I have a few suggestions. And these are targeted primarily for artists that are going to use this web site information to sell work. The first is about the difference between a "first person" and a "third person" approach.

If you are selling something you make, I think it is wise to take the "first person" approach. By that I mean you write the text of your site using "I" and "you" and "me." It's a personal approach to selling personal pieces to another person. You want those relationships in the art biz. You make friends with people interested in your work. I think that the web, by it's nature- is personal. You are inviting people into your studio 24 hours a day. Composing in the first person is like you are there and inviting them in. The third person approach is like a gallery that is open 9 to 5 and manned by someone that is not knowledgeable- doesn't "feel" anything- about your work. This is just my opinion and here is how I think about the nature my site.

I am a potter and I believe a potter's web site should be personal. I am a one-man operation, for me it has to be personal. I am constantly adding content to my page. Each time I update the "pots for sale" page, I try to add another page or two of information. I might add a link to a show my pots are in. I might add the text of an article that has been accepted for publication. Or perhaps one that has been rejected. This, in itself, is a form of publication. Or for one update, I might spend time cleaning up the site. You have to constantly work at being organized. A change on one web site page may require two dozen edits on other site pages.

Here is an example of the personal approach I find is very engaging with site visitors and is a recent addition to my home page. I have a problem. I am going into a five month making cycle and don't have anything to sell, yet I want people to visit. My solution is that at the top of my home page, I post a biweekly paragraph that states how I spent my last two weeks. And there is a link to a page titled "MOST CURRENT WORK" that has pictures and text that show what I have been up to for the last two weeks. It only takes an hour or two to generate such a link. Well worth it. I leave these biweekly links on the site so people and click back in time and see how I spent my year! My hope was that people want to see the process and want to see what is coming down the pike. Perhaps they will see something they like and will follow it through the process. Better yet, perhaps they will buy it! I have recently started this and people have written me saying they are following what I do and following specific pieces as well,even though it may be 100 days before I glaze it.

Another suggestion I have is to always keep in the back of your mind that you want build your presence on the web at every opportunity. Every gallery show, catalog, auction, or article you are mentioned in might show up on the web. If you name is mentioned in those situations, search engines will pick that up. Search engine links to my site just appear on search engine hit lists. Most of them were a result of me not even thinking about it. It just happens because other people are putting my name on various sites. Of course, if someone does a search and your name comes up 10 times on the hit list, the odds of a visit to your site increases.

Another way to do something similar is to link yourself to sites similar to yours. Lots of sites have link pages. And there is a link "etiquette." Generally, if you are linking to another PERSON'S site, you ask permission to do that. And generally you ask if that person is willing to link to you. It is a "tit for tat" situation. If you are linking to an organization though, you don't have to ask. If I were to link to another potter, I would ask. (I don't have a link page; don't want one.) But if I were to link to Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian, I would just do it since you would waste time and effort asking.

That's all I have to say. If you put all this information to use, send me a link to your site, I would love to see it. If you have problems along the way- and you will- don't write me for solutions. I have a ton of time in this site already and I am way behind on making pots. The HTML is very simple. I am sure you can get a site running quickly. If you are having problems with what you are doing, I suggest you pay attention to the details. Closely watch your dots, commas, dashes and exact file names. And always, constantly, SAVE.

Adios amigos...