I often use Flickr and YouTube for hosting my lens images and video and as a way to drive traffic. I prefer hosting my best-looking photos on Flickr as opposed to Photobucket or even my own website, because I can add something in the description field like “This is an illustration for Ancient Greece Odyssey: My Tour of Delphi” which gets keywords into the link. Having tagged my photos carefully for things like Greece and Delphi and Greek Art, I get a lot of traffic from people searching for those iamges on Flickr.
These are the kind of visitors you want most: a targeted audience who will be more likely to click your links, or even your sales modules, because they’re interested in what your lens is about.
Note that it’s against Flickr’s terms of service to use their site to store photos that are simply graphical elements of webpages (titles, banners, buttons), or items you’re trying to sell. But this is an indirect way of drawing in a target audience who may click on your links or products.
Linkbait — making something so compelling, outrageous, attractive or argument-inducing that people are liable to click on the link — is harder. You can’t count on any picture or image going viral, and most don’t. However, if one ever does, it could bring in traffic by the thousands.
Here’s a linkbait I’d been planning to make for a while.
The key is that I didn’t make it just for linkbait. I’ve been wanting to show off my cat’s silly dance for 12 years, ever since she first started amusing me and visitors! But “funny cat videos” — the best ones — tend to enjoy widespread circulation. I included the link in the video itself, just in case people start replicating and distributing it (they shouldn’t, but that’s often what happens with viral videos).
I’ve also posted the raw URL near the top of the video description, where it shows up on YouTube in the video’s sidebar above the “More…” link. I’m already getting some traffic from there. Cool slideshows and fun videos can thus be embedded on your lens, and drive traffic to your lens.