? How to increase website traffic....?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by SusanK, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Hello ~ I'm a fairly new user (first post) but, have done a lot of reading in the forums. Was wondering if I may pose a question, as well as some related background info., to you....

    I recently read someone's post stating that his website was generating 3,000 hits/month. How did you make this happen ?

    I have personally built a website to showcase my b/w, fine art prints. The site is about 5-6 years old and continues to generate a measley 30 hits/day. I would really like to increase the traffic to my site. I have studied web optimization articles and tweaked my html code to sufficiently garner more links through search enegines... have linked my site with numerous others of similar interests... and have been a long time member of absolutearts.com with an online portfolio there (sold a couple prints to a client in NYC). I've put a lot of time into my website and am feeling as though I am just banging my head into a wall.

    The vast majority of my sales have come through my website. And, due to the mistreatment of my prints by various galleries acorss the country, I am inclined to sell only through my website. My work has been included in some 15 group exhibitions over the past 2-3 years, as well as a couple of solo shows. Unfortunately, the prints are so damaged by the time they are returned to me that I wouldn't even consider trying to sell them to someone (i.e. ~ fingerprints/foodstains on the mountboard, gallery name in rubberstamp ink on the mountboard, scratches, dings, dents, sharpie marker and even writing indentations on the surface of the print).

    I'm tired of busting my tail in the darkroom, only to have a gallery trample all over my efforts. So far I have advertised in B/W Magazine, purchased GoogleAdwords, and posted listings on craiglist (as well as link exchanges with various other sites). I don't have $3,000 to spend for a "professional" website optimization company, so that idea is moot.

    Any thoughts or idea exchange from the members here would be greatly appreciated. If viewing my work would give you a better idea of where it may fit in, please take a look at http://www.susankopecky.com

    Thanks in advance.
    Susan
     
  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Susan-I just spent some time trying to load your site. APUG is a little slow today but I have DSL and its usually the site that has the problem. You really have to take a good look at your site and your goal s and decide what is it that makes me different and WHY should people come to my site; otherwiise you're just another face in the crowd. Your work is very good -so are a many others...
    Just a thoughr from someone who is accomplished;needs a website and is thinking along the same lines...
    Best, Peter Schrager
     
  3. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I just tried looking at your site. It takes forever to load, and I'm on a high speed connection. Your thumbnails are a bit small as well.

    Your photography is excellent. I guess you have to decide who your market is and then how to reach out to them.
     
  4. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Peter ~ How odd... I just clicked the link I provided and it took all of 4 seconds to load my homepage. And, I don't have DSL, just dial-up. My goal for the website is to sell a bit of my personal work. Not that I expect to make my sole living as an artist... I'm keeping my day job (also in photogrpahy). Sites that I have exchanged links with are "fine art" based sites so, I'm getting the "right" kind of traffic, just need more of it.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    Susan
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Nice site Susan. The first thing you need to remember about traffic is "words" - search engines are optimized for textual content.

    First, try changing the title (what shows on the title bar) to reflect what the site and individual page is about. Something like "Susan Kopecky - Fine Art Black & White Photography" or "Susan Kopecky - Fine Art Black & White Photography - Kauai Image Gallery".

    Second, your image links need to direct to a new page, not display a larger version of the image. When I click on Kiluea Lighthouse, display a page, with a text caption (not on the graphic itself) that the search engine can read.

    Your site needs a few tweaks that are easily done that could increase your traffic. I get around 1500+ per day on mine.
     
  6. mark

    mark Member

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    As a viewer I was a put off by the lack of images in any one gallery. One gallery had one image. I would think of a better way of grouping a larger number of images into one gallery. Right now it is set up to push the back button a lot. JMO

    Loaded really quick though.
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Actually 30 hits per day works out to 900+ visits a month, you also need to optimize your images for faster loading, the reason it may load quickly on your computer, it is probably cached on your computer in additon you may be closer to the source where it is hosted, and it does not have to make as many hops to get to you, but I would bet it is cached in your browser, but again, in addition to my glass business, we also own a large web hosting and design company that we host over 300 websites and build quite a few new ones for customers every month., one of the most important index sites you can get into now a days is Google, and the way google index sites is normally by the amount of other websites you are linked to, another option in this day and age, is pay per click advertising, in other words you deposit money with a company that maintains and index and you only pay when someone clicks on your link, they work based on your key words.

