Do you ego surf?

I do. I’ll admit it. And I bet you do too….

And sometimes I find cool stuff! Like today. I don’t know if it will last – Google has a tendency to make changes and adjust their results continually – so not everything sticks. But I’m sort of hoping this change sticks around! If you search for my name right now on Google, there are Image Results, right in the middle of the regular search results! Now, it may seem silly to get so excited over that – I mean, so what? So they included a few photos in the main search – big deal.

But in my world, it is sort of a big deal.

Google Results

I’m a photographer – so I want my images to show up when you search for my name – that’s a great thing! So that’s the practical reason why I care.

In the more ego-driven part of my mind, I care for entirely different reasons. As a former SEO Pro, I still am avidly interested in how Google presents their results – I notice when they add to, or change, or tweak their results, even slightly. And in the past I’ve only seen Image Results as shown above when you searched for fairly high-profile people. So when I saw the results for my name, I instantly started to search for my friend’s names, and guess what? I found nothing. Then I started to search for the names of people who are somewhat well-known in certain circles – other photographers with higher profiles than mine – and still found nothing. Then I searched for people with even bigger names, and still nothing. In other words, I may be the least famous person on Google with Image Results showing in the middle of the regular search results!

Why does that make me happy? Well it sort of tells me that while I’m no longer a practicing SEO Pro, what I’ve been doing is working – and that makes me super happy. It’s GREAT to see positive results come from your expertise!

Ego surfing is definitely the norm – make no mistake, everybody does it! And my fun new status may disappear tomorrow – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it did – but for today, it’s a sign that I’m doing something right, and believe me, I’ll take it!

Most Popular Posts

Photos by Cheryl SpeltsAs I blogged a little over a month ago, one of the reasons I redesigned my blog was because I wanted to showcase my Most Popular Posts – and if you scroll to the bottom of the page and look in the footer, you’ll now see exactly that!

The rankings are determined by a combination of factors – like how many times a unique visitor views the post on the front page of the blog, how many times a post is viewed on it’s own page, and how many times a post is viewed in a feed reader. I wish it also took the number of comments into consideration, but right now it’s not – but that’s okay, it’s still a pretty good representation of what is popular on my blog.

Since the feature is so new, and it’s only been collecting data for a little over a month, newer posts of course have an advantage. Every time a unique visitor views the front page, all the latest posts collect some points.

But are the latest posts really the most popular? Actually not. Because I can see my traffic stats, I’ve known for a long time that there are some older posts that get a lot of traffic. One old post in particular gets twice as much traffic as any other post on my blog.

Here are the top ten posts on my blog, if you only look at single post views – not front page views or feed views.

Single Post Views

  1. Backstage at MTV’s Rock the Cradle
  2. Fallbrook Film Festival, Adam McKay
  3. Just a little tease…
  4. Lukas Rossi | So This Is Christmas
  5. Fallbrook Christmas Parade
  6. Marty Casey in Pacific Beach
  7. Fallbrook Film Festival, Opening Night
  8. Hot New Band! Quietdrive!
  9. Marty Casey on the Sunset Strip
  10. Um, artists are different…

So what’s so interesting about that list? Well it’s heavily weighted toward celebrities, and nine of the top ten are posts with mostly photos and very little text. In other words, my visitors would rather see my photos, than read my thoughts – which I guess isn’t all that surprising!

The top slot is taken by my backstage documentary of MTV’s Rock the Cradle – and it generates twice as much traffic as any other page on my blog. Why? Well the show featured the children of Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Loggins, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, and other celebrities – and if you google for images of some of those celebrities, you’ll find the images from that post – which leads to traffic.

Next up is a post about the Fallbrook Film Festival, specifically the event with Adam McKay, who is an A-List writer and film director. His first big gig was as a writer on Saturday Night Live and he eventually became the head writer. Then he moved into films with writing partner and actor Will Ferrell, with Elf in 2003, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy in 2004, Talladega Nights in 2006, and Step Brothers in 2008. And once again, if you google for images of him, you find my images. Cool!

The number seven slot is also from the Fallbrook Film Festival. Why? Well it features photos of Chase Masterson, who was on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for five years and General Hospital for four years.

