State of the Hunting Industry | April 2010

[private_member]MEMBERS – Please view in .pdf form – State of the Hunting Industry Report | April 2010[/private_member]

Edition 6           A Publication of Hunting Business Marketing        April 2010

The Good News of 2010, But Looming State Deficits

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There seems to be a cautious wave of optimism sweeping the middle class in the US this past month.

Many industries are seeing a return of growth and prosperity. Some companies are growing and expanding their operations, even hiring new employees. When reading news such as this it brings a smile to the face of anyone. It’s positive and it’s encouraging for the future.

However, other news like the pension deficits in most states is troubling.

The public sector is draining the entire American economy of precious resources. This is good for a few folks during the interim short-term while harmful for the majority of Americans in the long-term.

State governments, like the federal government has promised more money than they are currently taking in. The difference with the state governments is they don’t have a federal reserve to print money when they run out. They are required by law to balance budgets.

Taxes are being increased on some states to make up for the differences in tax revenue. This may work in the short-term, but will be detrimental in the long-term.

States have been able to hide some of their shortcomings in the short-term with tricky accounting that plays shell games with the public in a desperate effort to make it through the next elections. The music will eventually stop in this game of musical chairs and those left with no place to sit will be taxpayers and the general public.

Underemployment continues growing in most states and cities around the US.

Folks are saving what they can, but pent up demand that has been building for the past year or so is leading to some consumer spending. Businesses are delighted by this as their sales are increasing over last year; increasing over one of worst years in history.

When the music will stop is anybody’s guess and t he only lifeline folks and businesses will have is savings to weather another storm.

Living a happy life with family and the things you cherish is important so take care of those things.[private_member]

Economic Trends

State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage

From New York Times (March 2010):

California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.

And states are responding in sometimes desperate ways, raising concerns that they, too, could face a debt crisis.

New Hampshire was recently ordered by its State Supreme Court to put back $110 million that it took from a medical malpractice insurance pool to balance its budget. Colorado tried, so far unsuccessfully, to grab a $500 million surplus from Pinnacol Assurance, a state workers’ compensation insurer that was privatized in 2002. It wanted the money for its university system and seems likely to get a lesser amount, perhaps $200 million.

Joshua Rauh, an economist at Northwestern University, and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago, recently recalculated the value of the 50 states’ pension obligations the way the bond markets value debt. They put the number at $5.17 trillion.

After the $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds was subtracted, there was a gap of $3.23 trillion — more than three times the amount the states owe their bondholders.

“When you see that, you recognize that states are in trouble even more than we recognize,” Mr. Rauh said.

With bond payments and pension contributions consuming big chunks of state budgets, Mr. Rauh said, some states were already falling behind on unsecured debts, like bills from vendors. “Those are debts, too,” he said.

In Illinois, the state comptroller recently said the state was nearly $9 billion behind on its bills to vendors, which he called an “ongoing fiscal disaster.” On Monday, Fitch Ratings downgraded several categories of Illinois’s debt, citing the state’s accounts payable backlog. California had to pay its vendors with i.o.u.’s last year.

“These are the things that can precipitate a crisis,” Mr. Rauh said.

Read the full story State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage

Impact on your business

Tricky accounting and other shell games are allowing some states to postpone their inevitable collapse.

In the best case scenario, the states would declare a form of bankruptcy and let the public unions walk without compensation or the state governments would cut spending in other areas to pay for the union pensions and other liabilities – depending on what the citizens prefer in each of the states.

In the worst case and most likely scenario, states will receive the balance of the deficit from the federal government, which will have to borrow and print the money thus removing trillions more from the pockets of taxpayers – a few will prosper in the short-term and everyone will suffer in the long-term.

With commercial real estate struggling as we saw last month in the report and the buildup of unfunded liabilities in the states, the outlook is shaky at best in the general US.

Underemployment Rises to 20.3% in March

From Gallup (March 2010):

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gallup Daily tracking finds that 20.3% of the U.S. workforce was underemployed in March — a slight uptick from the relatively flat January and February numbers.

These results are based on March interviews with more than 20,000 adults in the U.S. workforce, aged 18 and older. Gallup classifies respondents as underemployed if they are unemployed or working part-time but wanting full-time work. Gallup employment data are not seasonally adjusted.

A rise in the percentage of part-timers wanting to work full time (from 9.2% to 9.9%) is responsible for the March increase in underemployment. Unemployment saw a slight, but insignificant, decline in March.

Read the full story Underemployment Rises to 20.3% in March

Impact on your business

The interesting thing about the recent slight upturn in economic perspective has been that unemployment and underemployment have continued to rise; even if at a relatively slow place.

What we know as underemployment today used to be the official unemployment number up until the federal government made the change in the 1990s (in an effort to make the perception better). So when comparing today with the 1930s it’s important to use the underemployment number – this includes those who would like to have better jobs or are dissatisfied with their current jobs.

In the past few months we’ve seen folks revert back to spending. This is a natural reaction to pent up demand that had been subdued for awhile during the recession.

With folks still losing jobs or working at jobs they are not satisfied with it will be difficult for any kind of rebound or sustained recovery.

Economic Confidence Remains Depressed Thus Far in March

From Gallup (March 2010):

PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is -31 for the week of March 15-21, continuing a trend of depressed confidence that began three weeks prior.

Consumer Outlook Dimmer Since Late February

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans’ answers to two questions — one focusing on views of current economic conditions in the country and the other on the economic outlook. Both measures are in negative territory — meaning that more Americans express negative than positive sentiments on each dimension — and have been since January 2008.

The dampened level of overall economic confidence in March comes exclusively from a drop in economic outlook that began in the final week of February and has since held.

Read the full story Economic Confidence Remains Depressed Thus Far in March

Impact on your business

Confidence appears to remain subdued among Americans.

Most people in the US are smart and they understand that a recovery that saw a great deal of stimulus thrust into Wall Street and the stock market means little for actual fundamental economic recovery. Folks are still losing jobs and over 20% of workers in the US are working at jobs they are not satisfied with whether that is for pay reasons or something similar.

Folks have been spending some of the money they’ve saved for a rainy day over the past 18 months, but this is nothing more than pent up demand.

Americans’ Weekly Spending Hits New High for 2010

From Gallup (March 2010):

PRINCETON, NJ — With stocks at a new high for the year, pent-up demand from the snowstorms of prior weeks, and perhaps the arrival of some tax refunds, Americans’ self-reported spending reached its highest level of the year during the week ending March 14.

Prior to last week, 2010 consumer spending was adhering to the relatively conservative “new normal” established in 2009. The question going forward is whether this new spending represents the beginning of a new, higher level of consumer spending — somewhere between 2008 and 2009 spending levels — or simply a short-term aberration in the “new normal” trend.

Averaging $72 per day last week, consumer spending was up 20% from the prior week ($60) and 31% from the same week a year ago ($55), and at its highest level since the week ending Dec. 20.

Job Creation Not a Factor

If this is the beginning of a new spending trend, it doesn’t appear to have been inspired by job creation. While job market conditions have improved compared to a year ago, most of the change comes from lower percentages of employees reporting that their companies are letting people go; there has been little growth in the percentage saying their companies are hiring.

Read the full story Americans’ Weekly Spending Hits New High for 2010

Impact on your business

Pent up demand from 18 months of not spending much has started hitting the US economy. This is great news for the companies providing quality products and services to folks, but the truth is that incomes are not increasing and people are simply spending a little of the savings they’ve accumulated over the past year or so.

