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Archive 2012 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website
  
 
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Hey guys,

I'm posting this here since I'm mostly interested in the opinion of other wedding shooters. I recently did a complete rebranding of my business and refresh on my website. When I chose the former name for my business (Ballenger Photography), I was a complete n00b who didn't know a thing about branding or running a successful (and compliant) side business by the books.

The biggest change I made was to put all the client galleries behind a password gate on a dedicated proofing site. If you'd like to see how I've set that up, please feel free to click the "clients" link and use the password:

vernuccioengagements121020

I'd love some feedback on the overall layout of the site, but also on the content of the wedding info page, and anything else you feel compelled to add. I've only been at this for about 3 years, but things are really starting to pick up. I need to know that my website is an asset and not a liability as it formerly was.

Thanks so much for your time in looking and in replying!

www.captured-photos.com



Oct 26, 2012 at 01:46 AM
tdurnan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Hmm. dont 'mean to sound harsh but the site comes off about 10 years behind anything current for layout and look. The logo of the aperture isn't unique and thus doesn't call out just your brand. Meh I think you can do better if you sit down and look at things again.


Oct 26, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


tdurnan wrote:
Hmm. dont 'mean to sound harsh but the site comes off about 10 years behind anything current for layout and look. The logo of the aperture isn't unique and thus doesn't call out just your brand. Meh I think you can do better if you sit down and look at things again.


Thanks for replying.

For starters, it's a blog and site in one, built on the WordPress platform. It's designed to be minimalist and not cluttered.

The shutter logo plays into the "Captured" and the colors give the blue part of the shutter the "C" shape that matches the custom typeset for the lettering.

If you have any suggestions beyond an extremely vague "you can do better", they are appreciated.



Oct 26, 2012 at 03:55 AM
jerbear00
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Hmmm. I don't think it's that bad. It's seems fine


Oct 26, 2012 at 03:57 AM
awad
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Looks good, don't have time to really dive into it but one thing that you might need to fix is the size of the images used in your slideshow in the wedding info page. The first image took forever to load and the other ones aren't much faster. Maybe try optimizing them for web a little further so they're more easily accessible by those with slower internets.


Oct 26, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


awad wrote:
Looks good, don't have time to really dive into it but one thing that you might need to fix is the size of the images used in your slideshow in the wedding info page. The first image took forever to load and the other ones aren't much faster. Maybe try optimizing them for web a little further so they're more easily accessible by those with slower internets.


Thought I already had, but I'll take a look at the file sizes. I may have uploaded the wrong versions. Thanks!



Oct 26, 2012 at 06:02 AM
amonline
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


This might all be harsh, but i believe these changes will improve your site and brand.

Why did you change names? I think the new name is two step back. It comes of as noobish.

The very first slideshows pic is not the best choice.

Lose the footer... Again, noobish.

Clean up your typography. Make it more consistent. Too much underlining, bold, bold & underlined, capitals, bold & capitals... keep it straight forward and use bold only.

Your blog button should go to your blog. No one knows what month to choose. That'd make me move on if I were a potential client.

Along with the above, maybe your menu is not iPad friendly?

Pricing... I think you may be giving too much info away up front. You need to give enough to qualify the client, but make them want to talk with you. As much as you're giving, they'll likely continue looking at others and forget to return to you. Just enough makes them contact you.

Some of the little extra tidbits come off as needy. Such is the case with the last part of your price page. Some of the verbiage comes across as trying to buy the client. All the little print credits and free shipping, etc. are unnecessary. It comes across as you're trying too hard. Keep it simple. Provide the facts. Keep them intrigued to the point that they click "contact".

If you're gonna keep the name, get a better logo.



Oct 26, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Marcus Watts
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Jamesbjenkins wrote:
Thanks for replying.

For starters, it's a blog and site in one, built on the WordPress platform. It's designed to be minimalist and not cluttered.

The shutter logo plays into the "Captured" and the colors give the blue part of the shutter the "C" shape that matches the custom typeset for the lettering.

If you have any suggestions beyond an extremely vague "you can do better", they are appreciated.


The suggestion "you can do better" is not vague. Were it said alone sure but as a summation to the existing thoughts of the poster then it well supports his opinion. I know it is hard to take critique but be cool if you ask for it. people are offering what they believe is sound advice,

He is correct that the logo is so overdone as to not be unique. So even if you consider the reasons good as a visual it is easily forgettable, the opposite of what you want a logo to be.

That does not mean it looks bad but nothing special. The whole site is ok but just ok. If you have systems in place for running your business i don't think it would work against you but as you have asked for opinions on the site then i agree it could be stronger. Make the logo smaller in the header too.

