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I don’t have a magic formula for building a site.  Net Firms offered up a coach last week.  I think I may see what he has to say.

There are sites that are dedicated to stock and take submissions from many photographers.  Flickr is apparently feeding some photos into Getty Images as stock.  Some stock sites seem to offer images that have no associated cost.  I’m not sure how that works as a business model.  Some seem to have a lot of photographers providing images and others seem to only have one, or a small group, providing images.  All the stock sites had to start somewhere, so perhaps the small ones I have seen will build into the large sites of the future.  Conventional wisdom seems to be that stock should be clean, fairly simple images.  That would make sense if the image were to be used as part of an advertisement or in a brochure.  Images should probably be fairly saturated so they can jump off the page and grab your attention, too.

The site my avatar here is linked to, started out as a way to show my photography.  In some ways it is a digital extension of slide shows I did for family and friends in the 1970’s.  Those photos were displayed as large as the room would support, usually on a 7 foot square screen that dominated one end of a room.  With a projector at the other end and people sitting around the sides, I could put up a slide, then give a short talk about the photo, where, why, what, depending on the seeming relevance.  Now I have family scattered across Canada and the US, as well as in Hong Kong.  The web page lets me throw a gallery together, add some notes and any family or friends that are interested can view the photos at their convenience.   The earliest photos are from 1975 and 1976, then there is a gap because scanning slides and negatives is time intensive.  The bulk of images were shot after 2002 when I got my first good digital camera.  There are lots of photos you may not like or would find boring, but there are just over 3300 photos, so hopefully, something for everyone.  That’s about half the number of photos I shoot when we are on a single trip.  I try to limit galleries to 300 photos and my wife prefers I limit them to 250.  The Niagara Falls gallery has way too many photos, and a lot are very similar, but it is there for the people we visited the falls with.  Behind the private door are another 80 or so, photos of family and some event photos.   I have a couple of Flickr galleries, one has 574 photos and the other has 1730.  My portfolio page has 68 photos, but my portfolio book only has about 20.  And, I have some photos at 500px, Red Bubble, Model Mayhem, and a few other sites.  Obviously I need a cohesive strategy, too.  Frequently I put photos wherever it is easiest and at the moment, that is Flickr.

Many social sites have critique forums, you drop a photo into the stream and anyone can review it.  Different sites have slightly different methods and different results.  That arrangement works well for me because directing someone to almost any of my sites would be overwhelming in terms of quantity.   Focusing on one or two photos at a time is much easier than trying to take in the first 500.

 

This has been a really long way of saying you should try to figure out the reason your web page exists, and put up content that supports the reason.  Having a regular Internet Service Provider, I can have as many  URL’s as I desire (and am willing to pay for).  So, I have 4.  One for my photo show, one that deals mostly with software, and two that have the same name but one is a .com and the other is a .ca.  Presently they point to the same folder on the server but they could be separated later if necessary.

The other challenge is how do you drive the desired traffic to your site?   If you want to drive print sales of previously taken photos, Red Bubble or Fine Art America may be good choices because you drop the photo there, assign a lot of key words, and if someone wants the print, they look after printing and shipping.  In many ways, that is a subset of stock.  The photo is available, but instead of getting the file, you get a print.

 

When I looked at http://www.dunmaglas.co.uk/, I just clicked on photos in the collage.  I didn’t get into the menu tabs, so on that basis, I missed a lot of the site, and if I found it through Google, I would have seen the first few photos, then bailed out and left forever.  That may mean a lot of potential is being lost because people are not figuring out how the site works.