First Paid Website - Critique

Discussion in 'Personal and Professional Photography Websites' started by Trblmkr, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. Trblmkr

    Trblmkr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm using the 14 day free trial of smugmug and would like some feed back on it. Take a look at the layout, options for pricing ease of moving around etc.

    I do intend on going with GoDaddy for my own personal domain and e-mail account.

    www.dangirardphotography.smugmug.com

    Thanks


     
  2. AceCo55

    AceCo55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The menu text on the homepage is sometimes difficult to read - depending on the background image
    Since you don't have the menu bar on any other page (only the homepage), if a visitor wants to look at another category, they have to go back to the home page, via the breadcrumb. It's just another click but a slight impediment to visitors.

    You have the photos for sale but no deterrent for visitors stealing your images.
    a) you are allowing visitors to see a 3XL size image - which is pretty large. That's OK, except

    b) you have not disabled right click > save image. So any visitor can save any of your photos at 3XL size
    Note that disabling right click is NO protection to anyone with a small amount of knowledge but it will deter novices ... AND it gives you an opportunity to have a copyright message pop up it they try to save an image

    c) There is no text anywhere on your site that reminds visitors that these are YOUR images and they should NOT be stolen.
    eg mine says (mainly copied from Smugmug suggested wording):
    "Terms and Conditions
    Prices are subject to change without notice.
    Prices are for personal use only and may not be used for editorial or commercial purposes.
    If you purchase digital images, prints and/or slideshows (= "Media"), the photographer will retain the copyright and all rights thereto.
    Purchased Media are licensed non-exclusively to the purchaser provided they are for personal use only.
    The Media may be used for display on personal websites and computers, or making image prints for personal use.
    The Media may not be altered in any way.
    The Media may not be used in any way whatsoever in which you charge money, collect fees, or receive any form of remuneration.
    The Media may not be used in advertising ... nor resold, relicensed, or sub-licensed.
    Contact me for commercial use licensing.
    "

    I also have this as a footer on every page:
    "© Copyright Ace Coote - All Rights Reserved. See Terms and Conditions in the "Buy" pages"

    d) whether you like watermarks on your photos is up to you and your situation
    Some people prefer a subtle, smallish watermark in say bottom right corner.
    It serves as another visual reminder to visitors that these are your images and should not be stolen.
    Also you have a much stronger position to protect your rights if some-one removes your watermark.
    (me? Because a major proportion of my visitors are teens or young adults, I have a watermark slap bang, dead centre and they still screenshot my images ... and will show them to me on their phones! I'm OK with that because no matter where that photo goes, my web address is there for all to see. Free marketing)

    You also don't have an "About Me" page/info so visitors get to know who you are, where you live etc
    No information about what "Services" you might provide - are you available for commissions?

    Not sure what the point is of the "Browse" link as it just brings up all your categories that you have in the homepage menu bar. Seems a little redundant to me?

    If you don't want the "Powered by Smugmug" in the footer area it is possible to remove that. See here.
    Remove the "Powered by SmugMug" Footer
    Aaron has a whole bunch of customisation instructions:
    Customizations

    Also look on the Smugmug Users Forum - "DGrin":
    Digital Grin Photography Forum - Powered by vBulletin

    Are you aware that you will only to able to SELL photos if you have a Portfolio or Business subscription?
    And you can only have one price list active with the Portfolio subscription
    The Business one can have multiple active price lists

    Compare the subscription levels here:
    Photo Sharing Features & Plans | SmugMug

    You photos are easy to see, the collage style seems to work well.
    Certainly many fine photographs
    Good luck
     
  3. Trblmkr

    Trblmkr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow... thank you so much AceC055.. This is exactly what I was hoping from this group, and you did it all in one post. Great info and I made all the adjustments you recommended. Menu is now on all pages/galleries. browse is gone too.

    Do I really need a "HOME" button if all the rest of the galleries are linked ??

    a) and b) I thought I had turned that on... okay.. found it, activated it, and updated the message.

    c) great idea.. done... I used the same information you provided here... hope you don't mind

    d) yeah I've been trying to figure out how smugmug can put a text watermark on my pictures while viewing, but not when they are purchased. The website say's it's possible with the Portfolio Plan (my plan after my 14 day trial runs out). Everything I see on their site says to upload a picture as your water mark, I just want text "Dan Girard Photography"

    About Page.. no clue how to create that, and couldn't find any way to add it to my home menu bar. I'll reach out to them for assistance.

    I'm also thinking of getting my own domain name to remove the smugmug reference in the http.
     
  4. AceCo55

    AceCo55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Terms and Conditions - that's fine to copy :1247: ... but mine refers to finding the more detailed terms on my "BUY" pages.
    You don't have a "BUY" page so you might want to remove that part.
    The terms text is also very hard to read - again because of the background photo.
    There are a number of possible solutions:
    eg add a "footer content block" to your homepage and add the text to that block.
    eg add a "text content block" to your homepage and add the text to that
    Although that MAY frighten off potential customers with all the "legalese" on the first page? That's why I put a brief message on each page's footer and the expanded version on the BUY pages that I have.
    note: content blocks are mentioned later in this post

    I think the home page is a little too static at the moment.
    You could think about adding a slideshow there or some blocks of text with a welcoming message.

    Watermarking and Printing Dilemma:
    First off you need to have a Portfolio or Business account to get customised watermarks
    If you have one of those AND you want to sell prints, DO NOT put your watermark on your uploads.
    If you do, then buyers will have your watermark on their prints - liable to upset most.

    What you do is create a watermark as a png file.
    Upload that png file to your Smugmug folder - this is never visible to visitors.
    It is just to keep your site images.

