Hannah West Design is now secured with a brand new SSL certificate! On January 14, we migrated www.hannahwestdesign.com to a new hosting service. This is NameCheap hosting, which we want to try out on behalf of our starving artist clients to find out if hosting service compares well to other hosts who don’t have the same affordable pricing.
In addition, Google is now promoting sites that are protected with SSL encryption and demoting those without it by placing an “Unsecured Site” flag (similar to the “This site might be hacked” flag we sometimes see) next to any website which does not have SSL. This is part of a widespread movement to encrypt the web (Learn more at Let’sEncrypt.org). With that in mind, we decided to make the switch to SSL encryption at the same time. As a result, our updated address is https://www.hannahwestdesign.com. We’re proud of that beautiful green padlock displaying in the address bar now!
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. A correctly installed SSL certificate encrypts all information transmitted to and from your website. This protects your private information when visiting the site, from which pages you visit to sharing to submitting contact forms to purchasing online. Websites with contact forms, login pages, online shops, etc. can all benefit from the added security provided by this encryption. Visitors will feel more secure interacting with your site, which is a huge bonus. Importantly, each certificate comes with a guarantee, so if a malicious entity subjects you to liability for damage to a visitor, you will receive a settlement form the certificate issuer. This amount varies with the level of certificate used, but starts at $10,000.
There was a time when conventional wisdom said that applying SSL to an entire website would make its pages load more slowly. However, recent advice from numerous experts in the field now assures us that the opposite is now true. And we are seeing our website load with a bit more spring in its step today…the ultimate proof.
The process of implementing SSL can be simple and painless, but it can also be rather harrowing. For me it was somewhere in between those extremes. I have been through this before on client sites as well. While some need extra attention for various reasons, most of the time it’s complete—including all the content tweaks needed for that lovely green padlock to display—in 2–4 hours.
To increase your standing with the search engines, additional tasks are necessary. Once the SSL is in place, we need to make adjustments in Google Webmaster Tools so they can direct traffic to the secure version of your site. We also need to adjust your Google Analytics account so traffic stats will continue to be collected accurately.
Pricing and Other Requirements
Many things related to SSL certificates have changed in the last couple of years. For one thing, they used to be very expensive. While prices for certificates to protect sites that don’t involve e-commerce have become quite affordable, there are now free certificates available from Let’s Encrypt. The catch is that not all hosts have a quick and easy way to install them and the process of doing it manually can take a good deal of time. Furthermore, some hosts—like Ipower—refuse to allow third-party certificates to be installed on their servers. While we could have used Cloudflare on our site, we opted for a Comodo Positive SSL certificate, which NameCheap offers for only $1.99 the first year. Renewals are a very reasonable $9.00/year with discounts for advance purchase up to three years. That’s a big discount from the same certificate on Ipower ($31.99) and Bluehost’s for $4.17/month. What’s the catch? You have to have your website hosted with NameCheap too. Also very inexpensive, so definitely worth considering.
Previously you had to have a dedicated IP address (the numerical equivalent of your web address) for an SSL certificate. This meant you had to have private hosting (expensive) or pay a monthly fee of $4.99-6.99 PER MONTH to have a dedicated IP added to your otherwise reasonably-priced shared hosting. Because unique IP addresses have become more and more rare, this prerequisite has been lifted by many certificate issuers and hosts. Instead, they tie the certificate identity to the domain instead of the server IP. All this has made SSL encryption more affordable to the average website owner. The benefits are greater now too.
Benefits of SSL Encryption
Some hosts provide free SSL certificates, but most do not. These free certificates may have downsides you’d rather not deal with. We found that Bluehost’s free SSL, issued by Comodo, only covers the root domain (https://your-domain.com) and NOT the www version. Big problem for sites installed with www.your-domain.com addresses. We can avoid this with the use of Cloudflare. Though it’s a completely different setup, their free certificate will cover both the bare domain and the www version. Entry-level SSL certificates have become much more affordable than they once were, too.
