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C&C: New Website / Portfolio / Blog

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by ijm5012, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Over Christmas break, I finally had the time do something I've been wanting to do quite a while now: create a website for myself.

    My intentions for the website were pretty simple:
    • Consolidate down to a single online hosting platform, as I do not want to pay for Flickr Pro (I had previously been using Flickr to host my images)
    • Create a portfolio of my work that I can use to show potential clients
    • Have some type of blogging platform, just so that I can put words to some of my images to help tell the story of a particular outing or event
    At this point, I'm not looking to monetize my blog, or have people order prints directly through the site. If anybody does want a print, they can contact me and I will work through the details with them to get that order fulfilled. The good news is that if things like that do progress, SmugMug can be configured to handle all that through the site.

    After taking some time and talking with @davidzvi@davidzvi (thanks again Dave!), I decided the Smugmug was the way to go for me. Smugmug provides unlimited storage, allows me to customize my folders & galleries for access (i.e. personal folders that I only want to share with family vs. having visible on my website), and was pretty affordable. I went with the "Power" plan, which is already pretty affordable at $72/yr., but I managed to get a year for only $43 (40% off) for my first year thanks to SmugMug's Black Friday sale.

    Over the past couple weeks I've been tweaking the site and getting things to a point where I'm pretty happy with the layout, content, and design. However, I'm always interested to get other's opinions as well to see what they like, what could be improved, etc.

    Here's a link to my site. I'm still not done populating it with content, but it's at a point where I am comfortable sharing it. I'd appreciate any comments/feedback you have on things you like, things that could make it better, etc. Thanks in advance!
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I like the site.

    Simple, yet gets the message across.

    Good job!!
     
  3. Christop82

    Christop82 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 10, 2016
    Only two critiques.
    1. I think the white background feels a bit sanitized.
    2. The home screen slide show seems to not be optimized for mobile or its slightly off.

    Otherwise I like the simplicity and ease of navigation that it offers.
     
  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thanks Andrew, that was my goal. I just wanted a simple, straightforward site that's easy to navigate.

    Thank you Chris.

    Regarding the white background, I typically don't like white backgrounds myself (I use the "dark" themes on DPR as well as this site). However, my thought is that a clean, white background never really "goes out of style" and looks professional, and it also accentuates the colors in the images to give them a bit more pop.

    Regarding the home screen on mobile, yes I'm aware of that issue and currently seeing what I can do to fix it. On a typical browser, it works fine as the images display in their native aspect ratio. However, on mobile it appears that they display at 1:1, meaning that the left and right sides of the image end up getting "cropped". Frustrating for sure. I'm currently seeing if there's some CSS code that I can drop on the homepage to scale the image by width rather than height so that on smaller screens, the full image is still displayed.

    I appreciate the feedback!
     
  5. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    My initial reaction: Reduce the number of images on the homepage slider while also adding in some variety. If you want to offer yourself up to photograph more than just motorsports, you need to display that.
     
  6. Really good collection of images. Looks good on my laptop.
     
  7. Aushiker

    Aushiker Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    If this is to be professional website I suggest that you pay the few dollars for your own domain name and have it redirect to Portfolio Page. IMO to be honest nothing screams scam more or at least amateurism than a URL such as Portfolio Page. Registering your own domain is really a small cost and makes you look that much more professional.

    Otherwise looks good and agree you need more variety in the opening images but I assumed this was because you haven't finished populating the site yet.
     
  8. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thanks for the feedback TNcasual.

    I agree with you about adding a bit of variety to the home page slideshow. My primary focus was to populate my motorsport gallery first. Next up is to populate my "travel & landscapes" gallery with albums from my travel over the past few years. Once that's done, I will be switching up the images on the home page.

    Having said that, my primary focus/passion is car & motorsport photography.

    Thank you Richard.

    I agree 100% with you Andrew. After I get all of my galleries populated, I do plan on purchasing & linking a personal domain name to the site to remove the "smugmug" from the URL address. SmugMug has an integrated tool to help facilitate this, which I'll have to read up about.

    Thank you for your thoughts.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Good catch, I use Google domains for mine. And all but the "Basic" plan on Smugmug offers it as an option.

    I think I agree on the home page slideshow. Add some variety and maybe use a different display option. The bar on the bottom draws you to "how long is this slideshow" and distracts a little from the images.

    The rest looks pretty good.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    @ijm5012@ijm5012 the drop shadow I mentioned over on the Cafe might help "sanitized" feel. the code I have also add some space between the mages.
     
