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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:17 PM   #1
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How important is having a flashy website?

I'm reviewing my business plan for the year and am trying to figure out if a high-end flash website is necessary to book more clients. In your past experience, do you get most of your bookings from:

A) The look/design of your site
B) The quality of the samples
C) Pricing
D) DVD Demos by mail
E) All of the above
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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:26 PM   #2
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Sheldon:

My opinion is that Brides in particular are usually hip to the latest trends. Anything you can do to add a little spice to your business to set you apart from other websites, you are spending wise money. Brides, like alot of people, have short attention spans and you have to get them interested in the first 10 - 30 seconds. We are able to get in and view our statistics and there is a pattern of people that will click on the first video we have listed...so...the first video should be your crown jewel. My opinion is that flash will be the standard, but that is just me.
Thanks,
John
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Old February 12th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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IMO - the quality of your promotional material reflects upon the quality of your services.

You could be the best Widget maker in the world, but if your promotional material looks like a two year old did it - I'm not going to hire you to make my widget.

Cheep looking websites make me want to just run away the moment I see them - same thing with a business card made from standard printing paper. (business cards are cheep, and sometimes you can get them for the cost of shipping if you hit the promotions right!).

As a newbie in the Wedding business world, I think that my site has helped me dramatically - and without it - I would not have half the bookings that I have now.

I'm not saying that you need a site that uses Flash/Cold Fusion, etc - all you need is something simple that looks clean and professional and is easy to navigate. Don't use animations or flashing text - that looks cheap and tells the gives the impression to the customer that your services are cheap and tacky as well.

I don't think a Flash site is necessary (note many potential clients may not have Flash installed on their browser), plus Flash is a little harder to use for updating a site and has some other "overhead". I used both Flash originally for my website, but then switched back to HTML just because it's quicker for me to update every so often.


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Old February 12th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #4
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quite important

I agree with Mr. DesRoches, so much so that I took down my wedding site because it was so outdated. (Mainly the content. Sample clips from early in my career were no longer representative of my abilities.) You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Rather than make a bad impression, I'm operating without an online presence in the short term. Luckily, I'm still booking jobs on referrals. If I did more wedding business, I'd hire a webmaster. I'm redesigning the web site, but as a part-timer, it's my last priority after day job, family, and school. Luckily, the digital media production course I'm taking covers Flash, so I'm learning that while redoing my site.

Ryan is right about Flash vs. HTML. A clean non-Flash site with a familiar layout will be more effective in convening than bells & whistles for the sake of bells & whistles. Like the book says, "Don't Make Me Think." Another good book is "Homepage Usability." Highly recommended.
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Old February 12th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #5
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There are several great videographers who use this site who have no a very small web presence or a very simple and clean site. It can work for many people if the quality and number of referrals are already in place.

Personally, I think a flashy website makes a huge difference, and I say that after recently updating our site from something clean and simple to something flashy now. The quality of our work has remained constant throughout the change but the response has been much much better after the website change, and all that changed was the dazzle of it all. We very often get comments on our site and have never had any people say they have any problems with the flash used within it to show our photos and videos. It was bay far the best investment we have made of late.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 01:59 AM   #6
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I think a professional website is very important. I always tell everybody "presentation is everything" (unless you do a crappy job). People don't realize how easy websites are to build and create YOURSELF! You can get very professional results. I am not good with html at all, but I am pretty decent at Photoshop, so I designed my site using Photoshop. Easy for me with very acceptable results.

If you know Photoshop, or the basics of html, there is a very cool website that offers free website templates that don't cost you anything to download. There are literally thousands of web templates out there, but the site we have used in the past is:

http://www.templatesbox.com/

At the bottom of the page, you will see a link for free web templates - no catch, you just have to edit the info. When we first got started doing our own websites, this is what we used. From doing it for so long, we have now designed our own, but still based on many things from these templates.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #7
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I'm reviewing my business plan for the year and am trying to figure out if a high-end flash website is necessary to book more clients. In your past experience, do you get most of your bookings from:

A) The look/design of your site

((This hooks them, and my own "layout" twist on the norm usually hooks them and keeps them there.. I also include info as to what i do and how i do it and stay away from the "hard sell" mentality which is so prominant in this industry ))

B) The quality of the samples

((I only put stills online, and i dont put web video samples, but im reviewing this decision when i get a chance to catch up on some work..))

C) Pricing

((Packages yes.. pricing no))

D) DVD Demos by mail
((Never... not after my work has been ripped and used by morons who have the audacity to put their watermarks on my work.. theres also the issue of having brides going to cheaper companies and asking for the video to "be like this" and in turn, our work ends up in the hands of the competition.
In the end we lose the client to a lowballer who tries to imitate our work. I dont like that. ))

E) All of the above
((all of the above.. ))
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Old February 13th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #8
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"I don't think a Flash site is necessary (note many potential clients may not have Flash installed on their browser), plus Flash is a little harder to use for updating a site and has some other "overhead". I used both Flash originally for my website, but then switched back to HTML just because it's quicker for me to update every so often. "

Agreed.. nothing worse then going to a flash site which takes forever to load, fills your ears with some dodgy midi tune and crap animated intro...

