Last week, I wrote about website for artists. It was a prelude to the Google Hangout titled Optimizing Your Website – A Discussion for Artists presented by Jason Horejs and me. You can see the video here. I will be adding historical podcasts to that page as I have time.
Jason and I prepare the topics for these podcasts months in advance. We use a brief summary and then talk extemporaneously about the points we want to include in the podcasts. Coincidentally, I have spent the last two months working to remodel my BarneyDavey.com website.
The moved to a new customized WordPress theme design a few months ago in preparation for overhauling the website. In this remodeling project, I have trimmed the number of pages from more than 70 to just over 30. Over the past eight years, I have added pages, thank you pages, product pages, workshop announcements and other extraneous content that was neither current nor needed.
If you have many products or services and no easy way for web visitors to find or buy them in one easy transaction, you are losing business. Products with single PayPal “Buy Now” buttons gives your site a novice look. Knowing this, I added an e-store so my visitors can find a convenient place to see all my books, e-books, webinars and other products and services in one place. I considered using a standalone template e-commerce store, OS Commerce, Woo Commerce, and Zen Cart. However, ultimately went with the advanced features of the WP e-Store plugin, which I already owned.
I started using Outright a few years ago before it was bought by Go Daddy, where I work in my day job. It has saved my hundreds of hours of bookkeeping and tax preparation. If you sell online, do yourself a favor and check this program out. You can add in PayPal, credit card and banking accounts to it. The program organizes your online transactions. So I no longer use spreadsheets, data entry and paper trails to keep track of my sales and expenses. For me, it makes tax preparations a breeze compared to how it was before Outright.
I rewrote the landing pages for each product and eliminated any duplicate pages. I created 301 redirects for 40 pages to avoid being dinged by search engines for broken links. In addition, I created a new home page with a contemporary slider on it.
It is not recommended to have a landing page for each piece of art on your site unless you sell very expensive pieces with slow production rate. If you offer classes, workshops, field trips, books and so forth, then each of those should have a distinct landing page that properly promotes the product or service and gives a call to action to purchase it.
The process took more than a month working on it almost daily. That was after weeks of working on the redesign for the theme. This time pulled me away from my extensive and ambitious to-do list, and put me behind on several other projects I am itching to start or finish. But, I determined this was the most crucial thing for me to continue working on now. I did not want to wait longer. Furthermore, some of the projects I have planned will be easier, or only possible to achieve with my revamped BarneyDavey.com website in place.
I first published BarneyDavey.com in 2005 to coincide with the launch of my first book, How to Profit from the Art Print Market. This Art Print Issues blog started as a pdf newsletter in 2005. I moved it to a blog design in 2007.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have launched the blog using WordPress, which it is on today. Instead, I opted for Typepad, which is a paid blogging platform. I would have used the subdomain, blog.barneydavey.com for the blog URL. Art Print Issues would have been the Title as it remains today.
The reason I would have done this is to keep the domain focused on my name. Just as with artists, when it comes to promoting my brand, my name is it. With 500+ posts in eight years, Art Print Issues is a brand name to thousands of artists. Unfortunately, not all of them realize I have my BarneyDavey.com brand name and product website.
Just as I have advised artists, if you are too far in on promoting a website or blog that does not include your name, you may have to live with the added expense and inconvenience of promoting two domain names instead of one, or forgoing one and losing all the links and value it has going forward. This is a question I review from time-to-time, but am not ready to commit to the investment in time and effort to convert, or to lose the traction and goodwill I have built on Art Print Issues.
The question of what to do with a blog and website using different names is compounded because while I maintain a focus on the print market, the content of the blog has evolved into art marketing that helps all visual artists. In other words, my interests have grown along with the readership of the blog, but the Art Print Issues blog title does not adequately reflect the expansion of coverage and interests I now publish. Were it all under BarneyDavey.com, I would not be dithering over this issue.
At this point, I am not sure how this issue will be worked out. I lean towards facing the situation and consolidating under BarneyDavey.com at some point. However, it will be some time before I make that decision. The process of revamping my website was eye opening in how long it took.
Tackling the consolidation project will be a time consuming task. For now, I will remain content publishing ArtPrintIssues.com and BarneyDavey.com as separate entities. That will allow me to stay focused on finding new ways to help you succeed at the business of art.