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Re: Troubleshoot my site from a buyer POV

vdotmatrixvdotmatrix Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
edited April 16, 2014 in Mind Your Own Business
I 've had an adwords campaign with higher 1st page listing than last year...I finally figured out how to write the ads and make them relevent etc...for google searches. I am no advertising genius but it has taken me at least a year to figure out how to write google ads that work... ( I hte doing any of this or doing website stuff)

The thing is there must be something wrong with the content that has a moderate, not bad bounce rate...

There must be something wrong with what people see that they don't like......

My landing page should be my services page, then they go to what they are shopping for, but the ad relevance has to take them right to the relevant ad content page if this makes sense.

penosoimages.com

what I am advertising is senior portraits and team sports.... this past week.

Is there something I'm not seeing that visitors may not like...perhpas my work ( yikes ).

PLEASE SEE IT in your didactic intent to PM your response and please be gentler in a public response.

thanks for looking

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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited March 13, 2014
    I can give you the short version in one sentence. The problem is not your site per se, it's your marketing.

    If you want the long waffled version I am infamous for, read on.

    Firstly, What the hell program did you use to create that site????
    It's a total dogs breakfast code wise! I don't know how that affects ad words ( although I'm sure it wouldn't do anything good!) but as far as search engines go, all that over the top coding will kill you! I don't think I have ever seen so much code for such a simple page. I didn't bother reading through it all, I didn't need to, the sheer volume told me all I needed to know. I would really look at thinning that mess out to start with. If you had it professionally done, flog the guy that did it and then ask for your money back!
    At least you have some meta tags but as for the rest.... Hooley dooley.

    The actual front page to me is very underwhelming.
    There is no wow factor, nothing to make me want to look further or impress me in any other way.
    For mine far too much title/ headline and on the monitor I'm using, when a pic comes up I have to scroll to see all of it. Your name really isn't going to sell anybody and your location and other info could be made smaller to make more room for what you are selling , Pictures. Where you have northern Virginia event etc is PRIME selling space and that's doing nothing at all in that regard. Sorry to say but it's actually boring.

    While the background is nice and clean, for me it isn't working doing what you need, selling. And that is the whole KEY to this. Yeah, all the people that have no idea will tell you it's about having a pretty website and pretty pictures and they are WRONG. Your site has one basic function. To make the phone ring. (or get an enquiry email but the same thing for all intents and purposes.)
    Your site is not selling you pretty much at all.

    I think the pics on your home page are way too small. No one was ever impressed by a postcard size pic and that's what these are coming up as. I would suggest you up the images size dramatically.

    Services page:

    Agggh! Too much tect hits me for a start.
    Your text is boring, I read it and say BFD, what shooter doesn't do that and again, there is no wow factor and certainly no customer involvement. You did reference the client more than yourself which is a good thing but it's not compelling.

    The link list is boring. What about at least a pic Of a kid for the childrens portraiture that is linked as well as the text and so on for each catergory. The info on clothing suggestions should go on a What you need to know page or the protrait page and the other items accordingly.

    So you worked for YMCA. Yeah me too. About 6 of them. BFD. It's nothing compelling to the client. And WTF is marie Berry when she is at home? Did you shoot kids portraits for her or her house when it was for sale?

    If you want to list these things, Make them case studys on another page. " We shot the YMCA Table tennis championship in which we covered 700 players and captured great action shots of every one of them. We had their Photographs all printed and ready to take home at the end of the evening to show family and friends the very next day. "

    " Marie Berry is a leading practitioner of BDSM in the red light district of the city. We have worked with her to bring in more leather clad freaky people to her dimly lit establishment by creating pics that increase her brand awareness within the weirdo community. As a result she experienced a 17.3% increase in business following the posting of the pictures on face waste and in other media. Thanks to the skill and experience we have gained over the years, the problem of low lighting was able to be over come to capture all the detail and texture of the leather and studs on everyones outfits. "

    You have to SELL it not just list some names that a lot of people won't have any clue about and means nothing to them without explanation anyway.

    Oh, you want me to book a session, hidden down the bottom of the page under these long lists of uncompelling text?? Umm, I haven't really seen too many pics yet.... Which leads me to....

    Galleries.

    AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!

