When I talk with fellow artists or craftmakers at shows, fairs and exhibitions, I always ask - 'How did you enjoy the process of getting a website set up?'
The answer tends to be one of these:
- 'A friend built my website but he never has time to update it and I don't like to hassle him.'
- 'I did it myself but it took me a long time and I'm not very happy with it.'
- 'I have a gallery page on an art site but I don't know if it's really working and I can't really update it very easily.'
- 'I had a site built for me but updates are expensive so I don't really use it.'
- Or - quite often - 'I haven't got a website'.
So let's consider some of the reasons why it's becoming essential for people like us to have our own websites. And to keep them living and breathing!
Your potential customers are searching for information about you, about your work, and for ways to buy from you. Let's make that as easy as possible. Whether they already know about you or not, our goal is to make it possible for them to find you.
The cost of having a basic website is probably about the same as doing 1 or 2 shows or craft fairs. And your website is open for business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year...
Even plumbers have websites these days; you're a creative visual person - what you do needs to be seen much more than a plumber's work!
When you have a website you're proud of, you can use it as the reference point for your newsletters and update emails. These emails can link back to pages, or specific pieces on your site, or to your 'events' page.
This is much better than sending word docs, PDFs or images as attachments to your database. Especially as attachments are increasingly likely to get trapped in your recipients' spam filters. This enables you to produce visually rich emails (on your own, or as part of my service) that do justice to your reputation as a creative person!
In our world, once someone has bought from you, they'll probably buy again. Provided they can find you, and you continue to nurture the relationship!
Your website is a great place for showing off your design flair, artistic ability and technical skills. You can use your online space to show how your work is the result of years of experience and craft; you can sell the unique aspects of your work; you can emphasise the hand-made nature of what you do.
We can use your site to 'sell' the value and uniqueness of what you do, helping to distance you from the far-off factories that churn out cheap alternatives and the charlatans who cut corners!
Most trade buyers and gallery owners these days won't consider artists and craftspeople who don't have a website. It's an indication of the seriousness with which you take your work.
A couple of years ago this was the preserve of established businesses, who paid clever web developers large sums of money for their own bespoke 'e-commerce engine'. With the advent of PayPal, and simple 'self administer' shopping carts, you can have a properly-secured online shopping and payments facility - all at very low cost, and with no special technical know-how required. I can help you implement this to an existing site if needed.
And if you're not convinced yet, this facility can usually be added later.
Unless you have the time to attend shows or seek trade buyers & galleries further afield, it's very difficult to achieve recognition and gain sales overseas. Your website helps bring the world closer to your door.
And with inexpensive parcel services, and simple e-commerce systems available, selling to overseas customers is hardly any more difficult than selling to someone in your own town.
If you're like me, you'll want as many people to know about your events as possible. Perhaps you send out invites to your shows? Being able to highlight these online is the first step. You can then get yourself listed on the many 'what's on' sites, local arts and tourist info sites, and on all sorts of other listings websites, with links back to your site. Experience shows that the people who use these sites often do follow the links to further info - to get times, dates, venue details, maps and an idea of what's on offer.
And if you send out press releases, being able to direct editors and journalists to further info increases the chance your release will get used.
A further thought - if you publicise your shows (of course you do!) - people who can't attend but want to know more can see some of what they've missed on your site. It's like having a permanent exhibition, open to all!
OK - so you're feeling a bit more sure I hope.
Go to the 'Your New Site' page and we'll look at how to get started.
If you have more questions, have a look at my FAQ page.