26 Mar 2010 Inside the Bigstock Redesign
Earlier this month Bigstock introduced a major redesign of their website. New logo, new branding, new navigation, new tools and new search! It was not just a minor visual update. Let’s take a closer look.
What’s Cool About this Redesign?
The first and most obvious change is the visual re-design. The new look is more modern and professional. The navigation is easier and more logical. The new logo is modest in comparison to the glaring 80’s looks of the old logo.
The buyer interface is greatly improved with search results filling full browser width, primary actions highlighted on search result and image detail pages, and a logical advanced search processes with popups so buyers don’t lose their position when refining a search.
The submission process has been enhanced with a more logical flow, improved batch editing tools, and some nice shift-click & double click actions.
Significantly, a new API (buyer functions only) will open up selling opportunities beyond the website itself.
SEO is greatly enhanced, using methods that are now standard across microstock agencies. The image title and description now become the meta-title and meta-description in the page code.
The company has been renamed to Bigstock (with lower case ‘s’), which is what everyone was calling them anyway. There was a short period during launch of the new site when the bigstock.com domain name was used. The old bigstockphoto.com redirected to bigstock.com. While consistent in branding, it meant the company lost all their SEO benefit so bigstockphoto.com was quickly switched back to the primary domain of the site.
As a bonus feature, we can now change our username, and easily, which wasn’t possible before (not that it’s visible on the site).
See the complete list of new enhancements on the new ‘upload’ blog for sellers.
While there were many significant enhancements to the design, structure and layout of the site, there’s still some aspects that photographers have come to expect from microstock agencies that are still missing from Bigstock:
Showing earnings on the sidebar or header like all other top agencies (except Shutterstock) would save us some clicking and save Bigstock some bandwidth. Bigstock say’s there are plans to update the visibility of earnings and improve the display of the details. This re-design was just the first step.
Model release management could show photos attached to each release and total earnings for each model. While most microstock agencies still don’t require new model releases for each shoot, the earnings data per release is a valuable metric.
The list certain doesn’t stop there, but this was a website redesign, and not a policy redesign. Bigstocks relatively weak affiliate program, clunky data reporting and the inability to remove files without going through support, would all be towards the top of the policy redesign list for most contributors. The company has lots of planned enhancements but is keen to hear from contributors about what they’d like. They recommend using the firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com email addresses for suggestions and concerns.
The redesign is a direct result of Shutterstock’s acquisition of the company. This enabled teams to be combined and the intelligence from both companies to be shared.
It demonstrates an investment in the business and the brand, indicating that it won’t be closed down any time soon. Shutterstock had made in clear they planned to develop Bigstock, so it wasn’t a widely held concern, though confirmation is always welcome.
The new design places emphasis on the photos. There’s no elaborate designs, just a simple and clear website, highlighting great photography.
Including an API and enhancing SEO shows where the market is going and how critical technology is to success. Parent company Shutterstock is now the only agency among the leaders without an API (it’s still in development).
A new advertising campaign was launched at the same time of the redesign starting with Bigstock’s participation at SXSW. Some microstock contributors are reporting noticeable increases in sales performance already, which is hopefully a sign of improvement for the agency.
The search engine in the new site is substantially more sophisticated. It now supports Boolean operations AND and NOT, searching within search results, and algorithmic ‘variety’ in the search results. As the microstock market continues to become more competitive, delivering fast and workable search results becomes a bigger factor in customer retention.
In addition to these changes, tweaks to the algorithm (weighting of keyword relevance, popularity, editorial rating, etc) have substantially improved the balance of quality, relevance and “freshness” of the search results.
A Big Leap Forward
Clearly a lot of thought and work went into this update. It brings Bigstock closer to the more successful agencies in terms of branding and website experience. Let’s hope that combined with the boost in marketing and promotions it translates into higher sales volume.
What do you think about the redesign?