Category Archives: Content-rich web sites

An interesting website for photographers

If you are anything like me (and I hope I don’t mean old…) there are three sorts of website that I hate – those that take you to an interesting article but it turns out to be a video (I don’t have time to watch a video just to see if there is something interesting in it), those that are just lists of stupid tips that are simply there to get you to click one of their ads, and those that have endless flashing ads and videos and pop-ups. OK, put the old grump back in his box! What I do like is a clean site that has well thought out articles written by someone that knows what they are talking about. You might be interested in a site that Chris Putman has put together called Photo Basecamp.Photo Basecamp is new website with reviews and location descriptions

Their main focus is two fold – honest equipment reviews of kit they have bought and used, and then an increasing series of location specific articles about how to get the best from a visit to a specific location. Of course, they will add more of those in the future, but there are already some interesting places described. Perhaps they could open that up to guest articles in the same style – that could add new locations more quickly perhaps? They have also added new sections on photo and processing tips that sound interesting. Finally, Chris has written about his experiences in stock photography, with a nice call-out to my book, but even without that, the site is worth following!

Backyard Stock Photos – new venue for buying images

I don’t know how many of you follow the Microstock Forum, but there has been a flurry of activity around the creation of a wordpress theme to allow the display and licensing / downloading of stock images from a wordpress site. One very clear advantage is that it costs nothing to run your own site (apart from hosting) and you can take advantage of all the plugins and SEO help that wordpress provides. The other thing that is unique about this design is that it networks up to five other similar stock sites so that if you search for a term on my site, it will also look for the same keyword on up to five others to increase the link population (and hence make it better on Google) and also give the buyer some choice.

I’m so impressed with this approach that I decided to try my hand at selling my own stock photos on my own agency site – no commissions to the agencies any longer for me! I’ve only got about 6 images online so far (out of 5500!!), but I’m trying to make sure that I just put my best images there and carefully describe them to make sure they appear high in search rankings. You can see my “in progress” Backyard Stock Photos Agency here!

If you search for “flower” in the search box, you will see what I mean about linked site results also coming up in the search results.

The paypal integration is all in place, so please feel free to license one of my images for your next design!

Stock Photo Secrets

Don’t get too excited – I haven’t suddenly come across the alchemist’s dream of a way to turn a boring snapshot into a million dollar stock image. But I did come across a very interesting site aimed at explaining the ins and outs of the stock business. The site is professionally put together and focuses more on stock buyers than contributing photographers, but it does give us all a chance to get into the mind set of the buyer – what are they looking for, what alternatives are there, when do they need an editorial license and when a Royalty Free, etc.

Each of the main stock sites is reviewed, revealing details of pricing, collections and search options, and there is an up to date summary of the free photos available from each of the sites that week – again very interesting to a photographer.

It is not all good news for us contributors – they do have a section on how a buyer can locate an image on the cheapest site, so when we upload our photos to all the sites, this tool lets the buyer find the cheapest place to buy it! I don’t think that means we should stop multiple uploads, but it does show yet another trend to the lowest price site leading the way (at least for a time!)

Check it out at www.StockPhotoSecrets.com

PurePhoto – new site for sharing and selling prints

I saw an article in Professional Photographer last month about a new site that is aimed at creating a community of artists displaying and selling their works of art. The team behind it is quite new – it launched in January – but it appears to be very professionally created and organized. The initial membership is free and you can upload and share 2GB of files. Each one is restricted to 15MB. The images are “Right-click” protected, and the terms of the site appear fair. For $29 for the first year and $49 for future years, you can have unlimited storage and the ability to upload larger images. Since I originally joined in mid May, the terms have changed – you used to have a Pro account to be able to sell images. This has now changed and free members can put forward their images for sale in the Members area (you choose the pricing), and a selection of those will be “curated.” To keep the standards high, the better images are curated by a team of artists/agents and if they are chosen, the site does the marketing of those images. Some of the ones already for sale are very good (and expensive at $2700!):

Fine art photographs for sale

Peter Eastway Print

The site lets you create your own collections, share individual images into one of the many groups that have been put in place, look at images individually or as part of a slide show – in fact a wide range of professional features.

The big question – will any images sell? Too early for me yet, and I still have the free membership, but have recently put forward a couple of images into the Member sale area (mid June).

Watch this space!

Update 15 June 2011:  Unfortunately not a lot to report! My Photographer icon made its way to the home page (each new photographer is shown in a block of icons to tempt the watching public to have a look at their images), but so far, no interest in my images in any way. One of the owners made a comment that he liked one of my isolated cat shots and would like to form a group for cat pictures, and that group is now in place with a couple of my other images uploaded into that collection, but no discussions in the groups. I think their aim is to build more of a community, and I will spend more time around the site to see if I can create some discussion, but there is not a lot of sign of action so far. It is a pity they don’t have a forum where their photographers could share experiences – maybe I will email the site owners and suggest that!

I also suggested that the site should read the metadata from uploaded files – at the moment you have to add a title, description and keywords manually. I’ve been told that they have that under development – they are definitely trying!

Selling on Zazzle

As I mentioned last year, I’ve been putting products on Zazzle – a print on demand on-line shopping site where you upload images and design products, but Zazzle does all the selling and product fulfillment. I’ve had some success with my award winning 2011 Kauai Calendar, but less success on the other products. I’ve decided to continue to work on it in 2011, and specialize in a few niches rather than try to spread my products about. At the moment, I am focusing on bengal cat related images, and have created some greeting cards with a cat theme – the first of which “Waiting for Santa” is shown below.

Christmas Card on Zazzle featuring lovely Bengal kitten

Waiting for Santa

I’ve also installed a gadget in the bottom right hand column of this blog which displays the most popular items on Zazzle in a particular theme – at the moment, Valentine’s Day. If you are interested in a Valentine gift, please check out the products in the sidebar. They aren’t my products, but I get a commission for referring you to the site!

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Making money from content rich web sites

The key thing about a website is that it must have interesting content. A site that just lists a set of ads for unrelated items is unlikely to be visited very often. So pick a subject that you either know something about, or want to learn about. I chose the latter route, and decided that RFIDs (Radio Frequency ID devices or tags) were and coming topic and that people would be interested to learn about them, and, equally importantly, companies would be willing to pay for clicks on the adverts on the site. You can see how I have created a reference site for RFID activities here.

I spent a lot of time learning about how to create a web site in Dreamweaver, and how to drive the main part of the site from a database so that I could continue to update the site without having to alter the web pages. If that is beyond you, try building a site using Blogger or similar software. Remember that interesting and changing content is key!

Before you start, you need to get a good web site name – the URL. I find it is best to search for available names on www.netsol.com, but then actually register the name through 1and1.com. This hosting company is excellent and I host all my sites and email addresses through them – very reasonably priced as well!

Then you need to drive some content to the site – that means increasing the visibility of the site in Google’s search engine. There is a lot of secrecy about the exact mechanism for ranking sites, but it is based on the number and type of sites pointing to your site. So make a point of visiting as many forums and blogs related to your subject to write interesting comments on those sites, with a link back to your own site. Don’t just post boring entries – you do need to put some effort into the comments, and maybe readers on those sites will follow your links as well.

Finally, you can drive some traffic to the site yourself by paying for Ad-words. This is another Google product where you pay to place the small ads on other web sites. This is a nice way to get your site visible and visited, and I found that running the Ad-words for a month and then stopping was enough to get some traffic to my site.

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