PR and Marketing

Discover the best practices for marketing yourself as an artist

How to Build a Website – It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard (from Website Builder Expert)

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Courtesy of Jeremy Wong from Website Builder Expert-----If you’re wondering about how to build a website (even for free), then this article will be helpful for you. Have no idea where to start?  That’s perfectly normal to be honest.  You’re not alone as for most people, building a website online is still a bit of a mystery.For most people (including us a few years ago), creating a website is something that only IT geeks are capable of doing. These coder lock themselves in the basement, has no friends, and wears glasses. Right? Right?? Well, that was the old school stereotype that most people had for coders (including us a few years ago when we strugged to get started – we confess!) I’m not sure if it’s because of the media, movies, whatever. But that’s definitely not how a lot of websites are actually built nowadays, and that’s definitely not how coders behave!You don’t need to be an IT geek to learn how to build a website from scratch today. You don’t even need to know code (a bit will help, but not a necessity and it won’t hold you back), you don’t need to manage hosts / servers, and you don’t need to have a lot of money.Keep reading and we’ll show you how to you can create a website in less than a day, and almost for free.HOW A LOT OF WEBSITES ARE BUILT NOWADAYSTechnology has really advanced over the past few years. The internet has grown faster than ever before. Facebook has taken over, Google is king, and normal folks like yourself can build your own website for free. More and more people are creating websites online as a way to express themselves and get in touch with others. Businesses cannot afford not to have websites as a way of reaching more potential customers.If you want to build a business, or if you already have a business but haven’t built your website yet, you’re falling further and further behind.But is building websites easy?  What is a good website builder?  How much does it cost to build a website? In the past? Very challenging. Today? Not challenging or super expensive at all. Think about it. Facebook made it easy for you to connect with hundreds, if not thousands of people. Smartphones make it easy for you to surf the web on a tiny device. It’s not that hard to believe that building websites can also be easy, right?There are a lot of website creators that have emerged over the past few years that enable you to build websites without knowing code. They programmed the website building software so now you literally just have to use your mouse and drag a slideshow, a block of text, images, videos, into the website. You can then insert your own text, upload your own pictures, insert your own videos (such as YouTube), and click publish. That’s it.I know it sounds ridiculously easy. After all, we’ve been taught that if something is too good to be true, it’s probably not, right? Well, that’s a good rule of thumb, but not always the case. In terms learning how to build a website from scratch, this is definitely not the case.For sure you will have to invest time into creating your own content and setting things up, but being a super freak in technology or codes is no longer a barrier to entry if you want to create a website all by yourself.ARE ALL WEBSITE BUILDERS GOOD & EASY TO USE?All website builders are built differently – each has it’s pros and cons. Some are easier, some are more challenging. I think the general guideline is that the more sophisticated and powerful the builder is, the higher the learning curve. That makes sense, right?So for instance, WordPress is a very powerful website builder. It is flexible, advanced, and can almost be programmed to do almost anything you want as a website.However, the learning curve to become proficient with using WordPress is rather steep. You will most likely have to invest quite a bit of time to learn how to use it well, and perhaps you will have to pay some freelancer or WordPress expert to help you set up your website.Then there are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), drag and drop website builders. These are the ones that do not need you to know any code to get a website up and running in a little amount of time. These builders are ideal for people who don’t have the time to learn code (life is busy, right?), or don’t have the budget to hire someone to help build a website. It’s great for people who enjoy DIY (Do-It-Yourself). WHAT ABOUT WEBSITE DESIGN AND TEMPLATES?  MY SITE HAS TO LOOK GOOD!Website builders nowadays give you a really good selection of design templates to choose from. Let’s face it, the majority of us don’t know how to design well, let alone coding up our own web design! So what do website builders do?  They create design templates so you can use them for your website, allowing your site to look good.Think about them as “clothes” for your website.  If you don’t like one set of clothes, just change to another one to give your website a completely different feel.Almost all website builders give you these templates for free, and hands down, using these design templates will give your website the biggest visual impact in the least amount of time. You don’t need to touch any codes whatsoever! In fact, if you are just starting a new business, we HIGHLY recommend that you don’t bother with hiring a website designer – for good reasons (see our arguments here).Drag & drop website builders (see our recommendations below) give you really good looking design templates to give you a head start already. There are more important things to focus on while your business is still young, than hiring a professional (and potentially expensive) designer.POPULAR DRAG & DROP WEBSITE BUILDERSIf you don’t want to learn code, or have a budget to hire freelancers to help you build a website from scratch, there are a few good website builders that you may want to test out to see if they can help you out, and if you like using them.Here are a few that we recommend you taking a look at:WixSquarespaceWeeblyJimdoAll of them have their own pros and cons, and some of them are better at certain things. When we started building websites ourselves, we researched for days as it was hard to figure out which one best fit our needs. There was so much information out there that it overloaded us, and pretty much paralyzed us in terms of choosing which website builder to use. So we decided to test a lot of them. After investing hundreds of hours in using many different website builders ourselves (gosh those days were painful!), we’ve compiled a few different comparison resources so to help make your research (and life) a bit easier:1) Website Builder Comparison Chart2) Pros and Cons of Popular Website Builders3) 9 Questions To Choosing the Right Website Builder4) 3 Best Web Design Software to Help You Build Professional Looking WebsitesAt the end of the day, there really isn’t a “one website builder fits all” type of solution.We recommend that you narrow down your search to 2 or 3 website builders, and just invest a day to try them out. It’s almost like shopping for a car (except MUCH cheaper). It makes a lot of sense to test drive a few of them just to see if they work out for you.All of the website builders that we recommend are free to sign up, or at least they have a free trial period where you can give it a test drive.WHAT ABOUT E-COMMERCE WEBSITE BUILDERS?. . . continue reading the full article and linked resources here at Website Builder Expert
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What is the difference between domains vs hosting vs website? (HostGator)

