Use your artists blog to attract people who love your work – Heres how

Sell Your Art Online

7 Different Ways To Sell Your Art Online

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Best of the web | April 2011 | Don’t miss these

Nothing is Original - Austin Kleon

HOW TO STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST (AND 9 OTHER THINGS NOBODY TOLD ME)

How to steal like an artist {and 9 other things nobody told me}

This amazing post by Austin Kleon is based on a talk he did in New York. It is a list of 10 things he wished he was told in college. Brilliantly sage advice for artists everywhere. An absolute must read for all creative folks.

The Importance of Being an Artist in Today’s Modern World

Sometimes. with the economy the way it is, it’s difficult to see where the future of art is heading. Artist Lori McNee shares some thoughts.

Artomat Art Vending Machines

A lovely idea. Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 90 active machines in various locations across America. You can submit art to be sold. Just wish there were some in the UK.

Where the feeling of overwhelm comes from (and how to destroy it)

We have been talking about overwhelm on Artonomy this month. Peter Shallard offers psychological advice to entrepreneurs and offers another and interesting angle on the best way to deal with it..

A Brief Guide To Life

Continuing the theme {I have gone a little existential this month – I think it’s due to the long Easter break!} Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits has a wise and simple manifesto for a simplified and more stress free life.

Heres To The Crazy Ones…

The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…

 

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Best of the web | March 2011 | Don’t miss these

Fabulous manifesto from www.holstee.com Available as a poster and greetings card in their lovely conscience led shop.

 

7 Ways to Establish That Your Art Has Value

Alyson Stanfield shares some excellent ways you can communicate the value of your art, even if you have no track record as an artist yet.

 

Do you feel that your art business runs you and not vice versa?

Over on The Abundant Artist, Lisa Verdi shares strategies that will help you get in control of the business side of your art and not feel overwhelmed.

 

8 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Art Blog or Website

John R. Math shares some quick things to do which will help your site with search engines and users alike.

 

Newsletters: Avoid the Premature Click-off

If you ever wonder what you should put in your artists newsletter, Karen Cooper has some great advice to prevent boring and un-engaging emails.

 

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Naughty domain names {and how not to get stuck with one}

When you are thinking about starting to sell art online through your own artists website, one of the first things you need to consider is your domain name.

It is one of the elements of your artists website which requires the most careful thought and unfortunately somewhere that you can easily shoot yourself in the foot if you are not careful, often only discovering the problem further down the line when nobody can find you.

But don’t worry. Sticking to a few simple rules will ensure that you get the most out of your domain and website. Lets have a quick look at what it entails.

What is it?

Your domain name is the address you type into the address bar of your browser to call up your website. You can think of it as a signpost that points visitors to where your website is hosted. It will look something like www .johnsmithsculpture.com. It is an important part of your web presence and has implications for search engine optimisation. You can register your domain name before you have a website set up in order to secure it.

Why is it crucial to get it right?

Your domain name is a very important part of your personal brand. Pick the right one and it can enhance your professional appearance. Pick the wrong one and it can let down the side {see point 6 below ;-)}.

It also has a direct bearing on your e-mail address so picking the right domain enables you to set up a professional email address along the lines of enquiries@myname.com. This looks SO much better and more professional than  email addresses like sexybex75@yahoo2h5f.com,  again tying in with your personal brand and giving the right impression. I see a surprisingly large amount of artists undermining their hard work on marketing by giving out business cards with addresses like this. It is an important element of your whole professional package so well worth sorting out properly.

Careful choice of domain is also really important from a search engine point of view as a domain name containing your name and possibly a keyword about what you do can really help your site to appear well in search engine results. You want people to be able to find your work when they type in your name.

How to choose a good domain name

When you come to buying your own domain name there are quite a few things to consider before you lay down your money. Many domain names have already been registered so it can take a bit of trial and error to find a good combination that hasn’t already gone.

