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Author Topic: Self Hosting and Marketing  (Read 2577 times)

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« on: September 29, 2010, 21:29 »
With all the chaos from the stock agencies and dwindling royalty percentages, about a year ago I thought I would try self hosting.

I tried a couple of solutions and found they all have drawbacks but I eventually settled on a SmugMug pro account linked to my regular web site.  I'm happy with the the look and capabilities of the resulting on-line store (although I recognize there are limitations). So far, however, I've sold only a smattering of images and prints.

I haven't really attempted to build any traffic to my site because I wanted to get things set up, establish my portfolio and become familiar with how sales worked before dealing with significant numbers of customers.

I'm ready to scale things up.  In fact, I need to.  At the current rate it will take years to reach a pay-out and I'm not making enough to cover the annual subscription costs.  So, I'm at a point where I would like to begin marketing and finding ways to drive traffic to my site. 

I did some marketing by shooting photos at local events and handing out slips of paper with links to where the photos would be.  I did get a few sales that way (a couple of prints from the Phoenix Marathon and some downloads from a local parade I shot).  I don't think this is going to pay for itself and nothing else has produced much of anything.

I was wondering if anyone has any good ideas or experience in this.  How do you reach customers?

« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 17:44 »
i've had smugmug for about a year too, w same results - but after try ing red bubble, fine ARTS et i wasnt really expecting much income - those other sites ely mostly on internal views [ie, non buyers], so a smattering of sales over time

i do like smugmug - it's much easier to mange than Galerry2 which i had before.  i use it as an online archive for other website and it does bring in a samll amt of adsense $.  i've started submitting to hubpages and smugmug makes it really easy to add images to my writing


« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 19:20 »
Having almost no experience in self promotion I have some thoughts on it.

First off I assume you require a substantial amount of images to offer in the first place. Unless you want to make sales off of portrait sessions etc. - which you got paid for already anyway.

Once you have a good number of images (I'd say 3000+ for a start) you need a functional, fast shop front to make it easier for the (potential) customers to find what they're looking for.

I mean this is all pretty obvious but I've seen some really funky self-promoted sites that didn't have either one of those points mentioned.

Then of course the marketing of your site and driving traffic to it. This in itself is a separate industry. I think if it would be easy to drive targeted traffic to your site we all wouldn't be selling through any agency.

That's the reason in the first place that most of us are selling through agencies as they take their part of the commission to pay employees and other companies to keep the system running smoothly and pay for online advertising etc.

Working your site up in the regular search results doesn't happen overnight. Especially keeping a certain (good) placement over time is not easy.

So I dare to say that a lot of your business would be directed traffic that you initiate by direct human contact or word of mouth.

I think it's going to be unrealistic to get a fantastic answer how to drive traffic to your site that is free or easy. These are well kept secrets.

I know I will stay with agencies for a long time, if not forever. I'm trying to build up my site on the side and see what happens.

« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2010, 14:21 »
I am redoing mine too. Shamed by pirate teenagers as my site sucked, so people were dropping by based on my stock work. I wonder about SmugMug for illustrators, it looks intriguing. I am reading about google analitics it is supposed to help you understand your sites traffic and customers.

There are sites dedicated to attracting traffic. What I have extrapolated is key words, free stuff, tutorials and an interesting blog. On top of that Google ranks you according to how many people have links to your site on them.

may the force be with us


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