Why Hosting Your Photos on WordPress is a Bad Idea.

By BenSpark | Blogging

Aug 03

Sunset in Warren, RI... PAD #1168

Last Week I wrote a post titled 4 Must Have Photo Plugins for WordPress. It got a pretty good response from people who were excited about what I mentioned. One comment however sparked my mind for today’s post. Here is what the comment said.

The problem with some of these plugins is the fact that you are hosting photos off site and giving these other sites the traffic that you should have.
From www.bloggingtips.com (share this quote)

I disagree with that statement because in my case much of my traffic actually comes from those photo hosting sites. And here is why:

Tagging, Geotagging, and Linking Back to my Blog.

Hosting my photos on sites like Flickr, BuzzNet, Zooomr, Picasa, Shuttercal, and Facebook has certainly increased my traffic and has not taken away from my traffic at all. Think about it.

You take a photo of a sailboat, the photo is beautiful and many people like sailboats. You can post it to your blog through WordPress and post a blog post with the tag sailboat and hope that people find your post and photo. The directory where you keep your WordPress photos is not something that is going to come up on a search for sailboat, all it does is put your photo somewhere, somewhere people can’t find it.

No suppose that you take a photo of a sailboat and you post it to Flickr, you geotag where you took the photo, say Cape Cod. You then tag the photo with “Sailboat, Ocean, Buzzard’s Bay, Cape Cod, Sailing. etc…” When a user of Flickr does a search for “sailboat” your photo has a chance of being one of the ones on that search. The user sees it and sees that you have written more about the experience on your blog, they are interested and click the link that you conveniently left on the caption and bang, traffic.

But it gets better. Suppose you do a search of your own on Sailboat on Flickr. What comes up are a bunch of sailboat photos but also Flickr Groups that focus on Sailboat photography, What if you joined that group and then submitted your sailboat photo. Now you have another group of people who are specifically looking at sailboats and now your photo is in front of their eyes. They also see the convenient link to your blog and maight want to check you out… traffic!

Oh but that is Flickr, what about Picasa. Picasa is owned by Google, the largest search engine ever. Do a Google image search sometime and see that many photos can come from Picasa users. Again you tag your photos and geotag them and add a caption with a link to your blog, someone find your sailboat photo clicks your link and… say it with me…. Traffic.

I just did a search and found a fascinating concept sailboat. Why, because it was posted and tagged with the right tags.

So if you use the plug ins that I suggest in last week’s post (barring picapp because that is for an entirely different reason) you are using your own photos and driving more traffic to your own content.

So get out there and shoot, tag and link. The traffic will follow.


About the Author

Everyday Photos… Every… Day… BenSpark.com is about my life through photography. Each image is a gateway to a story about my daily life. Occasionally funny, inspiring, interesting or creative BenSpark.com is real life in photos. With over 1850+ consecutive days and five different cameras BenSpark.com has documented images from the mundane to the amazing. I am Blog Consultant, Photo-A-Day Photographer and Daddy Blogger.

Sally August 3, 2010

Hi Ben

I never really thought about hosting my blog photos elsewhere but I can totally see the benefits of doing exactly that.

I actually have a flickr account so really there is nothing stopping me from testing out your method.

Sally :)

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    I've had a paid Flickr Account for a long time, I've had no problems with it. I also have photos in other places so that I have options if one thing goes down.

Lesley August 3, 2010

Are you speaking about a free Flickr account or the paid upgrade version? I cannot figure out how to post a link to my blog on the free version. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    I am talking about the paid Flickr account however if you are looking for a free solution that is similar try Zooomr. That is a great one. So many cool features. You should be able to click the share button and then grab the HTML to post on your blog.

Alec August 3, 2010

Awesome advice! A great follow-up explanation to your original article, "4 Must Have Photo Plugin for WordPress". I'm definitely using your strategy. Thanks. . .

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    Thanks very much. I'm glad that you enjoyed how I pulled those two articles together. Let me know how you make out with that strategy.

