Something to Consider

I promised to try to share some information that might be useful to those of you that either already have a website, or soon will. So I thought I’d talk to those of you that aren’t yet convinced that you need a website, or if you already have one, perhaps you’re not convinced it’s worth investing in a bit of effort to optimize it.

First of all, if you find yourself wondering if you really need a website, try looking at it from a different angle. If you’re displaying your work in shows and galleries from time to time, you may be seeing some traffic wander through, looking at your art and that of your colleagues. And while some of those people may be just casual browsers, with no real intention of buying anything, most are probably appreciators of art, and may very well make a purchase. They didn’t wander in looking for petrol or a ham sandwich… so they’re already partially qualified potential buyers.

Presumably, there was some publicity leading up to the show – perhaps fliers sent out to people known as art lovers, or maybe an advertisement in a local art magazine. Somehow, the word was spread that your art would be on display. The gallery owner may have even passed out a few business cards, with the date scrawled on the back.

And there, your exposure stopped. The only people that were aware of when and where to view your handiwork are those that either got that business card put in their hand or happened to view that magazine ad or flier. Word of mouth advertising won’t get you very far these days.

Now, imagine that your featured piece in this show is a modern sculpture of a pregnant woman. And you have a website, where you display a number of photographs of the piece, as well as a nice write-up on you, the mediums in which you work and what inspired you to create this particular sculpture.

Along comes Jane, who has recently convinced her husband that they need to redecorate their sitting room, to give their home a new look. She sits down at the computer and starts searching on Google for ideas. What does she look for?

Let’s say that she already has a sculpture in mind, but has no desire to display a bust of King George. She wants something more striking… something that makes a “statement”. So first of all, she looks for sculptures. Google’s algorithms are pretty smart. They recognize that Jane is in Melbourne, so they first show her items in Melbourne and the surrounding area – perhaps even all of Victoria.Unfortunately, the results are also cluttered with sculpting tools, history, blogs, museums and materials.

So Jane may refine her search a bit, by looking for “Melbourne sculptors”, “Modern sculpture Melbourne” or “sculptures for sale Melbourne”. That last will eliminate much of the clutter, and focus on sites that mention sale on their page.

And since your page mentions that your piece of modern sculpture will be on sale next week in Melbourne… you see where this is going, right? Jane didn’t read that art magazine and she doesn’t even know that gallery exists, much less know the owner. But she has now seen your work, and knows when and where she can get a closer look… even buy it, if she’s already fallen in love with it.

And like the visitors to the show, she’s qualified as a prospective buyer. She expressed interest in a particular type of art, and just as the gallery owner would have, Google passed her the information. The difference is, that gallery owner may know a thousand people around the world that are art lovers. Perhaps of the two hundred or so in Melbourne, she knows half of them.

Nearly a year ago, Google processed 87.8 billion searches per month. That boils down to over two million searches per minute!

And every one of those searchers is being shown results that relate directly to what they’re looking for. Even if only .00000001% of those searchers is looking for what you’re offering, that would be 878 qualified, interested buyers per month.

Do you really want to ignore that sort of potential?

The other side of the issue, of course, is that once you have your website, you need to put a bit of effort into optimization tactics, so that Google (and the other search engines) will realize what your site is all about. That’s the only way it’ll be displayed, when Jane starts looking.

I’ll talk about some of the ways to do that, next time.

Robin Jennings
I'm a web designer that specialises in designing, building and marketing websites for small to medium sized businesses, education organisations and the not-for-profit sector.
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