There are also three posts about Marty Casey (1) (2) (3), one about Lukas Rossi, and one about Quietdrive – which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, since they’re also some of my own favorite posts.

Perhaps a little surprising is how high my post on the 2007 Fallbrook Christmas Parade ranks – but the 30 days measured were the end of December and the beginning of January, so that post is more likely to do well during that particular time period – and there are sites linking to my image of the Budweiser Clydesdales and to the image of the guys in the Mini Cars. Who knows? But it’s popular!

The last post, number ten, is the only recent post and the only one that’s all text and no images – so it will probably drop out of the top ten soon! But I love that it’s there now, because it’s cool to think that a few people are reading my words, as well as looking at my images!

So what does all this tell me? And how will it impact what I do in the future? Well actually not much. I mean, is it really all that surprising that people Google the names of famous people? Not really!

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s fascinating to find out what other people look at on my site. I love seeing what’s most popular!

Blog Redesign & My New Feed

A few months ago I redesigned my main site – but I left the blog as it was – since I still liked the design, and it was working well. Why change what wasn’t broken?

But then I started to want some new features – like a list of my most popular posts – I’d seen that on other blogs and thought it was really cool and interesting. I want to know what’s most popular on other blogs, so why shouldn’t I showcase that on my own blog as well? And I really really really wanted comments to appear on my blog, right on that same page – I had begun to hate that a user had to click and go to in order to read what others had written. Those were my big two desires – a popular posts feature and embedded comments – but there were smaller desires as well, like wanting the flexibility of having both categories and tags, instead of just labels…

So it was time to migrate from Blogger to WordPress! But I have one minor glitch that I can’t seem to figure out? My old feed was at feed:// or feed:// – but the new feed is at a different location, and I can’t seem to figure out how to make it all work together…

What that means is that if you subscribe to this blog, using the old feed, it will no longer be updated. I may only have 23 subscribers, but I don’t want to lose a single one because I didn’t leave a bread crumb trail!

So please, if you’re one of my 23 wonderful beautiful fabulous subscribers – please update my feed address to the following!

And if you’re not one of my beloved 23, feel free to feel the love and join up!

Edited on 12.20.2009 to add: I think I finally figured this out! The old blog feed is now redirecting to the new feed, so all is well again. Yay!

In my opinion, you all have excellent taste!

Photos by Cheryl SpeltsOne interesting thing about my new site design is that I can now tell which are the most popular images, because each is on it’s own page, so it’s easy to see how many clicks each image gets. Interesting!

The favorites from yesterday were these three, in this order…

The two of Marty Casey don’t surprise me a bit – of course he gets the most click action! But the other image was a really pleasant surprise – it’s of my nephew Nathan, taken just last month, and it may end up being one of my all-time favorite portraits of all time. It’s just magical…

In fact, all three of the above are among my favorites of all time. Guess my visitors have excellent taste!

Slick and Glossy and Modern

I just debuted my new site design! Yay!

About six weeks ago I decided to redesign a couple of pages on my main photography site – just a little minor housekeeping! Then I got swept up in it, and before I knew it I had a plan for a full-blown redesign of the entire site. Where my old design was an homage to fine art, I wanted the redesign to be slick and glossy and modern. I still wanted spareness in the design – I like the images to stand out, not the design. And I still wanted bright white and lots of negative space. Some things don’t change!

 // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

My old design was html with some Flash galleries – I used to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionally, so for me an all-Flash site was never something I ever seriously considered – at least some html was the way to go! And for SEO purposes the old design worked just fine. It also worked just fine on the vast majority of computers – almost everyone has Flash installed. But then I got an iPhone in 2007, and not being able to see parts of my site on it was a little bit of an irritation. And as more and more people get smart phones with web access, I wanted to consider alternatives to my Flash galleries. So the new site has javascript galleries – which the search engines can and do read, and which works just fine on an iPhone, and hopefully other smart phones.

 // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

It’s not a perfect experience to look at my new site on an iPhone – the navigation, particularly the arrows are too small to be really useful – but that’s okay, because bottom line, you can see my work! You can get to the galleries, you can see my images, and they look beautiful! So while it may not be perfect, it’s a huge improvement over my previous site where you could navigate the site just fine on a smart phone, but you never saw any images – not good for a photographer!

 // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Something else new is a Live Concerts Portfolio – all the images in it were previously published elsewhere, but never on my own site – so that has now been remedied!

I have a lot more content to add in the coming weeks – there are only 150 images on the site right now – I plan to add more and more and more. I want lush full portfolios, where the viewer can get lost looking. Most photographers believe in only showing their most current work, but I have a portfolio of images dating back over 14 years – work I’m proud of and want to showcase. If you think about Annie Leibovitz or Georgia O’Keeffe or Frank Lloyd Wright would you expect to only see work from one period of their lives, or would you expect to find a full body of work? In my opinion, a full body of work shows off an artist in a way that a selection of images never will – and I want to show work from every phase of my artistic life. It may take a while to get it done, but that’s the goal!

And I have one other surprise, that I can’t reveal yet – but it’s going to be great fun!

Site Update

So why am I posting screen shots of my current web site? Well the word current might be a clue…

I love my site as is – it was designed with my fine art background in mind. If you ever spent hours cutting mats for prints, bright white mats, four-ply, with sharp perfect corners, and never exactly square, always fuller at the bottom – then you get all the white in my current site. And if you ever signed your mounted prints with pencil, then you really get it. Even the little square images that repeat throughout the site are an homage to the square images on a medium format contact sheet.

But things change! And artists evolve. And it was time for an update. So that’s coming, soon. But today I just want to post a few screenshots, as an archive, because I like looking back! And soon, what you see below, will be the past.

How did you get here?

I always get a kick out of the search terms people use to find this site. Most are of course photography-related – and there are a lot that are music or model-related as well. I also get hits for Trashing the Dress and Rock Star and INXS and Lukas Rossi – all of which I’d expect.

But then there are some just plain fun ones! Like all the people searching for a red clawfoot bathtub – who knew it was such a sought after item? I love mine – I mean I did blog about it! But there are dozens of people every month that find this blog, because they’re looking for a red tub. This last month I mentioned jack rabbits and mountain lions and I’m now getting hits related to that kind of wildlife. If that’s what you’re looking for – sorry! All I did was mention them, there’s not really much here on either animal. I also get hits for simple modern desk or a variation of that – and yeah, I do have one, but no photos of it posted yet.

But the most interesting to me this month are the searches for “sold” or “ sold for” or “ domain name.” The game was released this month, and the domain name has been splashed all over the media and in their ads, so it’s no wonder there’s some interest right now. But wow! There are a lot of mighty curious people out there!

Brand New Archive!

I’ve decided to do something a bit unusual. Most photographers – including me until now – seem to post just a small selection of their images on their web sites. The idea is that as you do more work, you add the new, and weed out some of the older stuff. And you end up with a site that’s neat and quick to look through and always updated. It’s a gallery of your current work, and it’s a good system.

But my problem is that I still love some of the older images – so I’ve decided to add an archive to my site! I’ve spent some time over the last couple of weeks scanning some really old images, and it’s been so much fun! I’ve been rediscovering images, and seeing themes I hadn’t noticed before. It’s been great!

It’s a big job. I shot with film exclusively for eleven years, and I still shoot some film now – which means a lot of scanning! But I’m in no hurry. It may take me all summer to get everything I want added – and that’s fine. It’s a fun project!

If you want to check out some of my older work, a very small selection is currently available here. More will be added, as I feel like it…

Guestbook, 1997-2005

My old guestbook – cool when I set it up in 1997 – recently has been attracting a lot of spam. In fact, I haven’t gotten a real comment in it since early 2005. So it’s officially no more! But, that doesn’t mean I wanted to lose everything – I did get a few fun comments over the years! So here’s some of the best, saved for the ages…

And if you scroll down far enough you’ll see where Seymour W. Duncan stopped by back in the early days – that was a big highlight!

Monday 04/04/2005 5:18:59pm
Homepage URL:
Location: Canada
Comments: It has been a pleasure to see your photos. I just past through here and I love it very much. I really appreciate your work here, I think it will serve to many for inspiration.

