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myam203
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Suggestions for my site?


I hesitate to put myself out there, but here it goes. If you have a minute, I'd love to get your opinion on my site.

Among other things, I've tried to make the most of the Zenfolio platform, but I'm not getting the results I hoped for (i.e. more inquiries). In my mind, there may be at least two distinct weaknesses—see if you agree. One is the amount of work I show, because I don't display any full or "abbreviated" weddings on there, and the other is that I don't let my personality show through very much. What else am I doing wrong? Am I doing anything right??

Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. I just hope I don't have to scrap the whole thing yet!

http://www.mikeyamin.com



May 01, 2017 at 11:17 PM
glort
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Suggestions for my site?



Random Thoughts and observations as I go......

" Welcome to Mike......" Sounds a bit weak to me. Welcome to is over used these days. You get welcomed to a Restaurant or a high end department store, a website.... To me sounds Kitch and more over, a Missed opportunity to make that all important first impression and the initial chance to put them in the frame of Mind, " This guy is for us.

I would try and be a little more creative and Do not underestimate that first impression. I bought a house the weekend and was talking turkey with the agent at the front door before I saw the rest of the place. It had the right feel for my wife and I, like brides looking for shooters, when you have seen enough you know the rest is going to be right soon as you walk in the place.

I have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Pics to find the links to go anywhere else like the FAQ you allude to in your opening paragraph.
Perhaps the links under that opening statement would be better from an ease of navigation POV.

Very unsure about the side header but that's probably an artistic rather than business observation. I notice when I get to the portfolio page that the links are now at the top. I would suggest consistency in putting them in the one place.

You say you don't let your personality Shine though enough.
Unfortunately, I see it as all about you and NOTHING about the client.
Philosophy, the team, reviews sections, all about YOU. There is NOTHING about what you can do for the client. I see you try in the FAQ section under a couple of headers but it's still too much about " what I" rather than you and your.... in MHO that is.

Worst thing I see here is there is zero emotional Connection to the client and what you can do for them. The matter of fact FAQ section is too dry to make them feel anything but this is a numbers and commodity's game.
You get a bit of a feel going with your Philosophy page but that's about you and not the client.

You need to get the clients feeling that they want you to do their wedding BEFORE they see you. You need to make them feel comfortable, that you are someone they can work with and that understands. And it needs to be done from THEIR perspective, not yours.
What does a client REALLY want?
They want what they like and makes them feel comfortable not what you like. They want someone that can give that to them and relates, someone that puts their needs first and makes their day all about them.

I don't get that one bit here sorry.
That's not as shooter to shooter, I have seen work here that makes me want to hire the person so I can get married again and I'm not talking about images because frankly, I don't give a rats about them. I glanced at yours as I do all others and unless they look like crap, I pretty much don't care about them.
It's the emotional attachment and RAPPORT that sells you, not the pretty pictures as so many make the mistake of thinking.

Not trying to blow my own trumpet but I regularly book clients that have seen nothing more than my work on the wall or a slide show. They sure as shit don't book me for my average ( at best) level work, they book me because I can get in their heads, make them feel like there is no other wedding going to happen on earth, drill down into what they really want and let them know they can rely on me to not give a shit about anything else but delivering the best I can to precisely what THEY want for THEIR wedding.

The takeaway they get from me is that don't care about making the best picture ever taken, all I'm concerned with is giving them the pictures that they will be the most happy and satisfied with and is as close as I can possibly get to being as perfect to what THEY want as possible.

The way I see you are coming across is " This is what I do and what you will get."
Not all together a bad thing but it's a bit like a mail order Christmas hamper to me... 2x tins of Baked beans, 1x 5 Kg Smoked ham, We will deliver on Dec 20....
Only problem is that being a Christmas hamper, it has more Built in emotion than what you are presenting here.

I know this is not easy if you have not done much research and practice into copywriting but I would highly suggest getting someone do it for you if you can't get your head around it. Couple of Clients will more than kill the cost and the returns will be on going. Best investment you could probably make in your business.

