I do a fair share of my photography business online and sell in a lot of different venues, and one of the things I've really had to do my homework on is keywording my photography listings and website in order for them to be found by a customer. Every site is different in how they handle their keywords. If you're not sure what I mean by keywords (or tags), they are the words assigned to items, blog posts, websites, or pretty much anything else on the internet that helps tie what is being posted to what a searcher is looking for.
Each site has their own algorithm that brings back results in what is believed to be most relevant to the person who is searching. Google has their own, Fine Art America has theirs, Yahoo, Zazzle...you name it. Each has their own way of optimizing the search of an item. It's up to the photographer, seller, or blogger to figure out the best keywords that will get their item seen amongst millions and millions of other listings.
So what can you do? There are no magic keywords that will be a one size fits all, so here are some steps to help navigate the SEO waters.
1. Be your customer. - If you were purchasing the item you are selling, how would you search for it? If you were selling a large print of a thunderstorm, would you search "large print"? Maybe more specifically you would be searching for a "thunderstorm print", or even more specifically "24 x 36 thunderstorm print".
2. Don't be afraid to be specific. - In the thunderstorm print example above, maybe you captured the photograph in Oklahoma and there is a sunset on the horizon. So being more specific with your keywords would be "24 x 36 thunderstorm print, Oklahoma, sunset". The more specific and creative you are with your keywords, the more likely it will be that someone searching specifically for the item your are offering will find you. Chances are someone isn't searching "large print" and buying the first thing that comes up. Most people already have an idea of what they are looking for. It's up to you to make sure yours is what they see..
3. Learn your venue's SEO strategy. - This is perhaps the most challenging because each site has their own strategy and won't be posting exactly what needs to be done. Google may prefer phrases, Smugmug may put emphasis on two word phrases in the titles, etc. Take time to study each site and knowledge of others to develop a strategy to be found on the specific site you are selling.
4. Tweak and Re-Tweak. - Watch your stats and see what works well and what doesn't. Make changes to the weakest items and see what gets results and what doesn't. You should see steady increases in views if you are making the right changes.
5. Change with the times. - What you used for keywords five years ago may not be relevant now. If a site used single words back in the day, they may have moved on to phrases, two word combinations, or even full content to make sure the most relevant results are returned to the user. Don't just set your keywords and let them rot, keep working and updating them as you go.
I'm still learning, and I spend plenty of time working on how to be found in the sea of photography. It's a never ending job. But, when someone finds my photography and buys it I know that my hard work is paying off, and I'm going to give my photographs every chance they can to be the choice of the next customer.
So I'm sitting here in the middle of watching Sharknado 2 and I gotta admit I'm pleasantly suprised at all the cameos and references to past shows buried within the show itself. So far I've seen Ted Striker flying an Airplane!, Judd Hirsch driving a Taxi, Daymond John (A shark on Shark Tank) get taken out by the Statue of Liberty's head, and even a reference to a Twilight Episode with William Shatner (Something's on the Wing!). Playing off the hokeyness of the first Sharknado, the second one has been a delight even with the story.
Let's hope the rest of the cast survives the onslaught of sharks. Guess I'll finish watching to find out.
This morning the town of Harrah, OK was awoken in the middle of the night by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake and a couple of hours later just a little further to the west a 4.0 earthquake shook the region. This would be epic news just 10 years ago, seeing as how Oklahoma had basically no earthquakes in it's 100 year history. But, in the last five years it's been shaken consistently by small to mid-level earthquakes that are increasing in activity and sometimes in intensity.
I've felt some of these quakes myself. I felt one just as recently as last week, it woke me up at 4 a.m. and lasted for a few seconds. I felt one when I lived in western Oklahoma when a quake over 5.0 shook the region. I've even felt one at work that shook enough to make me think a forklift somehow drove into the wall.
I was talking to a buddy the other day who had just moved here about a year ago. He had always assumed Oklahoma had always had the quakes, just like tornadoes and drought. I had to tell him that wasn't the case. Up until 2008, we had basically no seismic activity and if you asked someone back then if they thought Oklahoma would ever experience an earthquake they would probably laugh. No one is laughing now.
A lot of people are beginning to believe it could be caused by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". It's really ironic since Oklahoma is one of the top oil and gas producing states, and some of the country's top oil and gas businesses reside here which contributes to the strong economy. So, it will be interesting to see what side of the fence people who are living through these quakes everyday will fall to as it affects people's homes, investments and general safety.
State officials have begun looking into the quakes and have ordered studies to be done to see if a determination can be made as to what is causing them. This is the first step to see if anything can be done to stop them. Until then, we'll all have to deal with the shaking along with the twisting skies. Oklahoma can be called a lot of things, but you can't say it isn't interesting around here.
I'm really not sure how it is for everyone else. Does the rest of the world see or read something when they are young that actually inspires or makes such an impression that it stays with them the rest of their lives? It happened to me. When I was young, around the age or 10 or 11 there was a mini-series that played on TBS that was about mountain men, emigrants on the Oregon Trail, cowboys and swindlers. It was the mini-series "Centennial" based on a book by the same name written by James Michener.
It first ran in 1978-79 on NBC when mini-series were all the rage. Shogun, Roots and other mini-series had run successfully but Centennial was different. It was thirteen episodes that spanned the beginning of the west and covering more than 200 years worth of history to what would be the present day (back then) fictitious town of Centennial, Colorado.
I first watched it in a subsequent run on TBS and was immediately hooked. Stories about the old west was already something I was interested in because I had already spent time in the Rocky Mountain west, and the story tied in neatly with the love I had started for the mountains. I had seen the Platte River that Pasquinel struggled so mightily to get his canoe to navigate. I had seen "Ft. John" in the series in real life, as Bent's Old Fort in southeast Colorado. I had seen the cliffs of western Nebraska and the names of the real life emigrants, and could immediately relate to Levi Zendt and his travels. As a boy this was as real as it could get for me. I soaked it up, and many other westerns that told a similar story, and I read the book as well. To this day it's one of the few novels I have read from start to finish.
It had a deep impact on how I saw the world. It had a strong message that Native Americans were not treated fairly by the U.S. Government. It had a strong message that the land was to be taken care of and not used up carelessly. It had a deep tie to history, even though it was fiction. You could see it in the characters, whether it was Maxwell Mercy breaking himself for the Indians while wearing an Army uniform, or in Alexander McKeag and his respect for the land. Honesty and respect trumped greed, corruption and carelessness. How could that not make an impact on a young kid?
I've watched the series many, many times over my adult life. The story is great and each time I watch it, it's like visiting old friends. I think it's a major reason why I prefer the wide open spaces to the big city, and can see a sea of beauty on the prairie where others might only see a lot of grass. It had a lot to do why I'd rather have an untouched land vs having fences and wind turbines everywhere. It helped develop the respect I have for Native Americans and their story, and has a hand in me seeing the West as it should be seen.
It's about 35 years old now. Many of the actors have passed on, and it would look very dated to someone who is just now watching it. But the story remains the same, and the message also carries on. "The Earth isn't something you take from without ever thinking of giving back. The Earth is something you protect everyday of the year, a river is something you defend every inch of it's course." What a great message.
I just finished watching the Belmont Stakes and I knew that everyone's favorite horse faced an uphill battle in winning the Triple Crown. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, California Chrome only needed one more victory at the Belmont to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978.
Only it didn't happen. She didn't even finish in the top three, and just like many of the other horses who have won the first two legs she came up very short and it wasn't even close. The Belmont is just a different race since it's one and a half miles long, and honestly it will take a very special horse to close the deal.
After the race, California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn let loose a rant about other horses getting to race in the Belmont only, creating an advantage for other horses who would be "fresher" than those who ran in the prior two legs. He believes that only horses that have run in the first two legs be available to run in the Belmont.
