I now have 3 websites, although one is fairly dormant being primarily a record of our 27 weeks in South America in 2012/13. ( www.lifeintheolddog.co.uk ) The other 2 are currently active stevesf8.org.uk which I created to document and record the research. notes and outputs of the briefs set by lectures during the 2 years of the HND course. Then, because its intended for a different audience and will hopefully be the basis of my commercial photographic activities www.55red.co.uk Both sites have active blogs with the content of 55red.co.uk aimed at a public audience and this site primarily for lecturers to review and mark work. Occasionally I will blog on the same subject on both sites but will tailor the content accordingly.
All the websites are WordPress based and use a commercially purchased theme “Photocrati” www.photocrati.com which offers the possibility of e-commerce although I haven’t implemented this as of yet.
These images are screen grabs of the home pages, click to enlarge.
Although based on the same theme there is lots of customisation possible in terms of the look, feel and functions of the theme. It is particularity good in my opinion for hosting photographs – perhaps unsurprisingly as its intended for photographers. What I like about using a theme is it takes a lot of the effort out of coding and designing a website which I would rather put into ensuring the content is current, interesting and relevant to the audience. That said you then have to accept some compromises in what’s possible compared to a “built from the ground up” web site can offer.
We had an interesting group discussion facilitated by Jen Button on website design and I made some notes here and have tried to include most of the elements discussed into my own websites as appropriate.
The key issues that were discussed were :-
In the western world we read from left to right and top to bottom so its good if the flow of information on the site follows this same concept. So on 55.red.co.uk the top line is logo, description, menus with content below.
It was felt important to keep the design simple and uncluttered to make it simple for people to find the information they require easily, more complex topics can be broken down by use of menus and multiple pages. The home page should be attractive and contain enough to hold the viewers (potential customer!) attention. Additionally the home page should confirm to the viewer they are in the right place and so should contain – a brief bio of the photogrpahe r/ service and some examples of work. It was felt important that only best quality work should be displayed.
Overall the goal should be simplicity and consistency of colours, fonts and layout on pages so that it has a collective style and feel to the whole which will contribute to establishing a style for your brand.
Pages to include.
In addition to the home page the following pages were considered as essential for a commercial web site (format is Page Name – Essential Content )
About – Brief Biography, emphasise relevant experience or why the customer should be interested in your services.
Contact – Details of how to contact you – email, mobile (a work one), social media links
Pricing – if actively selling be clear about pricing of goods / services.
Home – Introduction – mini biography, examples of best work.
Galleries – examples of genre(s) of work. Although if active in several fields maybe worth considering separate websites so as not confuse the viewer. e.g. If someone is looking for a wedding photographer maybe confused if your site features a lot of landscape images.
I feel I have incorporated these considerations into 55red.co.uk, or at least the basic design and it can be expanded as needed.