I wanted to bounce an idea off folks to see what they think as a topic for a new web site. I've been struggling with this issue for quite some time since everything that I've looked at seems to have tons of competition. Now I think I have something that may indeed work. In fact, I think the concept would work for just about anyone in different localities and competition would be minimal since each locality is different (i.e., historic buildings, history, attractions, etc.). So what I have in mind for my site would be different from a site another would have in a different locality since different keywords would be different.
The site's concept would be to keep things local... to the city I live. Each locality would have it's unique keywords, keyword phrases, etc. The concept would highlight things unique to the community, present a totally different view of historical buildings and attractions, etc.
Here's what I am thinking now: I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a unique way of presenting pictures of people, places, buildings and things around my community. Now for the unique twist: the pictures presented would be converted photographs. Photographs would be converted into looking like black/white pencil drawings with a few key points of focus colorized or just left alone as a black/white drawing. Also, photos could be changed to look like water color pictures.
The conversion of photos to drawings and water color textures can be accomplished quite easily in Adobe Photoshop Elements. The idea is not new and people have been doing it for quite some time.
However, what is new is narrowing photo topics to a specific locality. What I may do here in my locality would be totally different than what could be done in a town in Michigan, Washington or Florida. And, the converted photos could be used as a source of monetization; where individual high quality photos could be sold or a compilation of photos of a local topic could be sold in a book form or as greeting or postcards. As part of the promotion, a free ebook could be provided to subscribers to my web site that is in essences a catalog of all the prints for sale.
As for monetization for the site, I think there are other ways to make money from photos. Here are just a few where I've given some thought to the process.
1. Give business people Moo cards. Turn photos into mini-Moo cards and market them as unique intros for
business people who think they’re unique.
2. Put a mouse on an image - Zazzle is one site that lets one put a photo on a mouse pad and sell it through
3. Create a photography book - Using Blurb, a photo web site, makes it a easy to publish photos in a book and sell it to admiring people for a profit.
4. Create a specialized photography book - Put my favorite images in a photography book. Create a book for people that combines their favorite photos into book form. This would go along with Item #3.
5. BritePic - BritePic lets one put a floating ad on images when users mouse over – I earn even if the pictures are not on my website.
6. Blog about my pictures… and get paid for it - Google’s AdSense program is giving many bloggers a handsome income. Put my images on a blog, discuss them and earn from ads.
7. Find local distributors for my local images - Even simple pictures sell well when people recognize them. Get local images in local stores to make sales.
8. Give hosting companies exclusive libraries -Hosting companies give packages to clients that can include microstock deals. Give them an exclusive library of images and they’ll have a unique offer for
their customers; I'll have my own microstock customer base.
9. Create creative car window covers - When the weather is hot, cars get hotter. Print photos on windscreen covers and offer them to accessories stores.
10. Earn real income from real estate -Taken pictures of buildings? Take pictures of buildings with For Sale signs and offer them to the sellers. If my photo is better than theirs, I’ll be exchanging contracts.
11. Take a trip to a travel agents -Travelers want to know where they’re going so if I’ve been there and
photographed it, give travel agents a chance to show them. For a small fee, of course.
12. Decorate cafes - I can ask café owners to put my pictures on their walls. They get free art… I'll get
to show pictures with price tags.
13. Earn every day with calendars - Calendars are simple to make but tough to get into stores. So sell them online.
14. Build a membership base - Create a club and give members a photo a day with an explanation of how it was shot. It will be like an email photography course… with tuition fees.
15. Put my pictures on microstock sites - Everyone else is doing it .
16. Put my pictures in competitions - The ‘net is stuffed with photo contests these days. Some of them pay cash prizes, others pay with a valuable reputation boost.
17. Go mobile - Ringtones are a huge market and ringtone companies also sell mobile phone
wallpapers. Ask them to sell mine.
18. Snapped a logo? Take it to the company - If there’s a logo in my picture, I’ve got just one possible buyer. So ask them to buy it.
19. Put it on a t-shirt - Yes, we know it’s old-fashioned but it works! People do buy them…
20. Turn my photos into art works - I don’t need a gallery to create art works; I just need a canvas printer. There are plenty of those around so I put a picture on a stretcher and sell it as art.
