I’m very grateful to have been invited by the Southern Oregon Association of Artists (SOSA) to give a presentation at their February 2015 members meeting on Monday! I will discuss ways to help your website help you, including ways to work with social media to promote your art, as well as website maintenance and security to protect your site and your visitors – all to improve your search engine visibility and bring more visitors to your website.
Just before the meeting, I will be posting a presentation document, “Help Your Website Help You,” so those who attend can download it to their computers for reference. Anyone who is interested or who couldn’t make the meeting is free to view and download this document, too. SOSA invites all artists to attend their monthly meetings, so I hope I will see you at the Medford Public Library this Monday, February 23, 2015. The meeting starts at 7pm and the library locks the doors at the same time, so be sure to arrive a few minutes early! If you have a mobile device, please bring it along.
I’m so grateful to have had artist Christina Madden come to me for help bringing more visitors to her website!
The first thing we did was to add metadata to all the images of her art, both for security’s sake and to help promote her art. While the metadata contained within an image is not readable by search engines, it’s essential to have it in place in the event that it, through resharing, it becomes separated from any link to the artist’s website or other contact information. It’s always an option to lock down an image so it cannot be separated from the website where it appears, but then people can’t help you promote your work by sharing, so this way anyone can open the image in Photoshop, access the File Info, and see the artist’s website address so they can see more of their work, find their email and other contact information, and learn more about the artist. Christina’s choice was to allow her images to be shared, so the metadata was a must. This also saves time when adding images to social networks, as the most critical of the meta information – the artist’s copyright – will now be “exposed”, along with the title and description so it does not have to be retyped in. This also makes the metadata available to the search engines, an added bonus and a good reason to take the time to place this information in each image. And What a joy to work with the images of her beautiful oil paintings!
Next we added metadata keywords and descriptions to her pages for the search engines to gobble up, and AddThis sharing tools to her website to encourage visitors to share her pages. We also added a sitemap and Google analytics tracking code to her site and, though the site has been online for some time, submitted it to the search engines as this had not been done previously. In the process I saw that the code on her site was very outdated, and began the process of bringing it a bit more up to speed so it will be more search engine friendly. Completing this task for the entire site will take longer and we plan to take it a little at a time; we also will add proper text with keywords to the “Alt” field in her images.
Christina had started a professional artist page on Facebook but hadn’t completed the setup, so we added a selection of paintings to her page and began promoting it. While working on this, she completed two new paintings, which we added to her website and Facebook page. Boy did they get a lot of attention! Over 200 views for one painting and almost 350 for the other, plus lots of wonderful comments! She’s up to 38 likes now, but it still needs some love, so why not visit and add your own like to her page?! https://www.facebook.com/artistchristinamadden
We began working on March 5 and completed this round on April 21. Currently Christina’s site is appearing in search results on Bing/Yahoo 94% more frequently than it did before, with a 200% increase in clicks from those search result pages, and all but 5 of her pages have been properly indexed by Google. Christina can now view traffic analytics for her site through her Google account and sharing analytics through her new AddThis account. In the past month (April 8 – May 8), she has welcomed 55 visitors to her site, who viewed 266 pages, and average of nearly 5 pages per visit! This represents an 89.66% increase in visitors over the previous month, a 48.6% increase in page views, and, though the total number of pages per visit is down a little, and increase in time spent on her website of 79.5%!
In addition we can see that , although most of her visitors are coming from her home territory of southern Oregon, people from 8 different countries have come to visit since we began working. Sharing has not been intense, nor has anything gone viral just yet, but 5 shares, up from zero ability to share, is promising, and we can see that all the shares so far have been to Facebook. As these results show, search engine optimization, even if not complete, can immediately and dramatically change the visitor frequency and patterns to your website, and the ability to view and analyze these stats is very helpful to gauge how much the work you have put into optimizing your site is helping to increase traffic and sharing.
I’ve been quite concerned about several issues with artists and the images of their art they use online. As a web designer who feels compelled to watch the backs of artists, it is distressing to download an image from an artist’s website only to find their web designer’ copyright notice in the metadata! I know the artist has no way of finding out, and that’s got to change right now.
In these hard times it’s understandable that many artists are concerned about the cost of having their images adjusted and prepared to use online, as well as the expense involved in starting up a blog to promote their art on the internet. And the social media phenomenon has quickly proven itself to be the marketing and promotion medium of the future…of today!
Last year I taught workshops on blogging at the Ashland Art Center and image editing at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center. In January 2013 I taught a workshop on setting up a Facebook professional page for artists at the Art Presence Art Center in Jacksonville, and in February, a small workshop on image editing for artists. I was happy to receive many compliments on the volume of usable information presented, my teaching style and patience from my hosts and the participants of all these workshops. Since the experiment was a success, and to help artists master the computer skills they need to promote their art in the twenty-first century, I am now announcing my new roster of ten ongoing workshops in four categories:
For most workshops I will present a comprehensive overview of the topic, with a Q&A session afterward. For confident computer users, this may be all you need to get started. For those who would like assistance putting the skills I discuss into action, follow up workshops will provide opportunity for hands-on practice where you can ask questions about specific tasks and problems, practice techniques and accomplish the objectives introduced in the overview.
I realize the dates of these workshops don’t give a lot of advance notice. My intent is to get them rolling as soon as possible for those who need help now and repeat them at least once a month. If you see a workshop you want to attend but the schedule doesn’t work for you, you’re probably not alone. Participate my Doodle scheduling program (links following each workshop below) and we’ll work out another time with others seeking an alternate date. You can also contact me to arrange a private tutoring session.