Google views domain names as being one of the most important elements of a website when deciding whereabouts in the search pages to rank it so its well worth spending a bit of time on getting a good combination. Spend time doing a bit of brainstorming to come up with different combinations that may work.

Some good points to bear in mind are:

1 Include your name in the domain.
Creating a domain including at least your last name and probably your first name too will help people find you more easily. I.e. www.johnsmith.com

2 Include a keyword relating to your work.
Even better, using a descriptive keyword in your domain, helps with searches for this subject. I.e.www.johnsmithsculpture.com

3 Don’t use hyphens.
It’s tempting to hyphenate your domain name as sometimes all combinations of words seem to have been already registered. If at all possible do try and avoid the use of hyphens though as it makes it well nigh impossible to tell anyone your domain name orally.

Imagine trying to tell someone your web address over the phone. “John hyphen smith hyphen sculpture dot com” just sounds really confusing. Use hyphens as a last resort only.

4 Keep it memorable.
Try and register a domain name that people can remember easily. To this end try to keep it short and to the point. www.pamalaspotterypigemporiumandartbarn.com probably wont work so well.

Also, if there are any common misspellings of your name it can be worth registering both variations in case people forget how to spell it.

5 Try and secure a dot com
If you can, try and secure the .com version of your domain name. You may want to register a few different variations of your domain name with different “Top Level Domain”s {Top Level Domains or TLD’s are the ending part of the domain address ie .com or .org etc} If possible avoid domains ending in the more obscure .info .tv and similar for your main domain name.

You may also want to register the TLD relevant to where you live {ie .co.uk if you live in the UK. .fr for France etc} You can use the .com as your main domain and point the others to your site too.

6 Consider your choice of words carefully.
Some combinations of words, when put together, create an unforseen comedy domain name. Consider the humorous joys of the following real domain names and carefully check any domain name combinations you come up with.

www.powergenitalia.com {Italian Power Company}
www.penisland.net {Pen company}
www.speedofart.com {Designers}

Yes, they are all real! 😉

Checking if your chosen domain is available

Once you have some ideas, you need to check if they are available to register. Go to a domain registration site such as www.names.co.uk or 123-reg.co.uk and enter your desired domain name in their website checker box to see what is available. You don’t have to register your domain there if you don’t want but you will be able to find out of the domain is available for purchase.

Registering your domain

There are an almost infinite number of companies on the internet offering domain registration. It makes life easier to have your domain registered at the same place as your hosting so take a look at the domain registration services offered by your hosting company if you have one.

If you want to register the domain separately {for example, if you want to secure it before hosting or your website is set up} try www.lcn.com or www.names.co.uk

If you are using an artists website building service they will generally be able to look after the registration for you and ensure it is set up correctly to point to your website. This again is a good option as it keeps everything in the same place and allows someone else to deal with the technical side of things. Just make sure you can keep the domain name should you ever want to move to a different service.

All done

Sorting out your domain name can look like a daunting process but the steps above should enable you to choose and register a domain with reasonably little pain. Go and make sure you have secured your personal domain name as soon as you can. You don’t want to discover that someone else has registered www.yourname.com when you come to set up your artists website.

Please share any problems you have had with registering domains in the comments. Have you secured your personal name domain yet?

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Do you suffer from invisible artist syndrome? : How to get noticed online.

This post may just be an excuse to play a clip from my favourite tv show as a kid – “Randall and Hopkirk Deceased”. {“My Partner the Ghost” in the US}

This was the fabulous swinging 60’s-tastic story of a private eye (Randall) and his unfortunately deceased ghostly sleuthing partner, Marty Hopkirk {Kenneth Cope wearing a white suit}.

Swaggering leather jacketed London criminal types couldn’t see ghostly Marty Hopkirk allowing for all manner of high jinx as he got one over on them. However poor Marty was frustrated by his inability to interact with the real world {especially the ladies} the main difficulty being that he was invisible to everyone but Randall.

