Every one is talking about it now. How to increase your web site traffic and the necessity of optimizing your web for the search engines. It is no wonder. If you are in business you want to be found. Getting people to your site means you have been found but does not mean you will sell. It is my believe, that only three type of photographers websites sell. Stock, wedding and those selling art prints. Photojournalist does not sell his stories because of his web site. In fact it might even hinder a sale as the images would already be considered published to the world. Editors get so many stories sent to them that they do not have to go out to look for stories.
Advertising photographers do not sell them self through the website alone. I highly doubt that art directors and art buyers run to the web and do a search for advertising photographer when they are working on a campaign. If the client does not have on already on their mind, then the art director has a friend who is a photographer or he remember seeing this image in some magazine and that photographer should be the right one for the job. In other cases the brainstorming meeting ends with asking every body which photographer they think is the right for the job. So memory plays a big part. In best cases they call handful of agents and ask them to sent in some portfolios from their best candidates.
Even down to the smallest of towns they will not go on line to look up a photographer. There the question will be. Who owns a camera. This is not based on some scientific research nor is it based on some gut feeling I have. It is based on experience. I have been the clients choice. I have missed out on jobs because of the clients choice. I have fought along side the advertising agency to convince the client that I am better than his friend that owns a camera. I have lost a job on book because of writers owning a camera and manage to sell to the client that a package deal was better. At that time I actually got very shocked on the lack of professionalism as I had done a very good job on the first book. One of my best book jobs ever (you can see it here), but that did not matter. The writers where friends with the one in charge of the project. Case closed.
I have gone in and rescued the face of the client by re doing shoots that his friend did. I even have gone in and rescued the memories for a newly wed couple when the nephew with his new camera did not deliver any images. With the modern age, its digital cameras and more and more designers working directly for the companies the fight just gets bigger. It is almost like the photography profession is under attack from everybody wanting to be a photographer. The funniest of things is that my most artistic , simplest version of websites, gave me the most increase in traffic and generated increase in questions weather I did weddings. I did not mention wedding pictures any where on the site. I had on the other hand participated in a discussion amongst young and upcoming photographers on the web about how to do wedding photography and how to conduct your self during a wedding photography session.
So where dose it leave us with increased web site traffic. Does it real not give us any thing but larger bill to pay for increased bandwith use. I hope I am wrong. I do like to get even more traffic to my site, in the hope that it will get my name out there. The more people that get my name on their tongue, the more likely it is I will get some job at the end.