    Seriously, you want me to go through all these pics to see what you do??? I'm looking for Childrens portraits, head shots and senior portraits yet I don't see a gallery heading for any of those things yet they were all listed on the services page.

    OK, lets try the Photography heading. Nope, Nuther dogs breakfast there, nice thumbnail of the FA 18!
    Tell me, how many pics have you ever sold or how many enquiries have you EVER had from your site for your airshow pics? None? 1 ?? WTF are they doing there then???
    Now, the senior portraits, lets try the proof gallery, no, no senior portraits there, what about the "other" gallery? No, none their either. Umm where are they? I came to your site from your ad to check out the senior portraits you advertised as my kids is graduating or whatever they have them done for but I can't find any examples of what you do?

    Seriously Vincent, I know I'm being a bastard and tearing strips off you but mate, your saying you aren't getting bookings but I can't even find what you are spending money to advertise???
    I'll admit I'm thick as 2 planks but I can't find senior portraits ANYWHERE in your galleries. Do you actually have an example(s) of the senior portrait work you are promoting?
    I'm reasonably sure the answer is no so that probably covers that topic. Even though I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, something you are spending money to bring me to your site should jump out and bite me on the backside no matter how dumb I am. I should not have to go searching for it.
    BTW, I didn't actually see a specific kids portrait gallery either. Events, dance etc but not traditional portraits which seemed to be what you had on the services list.

    My STRONG suggestion is you get rid off all that crap in the galleries and put corresponding galleries to the work you are promoting AND just put examples of your BEST work in there rather than have everyone sort through the rabble of pics. Not knocking your work but there are pics we all do as part of the job that must be done but they don't sell your skills one bit to prospective clients. Don't weaken your impact with 1000 pics of ho hum, Show your best work and impress the prospects and SELL yourself.

    Contact Me.

    Well first thought so far is "Why?" but being a mongrel aside, I think I have demonstrated why a lot of genuine prospects won't bother already. Just the same, when you re do the site and they want to, you need a lot better copy than that at the top of the page. I also believe in having all the section links there as going back on the pages is not something I like doing to navigate from there on.
    Is that page on another site? Why? even more reason to have the link headers there.

    WEBLOG

    Umm, you really think a prospective client is interested in your 580 experiments? I don't.
    Some of your entries around 2012 ( !!!) were good. Newsworthy type stuff that was positive and interesting to a client as a Behind the scenes thing. Looks like you lost your enthusiasm pretty fast though. Go back and start writing something interesting to the CLIENT again.
    Like face waste, keep it regular though so it doesn't look like you packed up and left town.

    Again, add the navigation links to the page or better still, incorporate it into the site or make it less obvious this is hosted yet somewhere else.

    Faceache.
    My computer has trouble with the links taking me to the home page. I tried Vincent penoso photography and penoso images and can't find the page.
    Bet your glad of that! I can almost shut up now.

    I know I probably come off like a mongrel ( which I am) but I think I have shown many reasons why you are not getting the interest in your work. You asked ( by inference) about the quality of your work. You could be the best Senior portrait shooter I have ever seen or you could suck. I have no idea, I couldn't find a pic to tell! That really is a huge problem right there mate. I would make sure everything on your services list matches your gallery's or better still, make them one in the same page.

    Get rid of everything else your not selling or promoting. No one wants a do everything guy. trying to cover all bases is a mistake. For advertising, make yourself the XXXXXX Guy, not just another guy that does it. I do lots of different things too. I have a site for each market though and make myself out to be THE specialist in that field. I don't think my Corporate event clients would be impressed by my Swim school work or several of the other things I do. When I look like that's all I do, different story.
    Not saying you need a site for different things you do, just get rid of the non business type pics and the for the markets you are in, show your BEST shots not the boring crap every client expects but isn't interested in outside their own pictures.

    You are promoting team sports on adwords you say yet there is not one bit of info I can find on this. It's a very competitie market yet you are expecting people to contact you about it what all you have are a few ordinary pics? You need INFORMATION. You need to sell yourself on it. What are your packages, what are your prices, how long to shoot a team? do you shoot game day or training night?

