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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Just launched my new website. Thoughts?

OK today I went live with my new website. The old one was a bit stale and old hat and I needed a major revamp to leap ahead of my local opposition. I think I have done that with the new look, but wouldn't mind a critical eye passed over it and would welcome constructive critisism.

There's a couple of glitches which will be sorted. the script isn't working yet on the PHP contacts form, so when a client fills in her details and presses send, it doesn't work. But it says there's a problem and to contact via email. i will have that sorted in the next day or so. Considering what was there before its better regardless of this glitch.

Secondly when a client views the samples, the background music continues to play over the music of the clips, causing a musical soup. I can't fathom out how to stop this and have put up a warning text at the bottom of the flash animation asking viewers to turn off the sound button.

Wessex Weddings

Overall thoughts?
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:04 PM   #2
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I guess I'd completely remove the contact form for now. A big empty black box would look better than the text saying "don't use this contact form yet!" Just drag that form right off the stage in Flash, you can drag it back when you figure it out.

Some of your images are still showing up as links.

I'm also not a big fan of background music on a website. People are often listening to music/internet radio while they're browsing so the music on a site just makes everything sound bad. But if you're determined to keep it, you can stop it when the user opens the portfolio page. It's been a few years since I've worked on one of these flash templates, but it was only one line of code to stop the music playback.

I'd dump the equipment page and replace it with something more applicable to brides, such as an article about the benefits of video.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:09 PM   #3
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I had a quick look first thing when i click on the video gallery your website music should turn off or when someone clicks on a video the music should turn off it doesn't

Second your flash files are too big i checked one clip and i think it was 28mb you should bring that down to about 6mb you need instant play nothing worse than people waiting for a clip to load

Firefox browser back arrow button does not work with your website

Overall very nice
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:11 PM   #4
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Couple of minor comments:

In my humble opinion the site looks a little cluttered with the background of blurred images and company logo where it is. I would move the company logo to the navigation bar at the top and centre the videos in the Video Works section. As it stands I'm trying to watch your demos and my eye is distracted by the different images in the background, at least three thumbnails, and the big orange company logo, when it should be focussed on the video.

Speaking of the videos, you are quite spirited in your explaining of how great your audio is but I can't find any realtime audio in the clips outside of a champagne bottle popping. I would suggest adding some of that good audio because we don't see enough of it on web demos.

Text is a bit small for my taste, especially when there is so much of it. For example, the page about your equipment is quite hard to read, especially with the entire block of text being in capital letters.

The images on the About page can be clicked but they don't lead anywhere, which seems a bit strange. I doubt any bride would notice or care, it's just me being picky.

There is still placeholder text on the equipment page, which you probably already know and plan to get rid off. And I would definitely get on the contact form and sound turning off. But again, you already know that.

I will say, though, that I very much enjoy reading your posts here because they are quite passionate, articulate and inspiring to read. Your wording on your website is just as strong and does a great job of selling your product. I haven't seen your old website but this one is certainly an improvement and attract a lot of clients. Great job.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:12 PM   #5
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I work in Web Design, so I'm probably going to be a lot more harsh than others - but here is my expert opinion. (I'm still a part-time wedding videographer)

100% Flash based websites may look nice, but:
- They take too long to load (it took a few seconds on my computer, enough where I thought about clicking off of the site).
- Horrible for Search Engine Optimization - Search Engines have a tough time indexing Flash sites and getting relative information. Even though Google now index's flash sites, Text-based sites do 10 times better in Search Engine Results.
- Overall "poor" user experience when compared to basic text based sites.

Your Sound button (at the bottom right hand corner) was a little bit hidden, I would put it in a better spot and make it bigger. I might also have the sound off by default (Although my page plays automatically too - something I might change soon!), and then allow the user to turn it on if they want. Usability Studies for web design list auto-playing music on a site as a turn off (mostly) but since we are in the world of video and audio - I can make the case that we should get a "pass" on this rule. . . .

The Flash itself is very well done, I just want you to know of the drawbacks behind it. If you haven't noticed, a lot of corporate sites now use Flash as "Filler" and not as main content, mainly due to the usability issues and Search Engine issue.

My site (Wedding Videography in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut by Lakota Den Productions) uses a HTML/CSS page with a flash movie contained in it - that way - I can still use some Search Engine Optimization techniques (such as using Heading tags) to improve my site ranking. My Links are also completely text based, allowing users who don't have flash to navigate through my site. It's not as eye-catching as your site, but I was more concerned about Search Engine Placement since it's "free advertising".

Hope that helps, I do like the flash - but it has practical drawbacks.

Ryan
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:02 PM   #6
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OK thanks a lot for the constructive critisism. Some of it I will certainly take onboard during the next 48 hours as I hone the site to iron out the errors.

First and foremost I didn't design the site myself. And hearin lies a bit of a problem.

I can't find out where that bloody music is to turn it off, and secondly I can't again find a switch to turn the music to off as a default!