I’m ready to begin helping others to make this important change as well. I’ve learned the ins and outs of what is possible and what is not on several hosts. I can inform you of your options and advise you on which is the best choice for the money.
If you’re not sure you even want to deal with this undertaking or not, please consider the benefits:
Receive payments through your ecommerce website – Most payment gateways now require SSL, even PayPal
Give your visitors greater confidence in the security of their transactions, interactions with your site, and personal information
Limit liability for identity theft
Boost page load times
Greater protection from hackers
Prevent unknown people snooping on activity to and from your website
Boost your SEO
Participate in the movement to encrypt the entire web
Are you ready to apply SSL to your own website and enjoy these benefits? Please contact me!
If you need a new website or another online service, please visit some of the sites I have designed using the links to my clients below. Many of them are also represented on my Portfolio page, where you can read my comments about the project. While I’m always happy to start from scratch when building new sites, any one of the sites below could be reproduced and updated with your own content to save on costs.
** E-Commerce examples
*** Custom websites I’m exceptionally proud to have designed and/or customized.
Web Design Clients:
Websites for Small Business
***Spa Jacksonville –NEW! 2018 HTML to WordPress conversion and hosting migration for a long-established and beloved local business. We largely preserved the minimalist, clean and spare design while adding new content and features, including bios for each of the professionals on staff. Look for a new ecommerce feature (Square) with Spa’s custom skincare products AND for the therapists of Spa to begin blogging in early 2019!
** ***American Memorycraft –NEW! 2018 New website for American MemoryCraft in Grants Pass. Owner Eli Beard (also known locally as the owner of Rogue Art Glass) employs 12 master glass blowers to create the company’s gorgeous cremation urns. Photographs of their work made creating a beautiful website a delight, and Eli’s desire to include plenty of interesting historical information and more made it a well-rounded site as far as content, too. The WooCommerce catalog that becomes a full-featured online shop when a member (limited to his wholesale national distributors, which include Forest Lawn and more industry-wide stars) logs in was a complex undertaking, but it’s working beautifully and has prepared me to do more sites along these lines.
*** Talent Club Live –NEW! 2018 New website for the Talent Club, a beloved and historic dive bar in Talent, Oregon. The new owners of this classic venue wanted to put their emphasis on their live music. In addition to local bands and comedy performers, they book loads of bands traveling up and down the I-5 corridor, so it’s become a real mainstay for top shelf live music. Though a one-page site with modest content, the design is unique and includes an event calendar I update regularly with the concerts and comedy performances performing there the following month.
*** Home For Sale Site – NEW! 2018 New website for an individual putting her Three Pines Ranch custom log home up for sale. An experienced home renovator and reseller, she wasn’t satisfied with the online presentation her realtor had established. We worked hard on this one and in the end we dispensed with the photo gallery, using the video with pictures of the home to provide this essential element. This site could easily be converted for the sale of any home, and adding a slideshow of images of the home would be a simple addition.
Biuk’s Antique Rugs & Art – NEW! 2018 new website for a local seller of antique Oriental rugs. She plans to add her own artwork and the vintage and handcrafted jewelry she offers in the near future.
Ryan’s Outpost – 2017 New website, SEO, maintenance and content updates for the iconic Applegate Valley business.
** *** Carpe Diem Papers – 2017 Redesigned website and massive overhaul for an Ashland, OR greeting card designer with newly added ecommerce capabilities and Mailchimp integration; maintenance and content updates.
The Finishing Touch – 2017 New one-page website for a very talented furniture restoration professional.
*** Mountain Sun Botanicals – 2016 Southern Oregon medical marijuana grower site conversion from html to WordPress, preserving home page design and redesigning subpages, setting up custom Google Suite busine emails, SSL.