It’s a natural reaction to want to spend a little money; whether it’s for needs or wants it makes people more positive to spend money and enjoy life.

A true recovery cannot occur until the job market improves and folks are able to shrink debt levels and spend actual savings.

Industry News

Successful wolf hunt may not be profitable

From Idaho Reporter (March 2010):

Despite all the notoriety surrounding Idaho’s wolf hunt, it may not be a moneymaker for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), according to a department spokesman.  Ed Mitchell said it’s debatable whether the hunt that led to 186 hunters killing wolves paid for itself.  More than 31,000 hunters bought tags to hunt wolves, which sold for $11.50 to Idaho residents and $186 to out-of-state hunters.

“We need that tag money for our wolf and other big game programs,” Mitchell told  He said the cost of wolf management programs, including tracking and tagging wolves, and the loss of revenues on elk hunting tags due to elk being killed by wolves has offset the more than $400,000 raised from wolf tag sales.  Mitchell said elk herds in several areas of the state have been declining, including the Lolo zone.  “The Lolo’s been studied so thoroughly,” he said, adding that other areas, like the Selway zone, may also have had large depredation.  “We just have more complete science on the Lolo.”  Both the Lolo and Selway zones are located along the Montana-Idaho border.

Read the full story Successful wolf hunt may not be profitable

Impact on your business

State departments will never be able to effectively manage wildlife or land.

Private landowners are the best equipped to handle the duties of managing their own land and the wildlife (property) that lives on their land. The wolf issue for me is not an issue that belongs to the state or it’s populace.

The pilgrims struggled to survive in the new world when their communities were centrally planned. Not until the pilgrims divided up their land into private plots for each person did they succeed and thrive as each person took care of their ‘own’ property.

In Africa, there was an issue with elephants. One country took the centrally planned route to poaching and tried to manage the elephant herd that way. Another country declared that all elephants were the private property of the landowners. The second country now has a thriving elephant population while the first is no better off today than in the past.

Online Trends

Top E-Mail Subject Lines Focus on ‘You’

From eMarketer (March 2010):

Polls show that marketers are aiming for personalization to make their e-mails stand out in recipients’ inboxes, and the rise of social media has made many consumers expect a more personal relationship with brands. And a look at e-mail subject lines suggests marketers are following that lead.

While in November 2008, subjects with “you” and “your” barely beat out “free” offers, usage of “you” to address recipients directly rose by 2009 to appear in more than one-fifth of e-mail subjects. On the flip side, terms such as “free” and “ship” decreased in importance.

Experian’s “2010 Digital Marketer” report said this reflected the growing savvy of marketing e-mail recipients. Consumers now expect free shipping offers, which makes them less of a selling point in e-mail subject lines.

Offers of savings in general, however, remained important, and with good reason. More than one-half of adults said they were likely to open an e-mail containing promotions or coupons, and 30% said they would forward such an e-mail to others, up from 28% in 2008.

Among multichannel retailers, for example, “save,” “off” and “% off” each appeared in about 12% of subject lines. Shopping and classifieds sites saw the highest share of traffic coming from e-mail clicks, compared with other industries, at 9%.

Read the full story Top E-Mail Subject Lines Focus on ‘You’

Impact on your business

Email is important for any successful business today.

There are a few steps in the email process that every business should focus on: 1) Opening 2) Clicking and 3) Buying. Work on getting your customers to open your emails, click you emails, and eventually get them to convert sales or your own version of conversion metrics by improving your email subject lines and content.

Email is being utilized by many successful companies, but there is always room for improvement and studies like the one above help with understanding what people are responding too in the marketplace.

Retail E-Commerce Resumes Double-Digit Growth

From eMarketer (April 2010):

eMarketer forecasts that after two years of subpar growth, 2010 US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb to more than $152 billion, up 12.7% year over year. This follows the US Census Bureau’s release showing online sales in Q4 2009 grew by 14.6% over a year earlier—the biggest gain in eight quarters.

“In 2011, growth will go on at the same pace, as the economy continues to recover and consumers loosen their purse strings,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “US Retail E-Commerce Forecast: Room to Grow.”

“But by 2012, e-commerce will resume its pre-recessionary downward growth path because of the inevitable maturation of the online sales channel,” he said. “Still, there is plenty of energy driving e-commerce.”

This year, 162 million people in the US will research products online. Much of this research will lead to in-store purchases. Over 82% of online researchers, or 133 million people, will be online buyers. The percent of online buyers will rise as young Internet users, predisposed to e-commerce, replace older users.

Online travel sales are also set to rise. Sales will total $92.5 billion in 2010, a 4.6% annual increase and a positive development after sales plummeted by 6.7% in 2009. Together, online retail and online travel will equal $244.6 billion in 2010 and grow at a 9% compound annual rate from 2009 to 2014.

Read full story Retail E-Commerce Resumes Double-Digit Growth

Impact on your business

Online retail sales are back to growing, which is a good sign for folks with businesses in the online world.

As mentioned before, some of this is due to pent up demand. Consumers are spending some of the money they have been saving over the past year or so. This is fine and it’s a natural reaction to the negative effects of the recession.

I still see online retail sales growing in the next few years even if overall spending decreases. Online retailing has many advantages and continues to improve in efficiency as well as in the level of value it delivers consumers in the world markets.


There has been some good news in the economy lately…along with some news of reality for the long-term economic outlook.

The back to back stimulus extravaganzas from the last two presidential administrations and congress shoveled loads of cash into the stock market in an effort to benefit a few while the majority suffered in the long-term.

Folks that have continued to contribute to their retirement in 401Ks and in the stock market are a little happier today than they were a year ago since things have recovered significantly since the lows of a year ago.

Will stocks remain at their current level? Will they continue to increase? Will they crash again?

Underemployment, a relaxation of pent up demand, and other economic factors are saying negative things.

Strong businesses will thrive as they always do. Invest in those companies and make sure that you are running one of the successful, unique companies.

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The Redesigned Outdoor Channel Website

Taking video to a new level of engagement

The New Outdoor Channel Website

Recently, I was watching videos on the Bulls and Beavers You Tube channel and I came across one with Todd Birkholz of The Outdoor Channel. Chris Burget of Bulls and Beavers is doing a quick interview with Todd as he presents The Outdoor Channel with a Best of the Best Award from Bulls and Beavers.

Toward the end of the video, Todd mentions the newly redesigned Website and how the wonderful content makes the online world one of the best of the best for hunters using the Web. The video as Todd describes is now available extensively on the new site (over 130 show pages with 50 state pages) so visitors can increase the value they receive from The Outdoor Channel. It’s a great strategy for The Outdoor Channel to improve their customers’ experience while increasing traffic and advertising revenue.

Let’s take a closer look at the newly redesigned site…

Online Video

The Outdoor Channel has always had some of the best video content available on their television channel so it makes sense that they highlight video content on their Website.

The presentation of the video player on the site is unique to The Outdoor Channel. The players sits on the right side of the page while there is a promotional area to the left that displays a rotating presentation of other channels. It’s a good setup to present the video content the visitors have chosen to view while cross promoting the other content on the site.

The full screen option has a clever design as well showcasing the other video content at the bottom of the screen for a brief second before it collapses so the viewer can view a true full screen of the video they’ve chosen.

An important aspect of the site to note is that there is some text content on each page to attract search engines. While search engines are getting better at crawling video and imagery on sites, they still need text to be able to determine what a site and page are about so they can return relevant results to their users.

Having detailed descriptions is a crucial element to have on your site if you’re going to utilize video.