Being the not too bright type, I have to look a couple of times to see there was more than one review. I was actually going to say you need more than one.
Although I am not too smart, the site layout does not help.
There are a 1000 freaking pictures covering several weddings in the blog in one endless scroll down page but then each review has it's own " page". I was scrolling looking for more reviews and initially missed the pop up indicator for the next page. I think that's a real design floor there.
That could very easily lead others to miss the reviews ( and one is a negative connotation to me) because the way the site works is not consistent nor intuitive. You do one thing to look at one section and something very different ( and far from obvious) on another.
I'm not talking about this from an aesthetic design POV but rather a navigation and potential missed info to the client aspect.

I really think the site needs more properly written Copy to engage the viewer emotionally. I think there needs to be all the information the viewer needs to make the buying decision, if not with their head, with their heart. There needs to be a strong call to action and I'd suggest if the site isn't working atm, I'd also put an incentive there to try and give people more encouragement to get some bookings coming in.

One thing shooters and all small business people tend to forget is their own buying behavior . They tend to read something, like crap about "People won't read a lot of copy" and forget their own buying behavior. Of course the other mistake is to assume everyone is like them and will do the same however in the middle there is a happy medium. I think first impressions are universal though.

Photos look fine to me but the actual business side of the site to me misses a lot of marks and significantly needs to be looked at from the POV I have, the eyes of a client who doesn't know the site, how it works or anything about you.



May 02, 2017 at 02:17 AM
myam203
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Suggestions for my site?


Thanks glort. I appreciate your taking the time to look through and give me your thoughts. I'm perhaps not thrilled with the navigation, but something really went wrong if the first thing you had to do was scroll to the bottom to see all of my links—they should be right there above the welcome message.


May 02, 2017 at 02:29 AM
jecottrell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Suggestions for my site?


I would second all of glort's comments.

I was going to make the comment about your "reviews" menu ought to be a "review" menu, but after rereading glort's post, I figured there were more and had to be some secret way to access them. I originally thought the play button was to see some sort of video... then I clicked it out of curiosity and it started the review slide show. Need to fix that whole approach.

I would stick to a single navigation scheme... sidebar or topbar. Not, sidebar and bottombar on some pages and topbar on others. Just pick one and stick with it.

I think you'd be better served with better portfolio approach. Having to go to your blog to see a complete wedding is too much work and the scrolling to see your portfolio asks too much of the viewer.

I got the same feeling as glort after reading much of your text. There sure is A LOT of I's in there.


After you fine tune your website, I'd focus on marketing to drive prospective clients to it.

Are you running any analytics on the site to see what's happening?


BTW, nice work.



May 02, 2017 at 04:23 AM
myam203
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Suggestions for my site?


Thanks for your input! Both the reviews thing and the weird navigation scheme are dumb Zenfolio things... I think the review one I might be able to work around.

I struggle with understanding the information people want to see on there, but I certainly know I don't want it be all about me. Gotta work on that tomorrow.

I have Google Analytics set up, and I can see some potential problem areas like the bounce rate. It also seems like the amount of time people spend on there fluctuates, but it's surprising to see how many mobile visitors there are, even in this day and age. Personally, I can never really enjoy a site properly on my iPhone.

EDIT: I was at least able to improve the reviews page a little by eliminating the slideshow and simply putting them all out in the open to scroll through.



May 02, 2017 at 04:32 AM
jmraso
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Suggestions for my site?


I dont think scrolling down is a big problem these days, we scroll the whole day in smartphones and tablets; the problem I see in my ipad is that the fixed navigation bar, scrolling back up is annoying !




May 02, 2017 at 07:48 AM
InSanE
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Suggestions for my site?


Nice and fast!


May 02, 2017 at 08:26 AM
glort
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Suggestions for my site?


myam203 wrote:
but something really went wrong if the first thing you had to do was scroll to the bottom to see all of my links—they should be right there above the welcome message.