    Also make sure you key words and meta tags are properly done, one area people often overlook is the re-visit tag, which tells the search engine to re-visit your site at regular intervals. In looking at your page souce, you have no revist tag in your page, so a search engine may find it once, but may never come back again.

    Another good company to work with is http://www.selfpromotion.com, they have tons of tricks and tips to get your website seen, they are very inexpensive to work with, I think we donate something like $10.00 a year to them and they will save the information about your website and auto submitte it ever 45 days to the various search engines and index websites.

    Good luck in your quest, but really 900+ visitors a month is not that bad. You need to figure out what percent of sales you are deriving from the visitors, if it is over 1.5-3% then you are doing real good.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow Ground Glass
    Flathead Valley Web Works
    www.flatheadvalley.com
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I wish you well in your search for techniques to increase your sales. I do not think that the APUG site is much comparable to yours. I, and I would guess many others, visit the site more than once a day.

    The images loaded very quickly for me. I would suggest that perhaps a larger image would be helpful.
     
  9. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    No problems loading the link.

    Like the work a lot, but found the images a bit small.

    Am not an expert about websites and infact know nothing, but love to look at good work. Making some changes in how to review the images may enhance the site.

    Just my .02 worth
     
  10. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Susan-I just tried reloading-now it several hours alter and it came right up.
    Good for you. I think you got some good advice. If you want to check out a nice clean site: www.scttkillian.com "
    Best, Peter Schrager
     
  11. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    www.scottkillian.com * and yes, I really like how that site is layed out too.
    -Grant
     
  12. mikebarger

    mikebarger Member

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    It was instant load and instant changes, do agree thumbnails should be a little larger.

    Nice site

    Mike
     
  13. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input so far. Hope you don't mind a "collective" response....

    Robert ~ I will work on changing the titles to the more descriptive as you've suggested. Also, I'm using FrontPage 2002.... I have tried to find a way to add text to the pages displaying larger images and have yet to figure out how to do this (other than creating a folder of "thumbnail sized" images and linking them to a second page with a larger image + text). One would thing there would be an automated way of doing this... insert image, make the large image a thumbnail that takes the visitor to the larger image, then have the ability to add text to the page with the larger image. So far, I'm still searching. I would LOVE to boost my traffic to 1,500/day !!!

    Mark ~ The only reason that some galleries contain only one image is, obviously, it's a work in progress. I have a day job that also requires my time so, I'm unable to produce a mass of new images quickly. I've often thought about not adding a new series until I have several image to fill it with but, doing so would delay the image from being seen at all. I'd rather have the new work up to be seen, even if it means the series sits with a minimal number of images for a time.

    Satinsnow ~ I've tried Google's Adwords. 30 days cost me over $100 and still they recommended that I increase my budget to $900/month. There has to been a balance between, paying bills, keeping a roof over my head, buying materials to produce new images, and advertising. Can't kick out new images if I'm homeless and pushing a shopping cart, and that's what $900/month in advertising would do for me. :smile: Thanks for mentioning the revisit tag. I'd not read of that but, will do some research and get one in my html code soon. Also, I checked out selfpromotion.com.... HUGE site, lots of info. Will take me a while to work my way through it but, I have it bookmarked and intend to do an indepth read.

    Ann ~ the images are small due to being thumnails. Once again, something the FrontPage 2002 sets itself. I can adjust them to be bigger but, the thumbs then start to pixelate and look really crappy.

    Peter ~ Glad you were able to load the site easier on the second try. Yes, the Scott Killian site is extremely clean and fantastic work. Didn't realize he was a fellow Iowan (at least, formerly).

    Everyone ~ Guess my bottom line is this... If I don't sell a print from time to time, I can't afford to continue to produce new work. I've had very few sales generated from gallery shows. And, can reach a much larger audience via the internet. This is the reason I've been throwing so much effort in this direction. I'm sorry to say, I've not sold one image so far for 2005. I realize we're in economically hard times and with gas prices going through the roof, I don't have a lot of discretionary income either. Unfortunately, this means I may have to tear down the site and close up the darkroom at the end of this year. So, if you've had any fine art sales experineces, and care to share them, I am more than willing to listen.