    What about telling them how you are better than your competition and why? I do this work. Pretty much every club I go to regails me with tales of how the last shooter turned up a half hour late, stuffed around and didn't know what they were doing because they were likely some kid working for $5 an hour for some cut price company and had never shot this before. I tell them how I bring a mobile outdoor studio with lights to eliminate shadows and bring out the colour of the uniforms, how simple the ordering process is, how they get their finished pics back in 7 days, how we NEVER run late to shoot teams and 80% of the time run early, How I have an assistant arranging the kids and another one doing the names of the kids and handling the money with the coaches while I shoot and so it goes. I give them so many reasons to book me over every other company out there is makes them look sill not to especially when I have a basic ( crappy) package that matches the other companies starting price.

    I think I'm half a chance at marketing and promotion but if you can book teams by showing a few sample pics, You should be selling Million dollar homes not team sport pics.
    BTW, when I look at the team sports gallery, there is a adult male staring at the camera on the gallery thumbnail and as the first pic. That's very off putting and really doesn't impress a person with the care and skill you put into your work.

    Mate, I think we all get too close to the fire at times and get blinded by the bright flames. I have a mate that I get to look over all my marketing and advertising. He's a chef. Don't know beans about photography ( which is exactly what I want) but he is a fussy SOB as a customer and he points things out to me that are so painfully obvious it's embarrassing. Better a mate points out the glaringly obvious, that I missed completely!, than a client after I spent money on advertising and look like a right Pelican To thousands of people.

    We all over look things so I hope you can put my lack of tact aside and take on board what I have pointed out to you.
    There is a LOT you need to fix in order to get clients but when you do the good news is that things will pick up. Significantly. For now though, i'd stop wasting your money on adwords.

    In the overall thing you do with any marketing medium, what you need to do is ask yourself one simple question, " Why would someone looking at my site want to hire me over my competition?"

    If you say " price and quality " which is the trained response, you lose. And trust me, you WILL lose...99% of your potential market, at least. That means nothing to a client because firstly it's what every person with a business from selling bagged fertiliser to a Chimney Sweep will tell you.
    Secondly, You need to know and demonstrate what your Unique selling proposition is. If you can't, forget about your site, you have much more fundamental problems in your business. You need to get the foundations right before you go trying to build empires.

    Hope this rant helps you realise the interest in your work you want.
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    vdotmatrixvdotmatrix Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited March 13, 2014
    Hey thanks for that..I suppose I asked for it but I appreciate the time. It is a free critique and now my job is to get to work to make it better..Thanks:cry
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited March 21, 2014
    In response to the question you asked about seeing my website, I don't have one atm to show.
    I lost the ones I had due to a server crash a while back and seeing I haven't been working in areas that require one, I haven't bothered to put any up. I do have several sites and more domains but I just use them as accessible storage for clients to download images mainly. I make a page and link them to it. There is no public promotional pages.

    Now this would not work for your portrait and wedding work where you can't see the target, but it would for your sports teams. I do that and have done on and off for a while and never had a site or been asked for one. I look up all the associations in my area, make a list of the club contacts, sit down and call them and then send out printed info. I have a 10 page info pack I print out and put in a professional looking folder that covers everything they need to know and has photographic print samples of the packages, a sample order envelope and my sales pitch. You have to understand the market you are dealing with and how they work. The decision of whom does the yearly shots is not up to an individual, it's up to a committee. With the printed info pack, the person I send it to can take it to the meeting, show them the pics, has the info to answer questions from other people and have a professional presentation to show anyone interested.

    What the hell good is a website to these people? They aren't all going to have a computer connected to the net and they need the info now to make a decision not when they get home or go to work tomorrow to see something. They aren't even that interested in the pics. As long as the things aren't a dogs breakfast they are a lot more interested in commissions, turn around time and other things. Putting that on paper is infinitely more workable for them than putting it on a site. Many of my competitors just send a price list and maybe a cover letter. I send something that looks professional, has huge wow factor, looks expensive and like I am very serious about what I do and not afraid to spend a buck on the quality of what I do. The package is heavy, detailed, easy to find the info they are looking for and tells them everything they need to know to make the buying decision right there.

    The only thing a site would do for me with this market would be to not give enough info to a club person or tip my hand to my competitors. Why would I do that?

    More over, why are you paying for ad-words trying to attract a target you can see and approach yourself? Even if you got someone coming to the site, there wasn't a single bit of info for them. This is why I said your problem was your marketing. You are not using the most effective methods for your specific markets nor are you providing any info to get the people interested in your services or provide them with any info to make a buying decision.

