Your website is the core of you online marketing. It supports your other marketing efforts, and vice-versa. A lone website with no other marketing support won't be very effective, if at all.

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If you are just starting out in your business and getting your first website, you have a great opportunity here to do a lot of things right that most people get wrong in the beginning.

If you have a website and want to improve on what you have, pull up your site and refer to it as you read this. Where are you weak? Focus on improving those things.

If you are well established with your business and "have it all covered," realize that all this marketing stuff changes almost daily.  If your website isn't updated to stay compliant with current Internet and SEO standards, you can be penalized for following old standards. For example, Google now penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly. That's why we use Squarespace to build websites. Every new website has automatic mobile versions included (along with a lot of other great features to make your life easier).

Start here, and let me know if you want another pair of eyes to review your website or if you need help with a new website or bringing the one you have up to speed.

Is your website easy to use? For the VIEWER.

Think about how you sometimes go to a website and there are all kinds of things to trip over, that slow you down, confuse you, and make it a trial just to find what you're looking for. Don't do that to your collectors. Seriously.   

Is your website readable?  

Maybe you can read your website easily, but can others who are older or who don't have perfect vision read it easily? Yes, viewers can adjust the size of websites they view but many people don't know how to do that. Make it easy for people to love you, don't use teeny tiny fonts and graphics.

Is your website organized so people can get to the info they want, fast?

It takes time to work out a structure for your site that will make it easy for people to find what they need. Take the time, it's worth it. Once people get mired in a maze of click here, click there, and don't know where they are you'll lose them waaaayyy before they take out their wallet or contact you.

Is your website pleasant to look at and use?   

Do you have enjoyable graphics and colors that support your art/products/services, interesting well-written copy, and pages short enough so they don't have to scroll for days? 

Is your website set up so that viewers want to move forward and buy or inquire?

Your website should help move the viewer through the info and to the point where they contact you or buy something. 

Is your website SEO-friendly? 

There's a lot that can be built into your site to make it friendly to search engines. After that, there are lots of things that can be done by a competent "white hat" SEO specialist to keep you up there in the search engine results. Good SEO is an ongoing process, NOT a do-it-once-and-forget-about-it thing.

Is your website updated regularly to keep it fresh?   

Stale and outdated content makes you look unprofessional or even out of business. Keep it updated, at least four times a year. Plus, the search engines will like you much better for it.

Is your website consistent with your marketing identity?

Your "brand" is how people perceive you. Ideally, they look at your colors, logo, design style for your marketing materials and know who you are even before they see your name or work.  Start with a consistent color scheme, fonts and layout style. Develop graphics that are uniquely yours. Use your identity on your website, business cards, brochures, postcards, PowerPoint presentations, all kinds of presentations, banners, posters, everything.

Is your website coordinating with your social media efforts?

Is your website helping people find you on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest? Are your social media efforts bringing people to your website? 

Is your website making your work, artwork, products/services look stellar?

This one drives me nuts. People spend good money on a website, or hours of their own time, and then use crappy images of their work. Why? I wish I knew. That image may be the only time a customer sees your products/services before they buy. If you can't take professional-quality photos, pay a pro to do it. Your business is worth it.

Is your website set up to load quickly? 

Some websites are so heavy with large image files and junk that it takes a l-o-n-g time for everything to load onto the screen.  Ugh!  Images for web are different (and much smaller) than images used elsewhere. Learn the difference or get help. Plus, big fat high resolution images are prime candidates for theft.

Is your website making you look professional?   

Your website should look professional not just to you but for your VIEWERS who could be just about anyone: potential customers, reviewers, the press/media, galleries, retail stores, grant-givers, venture capitalists, the President (could happen!)  Check your website stats to find out which pages attract and hold people there, that's great info to know about how you're coming across.

 

We support creatives with advice on DIY, website updates, and new websites plus social media setup/fine-tuning, database setup, inventory setup, email newsletter setup/templates, and just about everything you need in your creative business.

Let me know if we can hand-craft some business support just for you!

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWeb Sites

Harry and I hope your summer has been spectacular (and not too hot in your neck of the woods). It's too hot here to work (and we don't have central air conditioning) so I have nothing useful to share with you other than some photos of a recent visit to the Getty Center. As always, it was delightful. If you're ever in this area we'd love to meet up and experience it with you.

All our best to you and yours,

-Robin

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AuthorRockin Robin

If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of individuals in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - a new European privacy law - affects you. It takes effect May 25th, 2018.

Here is some information from MailChimp and Squarespace, the companies we use most often for email newsletters and websites. It should help you make an informed decision about what to do. We apologize for the late notice. Personal trials and tribulations got in the way, sorry, but let us know if you need help implementing any of this.