*** Meta Physical Therapy & Pilates – I just love the new website created for H. Kate Huckert, DPT, in 2016. Her fondness for the Oriental aesthetic is expressed beautifully in this layout and design.
Ruch Hardware – 2016 New website, SEO, maintenance and content updates. This site has personality plus, like its owner, and is quite the community hub in the Ruch/Applegate Valley area.
Iris Colored Dreams – 2016 New website, SEO, maintenance for Silhouette, an Ashland woman practicing in the blind psychic tradition. We will be updating the site with new content and features in 2019.
** NYC Cafe & Catering – The owner of this establishment was referred to me by another client in 2016. This San Juan Capistrano restaurant and catering service already had a website, but the back end was unbelievably messed up to the point that it was impossible to discern what was controlling the elements on the home page. It was rife with misspellings and grammatical errors — a huge SEO fail. It required a massive overhaul of the site structure and some additions to the design, a complex theme conversion along with lots of SEO to bring the site to where the owner could do most of the maintenance and content updates himself. Soon after came the addition of e-commerce (WooCommerce) to create a Catering “Catalog” from which his clients could use when placing catering orders. The business is under new management now, and the new owners decided to stay with me for ongoing maintenance and content updates. We may be redesigning the site again soon to update the esthetic to match the new owner’s taste.
C St Bistro – 2015 Website redesign with WordPress conversion, SEO, maintenance for a local restaurant.
*** Markwood Heavenly Strings & Cases 2014 Site redesign/conversion to WordPress and content updates for a Talent, OR woman who creates custom harp strings and more. A nicely streamlined site with great graphics to text balance.
** *** Dodero Studio Ceramics – For the past few years I have mostly worked with John Dodero on search engine optimization for his Raku pottery e-commerce (WooCommerce) website. However, eventually this emphasis on SEO demanded that we merge his HTML site with his blog in 2014 and converted from an outdated theme to a modern one that is mobile-friendly while preserving the site’s original design in 2015–early 2016. We continue to work together to add new content, new products, and keep the search engine optimization…optimized.
Maggie’s Place – One of my first clients (2010), Maggie’s site is an original html design.
Community, Non Profit & Association Websites
*** Lithia Artisans Market –NEW! 2018 New website for the Lithia Artisans Market (LAMA), in Ashland, Oregon. The volunteers who manage the group’s online presence had been using a free site at WordPress.com for years and decided it was finally time to go for their own self-hosted website. Having access to numerous resources, including their own designer and photographer, made building this site a joy, and the final result sent us all over the moon. We may be adding more features and content to it in the future.
*** The Buddha Consciousness – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for the first of three sites owned by an online free church, Light Path Resources. Ongoing maintenance and content updates.
*** Light Path Resources – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for the second of three sites owned by an online free church, Light Path Resources. Ongoing maintenance and very frequent content updates.
*** Military Truth – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for a nonprofit seeking to educate people considering enlisting in the Armed Forces so they know what they’re getting into. Ongoing maintenance and very frequent content updates.
*** Jennifer Faith – 2014 Design, SEO and maintenance for a site that supports victims of domestic violence and abuse. Best for a blogger with great featured images, as the Home page depends on excerpts for the design.
Art Presence Art Center – 2012 New website for a local nonprofit art gallery. Our ongoing work includes maintenance, social media support and content updates. I also write a monthly article for Art Presence which is published in the Jacksonville Review.
Southern Oregon Artists Resource – Launched 1/1/2010, currently being redesigned behind the scenes and will ultimately merge with the blog. This is an example of a successful, large and very complex project which I created from scratch. I’m eager to get the new site completed and launched!
Wing Tips HA! –NEW! 2018 New website. Artist Leslie Dwyer started this site but quickly found herself out of time, so I took it from the bare bones start she had accomplished to completion. Her goal for this website was to establish the value of her Wing Tips — humorous and uniquely rendered single-frame advice “comics” — prior to presenting the idea to publishers so she can print a gift book containing them. Once I had the site completed, Leslie scheduled a years’ worth of Wing Tips to publish one or two every week. She is quickly gaining a devoted following, myself included, which I truly hope ends up in a successful publishing deal for her. Once you’ve seen this one, check out her Design4Peace.com website, with loads of terrific social justice poster designs! Leslie is amazing.