  11. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I'll have to read up on Google domains Dave. If memory serves me right, SM partners with GoDaddy for their integrated custom domain/URL (for better or worse).

    Regarding the "bar" at the bottom of the homepage carousel, there is a piece of CSS code I found yesterday to hide that, which I plan on implementing. It will just clean up the home page that much more. Regarding the number of images, I didn't want to make it so short that it keeps looping back to the first image. However, I do agree about adding a bit of variety to the images shown, and will do so once I have my travel & landscape album populated with the appropriate galleries.

    I prefer the "carousel" content block over the traditional "single image slideshow" because it provides a continuous stream of images, rather than a single image at a time. IDK, that's just my personal opinion.

    Thanks again for taking the time to talk over the phone a couple months back, it's what ultimately lead me to go with SM!
     
  12. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    They may partner with GoDaddy, but I have mine though Google, no issues.

    It you can remove the bar that would probably work.
     
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I wouldn't use your "At the Races" people for the portfolio page image. Looking at your home page and the motorsports and sports sections in the portfolio; seeing the At the Races images would lead me to think that's all I'll see under "People".
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi Ian,
    I like the layout; a couple comments:
    a. the home page slider is jerky in Chrome (better in FF), and now is stopping after the first transition.
    b. consider a little more text on list of blog posts.
    c. the text on the blog entry is hard to read; it seems to be medium gray, not black, and the lack of contrast is really hard on my eyes.
    d. I'd make the images on the blog and the home page clickable for a larger version or to go to a portfolio.
    e. The 'about' page says "reach out to me using the links above" but I'm not seeing any contact links or info. Consider post your phone # and having a form to email you... If you're worried about junk phone calls, get a Google Voice # that forwards to your #; it can be changed or disabled if needed.
     
  15. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thanks for this great feedback Barry, I appreciate it!

    Hmmm... that's odd. I just checked and it's working fine on Firefox on my PC, and Safari on my iPhone. I wonder if it's something particular about Chrome that's causing issues with the playback?

    Ideally, I'd like to have the feature just be a continuous, smooth scroll through the images. Unfortunately, I haven't found any online discussions or pieces of code to make that possible.

    Will do. I will look in to adding the first sentence or two of text from the body of the blog beneath the article name on the list of blog posts.

    Now that you mention it, I see that. To be honest, I'm not certain why because I have the text color for the entire site set to true black. I'm going to have to do some digging to figure what the hell is causing the text to go grey.

    I originally had it set so that if you clicked on any of the images, it took you to the full gallery of images from that weekend, however I removed that and instead added the hyperlink text at the top of the article. I can certainly make clicking on the images do the same thing though.

    Yep, I see what you mean. I have the Instagram and Email icons in the website header, so maybe I should spell that out a bit more clearly. Or, maybe I should just create a "Contact" page.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. JDS

    JDS Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    572
    Nov 11, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    David Schultz
    Hi Ian, I think the site is a great start- for me, you could have an infinite scroll of motorsport images and I'd be happy ;-)

    A couple things on the blog: first, there's more writing than typical for a blog, that's okay but it's really almost an article and know that you might lose people partway through as it probably doesn't match expectations. Also, I would intersperse the images in the text, hopefully contextually with what you're writing. That would make it more approachable than the current wall of text. The text is obviously a problem, normally you want a really dark gray (not black, its too harsh to read). Finally, I find it really hard to go to every site for their blog, you really need an RSS feed so an aggregator like Flipboard or even an old-school tool like Feedly can publish your content. I for one would love to read your updates, but I'll never remember to visit your site to check for new content unless I see something on this forum.

    Really excited to hear how it works out for you-
    David
     
  17. JDS

    JDS Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    572
    Nov 11, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    David Schultz
    By the way, so many photographers don't have RSS feeds, it drives me insane- how am I supposed to find this great content?! Their readership is probably a tiny fraction of what it could be if it was available where people read and browse...
     
  18. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Or just add a hyperlink "contact me" on the about screen?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, AdBlock Plus was blocking those completely. I'm guessing you're using 3rd-party JS to create those... explicit links on the 'about' or contact page would be a good idea.
     
  20. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Hmmm... that's odd/concerning because those social icon/links are straight from SmugMug's list of items to be added to the site. I didn't modify any of the underlying code, nor did I add anything on top of the existing code, so I'm surprised that they're being blocked.

    It sounds like I'll have to create a dedicated "contact me" page in one form or another to ensure that if somebody does want to get in contact with me, they can (even if they can't see those social contact icons in the page header).

    Thanks for letting me know!
     
    • Like Like x 1
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