Wednesday 12/08/2004 9:56:56pm
Homepage URL:
Comments: the fine art photos are really good. love the little kids face up close 🙂

Sunday 02/29/2004 1:55:56pm
Bert Nordberg
Location: Fresno, California
Comments: Hi Cheryl! Long time no hear from! Great photos, Very nice site. Keep up the great photos.
long lost friend,

Friday 01/30/2004 11:11:14pm
Name: Tom
Homepage URL:
Location: The Netherlands
Hello, my compliments for your nice website and photos! Please come see my website and photos sometime? Best regards from Tom.

Saturday 12/20/2003 3:09:14pm
Leif Karlsson
Homepage URL:
Location: Sweden
Comments: I just surfed on your nice website and would like to take the opportunity to tell you how much I liked it, I will certainly come back and visit again to check it out for future updates. Please feel free to take a look at my Panorama photos at if you like.
Best regards/ Leif

Tuesday 12/16/2003 12:36:54am
Homepage URL:
Great portrait work! Band stuff is super too……thebassguy

Wednesday 11/05/2003 10:54:47am
Mike Kieffer
Homepage URL:
Location: Saratoga Springs, Utah
Great site. I really like your work.

Tuesday 10/14/2003 4:56:45pm
Homepage URL:
Comments: Just happened upon your Photography site, nice

Thursday 09/25/2003 6:34:35am
Homepage URL:
Location: France
Comments: Nice pictures, congratulations!

Monday 04/28/2003 8:12:26am
John Matthews
Homepage URL:
Location: Tennessee
Comments: Great photography Cheryl, you have a very unique style, which works fantastically – keep up the marvelous work—–

Friday 04/25/2003 2:47:12pm
scott maiden
Homepage URL:
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Comments: l like the portfolio layout. Images show the subjects soul. very good

Monday 03/03/2003 4:02:57am
Jay Kelly
Homepage URL:
Location: San Francisco
Very nice work!
Jay Kelly
Jay Kelly Photography

Tuesday 02/04/2003 10:52:45am
anthony j campbell
Thank you! I Love you always, Tony Campbell

Wednesday 07/18/2001 0:08:52am
shad sluiter
Homepage URL:
Location: USA
Good looking and creative eye you have.

Friday 06/22/2001 4:33:11pm
Location: north carolina
Comments: I’m 19 and in school now for photography. I really want to go into the commercial field. I love to take pictures of people..but, not so much, not school pictures and that kind of thing. I want to do fashion photography because it is so interesting to me. I’m not sure, but i thought Id ask if you ever did any internships ? I mean, if you ever had, or would even want to have someone come intern with you. Just a thought.

Friday 06/01/2001 1:42:27pm
Name: andi
Homepage URL:
Location: ohio.
beautiful work.

Tuesday 04/17/2001 1:30:18am
marty tetloff
Homepage URL:
Location: Tacoma, WA
Comments: Nice work.

Monday 01/22/2001 11:26:42pm
Jim Gamble
Location: MD
Comments: Cheryl, I was surfing and saw your site and just wanted to say WOW your photos are GREAT I hope to start shooting people soon to build my own portfolio hope mine turn out as good as yours

Tuesday 11/14/2000 11:18:08pm
Homepage URL:
Comments: One word Cheryl, “awesome”! You have a great eye. I did portfolios in NYC for about 5 years, your work brings back memories…

Site bookmarked!

Thursday 11/02/2000 6:26:30am
Chris Michaels
Homepage URL:
Location: San Diego
Comments: Hi Cheryl,

Found your site after doing a search, for kicks, on my namesake Chris(tian) Michaels.
Little did I know there is a popular musician with my same name. Eventually led to your excellently designed site, and your wonderful polaroid transfers. Nice, creative work, in general – even the writing. I’m a professional photographer too and use that technique on occaision also. If you ever get near downtown SD, give me a ring – we can chat and laugh about the industry! My photos can be seen at if you’re interested.

