Would like some honest opinions, please!

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by dan_states, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Greetings everyone! I am new here and would like to introduce myself and ask an honest question of everyone. My name is Dan and I am a nature/wildlife photographer (I live for the outdoors!); I have been shooting for a few years now, building up some stock in a few different areas of the country and making a few sales (hard copies from various gallery settings), but recently decided to throw the dice in an online storefront.
    I would like to say first that I am being very respectful of the rules on this site and am in no way asking for anyone reading this to purchase any of my products. I only ask for advice on why our sales seem quite low and hope someone may have some insights or advice for something we may have missed or not taken into account. Our gallery has been operating for about 2 months now and while we are getting roughly 1,000 visitors per month, our sales are not where we feel they should be.
    I would certainly appreciate some different perspectives since we have tried a number of things to no avail. I do not wish to list any of my suspicions for fear of clouding the waters, so to speak, but will answer any questions anyone has, related to this issue or not. If anyone would like to take a look and offer a suggestion or two, please feel free to browse around at your leisure. Our gallery is here:
    http://statesofminds.shutterbugstorefront.com/scripts/expman.pl?rm=overview_gallery&dir=galleries
    Thank you all very much for your time and advice! (Note: if anyone feels this message is inappropriate, please message me or simply remove it, as this message lists my sole intent on posting, and I do not wish to overstep my bounds.)
    Dan
     
  2. You asked for a suggestion or two, so I hope you don't mind several:
    -Once I'm in a gallery, I couldn't see a way to get back to the main page.
    -I find the words below each picture a bit annoying and distracting.
    -I prefer to see pictures in their actual state, and don't like having your name plastered in huge font right in the center of the image.
    -There is quite a lot of text everywhere on the page that I find distracting, which makes your site seem less professional.
    -Rather than have the ordering details on every page, maybe just have one easy to find link somewhere on the page that people can go to in order to order it - that way the focus is on the pictures. In order for this to work, there needs to be much less text on most of the pages, otherwise people won't see it.
    -Are your pictures obtainable by people with a dSLR and not much experience?
    Good luck.
     
  3. I agree with Neil completely and would add that your choice of font is too ordinary and/or newspaperlike. The photo tags should be much less conspicuous. As you should try to do with your photography - simplify, simplify, simplify. Help your prospective customer focus on the image, rather than on the page.
     
  4. I apologize for taking so long to respond and I want to thank both of you, Neal and Robert, for taking the time to give me some good feedback. I very much appreciate it! I have come to the conclusion that Shutterbug may not be the right gallery setting for me for many reasons. A close friend of mind is an IT specialist and has worked as many wonders with the site as possible, but it still has many flaws:
    Navigation and asthetics- Neal, you mentioned a few things relating to these like getting back to the main gallery, keywords and other text being plastered all over, and ordering forms on each page instead of just one. And Robert, you mentioned keeping it simple and making keywords less conspicuous (I will be removing all the keywords for the duration of time our gallery is on Shutterbug, as they serve no purpose).
    Neal, as for the watermarks-I agree with you in that I do not like seeing them either. However, I have had many bad experiences having my photos stolen and it is simply a part of the business now that must be in place. I have always found it interesting that people refuse to pay for my shots, yet will steal them in a heartbeat. I have posted similar questions on other site and had many responses, yet no one seemed surprised by, or even mentioned the watermarks. It is distasteful, yes, but necessary.
    As far as my photos being obtainable by anyone-I absolutely disagree. I mean, unless they want to spend three years in the Everglades and count of countless days and hundreds of trail miles after relentlessly researching the terrain, wildlife, weather, seasons, maps and topography, etc. While some of my photos seem to be regular stock shots, we all know that in every photo, there is a part of the photographer that took the shot, which noone else can reproduce.
    So, thank you fellas for the feedback! I will be looking at new sites to post my gallery on and am quite open to ideas. Does anyone have any suggestions?
    Dan
     
  5. Hi Dan
    Tuppence worth suggestions:
    You have no website, 'shutterbug' has a website - and you have a shopfront. I think you need to obtain your own site. I feel when looking, that you want to sell, sell, sell. I only want to look, look, look - and if interested - then buy. Your images will sell themselves - they don't need to be forced upon a browser. You just need to make it easy to get there if one wishes to.
    You need a home page that introduces you, introduces the site and images, and offers the links to galleries, blogs, shop, contact details etc.
    Each page then needs the same links to navigate around with familiar ease.
    And if you can remove the copyright name over images, all the better.
    best of luck
    J..
     

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