    Photography has been a passion of mine for over 15 years but, I'm running out of options...

    Susan
     
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  15. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Susan,

    The reason you can't add the text is because the browser is opening the image - notice how the address bar lists: "http://www.susankopecky.com/images/Kauai%20in%20Black%20and%20White/Kilauea%20Lighthouse.jpg" when you click on the thumbnail. You need to create new page; something like Kauai1.htm (I live in Hawaii which is why I always pick your Kauai pages). On the Kauai thumbnails page, change the code "<a href="images/Kauai%20in%20Black%20and%20White/NaPali%20Stream.jpg">" to "<a href="Kauai1.htm">. When I get home, where I have Front Page I will PM you with directions on how to do this.
     
  16. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Susan-don't even think about giving up your photography. That's not why you ventured in that direction in the first place. Sean is thinking of putting up individual sites for people right here on APUG. This place is VERY busy with people that truly love and nuture photography. Maybe a well spoken trip to one of the major cities and Galleries would help you. I've tried doing Art Fairs (NO)
    and had several shows. I'm putting together a good solid body of work that I can bring into a decent NYC gallery so that I can get established. I'll take my time and if it takes a little longer so be it- but I aint never going to walk away!!
    Best, Peter
     
  17. dsisaacs

    dsisaacs Member

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    My satellite system is down this week and I am surfing with peoplepc dialup...I don't think it gets any slower, takes four minutes just to load the program and get on the net :tongue:

    Visited your site. I don't think it loads too slowly, but the thumbs are too small. Double the size of your thumbs.

    Include a description of the larger image pages and include actual image sizes for each print size rather than the ambiguous size description on your ordering page.

    And what is it that makes print #25 worth twice what print #24 costs?
     
  18. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    dsisaacs ~ Thanks for you input. As you can read on the print info page, prices increase as the edition sells out. #25-50 is more than #1-25. Mine are "cheap" compared to the increase that many others do as their editions sell out... often tripling their prices. On the print sizes... guess I didn't think this was all that ambiguous. A square print would be 8x8 or 11x11. A rectangular print would be 8x10 or 11x14.
     
  19. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I found that your site loaded rapidly (cable connection). The thumbnails were small but the larger print sizes were too small in my opinion as well.
     
  20. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    No problem loading for me. I like the site, but like a few others suggested, larger thumbnails would be nicer. Good luck!
     
  21. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Loaded very quickly for me (1Mbit cable), but I have to admit to not liking the layout at all. Everything is centred, looking like very little effort has gone in to it. I know that's unfair as it's probably taken ages to get it to that point, but that's how it looks and presentation is of paramount importance when you are selling things: even more so when selling artwork.

    If I was selling prints I'd look closely at http://www.michaelkenna.net, and www.scottkillian.com as previously suggested and be "influenced" by the layout - sparse, clean and easy to navigate. Very professional.

    Have you tried eBay? Even if you don't sell anything, it might entice people to look at your site to see what else you have. Certainly do not give up: some excellent images on your site. Just not very well presented IMO - as always, feel free to disagree!

    Good luck with it, Bob.
     
  22. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    Susan,

    great work, keep on doing.

    Don't try to compare your site's traffic with other at the beginning, more traffic doesn't mean more sold work.

    The word "hits per day" is basically wrong. "hits per day" only means "the count of loaded files per day". This can be html-pages, pictures, text-files or the simple one-byte transparent gifs for layout purposes: The more files one or more pages exist off, the more hits. A simple and spartanic layout with less sigle components with 1000 hits/day can have more visitors than a complex site/layout with 100,000 hits/day.
    The measurement should be "pageviews/day" which counts the loading of ALL components a page consists off ...

    Your Meta-tags on every of your page are rather spartanic:
    --- snip ---
    <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Black and white, limited edition, fine art prints by nationally acclaimed photographer, Susan Kopecky. Subject matter includes musical instruments, landscapes, still life, nudes and abstract.">
    --- snap ---
    THIS is the first a robot/spider reads in and stores within its databases and used for indexing, (sometimes) beside the text contained within you pages.

