Can you recommend a web development team?

Feb 4, 2009 | Business | 20 comments

I am often asked to recommend a web development team that can deliver content managed non flash website solutions for photographers in a simple to understand and very professional manner.

My initial thoughts point to a team that consists of…

1. A project leader who can design a website page structure, understand the marketing strategies needed, and specify the detailed functionality of each site section.

2. A really talented graphic artist with extensive logo and brand identity experience who can work with colour and type to create a mood and look for the customer experience.

3. A coder who can create the page templates and CSS to transform the artist visuals into reality.

4. Someone who can custom tweak the page functionality to allow for online forms, availability checkers, SQL database integration etc.

5. Someone to set up the hosting, redirects, email accounts and automatic back ups.

6. A search engine optomisation and web marketing expert to identify keywords, landing pages, meta bits and bobs and optomise the site content.

7. Someone to coordinate the various talents and clients.

8. A technical trainer to teach the photographer how to use the new website.

Of course all this might be handled within a team of 3 people, who knows?

Do any of you have any teams you can recommend? Links to finished projects are welcome.


  1. Tony Pick

    Hi Damien,

    Following on from Ross’s very helpful recommendation, we asked Evosite to help us with a new website as our old one was looking tired. Right from the start of the design process there has been constant communication and bearing in mind that we have never actually been in the same room as any Evosite staff, it is nothing short of miraculous that our new site is exactly what we imagined and tailored to our every need. We had two old sites which have been combined into one making finding our business easier and more straightforward. We now have full back-end functionality giving us freedom to update the site whenever we need to.

    The Evosite team have certainly delivered on all fronts and we would highly recommend them.

    Best wishes,


  2. damien

    Hi Ross,

    People are picking up on these threads on a daily basis so your contribution has certainly not fallen on stony ground. I think your strategy to develop a web site based on a solid back-end system is excellent. The medium term will show that a website can not only be a marketing tool it can deliver a complete business. Uploaded images can be delivered electronically multiple times with no effort or intervention required. Getting paid royalties while you sleep is just one of the opportunities a good website can give you.

    Thank you for your Evosite recommend. This is valuable information. Their website is here

    Kind regards, Damien.

  3. Ross MacLennan

    Hi Damien
    The blog-thread is possibly dead on this but did promise that when I was up and running I would let people know about the site I was so eloquent about.

    As you know I recommended Evosite as strong partners for web design and build. They have now completed the site – in as far as it is possible without some testing to destruction and a jobbing list.

    I have launched it and used it to follow up a stack of leads that have built up over the development time. Any errors and omissions at this stage are mine.

    The front end is complimented by a back-end system that is as substantial as the front with full selection, payment and delivery mechanisms. It just is not visible unless you have access to an album or project.

    We already have started to integrate the design and messaging into a programme of e-marketing activity.

    Anyway – if it suits – please let people know and I am very keen on feedback. So far I have asked about 30 professional colleagues for views and the comments were thankfully very direct and enabling – not just ‘very nice’ .

    best wishes,

  4. damien

    Hi Steven,

    Sorry for the delay in replying, I missed this one. Yes please, I’m sure the blog readers would like the benefit of another recommended supplier.

    Kind regards, Damien.

  5. Steven Brooks


    are you still looking for suggestions??



  6. John Rahim

    Hi Damien, I agree with your sentiments it’s certainly best to hire a team of people who have worked together rather than a random bunch of consultants. Evosite look pretty god are in your neck of the woods however if you’d consider a London based agency you may be interested in a company called Harvest Digital They arevery strong on the online advertising side however have around 15 people who work is their web build team. Let me know if you need any more info.
    I’m glad that you like the music blog. It’s pretty simple and was set up on WordPress. WordPress now have a really good SEO pack which is a free plugin. I get around 10,000 visitors per month and have not spent any money either marketing or advertising it. Regards John

  7. damien

    Hi Ross,

    I’ve checked out Evosite this morning by looking at their customers websites and they all score well on usability and visual design. I take your personal recommendation in high regard and I urge others here to do so too.

    Evosite are definitely on my shortlist for my next web project. They are a team that tick all the boxes.

    Thank you for sharing this valuable tip with us.


  8. damien

    Hi Paul,

    You mentioned Matthew Clavey. He is one of the industry good guys. An expert with databases and when teamed up with Richard Lucking works wonders with websites too. Matthew is a Dreamweaver expert too. If any of you want a database contact Matthew, he really is brilliant and a great guy.

    Matthew and Richard still don’t provide number 2 on my list. They do everything else though.



  9. damien

    Hi John R,

    The fact that Andy, Emmy & Jason work together is the makings of a team. I often find where individuals work separately there can be issues where they blame each other. Just like sub contractors on a building site.The code person says that the graphic design wont work because of browser incompatibility, the shopping cart provider and the database system don’t integrate and both parties blame each other for the mess, the SEO modifications to the content make the body text ugly to read and so on.

    I like your music blog. It took a while to load but when it did it was worth it. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Ross MacLennan

    I strongly recommend a conversation with James or Ollie at Evosite. or

    I have been down the self help route and the flash shell route including creativemotiondesign and foliolink, over the last four years. I have wasted a lot of money, a significant amount of time and in all cases tried to make their shell adapt to what I need. It was doomed and in my opinion, a costly and stupid mistake.

    I went out to tender on the web for a web design company before Christmas, had six shortlist responses and eventually went to see and discuss ideas, process and money with Evosite. They have drafted two sites for me – one for another business and one for my photography. These are live in the near future but not ready to show you yet but I will post to this blog when they are.

    Evosite have done everything that Damien has specified and put their own time into it as well as my money – ie the price has not changed even if the bar has been raised.

