Category Archives: Entrepreneur

Website Traffic Boost using Google Maps and Local Guides

We’re all looking for ways to increase our website traffic or bring more eyes to our social pages. Let me tell you about a free, authentic and effective way of doing just that.

I received a really cool e-mail from Google this week, that told me that my photos had helped over 250K people on Google Maps (255,361 to be precise!).

Local Guides 250K Views for Free Website Traffic

How?

If you’re anything like me, you use Google for everything.  I regularly use: Search; Maps; YouTube; Gmail; Drive; G+; and, Translate. I actually just surprised myself at how much I rely on Google services.

Well…about a year ago I signed up as a Google Local Guide.

Google Local Guides are basically people who share their discoveries on Google Maps. This allows people to get more value from Google Maps by benefiting from the experience of others.  This could be a review of a local restaurant or a picture of your local beach.

So that’s good for Google, but what’s in it for you?

Well there are actually 5 different levels of guide (I’m a level 3).  A level 5 becomes a “Google Insider”, and gets to test new products before public release.  This Local Guides benefits page gives you a complete run down.

But personally, I’m not doing it for the Google benefits. I’m doing it because every picture I share carries my watermark and gives me free website traffic.  This image of The Shore in Edinburgh, Scotland has received 21, 445 views alone.

The Shore, Leith - More than 21,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

 

This image of Carson’s Pioneer Lookout in NSW, Australia has received 9,761 views.

Carsons Lookout Thunderbolts Way - More than 9,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

 

And this image of Murcia Cathedral in Spain has been viewed a whopping 39,363 times!

Murcia Cathedral - More than 39,000 views providing Free Website Traffic

It’s very important to keep your images relevant to the exact place on Google Maps that they are of (otherwise, I’m sure Google will remove them and you from Local Guides). However, it’s worth bearing in mind that as a landscape, cityscape, seascape photographer I’m much more interested in uploading those kinds of images. However, you’ll find that the local McDonalds is searched for on Google Maps much more than the places I like to photograph.  Food for thought?!

More importantly, the more accurate you are, the more relevant your image is to the person making the search on Google Maps. They are then far more likely to read your watermark (free advert) and visit your website.

Something that I haven’t done (yet), and also strongly advise, is that you also use your watermark to drive traffic to your various social media profiles.

I hope that boosts your website traffic or increases your followers on your social profiles.

Please click my social links, follow my page and say hi. You’ll then be first to know about my next blog.

 

Fraser 😉

How to get more followers on TSU

So you’d like to know how to get more followers on TSU, right?

Q. Is there some magic wand I can wave and suddenly have hundreds or even thousands of followers?

A. I’m afraid not, but read on because all is not lost.

There is one thing that I’m certain of on TSU (and on social media in general)…Followers bring Followers. Think of it like a snowball rolling down a hill, the bigger the ball gets, the easier it is to get even bigger.

Q. That’s a nice little anecdote, but can you prove it.

A. Until today it was just something I’d observed, but didn’t have any proof of, so I went back to my TSU Analytics. If you’re already on TSU, you’ll probably know that you can go to your Analytics Dashboard and review your Views, Likes and Comments over the past 30 days.

Well…being a bit of a geek for the numbers (there was quite a lot of stats in my degree), I’ve noted all of my numbers since the start (Oct 2014) in a spreadsheet.  Yes…I know…but sometimes it comes in handy.

So, I decided to compare my daily new followers in March 2015 against my new follower numbers for October 2015, and here’s the results:

New Followers in March 2015
New Followers in March 2015 – click for fullsize
New Followers in October 2015
New Followers in October 2015 – click for fullsize

This is even more striking than I expected it to be.

Q. So what does this teach us? 

A. In my opinion, it’s this. If you find a social media page that has a lot of followers you immediately think it must be good.  In fact, if you found two identical pages, but one had ten times the followers than the other you’d immediately expect the one with more followers to be better.

Q. Why is this?

It’s because you assume that other people have already reviewed the page and determined it to be good. You don’t actually decide for yourself, you allow others to decide for you.

The difference between what I did on TSU in October compared to what I did on TSU in March is not much, but the difference in follower numbers speaks for itself.

Obviously I hope that people enjoy my page, but it’s up to me to ensure that people continue to follow me.

Q. So how does this help me learn how to get more followers on TSU?

A. Quite simply, it shows you that perseverance is the key.  Start by following these simple steps:

  1. Find the area/topic that interests you most (then you’re less likely to give up at the first few hurdles)
  2. You must create quality content (and I’ll do a post later about Quality over Quantity)
  3. Engage with others who are also interested in your area (remember to use hashtags)
  4. Keep going…you may know you’re doing the right thing…but you should expect others to take longer to realise.

 

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

Thomas A. Edison

 

Please share to your favourite social network (buttons below).

Thanks 🙂

Read more tips at:

Tip 1: How do you find the right people
Tip 2: Don’t be a Eucalyptus Head
Tip 3: Account Restrictions
Tip 4: How to invite Friends
Tip 5: Use Hashtags
Tip 6: Mention other TSU Users
Tip 7: Meaningful Engagement
Tip 8: Connect your Social Profiles
Tip 9: Spammers and Copyright Infringement
Tip 10: Who YOU should invite to TSU
Tip 11: Is Google finding your TSU posts?

How do you find the right people on TSU?

Q. How do you find the right people on TSU?

A. Ask yourself…what is your interest/skill. Supposing the answer is Flower Photography; then you could start by following other photographers that either have a similar style to you or who’s work you like. This may:

  • give you inspiration for your next shoot
  • give you a new contact with whom you can share ideas
  • identify a new fan of your work

Q. But how?

A. The quick way would be to scroll through the Flower Pictures page to find the images you like and connect with those people. Remember…if you like someone’s work…tell them! It’s amazing the connections and even friendships that will develop.

Bear in mind, all of my tips will relate to flower photography, but you could just as easily apply the thinking to whatever topic you like.

Please share to your favourite social network (buttons below).

Thanks 🙂

TSU – Why you are getting it wrong

Ok…let’s start with the obvious and the honest. None of us need to join another social media platform.

I personally use: Facebook; Google+; Twitter; YouTube and Pinterest. I also use Fine Art America, Dreamstime and my own website (no need for a link…you’re on it!)

So why do you need TSU.  Short answer…you don’t need it, but you might want it, and here’s why.

The nearest comparison is Facebook.  The format and structure is similar and if you can use Facebook you can use TSU.  But why move? Well, Facebook keeps 100% of the revenue it generates from advertising alongside your content.  You know…your comments, shares, pictures, videos etc.  TSU is only going to keep 10% and is passing the other 90% back to it’s users.

 

Why I was Getting it Wrong

I was quite excited by the model and immediately set about trying to get as many friends and followers as I could.  Much like you do with the other social networks.

Let’s face it, if we are just trying to be social with our friends and family you don’t go looking for strangers to talk to, but if you have a business, a product, a service, a skill etc. that you are trying to tell people about then you need to tell as many people as possible until you find the one(s) who need or want it.

I’m a photographer, and I have managed to build a network of great people across the various social sites.  I spend a lot of time speaking to people who like, comment or share my posts.  Some of them even buy my work! They are helping me promote myself and I’m happy to do the same in return for them.

But ultimately, the GET MORE FOLLOWERS attitude is selfish.

 

How to Get it Right

Here’s the kicker…the TSU model encourages you to think of others first, and it incentivises you to do so!  Clever eh.

Anyone you invite to TSU becomes your ‘Child’.  Anyone they invite to TSU becomes your ‘Grandchild’ and so on.

10% of the ad revenue goes to TSU

45% of the ad revenue goes to the content creator

The remaining 45% (in decreasing percentages) goes to the rest of the ‘family tree’

 

So…Who Can You Help?

Do you know an aspiring writer, painter, singer, blogger, speaker etc? Then use your personal invite to invite them to TSU. They get a new platform to promote themselves and you share in their success.

Do you participate in online forums where your opinion is respected? Introduce others whose opinion you respect and the chances are they will be successful too.

Do you have friends and family on Facebook that you would like to see being paid for doing what they are already doing for free?  Invite them to TSU.  Use your invite link and that helps you too.

 

It’s All About the Quality

Right now there is plenty of “Follow Me, Follow Me” noise.  I was guilty of it too.  But…the frenzy will calm down, and the people who will do well will be the ones with a big ‘family’ who post, share and like quality content. Spammers beware!

If you decide that TSU is for you, then please say hello when you join up.

 

Fraser

Stock Photography – What Sells?

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll already know that I do 2 things with my photography.

The first is Fine Art.  Fine Art (to me) is just something that another person likes and is prepared to hang on their wall.  Other people will have different interpretations, but that is mine.

The Fine Art side of things is where I get most enjoyment, but it is not necessarily the place I make the most return.  So far, I have made more money from stock photography.

Stock photography is where your image has some sort of commercial value.  i.e. it might be of a newsworthy event; it might appear in a newspaper or magazine; it might appear on a website etc.

Here is the photo that (to date) has made me the most money.  Not that special…right?

However, the reason it has made me the most money is that the Ryder Cup was recently hosted at Gleneagles (the PGA Centenary Course).  I took my photo years ago, when my sister’s work hosted a corporate golf day there.  I offered (for free…she’s family!) to take some photos of the day, so that they could use them to help their business.

When I remembered that I had this photo, and that the Ryder Cup was about to be played there, I uploaded it to Dreamstime stock agency.  Lo and behold, I then sold the photo (to multiple buyers) before, during and after the Ryder Cup was on.

I have no idea who they were or what they used the photo for, but that’s ok.  I also still own the rights to the photo and can sell it again.

So, my point is this.  You may take great enjoyment out of taking a photograph of a beautiful sunset on a stunning beach (me too), but you might be able to eat because you took a photo of the entrance to a golf course.

Have a great day,

Fraser

Great news for European art buyers

Anyone starting a new business has to make decisions every day, and I’m no different.  You try to do your research and make the best decision possible, but ultimately you’re often just hoping for the best.

So, let me tell you about a decision I made that I found out today was a good one.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m using Fine Art America as the sales portal for my photography.  So far, I have to admit, I’m a big fan. However, there was one problem.  All orders were printed and shipped from the USA.

Now that’s good if you live in the USA, but if you live elsewhere you had the issue of delayed deliveries and higher delivery costs.

The good news, is that I just read today that FAA now have a UK fulfillment centre.  So, anyone who buys something from FAA (from me or anyone else) from anywhere in Europe, will now get it from the UK instead of the USA.

Officially, it’s only canvas prints, but I’ve just checked my own account and it ships canvas, metal and greetings cards from the UK. Everything else will be added shortly.

If you were thinking about buying, here’s the best bit.  If you are in Europe and buy a product before 31st August, the shipping costs are waived completely. So basically, it’s as good a price as you’re going to get.  That’s great for the artists and great for the buyers…a true win-win.

Hopefully FAA’s next stop will be in Asia or Australia for all of you in the east.

Go grab yourself a bargain, including my latest print, Elgol Looking West.

Elgol Looking West

Now…I wonder if it’s possible to make 2 good decisions in the same day!

Fraser

Fine Art America

Hi all.

As promised in my last blog post, this one is about Fine Art America.

If you read back, you’ll see that I’ve decided to take a 2 pronged attack on promoting (and hopefully selling) my photography.

The first is via micro-stock.  For this I’ll be using Dreamstime (see previous posts).

However, for the pictures I have taken (and will take) which I consider to be worthy of fine art, i.e. I think there is the possibility that someone might like to hang one on their wall, I am now using Fine Art America. Here’s why.

Time Saving

Fine Art America offers me a lot of flexibility.  Firstly it offers many domain names.  The ones that are relevant to me are:

www.fineartamerica.com
www.fineartdownunder.com
www.finearteurope.com
and
www.fraser-mcculloch.artistwebsite.com

If you click on any of the above links, you will find my content.  It is identical.  For example, I could upload a photograph to www.finearteurope.com and it was also appear on all the rest. Effectively this gives me 4 websites in 1.  Actually there are even more.

Why is this important to me?  I am from Edinburgh, Scotland and now live in Port Macquarie, Australia.  My older work is predominantly from Scotland, and mainland Europe but my work going forwards will be predominantly from Australia.  This means I can provide a link that looks relevant to my potential customers.

It is not a personal website.  Is this not a bad thing?

Yes and No in my opinion. 

People like dealing with the little guy, it gives them direct contact with the ‘artist’, but they also want convenience and a good experience.

I have direct experience in being the content controller of a website.  I don’t consider myself a techy (I think that should be techie?), but I know some stuff.  Most of all, I know how much work is involved in getting your website just how you would like it.

Obviously, the finished product is better (in my opinion) but the time it takes you to get it there is massive. Time that could be better spent taking more photographs (the thing that you enjoy!) or promoting your work (which is enjoyable when you get to engage with people that like what you do).

I also benefit from being in the same location as hundreds/thousands of other extremely talented artists. The very same reason the you’ll find 3 car dealers or 3 fast food shops in the same location.  Will someone come looking for a Mercedes and go home with a BMW? Possibly…but it will also work the other way around.

Let me list a few other key benefits for me.

Cost – So far, it has not cost me anything (other than time).  There are premium features but I don’t want or need them (for now)

Edit:  FAA only let you have 25 images online before you have to pay an annual fee (currently $30).  I’ve just reached that number and am happy to pay the $30, but it’s worth noting it as a downside!

Product Options – FAA make their money (actually they’ll often make more than the artist) from offering a variety of different product options i.e. canvas, framed prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, greetings cards etc.

Delivery – Done by FAA

I Set My Pricing – FAA have standard pricing on all their products, but I set the amount I wish to make on each sale.  Is your photograph worth $5, $50, $500?  You decide.  My advice would be to take a look at what other people are charging and set your pricing accordingly.

