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by: Ken Mowery
I am not a professional photographer nor am I in the travel business. However, I stay very busy these days taking scenic photographs and featuring them on my web site because my "not so" professional travel photos are bringing serious traffic to my web pages.
I consider myself a serious hobbyist when it comes to photography. It's a hobby because so far no one is willing to pay for any of my pictures. I know it's a serious hobby because I am never totally honest with my wife when she wants to know just how much I spend on photography. Over the years I have been privileged to see and shoot a few of the spectacularly scenic locations that exist in the U.S.
When I started designing web pages I was constantly on the search for fresh images. One afternoon my search for a waterfall took me into the basement of my home where my wife had stored dozens of shoeboxes filled with hundreds of ordinary vacation snapshots. I found the perfect scene for my project among the many photographs I had taken of Niagara Falls.
I scanned several of the Niagara pictures into my computer and tweaked them slightly with an image editor. I was very pleased with the results and decided to post the images on my personal website. I made a mistake when I typed the words and the file ended up as "NiagraFalls". I didn't think that much about it because I only planned to publicize the Niagara Falls pages to a few friends and relatives so they could enjoy the pictures also.
A few weeks later I was checking the stats for my website and noticed that a number of guests had surfed in through search engines. To my surprise 30% of my visitors had come through a search for "niagrafalls". I went to one of the major search engines and keyed in that phrase and was amazed to see that my site was in the top ten returns.
I decided to see if other scenic hotspots might become "virtual" destinations of choice. I went through the same process with photos I had taken at Garden of the Gods State Park in Colorado Springs Colorado as well as a few other Colorado locations. I was pleased that "gardenofthegods" became another key search phrase that brings people to my site.
In the past I used my personal web pages to promote my web design and hosting business. Unfortunately, web design and hosting is not that relevant to my guests who come because of scenic interests. After some measure of trial and error I discovered that "entertainment" products market very well to the scenic seekers that visit my site.
I began a banner rotation on my photographic pages that link out to various entertainment sites which I affiliate with. So far the results have been very encouraging. In a future article I hope to explain what I discovered about keyword searches in the entertainment sector.
Let me summarize with these simple instructions. Get those vacation photographs out and upload them to your website. Build a separate page for each exotic location that you have been to. Be sure to enter the name of the place in your page title and in the keywords and description meta-tags. Set up a relevant banner rotation program and enjoy the traffic of virtual travel.
About The Author
Ken Mowery's articles have been published in a number of magazines. He also writes a monthly column for the Greeley Tribune. He has been involved in web design and promotion for 8 years.