Author Topic: Site re-design considerations  (Read 2593 times)

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Offline Jeff Behm

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Site re-design considerations
« on: January 09, 2015, 05:11:40 PM »
I'm a fan of the slide show approach to a gallery site (www.jeffbehm.com) but the recent discussion in this same board about "no sliders", plus Theresa's mention elsewhere of LiveBooks and Photofolio prompted me to look around a bit. I like what both of them have to offer, but I also have a Zenfolio gallery site that has been very good for me and to me.  I'm not quite prepared to abandon a site that has worked as well for me as Zenfolio has, just because there's new glitz elsewhere.

Unfortunately, almost all of the full page display options (as opposed to full image display) crop the photos oddly, so that, if you don't compose as the samples are, your images look strange as all hell on the full bleed designs.

In looking at the Zenfolio options, one that's not a slider is a large thumbnail home page.  A visitor would then click on the images they want to see.  I'll include a sample below.  If I used this design, I might reorganize the gallery so that the first row would be all food, the second all jewelry, then all headshots, etc. in accordance with my list of services.  That might be a good thing.

The current design (cupcake, below) shows the full image with a slideshow that switches from food to jewelry to headshot, back to food etc.  I'm curious what you think.

Offline Jenny Gavin-Wear

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 05:59:32 PM »
A few ideas for you, Jeff.

Single Gallery
http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/actor-headshot-portfolio

Multiple Groups and Galleries
http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/stage-photography

Group inside stage photography with multiple galleries
http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/the-hidden-truth

I agree with you re. the full page layouts.  I'd have to ratio all of my images the same way and I don't have the time or the inclination.

I don't like the ZF slideshow formats, especially when they are inset into a custom page, but they are what they are :-

http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/photography-customer-testimonials

I've been looking around at ZF alternatives for ages, but I can't find anything I'm happy with.  I think it'll be a custom made portfolio site with ZF for the client galleries in a years time if not before.

Anyhow, have a dig around, you might get some ideas.

You are missing a lot of SEO in your gallery URLs.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2015, 06:02:59 PM by Jenny Gavin-Wear »

Offline Sam Levitan

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 06:10:53 PM »
Jeff- I'm not entirely familiar with the Zenfolio templates, but one of the things that I would definitely keep in mind regardless of what platform you go with is how easy the tablet and mobile versions are to use and how enjoyable that experience is to the user.  I think that the first experiebnce that new clients have with our web content will be on one of these platforms, and there are some mobile templates that are truly terrible and frustrating.  A great mobile user experience, I think, will go a long way.  And it makes it handy to pull up an image to show a potential client when you're meeting face to face.

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 06:28:11 AM »
I find the ZF example really cluttered, whereas your current page has a nice clean feel to it.

I agree sliders that switch up fast are a distraction but I'm not averse to those that are slow - one of the examples of a good page given in the thread you spoke about (Hilton Worldwide) is actually a slider - it's just a rather slow one, (and does move automatically even though he states that it doesn't.)

http://conversionxl.com/dont-use-automatic-image-sliders-or-carousels-ignore-the-fad/#.

"Notice that Hilton has an image slider, but it does not move automatically. If youíre gonna do it, thatís the way to go: http://www3.hilton.com/en/index.html"

So, if sliders move slowly, or allow you to switch between images manually, they get the thumbs up; too fast and automatic they get the thumbs down.

I totally agree with Sam - ensuring it works on all platforms is vital; I'd be more concerned with that than a slider that moves slowly, personally.

Offline Bruce Warner

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 07:39:16 AM »
I saw the ZF galleries, and played around with it last fall, but could never find anything that I liked.  If you could have a simple gallery of just three images (head shot, jewelry, and food) each being a gateway to the specific category being illustrated it would be cleaner.  I like your current sight the best, and if it is working then I would stay with that. 

Above all else, what Sam said is a must.
Bruce

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 08:35:29 AM »
Just to be clear, both my current (white page) and the proposed change are Zenfolio templates.  Taking your comments into consideration, I'll stay with the current white page, although I'll look for a way to make the slide a gateway to the gallery in addition to the menu headers to the immediate left of the display area. 

I know ZF did a revamp last year of their mobile platform, and it was an improvement over the previous.  It remains to be seen whether that is still optimal.
 
As for SEO, I rely on my Wordpress blog to drive SEO to my WP site, and have the Zenfolio we're discussing set as the "Gallery" link in my blog.  SEO for the WP is managed by a paid service.  I'll look at how I can increase search potential from the Zenfolio site, but have never relied much on an image based search as opposed to the text in the blog.

Thanks, all.  After this discussion, I'm staying with the status quo, at least for now.  Looking at the providers Theresa was mentioning (Livebooks and Photofolio) whetted my appetite for change - probably unnecessary change.

Offline Jenny Gavin-Wear

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 09:34:50 AM »

Jeff,  It's the URLs, they are a key part of good SEO and it wouldn't take you long to fix them.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 10:48:21 AM »

Jeff,  It's the URLs, they are a key part of good SEO and it wouldn't take you long to fix them.