Phillip Young –NEW! 2018 New website. Phil recently moved to my area, and having retired from successful careers as an artist for the Disney Company—for which he has credits in 17 of their most successful animated features—and teaching illustration, sequential art and sculpture, he wanted to settle into a life of creating his own fine art. His website serves as an introduction to his new community and the regional art community as well as an online resume and portfolio for galleries and other artist opportunities. This could be converted into a very attractive one page website without sacrificing any of the content.
** Beste Art – I had already worked on artist Patrick Beste’s website to provide content updates, SEO and SSL installation for some time. In 2017 he decided that he wanted it completely redesigned and an online shop (WooCommerce) for his artwork added. His abstract artwork made designing the site really fun.
*** Ray Pague – 2017 New artist website. You must see Ray’s beautiful work and unique style of painting! He and his wife contacted me to create his new website as soon as they moved here form North Carolina, where he is well known for his art. Another artist website of which I’m especially proud.
Kirsten Meriwether Art – 2017 New artist website. Kirsten and her sister had gotten her new site started, but Kirsten ran out of time to finish the work herself, so she called me. We got her artwork up in categorized portfolio galleries in no time!
Tina Hutton – – 2016 WordPress Conversion, redesign and SEO
*** Catherine Anderson, AWS -2015 Massive overhaul including redesign, SEO and security measures. A work still in progress, and one I’m especially proud of. Be sure to visit and see her award winning watercolors!
** *** Linda Abblett Watercolors – 2015 HTML to WordPress conversion with redesign and added e-commerce (WooCommerce), maintenance and content updates, SSL added 2017. Another beautiful custom site I’m proud to have been chosen to create.
*** Butterfly’s Web – 2015 New Website, logo update, maintenance and content updates for a very talented fiber artist who spins natural fibers in to yarn and dyes them with a range of synthetic and natural dyes, some made from plants that grow on her farm! Colorful, beautiful site with an active blog.
*** Michael Carpenter, OPA – 2015 New website, maintenance. A very handsome website for a particularly talented and experienced artist.
*** Pat Moore Photography 2015 New website, maintenance, SEO services for a fabulous photographer. We plan the addition of ecommerce and SEO to this site in 2018.
** *** Kim Novak – 2014 New website with e-commerce (PayPal), maintenance and content updates, SSL added 2017. A conservative site which showcases this beloved actress’ incredibly creative pastel and oil paintings beautifully.
*** Pegi Smith – 2014 Migration to new host, massive website redesign and SEO, ongoing maintenance and content updates, added SSL in 2016. An artist website of which I’m especially proud.
Judy Buswell Watercolors – 2014 HTML to WordPress conversion with redesign, maintenance and content updates. Judy’s watercolors have been popular for decades, and the greeting cards and other products her licensed works decorate are best-sellers still.
*** Dabar Studio – 2014 HTML to WordPress conversion with redesign, maintenance and content updates. This site was tremendous between Dawn’s art and the site design. However she neglected to renew her hosting service, so the site is offline until she renews it.
Billye Woodford – 2013 New Website, based on the customized site created for the late (and wonderful!) Boni de Laire earlier that year.
Joan Pechanec – 2013 New Website, maintenance and annual content updates. Joan needed a budget solution for her site and I worked with her to display the maximum number of paintings (40) possible while keeping costs at a minimum. The new site landed Joan her first solo show at the Orlando Art Center in the same year! After painting for nearly a year to have enough work to fill the space, she sold nearly all of the works on display!