Just looked again in Firefox and Chrome. I can see them now but oddly enough, a page I left open before I went out and came back to does not show the links. Maybe just a glitch.
I do think the inconsistency's are not doing much for you however.

As far as the residence time on each page, I won't pretend to really understand what that's about but not what one would think in my experience. When I had my glam site Cranking years back that was pulling me extraordinary bookings, the site stats were shit. Was like people spent about 12 sec on each page and about 40 sec on the site and were gone but the bookings were thick and fast.
Even on my YT channel, the stats show no one watches the whole vid according to their numbers but I did tests at the end of some vids to see who commented and it was enough to make me think the majority of people do watch right through or are going in the first 20 sec because it's not what they were looking for.

I wouldn't read much into those numbers, only ones I would be worried about is how many people booked you this month AND, where they came from.

but it's surprising to see how many mobile visitors there are, even in this day and age.
Personally, I can never really enjoy a site properly on my iPhone.


I noticed the same thing on my YT stats the other day. Over 50% of people watch my vids on phones. I seriously don't know how they do it! A lot of my shots are wider and things I show smallish so I don't know how they even see them on a phone screen.
I can't help but wonder if a lot of it goes over their heads because they can't see or notice it.

It really does my head in. People boast about having the largest TV, about having a projector so they can watch movies wall size with surround sound, they get the biggest monitors for their computers they can and Imax big screens are a premium ticket price to see a movie. .
WTF would you even bother with a pissy Phone screen?
My daughter goes to show me things on the phone and I can't even tell what I'm looking at.

Optometry is going to be a VERY lucrative profession in the not too distant Future.




May 02, 2017 at 10:42 AM
jecottrell
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Suggestions for my site?


Review page works much better now.

Another thought... your landing page has a few less than "wow" shots on it, and the images at the top, the ones the viewer sees first aren't the very best of the best. There's about ten shots I'd take off there and I'd pick the incredible ones for the top... the best ones will capture the visitors curiosity. See if that helps your bounce rate.

Make a favicon and make sure it appears where it should. Right now the zenfolio icon is appearing.



May 02, 2017 at 12:34 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Suggestions for my site?


To the OP, have you considered asking potential or past brides to review your site?

Who is your target audience? Brides or photographers?

Why not treat your past brides for a coffee in exchange for their feedback, great one-on-one marketing opportunity while you reconnect with your old clients. If you wish to take this on a whole new level, offer a free portrait session with the expectation for print sales (if that is what you do).



May 02, 2017 at 01:33 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



jmraso
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Suggestions for my site?


Best answer I have ever read in these website reviews (I posted myself in the past), and also, I would say, gallery and album design review 😀

TheyCallMeJ wrote:
Who is your target audience? Brides or photographers?






May 02, 2017 at 03:05 PM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Suggestions for my site?


Didn't read previous comments so if double sorry.

The main page is way to busy. Pick a handful of shots to feature and don't have the endless scrolling.

Also when you click one of the other links the site changes layout with menu from side to top. Not a terrible thing but it bugs me a bit.

Overall the site looks good and not overly complicated which is good.

The Keywords and all that other stuff on the bottom seem to clog it up to when you scroll down. Just looks janky IMO.



May 02, 2017 at 06:40 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Suggestions for my site?


I'm actually moving to this sort of an opening keystoning grid porfolio page so I'll respectfully disagree with Doug on yourfront page being too busy. I'm of strong belief that the modern bride will give you 30 seconds and wants a quick scroll to see if you worth a deeper drive. Top 50 on the home page. I've talked to too many web designers / SEO folk in the last 6 months on the topic and I'm sold.

My concern is that they scroll to non-wedding images which I would recommend against in 2017. Great that you shoot in other areas, but show that to a bride who's on a deeper dive. Only weddings on the front page, and only the biggest, baddest, boldest content.



May 02, 2017 at 06:50 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Suggestions for my site?


