It’s good to be back! I spent the last couple of weeks working on a personal photography project down in Baja. If you’re a personal friend on Facebook, you probably saw all the mud and dust caked onto my Nissan Xt-Terra. It was a blast, the photos I got are going to work out fantastically for my project, and I managed to score some very fun surf as well. OK… Back to the business of reviewing websites!
I think we have our very first Canadian on the Flaunt Your Site Wednesday Website Review. How exciting! This week, we’ll be looking at Dustin Hall Photography from Nova Scotia! I’ve actually met Nova Scoatians… Or Scoashies? Not sure what they call themselves actually. But they’re a strange breed being isolated up there in the hinterlands. But cool people! They’re good peeps.
OK… So onto the site.
When I first come to the site, It’s just a grid of images which turn out to be blog posts. This is not very useful for a potential customer. It also doesn’t encourage contacting you at all.
This is especially important, as it looks like you photograph many subjects. But your grid of blog posts only show off weddings and engagements. I think you’d be better served by having a slideshow of the variety of what you shoot, and then including a blurb about you and what you shoot, with a good photo of you. I end up saying this on every review.
People need to connect with who they’re going to end up choosing as their photographer.
You also have these widgets down at the bottom of the site that I would just eliminate. You don’t need either. And I’d get rid of these Categories too.
Another thing I say in just about every review is that for the people that shoot multiple subjects, having each subject in the menu as its own page is very important. The navigation is how people find what they want. But if they don’t see what they’re looking for right away, they will leave. So the subjects in your Categories should each have their own top-level menu item and an associated page (what I call Service Pages). having Service Pages are also a good practice for SEO. Each Service Page is keyworded appropriately and acts as a Landing Page for the search engine. So when someone is looking for Nova Scotia Sports Photographer, that page is the one that will show up in the searches.
You can see this example on the website we designed for Teresa K Photography. Each of her services has a page that is designed to help her potential clients get all the exact information they need in order to hire her for that specific service.
It looks like you enjoy writing. At least from looking at this first blog post. I think that’s a great thing. Writing fills in the gaps of the photos and adds context as well. It also adds a lot more content for search engines which is an excellent practice. Keep it up!
A couple of suggestions for improvement:
- On your titles, put your focus on the venues or locations, and not on Halifax Wedding Photographer Dustin Hall. You only want that on one specific page (the Service Page I was referring to earlier). If you use that same keyword on every page, you dilute the ability to have one page rank well).
- I would recommend a Call To Action at the end of your blog posts so people have something to do when they finish reading. Bounce rates on blog posts are quite high. Usually 90%+. Anything you can do to keep them engaged on your site is critical.
- Use one commenting system. Facebook, or WordPress. You actually have 2 Facebook comments installed. You’ll want to fix that for sure.
The only comment I have about this page, is that your About page should have at least one good photo of you looking into the camera so people can actually see you. It’s a good idea to have the sweet one of you and your wife too. The Brides will go gaga over that one for sure. But you’ll want a good headshot too.
Also, use Medium sized photos and align them left and right so you don’t have full width images. This will break up the page and make it more compelling to read.
I would find a real contact form plugin like Gravity Forms and make a dedicated page. The ProPhoto contact form is terrible and sometimes people don’t see when it pops down. It’s especially bad on mobile devices.
The photo you have on the page is large, and it makes people have to scroll to what they want to see. So I’d eliminate the photo (or use the Medium size and align it right so the text flows around it).
You also talk about how you “will be shooting in Nova Scotia and Ontario.” Are you doing that yet? I think what you wrote might put questions in the minds of people before they even contact you.
What I would suggest is having your pricing for each service you provide on the Service pages. Take a look at Teresa K’s site as an example.
Overall the design is just kind of basic. It’s clean, but nothing too special. If you have a visual identity that you’ve created for things like products and packaging, I’d look to that for inspiration as far as design goes. I don’t think the design hurts you any, but adding a good, unique site design would definitely set you apart as well.
Well, I hope that helps you out. You’ve got some solid bones on the site. Some good content has been created. Focusing on some changes to improve your potential customer’s experience will be a big help to getting more actual clients.