9 Sure Fire Tips for Better Photo Blogging

Listed below are 9 sure fire tips to improve your photo blogging success. Whether you’re a hard core photo blog publisher along the lines of Eric, Sam or Dave, or just enjoy crafting the occasional post, we all like to steadily improve our offerings and enhance audience size.

These 9 tips cover many topics beyond just photography tips, but are important elements to expanding your photo blogging horizons. With the new year already upon, now is as good a time as any to look for ways to distinguish your presence online.

  • General Knowledge – When it comes to blogging essentials, Darren is in a class by himself. His candid approach and informative posts have helped launch the careers of numerous bloggers. With over 128k daily subscribers and a best selling book, Darren features posts on a wide range of topics every blogger can benefit from reading.
  • Web developmentNettuts+ is an excellent resource for web developers and designers, offering tutorials and articles on technology, skills and techniques to improve how you design and build websites. Even though some of the topics covered on this site may be a bit advanced for many bloggers, the tutorials are broken down in easy to follow steps. I always look forward to receiving this feed!….Just interested in jazzin’ up your WordPress blog? Here are a few places to start, Hongkitat, Lorelle, and of course, Matt.
  • Inspiration – It happens to all of us, sooner or later, if you continue photo blogging, the time will come when you run out of ideas. What do you do? Why read more photo blogs, of course. Without a doubt, StumbleUpon is my greatest weakness. Be warned, this site is highly addictive! Simply sign up (it’s free), download their toolbar, select your topic preferences, and you’re off and running… Smashing Magazine covers a lot of ground in the graphic design/photography field; always a source for great “Top xx” type features. Also check out photoblogs.org, FFFFound and coolphotoblogs.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Perhaps the most over-used web phrase ever..however, you do need to know something about this topic to succeed online. If you are just looking for a general overview of SEO, check out this recent article by James. If you’re looking to take your SEO knowledge to the next level, start here.. SEO Book.
  • Photography Lessons – You can gain photographic knowledge from a variety of ways, such as reading tutorials, like DPS and Aaron, watching a professional photographer, like Chase, at work or even invest in private workshops, i.e., Jason, Don, and Jerry. Regardless of the avenue you choose, continuing education is not only important in developing your photography skills, it is a great way to network with other photographers!
  • Monetizing your photo blog – Without going into too much detail, if you are looking to make money with your photo blog, here’s is where to start your research; John, Darren (yes, again), and this single post from Steve
  • Marketing – In a word – Seth
  • Creative Design – In addition to killer content, web design comes in a close second in determining the success or failure of your web venture. To this point, using free WordPress templates alone is not the way to web success. Learn and understand the basics of great web design and implement these elements into your web presence. Three of my favorites? Check out Jacob ,Chad, and Gino.
  • Improve your writing skills – Let’s face it…all photographers think they are great writers and all writers believe they are awesome photographers. Truth be told, most photographers are not great photographers and most writers, well, struggle. Although I do write a lot, I acknowledge my limitations in this field. Looking to improve on your writing skills? Spend some time here…CopyBlogger, Daily Writing Tips, Editor Unleashed, CopyWrite, 10000 words and Writing Forward.


Hope you enjoyed our post and please RT and share socially….

Supercharge Your Photography Website

Make the Most of Your Existing Traffic

opportunityBefore talking about your photoblog and changes I recommend, let me start by saying that if you don’t currently use a traffic counting plug-in or traffic tracking website, you’re making a big mistake. Unless you enjoy blindly posting on the web with no interest in who or how many viewers read your site, this is something to address today! I am personally addicted to Wassup (awesome SPY feature) and also use Google Analytics. The focus of this article is how to make the most of your existing traffic…however, you will need to be able to benchmark your current results to understand if the suggested changes actually work for you.

Readers of this blog notice I like to change my theme on a regular basis and there is a good reason behind this. Working on the web requires constant experimentation. If you are already happy with your results, then I guess no change is needed. But if you desire to improve your web results, change is in order. This photoblog has been live for about 14 months now, and along the way, the theme has changed 8 times. I would like to say that each time a change has been made, my results have improved..but that’s just not the case…However, I have learned a few things over time which do work on a consistent basis.