I can see his point, but there are serious holes in it. First, the Triple Crown is not a tournament, it is a series of horse races. Much like a pro golf tournament, players qualify and play or don't play depending on the circumstances of the week. That doesn't mean Tiger Woods and those who play in the British Open can only play in the Masters. Your horse is trying to win the Triple Crown, and whoever wins the Kentucky Derby is the only after that who can win it so it opens the field to everyone.
Second, if only the horses running in the Kentucky Derby are eligible, how many horses would be left to run the Belmont? What is the motivation for any horse to run the Belmont if they finished last in the Kentucky Derby?
Like I said, I can understand his frustration....but, ultimately if you're going to win all three your horse has to be amazing. Just ask Secretariat, or Affirmed. There is a reason their names are legendary well outside of horse racing circles.
Another commercial that has caught my eye, actually my ear is the Corona "Shoes" commercial. Not for anyone who is in it or anything visual, but for the song. I had to do some looking but it appears to be a song called "Drifting Days" by a band named Pocket Submarine. All I know is I really like the song and I was glad to be able to find a full version of it on Youtube. Here is both versions, the commercial and the actual song. Check it out....it's good stuff!
There are a few things in life outside of my family that I really invest myself emotionally in. Of course, storm chasing and photography of western landscapes is one. The other is sports. I love sports. Especially football and basketball, and at one time in my life I even loved baseball. Growing up in Oklahoma I naturally have a connection with the Sooners, and now that Oklahoma City has established itself as a professional sports city, the Thunder are almost on the same level as my beloved Sooners.
There are few things more satisfying than your favorite team winning, and being the best in the land. Bragging rights, going to bed after a great game and sleeping real well, and getting to feel like a part of being "the best". But, only a small percentage of the population actually gets this satisfaction.
In the last week, the Thunder and Grizzlies have went to overtime four times in the last four games. That's right, four times in a row. The Thunder have won one of these games, and lost three and subsequently have fallen behind 3-2 in the series after taking the first game. Each of these games has been such a roller coaster ride, mainly with the Thunder making a miraculous comeback after being behind only to lose it in overtime. As a fan it's such a gut wrenching trip, with the highs of the comebacks and the lows of poor play, and ultimately the disappointment of another loss. One has to wonder, why do we invest ourselves so heavily when the chances are extremely high that our investment will return only heartbreak?
Think about it. Most sports have a tournament, and in those tournaments only one team can walk away a winner in the last game. So, of the sixteen NBA teams only one fan base will walk away satisfied. Of the 64 teams in college basketball, 63 will be empty handed at the end of the season and tears get shed for each. Same for pro football. The only sport that really lets a fan finish the season with somewhat of a warm fuzzy is college football. If you win the Independence Bowl, you finish the year on a winning note. If you don't win the national championship, you still can finish the year with a victory in post season play.
Often I watch the Sooners play and most times they win and it satisfies my expectation that they should win. Rarely, the Sooners lose and it really sucks. Why does it affect me in that way? I didn't play in the game and I had no impact on the outcome. But yet it stings. For some it ruins the whole day or week. Why? Because of the emotional investment, because the payoff if you win feels so good. Unfortunately, it comes around rarely...but when it does it reminds you why you love sports so much in the first place.
There was a time many years ago when wrestling had my attention and the wrestlers themselves captivated me. When I say many years ago, I mean twenty five years ago when the organization then known as the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) was just getting its foundation set and the stars were young and looking to make a name for themselves. At the time, wrestling was dominated by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Jake the Snake Roberts, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, the list could go on forever. Then came a wrestler that was as unique and energetic as ever had been seen, the Ultimate Warrior. The guy more chiseled than anyone, and could fly through the air as if he had rockets attached to his back. I remember the colors of the bands he wore around his arms, always wondering why he had bands around his arms. I know now that the bands help make the muscles look bigger, but it was a unique look for the time. He was the most colorful guy in wrestling and part of the childhood characters that I admired.
