I Would Like Your Opinions on My Site Please!
I am trying to begin to earn a living by providing portrait services on a local level but by advertising with a "professional" looking website. I would really appreciate it anyone would care to take a moment and visit my site
and tell me what they think, what I've done right, and how to improve.
Thank you for taking the time.
Donna R. Moratelli
Hi Michelle, It looks very nice and professional. Just let people know that its out there. Donnarae
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
I see that you have made small thumbs of your pictures - excellent. The pages load very fast now and the new layout is very clean and professional looking. Keep up the good work.
Referring to Donna's suggestion about getting the word out, there is an art to search engine optimization. For a quick and easy start, though, visit Submit Express. They offer a free submission that can help. You just have to navigate through a few attempts to get you to sign up on email lists (not recommended).
Hope this helps!
To create a more professional site I would suggest the following tips:
1.) Create a template Web page and base all pages on the site around this template. This gives a consistent look and feel to the site.
2.) Make the navigation of your site easy and intuitive. Create a menu structure that you will use on all the pages. This makes it a lot easier for a first time visitor to navigate through your site. Give precedence to information that you want your potential customers to be able to access quickly and easily i.e. your contact details and pricing lists. If you think your site will grow then design this menu structure to that it is scalable. Do not add items to it that you 'think' you might like on your site.
3.) Don't try to do anything too fancy. Most people try and rush into web design and add all the bells and whistles to their websites resulting in an overall mess of a site. Nice layout with simple imagery can create a very professional looking site without any need for Flash or Java. BetterPhoto.com is a good example of this.
4.) Design your site around the content that you have. Don't create pages unless you know you have the content to fill them. You may think that down the line you will add to the page but in truth you probably never will leaving the site looking dead and badly updated. Add new pages only when you have the content for them.
Hope some of this helps.
If I may add a few more points to the above:
1) Don't use a plain white background. It doesn't create any sort of emotion. Works well for discussion boards and technical papers, but anything that is meant to invoke emotion should have some sort of background to assist that. For example, you could use a muted pink/red/maroon background on the wedding/engagement photos and a navy and dark blue "sponged" finish for the senior photos.
2) I know what Jim said about good thumbnails, I support thumbnailing too, but the approach you used just doesn't do it for me. When there are that many photos on the page, very few of them catch my eye.
As a suggestion, I would recommend no more than three larger (about 3inch by 2 inch on the screen?) thumbnails per page, and have a "Next page" and "Previous page" icon at the bottom to see the next three. This isolates each picture and allows its merits to come through.
Also, rather than just open up the full sized image on a blank page, either open up a new window and size it so that it doesn't show any white around the photo, or else put a background similar to the main page.
It's a fair bit of work, but I believe it gives a much more professional look.
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