The real world just didn’t take any notice of poor Marty. He didn’t exist…

Do you feel a bit like this with your efforts to publicise your art online? Like you can shout from the rooftops about it and no one hears you. You spend lots of time Tweeting, Facebooking, putting new images on Etsy, adding work to Zazzle or Redbubble etc yet no-one seems to even stop by your shop.

Are you an invisible artist?

There is no denying that getting your creative work noticed online is HARD. The competition is vast and ever growing. Every day more and more artists add their work to the humongous selection of artwork available online. I sometimes get the feeling that the internet is comprised entirely of celebrity gossip, nutritional supplements, sex and art, not necessarily in that order. How can you even begin to make a dent in that mountain of content and be noticed?

So what is the secret to beating invisible artist syndrome?

I’m afraid the secret is that there is no quick fix easy answer. It comes down to a combination of working on these areas below and getting them right.

1 ] Branding – Standing out from the crowd

Getting your image right is crucially important. In fact it is the solid foundation to everything else you do. If your imagery is poor you can waste time on promotion and never get anywhere. Get this right first.

You need to stand out from the crowd and make a statement with everything you do. Great high quality photography of your work, well chosen colours and a consistent message across the web will start to make you and your work noticable.

Make sure that your website, printed materials, presence on Twitter and anywhere else your work appears all carry this consistent message. People will start to recognise you and your work and the quality that it represents.

2 ] Your artists website – make it personal

It’s very easy to set up a shop on Etsy, Redbubble, Zazzle or any of the many myriad of artists shopping websites available. Whilst this ease of access is brilliant you can soon find that getting people to visit your shop or buy an item is not so easy.

This is for the very simple reason that these sites are not there to just sell YOUR work alone. Their goal is to get traffic to their entire site, not specifically your shop. They really don’t care who makes the sale, you or any other artist on the site as they get the commission either way. Therefore they make it very easy to surf around and flit from one artist to another. Even if someone lands on your page they will probably flit off to look at another pretty item they notice. It’s the butterfly mind at work and there are SO many other artists on these sites that your work just gets lost in the crowd.

You can expend a lot of energy trying to drive visitors to your shop but chances are they will be off to look at someone else once they get there. Faced with a lot of choice, buyers tend to get befuddled, do nothing and not make a purchase. You are left feeling invisible again.

People who stand out and do well on these sites tend to do a LOT of marketing directing people to their shop but what if something changes?

Sellers on 1000Markets had an unpleasant surprise recently when it was bought out and renamed Bonanza.com, Any hard work put into promoting and creating links to a shop there was undone overnight as the web address changed. Back to invisibility.

Only YOU care passionately about your work. Use that passion to create your OWN website. You have no competition from other artists on your own site and time you spend on promoting and marketing it is well spent and will only improve your chances of being seen.

Your site isn’t going to disappear, change name or get banned. It is your own little bit of the internet and you can make it look exactly how you want. Over time, your work will become more and more visible across the web.

3 ] High quality professional work.

It goes without saying that everything you put on the internet should be your very best work. Never show anything you aren’t happy with. Much better to have a smaller selection of brilliant work to view than a sprawling mass of substandard pieces that you really aren’t happy with. Again, make sure the photography and presentation of your work is excellent. Set your quality threshold high and your work is much more likely to be noticed for all the right reasons.

4 ] And finally… Hard Work {sorry ;-(}

The greatest lie perpetuated about the web is that you can just sit back and let it do the work for you. I think we all know by now that it doesn’t work like that [unfortunately] and you do have to put the time in promoting and sharing your work in order for it to become more visible across the web to potential buyers.

In an interesting interview recently {worth a listen}, artist John T Unger said that he generally spends 30-40 hours per week marketing his art. He figured that he could either work for someone else in a job and come home and work on his art after work, or he could take the hours he would spend on another job and use them to promote his firebowl sculptures, and again work on his art after hours. This is a fairly extreme example of working really hard at promoting his work, but John is able to sell expensive high end artwork through his website and has been featured in publications such as the New York Times so he is definitely not invisible.

