Posted by Arlo on May 2, 2004 under Website

Sally Lightfoot (20k image)I’d like to take a moment to formally introduce you to a new project: My Photoblog!

About a month ago, my wife and I started up a new section of where we could post some examples of my photography and attempt to actually make some money off of it. The first photo was uploaded on April 1st, and I’ve kept it fairly quiet since then.

It’s not a big secret or anything; I had a few good reasons not to flaunt it. First, I’m only planning to upload one photo per week, so a month ago there wouldn’t have been much to see even if I had spoken up. Second, one of my goals is to track my site statistics to discover the best ways to advertise a small commercial web site.

My plan for the first month was to discretely add a few new links to my web site inviting the more observant visitors to the new photoblog. It worked, to some extent, I guess. It’s hard to tell exactly how many humans (as opposed to web-crawling ‘bots) found the site, but I do know that I had around 17 unique visitors. Not bad for essentially no advertising.

For the second month, I thought I’d advertise — without spamming, mind you — to my friends and family and see how many hits that adds. (So, if you’re reading this and know of anyone that might be looking to decorate their house with some fine, artistic prints (or their dorms with some less expensive posters), please point them my way!) In the future I plan to test other avenues like adding my photoblog to online blog indexes, register the site with search engines, aggressively post on, etc. Eventually, I might even get to see if the PayPal links I put up on actually work!

Even without sales, though, working on the site has been very gratifying. I’ve got literally thousands of photos from my vacations, and some of them are, in my humble opinion, quite good. This has been a great excuse to dig up the negatives and slides, digitize them in at a nice, high resolution, and polish them up in Photoshop. Once scanned, they’ll be eternally ready for printing, and with today’s online services like Ofoto, Zazzle, and Café Press, it’s almost silly NOT to take advantage of the opportunity to add to our savings.

Besides, it’s fun. Oksana took a matting class last year and has learned quite a bit more than me about how to color coordinate the mattes and frames that go around my photos. Zazzle has an online interface that allows her to try out combinations before she hands me the JPEG images I post online. The cool part is that the mattes and frames you see on the photoblog will be just what you get if you order a print!

It was also a rewarding challenge to attempt the bending of the Greymatter blogging software to my will. It wasn’t really meant to do what I’ve got it doing (and I never did get it to do EXACTLY what I wanted with respect to the look and feel of the site) but it’s doing a passable job. I learned a ton about CGI scripts and HTML formatting. My only regret is that I had to resort to using a Microsoft-specific HTML tag to get the background gradient to work. If you’re using Netscape, you’re only going to see the next best thing – a neutral gray background. Check it out in a newer version of IE for the preferred look.

Anyway, I hope you’ll take the time to view some of my favorite photographs, as well as enjoy the short stories I wrote about them. If you like the site, come on back every Thursday – that’s when I plan to post the next picture.

Oh, and spread the word in May – I’ll let you know next month how many more unique visitors I got!