Since I started using Flickr with regularity, I’ve noticed a few trends in the viewing of my images (there is a counter below each image that tells me how many unique urls or Flickr users have viewed them).
Firstly, an intro for you non-Flickry users: When you post images to Flickr, they are viewable sequentially in the order you placed them at your home page. You can also place them in thematic “sets”, i.e. my Tour de Georgia set. You can also assign tags to each image, text markers that allow searching and grouping. For example, if I take an image at work, “work” gets thrown into the tag list. If it’s of a road, “road” is in there. The 2007 Georgia Marathon received “Georgia” and “Marathon” as well as “georgiamarathon”, “georgiamarathon2007”, and “inggeorgiamarathon2007.”
These basic facts have a few consequences. Your most recently posted images are the most likely to be viewed by random people. If you load a bunch (enough that it overflows onto page two) the second page gets a bit neglected. Anything I post into my blog gets more hits than usual, and anything that is the header image of a set also is viewed more than normal.
There are some things that attract more image views, though:
Use very popular words. This image has only been up for two days and it’s being hammered (by my standards). I guess using the phrase “getting things done” or “GTD” (see previous post) will get you lots of hits.
Take highly saturated color photos. These get lots of attention when they pop up as small thumbnails on the most recent images pages. They usually get at least a few clicks just to see what all the color is about.
Use the tag “redhead”. My wife does this and she gets slammed all the time on her 365 Days Project. If she weren’t including the “redhead” tag in her photos, I bet the views would drop.
Lastly, take good photos. The occasional good photo I throw up on my account gets more than its fair share. I find that to be heartening. People surfing around flickr do stop at images that are well-composed and lighted.
So, to summarize the actions necessary to garner eternal flickr fame: Take excellent highly saturated color photos of redheaded girls with tags like “sex” and “GTD” then post them to popular message boards.
Either that, or keep soldiering along as usual, building a base of viewers with interesting photography.
I placed this up on Flickr today at 1446 EDT, and it’s received 18 hits since then. Other images uploaded at the same time have received between 4 and 8 hits. The REDHEAD tag works like a charm. I threw redhead on this one just to see what would happen.