Monday, October 12, 2009

Odds, Ends And The Long Haul

An Interview, Imagekind and CafePess.
Had a nice interview by Marc Silber Marc Silber Interview go online.
Sold a print on Imagekind this week.  That makes about one print a month since I started this concerted Internet effort, which while is still paltry, it’s a whole lot more than the zero prints I sold before I started the effort. I have doubled my sales.  OK, doubling isn’t all that impressive when I tell you it has gone from an average of one sale a week, a coffee mug, calendar, or piece of apparel, to two sales a week. I have made a smattering of sales (licensing) of various images and have confirmed that people are going from my site to the agencies that handle my work (Blend Images, Getty, Corbis and Kimball Stock).

Quality Content And A Long Term Project
One thing is for sure, this SEO (search engine optimization) process is a lengthy one. Getting visitors to your site is a long-term project! It is a lot of work too. My twin brother is my web master and very adept at this. He says if you want Google to see your site as an important one, make your site important. That means quality content and lots of it. I now have over 2000 images uploaded, but at the rate I am going it will take several more years to get all of my stock photos online. One possible way to speed the process up is to hire a developer to create a robot that will harvest my Getty, Corbis and Blend images, and put them on my site.  I have a friend who has gone that route and I have to admit there is a certain appeal to it!  But for now I will just continue my snails pace of uploading.

Climbing Traffic And Click Through Ads
Traffic is slowly climbing.  Last week, according to Google Analytics, I averaged over 500 unique visitors a day. That is up from a one visit per week average ten months ago. My click through ad revenue ranges from $20.00 per day to about 32 cents a day (last Thursday). My average seems to have edged up to about $6.00 a day.  Hey, it pays for my coffee habit!

A Balancing Act And Making Images
One thing I constantly wrestle with is where to put my time. Making images and getting them up online is the fastest way to increase my income. On the other hand, I remain convinced that it is extremely important for long term success to increase my ranking with Google, and other search engines, through SEO and online content. It is a constant balancing act. Luckily I find myself enjoying this SEO process (other than the repetitive and sleep inducing meta data entry).

A Photography Blog And Building Community
A key part of my web efforts include writing this photography blog. It has actually turned out to be a fun challenge. I used to be a columnist for Digital Imaging magazine and for Picture magazine.  I would make myself crazy trying to come up with article ideas.  But with the Blog, it is more like sharing things and less like work. My goal and hope is that the blog is entertaining and informative. It is a key component of providing quality content and, I hope, of building community within both the creators and users of stock photography.


Gary Cookson said...

I'm a designer in Australia who stumbled across your blog somewhere or other and I now follow your tweets. Just wanted to let you know I really enjoy your writing, particularly the creative process that goes into your images. Haven't bought any of your images yet but i'm sure it is only a matter of time when the right project comes along so i'm sure the long haul is worth it.
Best wishes
Gary Cookson

John Lund said...


No danger of me quitting...and it is gratifying to hear that you enjoy my writing.

Thanks for the comment!


Rob Casey SUP Guide, Photographer said...

Like you, I'm finding the seo thing to be interesting, and kinda fun. Infact, I can't wait to check my analytics every day at midnight to see my day's results. It's interesting to see how my various tactics to increase my seo affect my traffic whether they be twitters, facebook entries, eblasts, direct mail, or my various blog entries (which i twitter to announce new postings).

Writing on my three blogs also allows for a break from the mundane color correcting, metadata input, and uploading to my stock site. I find the blogs inspiring to learn new things, and possibly add writing to my skills to compliment the photography. One of the blogs has nothing to do with photography, aside from the photos I post for each entry. I'd recommend it to other photogs whom are burnt out on the daily grind in such slow times to regain some energy in their work, and life.

Rob Casey

Andrew Ptak Photography said...

Have you tried Photoshelter John? I'm slowly putting my Stock up on their site, and I'm a bit perturbed that I can't find my images when I do a Google image search on my keywords, even though I've followed their advice on the SEO thing.

As a matter of fact, I can't find anyone's work on Photoshelter when I do a Google image search! I've asked them the question and I either get no reply, or an evavise one - in my mind.

Lots of very credible names use it, but maybe they're using it in a different way or expecting different things. I've presumed I'm doing something wrong, but the lack of a straight answer disturbs me - and I'm "disturbed" enough!

John Lund said...


Very interesting about Photoshelter! How long has your work been up on their site?

I have not tried Photoshelter. But i do know that SEO takes time!


Andrew Ptak Photography said...

Thanks for the reply John.

I know it takes a while for Google to crawl new files, but that's not my concern.

If you do a Google Image search on any subject - I'm not just talking about my own work here - a Photoshelter hosted image doesn't come up. While originally just an online archive, they're really encouraging users to monetize their files on Photoshelter and adding SEO features as well as offering Webinars on the subject.

I can't get a straight answer from the company. I'm quite willing to accept that it's me and I'm making a mistake, I just can't figure out what.

That's why I asked if you had any experience. My whole business model has been built around this and it doesn't work!

If an image buyer does a Google search rather than going to Getty etc., first - then I should stand as good a chance as anyone else, assuming I have the image - but not if they can't find my work.

Anyone have experience selling directly?