    They have a mature and focused view of websites, a strong and simple sense of relevant design and an active and responsive approach to developing in line with the business strategy and needs.

    We have an optimisation and web marketing plan ready to follow through on completion. I actually don’t really want to share this as I believe they will give me an edge! But at the same time it would not be fair on them to keep quiet about them.

    As far as short cuts to SEO goes – simply being a member of the SWPP or The Image File goes along way fast in terms of rankings if you are using a flash shell with no crawler appeal.

  11. Rich S

    Not sure if point 1 is achievable a project leader just wants to get the milestones out of the way. If you can communicate your vision into a set of easy to understand requirements anything is possible providing of course pockets are deep. Also if your team are virtual then communication breakdown can occur, One thought though is to approach Universities and Colleges who often need to provide final year students with a challanging project.

  12. Tom Q

    Damien – regarding your comment: “A one man band approach rarely delivers excellence across the board.”

    I do agree most of the time. For a professional finish you probably do want to separate coding from design. But there are some talented individuals out there who can deliver both. They are just few and far between.

    This is an interesting post. It is good to see what other people think and recommend.

  13. Bjorn H Stuedal

    Hi Damien; No they don’t deliver on numbers 2, 4, and 6, but I have others to help me with design and optimalisation. And I get the e-mail forms from the page to import into my existing CRM. And yes – it is generating business. I had two bookings from the page just the day after it went live. My old site didn’t generate a single one in 6 months. But I also use other networking tools to attract clients – small cards with web address in local shops, hairdressers etc. I also use my contact lists on Facebook and LinkedIn. Plus the blog;


  14. Paul Merrifield

    I wanted to have the freedom of expression across all formats from print to web. I have a desire to be that all encompassing person who can design web sites and provide the content in the form of words and images. Is it possible? It’s damn hard work that I can assure you. I have taken myself from complete beginner to designing and publishing my own site using dreamweaver. It does lack the polished effect that I so desire but I am fast learning flash to allow me to redesign and republish my site this year.

    I have found that whilst the boundaries of photography and graphic design are starting to overlap, particularly in their similar electronic composition of layers etc, their dimensional boundaries are still very different. Our world as photographers is a very REAL world, the images we create are real objects despite our ability to manipulate and question reality with use of post productive processes.

    I find it frustrating to have so much creative talent and vision without the ability to express that in a visual form. I had a click-pic site previously but decided to go it alone. It has been a can of worms but I am able to make good use of lightroom and other applications that have improved the workflow for images and clients.
    Matt Clavey of Genesis Digital Solutions was a real help, I’m sure Damien will back me up as I think you were/are with genesis??

    I would advise anyone to have a go…

  15. John Rahim

    Hi Damien,

    I think I may be able to help you in this. Before working as a photographer I spent 10 years at various digital agencies so know a lot of people in this area. On the design side I would contact a person called Emme Stone. Emme and I worked together on a number of projects and she designed numerous websites for companies such as Carling, Calvin Klein and Penguin Books. She set up a small agency with her designer/techie boyfriend who used to work for Dazed and Confused and designed their site. They can be contacted at 020 8369 5972

    On the corporate identity side I would contact a guy called Jason Rainbird. Jason has worked as a designer for the last 15 years and freelances at Interpublic advertising, he also lectures design at London School of Art, his details are or (0) 7986 648703

    On the web mastering/hosting side I recommend a guy called Andrew Steven. Andy looks after my sites and does all my updates. He also designed my music blog, he a reasonable designer and knows Emme and Jason well and has regularly worked with them. His details are 07973 261 692

    Hope this helps.



  16. Geoff

    I’m very interested in this topic as I am looking to go for a custom designed website this year. I currently use – a flash/html template based American website company. It gives me the choice to use keywords for Search engine optimization, I have done this but it doesn’t get my website anywhere on the Google rankings! Some of the templates are pretty but can also be very rigid in their structure.

    I’ve tried everything from Google Adwords to paying a company to optimise my website for me and nothing has really worked.

    As Damien says getting rid of the need for print advertising and brochures would be a bonus too!


  17. damien

    Hi Bjorn, Its good to hear from you.

    How effective is your website at marketing your business and who optomises it for search engines?

    I’ve had a BluDomain off the shelf portrait website at for three years and it has generated no new business – ever. I attract my portrait clients using other marketing tools so there is no need to change the website. It looks pretty like all the flash template sites but for some photographers pretty is not enough.

    Does you web provider deliver on numbers 2, 4, and 6 in my list above?


  18. damien

    Hi Tom, I agree there are some of the shelf solutions but they fall well short on search engine optomisation and are rarely designed as marketing tools with a structured customer experience path. Most seem to be glorified galleries or online portfolios with the provision for some information pages. Rarely is there expert guidance on hand to show how to generate business online. The pre fabricated template kind of online presence may well be okay for some photographers on a budget, they can certainly look pretty, but they rarely generate new business or convert leads.

    A well designed website can allow a photographer to stop all print advertising and avoid the need for expensive printed brochures etc. This kind of marketing tool usually requires the services of more than one expert in their field to attract organic listings from well targeted search terms and convert them into new customers.

    Well designed custom coded websites can have exactly the right structure to suit the photographer and their products. They can be effective marketing tools and allow the photographer to develop a strong business or keep a competitive edge.

    My experience has shown that good coders are rarely good graphic designers, and marketing experts can rarely do either. That’s why a team approach is in demand from my clients. A one man band approach rarely delivers excellence across the board.

  19. Tom Q

    Why go custom build? Why not select an off the shelf solution like or similar?

    I work in the web dev field and many of these custom projects are actually delivered by just one person rather than three.


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