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Making my site more commercial

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  #1  
Old 01-01-2003, 11:41 AM
clare's Avatar
clare clare is offline
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Making my site more commercial

Hello everyone,

I am trying to create a more commercial version of my web site and was wondering whether anyone has any pointers that could be of use. You can find my current site via the link at the bottom of this post.

What do you love / hate about my current site?

How can I make it better?

Most importantly how can I make it more commercial?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me

Greatfully,

Clare
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2003, 01:18 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Hi Clare,

I took at look at your site. If I had to pick only one thing that I really liked about your site (other than your work), it would be the way you have it set up so that the links are available in the same fashion on each page you visit. I find that to be an important thing. One thing that I found to be distracting was that you have your name on the images, but you might have a good reason for that. I found myself attracted to your name (not necessarily bad! ) instead of your work (bad). Overall, I think your site is very easy to navigate, and people won't have to search for a way to contact you. Best of luck.

Ed
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2003, 01:34 PM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Clare - I'm not sure what you mean by "more commercial". Can you define that a little better? Or perhaps what your ultimate goal is? Or maybe an example or two of other sites that you consider "commercial"? I'm not trying to be difficult - just trying to really understand what you're looking for so I can give useful & helpful feedback.

Thanks, Jeanie
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2003, 05:10 PM
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Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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If I assume correctly you are going to be concentrating on the retouching side of the commercial sector.

At the moment your site is a mish mash of collected works and the like (no bad thing per se) but to become more commercial I would pare down the content. Try and define your site on paper before attempting to touch the mouse, think of all the aspects of your work that you want to include in your business, and make sure that you have your content sorted before anything else.

Make a flow chart and plot relationships and relevant hierarchies, this will assist in determining the navigation system to employ.

Don't (as is the case presently) overload the user with loads and loads of options, it's bewildering. Try and focus the navigation and chop out deadwood.

Like a portfolio, discard any work that is only mediocre.

Obviously your Meta data will also have to be targeted towards a more commercial aim.

Include a privacy statement, work sheets so that you and the client have agreed to the work being undertaken before commencing.

Really go to town on the emotional aspect of the retouching business, tug on heartstrings in your spiel.

Get rid of the hit counter, or at least find an invisible alternative


I can obviously provide more targeted assistance if you want specifics. Here is a site that is pretty clued up on making commercial sites, it has an active and busy community also. www.sitepoint.com try their forums
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  #5  
Old 01-02-2003, 03:53 AM
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clare clare is offline
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Thanks for all of your comments

By commercial I mean I want to get more messages in my email inquring about the photographic services that I provide. There are two sides to my business - the restoration and retouching and the commissions from local businesses. Hopefully in the future there will also be a sale of art prints section as well.

Ed made some good points that I agree with - the current site has got a good consistant link and contact details on everypage. But I think I need to streamline them as Mike suggested so people are not to overwhelmed, and don't find the important parts of the site.

I definately need to get my speil right - its a bit boring and basic at the moment

Thanks Mike for the link - I will defineately be looking this up.

I was wondering whether it would be worth my while to split the site into two parts, one front page that leads to two seperate parts of the site
- One - Restoration and retouching
- Two - Commissions and Personal portfolio
or should the commissions and personal portfolio come under two different headings?

Should I be looking down the road of a flash into - or do we all just hit the 'skip intro' button?

Thanks everyone for your continuing help and support
Clare

Thanks chuck for catching that wandering thread....
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  #6  
Old 01-02-2003, 06:48 AM
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LactoBeeZor LactoBeeZor is offline
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Clare;

The one page vs two page question can go either way. I like the two page because I can go to the area I want. But having a one page site can lead to other sites of sales for you, ie..."I was looking for some commerical stuff but they also do good restoration, humm, I could get some of that done also."


Nix the Flash. I always skip the intro.

My 2cents.
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Old 01-02-2003, 12:33 PM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Thanks for the clarification.

OK, looking at your site through the eyes of someone wanting to retain your services, here's what struck me...

- On your home page, you list four services that you provide, but you don't offer any further information on what those services entail. I would make each of those services a link that goes to more information about each. This may be my personal way of doing things, but I prefer to find out as much about the service as I can before contacting someone. I will tend to shrug off a site which doesn't give me as much info as I want - esp. if I can find another site which offers something similar and is full of info. (I'm also a fanatic about researching something before I purchase, so take my comments with that in mind.)

- You ask people to browse through your galleries, but the gallery page is not organized in a way which relates back to the four services you listed on your home page. While each service is covered in the gallery, you have to search to find it. I would organize the gallery a little better to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.

As far as your idea for splitting the site into two parts, I like that idea. I usually have a good idea of what I'm looking for in a site and like to have a straightforward path to get there. After I've found what I want, more often than not, I'll search around other parts of the site to see what else is there (esp. if I liked what I found initially). I think splitting the site into two parts would help with my first comment above.

I think that you would want a portfolio for both commissioned works and restoration/retouching. Or, at least links from each of those areas to a gallery with only those works. But, perhaps you can organize it in such a way that the individual galleries are linked at a page higher up. (Similar to what you've got now - but a bit more organized.)

I also vote for nixing the Flash. I thought about doing that for my site, but realized that I never actually wait for a Flash intro to finish before I hit the "Skip intro" button. Unless there is some vital information you were going to present, it is really just a "flashy" intro page that takes time to load and gets in the way of me finding the info I want.

Hope this helps,
Jeanie

P.S. Another "thanks" for the link Mike!
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  #8  
Old 01-02-2003, 12:51 PM
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clare clare is offline
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Thanks LactoBeeZor and Jeanie for your comments,

I also tend to 'skip the intro', and feel that making my site more useable would be a far better way to spend my time, rather that hours wondering how I can get an image to fly round my screen. Thanks for your feedback on this as it has helped me decide not to go down the flash route! Is there anyone pro flash? If so please voice your opinions, I havent writen my new site and all input is welcome.

I definately think I need to reorganise... things are a bit scattered through out my site and I think and hope this will help people find what they are looking for.

Jeanie, I like your idea of putting a page on for each of my services to explain them further - might help pull a few more people in.

I think I will go with the splitting of my site, I think people who want to have an image restored don't nessasarily want to be bogged down with personal work - but they know where to go to find it. This works both ways.

Thanks for all the feedback - it is all useful and helps,

Clare
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2003, 08:05 PM
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Leah Leah is offline
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Clare,

I think your logo and consistent use of a limited colour palette are very effective.

Two small points -

1. The counter on the front page looks amateurish - you don't see a hits counter on proper commercial sites from big companies any more.

2. Typo on about_us.html - "Artists (Concept images to enhance there products)" ahould read "Artists (Concept images to enhance their products)" - all the work you put into creating a polished professional look can be compromised by the finger factor if you're not careful.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2003, 10:49 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Leah


2. Typo on about_us.html - "Artists (Concept images to enhance there products)" ahould read "Artists (Concept images to enhance their products)" - all the work you put into creating a polished professional look can be compromised by the finger factor if you're not careful.
Good catch Leah! That one slipped right past me.

Ed
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