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Courtesy of HostGator-----When you have a site visitor, they use your domain name to view your website. As simple as it seems, there is a process that occurs from the time that the site visitor types in your domain and presses enter.When a site visitor enters your domain name into a browser, the domain is then translated into your server IP address,  then the server sends that user your site files, which their browser represents to them as a typical web-page.You can see that, without each of these 3 elements, you won't really have a web-site.The three basic parts that make up any current day website are:Domain NamesComputers communicate by using numbers, called IP addresses, to contact each other, much like you use a phone number to dial a specific person's phone. Domain names on the internet are much like entries in a phone book. The phone book tells people looking for a business what the entries are just as a domain tells people (i.e. their computers) that a domain is hosted on the server.Without a domain, you would have to tell your customers that your site is located at a temporary url such as 123.456.789.123/~mysite instead of using a domain name such as mysite.com, making your site appear unprofessional and impractical.Web-Hosting ServersThe web-hosting or server is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It's merely the space itself. It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn't include a site for you to sell your products.Luckily, in the web-hosting world, it's very easy to furnish the space provided by your host, because you can install many framework applications through the QuickInstall icon within your cPanel.Without the hosting services, you won't have a place for your files to reside, so your domain would then become like a disconnected phone number in the phone directory, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.Site FilesThe site files are what your visitors and potential customers actually see when going to site such as your products and services. The site files are the same as any other file you normally use, like a .jpg photograph, or .mp3 music file. Though, website files are also .php files or .html files, which are PHP scripts or html pages respectively.The web-hosting server knows how to read these files, which explain how the webpage looks or instruct the server to do a series of computations. These computations are things like figuring out what blog article it's supposed to send back to the viewer, or what forum post it's supposed to send back.. . . continue reading on HostGator
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What is a Domain Name? See our ABC Guide to Domain Names for Beginners (Website Builder Expert)

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Courtesy of Jeremy Wong from Website Builder Expert-----What is a domain name? This seems to be such a basic thing, but it’s not always THAT easy especially if you’re a beginner.  When we decided to build our first website a few years ago, we had no idea what a domain name was, and what issues we needed consider so we can set things up properly.We were concerned about privacy, how to connect / disconnect a domain name from a website, if a .com or .net is better, costs, etc.Are these some concerns you share as well?Sure, it all sounds very basic to people who have experiences with building websites. But for a beginner, it all can feel a bit uneasy. There are plenty of resources out there telling you in technical terms, what a domain name is. But that’s the problem, it’s a bit more technical and may not always be in plain English that normal people can easily understand. You’re probably not too interested in the technical ins and outs of how a domain name actually works. You’re probably more interested in how to practically manage the domain name, and what potential issues you should be aware of.This short guide is written to go over the basics of what you need to know about domain names – in plain English.Let’s get going!Top 10 Questions About Domain NamesClick on the Questions to the Answer:1. What is a domain name?2. Are domain names and websites separate things?3. Free vs paid domain names.4. Where can I buy a domain name?5. How much does it cost to register a domain name?6. Can I purchase a domain name directly from a website builder?7. Can I transfer my domain name if I change website builders?8. Should I purchase a domain name through a registrar or a website builder?9. Are domain names with .com always preferable?10. Should I protect my personal information with private registration?11. Other Useful Resources. . . Continue reading the full article on Website Builder Expert 
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Successful Art and Artist Websites Do's and Don'ts: How to Build a Website that Works (ArtBusiness.com)