The other Chris Michaels

Friday 10/27/2000 4:08:24pm
Dennis Coughlin
Homepage URL:
Location: New Hampshire
Comments: Hi Cheryl,
I found your page through e-groups and am happy to have found it. I like your work and wish you continued success!
Take care,

Wednesday 05/31/2000 9:14:00pm
Carly Rodgers
Location: Northern Ireland
WOW! There fantastic pictures. I’m 18 and I’m trying to take Portrait pictures. My dream (now don’t laugh!) is to photograph portraits of celebrities. I love your work, and trust me I’ll be back again. Keep on at it!
Carly Rodgers

Friday 03/31/2000 11:00:00am
Richard Gerard Gay
Location: Philippines
Your website is cool! I love it!!!

Friday 07/31/1998 6:30:00am
Geoff Wilbur
Homepage URL:
Location: East Lansing, MI
Comments: Hello! Actual proof that people DO surf — got here via the Ces Jacuzzi site from your message in the discussion on the indiebiz list. Thought since the thread had to do with web surfing (and I’m not sleeping like I should be), I’d check out some web sites. Cheers!

Wednesday 06/10/1998 2:56:00am
Homepage URL:
Location: Rochester NY
Impressive portfolio. I liked both the content and the technique of your photos

Monday 06/08/1998 9:52:00pm
john christiano
Homepage URL:
Location: LA CA
compelling work.

Sunday 05/31/1998 7:50:00am
Fred Tracey
Homepage URL:
Location: The mecca that is north county
Just stumbled upon this site. Kinda interesting.

Wednesday 01/21/1998 8:50:00pm
Name: Ruth
Homepage URL:
Location: Victoria, B.C. Canada
Great work Cheryl.. you obviously have a great career ahead of you.. Congratulations.

Friday 01/02/1998 8:06:00am
Name: Kari Tanskanen
Homepage URL:
Location: Finland
Comments: Very nice! My minimalist sense of style especially liked numbers 14, 16 and 55.

Wednesday 12/10/1997 3:26:00pm
Name: Art Wilson
God only knows
Comments: Cheryl:
Just a short note to say how much I enjoy your talents. Oh, by the way, Who’s butt are you showing in MODELS & ACTORS??

Wednesday 11/26/1997 4:44:00am
Name: Seymour W. Duncan
Homepage URL:
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Comments: I enjoy the work of Cheryl Spelts and she had a great eye and I will be watching her work…Seymour W. Duncan (Vintage Guitar Magazine & Seymour Duncan guitar pickups)

Monday 11/10/1997 2:11:00am
Michelle Buendel
Location: Bonsall Calif
Comments: Your site is great!! I had not been aware of it till tonight! Keep up the great work!!

Wednesday 11/05/1997 8:34:00pm
Name: Brenda
Homepage URL:
Location: NJ
Comments: I loved spending time browsing through your pages. I thought the fine art was one of the best parts.

Friday 10/31/1997 4:22:00pm
Name: Maths Lundsbye
Homepage URL:
Gothenburg, Sweden
Comments: You have done a great job here, Cheryl – a good looking site with great photos.
I wish you could take their photo! They make great music, but we don’t have any good band photos. You’re welcome to visit BLACKMAIL HOME CAVE anytime you want to listen to good rock’n’roll in streaming Real Audio.

Thursday 10/30/1997 4:00:00am
Homepage URL:
Melbourne, Vic. Australia
Comments: I really enjoyed looking at your photos, they’re excellent. I’m one of those snap-happy people who loves to take photos of anything and everything, just for the memories. I have about 60 albums with 120 photos in each, and that’s not counting the special albums…like one for each of my kids and the holiday albums etc. My Dad recently lost all his old photos in a fire, and it was like part of the family had gone forever, so sad. Anyway, all the best from me, Tina

Tuesday 10/28/1997 4:13:00pm
Name: Tim Jeffries
Homepage URL:
Comments: Good job! I like it I like it. Keep the fresh pictures and images coming.

Tuesday 10/28/1997 5:41:00am
Name: Hank
Homepage URL:
San Marcos , Ca.
Hi cheryl! Great site. I wish you the best. it’s great to know and work with you! Hank!

Monday 10/27/1997 11:22:00pm
Wendy Piedmonte
Homepage URL:
I am more than flattered to find the photo of me and my hounds with your models and actors. As you know I am niether. Anytime you want to do some animal work, come on over. I could use alot more shots of my gang.
Great Page!!!!!

If you want to see the original spam-filled version, it still exists, for now…