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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

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

Will this Painting Fit Over the Couch in the Den?

Couch with a painting over itAlways include the dimensions of your artwork on your website.


It's usually impossible to tell how big something is from a picture on the internet. People don't buy when they don't know if the item will fit in their space - give them this much needed information.


Sometimes it's also helpful so include an in situ image for reference as well.

Tagged: Website Tips

Your Website’s Contact Page, an Opportunity to Connect with Buyers

Unfriendly Door Mat Message

What does the Contact page of your website say about you?


Are you approachable? Do you welcome questions about or comments on your work? Or do you project an image that implies “I don’t want to talk to you unless you are going to buy something”?


If all you do is list your email address and phone number or have a form there for people to fill out, you may not be projecting the image you want. Sure list your email, phone #, or whatever method you want to be contacted. But why stop there?


Your Contact page is a chance to talk to your customers directly. Let your customers know you want them to contact you. A warm welcome invitation to learn more about your work, ask questions, or join your mailing list. Be personable and approachable.


Remember art is a very personal business. Customers often want to feel like they have some sort of connection with the artist. A nice personable greeting and an invitation for customers to contact you with any questions may be more effective than simply listing your contact information.

Tagged: Website Tips

How to Name Your Portfolios

The Vivandier © Dianne Gardner
The Vivandier © Dianne Gardner

I see a lot of artist websites where they’ve gone throught the trouble of dividing their images into small manageable portfolios but then they’ve named them things like "portfolio 1", "portfolio2", etc. What a wasted opportunity!


Your portfolio names should draw visitors in and entice them to have a closer look. At the very least, portfolio names should accurately describe the group of images contained within the portfolio.


Look at the grouping and decide what this set of images have in common. After all you grouped these images together for a reason. Was it by subject matter? Medium? The feeling they gave you at the time? Whatever the reason, capitalize on that and give each portfolio a meaningful title.


It could be very basic: Landscapes, Portraits, Still-lifes. Or, it could be more complex, related to specific themes: such as equestrian art, americana, fantasy art, etc.


There is an added bonus to doing this. Usually these titles are marked in such a way that they tell search engines that this title is considered important. Making these titles specific and descriptive is much better for your search engine results than "portfolio 1", etc.

Tagged: Website Tips