SSL Installation, SEO, Maintenance, and Hosting Migration Client Links
Angela Meer – Author and Writing Coach – I migrated Angela’s very complex website to a new host and extended her existing SSL certificate to cover the entire website in 2016
Romancing the WestI’ve been maintaining this website for singer/songwriter and producer of Romancing the West® since 2012 with both content updates and site maintenance. During that time I’ve restored it from a hack attack, migrated their website to new hosting, installed their SSL certificate and posted dozens and dozens of tour dates, as well as a few experiments. I also formatted/edited a children’s book for them in 2017 and design/update the new concert posters for their biannual tours.
Stefan Baumann, Plein Air Artist This was a massive search engine optimization (SEO) project that required reorganizing the entire site’s content and pointing two no longer used, but very important, domains to his new site. Working with his assistant Kris Baxter, I also designed and formatted a catalog for a large art show of Stefan’s work in southern California.
Talbott Studios – A wonderful artist who specializes in animals (particularly horses and equine art). Genie also designs gorgeous wine labels and more. I began with search engine optimization and content updates for her, and have been working with her site for several years. We will be redesigning and converting it to WordPress soon.
More exciting projects are in the works and others are lined up. It will be so fun to complete them and share the links here. If you are currently in need of a website, contact me today to get your project underway!
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 am delighted to announce a new website launch for renowned fashion jewelry designer Wendy Gell at wendygell.com!
Wendy’s previous website was beautiful, but the infrastructure needed updating and she wanted a fresh new look that was unpretentious, yet highlighted her past accomplishments, with modern ecommerce features that would enable her to sell her incredibly sparkling and beautiful fashion jewelry designs. We began by streamlining her email newsletter and creating temporary pages with several new pieces of jewelry not previously seen on her website. Then, behind the scenes, we created a new site on the WordPress platform, using the flexible and responsive Divi theme by Elegant Themes so it would display nicely on mobile devices. Then we added a WooCommerce shopping cart with PayPal as the primary payment gateway. Optimized the site and products using the highly respected SEO for WordPress plugin by Yoast and added BulletProof Security to protect her investment in the site and to protect her visitors from malware. Once all the products were added to the shop and everything was ready to go, we migrated the development site to its permanent home at wendygell.com.
What we wound up with is a beautiful site that highlights Wendy’s fashion, bridal, and holiday jewelry designs (along with some gorgeous tiaras for princesses big and little!) as well as her fabulous Gelastic Art, with a beautiful shop that displays subcategories nicely with the modestly priced Nested Categories extension by WooThemes. She made a sale almost immediately! We also included features that will help her continue to grow her following, with social follow and sharing tools by AddThis and a newsletter signup form.
We invite you to visit Wendy’s site and feast your eyes on glittering pop art fashion jewelry to your heart’s desire! Wendy plans to continue adding to her new online shop, so there will be new jewelry items and artwork to see on a regular basis, and there is much to learn about this talented designer whose jewelry has appeared on the Oprah show, been worn & collected by household name movie, television and pop art culture celebrities – even royalty! – and featured in fashion magazines around the world for decades. I am so honored to be working with this amazing woman and her enduring talent, and equally proud of her new website. See how beautifully we can display the items you want to offer for sale online and contact us to discuss what we can do to help you accomplish your own online business objectives.
I would like to thank Jacqueline Williams for entrusting me with the ground-up redesign of the website for Jacksonville Chiropractic Clinic, featuring Jacque’s husband, chiropractor Dr. Jason Williams, and the licensed massage therapists who practice alongside him!
Jacque was lovely to work with, and when she had to step aside for a couple of weeks for unrelated reasons, I felt I had enough information from our very productive first meeting to forge ahead on my own. When she returned, she was delighted to find the site ready for her review. We made a few adjustments, I did some housekeeping on the technical end, notified the search engines that the site had been revamped, and it was ready to go! Afterward, she said to me “Thank you so much, Hannah. I’m not very good about delegating, it’s just so much more efficient to do things myself most of the time. But I was really impressed with what you were able to accomplish without any input or participation from me while I was away. I thought it was going to be much more work on my part, but you made it so easy and painless! The site is beautiful, functional and easy to navigate, and I can’t wait to share it with our patients and the community!”