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Courtesy of Alan B at ArtBusiness.com-----The mantra for a successful art or artist website has been and continues to be "Keep it fast, simple, easy and organized." Navigation and content must be straightforward in order to attract visitors in the first place and keep them on the site once they get there. First-time visitors to any artist website should know as quickly as possible where they are, who the artist is, what their art looks like, what it's about, why it's worth seeing (and hopefully worth buying), and how to move around in order to get wherever they want to go. Sites that lack these basics or make other common errors won't be able to attract and hold visitors, and will likely end up lost in the vast morass of nonfunctional and confusing art websites that overpopulate the Internet.Before we get going here, and in the interest of you who think artist websites are no longer necessary, that having a social networking presence is all you need, the sad truth is you have no control over your content on social networking sites because they're the ones in charge, not you. They can change the rules at any time, remove posts they deem inappropriate, become outdated, disappear off the Internet, completely change direction, or at worst, kick you off altogether. Regardless of how fabulous you think social networking is or how large your following, YOUR WEBSITE IS THE ONLY PLACE ONLINE WHERE YOU CONTROL THE SHOW and no one else. You and only you decide what to post, when to post it, how long it stays there, when to change it, where to put it, when to move it or when to take it down. You can gamble all you want on social networking, but always remember-- having your own website is a sure bet you never lose. So in the interest of better artist websites everywhere, here's a list of what to do and what to avoid in order to assure yourself maximum visibility and an effective web presence online:Get your own domain name and avoid free web hosting services. Free web hosting is never free and it's always lame. "Free" websites torture visitors with all kinds of distracting advertisements or other obtrusive text and graphics. At worst, maybe half of the screen shows your art while the other half, controlled by the host site, looks like a circus. Your art often ends up in direct competition with all kinds of commercial crap and hardly any art looks good under those circumstances. Furthermore, free sites give the impression that either you can't afford your own website or domain name or worse yet, that you don't care enough about your art to bother buying your own domain in order to make it look its best online. The good news is that basic websites with good functionality hardly cost anything these days.Don't use third-party advertising on your sites, especially for goods or services unrelated to your art. Sure, you may make a little pocket change from click-throughs, but any advertising is distracting to visitors and your art will suffer for it.Make sure your website looks the same on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The same website can look great on one browser and terrible on another, or worse yet, work on one browser but be completely nonfunctional on another. Test yours on all major browsers before going public.Your website should also be mobile-friendly. More and more people are browsing the web on mobile devices, and the number is only increasing. You want your art and website to look its best no matter how people are viewing it..... . . CONTINUE reading at ArtBusiness.com(img source)
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13 Easy Ways Businesses Are Using Social Media to Connect with Customers

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Courtesy of Linda Childers from Biz Ahead, powered by The Hartford-----Are you among the many small business owners who are using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but don’t have a social media strategy? Are you wondering what to post and how to reach your customers?You’re not alone.A survey released in June 2014 from Endurance International Group found that while although 90% of respondents had a social media presence, 71% acknowledged they didn’t have a plan, and were interested in learning more about increasing social media followers, sharing promotional ideas, and sharing relevant content with their customers.There’s a big difference between simply having a business presence on social media, and strategically using social networks to engage customers and grow your business. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful marketing tool. Here are examples of how a few small businesses are successfully maximizing their online presence:. . . continue reading on BizAhead 
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The Delightfully Short Guide to Social Media ROI (BufferSocial)

