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How to Use Your Website Proactively

Most artists use their website as a tool for follow up after they have a show. People come to the show to see the work but don't commit to buying. Then in a last ditch effort to close a sale, the artist hands them a card with a website address hoping they'll go to the site and decide they simply can't live without a piece of art.


Sometimes this works - people often need time to think about a large purchase before committing. But, why not use your website in a more proactive manner as well?


Step One: build a mailing list with both email and snail mail addresses. People who've bought before (i.e. collectors), people who've come to your shows, anyone who's expressed an interest in your work.

Step Two: When getting ready for your next show, try to make your website as up to date as possible. You don't necessarily need to include every piece you'll have in the show, but a good representative sampling is wise.

Step Three: When promoting your show via postcard, email blast, Facebook page update, etc. include your website address and an invitation to preview your show via the website.


I have done this with success - I've even had people come to shows looking for specific pieces from my website and made sales.

Tagged: Marketing

Get Better Search Engine Results – Quick Tip #8 - Stay Up to Date

circle the dateUpdate your website regularly - search engines like to see fresh content on websites.


Think about it, if it's 2014 and your site talks about your event that is upcoming in July 2010 - you are out of date. Your site may even look as though it has been abandoned.


Every site can use a little house cleaning every once in a while - keep it fresh and you'll be more relevant


Read more tips for attracting more traffic to your website


Tip #1 – What You Write is Important


Tip #2 – Be Specific


Tip #3 – Be Local


Tip #4 – Talk About Your Art


Tip #5 – Get Other Sites to link to Yours


Tip #6 – Some Links Carry More Weight


Tip #7 – Link to Others

How Google Works - Part 3 - Games, Elixirs and Potions

Pills and PotionsPart 1 covered the behind the curtain mechanics of how Google works. Part 2 went over the economics of the great "free" product we all enjoy.


Google is used more and more in our daily lives. Everyone is getting a supercomputer, aka smartphone, in their pocket. When you're out and about, need to know the hours of your closest coffee shop, Google it. How amazing is that!?


Nowadays, if your business isn't found with a Google search, YOU DON'T EXIST. More accurately, if you don't show in the first 30 results, and preferably the first 10, you don't exist. Google doesn't publish their secret sauce ingredients, or their ranking algorithm. This leaves everyone to speculate and conjecture the magic of Google.


This has created a new industry called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. The objective of SEO is to get Google to place your website higher up in the search results than everyone else. The techniques can range from simple wording tweaks and adding relevant content, to shady, unscrupulous elixirs. Google acknowledges this industry and encourages webmasters to tailor their sites to human beings first and foremost. Google publishes articles and videos on how to work within their rules, including rules that should not be broken. What's the penalty for breaking Google's rules? At one extreme, they'll blacklist your website! These days, if your site is blacklisted, you might as well close up shop. Less drastically, they can make sure your website does not show in the top search results.


One of the original SEO techniques has been termed "link farms". The premise is that Google likes sites that have a lot of other websites linking to them. If you pay a bunch of link farms to link to your site, then Google should like your site. Google caught on to this technique and highly discourages it - they will downgrade a site's quality rank when they see these techniques employed.


The SEO industry is a lot like the weight loss industry. With the rising percentages of Americans in the overweight category, most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. So how do you do it? Different techniques work for different people. There are diets, diet books, fad diets; diet club memberships, diet meals in a box; exercise programs and workout routines; then there's the magic pills n potions. For every legitimate diet business or program, there are a few get thin quick schemes (think late night infomercials). Some products seem to claim they can make you thin by the end of the month by just taking a pill. The reality that many studies have shown is that weight loss is hard work involving a combination of diet change and exercise regimen - that produces the most successful long term healthy results.


By the same token, every website could use some tweaks and adjustments that could help in their Google ranking. Just like the weight loss industry, there are a plethora of businesses ready to take your money, and optimize your site to get it "to the top of Google by the end of the month". These companies engage in shady high pressure cold-call sales techniques followed by rule breaking techniques that can get you blacklisted from search.


There are also pure hearted SEO businesses using legitimate techniques that may help in improving your search ranking over the period of months or years. In the end, good SEO starts with a little hard work - adding content that people can read about your business and products, and networking with other like businesses. People and Google alike want to see websites that answer the basics: who, what, where, when, why. Who are you, what is your product/what can it do for me, where can I see/buy it, when can I have it/when are you open, why do I need it. By providing the answers to these questions, you may get better search engines results for your site.


See some of our other articles on SEO for practical tips and techniques.

Your Website is a Tool - Use It!

hammerSo here's the dirty little secret about websites: websites are PASSIVE. They don't go out on their own and do your marketing for you. As a result, you can't just put up a website and expect traffic or sales to magically roll in.


