Categories Picture Time

Because I Always Want to Know What You Think…

I’ve been having a big debate with myself for a few weeks. I’ve asked Mike’s opinion, and he raised the same concerns I had myself, but now I need to come to you guys.

Over there at Christine Tremoulet Photography, when you go to the root of the site (the main index page), you get a splash page. Personally, I freakin’ HATE splash pages. But it is there so that the search engines have something to read, since they can’t read Flash. Then you go into the portfolio if you choose the icon on the left, and you wait for the Flash to load and you get to see pretty pictures with music playing. This portion of the site is all good – it needs a photo update this week, but it is good and isn’t going away. Or you can choose the blog, the center icon. Going to the blog, you get to see all the latest and greatest photos, plus various posts and so forth. Good, good.

But I hate the splash page. And Google really likes blogs. So I’m considering moving the blog to the root of the site. If you were a first time visitor, you would go to the URL and see the blog right away. There would be a lovely option to get to the portfolio, which would then take you to the Flash portion of the site that currently exists. But you would get to see the latest and greatest photos right away when you first hit the site.

People don’t like extra clicks. I am well aware of this.

However, I am concerned that if you go right to the blog, it won’t look professional. (Not that the page with all that text at the bottom looks professional – if I don’t put the blog at the root, I am redesigning that splash page.) If you were (are) a bride or groom looking for a wedding photographer and you landed right in the blog – with a user-friendly interface and an option to get to the portfolio, the contact form, pricing – would you think it was an unprofessional site? Or would you be thrilled that a photographer wasn’t giving you a splash page for a change? Since the splash page – thanks to the Flash based websites – is really the industry norm it seems.

What would you think?

UPDATE: I should have included a link earlier to Holritz Photography – I’ve been considering doing this to my own site since October while talking with other photographers at the ShootQ training in Austin, so I was amused when Amber & Nathan launched their new site in November. Their layout is different than what I have in mind, but it basically is set up the same way.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

14 replies on “Because I Always Want to Know What You Think…”

I think it’s a little schizophrenic. I think you need to pick one thing to take over and let the other things play supporting roles. I think three columns, 40%, 30%, 30% where you put the most important thing to the left, and the other two in the smaller columns.

You can do it without the splash page… looks professional and has all his stuff on one page. It’s a little cramped, but you can pull it off.

Whew – his site is *way* too busy compared to what I want to do in the end. (It is great for a blog – I want a cleaner look though.) I was planning on keeping a format very similar to my current blog – – with either a single column or two columns, one 70% and one 30% or so. The only reason to add that second column would be to make sure people can navigate and find where to go to hire me and to see the portfolio.

Or did you mean that having the blog at the root of the site is a little schizophrenic? And not professional looking?

(Posting here and emailing you, just in case you don’t see it.)

Blogs are becoming the norm these days, regardless of what industry you’re in, so I don’t think it would be unprofessional at all to have a blog on the home page. As long as you kept your portfolio and contact info easily accessible like you said, I think it would look fine. In fact, I often go straight to the blog if I’m surfing vendors/businesses as it kinda helps give me a little more insight into what they’re like.

I agree that having the blog on the front page is probably okay. You would definitely need a navigation column, though – and a more informative header, which should include drivers to other featured areas of the site.

Christine — I’m totally struggling with this same issue. My blog and my website are married — and my issue is — that no one is noticing the tabs contain my portfolio…so I created a slideshow “story” to as a test to see if that makes any difference.

I too wonder if this is the right direction.

xo Tam

Two comments:

I hate splash pages. I’d much rather see a blog than a splash page on a professional site.

I understand why you have a Flash site for photos, but please keep iPhone users in mind and have something other than the Flash site on the main page for the site.

Kristine – fabulous point, and now that you say that I realize I do that most of the time too.

Jessa – that is the one thing I realized I would need is something that drives other areas of the site more than my current blog layout.

Tammy – We can lead the horse to water… 😉

Ginger – Placing the Flash site at the root has never been an option to me because of search engine issues. And as much as I love the flash site, the geek in me is always bothered by the accessibility issues there, which is actually another reason for placing the blog at the root of the site and making sure I have pages that mirror everything in the Flash site. (About, Rates, so forth.)

I think you’re asking the wrong people these questions. Although blogs are common-place to those of us reading your blog (duh!), we still aren’t the majority. I’m afraid that, to less sophisticated users, a blog as the main page might look unprofessional or confusing — too much information and not organized the way people are used to seeing it.

Janna, I’ve thought about that too. I finally decided that as an initial pass, you guys would have great feedback that I wouldn’t think of otherwise. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a non-blog group of people to ask. I may ask my brides, but they are all pretty tech savvy too. Hm.

Mike suggested discussing it with other photographers, but again – all the ones I know are online, and are used to blogs and the splash pages. We’re all in the same boat, it seems.

Janna makes a good point. Do you have some kind of tracking script or metrics set up on your site? If so, let the data do the talking 🙂 Check and see what the majority of users click on from the splash page and then you’ll have your answer.

I think the first question should be “Who is the target audience?”

Typical brides and other potential photography clients probably aren’t looking to read through a blog or busy page. They are busy, stressed, and need info fast. They also aren’t necessarily interested in going through a long flash play (although it is attractive). People looking for a photographer are interested in price, photo quality, and how easy it will be to contact and work with the photographer.

I agree that splash pages suck and that as you said, the less clicks makes web surfers the happiest.

What about doing the first page as a blog but only showing one post so as not to be too busy and have links easy to find the flash and other info you wish them to find?

Anyway, just my thoughts! I’m just a hobby photographer and definitely not an expert. Your photography is very creative and talented!

Thanks to Kev for the kind words. However, first of all, is not meant as a professional portfolio site … is. is my silly personal site, but even there, photos have their own featured presentation …. at

If you are sold on using Flash for the portfolio itself (and it sounds like you are, as well as aware of the medium’s shortcomings), then you most definitely should have a plain HTML root page. If it were me, I’d keep the blog itself in a subdirectory, and place the most recent entry on the home page, along with big clicky “Portfolio,” “About” and “Contact/Hire Me” links with short descriptions. Maybe you also feature a rotating photo on the home page that leads to the portfolio. But those limited items should make for a nice clear, clean, directed page.

A rotating blog entry on the home page will feed the search engines. One click to get to the portfolio is more than acceptable. And Flash-less visitors at least get some well designed content on the home page.

Thank you to both Christina and Reid for the very thoughtful insight! See, I hadn’t even thought of just putting a single post there – that might just be the perfect solution.

I’ve got some design ideas (all clean and full of white) bouncing around in my head now. I think today will be the day of the big move; the worst that can happen is that in a month I decide it isn’t working and I move the blog back and put a splash page back in place. It really is just a matter of a few clicks, thanks to the awesomeness that is WordPress!

In my opinion–and maybe I’ll get shot for this but–I think you need to approach it like designing an interactive brochure on the front page, a page that provide a neat and clean view of all the information a browsing client would be looking for on the first page, no clicking involved. Something they could print and put into a folder as they are making their plans.

A simplified magazine layout would work–A section for your portfolio, a section that lists your contact info and you experience, and a perhaps a section the lists your package prices. Then on second glance if they want more, they can go through your flash portfolio, your blog or your about page.

Comments are closed.