The bottom line is that it takes time, work and patience to gain visibility for your artwork, but unlike poor Marty, condemned to eternal invisibility, you CAN do it.

Begin taking some steps now to make sure more potential buyers get to see your fabulous work.

Time to stop being an invisible artist. Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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Illustrator Lisa Stubbs shares her online world

Lisa Stubbs is a freelance illustrator, artist and printmaker from Yorkshire England.

Her work is inspired by a wide variety of lovelyness ranging though Japanese graphics, vintage packaging and the creativity of her children and includes screenprinting, stitch and textiles. She writes an eclectic & inspirational blog at ‘LilSonnySky and her work can be found on both Etsy.com & Folksy.com

In this interview, Lisa shares her experiences about marketing her work, the business of art, and success selling art online. She also shares her inspirations and processes.

Your work

Lisa. How would you describe your art
I’d describe my work as narrative, characterful, honest and with a sence of humour, I want people to connect and relate to my artwork I want it to make the onlooker smile.

Please explain a little about your creative process.
For my own personal work I carry a sketch book and camera around with me, if anything inspires me I jot it down or snap it! Then later I will work further on the sketch and decide what medium to create the final artwork in, which at the moment is mainly as a screen print or a fabric collage. I have three children who are a constant inspiration to me with their energy and fresh imaginative way of looking at the things, and along with their picture book collection and their own art, this fuels ideas for my sketch book too.

What is your workspace like?
Do you have a dedicated space to create? I have a studio next to my kitchen which is open plan ( you can see an image it of it here) Where I do most of my work, my screen printing is done at the West Yorkshire Print workshop where I learnt how to screen print.

Your Online World

fossil hunting in red hatYour blog www.LilSonnySky.Blogspot.com is packed full of fascinating and exciting work, inspiration and fun. It’s created on the Blogger platform. Would you recommend Blogger to artists starting to set up a blog or would you do anything differently if you were setting it up now?
The Blogger platform is perfect for me as it’s easy to use. I’m no whiz when it comes to computers and blogging along with opening Etsy & Folksy shops has been a huge learning curve, which I’ve really enjoyed! Because I don’t have a massive range of computer skills, Blogger has been simple and easy to use and perfect for my needs.

What did you find the most difficult or challenging part of setting up your blog?
The courage to do it!! I knew the technical side would be a challenge but I could learn that side of things and overcome any difficulties by ‘help’ links and trial and error. But the actual ‘ does anyone want to read about my work and inspiration?’ bit and finding an online voice that represented me was the hardest bit! I’m so glad I did, it’s been a massively positive learning experience and have met some wonderful ‘blogging’ friends along the way!

How useful do you find your blog in terms of promoting and selling your work?
Very useful, it’s been an online shop window for me and an open studio for people to see how my work is created and what inspires me, which I think gives my work a visual history of hows it’s been created before going onto my shops.

How much do you find your online presence crosses over into the real world?
Do you find contacts and promotions that you make online help your work offline too? Yes, I think the links and contacts I’ve made through people seeing my work on my blog and Etsy shop have been wonderful, and I have received many commercial briefs because of this. My Etsy shop and my Flickr account have been almost like an online portfolio and a way to show case my work.

Out of all the things you do online to promote your work, which has been the most useful or worthwhile?
That’s difficult to say as they’re all linked, I’d say my blog as a platform leading to other links, but my Etsy shop has been wonderful at attracting interest abroad, people come to look at the blog who have bought items from the shop first. So I’d say my blog and Etsy shop.

Approximately how long do you spend each day or week, working to promote your work on the web?
I’d say an hour to maybe 2 hours a day, it depends on how much work I have to do.

