Yes this blog is relatively new, but I’m not new to blogging. I’ve run two other blogs in the past few years. Both were short lived. One of them had all of zero readership and the other was mildly successful due in large part to the type of content (app reviews). Neither however would I claim had great readership, especially in terms of readers that continue to come back. Since starting this blog I’ve done something new and I’m already seeing better readership in terms of analytics than I have in the past. I think this is due in large part to one small thing I’ve been doing.

Build Blog Traffic Using Flickr

Here’s the secret. Okay it’s not much of a secret per say as it is a simple technique to help you build blog traffic using Flickr. A way to connect on a more intimate (read as friendly not sexual) way with potential readers, as well as pay them back. I use photos from Flickr as my featured images whenever I don’t have a photo of my own that fits the subject matter.

Step 1: Find An Image Using Creative Commons And Add It To Your Post

Now it’s not quite as easy as just stealing somebody’s photo and posting it. That would be illegal and immoral. Instead it’s a two part process. The first step is to do a search for an image that fits your post. You need to do an advanced search and check the box that says only search within Creative Commons-licensed content. Creative Commons is an organization that helps creative people share their work for use by others using their licensing. The details can be found at The way it works is anybody that wants to share their creative works, in the case of Flickr their photos, can check a box when they upload them, adding the license to their images. There are several Creative Commons licenses, but I don’t want to start getting to technical with legal details. So let’s just use the first Creative Commons check box in the advanced options for our search.

Next browse through the search results and find an image you like. Download the image, write up your post and add the image as the featured image. Make sure at the bottom of your post you include a line that says something to the effect of Photo Credit: Name of Photographer, and then turn the photographers name into a link back to his or her Flickr page.

Great! Step one is done. You’ve found an amazing image to use on your post. Likely much better than you would have taken on your own. Your post looks awesome! But how does that help you build readership? Simple.

Step 2: Contact The Photographer

Step two is where you make the connection. We know that the image we used is licensed under Creative Commons, but it’s also common courtesy to make sure that it’s okay to use the image in the way you have. You never know if perhaps the image was marked as Creative Commons by mistake or maybe the photographer just doesn’t agree with your views and doesn’t want their work associated with your article. Who knows… but let me say I have yet to run into this. What you want to do is send the Flickr user a message using Flickr’s mail system. It should look something like this.

Hello ##Username##! I wanted to thank you for uploading your images under the Creative Commons license. Thanks to you I’ve got an amazing image to accompany my blog post which can be found at [insert link here]. I have also credited you at the bottom of the post with a link back to your Flickr page. If this is not okay with you please let me know and I will remove the image from my post immediately. If however this use is appropriate I thank you very much and would be happy to change the credit wording and where the link sends people to your liking. Thank you! ##Your Name##

Simple as that! Almost every time you follow these steps you get positive results. Usually the photographer is a) thrilled that you actually asked permission because many people just take the images, b) happy to be getting more exposure than he or she would be without their image on your post, and c) usually read the article and if they enjoy continue to read new articles. I have gotten several wonderful comments about my writing from photographers whose images I have used and several who have sent me praise not only on the article that their photo was included on, but on other posts as well. That’s all there is to it.

Looking for some additional creative ways to promote your blog posts? If you want to read a few ideas that aren’t in every post about promoting your blog check out Kimberly Reynolds’ post titled 5 Creative Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your Blog Post. Have you had any luck with this method? Or a similar method using another site? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Richard Garside