Hello web designers,
So where do we begin…
First off I should mention that I currently have a website, [login to view URL] and it has worked really well for me. It’s the first site I’ve built using wordpress (I built a few others coding and using some other platforms many years ago) and it has met all my needs. I started my photography business with it and today it ranks at the top of google for my target keywords. I like my page for the fact it’s easy to maintain, update, modify and is very reliable. I don’t like it for the fact it lacks originality, doesn’t really reflect my style and seems a little bloated. I like the existing site structure and plan on keeping all the pages and categories unless you have other ideas.
— Objectives —
1. Memorable | I want to hook clients searching for a photographers with amazing content (still working on that :), sleek & stylish design and an incredible user experience. I want prospective clients to get sucked in, drawn to the next related post and for there user experience to be worlds apart from the Pro Photo Template every other photographer seems to be using out there.
2. Manageable | Ideally I would like the site build on wordpress so that I can maintain and modify it with relative ease after it is up and running.
3. Searchable | 95% of my clients find me through my website and I haven’t spent a dime on advertising. I have #1 google ranking for “seoul photographer” and numerous derivatives. I got here through writing quality content mixed with targeted keywords. Content on my site needs to remain searchable and SEO friendly.
4. Speedy | I would like to speed up my page load times for better user experience and page ranking
5. Scalable | Should I wish to add a proofing gallery, shopping cart etc I would like the ability for this to be integrated easily
6. Mobile Friendly | I’m having issues with the mobile side of my site, I would like it to look good and function well.
— The Look —
I’m a huge fan of full screen web sites and photos that fill the entire screen. I would like my photos to be big and bold. I have three design ideas. One has been done and seems to be fairly trendy right now. The second is something I’ve never seen done before and I have no idea how feasible it is. The third, I have no idea what it looks like.
1 - Medium
This deign would be like the wiprodigital site you referenced. Here are a few more examples:
[login to view URL]
This is probably my favourite. I love the slick look, huge drop cap, large text, varied image sizes, and the subtle animation where where the text moves down the image and fades out as the user scrolls down. The vimeo integration is great I like how the animation works where when and image is clicked it enlarges then zooms out again when we click or scroll. The blur effect on the last image is cool and I find the lead in to the next article very appealing.
[login to view URL]
Similar to the site above, missing the full screen images I like and animated touches. I do like the menu drop down from the bar at the top. The font and for size are nice. Good headings and layout.
[login to view URL]
Another design I like, great for the photos not sure how easily blogging could be integrated.
2 - ???
This is the most exciting design. This is YOUR idea. I know I’m at my most creative when I’m working on a project that excites me. If there is a designer who wants to try something totally different, a new technology or if you need a guinea pig to beta test something on, I’m your man. My business isn’t that huge that I need a site that is hiccup free. My paid work isn’t terribly creative or inspiring much of the time, I’m working on that, so here’s link to my personal project, 365-2009 that might give your team a better feel about my personality and style I like.
— The Functionality —
[login to view URL] functions much as I would like it to. At this point because I’m not focusing on one genera of photography I like to create portfolios in the form of related blog post collections as opposed to groupings of images from all blog posts. I tried this before and found my style is to varied to make a set that looks coherent. Thus I would like to keep following the same format. Here’s what’s important to me:
1. Blogging | I showcase my images in blog posts as mentioned, they are my mini portfolios however the text is just as important. I write to educate and entice my prospective clients and for the search engines. I need text to be easy too add, look good and be searchable.
2. Contact Forum | I’m pretty happy with my current contact form. If it could be made a little sexier that would be a bonus. I like that I can assign variables on the back end so that when I get the emails %Date%-%name%-%”GSP - Inquiry% gets inserted into the subject. I would like to be able to add some kind of auto responder option or web page notice for when I am away on holiday. I’ve wasted many hours trying to set gmail up to auto respond but doesn’t seem to work with these forum generated emails.
3. Store Front | It would be awesome if users could click on any image to pull-up a price list for various size downloads, have the option to add the image to a light box or shopping card and be able to receive a download link after purchase via paypal or credit card. Whether or not this is implemented depends a lot on the price. I get the feeling this would take a fairly major endeavour.
4. Analytics | This is quite simple, I would just like help setting up a filter so I can how many visitors are surfing photography related content versus those spending time reading my macbook and cooking related posts.
— Other Ideas ---
1. Site Division | I’m thinking seriously about creating a commercial and portrait (for lack of a better word) divide on site. The user would choose which side to enter from the home page. I think it would look more professional if those looking for a car photographer didn’t see my engagements and vice versa.
-What do you think about this idea?
-Could it be implemented easily without having to change link structures for my old content?
-Would it be better to create different domain names or sub domains?
2. Transition to Canada | My family and I are thinking of making the move to Canada in the next year or so. I would like to start getting my website into the Vancouver google rankings. I’m guessing I have to create relevant content and get some good back links. If you have have any suggestions please let me know.
— Questions for You —
Please let me know:
1. If my objectives can be met, particularly if this site can be setup on wordpress or a similar platform so that I’m not dependent on others for doing such things as blogging, creating new pages, trekking my contact form or making my design work with newer HTML standards in the future.
2. Your thoughts on the looks I mentioned and the time, challenges and costs we would be looking at for each one.
3. Which items could be compromised or simplified to reduce overall costs.
4. What kind of timeline would we be looking at?
— Final Words —
I hope this lengthy description has helped you understand my needs. I think you can see while I have some clear objectives I’m also very open to your ideas and suggestions. I have no problem with you simply changing the theme on my wordpress or redesigning everything from the ground up. Of course while cost is a consideration I’m prepared the professionals to take care of my website so I can focus on what I’m good at, taking photos.
If you need anything else please feel free to email or Skype me. All the best and have a great week.