Personalities and Branding

Outdoor Channel Personalities

The Outdoor Channel Personalities page is an example of a great way to organize content on a site.

Fans connect with and seek content from their favorite personalities and providing them with a way to access their favorites within a few clicks enhances user experience while increasing loyalty.

Once a visitor clicks on their favorite personality (or perhaps one they are curious about) they are taken to a page dedicated to personality. The pages are full of great bios, descriptions and of course great video clips.

Greg Miller In Pursuit

On each personality page, fans can connect with their favorite outdoor folks on Facebook or write comments on the Outdoor Channel page.

Each show on the channel has its own page on the site. This gives fans of individual shows access to exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else. There are video clips, photos, and other content to keep fans occupied while spending time on the site.

Greg Miller In Pursuit Show Page


With My Outdoor Channel, The Outdoor Channel has allowed their audience to build user generated content around the passions users share for the outdoors as well as for the content on The Outdoor Channel TV channel and the Website.

My Outdoor TV

I’m a big fan of hunting pictures, so the my outdoor channel photo gallery is wonderful to see.

My Outdoor Channel is a lot like MySpace and other social networking sites in that it allows users to keep profiles, find friends, post videos and photos, write blogs, and interact in other ways that connect people around their passion for the outdoors and The Outdoor Channel.

Monetizing Online Content

As with their TV strategy, it appears The Outdoor Channel is utilizing sponsorships and advertising to generate income from their site.

As the site continues adding video clips and more features that increase viewings and page views, they’ll see an increase in revenue as brands look to connect with their target audience that is viewing content on The Outdoor Channel.

Also available on the site are DVDs of popular shows on The Outdoor Channel. This is a strategy that seems to make sense as fans of the personalities and shows look to have hard, physical copies of their favorites at home for their viewing anytime they want.

Outdoor Channel DVDs

The Outdoor Channel DVDs

Possible Future Strategies

Entire Show Videos

Since The Outdoor Channel is focusing on ad revenue for their site, it’s important to increase the metrics that advertisers look for when determining where to spend their money. Advertisers are looking for branding opportunities and direct sales conversions for the companies.

From what I can see right now, it appears there are only clips of shows and videos on the site. This leaves viewers to subscribe to satellite or cable to view the entire shows on the television channel when the shows are scheduled (or on DVR at their viewing pleasures…which allows people to skip commercials).

It seems like it would be beneficial for The Outdoor Channel to test showing entire show videos on their site. They could break the videos up into segments to allow for advertising videos in between segments. There are other creative ways to implement successful and relevant advertising into clips and entire show videos as well.

Since viewers may not be able to see their favorites shows on TV each week they may be missing out and advertisers on the TV channel may be missing out on impressions. By allowing viewers to see shows on the site, The Outdoor Channel could increase traffic to the site while providing value to their customers giving visitors reason to repeatedly visit the site while increasing time on the site and traffic.


As a way to increase the text content on the site, The Outdoor Channel has the resources to put together an awesome blog for their followers.

Staff members could highlight videos on the site and write about what’s happening with the content on the site and the video on the TV channel. People like Todd could write about updates to the site’s features.

I like what the staff is doing with the CMT Blog. This could be a potential model to follow.

CMT Blog

There is potentially room to have the TV stars write posts and provide updates on their shows and what they’re seeing in the hunting world. Even if it was once a month or so, the content would add up and visitors would love it and keep coming to the site for updates.

Search engines love text content that is updated frequently and a blog seems like a perfect addition to the site.

The more content and page son the site would only increase page views, which means stronger metrics to entice relevant advertisers.


The Outdoor Channel’s new site is wonderful. There is a ton of great video content on the site for visitors to view and interact with. The way the content is displayed makes it easy for visitors to take in the video content and to share the content with their hunting buddies.

What are your thoughts on the newly redesigned Outdoor Channel Website?

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Archery Report | Business Review

With a solid, consistent focus, Archery Report is seeing strong growth

I came across a blog post from New Archery Products today in my RSS feed and stopped by the NAP Blog to read about their Quiktune Sizzor arrow rest. Check out the post The Sleeper for a great product review of the arrow rest. NAP does a great job of using high quality photos in their posts. The photos make for a better experience for visitors and although they don’t post often, I find myself always checking for the latest from NAP.

Quiktune Sizzor

At the bottom of the post, NAP left a link to another review for the Sizzor, Review: NAP Quicktune Sizzor Rest. The URL in the link was interesting so I followed it.

Archery Report

Archery Report

Archery Report is a blog and Website operated by Michael Larsen.

The report covers news views and reviews of all things affecting the world of archery. From reading a few of the posts, it is obvious that Michael has a healthy (probably depends who you ask) 🙂 obsession with archery. See 300 days to 300 for some insight. I love the passion.

I became more intrigued with Archery Report after checking out the stats on Compete (a habit of mine). It looks like the site was launched in July of 2009 and the pace of growth has been strong every since.

Michael discusses new archery products, news affecting the archery industry, and technique for shooting effectively. It’s quite the extensive archive of information if you’re an archery enthusiast.

Michael provides his own thoughts on news articles, which is something readers often seek from bloggers. News publications simply report the news, but one of the most sought after elements of the news is interpretation so bloggers can grow their audience by providing insight into the daily happenings in niches.

Also found on the site are extensive product reviews. Michael lays out tons of content including insight and photographs to create some of the best reviews I’ve read. For example, Hoyt Maxxis 31 and 35 Review and Spotlight.

The strategy for posting on Archery Report is effective and the growth in traffic proves that archers are connecting with the site and with Michael.


Consistently adding new posts and staying consistent with focus are two extremely important elements of successful blogs.

Too often (including myself) bloggers will struggle to keep adding new content to their blogs. As you develop a following, it’s important to continually feed new and interesting content to visitors. When they become hooked on your writing they’ll continue coming back repeatedly (even many times a day) if you provide them with content.

Search engines realize the important of consistency with post frequency as well. They realize how important frequent posting is to readers and reward sites that post quality content often with high authority in the search rankings.

For new blogs, it’s best to default at a high frequency (5-7 times a week or even more than once daily), but don’t forget to test different variations. Find out what your audience wants and provide the appropriate amount of content.

Quality and quantity are both important.

Effective Writing Style

After reading a few of Michael’s posts it’s safe to say that he has a unique voice in the outdoor industry and in the blogosphere. He has a technical side to his descriptions, but he has a way of describing situations like tuning with simplicity that makes it easy to understand.

Personally, I like the way he organizes his posts, especially his reviews. He uses headings, images, video, bulleted lists, summaries/conclusions, and other tools well. It makes for great reading when authors take the time to organize things so their readers can scan articles and dive deeper into the content when they choose.


Highlighted on the Archery Report Advertise page are a few statistics including some impressive search rankings. The site is ranking for relevant terms. Terms like 2010 bows, archery reviews, and 2010 bow reviews are competitive and have a good amount of traffic. It’s impressive that the site is ranking ahead of well-known archery sites for these terms.

It’s proof that Michael’s writing style, the site’s popularity, and the site’s technical layout make for a winning SEO combination.

Monetizing Archery Report

From my review, it appears that Archery Report is going about monetizing in the traditional ways: affiliate program and ads.

These are two viable options. I explained another option for bloggers in Profit from Your Blog.

For his book reviews, Michael is using an affiliate program to link to the books on Barnes & Nobles – a strong strategy that can be very effective if the reviews are valuable and plentiful.