    You can then turn that into a watermark that can be added to your DISPLAY images
    You can specify where it will be placed on the display images and what transparency you want it to be
    Note: Smugmug NEVER applies it to the ORIGINAL upload image. This is why is it VITAL that you do not allow visitors to see your original, high res images (see "2" below)

    So you then upload your high res images to a particular gallery.
    1) In the gallery settings, you turn on watermarks and then select the watermark you created.
    The watermark will then appear on your display sizes - but it will NEVER be applied to your original.
    Smugmug only uses the original for printing - not any of the other generated sizes that appear on your website.
    2) Set your "maximum display size" to something LESS than "original". At the moment you have it set to 3XL - and that is fine if you want visitors to see your photos in all their glory on large screens. But it also means those same visitors will get a pretty big screenshot (but now it will also have your watermark on it).
    So there is no "correct" size to choose (just DON'T allow Original - unless you want people to download your images for themselves and no sale to you).
    Me? I set mine at XL.
    Why? It is a bit of a compromise between seeing a decent size and not being too big for screen shotting.
    Also according to my stats, around 60-70% of my image views are from people on small screens (smartphones and tables). Of the desktop viewers, there are only a minority who are using big screens that can take advantage of 3XL size


    Creating and "About Me" Page
    Click on "Organise" when logged in (top of screen)
    Click on "Create" in Organizer and select page
    Fill in the name you want to call it etc
    DONE
    You should get taken back to that page - which is likely to be blank
    Then go to Customise > Content and Design
    On the right hand sidebar is a list of "Content Blocks" that you can add to a page
    So if you want to display a photo, you would drag a "photo content block" onto your page.
    You might want that to show a photo of yourself
    You can also drag a "text content block" onto the page and enter the text you want to appear on your "About Me" page
    The standard content block has limited edited capabilities, so people who know some css/html code would add a "HTML content block" intsead. Then using code you can make your text styled to suit you.
    Again the users on the DGrin forum are awesome and will definately help anyone who asks.
    The support staff and volunteers/users are a BIG BIG plus in getting your site exactly how you want it.

    Content blocks can be moved around, sized blah blah blah
    You build up pages with content blocks.

    Once you have an "About Me" page set up, you can then add a link to it on your menu bar.
    One of the great things about the New Smugmug, is that it is very easy to add links to menu bars and to create multi-level menus (cascading) - once you learn the steps, it is very easy.

    I would always have a HOME button - just as an "anchor" point and a get-out-of-jail-card for visitors. Again, if your home page was a little more dynamic or info rich it would allow visitors to quickly recheck info.

    I used to have my homepage with a a different folder for every one of the different sports I shoot. The problem was that the number of sports got too big so people had to scroll about looking for the sport they were interested in.

    So I got rid of them all - on my homepage, and created a multi-level menu system for people to use for navigation. I still wanted a "landing" page and I wanted it so that my footer was visible without scrolling - so that they see my message about copyright.
    I created a random slideshow and sized it so that my header/menu/slideshow/footer were visible on one screen.


    Another thing I did not check with your site, was how it looks on different devices and screen sizes.
    Smugmug has a setting to allow your website to be responsive to mobile devices (called "stretchy")
    You can use this website to simulate what your website looks like on a variety of devices/screen sizes.
    You just enter your web address and then select the device and/or screen size
    Screenfly / Test Your Website at Different Screen Resolutions

    I can't emphasise enough that if you decide to go with Smugmug, use the DGrin forum to ask for help.
    Just describe the problem or what you want to achieve, and the amazing users or staff will help you the whole way. There are some amazing people there.

    I visit that forum (and THIS one) every day. I often come across a solution to a problem I didn't even know I had!!!

    Cheers :encouragement:
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  5. Dillard

    Dillard No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm in class and don't have time to read the previous comments, but a few quick things that jump out at me...

    1) The copy right information on the home page is distracting, and really takes away from the image IMO. You want that first image to really grab peoples attention and make them want to stay and look around.

    2) You don't have a logo or name anywhere on the page. Remind customers who you are!

    3) Add an about me or some other page to tell customers who you are. When I was searching for a wedding photographer last year, I really spent a lot of time reading bio's and about me's. Surprisingly, I actually narrowed down he list because I didn't like the way some of the photographers came across, or they simply just didn't fit the type of person I wanted shooting our wedding.
     
  6. Trblmkr

    Trblmkr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Damn... I did forget about my name... DUH...LOL Thanks for catching that.
    About me page is coming
     
  7. encom_

    encom_ TPF Noob!

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    A small remark: on mobile phone, the homepage shows gray text on top of your image. It is kind of hard to read.
     
  8. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My comment would be to make potential customers' lives as easy as possible. No one is going to fight you to buy your pictures. For example: there is no price next to the images, just a 'buy' button. Clicking on that still does not give me a price. How many clicks before I either find the price or decide that life is too short?

    Selling photography on line is VERY competitive and potential customers will not cut you any slack.

    Sent from my A1-840 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  9. AceCo55

    AceCo55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is not something the OP could control.
    This is the way the Smugmug shopping cart is designed.
    If you think about it, the price depends on the size and the medium.
    Once the visitor decides on the product type and the medium, a price list for the various sizes is displayed.

    It would be unrealistic to have dozens of prices next to the images to cover all possibilities.

    What the OP could do, is to limit the products they offer and limit the sizes they offer .... IF they were no interested in reducing the range of products available.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
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  10. Trblmkr

    Trblmkr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks.. I'll remove the terms from the home page.
     
  11. Trblmkr

    Trblmkr No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, but that's the way Smugmug does it... click on Buy, takes you to their purchasing page, select what type of product and go from there. And it's still far easier then other pages I've tried. If you have a better suggestion I'd love to hear it.
     

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