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Photography | Design

SEO on the photos

Well, π2.011 has been up for a while now, prices reduced to £4, more web templates added, but still no sales (from UK buyers only at the present). The problems are these: I really haven’t done any link swaps. This may be due to the fact that I haven’t a links page to put a reciprocal site on yet (and I’ve no more room for another menu button). The other problem is the name of the site in html code is “π2.011” which I guess isn’t good for the search engines.

I need to drive traffic to the site and convert the visits to sales. I should have called it “Frozen Toothpaste” or something. I realise I have a knack of naming site thoroughly bad names: Xerxiam, Xeream, ZingCOBOL, Maerex, pi2.011 etc… I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and rename. And that’s just the beginning of the process.

The whole thing is made harder by the fact that there are loads of photo sites online already. I massively undercut their prices in the cases where you have to pay, but the free sites like www.xse.hu have thousands of images (admittedly of varing quality but 90% pretty good). I’m not looking to make millions out of this, just a few quid. Well we’ll see.

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well not quite

Slightly umped the gun with the PayPal payments. I realised that the IPN was not in place. That would mean someone would hand over there readies and then nothing would happen. Not exactly ideal customer relations. The IPN seems rather complex but it could well be not as bad as I thought once I’ve read the manuals (which are too big so hard to find the relevant bit). Both payment methods still need an email notification set, and the customer email needs to be grabbed too.

On the same site I’ve been fine tuning the graphics (following opinions from forums). Incidentally, this is good way of also getting the site out there, especially as the forum users are potential customers. Feedback was generally pretty positive…people really like the image of Bamburgh castle:
Bamburgh castle from the beach at low tide.

This image was also popular in an image stock site. Really must get on with some graphics to get the stock complete enough. (misc., backgrounds, and logos).

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All systems go

So the people of web design forum world have largely given the thumbs-up to pi2.011 Images – even using multiple index pages. A little work was required to get the menu vaguely consistant but I think I’ve got it. Also, hit the PayPal button to see that they’ll accept credit cards so I guess it’s running. More graphics content to add, and probably more photo catagories needed soon.

Just one small fly in the ointment – no one’s bought anything. Still, can but hope the cash will start rolling in soon (lol).

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What makes a good web designer?

When pondering setting up a web design business it has often occured to me, though prehaps a tad obvious, that out there are graphic designers who have immense skill at creating fantastic looking designs and layout. These people being rather more skilled in the task than I. Likewise, out there are coders (techies) who can put together mindingly complex and powerful code, particularly in the realms of .NET, PHP and cgi/Perl (not to mention all the other sqillions of other technologies out there). Again, I don’t have a problem admitting these people are way ahead of me on this count too.

So should I throw my hands in the air and declare my intention to give it all up and go start up a shoe shop in Oban since I can’t compete with either camp. A ha! That’s it you see…they are TWO camps: graphics and tech. I, like many a freelancer, must walk the middle ground between both disiplines, calling on a reasonable amount of quality from both areas, pulled together to create a web site, which in essence, is a product of both art and technology.

So has this to do with business? Well, as a one man show this is all fine and well, but ultimately it is restricting. I am excluded from highly complex jobs through lack of necessary skills. Cutting edge design might also suffer too. I like to think what I have done so far is mostly quite good, but it isn’t at the front edge. My point is that to really be able to grow then getting specialised staff is the next step. My job would be to pull it together into a concept – the web site itself.

Know what you can do, but also know what you can’t.

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And they’re off…

Well, the π2.011 Royalty free images site is now open for business, or at least visitors can now purchase and download images provided they have either a UK credit card or a PayPal account (still haven’t figured out how to get it to accept credit cards yet!!). There’s still a few extra pages that urgently need doing, like a contact page, help page, about page. These are big things. I also need more CMS functions like tracking reporting, sales reports (ha!). Also, dire need of more graphics items – logos (none at the moment), web templates (only 3), backgrounds (2 and they’re photographic), and miscelleous (only 1). It’s a start though.

I haven’t even started with SEO work yet but I want I more test site before pushing it out there. Let’s see how it goes.

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Slowly but surely

I’m refering to π2.011 development of course. The payment system, followed by download function are now working (for NOCHEX at least). Need to set up a download retrieval system for users to enter their transaction id (so I don’t have to keep download files on the server for more than 24 or so hours).

Problems with Doodle bus. The conversion rate isn’t good. The hit rate is fine but people are making enquiries. Need to meet with the client to discuss the issue. More than just an SEO issue. Back linking is fine (the site has a PR3 which could be improved) but I think there will need to be more consumer confidence (the testimonials made clearer). More Scotland-orientated content, news, reviews, recommendations, image gallery. Look at the queries that have been made. Are there any questions that appear that could be addressed online: some people are asking but others may be hitting the back button. I think more (expensive) traditional marketing will be required. Still works better than anything else. It’s those newspaper travel supplements. Figure out how to get a feature written…nows that’s gold dust!!!

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