Also on the site is the opportunity for advertising. It’s a strong possibility that with continued traffic growth that Archery Report will gain some advertising clients that will provide fixed revenue each month.

A final interesting aspect of Archery Report is the opportunity for hunting product manufacturers to send Michael their products for review. Michael provides the benefits to having Archery Report Review Your Product.

If this program gains enough traction, Michael could begin charging for the reviews as a way to provide further revenue.


Archery Report is an excellent example of a start-up blog that can see successful growth right from the beginning with the right formula of focus, consistency, writing style, and monetizing.

As the site sees more quality content regarding archery, I suspect it will continue to build its audience and become a strong player in the online archery world.

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The Beautiful Outdoors: 50 Amazing Photos

Inspiring outdoor imagery shared through the amazing Flickr Creative Commons Collection

Farm Rolling Hills

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

I came across an amazing post on Smashing Magazine, The Beauty of India: 50 Amazing Photos. The images are truly amazing.

I realized I haven’t done a collection of images from Flickr in some time and thought it would be fun to do another.

I like to use Flickr for just about every post on HBM. I feel that images add some depth to the experience with each post. And you know I love hunting pictures.

Here are the previous collections from the Flickr Creative Commons Series on HBM:

I chose images from the outdoors. Even though most of us realize the beauty in the outdoors already, I thought it would be great to collect some of the fine examples from the best photographers in the business.

These images are from fields, streams, and woods.

Hopefully these images can inspire you today…


Abandoned Barn in a Field

Abandoned Barn in a Field

Courtesy of Robb North

Spring Sunset Magic

Spring Sunset Magic

Courtesy of See1,Do1,Teach1

Coming Home to the Farm

Farm Road Field

Courtesy of Jody McNary Photography

Jody McNary Photography

Little Road to the Farm

Little Road to the Farm

Courtesy of tipiro

Green and Gold Farm Field

Green and Gold Farm Field

Courtesy of tipiro

Auto Graveyard

Auto Graveyard

Courtesy of seanmcgrath

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Tulip Field and Hot Air Balloons

Courtesy of jesse.milan

White Horse

White Horse Field

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Rusty Barn in Autumn

Courtesy of jsorbieus

Cactus Field

Cactus Field

Courtesy of kevindooley

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Yellow and Pink Flowers

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Hay Bales Harvest Time

Courtesy of pdam2

Old Farm and Truck

Old Farm and Truck

Courtesy of Grantsviews

Vintage Fence

Fencing Materials

Courtesy of Robb North

Bikes and Farm Fields

Bikes and Farm Fields

Courtesy of ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevissor

Lilac Tree

Courtesy of Robb North

Blue Flower Field

Blue Flower Field

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg


Backyard Stream

Backyard Stream

Courtesy of bslmmr

Stepping Stone Bridge

Stepping Stone Bridge

Courtesy of Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel

Gray Sky Stream

Gray Sky Stream

Courtesy of Richard0

Mexico Waterfall

Mexico Waterfall

Courtesy of zoutedrop

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shallow Stream and Falls

Small Stream After Rain

Courtesy of NeilsPhotography

Chirkhuwaa Khola at Baaluwani

Chirkhuwaa Khola

Courtesy of ` TheDreamSky 꿈꾸는 하늘

Winter Stream

Winter Stream

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Waterfall

Forest Waterfall

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Cold Winter Stream

Cold Winter Stream

Courtesy of nagillum

Stream Under Bridge

Stream Under Bridge

Courtesy of paul (dex) busy @ work

Light Shining on Stream

Light Shining on Stream

Courtesy of eye of einstein

Shaky Bridge

Shaky Bridge

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Vintage Dry Creek

Vintage Dry Creek

Courtesy of Robb North

Canada Mountain Stream

Canada Mountain Stream

Courtesy of *~Dawn~*


Rusty Car in the Woods

Rusty Car in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Forest Ablaze

Forest Ablaze

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Sun Shining in the Forest

Sun Shining in the Forest

Courtesy of josef.stuefer

Green Glow Forest

Green Glow Forest

Courtesy of mindfulness

Rolling Hills and Trees

Rolling Trees

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Falling Leaf

Falling Leaf

Courtesy of Memotion

Golden Autumn

Golden Autumn

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Narrow Road Through the Woods

Narrow Road in the Woods

Courtesy of Per Ola Wiberg

Abstract Woods

Abstract Woods

Courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

Bright Green

Bright Green Forest

Courtesy of tipiro

Rock Path Golden Forest

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Deer in the Woods

Deer in the Woods

Courtesy of Nicholas_T

Shadowy Path

Shadowy Path

Courtesy of GotMeAMuse

Snowy Forest

Snowy Forest

Courtesy of Vince Algoni

Autumn Morning

Autumn Morning

Courtesy of bslmmr

Colorful Woods

Colorful Woods

Courtesy of Problemkind

Repeating Forest

Repeating Forest

Courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt

Old Tree

Old Tree

Courtesy of gumuz

The Hunter

The Hunter

Courtesy of MysticMoon14

A Different Way to Profit From Your Blog

Have you thought about making profits from your blog?

Most folks that write to me asking for advice on blogging are looking for ways to make a little money for their hard efforts with writing, networking, and growing their blog.

It makes sense; we all want a little in return for the hard work that goes into blogging. However, profits are difficult to come by regarding the two forms of revenue most think of with blogging:

1) Ads

2) Affiliates.

It’s difficult for 99% of bloggers to make money this way. Obtaining the traffic bloggers use as justification for ad revenue takes lots of time and effort and most bloggers simply give up before reaching that level.

Ad revenue to support blogging can be done, but there is another option you can consider…

You can focus on obtaining freelance, part-time, or even full-time work as a writer for major publications.

Your Blog as a Resume

I agree with Adam Singer that your resume is meaningless.

While you probably need some kind of short list of accomplishments and certifications or the like, an actual resume is no longer important when it comes to finding a meaningful job.

The work you do online will be what defines you if you’re looking for quality work in the online world. If you’re writing a blog then your posts are your resume. The way your blog looks represents you and the quality of work you share with your audience.

What Publishers Want

The ability to steadily grow an audience that cares about what you have to say is huge when it comes to publishers that are looking for quality writers. They want to build their own audience as large as possible since their revenue is built on advertising and subscribers (which compete against each other in my opinion).

Prove that you can consistently write interesting content while steadily growing a loyal audience and you’ll be a prime candidate for publishers – online and offline.

What Publishers’ Readers Want

As a way to focus your writing for the publisher audience it would make sense to pick out a handful of publications you would imagine working for and write your content with their readers in mind.

Say for example you choose Field & Stream as a place where you could blog.

Figure out what the readers of Field & Stream are interested in reading. Go beyond the obvious (they like fishing and hunting). Think about the details they like reading.

Look at the articles already being published in the print magazine and on the online blogs. What are the most popular articles on the Field & Stream Website? Learn what their audience is already craving regarding online content and write some posts using their successful patterns.

The most popular articles from my own quick look at the site points to lists, how-to articles, and good stories about hunting and fishing that strike an emotional nerve with readers.

Figure out the publications you’d like to write for and work to find the article formulas that will attract the attention of their readers. The publication’s decision makers will take notice if you’re attracting their audience.

And also link to their articles and mention the publication’s name…the decision makers will get notices if they’re apt at the online world and they’ll check you out.

Reality of Profits

Now, before getting all excited about the prospects of a new writing job for Field & Stream please remember that most writers don’t become millionaires.

