Redesigned website, need some critiques

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402
Name
Shem
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#1
Hi guys,

I have been working on redesigning it for a while now. Feels like forever. I've moved from prophoto 4 to v6 which is a responsive platform so I had to change almost everything. I feel like it's almost finished but I know there will be some stuff that other can pick up so I appreciate your time to check it out and give your thoughts. Cheers

P.S. I didn't rearrange the photos in the galleries properly yet so they may be a lot of the stuff from the same shoots next to another.

http://stradphoto.com
 
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22
Name
Meli
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Yes
#2
Looks amazing did you take the large backdrop photo's on the home page?
I like the style it's modern, could you put moving GIFS as the backdrop photo's instead or video?
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
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No
#3
Looks amazing did you take the large backdrop photo's on the home page?
I like the style it's modern, could you put moving GIFS as the backdrop photo's instead or video?
Thanks, yes all the photos there are mine. I think it's possible to add gifs or videos but not sure what the advantage would be. I don't do video anyway.
 
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6,452
Name
Graham
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#4
I like the layout and feel, it's slow to navigate with long page loads to the point where you think the site isn't working then suddenly it speeds up, then slows down again. I'm on a 150Mbps connection using Chrome if that helps.

Great images, I'm not a fan of the third person tense and feel that using first person for something which is personal such as wedding photography is better but that's subjective.
 
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3,374
Name
Ian
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#6
Slow for me too. Almost a ten second wait to load the blog page (I would cancel that rather than wait), 4-5 seconds to load your main page from the link here and similar times around the rest of the site with the Gallery pages being the worst culprits. (Desktop PC, Opera, Win 10, 3480x2160). Do you have something like Analytics telling you how long it takes to load your pages?

I'm impatient, so it would be interesting to see how others find it - but ultimately, if I was clicking round looking for a wedding tog, I'd start getting frustrated by load times on your site quite quickly. The Wedding Gallery page had to be refreshed at first, (gave up after 15 seconds) then took 12 seconds to load. Clicking on an image took forever, but when it loaded it was snappy suggesting it loads all the images before presenting you with something. If I wanted to see your gallery I'd probably give up. Good news is your pricing page is snappy. Second photographer though. What do you get for that? More images? Not clear.
 
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1,965
Name
Tommy
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#7
A quick couple of thoughts, the images are great and presented well. The design is okay.

I don't like the cream, beige marble type background but that is personal taste.

The layout for your header for me would be better with the blog link moved further along. I would probably do it as Home, Wedding, Portrait then maybe blog.

The site is very slow loading and a new page takes an absolute age to load.

I dislike how you talk about yourself in the third person throughout the site.

In the wedding section drop down menu you have engagements listed first. If someone clicks on weddings they expect weddings as the first option, I would change that.

The site lacks any sort of emotional content about who you are, how you work, what you love to do. The text on the front page just reads like waffle and doesn't really provide any information, being written in the third person doesn't help.

You have prophoto 6 in the footer.

I don't like the pricing page layouts it took me a moment to realise that I had to scroll down to see the options.

I don't like the Facebook comment plug in you have used for your blog posts, what happens if someone wants to leave a comment but doesn't use Facebook.

On majestic you have a trust flow rating of only 8 and a citation flow rating of 25. This means that you have a lot of worthless backlinks pointing at your site. At the moment you only have one strong dofollow link which is on rocknrollbride. This combined with how painfully slow the site is loading is going to mean that you are going to struggle to rank well on google especially if your competition are in any way switched on.

In terms of the speed issues this could partly be a hosting issue but the main reason is to do with how image heavy the site is. GT Metrix is giving your site a rating of F & F which is very poor. They list a fully loaded time of 15.7 seconds which is very bad. They give the reason for the poor rating mainly because the images used on the site are way too big. These need to be optimised much better. There are a few other issues listed as well you may want to run a report on there yourself to see these.
 
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14,661
Name
Simon
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#9
A bit slow for me too.

Positives - some great images, really great. Very interesting, different styles but fun. The best thing were the images of you on the About Me page. Really made it personal and stand out (as I imagine brides will look at 10s of similar sites). Like the fact you have simple pricing and its easy to follow.

What I didn't like - I really don't like you describing yourself in the third person, especially when About Me is called Me and has pics of you, then its 3rd person. Really off-putting! Also, the font, just looks old fashioned and not the easiest to read. Maybe that's because the text sections seem very small compared to the images (I would say they are too big in the main)

note, on the home page the image under testimonials (Laura and Chris) the image is a line lower than the others
 
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22
Name
Meli
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Yes
#10
bucz I was asking because I think it might be the size of the background images thats causing your pages to lag so much, it could also be any plugins you have (like the right click block 1)
 
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22
Name
Meli
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Yes
#12
good advice markie I'd do that or host the images on another site then embed them into my own, that or contact the provider & question why its so slow, is this running on a VPN?
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#13
Thanks guys for your help! So it looks like the main issues are speed and size of the images and the copy in the third person. I must admit I went overboard with the number of images but thought they are quite small in size. I was wrong though. It's great to get that feedback as I had no idea how to speed things up and I didn't know those tools that you guys mentioned.
I'm slowly going to replace the images with smaller ones and I will have to delete a lot which is very difficult.
Thank you again. It was very helpful!
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#14
Nice website but again takes a while to load here.