    Take the keyowrds of apug.org:
    --- snip ---
    <meta name="keywords" content="Photography, Traditional Photography, Analog Photography, Real Photography, Film, 4x5, Non-Digital Photography, Photography Community, Darkroom, Contact Printing, B&W, Black and White, Photochemical, Alternative Processes, Large Format Photography, Large Format Equipment, Medium Format Equipment, 35mm Equipment, Photographers, Photo, Photography Forum, Forums, Silver Gelatin, Halide, Developer, Platinum, Printing, pinhole photography, lith printing, infrared, glass plate, photo links, photography links, photography portal" /> <meta name="description" content="APUG.ORG is an international on-line community, completely devoted to traditional (non-digital) photographic processes." />
    --- snap ----

    THIS is one of the secrets of those companies who optimize for search engines: The coice of and the placing of the right keywords within your pages.

    Think about more and the right keywords you want, place them and ... be patient. It will last some time until the spiders come back to index your site again.
    Make use of more search engines! Subscribe to them manually and watch their terms! Some forbid this and some that, all expect for example one keyword is only used one time within a single page ... and so on.


    Horst
     
  23. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Okay gang ~ Thanks so much for the honest constructive criticism of my website. It stings now and then, but overall it's always more beneficial than being told what I'd like to hear. So, I've spent the past 72 hours revamping my website. Whew, now I know why site builders charge what they do... this is not a simple process (at least, not for a photographer). But, I've learned a lot about FrontPage. And there are several forehead dents in my monitor to prove it. :smile: Now, I realize that you all suggested bigger thumbnails... this was something that I was unable to change b/c doing so pixelated the images severely. I'd rather have small thumbnails than thumbnails that look like poop. So, this is where they'll stay until I figure out something different. Also, each full size image now has it's own page with it's own PayPal buttons beside it. So, that part is better. And, I learned about and added, shared borders throughout the site.

    I understand that there will always be things that can be made better... I'm working on it as I'm learning. My question for right now... "Do you consider this new site to have a more 'professional' feel to it?" Personally, I'm quite proud of it.

    http://www.susankopecky.com

    Thanks again,
    susan
     
  24. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    Very nice Susan. Quite a change for 72 hours. I am wondering if you might want to consider putting an image or some images on your main page (the one you get when you click enter) rather than your artist's statement. I am not sure how many buyers are really that concerned about the artist's statement and I am sure they are all concerned about the images, which are fantastic.

    Very nice work!

    Paul.
     
  25. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Paul ~ I was wondering about that myself.... unsure at this point as to which page should be the "lead in". I was thinking about the "New Images" page, even though there's not usually more than a half dozen images on that page. At least that would put up immediate images. Any thoughts ???
     
  26. RichSBV

    RichSBV Member

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    Susan, I agree that the redesign is great, and also that the thumbnails are too small. I don't use Frontpage (or any MS products unless I have to), but I did a quick seach. I don't know you're experience level, or how Frontpage does it's versioning, but I found this:

    To create a thumbnail of any image (pictures or clip art), simply select the image and press
    Ctrl-T. FrontPage creates a second, 100-pixel-wide copy of your image. Obviously, this image has lots less detail than the original, and so it has fewer bytes and a smaller file size. And as we know, a smaller image makes for a faster-loading page.

    ------------
    You can change the size of a thumbnail (and its file size, as well) by right-clicking it, choosing Picture Properties, selecting the Appearance tab, clicking the Specify Size option, and entering a new value for the Width or Height option. When you save the page, FrontPage will prompt you to save this smaller image in your web.
    ---------
    And:
    ---------
    But what if the default size is too small, or you don't like the border. It's easy to change the default options.

    First, click Tools, Page Options, then select the AutoThumbnail tab. Here, you can change the default size of your thumbnails by
    setting the height or width changing the thickness of the blue border around the image (or getting rid of it) giving the thumbnail a beveled edge, which makes it look more like a button.
    ----------

    If you change the default size, the resulting larger thumbnail may not be so pixelated? They do say the file size is larger which is a clue...

    I'm sorry I can't help more... I do thumbnails the old fasioned way by vreating them manually in a graphics editor...

    Great site and good luck with it!