However, it’s possible to turn your love of writing about the outdoors into a decent secondary source or in the best case a primary source of income for a comfortable lifestyle.

Other Opportunities

Writing and publishing articles on your own blog is a great way to build your archives and build you understanding of the type of content people are interested in. As a result of this knowledge, you’ll be able to potentially land some writing jobs that can lead to some good secondary income.

If you wish, there are also opportunities to write content that people are willing to purchase. You could write a how-to book and share the profits with a major publisher. You can use their clout to help you promote the content (say for example a book) while giving them some of the revenue in return.

Deer & Deer Hunting has a great collection of how-to books on deer hunting. They do research and analyses on everything to do with deer hunting and avid hunters pay a good deal of money to read what their writers have to say.

You can take a similar approach as your grow you audience and begin understanding the type of content they would be willing purchase.


Making profits online is difficult in the sense of advertising and affiliate revenue.

And while making secondary income by becoming employed as a writer for other publishers is difficult as well, it may be a more obtainable goal for most bloggers.

Growing an audience takes time and ad and affiliate revenue require large audiences. Most bloggers will simply give up and not be willing to put in the time and effort to grow a huge audience that can generate substantial secondary income.

Try focusing on a gaining some income from writing for other publishers and you might be able to turn your hobby into a real source of secondary income sooner.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have experience with writing for other publishers?

Please share in the comments.

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Great folks in the outdoor industry contact me regularly usually to say hello and sometimes to discuss blogging and business strategy. Some of these folks – being the savvy business folks they are – usually like to find some simple things they’re simply overlooking.

Most folks that inquire about information ask for pricing on the Hunting Business Marketing Services. I share the prices for the various services up front and then give a few tips on the subject specifically referred to in the inquiry. Most folks like the free tip and advice and it hopefully helps them with their current strategies.

For folks interesting in something more detailed and specific to their needs, we move onto specific strategies and planning with the paid services offered such as Marketing Consulting, SEO, and Copywriting.

In terms of blogging, I usually share some basic things as advice up front with folks. These can often be the most helpful for those in the beginning stages of blogging.

Since I repeat these tips often I thought it would make sense to share them in a post (head slap moment).

Here are 10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog…

1| Guest Post

Guest posting is the number one way for bloggers to grow their audience and increase traffic (after writing your own great content of course). Writing guest posts puts you in front of audiences that are already established readers of the blogs. By offering to write guest posts on popular blogs you’re providing the blog editors with quality content and in return you get exposure and increase traffic for your site or blog.

Start seeking out blogs in your niche and outside of your niche and offer to write guest posts. Make sure the people that visit your blog can subscribe to your posts so you capture them as readers.

2| Determine Goals

When starting a blog as a stand-alone entity or when adding a blog to your existing site, it’s important to determine the goals up front. While there is always going to be a point where you have to just let go and go for it, you want to make sure that the focus of the blog aligns with the goals of the business.

For example, are you starting a blog with the goal of gaining attention of major publications for a potential job?

Are you starting a blog as a way to drive traffic and interest for your e-commerce store?

Determine the goals for your blog and create content with that goal as the focus.

3| Read Other Blogs

Reading other blogs is a great way to gain inspiration for your own writing. It’s also important for finding great content to build on and to link to with your own posts. Reading other blogs will allow you to determine the type of content that you enjoy and the content your readers enjoy. Also, read the comments to see how people react to certain kinds of posts. Try to copy successful patterns for your own posts.

4| Comment and Post

When you are reading blog posts and forum posts, be sure to leave your insight by commenting and posting. As a blog owner, you’ll realize that receiving a comment is a great reward. Comments validate the content a writer is writing and lets them know they’re connecting with readers.

Commenting and sharing your thoughts off your site is another way to build your audience through exposure just like guest posting.

5| Write Catchy Headlines

Headlines are the first thing potential readers see regarding the content on your site. Write your headlines after your write your content and make sure you address the interests and desires of the people you’re targeting.

You can come up with ideas for posts (which can be seen as a headline), but be sure to adjust the headline accordingly once you’ve written the post.

A great way to come up with ideas for headlines is The Cosmo Guide to Writing Effective Headlines.

6| Post Regularly

Writing your posts regularly is good for two reasons:

1) Your readers crave consistency just like they crave the news every night.

2) Search engines crave consistency as well. They will crawl your site more and increase your authority the more often you post quality content.

7| Structure Your Blog Posts

Your readers (and search engines) will love your content more if you make your posts easy to read and easy to scan.

Use headings, lists, bolding, and other structure methods when writing your posts so the content is easily digestible for readers and search engines.

8| Link to Other Sites

A way that gains attention from other bloggers in a positive way is to use your site and blog to link to the quality posts of others. Just as receiving comments on a site is rewarding for blog writers, receiving links and mentions on other blogs is validation for their hard work.

Don’t expect it in return, but most times when you link to other blogs you’ll find the other folks visiting your site to check you out and in wonderful cases even sharing your content and linking to you when appropriate.

9| Link to Your Own Content

When writing posts (and I forget this discipline sometimes) remember to link to your own content using relevant anchor text. Search engines use your internal links to determine your important content and your readers follow the links as they look to digest more of your insight.

Ex: Hunting Pictures, Hunting Resources, and Web Conversion Tips

10| Ad Revenue is Tough

When starting blogs folks will often look at ad revenue and affiliate revenue for ways to make money to support their work. This is a tough road to take since it requires a lot of traffic to generate enough revenue to make the effort worthwhile.

Something I often suggest for outdoor bloggers is to focus on writing quality material while making connections in the hunting industry that can lead to writing jobs with major publications.

Show that you’re an expert in your field and others will take notice and seek out your insight. Some will be willing to pay you for content.

With the focus on your content, you can also take advantages of other opportunities for revenue that may come about besides ads and affiliates.


These 10 tips are the ones I share the most often with folks asking about blogging. They’re very basic, but I think most find them useful nonetheless.

I hope they will help you.

What other tips can you add to the list?

Please share your thoughts in the comments (See Tip #4).

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Finding Successful Patterns

Have you ever wondered what analysis successful folks do to reach the heights they do?

Lots of hard work, some talent, and usually a successful formula are involved in the process.

For example, Will Smith made the comment that he and his manager sat down in the early nineties and compiled the most financially successful movies of all time. The two then pulled out the similarities each of the top ten movies had…

From the AALBC Will Smith Interview

I’m a student of the patterns of the universe. If I can figure out how something is seemingly risky, but I have the numbers on my side, I get really comfortable taking a leap. When I first came to Hollywood, I said to my manager, James Lassiter, I want to be the biggest movie star in the world! He said, Okay, we should probably figure out what they do, and plot a course. So, he went and got the top ten movies of all time. We watched them to try to figure out what were the patterns. And ten out of ten of them were special effects movies. Nine out of ten were special effects movies with creatures. And eight out of ten were special effects movies with creatures and a love story. So, Independence Day was not really a hard call to make when you look at the numbers. Therefore, I Am Legend, in concept, is not a hard call to make.

You can pull these patterns out of just about any situation. Here are two examples:

1) Headlines and Lists (#5)

2) Viral Videos

It’s smart for anyone to pull patterns and successful formulas out of situations as a way to decipher what makes others successful. Now, it’s important to remember that Will Smith is not successful simply because he figured out the pattern for Hollywood blockbusters. Will Smith is successful because he works hard at his chosen craft and he puts his stamp on a successful formula for big, money making movies.