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
To the OP, have you considered asking potential or past brides to review your site?

Who is your target audience? Brides or photographers?

Why not treat your past brides for a coffee in exchange for their feedback, great one-on-one marketing opportunity while you reconnect with your old clients. If you wish to take this on a whole new level, offer a free portrait session with the expectation for print sales (if that is what you do).


On the surface this sounds like a good idea. But you have to be very careful with this if the sample size is small. Those opinions should be weighted/averaged with the opinions of professionals, ie: designers, web designers and experienced photographers. The opinions of two or three past brides taken and used as fact or truth, especially those who have no design background could be a ticket to a disaster.



May 02, 2017 at 08:35 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Suggestions for my site?


I too I'm not a fan of the continuous never ending, scroll forever grid portfolio. From a design perspective they simply are not attractive and the viewer's eye goes everywhere but where you want it to go. Plus you are mixing wedding photography with family and children photos. The last thing that a bride wants to be wading through are photos that are non-wedding related.


May 02, 2017 at 08:40 PM
myam203
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Suggestions for my site?


Thanks again everyone. I made a favicon, got rid of some shots, and put some more of my favorite ones up top. I changed the welcome message, but I'm open to suggestions on that as well. My whole thing with weddings is that the couple should be present and enjoy it, rather than spending the whole time taking photos, so I want to distill that idea down to something catchy I suppose.

Lee, my thought on the grid portfolio is the same as yours. I feel like people today are almost trained to breeze through sites and apps (namely Instagram), so you have to hook them within seconds. I think I'll lose the family shots for now as well.



May 02, 2017 at 08:40 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Suggestions for my site?


Brides spend a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest — sites that would fail most design critiques.

Also, plenty A-list $10k+ wedding photographers have ancient flash sites ... so, don't over think this.



May 02, 2017 at 08:46 PM
myam203
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Suggestions for my site?


LeeSimms wrote:
Brides spend a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest — sites that would fail most design critiques.

Also, plenty A-list $10k+ wedding photographers have ancient flash sites ... so, don't over think this.


Makes sense, of course. Ultimately, I know that making real connections and earning referrals will be the key moving forward, but this all helps in the mean time. I've been doing weddings for a while now, but only now am I starting to actively pursue them, so I feel like a newbie business-wise, even though I have quite a bit of shooting experience under my belt.



May 03, 2017 at 03:16 PM
glort
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Suggestions for my site?



Review Mk11.......

Welcome message is shitloads better. Read it and got the warm and fzzies straight away. Little bit of an intro and then the basic relevant info of where you are.
Great improvement right there I reckon.

The bigger, fewer pics per page view, also MUCH better. I can see the bastards now and don't have to click to see what I'm looking at. You can get a better/ bigger view which is great. I Very much prefer to be able to go from one large image to the other without closing and opening the next so that is a big plus too.

Say Hello!...... Meh. Don't work for me but I'm old and crusty. For mine, turning it around to something like Can we help you or even " get in touch " would be more direct and leave no question as to what the page was about. Again, I'm not too bright but I thought I would see more blurb about what you do and rapport building aimed at the client. Anyway, I think that's more opinion that would vary than a right or wrong per se.

Reviews, also much better. I want to be able to scroll down like that and read those. It's efficient and logical. Also just works for me and I can't see any other way would be better to do this.

One thing that I don't think is " right" is the folio page.
They land on that when they hit the site. When I went to the header, I expected to see more and different pics, not go back to where I started.
Suggestion would be either eliminate the heading or put up a different page with different pics.
I think you have edited down the ones you display to stronger shots from the brief fly by I had before and they look good. I see plenty of emotion in them which is REALLY what will sell you, not having the best lens and socially approved body and spending hours editing the pics to personal perfection.

Feeling and emotion trumps technicalities every single time .

Blog, Also HUGE improvement, no doubt. No I can go straight to each couples wedding that I like the look of or can relate to and don't have to scroll through 100 images of a wedding that I don't have any emotional tie to.
Again, HUGE improvement!

