I’ve talked about ways to design and develop a great online photography portfolio. Regardless of the platform you choose, one thing reigns true — your website should be catered to your clientele, not you.
While you might have grand ideas and think having a large photo appear as the first thing people see is cool, your client might think otherwise. There’s one easy way around this — and that is to ask for a website critique.
Benefits of a Critique
One of the biggest things you can learn from a critique is whether there’s something that’s confusing. Is your navigation straight-forward? Is it easy to find examples of your work? Is your biography easy to understand?
Depending on your feedback, you can choose to take everything with a grain of salt…or make some changes to better suit your audience.
Asking for a critique will help tell you what your clients look for when hiring a photographer. You might think putting one of your favorite images on the homepage is important, but it might not mean much to your client, especially if they don’t know the story behind it.
Asking for a Critique
Whenever I make a major update to my website, I try to ask a few of my clients to take a look.
As a corporate photographer, I try to choose people in completely different industries. So I might ask someone who works at a restaurant, law office and non-profit to take a look. These three people deal with vastly different audiences on a daily basis, and thus they should have varying opinions.
In addition to different industries, I try to make sure these people are diverse in age range. I don’t want to cater my website entirely to millennials, because they’re not my only audience. And likewise, I don’t want to cater my site entirely to baby boomers.
In addition to asking clients, don’t forget to ask other photographers. You probably are close with one or two other local photographers in the area, or at least see them every so often. Ask them for a critique, especially if they don’t infringe on the type of photography you specialize in.
What Do They Critique?
When asking for a critique, tell the person to take a look at the the overall design, the navigation and any text. Have them focus on ease of use, and to write down anything they find confusing or difficult to use. Is the look and feel pleasing to the eye? If not, have them take note. Is the font easy to read, and is text broken up in a way that makes sense? These are all things that you should ask them to look for.
Be Open to Feedback
The rule with critiques is to never criticize who you’ve asked to give you a critique. Appreciate what they’ve done and send them a thank you note. Even if you don’t agree with some of the items they’ve called into question, you’ve asked them to do exactly that — question your every move on your website.
Once you get your feedback, start thinking about making adjustments. If all of the people you asked to critique give you similar feedback, that’s usually a sign that some adjustments need to be made. If it’s more sporadic and you’re getting different viewpoints, that’s usually a good sign.
If all you get is positive feedback, I challenge you to find someone who will give you at least one critical comment. Having all positive feedback usually means that they may not have spent as much time on the critique as you would’ve liked, and just glanced over your site.
If you’re struggling with getting a critique, feel free to mention your website in the comments below, and I’d be happy to take a look.
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