Ahh, I often get lost in "online jargon", but are you talking about changing "photographer frederick md Maryland Virginia DC" to something more like  "food jewelry product headshot photographer maryland virginia DC" ?

Offline Jenny Gavin-Wear

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 12:27:46 PM »

Jeff,  It's the URLs, they are a key part of good SEO and it wouldn't take you long to fix them.


Jeff, the URL is the snazzily called, Uniform Resource Locator, also known as the web address.

If you look at your galleries and groups, you'll see you can create a friendly url.

For example:-

Unfriendly:   http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/193836229

Friendly:  http://www.jgw-photography.co.uk/portrait-photography-portfolio

You need to map out your groups and galleries and decide on a consistent format for the friendly URLs.  They are called "friendly" because Google can make sense of them and index them.

If you look at the URL's on my site, they are all readable by Google and it gives me really good SEO.

(I'm qualified in SEO, 30 years in IT and developing sites since  there was an Internet.)

Ahh, I often get lost in "online jargon", but are you talking about changing "photographer frederick md Maryland Virginia DC" to something more like  "food jewelry product headshot photographer maryland virginia DC" ?


Offline Theresa Fernandez

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2015, 10:21:53 AM »
Hey Jeff, I do like your current layout, my only suggestion would be to maybe rearrange your links on the left, so your portfolios are the first links then the blog is at the bottom of the menu.  And maybe when you click into one the portfolios instead of the thumbs have each image large so the agent can flip through them.  Just a thought..... oh yeah, the burger with the blue cheese and mushrooms made me hungry!  ;D
Theresa Fernandez
Dallas Food Photographer

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2015, 11:06:23 AM »
The re-arrangement of the order of links is easy.  Not as certain of the size of the images vs thumbnails.  Thanks for the input.  That burger makes me hungry, too, which takes me to that restaurant fairly often.  I l love your new design.  I just don't know that the cost/benefit equation works.  Andrew made some good observations re: changes in policy, etc.

Offline thephotoman

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 01:10:18 PM »
I like the layout of the site, but from an SEO point of view it needs work particularly on the homepage and throughout the site for Alt Tags, which are particularly important for an image heavy site.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 03:23:59 PM »
All My SEO is driven by the blog site, for which this serves as the gallery.  Food and jewelry SEO place me first page above the fold for Maryland. Headshots require more work but it's coming.  I guess some tags could help but I'm not sure how much more, compared to the blog.

Offline A Former Member

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2015, 05:17:11 PM »
If you let the slideshow header play through on your blog you get to this weird "A blog" slide.
Attached.

It used to show before you updated stuff but you didn't seem to see it.

The "masonary" style block of images could be tweaked to get a better fit. Needs a good tidy up, like my desk.

Andrew

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2015, 12:26:02 AM »
The design used in this link: http://www.jeffbehm.com cuts the LHS menu bar off, and it won't scroll.

OS 10.10.1
Safari 8.0.2

I've marked the image to show how it looks on my 13" Macbook.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2015, 08:35:04 AM »
Andrew, I'm not quite sure what you meant.  Does the slideshow not play?  That title slide is the first but should quickly move through the images.

Nanette, that's entirely unlike how it displays on my iMac.  There is much more space at the top, above the logo, and plenty below the text you aren't seeing.  Since that's a template provided by Zenfolio, I'll have to contact them about it, probably best if i use your screen grab, too.

Thank you both.

Offline A Former Member

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2015, 10:21:35 AM »
Andrew, I'm not quite sure what you meant.  Does the slideshow not play?  That title slide is the first but should quickly move through the images.

It plays but one of the slides is not intentional is it?
Do you see where it say "A blog" on one of your slides in a grey blob?
Check the screenshot.

Andrew

Offline A Former Member

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2015, 10:25:22 AM »
The design used in this link: http://www.jeffbehm.com cuts the LHS menu bar off, and it won't scroll.

OS 10.10.1
Safari 8.0.2

I've marked the image to show how it looks on my 13" Macbook.

Looks like that on an iPad also. If you look at it on a big screen it all fits.

Andrew

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2015, 12:15:12 PM »
OK.  The "A Blog" is intentional, it's just a quip.  You're the first to ever mention it in over a year.  Don;t know if that's good or bad. 

The failure of the menu screen is something I'll have to take up with ZF, but I've been finishing an overnight rush shoot for a client and haven't had the time.

Offline A Former Member

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Re: Site re-design considerations
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2015, 01:04:09 PM »
OK.  The "A Blog" is intentional, it's just a quip.  You're the first to ever mention it in over a year.  Don;t know if that's good or bad. 

The failure of the menu screen is something I'll have to take up with ZF, but I've been finishing an overnight rush shoot for a client and haven't had the time.

I really thought it was an error, something like a temporary placeholder you had forgot to remove.

Andrew