You can emulate Will Smith’s smart strategy to find your own success in the hunting industry. Let’s take a look at some examples that hopefully will paint a better picture of finding successful patterns

The Top Hunting Blog Posts

Last spring I worked on a series of posts where I dug into a few reasons why some of the top posts written by hunting bloggers were successful: Reviews of Remarkable Blog Posts.

A few things that stood out about the successful posts included:

  • Unique, but seemingly familiar topics
  • Short(ish) titles
  • Useful (don’t discount this) tips
  • Genuine and consistent voice
  • Personal stories
  • Detail (can decrease comments and interaction)
  • Knowledge seeking questions (can increase comments and interaction)

Most of the hunting bloggers that contributed to the series used some of their most trafficked posts. It was interesting to dissect each one while trying to figure out the patterns that made each successful.

While there is certainly more than one way to write a hunting blog post, there are a few patterns to follow to ensure that the online hunting community takes interest.

The Top Hunting Companies

Taking a quick look at a few of the top hunting companies, it’s useful to pull out a few patterns. I’ve picked a few companies that are my favorites so there is subjectivity in the list, but the success appears to be there at least for the present time.

Consumer Hunting Businesses

There are tons of others that qualify, but let’s look at these for now. Please share your thoughts in the comments on others.


  • Trust (not built overnight)
  • Operationally efficient
  • Industry leading innovation
  • Respect for tradition
  • Update existing products

Obviously there is more to operating a successful company that this short list, but each of the successful companies mentioned above have been around for many years and have been leaders in their respective niches in the hunting industry. A couple have gone through rough patches (Gander Mountain), but the brands are trusted and well-respected by customers and competitors.

One interesting thing is that each of these companies is profitable in large part because of their operations and efficiency. For new players to take over, the new guys will have to find other aspects of the business model to be better at because it’ll be near impossible to beat these companies on operations.

The Top Selling Hunting Products

Companies will put the most emphasis on the products that have sold the best in the past or that they expect to sell the best in the future. Knowing this we can look at a few of the products that have been around for some time and are still finding their way to the front of the marketing initiatives.

Top Hunting Products

  • Remington 870 (over 10 million sold)
  • Stormy Kromer Hat
  • Tink’s® #69 Doe-In-Rut® Buck Lure
  • Winchester® USA Centerfire 44 Rem Mag Handgun Ammunition
  • Gander Mountain Basic 15′ Ladder Treestand


  • Simple design
  • Practical solution to common problem
  • Brand authority

The products above are simple in design, but practical in use. They were innovative when initially introduced and they still serve the customer the best for the problem each solves. Until something comes along to replace them customers are satisfied with purchasing the products they trust to get the job done.

Country Songs

Here’s a fun one for the country music fans (and I know there are a few reading the blog).

I initially thought of gathering some number one songs from the charts in the past 50 years or so, but then I thought it would make more sense to find the songs that may or may not have reached the pinnacle of the charts, but most importantly still get played on the radio regularly.

Top Country Songs

  • Queen of My Double Wide Trailer Singer: Sammy Kershaw Writer: Dennis Linde Chart Peak: #7
  • Life’s a Dance Singer: John Michael Montgomery Writers: Allen Shamblin, Steve Seskin Chart Peak: #4
  • Amarillo By Morning Singer: George Strait Writers: Paul Fraser, Terry Stafford Chart Peak: #4
  • Every Once and a While Band: Blackhawk Writers: Mark Bright, Tim DuBois, John Hurley Chart Peak: #2
  • Maybe It Was Memphis Singer: Pam Tillis Writers: Paul Worley, Ed Seay Chart Peak: #3

For the man who has over 50 number one hits, it’s quite the interesting bit of trivia that one of George Strait’s most lasting songs is a song that peaked at #4.

And for a band like Blackhawk, a multi-platinum selling band in the ’90s, to have never had a number one hit is quite amazing. They have so many memorable songs it was hard to pick only one. (They did have Canadian Country Music numbers ones).

And Pam Tills, one of my all time favorite artists let alone female artists. The first song of hers I can remember was Maybe It Was Memphis and it’s still the one I hear today on the radio the most. Just a great tune with passion in the vocals.


  • Catchy, Sing-along melodies and hooks
  • Unique vocals, memorable voices
  • Familiar, but seemingly not cliched lyrics
  • Emotional, sincere vocal styling

The patterns for successful songwriter and singing seem obvious once you dissect the endearing songs, but it’s still difficult to sit down and pour out the emotion it takes to write a quality song.

When I say that the vocal styling is emotional and sincere it doesn’t mean that it has to be sad. Emotion takes lots of forms and the best songs seem to be the most sincere. When the artists can put themselves into a place emotionally, mentally that connects with the song and with the listener – that’s when the magic happens.

Emotion can come from a fun place as well. Dennis Linde had to be cracking up when he wrote most of his songs (Bubba Shot the Jukebox, It Sure Is Monday, John Deere Green, Queen of My Double Wide Trailer) and that fun emotion connected with fans.

Your Spin on Things

Before closing this post I think it’s important to emphasize that no matter what patterns you pick up on in your profession, it’s important to remember that hard work and effort are still necessary for success. It’s difficult to copy exactly what others are doing. Success reaches this way will be difficult to sustain. By taking patterns from the success of others and putting unique style and voice to the process you’ll create your own little niche in the industry.

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The Best Hunting Picture Galleries

Hunters view thousands of hunting pictures on the Web…every day

The competition for the attention of hunters is heating up online and some folks are using quality hunting picture galleries to attract attention away from the competition.

My personal favorites tend to be the galleries that are easy on the eyes, easy to navigate and the ones that have the best photos of trophy game. My favorite type of hunting is bowhunting for whitetails so I always love seeing great photos related to this hunting niche.

Here are the best hunting picture galleries…

Field & Stream

Site: Field & Stream

Gallery: Field & Stream Photos


The Field & Stream Photo Gallery is one of the most popular galleries on the Web. F&S has the best selection of lists and collections of hunting pictures on the Web. People love lists and that includes hunters. The F&S ‘Best of’ collections make for great photo viewing. To increase involvement with their target audience, the team at F&S also encourage users to submit their best photos. F&S then takes the time to highlight the user photos in ways that make the users the stars. This is a great way to highlight the success of others and give them a vested interest in the gallery. I also like the mix of professional photos as well.

For more see Critique of the Field and Stream Photo Gallery

Petersen’s Hunting

Site: Petersen’s Hunting

Gallery: Petersen’s Hunting Trophy Room


The Petersen’s Hunting gallery is entirely user-submitted. On the photo gallery home page visitors have the option to view the highlighted photos, the most recent photos, the most popular photos, and users can view photos by collection and category. Giving visitors options when it comes to viewing segments of your photo gallery is important. Some visitors will want to search for specific types of photos. To satisfy these visitors you’ll want to offer a way to search the photos. Other visitors will want to discover new photos that meet their interests. This is where the categories are helpful (ex: I like whitetails. I can click on the whitetail section).

Duck’s Unlimited

Site: Duck’s Unlimited

Gallery: Duck’s Unlimited Photo Gallery

Widget: Duck’s Unlimited Member Photo of the Day Widget


Ducks Unlimited is a gallery I’ve only recently discovered and I’m glad I did. The user photos in this gallery are spectacular. DU members are allowed to submit photos and it’s apparent that some of the members are professional photographers. And that makes for some inspirational and breath-taking photographs of wildlife (ducks and waterfowl).

Something that sets the DU gallery apart from some of the others is their embeddable widget. Check it out and if you want to see the daily photos on your Website or blog you can. Widgets are great for increasing your audience and search engines love the links they create back to the site.