With this latest design, almost a week old now, my page views have increased 40% and bounce rate has improved (lowered) by 10%! These site traffic improvements were not a result of a new writing style or intriguing new topics, just a few simple changes that you, too, can do in one evening:

  • Choose your theme careful - There are thousands of WordPress and Blogger themes to choose from, however, they must be appropriate to your topic. Simply selecting the slickest theme design with no regard to its relevance to your site will not yield the results you hope to achieve. Turn your computer off for a few moments and with paper and pencil, rough sketch what you think your site (again, relevant to your niche market) should look like. If you’ve got mad PHP and CSS skills, I guess you could create a theme, but for everyone else, you now have a starting point when looking at possible designs which could work for you. Once you have your theme, be sure you have the correct color scheme and header. All themes are hackable. Even with limited web dev skills, a quick Google search should point you in the right direction to make the adjustments you need.
  • Above the fold jargon. You hear a lot about the importance of placing important content above the fold…but are you really doing it? Enter your URL into a browser and click submit. View your site as if it were the first time landing there. What is your eye drawn to? Do you have so many ads in the header that the content requires scrolling? Place the information most important to the mission of your site above the fold. For me, it meant changing my layout to include a menu bar at the top of the page, as opposed to the sidebar and footer. I have also included a site summary (along with a hand drawn pic of myself to add a little personal touch) at the top of the page as well. It is important to me that viewers understand what we’re about as soon as possible. Depending on how you promote your site, i.e., StumbleUpon, Propeller, Digg, Fark, and a host of bookmarking sites, you literally have about 1-2 seconds to grab the attention of your viewer before they leave.
  • Internal linking. No doubt you have numerous posts already published on your site, but does anyone know about them?…how would they find them? Make it a goal to link to one previous posting within each new post. Sometimes we get too worked up about driving traffic to our site that we neglect what they do once there. Your goal should be to lower your bounce rate, meaning readers view other content besides just viewing the one page you promoted heavily and leave. Another solution on this topic, use and prominently display categories. Categories allow you to group/link together similar topics, making it easy for viewers to find the content they are seeking. In using categories, make sure to title them appropriately..and be as specific as needed. For instance, if you review cameras it may be better to break out a category for each model (Nikon, Canon, etc) , instead of just using Camera Reviews as a title.
  • Site search. Many blog themes have, by default, a site search feature displayed…others, you have to elect to display it. This goes hand and hand with internal linking…Make it easy..REAL EASY for readers to find your content…it’s too easy for viewers to leave so do the legwork for them. In addition to having a site search feature, I also prominently display a site map, which lists every post I’ve ever written here. There is a great WP plugin to assist you with this…Google XML Sitemaps

In summary, growing unique visitor traffic does not happen overnight. However, the steps I’ve provided can maximize the total number of pages viewed by each visitor that does come your way. Hope you find this helpful and feel free to comment!

Prepared for StumbleUpon high traffic spikes?

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We love high traffic spikes at our site and thanks to you, our postings/photo blog reviews are regularly Stumbled. The use of StumbleUpon generates a large influx of new viewers who are introduced to the many great featured photographers. Here is a snapshot of our traffic from the other night…notice the number of users trying to access the site!!

274 visitors currently on site

After a closer examination of my traffic sources, that I found out many of our visitors are getting an error message like the one listed below:

“Your Web server is currently unable to handle the HTTP request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay. Some servers in this state may also simply refuse the socket connection, in which case a different error may be generated because the socket creation timed out”

At the time of the error, there were 274 visitors trying to access my site at one time! In speaking with my hosting company, they informed me that my shared hosting plan would only support 50 connections at one time. That would explain why the average StumbleUpon visitor is only on my site for 8 seconds…they are never able to access it…Damn! …and I was thinking they were just passing through. While our traffic is growing, it is dominated by daily spikes as opposed to a slow rolling curve. Here is a snapshot of our traffic over the past seven days.

ilovephotoblogs-visitor-details-wordpress

I am presently looking for a web host provider who has flexible grid plans to deal with the bursty traffic patterns frequently encountered with Digg and StumbleUpon and experience dealing with WordPress migration issues, if the site needs to be moved to a different server. There are a few dedicated hosting plans I would love to purchase and would serve us well into 2009, our revenue stream is not in a position to support the expense.

I am amazed at the number of web hosting companies which have no expertise or knowledge in working with WordPress related issues. One hosting company stated that I needed “to call WordPress for support”..WHAT?…Want more, both reps I spoke with (company shall remain nameless) had never even heard of Digg or StumbleUpon…WTF.

At this time…yes, on turkey day…I’m looking for a hosting company that understands the blogging world of 2008-2009…and can provide technical support beyond password resets.