I didn't know his real name until today, but James Hellwig a.k.a. the Ultimate Warrior passed away yesterday at the age of 54. Another of many wrestlers who passed away too soon, all of them tough guys who could seemingly do anything, take any kind of punishment, or literally fly around the ring, all somehow larger than life both in physicality and personality. He was one of my favorite wrestlers, when I liked wrestling. After I grew older, wrestling changed with new characters like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and the like. The WWF became the WWE, and many of the guys I grew up with grew older and retired one after another. Through the years, the news of the passing of another great wrestler became commonplace, almost all seemingly while they were in their 40's or 50's. Maybe it had to do with steroids, or the physical abuse their bodies took night after night, or the mental toll of being on the road a lot and staying in character. Maybe it
I still look back at that time of wrestling (mid 80's to early 90's) as its peak for me, and another person from my childhood has passed on. Goodbye Ultimate Warrior, and thank you for the memories.
One of my favorite shows on TV right now is Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel. They drop a man and a woman literally out in the middle of nowhere and have them strip down and leave them with one item of their choice and that's about it. No clothes, no nothing. There is a three man crew that follows them around recording their every move and are instructed not to intervene except in emergencies.
They've been in Madagascar, the Amazon, even Louisiana and it's about 60/40 split on those who make it and those who "tap-out". The idea takes Survivor and other "survival" shows to the ultimate level, and this is the attraction to see if they can actually figure out how to make it. They've even brought back a couple of survivalist who kicked butt in the first season for a second go around in an area where another pair tapped out in less than 4 days. I was very impressed and the scenery is very cool, I would love to photograph some of these remote areas.
The only knock is that it is a "reality" show, so there are liberties taken with the stories, I'm sure. I'm not sure on Day 17 of 21 how a female can have cleanly shaven arm pits, and in the latest episode in Madagascar the show led us to believe that the pair had no food except for a couple of snake eggs for 18 days, this after cooking one snake too long and then after killing another snake the camp went up in fire, ruining what they had caught. Maybe it's possible they hadn't had food for 18 days and could remain chipper and strong, but it seems to be a stretch. On the flip side, there was one woman who was using a walker after getting Dengue Fever.
There's no doubt though that most of it seems to be legit, and the bug bites alone would be enough to make someone cry uncle, or much worse. It's a great show though, and although the After Dark live follow up show is totally unnecessary and takes a bit away from it by trying to be funny, it's worth spending a little over an hour on Sunday nights to see what the next random pairing will get into.
I had the chance this weekend to meet a good friend of mine who lives in Arkansas and hang out a bit, and took a day to go out on a photography tour of Northwest Arkansas. We stayed in Fayetteville and attended an Razorback baseball game, and lucked out to get to see them play Alabama. After a couple of innings, marginal storms moved across the area dropping a good amount of rain with imbedded lightning so we ended up with about a 45 minute rain delay. Once play resumed, it was 10pm and Bama was leading 8-6 in the fifth inning and we called it a night. When we saw the final score ended up with Alabama winning 17-8 , and they had to be playing well into the wee hours of the morning so I'm thankful we didn't stick around.
We got up the next day and traveled first to the north to Eureka Springs, not so much to see the town but it is nestled in some beautiful hill country. I love taking the back roads because that's where you see the unique stuff, and we did end up getting quite a few nice shots. After driving around in the north for a couple of hours and stopping by Pea Ridge Battlefield, we ate at Zaxby's in Springdale and headed south to Devil's Den. We did a little hiking along the main trails and saw a nice waterfall, and found some photo opportunities. We finished up the evening with some good BBQ and a couple of beers at the Boar's Nest in Fayetteville. It was a great weekend out, and ended up being a beautiful day with lots of scenery. Here are some photos from the short trip:
Click an ad to support this site!