Working With Your Art Images in Photoshop and PS Elements
Learn how to prepare the digital images of your art to look their best, protect your copyright and meet submission requirements. The skills you learn in these workshops will help you manipulate your photographs with confidence, save money, prepare your images for show and gallery submissions and transform your art images from potential copyright liabilities to online marketing assets!
Laptop, iMac or mobile device that you can use image editing software with.
Basic understanding of how to work with your computer or device.
Images of your own artwork to practice with. I recommend making a copies of several images – some in pretty good shape and others that need a lot of adjusting – and place them in a separate folder.
Introduction to Image Editing
A two hour overview of essential image editing information with a half hour question and answer session. Follow along on your own computer or take notes and plan to gets some hands-on practice with me to help you in the followup work sessions.
In this workshop you will have the opportunity to work with your own images with my assistance. We’ll begin with helpful practices for handling your image files and embedding copyright, contact and website information and other metadata to your images. We’ll also go over various file types and when to choose them and how to use layers to add a visible copyright notice to your images, resizing your images and choosing different resolutions. Once you’ve mastered these skills you will be able to email, post and share images of your art online with confidence that wherever they roam, your copyright and contact information will travel with them, and people can use this to contact you and talk about purchasing your work or request permission to use it.
This workshop will focus on more advanced techniques you’ll need to prepare your images for submission to festivals, shows and galleries. We’ll talk about the different specifications you have encountered and learn how to prepare the photos of your art appropriately, as well as making adjustments to the color, lighting and focus to accurately present your art to show jurors and gallery owners. We will practice more advanced ways to use layers and how to finalize your image files for different uses.
Learn how to create an online journal of your art activities from scratch using WordPress! From installing WordPress on your website’s host server or at WordPress.com to creating posts and managing your WordPress installation, you can learn to use blogging help you promote your work online, build your following, increase search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. It’s a fun and creative endeavor in itself!
Laptop, iMac or mobile device you can use to work online (sorry, a smartphone will not be sufficient!)
Basic understanding of how to work with your computer and internet browser.
Completion of Image Editing Workshops or prior knowledge of how to embed metadata into your images to protect your copyright and enhance search engine optimization.
Introduction to Blogging, for Artists with existing WordPress sites
Do you have a website designed with WordPress but aren’t sure how to use it? This workshop is for you! We’ll log in to our blogs, explore the “back end” or administrative section and the post editing window. Learn how to use the word processing functions WordPress provides, upload and insert images into your posts, manage updates, what your plugins do, others I recommend and how to take care of them, and more. You’ll leave with an illustrated post and money-saving skills to begin maintaining your blog on your own.
This immersive workshop is designed for confident computer users who are ready to begin blogging now. We will install WordPress on your host server or at WordPress.com, set it up and learn to create an illustrated post. We’ll also go over maintenance tasks, how to customize your blog with plugins and themes, and more. At the end of the day you will have a working blog with at least one completed post and the skills to begin managing your blog as well as publishing with it!
Please have the materials you need to create with – text, images, and a banner image – set aside in their own folder on your computer for easy access during the workshop. For lunch, we can munch together at my studio or in town, arrangements TBD based on participants’ preferences.
This workshop will give an opportunity for beginning WordPress users to ask questions and get hands-on help with the answers, bring problems you’ve encountered for resolution and continue practicing the skills you need to progress to an intermediate level of blogging.
This workshop will provide those who are comfortable blogging with WordPress with an opportunity to bring their questions and get hands-on help for answers, troubleshoot problems they’ve encountered and gain more advanced skills. Topics can include blog maintenance, adding plugins for advanced functionality, working with photo galleries, customizing posts with basic html, attracting the attention of search engines and increasing traffic.
Learn how establish your social media presence, integrate social sharing into your website and put your social networks to work building your audience, driving traffic to your website and increasing your search engine ranking!
Laptop, iMac or mobile device you can use to work online (sorry, a smartphone will not be sufficient!)
Basic understanding of how to work with your computer
Completion of Image Editing Workshops or existing knowledge of how to embed metadata into your images to protect your copyright and enhance search engine optimization.
Set Up Your Facebook Professional Page
Facebook should be the main component of your social network, and this workshop will be devoted to creating and setting up your professional page on Facebook. The time is coming when Facebook will REQUIRE business and professional posting to be done separately from personal posts – don’t wait ‘til the last minute! Get your artist page set up and start building a following for your art business while keeping your personal page private.
Integrating Social Networks with Your Blog or Website
Your website or blog should be the centerpiece of your online presence, and visitors should be able to follow you on their favorite social network and share your content with their friends with ease. We will explore the various social media networks and their usefulness, decide which ones to use and set them up, then integrate them with your main blog or website using one of three options: Networked Blogs Facebook application, WordPress’ JetPack plugin modules, or AddThis.com’s sharing plugin.
Do you want to learn one or more of the above skillsets, but find yourself hesitating because you don’t know how to work your computer or software well enough? Don’t let that stop you! Join my basic computer skills workshop and I will help you get up to speed with the skills you need to progress and learn more! Topics include: computer terminology, working with email, basics of using software programs, working with files, and much more.
Learn how to use your computer from a teacher who has the patience to work with you until you’re confident working on your own! I’m always happy to arrange private tutoring sessions if my workshop schedule doesn’t fit in with your own.
DISCLOSURE: This is not a review site, but I do have affiliate relationships with companies whose products and services I and my clients use. If you make a purchase within a few days of using one of my links, I will receive a small commission for the sale. If you have any questions and want to learn more, please contact me through my Facebook page or send me a message using my contact form