Other (free) functions I’ve not used yet.
Event Promotion
Press Releases
E-mail Marketing
Facebook Shopping Cart
etc.

Downsides

The big downside for me, is that all of the printing is done out of the US.  While this is fine for users/customers in the US, it is not great for the rest of us.  There is a time lag on your order being fulfilled, and there is the not insignificant issue of delivery costs.

There are 2 things I (in Australia) can do about this.  Wait for FAA to appoint an Australian printer (I would think/hope this is just a matter of time).

Or….have an account with Zenfolio (who do have Australian printers). For me, it is not yet worth the time or money to do this…but it may be worth it for others.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Fraser

ps – If you wanted to become my first FAA customer, here is a link to my work. 😉

Arthurs Seat to the Ochil Hills

Combining Stock Photography and Fine Art

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, but I figure it’s better to only blog when I actually have something to say, rather than because I think I should be blogging.

2 bits of news from me.  Firstly, I sold my 2nd photograph on Dreamstime.  Here’s the pic:

Edinburgh Festival Fireworks

This earned me a whopping $2.87…I’ll let you be the judge of its merits or lack of them.

I was however pleased, it showed me that it is possible – even with all the competition that exists – for me to create a market for my photographs.  But…back in the real world, that is 2 sales in 3 months making me a grand total of $7.21.  Based on my simple calculations, I’ll only have to live to 34,674 to become a millionaire.

Now, it’s not all about the money for me, but it’s not irrelevant.  I also thought about how I would feel if someone bought (what I consider to be) one of my best photographs for $2, and the answer was, not great.

So, I have decided that although I will still keep the Dreamstime account, I will only be uploading images that (I) consider to be stock type images, and not the ones that I consider to have some artistic merit.  I still intend to keep the stock photos exclusive to Dreamstime (for now).


Fine Art to me is simply something that someone may want to hang on their wall, and my chosen route for that will be Fine Art America

This will be the topic of my next post…but must get back to the day job for now.

All the best,
Fraser

Make it Personal

It seems the most obvious of things to say about a blog, and the whole point of the blog in the first place, but I can see how it would be very easy to get caught in the trap of just regurgitating what other people have to say.

If I ever do that…please tell me!

So this is my third post.  By the very nature of it, your first post is to noone.  Then somehow someone picks it up and then you have a ‘follower’…and after that it’s supposed to grow (I assume).

I wrote my first post, and noone read it.  You get basic stats from Blogger about page impressions etc. and the only impressions I had had were from me!  🙂  I then worked out how to turn off me and then I had none.  So that was slightly deflating.

As a few days went on I had a few pages impressions, all from the USA (which I know isn’t me…I live in Australia).

Then I mentioned on a Facebook group “Breakfast Stock Club” that I was going to write a blog.  I was slightly concerned that Bonnie Caton – the lady that runs the group – might have not liked someone ‘advertising’ themselves on her page.  How wrong was I.  Bonnie then wrote me a message to say that she’d feature my blog in her newsletter that Friday!  She was as good as her word.

So what you want to know now is what impact it had…get to the point Fraser!

Well on Thursday I’d had a few views.   As of 5 minutes ago I’d had 167 page views, 5 followers (hi Diane, Larry, Nancy, Ashley and Patrice) 3 Google+ adds and 1858 views on my Google+ page.

Don’t worry, I appreciate that these numbers are still extremely small compared to the following of others, but it just shows what a bit of networking, posting, and sharing ideas can achieve in a short space of time in the social networking age.

Next time I’ll talk about keywording tips that’ll save you time (but not that much as I’ve got to go).

Have a good Monday.

Fraser

Making Money from Photography

The title is exciting, the reality is not.

I made $4.34!

Ok ok, so I’m not going to get rich quickly (or at all) but it was incredibly rewarding to have a stranger part with actual cash for a photo that I took.

If you’re interested, this is it:

Perth Skyline

 

So what do you think?  My opinion, it’s clean it’s simple it’s not earth-shattering and it’s not going to make the cover of National Geographic, but it does mean I can change my title from Amateur Photographer to Professional Photographer (albeit a very poorly paid one).

Actually it’s got nothing to do with the title or the money, it’s about the motivation gained from a stranger (not a family member or friend who wants to be nice). 

So…I joined Dreamstime on May 9th 2014, I uploaded approximately 230 photos, I had 171 accepted and on June 3rd 2014 I made a sale.

Now, I’ve no way of knowing whether that is normal, better than normal or worst than normal, but it is my experience, and that’s what I’m here to share.

Hope it’s of interest.


Fraser