Do you need to comply with the GDPR? 

If you are an organization that is organized in the EU or one that is processing the personal data of EU citizens, the GDPR will apply to you. Even if all you are doing is collecting or storing email addresses, if those email addresses belong to EU citizens, the GDPR likely applies to you. Non-compliance can result in financial penalties.

That said, I need to remind you that we are not legal counsel. If you have clients/customers and other people you collect personal data from in the EU, you may want to consult with legal and other professional counsel regarding the full scope of your compliance obligations.

So what does it all mean?

If you send emails to, or collect other personal data from, people in the EU you will need to implement some changes to how you collect and store their data. One of the fundamental aspects of the GDPR is that organizations who collect personal information from people in Europe must ensure that consent is obtained in accordance with the GDPR’s strict new requirements. For example, the law says that pre-ticked boxes on a newsletter signup form (along with silence and inactivity) do not count as consent, so you’ll need signup forms that make it easy to collect the permission you need.

When relying on consent as your legal basis, the GDPR says the consent you obtain must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. You also must clearly explain how you plan to use their personal data. 

Please note: Whatever system you use to send emails and collect personal data please know that just enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms does not make you compliant. It’s the first step of the process. To collect consent from new and existing EU contacts, you’ll set up your forms and send a consent campaign. If they do not consent to being on your email list, you must remove them.  

Your business may not be affected by the GDPR. However, we think it wise to put these protections in place for the future since European law tends to set the trend for international privacy regulation, and increased privacy awareness now may give you a competitive advantage later.

All our best to you and yours,

-Robin

P.S. 
Want all the technical details?  MailChimp has a good guide here.  
Planning on doing it yourself? Here is some info on how to do that in MailChimp.
Here is info on keep your website complaint at Squarespace.

 

 

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AuthorRockin Robin
CategoriesWorking Smart
TagsGDPR

Or, Why Online Text Looks Weird:

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Lately I've noticed a lot of oddly-formatted text online and on websites. It's too big, a strange color, a different font, or it sticks out in some way. I notice it because I visually trip over it. It doesn't seem to fit with whatever else I'm seeing. That's when I know that the person updating the site has forgotten (or didn't know) the Copy/Paste Golden Rule.

Why is this important? Because you want the viewer to feel at ease and focus on the content of your website or social media. When they encounter oddities or strangely-formatted text it's distracting and a little (to a lot) stressful.  Really.  Have you noticed that when a website is difficult to navigate, or keeps pulling your focus away from what you're looking for, you feel a little stressed or frustrated? That little bit of stress can make you (and your viewers) disappear faster than a wet cat.

How do you avoid that happening? When you work online updating your website and social media you can do one of two things: You can type directly into the online system, or, write first in software like Word or Pages, and then copy/paste it.

When you copy/paste directly from software the text you paste may initially look OK, but you’ve also copied and pasted some unseen code that will likely make it look strange. It can happen immediately or later. You may not see it at all in the browser you're using and it may look awful in another browser.

These days most online systems and websites have a nifty button to allow you to safely paste directly from software. It’s often called the “Paste as Plain Text" button. The button may have a "W" on it to indicate it's a "Paste From Word" button. It may have a "T" on it for "text." 

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If there is no "Paste as plain text" button, you can use a piece of software called a text editor that will strip any hidden code from your text. Paste your text into a text editor, then copy/paste from the text editor into the online system. Yes, it’s an extra step and a pain but trust me on this one, you’ll thank me later. I use Text Wrangler for my text editor (I'm on a Mac).  If you’re on a PC you can use Windows Notepad or TextPad.  First check your own computer, you may already have one.

Let me know if you have questions or need help with this. Our tutoring and support is very cost-effective and will save your money AND sanity in the long run. 

As always, all our best to you and yours!

-Robin

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

When I'm working on a creative project and I stall, feeling like my creative muse has abandoned me, I stop and remind myself that what I'm doing is not really about effort, but perspective and perception. Considering an alternate point of view, and a different interpretation of the goal of the project, makes a world of difference.

Here's one of those creative projects that was a timely reminder to me about perspective and perception (and keeping the concept simple).  Really, watch it, it's absolutely stunning.  

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AuthorRockin Robin
CategoriesInspiring

For me, this art is total eye candy. It also reminds me that we are all constantly creating and transforming our lives, our work, our beliefs, and that nothing (and no one) is useless.

Brian Dettmer, painter-turned-sculptor, takes outdated reference materials such as textbooks and encyclopedias, seals them with varnish, then carves away at their pages with an X-Acto knife. He works quickly to reveal images that explore our relationship to information. Take a look at some of the amazing results.

(Image courtesy of the artist and Kinz + Tillou Fine Art.)

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesFine Artists