You have shops on both etsy and folksy. Do these work well for you?
They don’t do too bad really, considering this is all my own personal work and not my commercial work so I don’t put my full time and energy into it. I work as a freelance illustrator so my Etsy, Folksy, Flickr and blog are all side lines if you like, but they have helped and supported my commercial work enormously. Not just as a brief free zone to experiment and try out my own ideas but also as a shop window for potential clients.

Roughly what percentage of your total sales comes through Folksy and Etsy?
For me it’s not a massive amount but it’s growing. That’s due to time and my work priority’s. I think to be really successful on these sites you need to spend a considerable amount of time networking, joining chat rooms, subscribing to news letters, getting involved in Etsy promotions, Etsy Treasury’s and online communities, generally being involved with every aspect of it to get the word around about your work. This takes time which I haven’t got as my commercial work takes priority, but I’m very proud of ‘Lil Sonny Sky’ and if I can do this just with a small amount of time, just think of what you could achieve if you gave it your full attention!

How do you get people to visit your shops on these sites? What promotion do you do to let people know about them?
I have links on my blog and links in posts. I also leave comments on other blogs and I’ve got involved with online competitions and projects, ( here and here) Offline I have exhibited at local Art fairs which have info of my shops and blog,

Your Arty Business

Japanese spring girlWhich marketing strategies have been most helpful in advancing your career and selling your work?
Investing time to learn new ways of working and experiment, this has been the best way I’ve advanced my career – not really a marketing strategy I know but by doing this everything else has just naturally followed on. The contacts I’ve made and the work I’ve sold has all been through constantly pushing myself work wise to better myself as an artist and reinvent ways of creating my ideas. My Etsy shop has been an out let for this and it’s this work that has got me noticed more than ever and got me more work. So I’d say experimenting, being open minded and inventive has been my best marketing strategy!

In a normal day, how much time do you spend on creating and how much on business related stuff?
I’ll spend the first hour of the day online, then stop and do design work making use of the day light and then on an evening spend time at my mac doing the online stuff or keeping up with the books! this is tricky with a young family so the creative time has to take priority as I can’t do this with the children around. This balance seems to be working ….. at the mo!

Can you offer any advice to someone who is just starting out down the road of self employment as an artist?
Just work really hard! invest the time you need to get organised and target who you want to notice your work. Have a clear idea or goal and then list what you need to do to achieve that goal, personally and commercially. Buy the Artists and Writers year book which should be your bible as it’s packed with loads of advice, case studies and contacts. Believe in yourself and your work otherwise nobody else will and don’t be afraid to seek advice and help, there are tonnes of resources out there, local free courses on book keeping, marketing, time management etc. Get involved with organisations like The Association of illustrators or local Art organisations, we have the Art house in Wakefield, or WYPW who have monthly news letters with lots of opportunity’s for artists! and be positive, don’t see problems as mistakes, they’re just lessons on your journey to achieving your goal!!

Do you make a living exclusively from your art and creativity or do you combine it with other work too?
I earn my living as a commercial freelance illustrator and I have just got an agent purely through my personal work online which is wonderful as it makes me nearer to my goal of becoming a children’s book illustrator.

Working for yourself

lisa stubbs - PiggybackWhat has been the biggest obstacle or difficulty you have faced whilst getting established as a self employed artist?
How did you overcome this difficulty? I started as a freelance illustrator 14 years ago which seems like a life time ago! I think for me I found juggling time difficult and being jack of all trades, understanding accounting, time management and computers and solving technical problems were all new skills I had to learn. The only way to over come this was to go on ‘new business’ courses. I went on lots which were free at the time and great as I met people in the same boat and learnt from their mistakes as well as my own. I could pick the brains of professionals in their field for free. Today I think local art associations will run similar workshops which will be better as they will be tailored to artists needs.

What is the best thing about working for yourself as a self employed artist?
Now I have a young family it’s been wonderful to be flexible time wise, I can work around my family, school runs and swimming lessons! Also just being able to get paid for something I absolutely love doing and being my own boss! I feel very lucky!

