Grandma’s Garden – Poppies, watercolor by Angela Fehr, SOLD

With a little more than a week to go before we reach September, I’m getting out my art business journal and pen for an art marketing check-up and planning session.

In September of 2007 I decided to put some serious time into self-promotion – here’s a sampling of some of the goals I wrote down last year:

  1. Web site
    1. include story behind paintings
    2. update bio, include photos
    3. incorporate blog into web site – unify look
    4. remove prices in my gallery
    5. how-to information increases hits? explore this?
    6. maximize keywords
    7. front page of site should have most current content, more paintings on each page

I’ve continue my list tomorrow – today I’ll evaluate my online promotion progress.

I’ve completed everything in the web site category except for removing the prices from my gallery – it doesn’t seem like good business sense to make price inquiries an extra step in the purchase process. If you disagree and think prices should not be on a gallery page, please leave a comment telling me why.

In updating my web site I found some mistakes that were costing me. I use Statcounter to track the traffic to my site, but had somehow missed putting the code on my home page – any hits to my home page were not being recorded at all! It was frustrating to realize that due to this error, I could not accurately compare my previous years’ traffic (when I wasn’t actively marketing) to my recent stats. Tracking visitors to my web site gives me an idea of how they are finding me (keywords, referring sites, etc.), how long they are staying, and where they are from. I can then improve my traffic by optimizing my keywords and writing content that they can use, or can keep coming back to. This year I also started using Google Alerts. They send me an email anytime my name, blog or web site addresses are mentioned online. I’ve met some of my blog readers this way! My site traffic to my gallery site alone has increased tenfold in the last ten months.

I also started writing more how-to’s – which just happened to be directed to artists, and even took a leap and submitted an article to Empty Easel sharing some of my experiences as an artist in my community. The articles I have had published there benefited me by increasing traffic to my site, and suddenly I have a readership of artists who are interested in dialoguing about art business and like what I’ve had to share. This may not directly affect my sales, but it does affect my reputation as an artist, so it’s a good thing, and it also helps me stay on target with my goals.

I’m not a trained web designer, and everything I’ve done on my web site has been through trial and error. I do a lot of googling to find information and code for features I want to add, and for the most part I keep my web page clean and simple – it’s easier to maintain and code that way, and I like the look of an uncomplicated page. My web provider, GoDaddy has the most cluttered, hard to navigate site and I hate using it (love their prices though!) and that’s proof that a big budget and an experienced web designer doesn’t necessarily equal a great site.

Tomorrow I will continue my evaluation with a health report on my mailings.