For the third peer review feedback, I will be critiquing Bhavika’s website based on her own photography portfolio as well as a photography blog to accompany it. In regards to monetization I think there are three different paths that Bhavika could follow to make some money off her site:
- Audience supported contributions
I love the general aesthetic of Bhavika’s website, the clean typeface and cohesive black and white theme are extremely engaging and they make the colour photography stand out by contrast. The photography is also stunning on the website, specifically under the seasonal section. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of content thus far on the website. My number one suggestion for Bhavika would be to put out more content! It can always be edited, moved, deleted later but it is close to impossible to have an audience without posting any content. I would suggest posting more portfolio sections, and while it seems there was an intention to post photography critiques this page is also empty. Before implementing any of the suggestions below I would implore Bhavika to spend more time developing and posting content on her website. Currently, there is simply not enough content for advertisers to attach to, and without established audience, collaborations and donations will be very difficult to implement.
In his lecture to the PUB101 class, Trevor Battye touched on the importance of having an audience and providing them with something of value. I believe that is the single most important part not only of monetization but for building a brand and a platform. I recommend that Bhavika put in the initial effort to make and post her content, as it will pay off in the end.
Trust me when I say I understand the woes of building a portfolio, and actually posting content. But at some point, you need to just dive right into the deep end. Check out my process post Done is Better than Perfect for a more detailed overview of my portfolio journey!
- Audience Contributions:
Assuming that an audience is established for Bhavika’s website, one of the best monetization techniques for creators is audience supported contributions. This type of monetization allows followers the option to contribute to the artist for the content they enjoy. I think this type of monetization would eventually work well on Bhavika’s website because it is a more subtle way of earning money that puts the onus on the audience rather than the creator. I liken audience contribution to the act of tipping for service, if you tip at a restaurant surely you can tip one of your favourite creators. I would suggest popular sites such as Buy me a Coffee or Ko-Fi that Bhavika could link out to in her menu. If she were to use one of these platforms I would suggest that when linking out she provide justification for why her audience should support her and a recommended ‘standard’ amount. I believe that if Bhavika can make quality content this option would be a good way to monetize a side hustle without selling out to corporate interests. It also keeps the advertising stress to a minimum since all that is required is the initial set up and linking out. This is more of a passive option, which in my option is much more user-friendly than displaying advertisements on her beautiful website.
Another option that is somewhat similar but perhaps a step up would be to incorporate subscription-only content. If Bhavika creates a large audience she can market ‘special’ content to her followers under a subscription-based plan. A monthly contribution to Bhavika in return for behind the scene process, additional tips and tricks, etc. One of the most popular subscription-based platforms is Patreon, which acts as the artist’s hub for paid content. I have seen a lot of creators use this platform in addition to their Instagram to add another stream of revenue, by simply posting additional content. This is another option I think Bhavika should be aware of, but I would advise against this for now because it would take a lot of extra work to make subscriber content only in addition to her regular blog posts. I would also like to reiterate that these options should only be taken after Bhavika can establish a regular posting schedule and a larger audience as a whole.
Who doesn’t love collaborating! Sure maybe not for group homework assignments, but collaborating with like-minded people to create something fun and unique is definitely worth checking out. This option is a bit unique because I feel it can either be done for advertising, or for growth. What I mean by this is that a creator can either collaborate with large corporations focused on promoting their products or services, or they can collaborate with like-minded creators to build their skillset and audience. Although it probably won’t make any money I would suggest that the latter because it would provide Bhavika with the opportunity to work on her portfolio and to be apart of some fun projects. For example, I would be interested in collaborating with photographers to turn their amazing pictures into illustrations (check out mini-assignment 4 to see an example)! Something like this would give a bit more flexibility in adding content to the website and growing an audience. If Bhavika can grow a large audience she can then leverage it to work with companies doing sponsored photoshoots for editorial advertising. Down the line, this could be a good option for Bhavika since she has numerous creative possibilities to collaborate on, such as product photography, themed photography, portrait photography. However, Bhavika would need to be careful about using editorial advertising to make sure it is clearly labelled as an advertisement and not her regular content. I would hate to see another Maria Popova situation!
The final option that I think is unique to Bhavika’s website is the option to freelance her creative services. Once her portfolio is built up I think that Bhavika could have the potential to offer her services to paying clients. Of course, this option isn’t for everyone, and turning a hobby into a job does require a lot of work. I wanted to include this option as a possible endgame for Bhavika to consider that even as an amateur photographer it could eventually become a full-time job. While it may seem intimidating consistency pays off and rewarding in many different ways. Of course, at this point Bhavika’s website would need to be drastically altered to sell her services, I think it could be another option.
Why I didn’t mention google ads:
Now at this point, you might be wondering why I didn’t mention Google Adsense. While this may be my personal opinion, I don’t believe that ads belong on personal portfolios. In general, I am not a fan of advertisements (for me they often ruin a great design) and so I chose not to recommend this to Bhavika. Even if the advertisements are related to photography and cameras I believe that they would distract from the photography which is the whole point of her website in the first place.
Being a design nerd myself it’s a little difficult to review a website without at least mentioning the design! I feel that website design can truly make or break a companies success. You could have the best ideas in the world, but if they are poorly communicated no one will care. The general aesthetic of the website is amazing! But I think there are a few minor tweaks that could take it to the next level. I also believe that these changes will help to grow Bhavika’s audiences, which as I pointed out is a key factor in monetization.
Upon entering Perspective in a Lens, viewers are taken to a full screen black and white photo, of what might be Bhavika. While a little conventional I thought it would work well with the website given view adjustments. For SEO purposes I believe that adding an impactful headline would improve your website’s search results. Currently, even when you google your specific website title, your website is not among even the first three pages. This could be problematic in growing your audience (which will also help with monetization). The title of your website may be a bit challenging to insert amongst google’s ranking as it currently returns results relating to the concept of perspective photography. I made a rudimentary mockup using Figma of a possible homepage that would include a heading and a bit of context for your audience to understand who you are, what your website is about, and why they should continue reading. I also adjust the contrast of the scroll icon and placed it in a more prominent position to indicate audience action.
Another suggestion would be to showcase more photography! As a photography portfolio, the website should be heavily based on visuals. I recommend that Bhavika takes advantage of the unique opportunity to make her photography the centrepiece of the website. The examples below are just one way that Bhavika can implement a grid that will give her audience an immediate grasp of her photography. This can obviously be combined with more in-depth case studies and photography collections, but adding a grid will resonate with audiences for the type of photography that is available on Bhavika’s website.
Another minor element that is perhaps a bit more concerning is the colour boxes for the tags/categories of posts. I spent a while trying to click on these thinking they were buttons that would lead me to your portfolio. I don’t believe you need to have the tags stand out so much and would suggest removing the coloured box.