And the worst?
It’s a very solitary profession! The radio and the blogging community are my studio mates! but I get around this by going out to screen print, I also help out now and then at the school my children go to doing art classes which helps to brake up blocks of time spent on my own.

Do you have any advice for creative people who want to work for themselves or set up a business selling the products of their creativity?
The same as before really, work hard, seek advice and help, believe in your work and research your market and competition, write down your goal then list what you need to do to achieve it. And be positive! The person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything!

Your Inspiration

Finally, please share something that inspires you.
My children, picture books, song lyrics, Japanese graphics, fabric, tumblr, vintage packaging. I find inspiration in so many things the list is endless! it’s ever changing, but my children mainly and their art the confidence they have when drawing and their imagination is just magic!

Thank you Lisa for sharing your work and practise with us. Don’t forget to visit Lisa’s blog at ‘LilSonnySky

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How to get loads more Google Love to your art blog or site { or 11 dead easy SEO tweaks for artists }

If you sell your art on the internet through your own website it is really really important to ensure that you have a steady stream of interested visitors looking at your work. I can’t emphasis this enough because you can have the most amazing work in the world out there on the web but if no one sees it nothing exciting is going to happen. You can’t just sit back and wait for people to turn up. You have to help them find you.

So, one of the best ways make this happen and make sure you get all those visitors popping their head round the door of your shop is to spend a little bit of time making sure that your website is as “Google Friendly” as possible. This means tweaking the site so that Google and other search engines find it easy to navigate and index. If your site is easily found via search you are likely to get a steady stream of good quality interested traffic.

Search Engine Optimisation { or SEO for short } can seem like a complex and daunting bit of the web but the truth is that there are some really simple tweaks that you can make to your site which will greatly improve it’s Google { & overall } search engine performance.

So here we go – some easy SEO that will give your site a head start.

Use keyphrases – not single keywords

Keyphrase consists of 2 keywords together – like “Abstract Art” or “Contemporary Art”. You will get far better targeted results than if you just use a big fat generic single keyword like “Art” which is too general.

Page titles – Sort em out!

The page title is the short string of words that shows up in the top left corner of most browsers and describes the page. Probably the most important thing you can do on your page is make best use of your page title and its surprising how many sites don’t. It is one of the biggest ranking factors for any page.

  • The most common mistake is to leave the home page titled “Home” or “Welcome to my website” or similar. That’s a huge facepalmtastic missed opportunity. Actually USE your page title.
  • Make sure your page title relates closely to the content of that page and the keyword you are trying to optimise that page for. See “Research your Keyphrases” below to figure out what your phrases should be.
  • Target your homepage with your main keyphrase. Every page should have a different keyphrase focus, don’t just use the same title for each page. Keep your page title short [under 9 words or 80 characters] and focus your keyphrases at the beginning of the phrase.
  • Here’s a totally made up example for a fictional photographer – “Wildlife Photographer | Martin Smith | Nantucket”
    or
    “Arctic wildlife | Wildlife Photographer | Martin Smith | Nantucket” specifically for a page of shots of the Arctic. Keep a consistent format across each page but make sure that each page title has a different keyphrase focus. {ie in this example the phrase at the beginning of the title will change relevant to each page.}
  • The title is read from a piece of code in the HTML of your site which looks like this. <title>Title goes here</title> You may need to edit it directly if you are happy working with HTML or if you use a portfolio service, research the help files to discover how to alter it.

This is a very simple and HUGELY effective SEO tweak that will make a big difference to your ranking results.

Don’t miss out on Google Image Search

Google Image search is a brilliant opportunity to show your work and get more visitors which is often overlooked. It works like this – someone is searching Google for images of Barn Owls. If you have created a painting of one and named the file correctly, they stand a good chance of seeing your work in a Google image search. You can potentially double the traffic you get if you get this right as searches for art related subjects are often visual.