Logo in the footer should be small, that is also way too big. Update: just read Alan's post and i agree, get rid of it.

Every page other than the blog should fit to window on a 17 inch monitor. It always looks sloppy when pages scroll.

The only pages that should open in another tab or window is your off site stuff. I noticed your wedding services opens in a new window, not sure if that is an oversight.

The "About" should be it's own page rather than a drop down, depending on the page you are on when you click "About" you could completely miss the drop down.

Full width vertical images don't fit on a monitor so you cannot see the entire image. Consider doing two verticals side by side to take up the width.

So it's not blowing me away visually (and i think a simple design can achieve that) but i think we over think that sometimes. The suggestions i have made are intended to make the user experience smoother.

If impressing the viewer with your sites visual presence is important then maybe consider a redesign.



Oct 26, 2012 at 06:52 AM
ZachOly
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


$100, $200 or $300 print credit?

The choice of font isn't the best, I keep thinking I have dirt on my monitor every time I see an "r"



Oct 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Great points guys. Thanks.

- Clean up type
- removed "needy" text
- footer
- smaller logo
- about me on own page
- wedding services in same window
- removed blog archive dropdown

And as far as the logo, I appreciate that some may not think it's the most memorable but I respectfully disagree. I've seen a TON of shutter based logos that look like crap, like somebody built them in Microsoft Paint. Quite a bit of thought went into my logo, and the colors, gradient/lighting effects, C shape, etc. will make it stand out.

Many thanks for the critique.



Oct 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM
 

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Marcus Watts
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Those things are not making it any better than the other similar logos or any more distinguishable at all.

Not that i think it will hurt you but it won't do much to help brand you at all.



Oct 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Just a FWIW: I've viewed it a couple of times and did not notice the "C" shape in the logo shutter. I only noticed after reading through the critiques on here.

I agree with much of the feedback. What I'd add is to perhaps try and make the homepage cleaner. I appreciate some is for SEO, but there is a lot of 'space' and I don't really feel it's utilized. Some may disagree, but the direction you want your viewer to take might also be slightly confused... are we to go through the menu, or scroll right down and click on the two image/links.



Oct 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


ricardovaste wrote:
but the direction you want your viewer to take might also be slightly confused... are we to go through the menu, or scroll right down and click on the two image/links.


Ideally, the two image/links at the bottom of the home page are what visitors to the site will use to access the info pages. The links in the navbar are for when someone wants to get there from anywhere else on the page (i.e. the blog or the about me page).



Oct 26, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Robin Usagani
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Yeah man... aperture logo? What were you thinking? Way over USED!








Oct 26, 2012 at 08:18 PM
amonline
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


I actually saw the "C" immediately, but still thought it was noobish.


Oct 26, 2012 at 08:56 PM
amonline
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


This aperture thing should be added to Ale's tetrafecta award for photographer recognition.


Oct 26, 2012 at 08:58 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


ricardovaste wrote:
I've viewed it a couple of times and did not notice the "C" shape in the logo shutter.


+1

I didn't notice the "C" till the original poster mentioned it and I went to look again.



Oct 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Juliewhitlock
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


To me it looks very corporate and sort of cold. Probably due to the shade of blue used with grey. If I was a bride it wouldn't made me feel all " weddingy" and emotional. Understood you are a man but this is a touchy feely business. Girls want to feel a connection with who you are. This site could be selling me insurance. Sorry if that sounds harsh. It's just an honest woman's opinion. And we are your client. Really


Oct 26, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


amonline wrote:
I actually saw the "C" immediately, but still thought it was noobish.


Glad to know you have such a broad definition of n00bish.

WTF does that even mean? Where I come from, multiple gradients, lighting effects and custom typography aren't exactly n00b. I have no intention of getting defensive since I asked for critique, but that's a pretty ridiculous statement. Does the shape of a logo automatically make it inferior simply because 14,700 people before me have drawn inspiration from the same shape? Serious question.



Oct 26, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Critique of rebranded/refreshed website


Juliewhitlock wrote:
To me it looks very corporate and sort of cold. Probably due to the shade of blue used with grey. If I was a bride it wouldn't made me feel all " weddingy" and emotional. Understood you are a man but this is a touchy feely business. Girls want to feel a connection with who you are. This site could be selling me insurance. Sorry if that sounds harsh. It's just an honest woman's opinion. And we are your client. Really


So how exactly shall I connect with the "inner woman" without covering my site with bunnies and frilly graphics everywhere? Is it the color, the blue/gray? I'd love to know where you're coming from. I have no desire for a "cute" website, it just needs to be minimalist and clean.



Oct 26, 2012 at 09:39 PM
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