Gallery: Photos


It’s no secret that is one of my favorite hunting sites. I’ve written about them and included them in collections before (5 Hidden Treasures on the Web, The Top 50 Blog Posts of 2009, 25 Tips from 25 Hunting Industry Leaders). The team at are experts at hunting and sharing their insight and knowledge through their videos, photos, and blog posts. There is a great mix of trail cam photos, harvest trophies, and general photography for hunting product reviews and more. The photo gallery is easy to navigate and the photos are of high quality. is one of the galleries that offers visitors the opportunity to comment on individual photos. Something Field & Stream doesn’t have yet (you can comment on the entire collection or gallery only). Some also offer visitors the chance to rate photos like Ducks Unlimited and others.


Site: Buckmasters

Gallery: Buckmasters Trophy Gallery


The Buckmasters Trophy Gallery is not the best of the bunch, but they have a ton of great user photographs due to the company’s popularity. I’m not sure if it was just me, but this gallery took awhile to load and the auto-play music was a bit annoying (not the music, but the fact that it was playing automatically. See more Video on Your Website). It’s a cumbersome gallery, but it has good photos and it’s a well known brand.

Lone Wolf

Site: Lone Wolf Portable Treestands

Gallery: Lone Wolf Trophy Gallery


Lone Wolf is a bit of a sleeper in this collection. I’m a huge fan of the design of the Lone Wolf site so it’s no surprise that I’d like their photo gallery. I also think it’s important to show that hunting product manufacturers can have successful photo galleries (as well as any hunting industry company). Users submit photos and while some aren’t the best the scrolling is easy and the thumbnail setup is simple.


Site: CamoSpace

Gallery: CamoSpace Gallery


CamoSpace seems to be one of the few social networking hunting sites that has actually had some success. They have partnered with some big companies and some big folks that are famous for more than just hunting (Luke Bryan – great music). It’s a formula that has worked for growing the membership on the site. The photo gallery is 100% user-submitted. That format can lead to some noise (see the trucks), but there are still a ton of photos in the gallery and many of them are great…even if they are a little difficult to find.

ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Site: ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Gallery: Hunting Photo Galleries


It isn’t the prettiest and it isn’t the easiest to use, but ESPN makes the list because the brand is huge and the hunting shows on the channel are popular. Plus I loved the shows on ESPN Outdoors on Saturday morning when I was growing up.

Big Grass Outfitters

Site: Big Grass Outfitters

Gallery: Big Grass Outfitters Trophy Gallery


It’s important for outfitters to have galleries as part of their informational sites. Potential customers want visual proof of success. And past customers can be the best referral service when they push their friends to go on the site and view their photos.

Heartland Lodge

Site: Heartland Lodge

Gallery: Heartland Lodge Photo Gallery


One of the best looking sites in the hunting industry, Heartland Lodge makes great use of a photo gallery to show their potential customers the wonders they have to offer. I love that they use existing technology in Picasa to power their photo gallery. Remember that you don’t always have to work hard to develop your own style of gallery. Use galleries that already exist.

The categories in the gallery are great, but the titles of each photo are another story…

Gander Mountain

Site: Gander Mountain

Gallery: Gander Mountain Braggin’ Board


I grew up near a Gander Mountain (no Cabela’s nearby and I didn’t use the Web at the time) and I loved checking out the physical cork braggin’ board in store. Customers were always putting their trophies on the board and I loved looking at them all. Those Polaroids were great. With this gallery, Gander Mountain has brought that experience to the Web.

Greenwood Springs Plantation

Site: Greenwood Springs Plantation

Gallery: Greenwood Springs Plantation Photos


I came across this site toward the end of this post but I just had to include it. It’s a beautiful design and I love that they use Flickr for their photo gallery. The photos could be titled, tagged and included in Creative Commons on Flickr, but it’s a great use of a great photo gallery tool.

Elements of a Quality Gallery

As I browsed the Web in search of the best hunting galleries, I noted a few elements that should be standard on all folks considering a photo gallery for their site:

1) Multi-size Options

With image size, there is a battle between load time of the page and the quality and size of the image you want to load for your viewer’s viewing pleasure. Most sites offer an initial smaller version of images for scrolling and initial viewing, but offer visitors the option to zoom in or enlarge the photo, usually in some kind of pop-up. I think it’s a good compromise. Allow visitors the pleasure of a fast loading page with smaller images and if they have the capacity, they can zoom in or enlarge the photo.

2) Thumbnail Options

Something I’m in favor of when it comes to galleries are thumbnail viewing options. Popular photo gallery sites like Flickr (Flickr Hunting) offer thumbnail viewing so users can see multiple photos at once while being able to choose the ones they want to view in more detail.

3) Easy Scrolling

An important feature of galleries is the ability to scroll from photo to photo. Once a user has chosen a particular gallery to view they want to be able to scroll from photo to photo quickly and easily.

4) Proper Tagging and Titling

Giving the proper title and the appropriate tag to each photo in your gallery is important for your visitors so they understand what they’re viewing. Tagging and titling photos and galleries properly is also important for optimizing your gallery for search engines.

5) Sharing Abilities

Giving visitors the ability to share and bookmark the photos in a gallery is extremely important for the growth of your site’s traffic and audience. Build in the word of mouth aspects of a gallery and make sure the photos are worth talking about people will spread the word.

Bonus Element

Calls to action are important for any site that is aimed at selling something to visitors. With a bit of programming and planning, sites could take advantage of internal linking to sell relevant products to customers that are viewing the photos in galleries. For example, a company could ask users to submit the equipment used to harvest a trophy. List and link the equipment on the photo to the product pages and you have potential sales. A site like Gander Mountain could do this.

Your Favorite Hunting Picture Galleries

Did I miss your favorite gallery? Please share in the comments.

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You Are Defined By Your Success (despite your failures)

People reflect on your success and the failure you overcome

A hang-up with entrepreneurs and other adventurous individuals is often the fear of failure. Some strategies, tests, and new ideas are often thrown to the wayside due to what the perception would be if there were to be a failure in the attempt to improve a product, service, or process.

However, successful businesses and individuals are often defined and remembered for their successes, not for their failures.

By focusing on the fact that people will perceive you in the light of your success rather than failure, you can take down a common artificial barrier and focus on your next great success.

Selective Memory for Success

Family Success

I was thinking the other day about a few examples of people I believe to be successful business leaders. My uncle is one of those folks. He started a screen printing business over 35 years ago and the business is still going strong.

I’ve always enjoyed my uncle’s stories over the years. He’s willingly shared his life’s lessons over a campfire at his farm were family and close friends would gather to deer hunt each fall.

Occasionally he would bring up a few of his business blunders. In fact, he seemed to treat them as a nuisance to his business history. There was the adventure into cattle farming at the same hunting farm and a few other examples.

These business blunders, however, don’t spoil the successful career of a great businessman. Any failure he has had over his life is overshadowed by his success, those close to him see him for his success, and failures are simply taken with a laugh or brushed off as unimportant or simple speed bumps in his road to success.

Something I realize about my uncle is that the failures he’s had over his career seem to only bother him and I’m sure that some bother him more than others, but to hear him tell stories it seems like he is more focused on the successes he’s had.

And the people closest to him only focus on the success he’s had.

Success and Failure in Big Business

Most folks are familiar with the LL Bean story. The retail and catalog giant built a successful brand around the initial failure of the business (90 of the first 100 pairs of Maine Hunting Boots were returned due to defect). The founder promptly fixed the issue and returned quality boots back to the customers. This customer service and guarantee is what drives the loyalty at Bean today.