There just doesn't seem to be a sound file in the whole folder, so even renaming the file to stop it is not possible. Its embedded somewhere and damned if I can work it out. If someone could give me a pointer it would be appreciated because I would rather have it off than on.

As for the size of the sample clips, they vary from 20-27 meg in size. Large but when you drop the bit rate the quality falls away and its a video site so high quality is extremely important. Perhaps I will go back and tweak that a bit.

I have great Google ranking, on the first page or near the top of all searches in my area. As the site runs off only one HTML page, I have just copied all my titles, meta tags etc straight over.Idon't think it will have an affect to be honest as on my last site all the text was images.

The clips shown are just a taster. Brides get sent a proper sample DVD which has a lot more on it including a 2 hour wedding concentrated down to 20 minutes.

I do agree about the equipment page and it should go as Chris says in place of the benefits of video.

Thanks for the feedback so far.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
I can't find out where that bloody music is to turn it off, .
Bottom right, sound [off] or on.
Nice site, i like it.

Paul.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post

I have great Google ranking, on the first page or near the top of all searches in my area. As the site runs off only one HTML page, I have just copied all my titles, meta tags etc straight over.Idon't think it will have an affect to be honest as on my last site all the text was images.
I'm very surprised, how long has your new site been up? Flash sites (as a whole) do not do well with Google because the only place you can really put your keywords is in the META tags, and not in the page itself.

I would be interested (for my own insight) to hear if you continue to be near the top of your keyword list in the next couple of weeks or so.

Maybe Google has improved in the way it handles Flash . . . .
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Paul Kellett View Post
Bottom right, sound [off] or on.
Nice site, i like it.

Paul.
HI Paul, no I don't mean that. I mean to turn it off at source. I have the flash file open in flash and still can't fathom where this bloody sound file is hidden. There are no mp3, wav or whatever files in the folder. I just can't find it to turn it off as default.

Glad you like it thanks.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
I'm very surprised, how long has your new site been up? Flash sites (as a whole) do not do well with Google because the only place you can really put your keywords is in the META tags, and not in the page itself.

I would be interested (for my own insight) to hear if you continue to be near the top of your keyword list in the next couple of weeks or so.

Maybe Google has improved in the way it handles Flash . . . .
Take a look at the source code of the index.html page the flash is on. All my meta tags are there.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
Take a look at the source code of the index.html page the flash is on. All my meta tags are there.
No - you misunderstood. Most search engines "Read" the page and look for keywords, independently of your META tags. Things like H1 and H2 tags get more weight put on them than regular paragraph text.

The traditional issue with Flash pages is that the search engines can't read the text in flash because it's embedded in the SWF (Flash) file.

META can usually only take you so far. In fact, a lot of search engines totally ignore the keywords and description meta tags now. That's why I am surprised that you are still ranked high. . . unless this is a brand new site and Google hasn't re-crawled the page yet (typically it takes a week or two for Google to pick up on website changes).

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Old February 23rd, 2009, 04:20 PM   #12
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I understand. Yes if my rankings plummet I will change things pretty quickly. I have a HTML version of this site which I will configure in the next few days.

OK got rid of the music background. Much better. Music was hidden in the flash source file. got rid and it works much better now. I will change the equipment page so it is more the reasons why a videographer is so important, harping on about old grannies dying and your childrens children will see their great great grannie who died before they were born family social history etc etc etc. very good at that works a treat at fairs.

Matthew Caggs, thanks for the compliment. People who know me think I should get involved in motivational speeches. I am a passionate person and when I find a market to exploit which in under developed I will move into it to make some money. There's always opportunities out there.

Wedding videography has been the poor relation to photography but that shouldn't be the case, especially today with much better quality cameras. Trouble is there are a lot of old boys still in the game with their heart shaped balloons and mushy transitions! When a bride sees " filming weddings since 1983" they should run a mile!
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 05:08 PM   #13
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No - you misunderstood. Most search engines "Read" the page and look for keywords, independently of your META tags. Things like H1 and H2 tags get more weight put on them than regular paragraph text.
All you need to do to trick the system is to type black on black all the keywords, sop they'll be there as text but not visible to human eye.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:58 PM   #14
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My opinion...

As cool as all that "jazzy" stuff is, I thought simply viewing the site was a pain.

All the photos were cool on the front page but I had to wait and wait for the flash file to load.

The text was too small and difficult to read. I had to use a magnifying glass. But the magnifying glass did help me to see you had some mispelled words and some repeat words.

Examples:

FILMING THE BRIDES PERPERATIONS. (Should be PREPARATIONS)

YOU KNOW THAT WE LIKE TO BLOW OWN OWN TRUMPET (Should be OUR OWN )


And, I'm not knocking you specifically, but what is the importance of listing the gear you own? I don't get it. Seems as pointless to me as listing all the software you have at your disposal.

Jeff
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 08:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lukas Siewior View Post
All you need to do to trick the system is to type black on black all the keywords, sop they'll be there as text but not visible to human eye.
That may have worked back in 1997, but Google (and all other search engines) are hip to that trick. Google will even remove you from their index for deceptive practices like that.
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