If using flash, use it to BUILD the site.. dont use it as a wow factor element.. "hey look at how pretty we are... "
Show them how pretty you are by using the technology effectively and not just for the wow.. in teh end they wont even notice whether its flash or html and thats what matters.. like i keep saying, its not the tools, its how u use them..
This rule applies for almsot everything to do with creative arts.

As for updating Flash, i have a GUI design which allows me access to each page via a "notepad" like pop up update screen. Its dead easy and its faster to update as opposed to having to update entire pages and then having to upload those.
Im currently working on the image gallery updates to work in a similar manner.
email me for a link to my site if ur interested

cheers
Pete
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Old February 13th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #9
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Here's a link to my site (most demos do not load due to netfirm's awful tech support-the one on the sports page works)

www.g2rproductions.net

Any advice on how to improve it to attract more customers? Should I scrap this design and go to flash?
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:26 AM   #10
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I think with your typical wedding client, you have to address your webpage from thier perspective. My number one rule for my website is that I want it to load in a hurry. Think of the bride/friend/groom/mom etc who are all sitting in front of the computer with a listing of video shops. They are just going down the list. I have zero patience for a site that doesn't immediately present itself as friendly, that being taking too darn long to load. Flash can be that way. I click away, because my thought is that there is another site on My list to look at.

So I'm not big on flash sites as a total construct, but some flash within the site can be helpful.

I am never satisfied with my website and I try to change it up. I like Peter am hesitant about online samples. I have some very simple samples on my site, it does not represent my tricks of the trade. I don't send out samples, because my best work is always my current project, which I will show potential clients after my B&G have seen it first.

Besides, I'm waiting till Peter gets his website up and running so I can hook into it. :}
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
Here's a link to my site (most demos do not load due to netfirm's awful tech support-the one on the sports page works)

www.g2rproductions.net

Any advice on how to improve it to attract more customers? Should I scrap this design and go to flash?

My simple opinion is that the red is a little tough on the eyeballs. But maybe that's my old age. I like the departmentalization you have done. It's pretty straight forward. I'm not sure if the script font in the header matches the bold style of the red etc. It's a pretty font (one i've used in projects :} )

Just my 2 dollars.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
My simple opinion is that the red is a little tough on the eyeballs. But maybe that's my old age. I like the departmentalization you have done. It's pretty straight forward. I'm not sure if the script font in the header matches the bold style of the red etc. It's a pretty font (one i've used in projects :} )

Just my 2 dollars.
The "weddings" page was done in a different color:

http://www.g2rproductions.net/Weddings.htm
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:36 AM   #13
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I put samples on our site.

I would like to believe that their overall impression has more to do with my talent and vision, and so even if somebody copies one (which is much tougher when it is flash), they would still have to reproduce it. Anybody trying to copy others samples would, in my opinion, be a very low end company, and so I don't see that as a significant risk. If others want to check our my samples to get ideas and see what we offer, I don't see what is wrong with that. How many people on here are where they are as they have been inspired or learned from the work of others?

In terms of bookings, I know that our online samples are huge. We get many bookings from out of town and get many more requests daily simply due to the quality of our samples and that they are so easy to access. I personally am in this do create the best art that I can, to enjoy what I do, and to make a living. I think all of those are made easier by putting samples on our site. To be honest, I really don't understand why you would hide your samples, unless you want less bookings or don't like the quality of your work. Imagine a photographers website with no samples- it just doesn't make sense, and photos are much easier to copy and duplicate ideas from.

A better online gallery has also cut down on the number of DVD samples I mail out ten fold while increasing the percentage of inquiries that actually book with us.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 09:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheldon Blais
The "weddings" page was done in a different color:

http://www.g2rproductions.net/Weddings.htm
By the way, I like how your thumbnails have shadows, that really helps them stand out.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 10:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau
There are several great videographers who use this site who have no a very small web presence or a very simple and clean site. It can work for many people if the quality and number of referrals are already in place.

Personally, I think a flashy website makes a huge difference, and I say that after recently updating our site from something clean and simple to something flashy now. The quality of our work has remained constant throughout the change but the response has been much much better after the website change, and all that changed was the dazzle of it all. We very often get comments on our site and have never had any people say they have any problems with the flash used within it to show our photos and videos. It was bay far the best investment we have made of late.
Patrick, did you redesign your website or have someone else do it?

If someone else did it, I think I might know who it was, and was looking into their services to redesign mine.
I paid for an inexpensive template, and redesigned the site to fit my work at the time. But I was looking into redoing it to involve more Flash (mainly for my screeningroom samples and testimonials.
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