Critical comment on website please

  flick 22:15 14 Dec 2006

I would be grateful if forum members would cast a critical eye over our website click here

I was a complete beginner about this time 2 years ago and have learnt a lot from this forum and other sources. I also realise that I still have a lot to learn, hence the request.

FE recommended Net Objects Fusion which I got free from 1&1 and I'm still using it. The photo galleries were built with JAlbum with modifications to meet our particular needs.

We have sold quite a few images - for travel brochures and magazines - but this has been mostly through direct contacts rather than generated from the website, so we see the website as more of a showcase to potential customers of what's available rather than a direct selling tool.

  flick 11:19 15 Dec 2006

I agree, and it just goes to show that it sometimes needs an independent eye to spot these things. I look forward to receiving any other comments when you have the time.

  kinger 16:36 15 Dec 2006

What superb photography, nice images.

My only critic would be that the dark background is too dark with light text making it hard to read.

Try a brigher background using the same colour font in your text to make it more comfortable to read.

Purchasing may be easier if you accept payment online with, maybe, multiple choice price brackets depending on useage etc..

  Forum Editor 18:31 15 Dec 2006

which are quite stunning. We're talking seriously good photography here, there are images which qualify as some of the best wilderness images I've ever seen, and over many years designing websites and corporate print material I've seen thousands. You'll have no difficulty in attracting customers with photographs of such a high standard, but you'll need to consider several factors first. Your primary market will be professional print and web designers, so aim the site at them.

1. You must be able to sell images online, and by credit card. You can easily set this up with a PayPal account, and I suggest that you explore their options.

2. Work at putting copyright watermarks on the gallery images. They're good enough to use on the web just as they are, and people will steal them. I stole one just now, and ended up with a very nice JPEG at 61Kb straight off the page - just the job for a website. By the way, avoid having spaces in your filenames - then there won't be any annoying % symbols.

3. Try to find a way of allowing visitors to click back to your index page from the galleries - it's irritating to have to keep closing new windows.

4. A real nitpick, but a legal nicety that's worth getting right:

"All sales are subject, but not limited, to....."

should really be

"All sales are subject to, but not limited by...."

Good luck - you deserve it.

  flick 19:37 15 Dec 2006

for your comments Kinger and FE and my husband is very much appreciates the compliments on the images.

I'll have a think about an alternative background colour. I chose black because I thought it made the photos look and there wasn't much text in its earlier incarnations.

We may take the plunge to sell on line, although there are considerations such complying with distance selling rules and being available to process orders. We spend quite a lot of time in Iceland and our internet connection is only dial-up.

I used to put watermarks on but then had to provide a clear version for a genuine client so she and her designer could see them properly. I take your point about people stealing them for websites - do professionals do that sort of thing?

Can you tell me where you're seeing % signs, FE? And what would be best to use instead of spaces?

I would like to be able to link back and at the same time close the pop-up, but haven't yet worked out how. Ideally I think I'd prefer the album files to be incorporated into the main site so I can use the same menu system, but I haven't figured that out yet either.

I've changed the text in the T & Cs

We do get a fair number of visitors but so far of the search engines only Yahoo and MSN are picking up images in specific image searches. Googles' image search of the site picks up none which I find hard to understand. In fact Google only seems to have very old material which when clicked on produces 404 errors.

  kindly 20:29 15 Dec 2006

I have put it into my favourites because you have a lot to look at. The photos are excellent. Wish I could do them like that. Oh yes, the site, well I really think it is good as is. Just a beginner myself I could not pick any fault. Keep it going.


  kinger 21:24 15 Dec 2006

++ We do get a fair number of visitors but so far of the search engines only Yahoo and MSN are picking up images in specific image searches.++

Have you tried improving your meta-tags, I notice that site description is missing and, also, there are no keywords listed in the source code.

You need to have these present in order to help Google... preferably on every page.

A Google site map may help too. You can build them free of charge by signing up to Google and using their SiteMap service.

  flick 23:02 15 Dec 2006

The reason there are no links to galleries on the seasons page is because there isn't an associated gallery - it's just a page we put new 'seasonal' images on every few weeks. Birds is an introductory page to all the subsections of waders, ducks, puffins etc. so the galleries come in those subsections. On buildings and plants - that's my mistake. I will put some links on later.

I agree that dwarf birch is hardly going to stand out from the crowd, but it is descriptive. My point about Google images was that if I search for images, nothing comes up, whereas a site search in msn has almost all the images from our main descriptive pages including dwarf birch.

A google image search on dwarf birch gave this as its third ranked image click here
and the alt tag is dwarf birch

I'll give some more thought to the watermarking issue. The images are of too low resolution to be used for anything other than websites and unless the watermark is plastered across the whole image, they're fairly easy to crop out.

Thank you all for your comments. I'm grateful for the time you've taken over it.

  kinger 23:23 15 Dec 2006

There is a lot of speculation on just how Google ranks pages.

I believe that if your description and or title contains words that you use in your text on a page, this will count as 'appropriate content' while not using your 'keywords' at all will 'down rank' you.

Meta-tags are still used but Google won't say how much they rely on them.

This is, as you say, to stop any fooling by webmasters.

Black background with yellow or white text is a definite No No as it affects the viewers eyes (read the text properly, then look away from the screen ... you'll still see the text for second or two) after viewing a large amount of text, or more than one page, makes it a strain to read.

Google love content, original content, they can check for duplication. Good content, updated regularly will win over duplicated sites (who can be wiped off of an index altogether).

I agree, the alt tags now count for good results too.

  Forum Editor 08:17 16 Dec 2006

Google doesn't fully disclose its indexing technologies, but I assure you metatags are way down the list of things it relies on, if they're used at all. fourm member's right about the alt tags, by the way.

Personally I think the black background's fine. It's a personal thing, but I agree with you that it does help the images. You might profit by experimenting with the text colour though. Try taking it down a half tone or so - aim for a very pale silvery grey - difficult to describe, but very effecftive when you get it right.

The % signs are in one of the image filenames, but I don't remember which one. You can avoid them by using the underscore, but I'm not keen on that either - far better to have a straight alpha-numeric string if you can.

  flick 00:07 17 Dec 2006

but also foreign characters of which Icelandic has a fair few. I found one example where the file name Fjaðrárgljúfur HL08-05-04 renders as Fja%F0r%E1rglj%FAfur%20%20HL08-05-04 so I'm not sure where to go with this. I want the image titles to be correctly named and the album generator gets them from the file name, so I'm not sure how to get round this unless I do a lot of line by line editing.

I'll experiment with the silver grey colour for text - thanks for the suggestion FE.

One hint I did pick up from google was that for their googlebot to crawl through all the pages on a site there needs to be at least one text based link (i.e. not a linked image) to every page. I've only added that recently, so it will be interesting to see if they get to my photo galleries in due course.

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