  • In order for your work to show up in image search you need to name your image files properly. Make sure you include the relevant keyphrases in the names of your files.
    For example, our fictitious wildlife photographer – He may name his files in the following format – snow-goose-arctic-martin-smith.jpg or snow-goose-wildlife-photography-martin-smith.jpg ensuring his image are indexed and found easily.
  • Make sure you use the same words in the alt tag of your image and any caption relating to it. Always try and include relevant image caption text with your image as this really helps your picture to get picked up by Google image search.
  • If possible, add your images to Flickr.com with a descriptive caption. I have found this does really well in image search

Research your keyphrases thoroughly

Its dead easy to make assumptions about the keyphrases you THINK people will search for. You can spend a lot of time optimising for those keyphrases when a few minutes of research will show you that another phrase would get better results.

The tools below will help you find out what people are ACTUALLY searching for.

Google keyword tool
Use Google’s keyword tool for a rough indication of keyword popularity.

Wordtracker
Wordtracker is the industry standard keyword research tool and offers free limited searches.

Choose a relevant keyphrase for every page

Look at the content of each page and decide on a keyphrase that most closely describes the content of the page. Its no use trying to optimise your page for “bronze sculpture” if the page content is actually about “abstract painting.” Make sure the keyphrase and content match closely. The key to search is relevance.

Write natural text using your key words or phrases

When you have chosen a relevant keyphrase or two for a page, add the keyphrase and related words into your copy. This doesn’t mean cramming the word in repeatedly. Make sure you write in a natural way but make sure the keyphrases and related words are featured say 3 or 4 times, preferably at the beginning, middle and end of the text.

Use keyphrases in headers

Similarly, include your chosen keyphrase in the headers text on a page. This means the bold text that divides the body copy into sections. Words in these headers may be given more weight by Google.

Work on getting quality incoming links

There’s only so much you can do to improve your site itself. A lot of what will help your Search Engine rankings are so called “Off Page” elements. These include incoming links to your site and the important thing here is QUALITY. It’s better to have a handful of good quality links than hundreds of spammy links from irrelevant sites and directories. You want to show to Google that your site keeps good company. You don’t want your website to become the online equivalent of a dodgy shop down a backstreet on the wrong side of town with stained net curtains and a man behind the counter with no teeth. Right?

Try and secure links from sites that are related in content to yours and are well respected. In the case of our imaginary photographer, a wildlife photography forum or blog would be the kind of site to try and get a link from.
You want a site that values its links and doesn’t have zillions of other links on a page. If possible [and this isn’t easy] try and ensure that the linking site uses your keywords in the link text [ i.e. “view Martin Smiths Arctic Wildlife Photography on his site by clicking here” ]

Avoid links from directory type pages that are only there to generate links and don’t have any other relevant content, like massive business directories.

Create a signature file on forums

If you comment on any forum related to your work, create a signature file with the address of your website in it. Whenever you comment your web address will be included, possibly helping SEO {depending on the way the forum is set up} and potentially raising the profile of your site.

Research and use the SEO capabilities of any site you join.

If you have a ready made artists portfolio site for example, check the documentation and find out how to best modify your page within the system to help the search engines find you.

If you have a WordPress site download and install and use the All-in-one SEO Pack plug in.

Create quality content

This is The No 1 most important rule in SEO. Quality content will naturally attract people. They read or see something interesting and link to it. All these incoming links are a signpost to the search engines that your site is worth bothering with and will increase your ranking. This is why blogs are such a great way of getting people interested in your work.

Write in a natural style about topics of interest around your work, for example, techniques, history, exhibitions etc. Make sure your content is grammatically correct and spell checked. Use a range of keywords and phrases in order that people can easily search for your topic. Break the text into paragraphs and ensure it is well divided with headers and sub headers. Make sure it isn’t too long.

The great thing is that any changes you make to your site for the benefit of Google will generally have a positive impact on your results in other search engines too.

Please share the SEO tips that work for you in the comments below.

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