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Search Engine Submission Services - Why You Don't Need Them

So you've registered your domain and your website is up and running online. And, next thing you know you get an email telling you you need to sign up for something called search engine submission. For $xx.xx a month they'll submit your site to 200 (or 300 or 600 - the number varies) search engines and that this is the only way you'll get listed. And, here's the kicker, to remain listed you should pay them every month otherwise you may drop off of the search engine listings completely.

 

Great! sign me up! Right? Wrong, while this may not technically be illegal, my personal opinion is that it's a pretty shady practice targeting new and usually un-web-savvy website owners by selling them a service which is of little actual value.

 

Text on Your Website - Break it into Small Paragraphs

Ever try to read an article, blog post, comment, etc. that consists of one huge paragraph with no breaks? Did your eyes glaze over? And, did you decide that you were simply not that interested in reading it so you moved on?

 

This is what I refer to as the impenetrable wall of text. It doesn't matter how interesting the subject is - if it's difficult to read, most people will give up.

 

This becomes a particular issue online because of issues like eye strain caused by staring at a computer monitor all day and the ubiquity of hand held devices with small screens.

 

Like it or not, people tend to scan, not read. Make it easy for them to pick out the important things you want to say by breaking your text up into shorter paragraphs. White space on the page gives the reader a chance to pause and their eyes a chance to rest. Which means they may actually read what you have written.

Tagged: Website Tips

Getting More Links to Your Art Website - The Places You Teach

Do you teach art classes or workshops? Does the college, studio, art center, etc. where you teach have a website where you can display your profile. If so, have them include a link to your website.

 

People participating in your classes/workshops are artists/art lovers and may be potential customers or have connections to potential customers.

 

In addition, for search engine optimization purposes, it's another link into your website from a respected relevant source. And, if the place you teach has a .edu domain name (most colleges and universities do), the link in may be given even more weight by the search engines because .edu domains are not available on the open market.

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.