Like most businesses, I’m fairly vigilant with analyzing data about visitors to my website (www.ToddBigelowPhotography.com). The data is provided, free of charge I might add, by Google Analytics. No doubt an invaluable tool. I can determine how people are finding my site, what keywords are used to locate my work, entry pages, exit pages, length of time spent on site, specific cities where visitors are viewing from and even the speed of their connections (great to know if you’re using a slow loading flash page). But what is totally invaluable is, of course, the photographs that are being viewed.
Using the information provided by Analytics as well as my website host (Photoshelter), I can easily determine the content that is of greatest interest to visitors. For example, the 10 most often used keywords in the past week have been: drunk boating, lake havasu party cove, Nate and Nick Montana, Steve Clarkson, bikini cove gallery, copper cove lake havasu, havasu party cove, how high is copper canyon in lake havasu, lake havasu boat party, and lake havasu girls drunk. What’s it all mean? Well, all I can do is guess, but I imagine that the story I shot years ago for People Magazine looking at boating under the influence and posted on my site is of tremendous interest, though I think it’s easy to surmise that most visitors are more interested in the subjects of the story as opposed to the subject of the story, if you get my drift. If not, simply consider the following image from the story that has recently been viewed 336 times:
In fact, nine of the top 10 most viewed images are from that gallery. When I first looked at the data from Google Analytics I decided to place the gallery more prominently on my site. Since then the visits have increased and visitors are staying on my site longer and viewing other galleries. The lone image to break the “Girls of Havasu”, so-to-speak, monopoly in the top ten is a image I made along the US/Mexico border recently, but that has been viewed a mere 56 times!
The information is useful in that it enables me to gauge what is of interest from the galleries I provide for viewing. By using the keywords provided in the data I am able to shift galleries that are not prominently displayed onto my homepage in order to meet the interest.
Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie, both superstars of the LA Sparks, also generate a lot of interest. Obviously there are some WNBA fans as proven by a consistent showing of keywords for the two players, seen below from a shoot for Sports Illustrated a year ago:
Thankfully, the data does prove that there are some people out there truly concerned about issues like immigration, as noted above, and health care, as opposed to just bikini girls and sports! The health care issue is one of the top searches as well on my website (and on this blog). But the searches are usually centered around “crowded waiting room” or “crowded emergency room,” obviously a concern for the public and a issue for publications to address. Several licenses, including a textbook cover, were recently written from my site for visitors searching for photos depicting such.
So using the data can be surprising, as was the case with the boating under the influence story, as well as useful in determining how to improve the traffic to my site.
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