First of all, I have to apologize for not getting around to reading everyone's blogs, and for not posting anything on my own blog for such a long time. As some of you may know, I've been spending most of my time researching the best ways to sell art online. I have also, after debating for some time, decided to build a new website. There is so much to learn; it can actually be quite overwhelming for someone like me, who didn't grow up in the tech age. But I was determined to do my best to figure it out, so I kept plodding forward.
One thing I discovered is that I wasn't labeling my images correctly for SEO. SEO, which most of you probably already know, is search engine optimization, which basically means making it easier for search engines to find your content and be able to understand what it is. I was surprised to learn that google can't really read images, so this is pretty important. Of course, since I have around a bazillion or so images, re-labeling them took a long time. And that's just one little part of this art business thing. By the way, the best article I've found about SEO for artists is by Tom Dupuis at Online Media Masters.
Here is a comparison chart of print-on-demand sites; here is a good an article about print-on-demand by Christopher Kerry. This article compares and ranks the best website platforms.
I won't go into everything I've learned, because there are lots of people who understand it better than I do, and have written great books and articles, and have made really helpful podcasts and YouTube tutorials that explain things very well. My biggest obstacle is that I wanted to make a new website that combines ecommerce, a blog, and print-on-demand. I had questions like, "Which is the best platform for artist websites?"; "How much technical expertise do you need to be able to use the various platforms?"; "How do I move my domain from my old site?"; "Which ones can have a print-on-demand page embedded in them?"; "How can I use social media to drive traffic?"; "How much does all this stuff cost?", just to name a few. Yikes, right!? And with all this business stuff, will I have time to make art?
I knew I needed to do extensive research, and that there would be a big learning curve. So, here's what I did. First, I was lucky enough to find How to Sell Art Online by Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist. This is the best online art business book I have read; it's clear, concise, and lays out all the basics. He also has podcasts, a blog, classes and videos on just about everything pertaining to art and online business. And no, I don't get anything for saying this (I wish!), I'm just telling you what I think. In fact, I'm about as far from an expert as you can get, which is why I decided to share what information I'm finding helpful with others who, like me, might need a little steering in the right direction.
Then, I started taking all the free webinars and tutorials offered by most of the well-known art business coaches, of which there many: Ann Rea of Artists Who Thrive, sample webinar here); ART2LIFE with Nicholas Wilton; Alyson Stanfield of ArtBizCoach; Make Art That Sells with Lilla Rogers; Robert Brandl's WebsiteToolTester , which is great for comparing website platforms, types of ecommerce, etc., with lots of good YouTube videos; Gary Bolyer; Brainard Carey's yourartmentor.com, which offers free podcasts and webinars; Jason Horejs's Red Dot Blog with links to his extensive offerings of Art 2 Market YouTube videos, often in conjunction with art print and market expert Barney Davey. There is lots more free help out there, as I'm sure you'll find once you start looking around. Most of them offer free information as a teaser for getting you to take their entire online course, but if you take the free introductory ones and then go and watch their other videos on YouTube, you can find a lot of helpful information. Also, many of them offer free pdf instructions or worksheets that go with the webinars. You can print these out or download them onto your computer.
I realize that this post is getting rather long, and one of the things I've learned through my research is that people don't want to read online. So if you need to know anything more specific and I can point you in the right direction, feel free to comment here or message me on facebook. Oh, I should also say that I've pinned quite a few helpful articles to my Online Biz How-to board on Pinterest, so you might want to check that out.
And lastly, lets not forget the most important part of all this -
mixed media collage, 8 x 8 inches
Addendum: I just found an awesome site that gives you excellent detailed reviews of website builders, how to use them, and tons of really relevant and clear information about anything and everything to do with websites. It's called Website Builder Expert, and it even has a quiz to help you figure out which website builder is best for you. I highly recommend it!