21. Turn my art into sketches- I've already mentioned this idea. Photoshop lets me turn my images into sketches. While the sketchers sketch, I can shoot and print.
22. Customize stationery - Fancy stationery comes with all sorts of flowery designs. Why shouldn’t they
come with my pictures? I can find a printer, create notebooks and put them in stores.
23. Put my pictures on programs -Software companies need all sorts of images… to decorate their disc covers, to put on their boxes, to function as backgrounds. All I need to do is check out who’s working on what, shoot some stills and make my pitch.
24. Decorate model apartments - Property developers always create at least one apartment that looks lived in to show prospective buyers. Why shouldn’t the developers put my pictures on the wall?
25. Stretch my pictures to 42 inches - The price of flat-screen TVs has fallen faster than an anvil in a road-runner cartoon. These days, almost everyone has one on their wall and most of them are dark most of the time. But there’s no reason they should be. Some of them can take uploaded pictures. Make a disk and make them mine.
26. Cover CDs - People are still burning CDs… and still storing in them in boring plastic covers. Put pictures on circles and offer them to stores that sell blanks.
27. Cover flash cards - A lot of folks these days are using flash memory cards to hold their information. They may be small but they’re big enough to hold a photo with sticker. Especially if I print it small enough.
28. Create collectors’ packs -Shoot a series of themed images such as birds and wild flowers of East Texas.. Print them on cards and sell them in niche outlets in restricted doses. It worked for baseball players…
29. Turn my pictures into wallpapers - Desktop wallpapers are still big business. Or at least, big enough to buy my photos. I can sell them and appear on computers across the nation.
30. Help campaigning groups - Local pressure groups need images for their campaigns and they’re the sort that aren’t easy to find — beautiful pictures of the local woods, for example, or the headquarters of a property developer.
31. Become a local photojournalist - It’s not just pressure groups and student papers that are willing to take freelanced images. I've learned local newspapers often will too, especially the free ones. All I need to do is call their photo editors and make my pitch.
32. Sit on my best work - If I can put a picture on a t-shirt, I can also put it on a cushion cover.
33. Let buyers eat my pictures - print images on sheets of edible paper and stick them on cakes.
34. Market to Flickr book marketers - Book marketers are using Flickr to drum up publicity. They need good images. I need sales. It’s a match made in a kitchen.
35. Advertise on Craigslist - This is simple and so overlooked. I can be one of the first to advertise outstanding prints on the world’s coolest classifieds?
36. Create coloring books - Take photos of landscapes, birds, animals and buildings. Then use Photoshop to put together my very own coloring books.
37. Cover the Earth in my pictures - Well, Google Earth anyway. Some photographers have already put their aerial images on Google Earth but why not turn all of my landscape photos into an overlay… and sell them?
38. Take “after” photos - Vintage photographs are appealing. Use them by comparing them with how the place looks today. I can’t go back in time but I can find the old places, shoot them today and sell them to vintage photo sellers to complete their set.
39. Sell them as prints - Yeah, I know it’s old fashioned but there’s still a market for pictures I can
hold and touch. And there are plenty of photo sites that let buyers order online. I can be one of those online stores.
I would use the site to present people, places, building and things here in my town in a different way other than the traditional color photo. I could have black/white drawings or water color looking photos of these places and things. My idea is just to present things unique to my city in a different way and be different from what other folks are doing with just photos alone. The only limiting factor would be my artistic ability to manipulate photos.
Also, a narrative for each picture would be presented in the web site for content. The content would be unique, I would become a local authority on the topic and Google seems to like this type of thing. Additionally, competition from other sites would be minimized.
I hope you can see the end result of what I am trying to achieve. And it may be something that you could do in your community if the notion were to strike your creative senses. We would not be competing against each other since the topics and localities are unique to themselves. And it seems we would be doing something that Google seems to want....something more local and authoritative.
Perhaps the biggest challenge would be the following questions:
WHO would be my visitor? People who live in my community? Tourists? Art Lovers? Or, All?
WHY/how is someone going to find my site given limited keywords unique to my community?
This is a visual topic and how would Facebook or Pinterest be used?
Is there a perceived value in what my site would offer?
Please let me know what y'all think.