Does Flickr Image Hosting Hurt Blog Traffic?

In recent months, I’ve switched over to using Flickr for image hosting for
Technology Evangelist
rather than hosting the images on the TE server. This has
some advantages which I’l outline below, but also may have a disadvantage worth considering.

First the advantages:

Here is my general work flow for inserting images into a Technology Evangelist
post:

1. I see something interesting on a web site that’s post worthy.

2. I click Cmd-Shift-4, then highlight the relevant area of my screen. This
creates a cropped screen shot on my desktop.

3. I ctrl-click on the image, and open it with Flickr Uploadr, give it a name
and tags, then post it to Flickr.

4. I open the photo on Flickr and grab the HTML for the 500px wide or narrower
version of the photo or screen shot. Flickr automatically resizes images to a
few set sizes, making it easy for me to grab an appropriate size for the blog.
They also store the original so people can click on the inserted image to study
a larger version.

The disadvantage:

By hosting the images on Flickr rather than the TE server, I missed out on
traffic from image-specific searches from sites like Google Images. This can be
a significant portion of a site’s traffic when images are properly names and
given ALT text, so it’s with some reluctance that I use the work-flow described
above.

To make up for this, I try to make a habit of adding a link from my Flickr
image’s descriptions to posts where they’ve been embedded in order to drive a
little traffic to a page that explains what they’re all about. This has proven
to drive enough traffic to justify the time involved in adding links.

What is your theory on image hosting for blogs? Do you host your own images, use
Flickr, Amazon S3, or some other 3rd party host? What is the thinking behind
your choice?

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