Photography has been my passion since a long time. On some days, when I am unable to take my camera out, blogging on photography helps me remain in touch with what I love. What started as a small website and some basic articles for a handful of friends to read, has now begun to make its presence felt. There are many new things that I learnt about blogging which I never imagined existed.
(In an effort to add photographs to my blog, I started using my camera more often)
Blogging – Already Dying a Young Death?
From the current trend it seems that almost every new website that comes up now a days has a blog. There are countless blogs on every topic imaginable. Photography itself has thousands of blogs, if not more.
When I thought of writing a blog, I was already too late. The blog scene was dying a slow death due to lack of good content and sheer number of existing blogs. To top it, the internet users have a very very short attention span. Was anyone going to actually read all the text?
Streaming Videos are the in-thing now. Who wants to spend time reading and trying to understand something when so many videos are easily available? I still started writing articles in the hope that there still might be photographers and photography enthusiasts who prefer reading to watching videos.
Analysis of the visits and the articles being read surprised me. The articles that I felt were new or provided a new perspective seem to have gathered the least number of visits.
Regardless of what photographers say, most of the visits to my site, have been to the handful of reviews that I have written. So, the truth is out. Most of the readers searching for information on the internet are not searching for photography-related articles. They are searching for equipment. Its GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) that rules the internet searches that lead to my site. The most-read articles as of now are –
- Nikkor 200 mm f/4 AI
- Nikon CLS and SU-800
- Hoya PRO ND 1000 filter
- Mountain Stream & Long Exposures (the only non-review article in the top 5)
- 50mm lens for Nikon
The least interest in the visitors to my site seems to be in the ones listed below (which interestingly were well received by seasoned photographers) –
- Learning from Monet
- Facts about Nikon (which you did not know, or did you?) (Not everyone is a history fan)
- Learning from Rembrandt
- Myths in Photography? You decide!
- Story in a Photograph
This was indeed surprising for me. Analysis reveals that the articles that I write are not for the masses but for a few passionate photographers. These articles were read by those whom I consider being really good at photography.
Getting more traffic
I have read that there are ways how websites get ranked and how search engines find them. Search engine optimization is a hot topic among web-developers. For photographers like me, going into that much depth is exhaustive. I would rather continue to write what I like and how I like and let the search engines automatically gather the required information.
Here is a list of some tips that I got to increase the website traffic –
- Post articles on specific days and times. It seems Tuesday afternoons are the best time to post. Do you believe that?
- Use infographics. This must be for the short attention span individuals.
- Write long articles. Above 1000 words is good and above 2000 words are perfect. Interestingly, some search engines recommend using smaller articles, since the attention span of readers is small nowadays.
- Use web-optimized images (more about it later)
- SEO. This keeps coming up again and again.
- Use social media. Wow. I do have a facebook page but for me, social media is a big no. Sure the website traffic might increase with extensive use of social media but what about the time that I’ll waste?
- 5 – 8 images in an article are ideal.
- Guest blogging and posting to other blogs.
- Use of links, both internal and external (to well-established sites).
- Use of lists similar to this one.
- Submission to web directories. This seems doubtful as a lot has changed since the time these directories came into existence.
- …. the list goes on.
I am an old school and I prefer the quality of content more than these tips. In fact, I have heard over a hundred tips to improve website ranking and increase traffic. If someone is interested, ask me and I’ll list them out.
Question of Monetization
This is what most bloggers worry about. When I tell people that I have a blog, the first question they ask is how much do I earn from the blog. It is hard to explain that I prefer my site to be ad-free and therefore it is not monetized. I write for my own pleasure. My site is not going to be filled with ads, at least that is what I think now. There are other sources to earn money. Why should a site created for my pleasure and for the pleasure of like-minded photographers be filled with ads?
When I hear the radio, I change the channel as soon as I hear ads. When I used to watch TV, channels with ads were never my favorite. In fact, the reason I stopped watching TV was that it felt that I was watching more advertisements than various shows and movies. I don’t want my readers to be bombarded with advertisements while they read my articles. As it is, I am thankful to everyone who reads them.
(Chain and Lock – photographed on a photowalk with a friend, during the initial days of this blog)
It is real and I face it. Every once in a while, I run out of ideas. I don’t know what to write about and then there is a long gap. Sometimes, I know what to write but don’t know where to start. One famous writer has once said, start writing and let your emotions take over you. Keep on writing what comes to your mind. That is when the text begins to feel real.
Actually, writer’s block is what reminded me of the photographer’s block. That is when I wrote this article – Photographer’s Block
I also manage another website that has a handful of articles. Some of the times when I did not post an article here for a long time, one of the reasons might have been that I wrote an article there. Do check out this link – Blog on Maini’s Hill Cottages (opens in a new tab)
Next came the question of photographs. What would a blog on photography be without photographs? I mostly use the photographs that I click. Am I worried about them being stolen? Yes, I am. I, however, do not like to use annoying watermarks. The benefit that my readers can see the photographs without any compromises in the image quality, outweigh the risk of my photographs getting stolen.
Another factor about photographs is their size and resolution. Photographs that have higher resolution are larger in size than the usual web-optimized images. The result of using such high-resolution images is that the page ranking suffers (so I have been told). Images that load slowly are not liked by the general public and so search engines like google, rank such pages low. Once again it comes down to my readers. Most of my readers who have provided me feedback on images recommend using the same resolution images as I am using now. These appear nice on high-resolution displays.
Some of my readers like to print and keep my articles too. In fact, one of them showed me a folder where all my articles were nicely printed and catalogued. It did impress me a lot. High DPI is useful when someone like him prints my articles.
(Photograph of a cheeky old beggar whom I met while capturing photographs for this article of mine – Temple with Million Bells)
(For those of your wondering, this write-up has 1359 words and is scheduled to be published on Tuesday afternoon. It should rank well with the google’s search engine)