I offer a number of complimentary design services to photographers and have designed many photographic (and non-photographic) websites.
What makes a ‘great’ website depends largely on your target audience and the objectives of your business, the primary aim of a commercial photographers’ portfolio might be aesthetic impact to impress potential commissions, wheras the aims of an events photographer might be to gain maximum exposure and traffic from Search Engines. All of these things should be carefully considered beforehand.
Clearly, most people would want something that does everything equally well, however the things that make the web look pretty sometimes come at a cost of search engine visibility, many websites make use of Flash for its advanced animation capabilities, but Google cannot read flash easily and therefore flash only sites do not rank highly on search engines.
I tend to use a standard solution for ‘most’ photographic portfolios – for individual photographers, I would have a Flash based portfolio for its animation capabilities, and couple this with a WordPress Content Management System Site, which allows users to edit their own HTML pages and run a blog, as this is based on HTML, it is easily visible to Search Engines, and this can be further optimised to get better search engine results.
Some things you might want to consider:
Search Engine Visibility
For this to work you need some kind of HTML based site, I would recommend using a CMS like WordPress so you can edit your own content, and if you are prepared to do some research, you can attempt to better optimise your pages for better search engine visibilty (SEO) as well as link your posts to social network sites to maximise your exposure.
If you are interested in discussing your photographic website project then get in touch