Hieu Martin August 3, 2010

I alway use flickr so wordpress is not my choice

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    Good deal.

Tinh August 3, 2010

It seems to me a bad idea hosting photos off site. I have experienced with flickr that I lost most of my photos and never able recover. Further, if you are using some plugins like W3 Total Cache, you can not use CDN features for images hosted off site. That is my experiences. Hope to get more feedback from you 😀

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    You can just as easily lose your photos on wordpress, but host isn't specifically the point, driving traffic is. If your photo is just sitting on your wordpress blog is just will not drive traffic to the blog. If it is elsewhere it can be an in road to your blog.

    I'm not sure what you mean about CDN features? What are they.

      Tinh August 4, 2010

      I have tried Flickr and it could drive some traffic to my blog but it is still risky as free service is not always good, right?

      CDN is content delivery network that cache your contents, files and images on your blog and located in different servers at different locations for better performance an it can not work with off-site image 😥

        BenSpark August 5, 2010


        Flickr has a free and paid side. I use the paid side. Thanks for explaining CDN.

teresa boardman August 4, 2010

For a short time I hosted my photos on Flickr. It hurt my blog traffic so I stopped.

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    If you don't mind me asking, how did it hurt your blog traffic?

Danne ( August 4, 2010

I can only agree with you. I've been experimenting with this quite a bit recently and one can really get way more traffic to your blog than you would expect by posting it to Flickr.

In order for you'reimages to be seen, they must be availible to the masses.

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    I agree, you have to get eyeballs in front of your photos and to do so you have to get your photos in front of those eyeballs. Go where the people are. Fish where the fish are. Simple.

SQL training August 4, 2010

I think you are pretty much right brother, hosting our photos in Image sharing sites like Flickr and Picassa can really help us a lot in getting some extra traffic

    BenSpark August 4, 2010

    SQL Training,

    Thanks. The will help with the traffic.

Greg - Telling Dad August 4, 2010

Now that I'm on the cusp of being a professional-grade photographer (*cough*) I'm inching closer to the time that I'll be posting my shots online more often. You know, when they're good enough. :)

I currently do host my photos on WordPress but only for simplicity. If I was gunning for online exposure then I'd have no problem using the other sites. I don't care if they get "traffic" as a result of my photos because, as you pointed out, you're also expanding your potential reach.

Good tip!

    BenSpark August 4, 2010


    Always post the photos whether you think they are good enough or not, someone will think they are good and some will think they suck. And you know what the same goes with the photos that think rock.

    Keep expanding your reach. It is important. Plus with photos in multiple places you gain more comments and I know you love those.

Celina August 4, 2010

I like to spread my photo love all over the internet. The more connections the more I learn about photography.

    BenSpark August 5, 2010


    Exactly my take on this.

Christian August 4, 2010

I agree, you have to get eyeballs in front of your photos and to do so you have to get your photos in front of those eyeballs

    BenSpark August 5, 2010

    Thanks Christian.

Stephen August 6, 2010

Hi Ben,

Good post. I think it is also worth mentioning the Creative Commons license flickr offers. Most people publish photos with copyright attached, but if they were to change this and apply a Creative Commons license that required attribution, they could acquire more links back to their site from blogs that use their photos.

All you have to do is stipulate (on the flickr page where the photo is stored) the attribution required eg If you use this photo on your blog please link to http://myblogaddress.com

Plugins such as Apture exploit the Creative Commons license, but links from that end up back at flickr. No big loss as it is still further exposure for the photographer.

John Kendall August 9, 2010

I happen to agree with you. Sometimes you have to give a little to receive a little. Sure, there are some that will take advantage but most people are good people and would not,intentionally, take advantage of another.

Cape cod Hotels September 1, 2010

This is a great tip and I definitely agree with you. It just extends your reach and helps people find you. …it's how I got to this very post in fact. :)

Lister Hosting March 20, 2011

I am thinking of using WordPress and i'm finding some real good blog posts that are helping me make my mind up about going ahead and trying it.

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