    With sports teams, you know who is in your area and can easily approach them. It makes no sense to expect them to find you amoungst your competitors on the web let alone call or email you when you know exactly where to find them ( or can easily look them up) and knock on their door with a professional presentation. The old thing of Belly to Belly ( AKA, face to face) is still and will always be the ultimate way to sell to markets like this and the closer you can get to it the better.

    Websites are neither necessary or the best way to approach every client.

    I have a couple of markets in mind I'm going to attack but I have been slow getting them done as they are prospective in nature and not something that will at all benefit my current markets.
    For these sites, all I am going to do is use one of the free templates I have found on the web and modify it and put my copy into it. The prebuilt sites are astheticaly very pleasing and easy to add your content to and individualise. For my needs, there is no reason to spend a bunch of money on having one built that a designer will give priority to looking pretty over being the most effective selling tool.

    I notice on your site the only thing that you appear to have had time to change so far is you put "Under reconstruction" on your home page. Generally that is what you have when you take the site down. I think that would be the best move atm as your present site I think has a lot more deterrent rather than selling value to a prospective Client. Also people may think what is there IS the reconstructed part.

    I would suggest you take it all down and just have a relaunch date. Many people have something to the effect of the site being updated soon but I have seen that on many sites years later. A date gives interested people something concrete to work off.
    As well as this, if you are doing it bit by bit they are still going to see the crappy parts which will undermine the revamped sections.

    The next site I am going to do is probably for my fathers wrecking yard. That will be a pretty simple affair with just some blurb explaining what makes he covers and a few pics covering obvious parts in stock and then a Directions/ contact page.
    All that is needed for that market.
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    vdotmatrixvdotmatrix Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited March 21, 2014
    I have asked in I don't know how many ways if there was a way to take the site down until I finish in th sandbox. I appreciate your insight half way aroud the world.
    vncent
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited March 21, 2014
    Just make another or edit the existing home page. Remove the links. The pages will still be there but no one will know what they are called to find them.
    You could also just change the links so they all go to a "Sorry, this page is under construction " Page.
    Sometimes I have had Multiple pages of the same page and just edit the link to say Pricing1 instead of the normal Pricing. That can stop people guessing the page names but I don't think they will be that keen in this case.

    You can also take a page off public view by going into your FTP site and renaming the extension from htm to htx or Html or an extension your host server won't recognise.
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    jarboedoggartjarboedoggart Registered Users Posts: 270 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2014
    looks like you are making some changes on your site, so I cannot speak intelligently about the site before, but looks like Glort was certainly thorough enough.

    As it stands now, obviously your "about" page is empty so get on that! You have links to your services at the bottom of the homepage, but you really need to have a "portfolio" link in your header as well. I don't have to scroll down on my monitor, but I think that most would not see the links on the bottom of the homepage without scrolling down.

    Same with the text in the galleries, you have it at the bottom, to hard to find and to much scrolling, get that up top!

    Looks like you are making progress
    -Nate
    Jarboe Doggart Photography - jarboedoggart.com
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    vdotmatrixvdotmatrix Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2014
    looks like you are making some changes on your site, so I cannot speak intelligently about the site before, but looks like Glort was certainly thorough enough.

    As it stands now, obviously your "about" page is empty so get on that! You have links to your services at the bottom of the homepage, but you really need to have a "portfolio" link in your header as well. I don't have to scroll down on my monitor, but I think that most would not see the links on the bottom of the homepage without scrolling down.

    Same with the text in the galleries, you have it at the bottom, to hard to find and to much scrolling, get that up top!

    Looks like you are making progress
    Thanks. I have a pretty big monitor so I mistakingly assume everyone else does too.

    I think the main reason it took me so long to MIGRATE my old site was at first glance the New Smug Mug appeared to me to look the same. A lot of large image themes and a lot of scrolling through all these large images.

    The idea I have, and I am no marketing website guru anymore, was to have a site with minimal clicking, minimal pages and have a portfolio incorporated into the services I offer. People are good for 1 or 2 clicks then they are gone.

    The main function of the site of the site is the link at the top PROOF GALLERY. This is an active client portal where they go and make decisions about product.