Now, I'm starting to want to book you. Before, in honesty I felt the site was a bit boring and I didn't feel like I wanted to look at it and had I even been just sussing out the competition let alone a real client, I would not have got very far at all.

Don't know if you changed the philosophy Page but it seems not either way.
I think a bit of a re write could help but I really think if you could get a page of copy up additional that really spoke to the needs and feelings of the bride, the site would really be a winner now.
You still need something to build the rapport and give them a sense of knowing you and trust. The rest is very good now I think but it is lacking the personal connection still.


As far as the reviews of brides, I tend to agree with getting feed back from them and the sample size. The thing I work to mainly is what they have already told me.
They tend to tell you the same thing in passing comments every job you do and I make a distinct effort to take note of these things and work to them even though some are said so often you don't need to take notes.

90% of the couples that come see me or even ring will tell me the same damn thing and pretty much have since I started 30+ years ago.
They want natural, fun shots, have a good time on the day, get shots THEY like and don't want the shooter to take over the day or be in their face or a general pain in the arse. Different ways of saying the last part but the gist of it is clear and the first part is word for word.
No one says they want me to use this camera or that lens or spend time editing every detail to some unachieveable perfection.

In my presentations, I simply feed back what the last 1000+ people have told me and they think straight away I'm on their wave length.
Getting feedback is good but take notice of where it comes from and why the opinion is what it is and consider how that gels with what they tell you.

Something said off the cuff of their own volition and thoughts can be a whole different answer to putting them on the spot and asking the, " Tell me what you think and like".
A couple of things I learnt many years ago was to ask every client for a review and challenge them for it.
To Clarify, at the conclusion of every job I do be it weddings, glam, events or something where there is one person in charge, I looke then in the eye and say " OK, now, what did I do wrong throughout our dealings, what would you like me to have done different and what do you think I should change..... and don't tell me nothing because that would insinuate I'm perfect and I'm not that bloody deluded and don't want sunshine blown up my nether regions because I won't learn or improve anything that way".

And I am that direct/ rude but I say it with a smile and they know where I'm coming from. Pretty much everyone says they were perfectly happy and the only thing they would like different is a lower price ( of course) . The thing is, I don't say were you happy with everything because the programmed answer is yes and that's what you'll get unless you majorly pissed them off and you'd already know that by then.
By telling them " Don't say nothing" they have to go against you and that's harder and more informative than setting the question up that everything was of course OK. That is a habit of mine in everything really. I don't care that much what I did right, I can keep doing it consciously or not. What I need to know is what I'm doing WRONG and change that.

Rather than hit them just over the website, ask them about their whole dealings with you and mix it up. What would you have liked different about the pics? what would you have liked done better, what didn't your guests like, what would you change about the website, how difficult was it to chose a package.... etc.
get reviews and feedback from EVERY job at the conclusion when it's fresh in their minds and listen to the offhand comments because often they are the ones that contain the most truth and the gold mine of useful information.

Well done mate!
You have taken a lot on board and I think made leaps and bounds on the site.
It's hugely more effective now than it was before and perhaps a few more tweaks and it will be a real killer. Don't do too much from here, just keep twisting the fine tune Dial a bit and constantly keeping it on the band width with incremental changes and you'll be doing well.



May 04, 2017 at 02:03 AM
myam203
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Suggestions for my site?


Thank you again glort! Really appreciate your input.

It's funny, my wife talked me into "say hello" but I initially wrote "get in touch." I'm going back dammit... annnd done. I also changed "portfolio" to "home" and I think that will be much clearer. I'll take a look at the philosophy page as well, but that'll take a bit more time and brain cells.

I do like the idea of asking for reviews and criticism and can see myself doing it as long as it doesn't somehow undermine the job I've just done for them. I know that's a personality thing and it takes some finesse to do properly.



May 04, 2017 at 03:08 AM







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