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If the concept of social media ROI feels rather enormous, you’re not alone. I am amazed—and sometimes astounded—at the breadth of the topic.So that’s made the exercise of writing a “delightfully short” guide to social media ROI all the more fun and challenging. I’ve given myself under 1,000 words to provide an overview of social media ROI and how to apply it to your social media marketing efforts. What Does Social Media ROI Look Like?ROI has its roots in business finance. Businesses use ROI to calculate the dollars-and-cents return on a dollars-and-cents investment.Social media ROI is what you get back from all the time, effort, and resources you commit to social. And it’s best calculated with dollar amounts.Of course, there are no dollar signs dangling from retweets or likes. Twitter, Facebook, and others are no-cost marketing channels to join, potentially a zero-dollar investment (which makes any return exponentially fantastic, right!). So in order to track ROI, the key elements would be:Identifying your monetary investment in social mediaAttaching a dollar amount to your social media goals.Difficult? Possibly.Possible? Definitely.View full article 
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60 Ways to Grow Your List

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http://static.ctctcdn.com/docs/pdf/60-ways-to-grow-your-list.pdf
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How Any Artist Can Price Their Art For Sale

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Courtesy of ArtBusiness.comPricing your art is different from making art; it's something you do with your art after it's made, when it's ready to leave your studio and get sold either by you personally or through a gallery, at an art fair, online, at open studios, through an agent or representative, wherever. Making art is about the individual personal creative process, experiences that come from within; pricing art for sale is about what's happening on the outside, in the real world where things are bought and sold for money, and where market forces dictate in large part what things are worth. Read more....
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ARTerial Network Arts Marketing Toolkit

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 Whatever the philosophical beliefs of artists, having tools that help them understand their audience or market, will enable artists to make more informed, strategic choices about how to diversify their sources of income to ensure that they are able to make a living as creative practitioners. The Arts Marketing Toolkit is a guide that explores different ways of building and sustaining public identity for individual artists and arts organizations. Constructing a sustainable arts livelihood is about understanding perceptions of power relations in economic contexts, and being able to make the appropriate choices in these environments.Case studies from various countries in Africa and different arts sectors are used to embed this marketing philosophy into practical examples. Worksheets have been developed to encourage readers to participate and reflect on the toolkit information with evidence from their own precise contexts.
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How to Become Almost Famous in Your Town

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 By D.L. Hawley, courtesy of Artists Register.com The better known you are in your own community, the more people will recognize your name and your art and become customers. Here are eight ways to become a well-known artist in your community. 1. Network through organizations.Join organizations such as the chamber of commerce, business networking groups, church groups, hobby clubs and others. Tell everyone you meet you’re an artist. Liberally pass out your business cards. Volunteer to speak at meetings. Keep a mailing list from the business cards you receive to send show invitations or notices about your new work. This will keep reminding everyone you’re a local artist. 2. Volunteer at school art programs.Become a volunteer at schools by offering to help teach art classes, act as a supervisor for an art club or an adviser on school art projects. Send a letter home with each student introducing yourself to the parents, complimenting their child’s artistic talent and inviting them to your next scheduled show. 3. Donate art to nonprofit auctions.Find nonprofit associations that raise funds by having art auctions. Donate a piece of art and include a small, professional-looking card with your name, phone number and your artist’s statement to be placed near your work. Attend the auction, talk to people and pass out your business cards or an invitation to your next show. 4. Volunteer at your community theater.Volunteer at a community theater and help create the sets or design artwork for the program cover. Ask for a mention in the program or free ad space in the program. Or volunteer to write a brief article on how the sets were created and include your byline as "Mary Smith, artist." Help promote the theater when you talk to people at other organization events you attend. 5. Have shows at your studio.Hold an art show at your studio to tie in with other community eventsfrom "art walks" to homecoming or the local fair. If you work in your home, clear the furniture from your living room and create a gallery for a day. Promote the show with the tie-in event. 6. Show your work everywhere.Enter local shows. Find restaurants and other businesses that hang local artists’work and participate in their programs, or help these businesses start one. Join with other artists and hold joint shows. Place a small, professional-looking card with your name, phone number and your artist’s statement near each piece of your work 7. Teach a community education art class.Examine the community education art classes that are offered and create one that offers something different and matches your talents. The school will promote your class, but you also need to promote it at all the organizations you belong to. Keep a mailing list of students and invite them to all your shows. 8. Develop a public relations program.Send a media release to your local newspaper, radio stations and television stations every time you do something newsworthy. If a reporter covers a play at the community theater and you designed the sets, ask to be interviewed. Create a media kit containing your photo, your art resume, photos of your art, and a letter stating your availability to be interviewedon short noticefor any news stories or features involving art. Enjoy meeting people and talking about your art. Keep at it. Sooner than you think, people will start remembering your name and seek you out. D.L. Hawley is a freelance writer and oil painter.Reprinted with permission from www.artistsmagazine.com
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