I am particularly proud of how this website came out in the end, and feel the layout and design is flexible enough to use for a number of different types of business. It even looks great on mobile devices!
We were careful to observe the new search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and hope it will be favored by the search engines as a result. You can help by leaving a comment on the blog post announcing the new site, by searching for Jville Chiropractic on Google or Bing and clicking through to the website, then lingering there or browsing the site for a little while, or by sharing the site with your favorite social network. 8.24.14 UPDATE: One of the things we did to boost Jacksonville Chiropractic’s SEO rating was to invest in a paid plugin by Yoast called Local SEO. Previously when we searched for “Jacksonville Chiropractic,” we saw mostly sites in Jacksonville, Florida in the search results. Now, and in record time, Jacksonville Chiropractic’s Oregon site dominates page one of the search results! Alternative searches have it either as #1 in the page one list, or lower on the page, but still on page 1. Even a search for “jason williams dc“, which predictably pulls up results with Jason Williamses from many walks of life, has OUR Jason Williams’ bio page at position #6, and the link to jacksonvillechiropracticclinic.com in position #7! Your help in lickcing the links you found in the search results made a huge difference in the amount of time this usually takes, too…Thank you!!
Please visit the site and take a look around. There is a lot of additional information, new patients can download patient registration forms to fill out and bring to their first visit, and the visual comparison between the previous site and this one…well, there’s no comparison! We would be very grateful if you would share their new site with anyone in the Jacksonville area who needs help from a chiropractor and/or therapeutic massage specialist, or travelers who have found themselves in need while visiting friends and family here. If you are a patient of Dr. Williams or one of his associates, please send them an email with a testimonial via their Contact page. We need current testimonials to make the site complete.
I can vouch for Mira, the resident therapeutic massage and Rolfing specialist. After one hour under Mira’s skilled and sensitive hands, I found a huge amount of pain relief that has remained with me since last November! Yes, sitting in front of a computer all day every day does have its drawbacks, but in no time she put me back in the saddle and ready to build more and better websites. I have a feeling Mira may become active on the blog, sharing information and special announcements.
Last but not least, we set up an online shop for the Clinic. It’s still under construction, but we hope to have it fully functional soon, and then you will be able to purchase the health products they use and recommend to their patients – either for shipment to your home or for local pickup!
We also set up the template for Jacksonville Chiropractic’s first newsletter. It’s pretty clean and simple – they do not plan to do a lot of emailing, but they are co-sponsoring Jacksonville’s First Annual Health Fair in October and would like to share the details with the community as the festival takes shape. In the near future we will set it up so that occasional news and announcements from their new blog can be delivered to your inbox.
I welcome your feedback, and if you would be interested in a quote on a website similar to this one, please send me an email via my Contact page.
More announcements to come soon, and hopefully a catch-up post with the many projects I’ve successfully completed this year but haven’t had time to write about, too.
It’s so hard to keep this site updated when there are so many interesting (and challenging!) projects to tend to, so here’s a quick recap of a few of the things I’ve been working on.
Just after I finished the restoration of a site for Medford artist Boni de Laire, she referred another wonderful painter to me, Billye Woodford from Rogue River, Oregon. I have just finished her site, too. They’re both beautiful, and filled with lovely artwork – representational landscapes are Boni’s focus, and while Billye creates beautiful landscapes as well, she also ventures into florals, portraits and more. Please visit www.bonidelaire.net and www.billyewoodford.com today!