You are your own brand and you need to promote yourself. Apple, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Nike, etc. don't just rest on their laurels and expect sales to roll in - they market their brands relentlessly. What makes you think you can avoid marketing your artwork and still have sales?


I always compare a website to a business card. You can have a gorgeous card printed but if you never give your cards out to anyone, they don't do anything for you.


Both websites and business cards are tools and tools are meant to be used - ACTIVELY.


Ok, so we at Art Studios Online (or some other website company) built you a nice, well-formatted site. And, we even let the search engines know that it's there. You're all set, right? Wrong!


You have to actively participate in this venture as well.


First, you supply content. After all, your site is about YOUR artwork. You need to supply both pictures and text that demonstrate what it is you do. And, unfortunately, search engines can't "see" your pictures - so this means you need to have text on your website that talks about them.


Next, you need to promote your site online.


Get links to your site from other art related websites. Do you belong to an art group or guild? Are you a member of a co-op gallery? Do you participate in art fairs? These are all good sources for links to your website.


Do you participate in social media? Promote your site on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Talk about your art and events related to your art career on these social platforms and make sure you include a link to your website.


Finally, you need to promote your site in the offline world as well.


Have your website address printed on all your business related materials. Make sure you never leave home without your business cards and for heaven's sake give them out.


Take the opportunity to talk about your work in social/business situations when appropriate. I'm not talking about being that annoying woman on the plane who pulls out 900 pictures of her grandkids. But quite frequently, people will ask what you do - so take advantage of this and have your "elevator speech" ready. Often it will turn into a more lengthy discussion because many people are fascinated by the idea of the artist's life.


And, if they're really interested, give them a card, offer to show them around your studio, invite them to your next event. You know - network - it's how it's done in every other industry.


A website is just another tool in your marketing/networking toolbox not a replacement for it.

Tagged: Website Tips

How Google Works - Part 2 - Free? Follow the Money

MoneyPart 1 talked about how Google search works, what about the economics of search, how do we get all this for free? If search works like a library, the underlying financing works like an old national television broadcast network (ABC, CBS, NBC). In the days before cable, how much did you pay to watch a TV show? Zero, nothing, zilch; well, kinda. Many of those actors were making bucks, where did the money come from? Advertisers. The broadcast networks paid for the TV shows, advertisers paid the broadcast networks, and you paid the advertisers (like when you buy Coke, Spearmint gum, and your Ford Taurus).


In much the same way, you are not paying Google directly for the search results. So who is? Advertisers. Google show ads on the right side of the search page (and often at the top and bottom of the page). Google has two pricing schemes for advertisers. One is priced by "impressions", which is modeled on the TV broadcasters where they estimate how many people watch a show; the more viewers, the more the advertiser pays. The other price scheme is to "pay per click", where the advertiser pays each time an ad is clicked. Ads can get expensive quickly.


So, with this pricing model, it begs the statement: "Great, so I can just pay and have Google put me anywhere I want!". Wrong. Google makes a clear distinction when taking advertising money -- it is for advertising. When you search, you get two separate sets of results - "organic results" based on the GoogleBot catalog, and the advertisements. Nobody can pay to influence the organic results, and the advertisements have strict rules of their own. You cannot pay Google to show "Sally's Home Baked Cookies" when someone searches for a new car - ads must be relevant to the search.


Google has gotten so big, so ubiquitous, that if you're not well liked by Google, nobody will ever find you --you don't exist. This created a new industry where everyone wants to claw their way to the top of Google, which we'll cover in Part 3 (coming soon).

How to Price Art When You Also Show in Galleries

Gallery Interior

Many artists sell their work directly to the public through art fairs, studio sales, and the internet. Often, they also have gallery representation.


This can pose some problems for these "gallery artists" because gallery owners may object to you posting prices your website or selling works directly.

How to deal with this issue is up to you as an individual and dependant on the contract/relationship you have with your gallery.


Some factors you may want to take into account when deciding the best course of action for you:


  • If a gallery does a good job of promoting/selling your work you may need to make some concessions to them.
  • If gallery doesn't sell much of your work at all, you may have more room for compromise on the issue.
  • If you prefer for your galleries to do all your sales for you, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have an artist website. It just means you need to approach it differently. Instead of posting your contact and price info, refer prospective customers to your galleries and provide contact info for them and a website link.


I always post my work on my website at the same price as my galleries charge (same goes for work I sell a retail shows). My reasons are these:

  1. Undercutting my galleries could sour my relationship with them
  2. If I'm doing the sales/marketing work that the gallery would normally do, then I deserve the commission, retail price is retail price


In addition, when a gallery has expressed concern in the past, I have made agreements with them that not only will I not undercut their prices, but if a customer finds my work in a gallery first and then comes to me to complete the sale, the gallery is still entitled to their commission. This can help allay fears that you'll allow customers to do an end run around the gallery.

Tagged: Marketing