Nichol from Mossy Creek Designs (Check out her great fossil beads) sent me her link the other day and asked for other suggestions on where to promote her site. It got me thinking about the whole topic again so I thought I’d write about it. Then I’ll have to review the list and see what else I should be doing with my own site
First of all take a look through your site and decide if it’s ready to share. Do you just want people to see your work? If so, do you have nice clear images and some descriptions about each piece? Everybody has to start somewhere (you should see my first site!!) but I see a number of websites where they have three very dark, small images and I really can’t tell what I’m supposed to be looking at.
Are you trying to create an online business and sell your work? Then make sure you have your prices clearly shown, an easy way for people to contact you, an explanation of how to pay, your shipping policies and charges, return policy, etc etc. Make it easy for people to order and get their questions answered or they’ll just wander off.
Your art should be the main focus and decoration for the site. This is something I’m in the process of improving on my own site – it’s been awhile since my last major update and I want to feature some of my newest work more prominently. You don’t need textured backgrounds, lots of clip art, seven different font colors, etc to dress up your site It will just detract from your work. And whatever you do, don’t add music!! This is a real pet peeve of mine – it is so annoying (and potentially embarrassing if you’re surfing at work during lunch) to click on a link then then have music suddenly blaring at you. If you really think that music would add to your site, add a button that people can CHOOSE to click on if they want to listen. If you’re trying to sell your work, then your website shouldn’t be about you and your preferences – it should be about making your customers comfortable and showing them why and how they can purchase your art.
Depending on your target audience, try joining some forums – clay forums such as polymerclaycentral.com or pcp on Yahoo, beading and jewelry forums, etc – Be a contributing member and always keep your web address in your signature on all your posts and emails. Don’t be pushy, but if you want people to visit, a friendly “Here’s my site, tell me what you think” post is usually ok. (Look through the old posts and forum policies to make sure first)
Whatever you do, don’t join any of those link exchanges with websites which are nothing but pages and pages of links. They try to tell you that exchanging links with them will improve your search engine ranking but you’re much more likely to be hurt by it. You’re better off doing searches for individual sites with content that is related to your own. Take a look at their links page and see if your site would fit, then send them a personal email and ask politely if you can exchange links. DON’T try to submit your polymer clay link to someone who only links to deep sea fishing sites or abstract metal sculpture I get quite alot of link requests for foreign hotels and casinos – I just delete their emails.
If you want to do some more reading on search engines, keywords, and online business check out http://tools.devshed.com/. They have numerous helpful articles you can browse through.
This is a good forum on the whole business of art and craft – it’s
worth reading through the past posts and then asking for suggestions: