We love Flickr for a lot of reasons but for now we will focus on two big ones: 1) photo management and 2) attracting qualified traffic to your site.
#1 – Photo Management: Flickr is best used with a pro account ($24.95) because it allows for unlimited photos and storage. Currently we have over 6,000 photos stored and somewhat organized. Flickr lets you create sets and collections to sort out your photos as well as title and tag them. As long as your camera allows for it (most do) you can also store all the specs of a photo [such as focal length, exposure, date, etc.] to improve your understanding of what made the photo work (or not work).
You can also find your photos based on date taken, date uploaded, tags, and more. This definitely improves finding a photo taken a few months (or years) ago, especially if you do a good job of tagging and organizing. Flickr also works for photographers not wanting to lose their copyright, or if you’re like us, you can make them part of the Creative Commons.
Once your photos are on Flickr, putting them into your blog (or elsewhere) is fairly easy. Select the photo, click “all sizes”, and choose the size you want. We use medium as it usually has a width of 500 pixels (which fits perfectly on our site). However, you can do small and thumbnails as well. Just copy the code Flickr provides and paste it into your site. If you want to change the size to something in between, just remove either height=”x” or width=”y” and replace with your desired size (in pixels).
There is a potential risk with keeping your photos on a 3rd party site. If the site goes under or the server fails completely, you could lose your photos and break the links to them from your site. However, Flickr is massive in size and popularity and is extremely reliable. We have had zero problems in over 2 years.
#2 – Traffic Gains: One of the best things about Flickr is that it really is a social networking site. One of the main purposes is to view other people’s photos and comment/favorite stuff you like. Like other social sites, you create a profile and make contacts. Your contacts then can see your photostream and it opens up a communication channel. You can also search for phrases, tags, groups, etc. to find specific photos, including those to use on your own site (Creative Commons).
Thus, the more active you are in the community, the more exposure your profile gains and the more traffic to your site. Our profile name is Birdfreak.com which is itself a plug, but uploading tons of great photos and commenting on other people’s shots will increase your visibility. We even created a group called the Secret Life of Birds to further increase our involvement. [This was a ton of work and the group has practically taken on its own life which we are not as involved in now.]
A lot of the traffic gains from Flickr are hard to track completely. But it is definitely an excellent tool to easily gain buzz about your website through the pictures you already take and need to manage.