    Secondarily, when I make a client contact they can easily see what I offer with no fluff which the old site was so embarrassingly cluttered with throughout. ( thanks Glort).

    I will reexamine this post haste....thanks for taking the time to respond thumb.gif
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    AceCo55AceCo55 Registered Users Posts: 950 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2014
    I think this point may be because you are developing your site on a large screen ... but ...
    on my 15.6" laptop screen, your nav menu, logo, site name take up about 40% of my vertical space ... ON EVERY PAGE.
    That's a lot of scrolling each time some-one needs to go to another page.
    You have LOT of empty space to the left and right of those elements. Perhaps think about putting your logo left, Site name to the right of that and nav menu to the right of that ... all on the one level.
    Would be a MUCH better web experience for visitors with smaller screen than yours ... and (to my mind) without losing much.
    Does your present header arrangement work well on ipad/mobile devices?
    My opinion does not necessarily make it true. What you do with my opinion is entirely up to you.
    www.acecootephotography.com
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2014
    Glort's post # 1,035 may be a new world record. :D

    It does have a lot good honest info.

    Sam
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    vdotmatrixvdotmatrix Registered Users Posts: 343 Major grins
    edited April 14, 2014
    AceCo55 wrote: »
    I think this point may be because you are developing your site on a large screen ... but ...
    on my 15.6" laptop screen, your nav menu, logo, site name take up about 40% of my vertical space ... ON EVERY PAGE.
    That's a lot of scrolling each time some-one needs to go to another page.
    You have LOT of empty space to the left and right of those elements. Perhaps think about putting your logo left, Site name to the right of that and nav menu to the right of that ... all on the one level.
    Would be a MUCH better web experience for visitors with smaller screen than yours ... and (to my mind) without losing much.
    Does your present header arrangement work well on ipad/mobile devices?
    i don't think I am doing anything custom on my site . I am using the boiler plate GUI from smugmug and it puts everything where it wants without dreaded custimization. I twerk stuff around on my laptop and it seems okay...I am not sure I am seeing the same thing you are seeing in a 40% amount of space...I am on safari and I see it at 5-10% at the most verticla space those elements occupy. are you using an very low or very high resolution setting...i just don't see what you see..

    anyone else?
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    denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,286 moderator
    edited April 14, 2014
    vdotmatrix wrote: »
    i don't think I am doing anything custom on my site . I am using the boiler plate GUI from smugmug and it puts everything where it wants without dreaded custimization. I twerk stuff around on my laptop and it seems okay...I am not sure I am seeing the same thing you are seeing in a 40% amount of space...I am on safari and I see it at 5-10% at the most verticla space those elements occupy. are you using an very low or very high resolution setting...i just don't see what you see..
    You can't blame the space that is taken by your logo on smug.

    Your logo is too large from a vertical standpoint. When I look at your site on my tablet more than a third of the vertical space is used by your logo and navbar combination. I need to scroll to see anything, very annoying. I find it annoying on my large monitor as well since I almost never maximize the browser window. I did maximize the window to check your site, and on my large screen monitor your logo and nav combination uses about 1/4 of the vertical space, still too much. The world is different today - you should expect visitors to view your site on the extremes of device types - from phones to tablets to laptops to large monitors.

    View your site on different sized devices using this tool - http://quirktools.com/screenfly.

    Your site should be highlighting your photography, not your logo. As it is right now my eyes are drawn to your logo. I'd recommend that you read this thread that I posted a few years back - The purpose (and size) of a banner image.

    Your "what we do" entries require that I scroll to even see that they are there. Thing is, when a site has a slideshow on the homepage I assume there isn't anything following the slideshow so I usually don't bother to scroll past the slideshow. Right now there is nothing on the top of your site that is directed at potential customers. Oh, except maybe the FYI entry that has no information. If you have no content for a menu entry, remove the entry.

    --- Denise
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    GlortGlort Registered Users Posts: 1,015 Major grins
    edited April 16, 2014
    Sam wrote: »
    Glort's post # 1,035 may be a new world record. :D

    It does have a lot good honest info.

    Sam

    The length of my replies is reflective of the respect I have for whom I am replying to.
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited April 16, 2014
    Glort wrote: »
    The length of my replies is reflective of the respect I have for whom I am replying to.

    I guess I am regulated to yes or no responses. :D

    Sam
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