I’ve used ICDSoft as my web host for 8 years now, long before Web 2.0 burst onto the scene. I’ve hosted various personal websites on it and used it as file storage space for online communities where I was an admin or member.
On Squidoo, I continue to find it extremely useful for image hosting. First, it’s fast, and I’m not dependent on Squidoo’s servers. Second, I have ICDsoft’s own traffic stats data, which records longterm trends like keyword searches that brought people to those images. I’ve got eight years of keyword data to mull through when pondering what people search for — I really need to spend more time digging through the records to help me brainstorm for lens topic ideas! Third, ICDSoft lets me block hotlinking.
Most importantly, having images hosted off-Squidoo lets me store the images for each lens in folders whose names reinforce SEO. For example, all my images for my volcano lens are stored in a folder named [blah blah]/volcanoes/[filename].jpg. This means every single image reinforces the relevance of that lens for the keyword “volcanoes.” You could use this technique on image hosting sites like Picasa and Photobucket as well, provided they let you name image folders, and those names are incorporated into the image URL.
On a side note… Where can you find information on which of your lens graphics is generating search traffic?
- Check Stats for that lens.
- Click the traffic tab.
- Scroll down to “Referrers” below the pie chart.
- Under “Referrers,” click Google. For some reason Squidoo treats Google image search as a referrer, not a search engine.
- Look for referrals beginning with these words: /imgresimgurl. Shortly after that will be the URL of the image. That means someone did a Google Image search, saw your graphic in the results of the image search, clicked on that graphic and came to your lens.
- It’s a little hard to decipher, but if you right click and copy that “referrer” URL into a spare document, then search for %3Fq%3D (which is a weird way of saying &q=, computerese for “query equals…”), everything after that is the actual search term someone typed in to find the graphic. %2B is computerese for a blank space. So for example, I see a referral with this gobbledygook:
That means that someone found my lens by doing an image search for mount pinatubo. I’m really not sure how, since other images turn up ahead of mine in Google image search, but they did, so there you are.
Normally you’ll never need to dig that deeply into your stats, but just in case, that’s how. Don’t ask me what all that other gobbledygook is, though.