17 February 2006

Websites: 1, 2, or more?

I was bad -- I did nothing in terms of artwork yesterday. Since I finally finished the alpacas, I decided I should catch-up on paperwork, my website, auctions/eBay store, and get a newsletter out. Oh, and clean up my studio a bit so I can find things!

I did manage to get most of that to-do list done, except for my website which still needs work. My website keeps growing and this means that when I update it, it takes a bit longer each time to do. Several people have suggested that I split the portraits off, or the botanicals, or the sculptures, so that I have 2 or 3 or even 4 websites each with it's own specialization. For example, there would be "PortraitsbyLMH.com" and "BotWCbyLinda.com". Their arguments are that (a) I would look more professional by having a unified body of work and (b) I would be higher up in the search engines. I've toyed with this idea. There's a few problems:
  1. Each website would cost about $5/yr for domain name registration and $30/yr for hosting. Not a huge amount of money, but $35 times say 4, and it's $140/yr. I only sell a little bit via my website (although last year was pretty good), so there would be little chance (in my mind) that these sites would pay for themselves.
  2. I would have to buy new business cards (I have 3 boxes), postcards (4 boxes), and reprint price lists, because all these have "LMHornberger.com" on them.
  3. People that have bookmarked my site for the portraits would be confused to visit my site and not find any portraits. True, I could have a link to the portrait site, but if the sites are all interconnected that seems to defeat the purpose of seperate sites, in my mind.
  4. Also, because my site is fairly well indexed by search engines, if I start to remove pages, it screws that up. I once created a page "art_cards.htm", had it up for about 2 weeks (when I decided the underscore was a pain on eBay), and then changed it to "artcards.htm". That was a year ago, and I still have people looking for "art_cards.htm" because it is in one search engine somewhere.
  5. If I have seperate sites for everything, someone who finds my site when looking for woodblock prints, would never know that I do portraits.

So, for now, I'll stick with one website. If I did get another site, it would be one just for eBay photos. Since all the photos in my auctions and store are hosted on my site, rather than by eBay, the requests for the photos really skew my website statistics. I would like to know how people find my site, but most of that data gets crowded out by the photo requests. Then again, I would have to upload the photos twice -- once to my site and once to a photo site.

Anyway, I still have a number of recent portraits to put up on my website. Putting the pictures on a new page isn't the time consuming part -- it's the writing a blurb about each one. After so many, I kind of run out of interesting things to say. (I've seen some artists' sites where it's just the picture and no text, but that leaves me wondering about the size of the piece, for example, and it really doesn't help for search engine ranking.)

So here's today's to-do list (for art -- I'll skip the house to-do list!):

  • reply to the comments about my recent newsletter
  • put the final touches on cat sketch and package it to mail
  • get the oils out and do a couple of art cards and finish a small oil still life
  • list a few things on www.hometownartgallery.com
  • create (and maybe upload) several more pages

Well, I had better get working then!

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