I checked out one of the images and it was about 400kb, run all your images through https://tinypng.com/ and reupload, you'll reduce file sizes by about 70%
Do you think it will do a better job than the lightroom? What I did is set up a maximum size on the export and they are now twice or even more smaller.
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#16
A bit slow for me too.

Positives - some great images, really great. Very interesting, different styles but fun. The best thing were the images of you on the About Me page. Really made it personal and stand out (as I imagine brides will look at 10s of similar sites). Like the fact you have simple pricing and its easy to follow.

What I didn't like - I really don't like you describing yourself in the third person, especially when About Me is called Me and has pics of you, then its 3rd person. Really off-putting! Also, the font, just looks old fashioned and not the easiest to read. Maybe that's because the text sections seem very small compared to the images (I would say they are too big in the main)

note, on the home page the image under testimonials (Laura and Chris) the image is a line lower than the others
Thanks mate, I really struggle with the copywriting and I know it's not great. Could you recommend someone who could do a better job specifically for the photography copywriting?

I know the image in testimonials is a tad off and will sort that out too. Thanks!
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#17
A quick couple of thoughts, the images are great and presented well. The design is okay.

I don't like the cream, beige marble type background but that is personal taste.

The layout for your header for me would be better with the blog link moved further along. I would probably do it as Home, Wedding, Portrait then maybe blog.

The site is very slow loading and a new page takes an absolute age to load.

I dislike how you talk about yourself in the third person throughout the site.

In the wedding section drop down menu you have engagements listed first. If someone clicks on weddings they expect weddings as the first option, I would change that.

The site lacks any sort of emotional content about who you are, how you work, what you love to do. The text on the front page just reads like waffle and doesn't really provide any information, being written in the third person doesn't help.

You have prophoto 6 in the footer.

I don't like the pricing page layouts it took me a moment to realise that I had to scroll down to see the options.

I don't like the Facebook comment plug in you have used for your blog posts, what happens if someone wants to leave a comment but doesn't use Facebook.

On majestic you have a trust flow rating of only 8 and a citation flow rating of 25. This means that you have a lot of worthless backlinks pointing at your site. At the moment you only have one strong dofollow link which is on rocknrollbride. This combined with how painfully slow the site is loading is going to mean that you are going to struggle to rank well on google especially if your competition are in any way switched on.

In terms of the speed issues this could partly be a hosting issue but the main reason is to do with how image heavy the site is. GT Metrix is giving your site a rating of F & F which is very poor. They list a fully loaded time of 15.7 seconds which is very bad. They give the reason for the poor rating mainly because the images used on the site are way too big. These need to be optimised much better. There are a few other issues listed as well you may want to run a report on there yourself to see these.
That's really good! Thank you very much for your critique and knowledge.
 
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1,986
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#19
sorry, i gave up waiting for it to load. home page took forever and then each click was the same. i waited a while as i actually wanted to see the images, potential customers won't wait so long. like the images when they did load, but they were too big for my 27" iMac to see without a fair bit of scrolling.

nice content though from the bits i did see. i moved on before i could read anything.

let me know when you speed it up and ill have another look.
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#21
sorry, i gave up waiting for it to load. home page took forever and then each click was the same. i waited a while as i actually wanted to see the images, potential customers won't wait so long. like the images when they did load, but they were too big for my 27" iMac to see without a fair bit of scrolling.

nice content though from the bits i did see. i moved on before i could read anything.

let me know when you speed it up and ill have another look.
Will do so, cheers :)
 
Messages
22
Name
Meli
Edit My Images
Yes
#22
well your on a shared hosting plan at the moment...................
as you can see a VPN gives you dedicated web space making your website lightening fast!
PM me..... I'll hook you up
I can even point you to a free (HTML) hosted site
 
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642
Name
MG
Edit My Images
No
#23
I agree about having a good host as @aya states.

However, remember that the user is also limited by their own connection. You could have the fastest host in the world, but if the user only has a poor connection then they will be limited by this.

Your site is 4.8mb on initial download (you have other images loading dynamically for your banner so this increases over time)

A 5mb download on a 4mbps connection is 10 seconds (i guess this would be similiar speeds of rural locations and 3G mobile connections).

Optimize those images to reduce the file sizes = faster load times.
 
OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#24
Ok guys, thanks again for all the great feedback here. I am making some progress but it's slow as I don't have much time lately. I have reduced size of some of the photos in the design and in the engagement and maternity gallery. I have dowloaded some plugins for cache which I think speed it up a bit. Gtmetrix is showing me better results but it's not great yet.
I have noticed a drop in my Google ranks in the last months drastically. I assume this could be due to my lack of fresh good blog posts, maybe too little backlinks and also the speed. Can you please confirm on that if my thinking is right?
One more thing that bothers me is how to present the wedding photos. I like the masonry style of the gallery but there are too many shots and it's hard to just not show some of the stuff so I thought to maybe do a grid with subcategories like 'getting ready' 'ceremony' 'bride and groom portraits' 'special moments' 'dancing' or similar. Do you think it's a good idea?
Thanks again. Cheers
 
Messages
22
Name
Meli
Edit My Images
Yes
#25
The grids a good idea I like that, you could do a video compilation mix of the wedding gallery host it on youtube & make it auto play when people open the page
the site is faster for me.
EDIT:
wow you have a hell of a lot of wedding photos I'd deff consider slideshows!
 
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OP
OP
bucz
Messages
402
Name
Shem
Edit My Images
No
#26
It's been a wee while since I last wrote anything here but I need your help again. I have been working on the website. Didn't do the copy yet as this is something I can't do myself so will have to pay for the professional to do it for me but I have been trying to sort the seo side lately and I don't know what else I can do. My ranks have dropped badly in the past few months and it doesn't seem to be improving. I'm aiming for the wedding photographer Glasgow keyword and I'm on page 10-11. I have been working on some backlinks recently. I have got a few but they are not the best. I should get a decent one soon when the real wedding gets published on one of the wedding blogs. I fixed all the crawl errors there were (except one which I don't know how to fix). I try to blog at least twice a month. Not sure what else I can do. Is my website penalised? How can I check it if it is? Thanks in advance.
 
Messages
1,965
Name
Tommy
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No
#27
It's been a wee while since I last wrote anything here but I need your help again. I have been working on the website. Didn't do the copy yet as this is something I can't do myself so will have to pay for the professional to do it for me but I have been trying to sort the seo side lately and I don't know what else I can do. My ranks have dropped badly in the past few months and it doesn't seem to be improving. I'm aiming for the wedding photographer Glasgow keyword and I'm on page 10-11. I have been working on some backlinks recently. I have got a few but they are not the best. I should get a decent one soon when the real wedding gets published on one of the wedding blogs. I fixed all the crawl errors there were (except one which I don't know how to fix). I try to blog at least twice a month. Not sure what else I can do. Is my website penalised? How can I check it if it is? Thanks in advance.
I left a comment on this way back in June and a lot of the issues I mentioned are still there.

The images you have on your site are still are way too big. You only score an F on GT Metrix for image optimisation. As I mentioned way back in June this is a huge issue. It is going to be very difficult to get the site to rank any better until you resolve that and it is such a simple thing to fix.

Your on page S.E.O is still quite poor. Until you rewrite the site or employ someone to do it for you it is going to be a struggle to rank for what is a very competitive keyword.

Nobody really knows what Google's algorithm is for ranking but most S.E.O companies will say that it is made up from content on the site, the copy, any errors present, site speed, the amount of traffic, bounce rate and backlinks. There are other factors as well like social signals.

The quick things that can be easily fixed are:

- fix the images issue.
- remove any errors.
- write better content.

You have plenty of blog posts with lots of images but there is very little written content. So at the moment these are not been utilised in the right way. It's a waste of time writing a blog post with only 150 odd words from an S.E.O point of view. Every one of yours could do with being rewritten.

The longer term thing that will help is building better quality backlinks but these will take time both to get, for the links to be indexed and then it will also take time for them to have an impact on your ranking. You might also want to consider running an ahrefs report and having a look at the links that you having pointing at your site at the moment, a lot of them are low quality no follow links. It might be better to disavow those as they will look really spammy too Google.

If your site has been penalised by Google manually they would have sent you a message via your search console.
 
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Messages
3,068
Name
droj
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#29
This sentence in particular needs a rewrite: "It wasn’t until he became a father that ignited his true love of photography. As a professional child photographer, Shem found himself, like any new parent, photographing his little boy a lot, prompting him to learn how to photograph children." It lacks grammar and sense.
 
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285
Name
Paul
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#30
Site loads really fast with Safari on a Mac, just a couple of things I have noticed
1. couple of images are out of alignment horizontally towards bottom of home page.
2. and some of the "read more" lines are also out on a couple of pages, just looks a bit odd.

other than that I think your site is very presentable with some really great images.
 
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22,412
Name
Phil
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#31
As above, the ‘about’ page needs a rewrite, websites in the 3rd person are never a good idea. The whole point of your site isn’t to tell people how great you are, it’s about making the believe you’ll be great for them.

It’s not ‘he’s wonderful, he knows how to use a camera’, it’s ‘I can’t wait to make fantastic images for you

You’re selling what you can do for them, no one needs to know you know how to use filters or software.
 
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