What content do you like at a personal site?


A naughty little bunny...
Nov 28, 2011
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Hey all, I can't recall a thread like this in recent memory so in the interest of getting current likes and dislikes I thought I'd pick your brains a bit ;) I'm sure all of this information is scattered about in threads critiquing websites but it would be cool to have it in one place.

I'm back to working on my website and I'm working on content and I'm trying to figure out how much or how little of what to do. Mostly I'm asking about content but all suggestions and input on what you like or dislike about personal sites are very welcome!

When you are looking at someone's site is there somewhere you go first from the homepage every time ? Gallery, About Me, Blog etc...

What things do you always look for/at?

What things do you never/rarely look at or dislike when it's included?

Is content important to you or do you just want to see the pictures?

Pet peeves in general? What turns you off?

Things you love to find? What turns you on?

What makes you bookmark someone's site and revisit?

Those are just some of my thoughts so please answer any or all or anything I've missed!
Thanks in advance!
For a strictly personal 'site, I always go to the images first. If it's a business 'site, to the 'About' and 'Pricing' pages.

I am always looking at both image quality and text. There's nothing that says 'lame' more loudly to me than mis-spelled words, bad grammar (or bad grampa). I despise music on websites, and dislike Flash-based sites.

The thing that will make me come back is work that I like. You can be the best darn infant/newborn shooter in the world, but I'm unlikely to return to his/her 'site simply because I have zero interest in that sort of work.

I like to see a variety of images. Billing yourself as a senior portrait photographer and having a gallery full of only one client tells me that you're really not quite on the level you might want visitors to think you are.

A simple, clean, and quick 'site with fewer top-notch images rather than lots of mediocre ones, minimal text, but enough to tell me who & where you are, and what you do (and, if applicable) how much you cost.
I never look at "About" sections cause most are BS fluff. It's not like people are going to say bad things about themselves.

Galleries are much more important for creative businesses than some blurb.
business i'll genereally look at the about me page and gallery, and likely the pricing to compare. Right now i'm trying to figure out what I want to do with my gallery. wether to just keep it simple with a couple photos or to do whole sections of photos from let's say an event where I think I may possibly get photo sales from.
I think the "about me" section has potential to actually be of interest, provided the writer has an actual philosophy that he/she can elucidate. The best "about me" sections make the viewer aware of something meaningful about the creator, or the photos, or both. The worst sections of this type are not very good at all.

One thing I think that reflects poorly on many peoples' personal sites is a listing of equipment, down to the last details of small items. I think it's okay to make at least some mention of one's equipment list, but people who list minor pieces of equipment, just look desperate, or newb-ish to me. I think many times,instead of building confidence, or establishing reputation or credibility, a list of equipment that's heavy on entry-level stuff just makes the site's creator look,like,well, a newbie. Ownership of a body, and an 18-55, and a 55-200, for example, is not a "plus", but rather a minus, IMHO.

I usually look at whatever might appear to be the site owner's main emphasis. What's bad is a site that has no emphasis of any kind, or which has mis-categorized photos. If a person has no photos of a specific category, then it's best just not to show that category. Just skip it.
Great responses everyone! Thanks !

I'm taking it all in and plugging away :)
To me, a personal site would have nothing to do with business.

Ultimately the site will be my best work and info etc about prints.

Ok, question about the About Me, what the hell do I write about???? I'm lost here, I have no idea, I have no formal ed. not much time under my belt, I'm not really a gear geek, just a personal story like everyone else does...ARGH!
Why would I want to look at your site in the first place? You've provided no impetus for the question...
I would have to say people would visit my site to see more of my artwork and possibly price and purchase prints.
I look at the galleries first and foremost, that's why I went there. I'll usually go to the Portrait/People section first out of interest and see how they make use of light. If the photos intrigue me, I try to deconstruct the lighting setup. That's my main interest along with poses, props and environments.

I look for consistency of execution, regardless of genre.

If the galleries capture my attention, I'll go to the "About Me".

Pricing pages really do not interest me. I'd rather try to emulate a certain characteristic that inspires me in my own work than buy a print.

Regardless of their talent, any music on the site will make me hit the Back button real quick like.
To me, a personal site would have nothing to do with business.

Ultimately the site will be my best work and info etc about prints.

Ok, question about the About Me, what the hell do I write about???? I'm lost here, I have no idea, I have no formal ed. not much time under my belt, I'm not really a gear geek, just a personal story like everyone else does...ARGH!

Well, a lot of people expect the "artist's statement". Alain Briot has written some articles about this and had them published on The Luminous Landscape website recently. A search on those two terms brings up some examples.

AS with many things, if there's not much to say about a particular issue, then skip over it. Who cares how long you've been shooting...we don't need to know that...length of experience is something a lot of people today do not care about. Okay, some people do, but others feel it's of no importance. How long have you been married? How long have you had a driver's license? NOBODY CARES!
First decide what the primary focus(es) for the site will be. It's sounding like you're aiming to make a website for display, promotion and selling of your photos.

With that in mind you want to keep words and distractions to a minimum - the real focus you want people looking at is the galleries; about me I'd expect to be informative but also short - just like most of the other text regions of the site. Keep the words clear, simple concise and let the galleries be the main focus.

Adding more description tends to go hand in hand with building a more informative or social based site; where the words, articles and discussion are the core elements you want to promote.
Thanks so much everyone! While I work on the bones of the site and getting the galleries ready I'm plugging away at the content. I like the way you all are leading me, it looks like less words more pictures which fits best with my habits.

I have great intentions to write flowing descriptions and a blog but alas out of the gate I'm wonderful then after a bit of time I fall off the horse and it feels like it becomes a chore and I avoid doing it like the plague, I was prepared to try to tackle that demon IF it was going to be a benefit to my site, it's looking like that is not the case. I will definitely look up the artist statements Derrel, I did do a bunch of research on about me's and I couldn't get myself to fit into any of them, perhaps I can make that work!

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