search results with payments to google.
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Mark Anderson
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2011, 01:23:07 PM »
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SEO is easy, pay Google or hope that your competitors don't!

To be honest Mark with something like 5 million sites joining the web every week (I think that's right) you are going to get lost in the blizzard. SEO will only get you so far the rest is up to you selling your site and services to potential customers. There was a brief period when site searches were meaningful and you expect a response from certain search terms but those days have been swamped out by the sheer number of sites vying for attention and all using the same tricks to shout 'look at me'. Google as a search engine is quite corrupt in that it will place sites that pay them high in the rankings whether they are any good to you or not. For serious searches I always use Bing which usually gets me what I want a lot quicker. My advice is don't rely on the net as a lead generator, only think of it as a part of your marketing armoury unless you are willing to fork out to the Big G, but even then the money could probably be better spent elsewhere.

Justin.

Ah, so you think I am hopelessly naive. Perhaps. I don't dispute your points, but these days I think you need to consider every type of marketing strategy out there. Of course I'm more focused on product differentiation, and selective targeting. But I'm not going to totally ignore other strategies. They all go in the mix.

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tom b
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2011, 01:23:57 PM »
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Like I said there are thumbnails are in the slide show. You don't need them twice and having the on a page like that makes future development of your site problematical.

When I looked at the slide show, I thought nice B&W landscapes, then… what are these skate park images doing here, then oh! we've got colour landscape pictures now. The images had no story to tell. In all I found the process jarring and piecemeal. I would prefer to see three slide shows with with a representative number of images in each.

Consistency is important with any aspect of a site. You either label everything or you don't label at all, otherwise it looks amateur.

Navigation at the moment is OK but if you are going to add pages like you have indicated in the recent trips page how are you going to get there?

Good luck with your site, I had a feeling you just wanted us to tell you that your images were great.

Cheers,




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Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 02:01:44 PM »
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Ah, so you think I am hopelessly naive. Perhaps. I don't dispute your points, but these days I think you need to consider every type of marketing strategy out there. Of course I'm more focused on product differentiation, and selective targeting. But I'm not going to totally ignore other strategies. They all go in the mix.



Not at all, but there are still plenty of people who think that a web presence is the key to instant wealth. You don't strike me as that detached and I really don't see how you perceived that we disagree about considering a range of marketing tactics.

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Justinr
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 02:28:09 PM »
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That is NOT true ... you are confusing paid placement with Search ...

You cannot influence google search results with payments to google.

Let me tell you a little story.

I had a website, did all the keywords and meta data fields and links and so and it never ever appeared higher than the third page where it stuck for about a year despite me using the most specific of search terms that matched the keywords and text. One day a lady from a Scottish based company claiming to represent Google (and her credentials were sound) rang me and cheerfully offered a wonderful deal that ensured my site would appear in the top three for specific search terms (that I could nominate) if the search originated in Co Tipperary. No I said. A couple of days later she rang back offering the same but for the whole of Munster, No I said again. Further and ever more desperate call ensured and eventually she slammed the phone down on me as it became clear that I wasn't playing ball.

Now here comes the interesting part. A weak or so later I entered a very general term and lo and behold there I was top of the pile! No money had changed hands or agreement made. So what had happened? Could it be that another photographer in the area had decided to not pay them and so they were anxious to ensure the revenue lost could be recovered elsewhere? Now that nobody was coughing up the best SEO'd site rose to the top. Do Google actually suppress commercial sites from which they are not earning in favour of ones from which they are? Cannot be proven but an almost identical situation has occurred with a customer of mine who is a stonemason. Enter specific terms for his craft and area and you will get all sorts of nonsense about heritage and ancestral searches but you will not get his site until about 4 or 5 pages in. You will though get three or four other Stonemasons from elsewhere who seem to appear whatever you do. Is that fix? You tell me, I know what my mate thinks.
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 02:36:47 PM »
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You tell me

I will.  You don't understand the difference between Google Search and Google AdWords.

AdWords:
https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=adwords&hl=en_US&ltmpl=adwords&passive=false&ifr=false&alwf=true&continue=https://adwords.google.com/um/gaiaauth?apt%3DNone%26ugl%3Dtrue&error=newacct

Search:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Search
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Justinr
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 02:52:29 PM »
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I think you misunderstand my point. The lady was not selling Adwords, an advert appearing was not part of the deal The deal was that my site would appear in the top three results for given search terms that I could correct and adjust. Suddenly my site started to appear at the top on a general search without me handing a penny over. Why was that?
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 03:22:10 PM »
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I think you misunderstand my point. The lady was not selling Adwords, an advert appearing was not part of the deal The deal was that my site would appear in the top three results for given search terms that I could correct and adjust. Suddenly my site started to appear at the top on a general search without me handing a penny over. Why was that?

Nope.  Just doesn't work that way ... sorry.
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Justinr
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2011, 03:30:01 PM »
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Nope.  Just doesn't work that way ... sorry.

Doesn't it? Oh!
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2011, 07:01:46 PM »
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Strange! I just googled "myrvaagnes photography" and out of the 17,000 some hits, the very first one was my own website (and quite a number of the rest, too).

So any of the millions of people who wake up some morning thinking "Today I think I'll google 'myrvaagnes photography' just to see what happens" will see my website in the Number One Spot!!! How cool is that?

Eric
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jeremypayne
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2011, 07:16:40 PM »
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I had to do some work to achieve top google rank for my name ... There's a famous neurosurgeon and an aspiring NASCAR driver named Jeremy Payne.

I was consciously "un-googleable" until a certain point when I was asked to be the media spokesperson representing my old company on TV, radio and print.  I decided if I was going to be there at all, I should of course be number 1 ... That's when I discovered how common my name was!

The neurosurgeon was easy to knock off, but it took some serious traffic to supplant the NASCAR kid.
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