Every website has to hit some milestones eventually, right? In my case, when I started matthewdurrphotography.com just over five years ago, I had no idea it would gain the internet visibility it has now. Back then, I meant for the site to just be a springboard to chronicle my pursuit of learning photography. In fact, during the first year, most posts were split between various attempts at sports photography with my NEX-7 (first website post here!) using manual focus Nikkor lenses as well as a lens review here and there.
Little did I know that it would be lens reviews to put my site on the map for search queries. In fact, my biggest post so far on the site, my Sony 35mm f/1.8 OSS review, has gained almost 200,000 views alone, followed closely by my Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8 review, sporting almost 100,000 views including its impression posts. These are some crazy numbers for me! With the help of proper tagging and some nice search-engine-optimization (or SEO) by WordPress, my reviews of most of the lenses I have reviewed on the site show up pretty visibly on Google! Other posts of my less-popular lens reviews still average about 25,000-30,000 views, with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 E coming in at a notable 50,000. This kind of visibility is a bit unprecedented considering that at the most I have only done photography part-time. For a good three of the five years running the site, photography has been something of an “advanced hobby” due to time constraints in graduate school and current service in the Navy.
Delving a bit deeper into the stats, it’s hard to believe that I have also sported over a half million unique visitors to my site. Using the above data on lens reviews conservatively, a good 250,000 people have benefited from my lens reviews in some way. I’m so glad to have helped out so many in their pursuits of finding either good legacy Nikkor glass or finding the right lens for their E-mount camera! Finally, though many other bloggers have linked to my site in the past for all manner of reasons, I have to send a shout-out to SteveHuffPhoto.com. I have not been in contact with Steve much recently, but he along with Martin Irwin were two driving forces behind me getting into the E-mount craze. Steve’s feature of my essay on sports photography pursuits with manual-focus lenses also helped put me out there on the internet. Finally, a big thanks to Danny (known as nzmacro on DPReview forums) who helped teach me quick-focus techniques on long lenses in my early days.
So, what do all those numbers mean for my website? Well, if I was writing this blog to try to make money, I would say I have my priorities in all the wrong places! A large majority of my posts, particularly in the past couple years where I have not had enough time to write comprehensive lens reviews, are of my personal photographic pursuits. Some professional paid gigs are thrown in as well, but for the most part the page has turned into something of a travel photography site. Most posts nowadays are getting anywhere from 50-500 views, depending on content and visibility via Youtube links or Facebook shares. Some rookie numbers especially compared to the behemoth lens reviews that are always in the thousands!
After sitting down and analyzing the trends the website has shown over the years, I have a rough idea of where I want to take matthewdurrphotography.com. Funny enough, it turns out that I had it right from the beginning. A good mix of lens reviews with some gigs/photo walks thrown in gives the site variety as well as visibility on the internet. Depending on how I perfect my structure of lens reviewing, i.e. focus even more on the photos and not the technical specs, I can pursue a more consistent review schedule. A good way to accomplish this is to pre-order many new lenses that interest me (as well as track down copies of popular current and legacy optics) and turn around reviews about every month. If views for the newer lenses follow the trends my Sony 35mm and Zeiss 32mm show, ad revenue from AdWords should pay for the money lost upon reselling the lens on eBay. Currently, AdWords helps to maintain the site server costs only.
Anyway, that’s all for this little celebratory–and somewhat analytical–post, guys and gals. I want to send one last thanks to all my followers who stuck with me through the years and consistently gave constructive feedback to help shape the content and structure of the site. Because hey, without an audience, I’d just be another crazy guy rambling on the internet! >.> To join the club, click that little orange “Follow” button in the top right box! As always, have a great day guys and gals. Here’s to another 5 years. 🙂