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Last month I wrote a comparison of most popular web services, where I detailed pros & cons of some most popular websites including 500px, Flickr, Facebook and Google+ from photographer's perspective. At that time I focused mainly on the image quality and exposure you can get on every website expressed in a number of views.
But quite frankly, the number of views on my photos on these websites isn't as important to me as is something else - how many of the actual viewers come to my blog from there. I'm mostly photography blogger after all. I write tutorials that I want fellow photographers to read, I share presets that I hope others will use in Photomatix and Lightroom, I share post-processing details and EXIF data to give beginners some ideas on how I take my photos. I do all this on the blog. Not on 500px, not on Flickr or Facebook. On the blog.
Of course I want other photographers (and not only) to view my photos but I want people to read content I write.
Problem with sites like 500px and Flickr is that so many people view, "like" and comment on your photo just because they want you to view and comment on their photo as well. And so you will see hundreds of comments from same users on every uploaded photo that have form of "V+F. Please visit my last photo" or "Great. See my photo if you like" and similar. Of course I never visit their photos after reading such comments.
What I'm trying to say is that many people aren't really interested in your work. They are trying to get more exposure themselves by commenting on every photo no matter they like it or not. It's more a "View and Forget" approach. If they want to do this, it's ok but they aren't my target because they definitely won't visit my photography blog because it takes some time and they prefer to spend it on commenting. Because the more they comment the bigger the chance someone will return their favour.
I had some ideas on how much traffic I get from each of the mentioned websites but I decided to go with more thorough analysis using Google Analytics to support these ideas. Below is top 4 for last month considering traffic percentage:
- Google Search - 47.00% of traffic
- Direct traffic - 20.30% of traffic
- Facebook - 14.14% of traffic
- Google+ - 4.00% of traffic
- Pinterest generated just 0.74% of total traffic (10th place),
- 500px - 0.56% (11th place),
- Flickr just 0.06% (37th place)!
As you can see traffic for my blog is mainly from Google searches or Direct one. From photography web sites most traffic came from Facebook and Google+. My personal favorite for viewing photos (due to their quality), 500px, gave me just 0.56% of total traffic. Rather bad and disappointing result. And Flickr... better not to mention it in this context...
What's more important none of the "true" photography websites gave me more than 1% of traffic! Facebook and Google+ are more social networks after all. But this can in fact explain why they generated much more traffic. People there are more used to "socializing", clicking links, commenting, discussing, sharing and so on. Much more than on photography websites like Flickr on 500px which are more about getting exposure, mainly from other photographers.
But a month is a rather short period and I didn't want to leave you with impression that I cheat here. However, I also analysed whole last year and the results were pretty identical for the first 10 or so places. Facebook worked the best for me of all photography services and Google+ came second. Then was Pinterest (around 7th place) and other web services were far behind them, not reaching 1% of traffic.
Now the percentage doesn't tell whole story, does it? So a small comparison of visits from a given web service for last year:
- Facebook - 10.000 visits
- Google+ - 2.797 visits
- 500px - 509 visits
- Flick - too few to mention ;)
From above short analysis, it seems that for me spending time on websites different than Facebook and Google+ is simply a waste of time when considering my goal (which is to have more visitors on my blog). And I don't have much time given that I'm working full-hours as software developer.
Does it mean I plan to limit my activity on 500px and Flickr? Well, I haven't made up my mind on this yet. I will definitely view photos on 500px because some of them are really great and are inspiration for me. In fact since starting using 500px I greatly improved as a photographer, partly due to the photos which were inspiring me there. I will probably occasionally upload my photo there too, but not too often given that I now get a few thousand of views on Google+ on a photo regularly and I just get 100 - 300 on 500px... And a bit more on Flickr.
Time for a short summary. While I wasn't able to name the winner previously, in today's 2nd round 500px and Flickr were simply knocked-out - they simply doesn't work from photography blogger perspective. Simple as that.