When you’re trying to sell your images on the Web — or even just get them seen — you really need to take every advantage you can get. There’s a gazillion other sites screaming for browsers’ attention and even when people are searching for photography, most will find it easier to head to a photo-sharing site than search for a photographer’s website.
Unless someone tells them where to go to look at a great image.
And that’s the advantage that photographers have over other website owners.
Images are Worth More for Stumblers
According to Matt Jones of BloggingFingers.com, the best way to become a top social bookmarker isn’t to recommend lots and lots of articles. (He recommended over 1,200 on StumbleUpon and still didn’t make it into the top 50; others who recommended less did.)
The best way to get a thumbs up from other social bookmarkers, he says, is to recommend photos and videos.
That creates a giant opportunity for photographers who want to get their photos in front of the public. Thousands of people are active on sites like StumbleUpon and Digg, and looking for online content that will improve their own standing on the sites. If you can offer them the sort of photos that will do the job, you can expect a surge in visitors to your site — and with the right monetization strategies in place, a surge in income too.
Two out of the top five stories on StumbleUpon recently were photography collections.
Shooting for Stumblers and Diggers
So what sort of photos are social bookmarkers looking for?
A quick look at StumbleUpon suggests that a collection of unusual images can reach the front page, but so can a standard collection of beautiful photographs. One recent glance at StumbleUpon’s home page for example, for example, showed some well-taken but not particularly exceptional landscape photographs and shots from “lost” ancient cities.
Images that score high on Digg, however, tend to be able to take an “amazing” somewhere in the title. Color photos from World War I have been doing well recently.
Diggers like golden oldies.
This isn’t a scientific survey, but it might be accurate to say that while Diggers like the exceptional, Stumblers like photos that are either good… or interesting.
What to Do with your Widget
If that impression is accurate, it’s probably easier to get StumbledUpon than Dugg. (Unless you’ve got some old, color War of Independence photos stashed away somewhere). Simply take good photographs like those that were StumbledUpon at Outdoor-Photos.com, and you’re in with a shout.
But you’ll still have to be noticed. The easiest way to do that is to make sure that the photos you show online carry the social bookmarking widgets. Without a Digg button or a StumbleUpon icon, it’s going to be hard for people to recommend your photos.
Where you put those widgets might matter too. For content writers, the most common place to put Digg links is at the bottom of posts. Ads in that position tend to perform poorly but that’s where the eyes of people who finish the post will be looking. Instead of the waste of space it used to be, the bottom of Web pages have now become filled with bookmarking icons.
When a user has finished looking at a photograph though, the eye could be anywhere. It might pay then to make the links more visible and place them next to the photo instead of beneath it. To find out which position works best on your site, try alternating the positions of the links on the same photo over a period of about a week and compare the results.
Good, bookmarkable photos and optimized links are the minimum you can do to take advantage of social bookmarkers’ need for images. The maximum you can do is join the sites and network. If you can make friends on these sites, let them know when you’ve put up a new collection and get the most active bookmarkers to do the recommending, you should find that your new friends get a higher status… and your photos get plenty of views.
[tags] photo stumbles, web 2.0 photos, photos on digg [/tags]