Most companies would falter under such failure, but LL Bean didn’t let it get to him and he continued on with his vision for success. Today people remember the initial failure, but they remember the failure in the light of the success it lead to – one of the largest and most successful companies in American history.

Aim for Success

The oldest cliché for career advice is to shoot for the highest level of success because even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal you’ll end up somewhere that is highly successful.

The worn-out clichés often reach the saturation point because they hold a level of truth and this one seems to fit that description.

The most successful people I know seem to understand that they will be defined by their success. The often don’t reach the level of success they set as goals for themselves because they set their sights so high, but their failures along the way aren’t seen as failures by others and their success in the eyes of others is the focus.

It seems that people often lose sight of the success they could have even if they often have failures in the beginning of their business careers.

A difficult, but artificial barrier people often face comes from family and friends. Early on in most ventures, people will ask you questions about how your business is going. People will phrase their questions like, “How are sales? Strong?” or perhaps, “Making any money yet?” It can be difficult to field those questions, but remember that you’ll ultimately be recognized for your ultimate success and while lots of folks will disregard you early on in your career they’ll be there to give you praise when you become successful over time.


Fear of losing respect and being judged by failure is a common artificial barrier that most people put up for themselves when contemplating a new business launch.

After reflecting on the success of business leaders around me I realized that they only focus on their failures as learning (and sometimes expensive) tools for future success. Sometimes poor investments in business are made and sometimes they’re costly. It’s a chance for people to correct their approach and focus on the things they really excel at.

Ultimately it seems that people reflect on the lives of others in a generally positive light. Success is often remembered no matter how much a person has in their lives. Failure is not often a focus when people discuss their lives.

This understanding is a chance for folks to take down the artificial barrier of self-doubt and fear of failure and focus on the impact they’ll have over the long term.

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Critique of the Field and Stream Photo Gallery

Photo galleries are hugely popular with hunters

The Field & Stream Photo Gallery appears to be a huge success with their readers. Their site has been gaining traffic and readers over the past year at great rates. It’s wonderful to see a quality publication have such success with their online initiatives.

I’ve been a reader of Field & Stream for quite some time. I’ve learned much from their annual articles about whitetail deer hunting and still look forward to their expert reviews on the latest in hunting gear.

One of the reasons for the success of the Field & Stream Website I have to believe is their photo gallery. I subscribe to the Field & Stream Newsletter and it seems they are always including remarkable photographs from the outdoors. These photos are often reader-submitted, which is great.

Field & Stream is involving their readers in their publication and it bodes well for their future growth. I’m excited to see how they continue to evolve as a business with online focus while continuing to offer the best in outdoor-related content.

There are however a few critiques I have about their Website and some suggestions for ways they could expand even more…

Technical SEO

Taking a quick glance through the extensive Field & Stream Photo Gallery I can find a few things they could adjust with relatively little effort that will yield some positive results.

A quick rank check for the general term ‘hunting photos’ reveals that Field & Stream ranks about #25 on Google. This is not acceptable since F&S has one of (if not the) best hunting photo galleries on the Web. And to top off those results, F&S is ranking for with their Hunting page rather than their Hunting Photos page.

The first thing F&S can do is to utilize a strong URL for their hunting photos. Something like would be perfect rather than the current . I would then redirect the current Hunting Photos page to the new one to keep any incoming links.

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Next I would utilize proper title tags for the Hunting Photos page. I would use something like ‘Hunting Photos and User Submitted Hunting Photos Galleries’ or something similar that best fits F&S’s goals for their photo galleries.

F&S does utilize title tags on their hunting pageHunting: Hunting Blogs, Hunting Photos, Hunting Tips, and Hunting Articles from Field & Stream’. That is a lot of great content. To avoid cannibalism I would remove ‘Hunting Photos’ from this title tag so the hunting photos page is optimized and the search engines aren’t confused.

Click for sharper image

There are a few other things Field & Stream can do technically, but these are good changes to start.

Click for sharper image

Photo Gallery Design

It appears Field & Stream has had great success with their Slide Show Style photo gallery design.

Field & Stream organizes their photos (professional and user-submitted) into individual galleries that are setup like slide shows. For example, Field & Stream’s 50 Best Reader Bucks of 2009. Each time you click ‘next’ above the photos you’ll be taken to a new page. That’s a new page view for each photo, which means big traffic numbers for F&S.

The gallery as it’s currently setup is great for building page views and each page/photo has a new description to the right, which is great for the readers as they will want to learn about each new photo.

It would be a change for my own personal preference, but I would change the slide show format to a design that more resembles a blog post with photos and descriptions taking up fewer pages. This design would lead to potential issues with page load time and decreased page views, but the advantages would include the ability to see more than one photo at once.

It’s mostly a personal preference, but there are also technical advantages. Currently, each page in a photo gallery has the same title tag, which diminishes the value of the tag.

Field & Stream has certainly had success with their photo gallery in slide show format so there is no need to make drastic changes. The traffic and page views are there and users can certainly link to individual posts which will lead to link juice.

There are a few things that could be cleaned up though as I’ve mentioned to make the user experience more enjoyable while taking advantage of some SEO.

‘Best of’ Lists

My absolute favorite part about Field & Stream’s photo gallery is their use of ‘Best of’ lists.

Example: 25 Best Big Game Reader Photos of 2009

Web users love lists and they love looking through lists of remarkable photos. F&S takes the interaction up a notch by including reader photos in their showcases. It’s a great way to get readers more involved in the site.

F&S steps up the interaction by including leader boards for top users, ranked photos and ranked comments, and related photos.

I would continue doing posts like these while also listing the Most Viewed galleries along with Trending or Favorite galleries on the main photos page.

Build on the success of the ‘Best of’ lists and create even more lists that Web visitors love.

Photo Gallery Commenting

Getting back to the issue of the slide show style design for the photo galleries – the commenting on the slide shows is awkward.

Users can comment on the galleries as a whole, but it appears they cannot comment on individual photos. Users will highlight photos in their comments (Ex: What is up with photo #3?) because they don’t have the ability or can’t figure out how to comment on the particular photo they finding noteworthy.

It would be beneficial to user experience and SEO to allow users to comment on individual posts.

One Last Word: Duplicate Content

I just noticed that there is an Additional Info section on most galleries – right side of the page when you view galleries.

It looks like the information in this area does not change from page to page when clicking ‘next’ to view each photo.

This is a search engine no-no as search engines are always struggling with duplicate content. They want to know the page that the content is meant for and sites can be deducted ranking as a result of too much duplicate content.

Example: Moose in Canoe and Elk Hunt 2009 both have the same content in the Additional Info section.


Field & Stream has one of, if not the, best outdoor and hunting-related photo gallery on the Web today.

The increase in traffic in the past year is proof that the great folks at the outdoor publication are doing great things with their Website. They’re writing content that people love to read and they’re adding photos that people love to view and comment on.

With a few adjustments to the structure of the photo gallery I think Field & Stream could see increased results. They can improve their user experience with a few technical changes, which will lead to more incoming links while also adjusting a few things that will increase search engine traffic.

I look forward to see the Field & Stream Photo Gallery evolve and grow as outdoor enthusiasts continue interacting with the site.

PS – It looks like image title and tagging could be improved too. The exciting part is that there is huge potential for Field & Stream to improve their immense collection of photos.

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Image courtesy of vauvau