While I was finishing up Billye’s site, another interesting job came my way – a website for a contestant in the upcoming Miss Oregon pageant, Priyanka Samra. Born in Canada and raised in Medford Oregon, Priyanka is a college student in California majoring in pre-med. She’ll gradute at the end of the current school year. She’s also incredibly beautiful and has been modeling since she was 14 – with a special love for the runway. She’s going to be teaching runway lessons to other models to raise funds for her favorite charities – Unique Home for Girls in India, where girls who have been abandoned are given a home, education and a future under the loving guardianship of
their adopted mother Prakash Kaur, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), specifically for their important work on depression. Please visit www.priyankasamra.com to learn more and see the modeling shots in her portfolio gallery…and root for her to win Miss Oregon 2014! She wanted a site based on her friend Mabelynn’s. Mabelynn won the Miss California pageant in 2012 and her site is pretty sleek, so I went for it. As pretty as Mabelynn is, I think Priyanka’s exotic East Indian look, movie-star glamorous yet not excessively sexy, makes her site the winner. Follow her for news on the Miss Oregon pageant, which happens in November.
A couple of my artist clients have added new paintings to their websites recently.
Christina Madden paints in oil, acrylic and mixed media; her range of style and subject is quite broad, but recently she’s been refining her style to make it all her own. And is it ever! Her colorful abstract impressionist landscapes are so vibrant and full of life, like nothing else I’ve seen. We’ve also been working to improve the SEO value of her site and making progress. Help her gain better online visibility! Visit her website and feast your eyes on artist Christina Madden‘s colorful world! If you find yourself in Ashland, Oregon during October 2013, stop in at Art & Soul gallery to see a major show of her paintings. She sold ten paintings in recent months, so she had to work very hard to paint new pieces so she would have enough for her show, and they’re magnificent! Meet the artist at a reception on Friday, October 4 during the Ashland First Friday Art Walk.
Artist Eugenia Talbot is an amazing woman, and she just had two shows here in southern Oregon – one at the Berryman Gallery (above the Craterian Theater in Medford) in conjunction with the production of Tarzan there in early September. At the same time I had her work hanging at the GoodBean Cafe in Jacksonville for a one month exhibition that got huge numbers of compliments! I didn’t design her site, but she brought me on for maintenance and updates, as well as to upgrade its SEO value. Once again I appeal to what readers I may have to help increase her online visibility by visiting her Talbott Studios website and take some time to look around. You won’t be disappointed – African wildlife, horses and pet portraits, portraits of people and more await you there!
Oh, and you must see the art show card that Jacksonville artist Susan DeRosa had me make for her debut southern Oregon show (she moved here recently from Arkansas, where she lived for a time after retiring from her career as an art educator in California universities). She is such an amazing talent, I’m glad she now has time to continue refining her own work rather now that she’s done her time teaching others! Her show at South Stage Cellars was such a success, she sold a painting at the opening reception and so many people came that she started crying with gratitude when telling me how she felt about it.
This reminds me of the art show catalog I did recently, but I haven’t had a chance to scan it so I’ll have to post that later.
Apologies to the awesome folks at GMO Free Jackson County for not having time to have them with a project they contacted me about. Please visit their website and lend your support – they working hard to protect Oregon’s organic agriculture legacy. It’s like swimming upstream, there’s so much to do and so much resistance from the likes of Monsanto and Syngenta.
Well, there’s still more, but I’ve run out of time and have to get back to work, so please return another time to see if I’ve had a chance to write more about the fabulous projects I’m involved in now, and what my wonderful clients have for me next! Spoiler alert…looks like a new site and SEO help for Daljit Samra (Name sounds familiar? Yes, that’s Priyanka’s mom!) of the Rogue Valley Inn and possibly some modifications to a fantastic high end fashion site in New York, as well as adding video content to singer/songwriter Christina Duane’s nonprofit websites, Romancing the West and Oh Oregon Frontier Park when she returns from her current tour! Oh, right, I haven’t written about the pleasure of starting to work with Christina yet, have I? Well, we’ll have to tackle that next time…Thanks for stopping by and come back again soon!
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