Your website works for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year -- but some websites are rather lazy and ineffective, while others are really smart and productive. The same goes in regard to specific pages on your site. The goal, of course, is that every page can be effective at gaining visibility.
Over the past few years, I've spent quite a bit of time learning easy and effective website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for artists and crafts people. These have all been described at one time or another in posts on ASK Harriete.
My goal has always been to find the easiest and most effective tips that any artist or maker could implement to create effective web pages and sites without looking at numbers or charts.
Recently, I tried an experiment in which I took my own advice for all the easiest tips and applied them to one page of my website.
Berman Fine Silverworks is my business which is not glamorous work nor does it cater to typical artistic aspirations. I use my technical skills to repair and polish sterling silver and silverplate. It generates revenue without the frustrations, travel, or cash flow problems of art and craft exhibitions, consignments, or shows.
Customers who find my website bring or send their silver to my studio for repair or polishing. I fix the pieces and the customers pick up the work in a few days.
My website is the primary marketing tool -- and I meet customers only by appointment in my studio. There isn't even so much as a sign or street location. I do not advertise. I started this website experiment in early 2013 and have been adding the best SEO practices ever since.
In the first six months of 2014, my silver repair revenue has already exceeded last year's gross revenue. I attribute all of this significant increase in revenue to the improved one-page on my website. Since then I kept adding content.
2017 Update: In 2016 I completely did both of my website for mobile. Your website must be mobile friendly for the best ranking in Google search. The reality is that more than 50% of traffic on the web is mobile including both phones and tablets. Mobile friendly for different devices is now part of Google search engine algorithm.
To be fair, this could be attributed to an uptick in the economy or an increase in the Internet search as a tool (no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore.) (2017 update: I have eliminated my business phone and yellow page listing. Everyone finds me on the web.) There is no doubt in my mind that my customers are finding me online. They are calling me from farther away and mailing me their silver repairs. They call and tell me they are looking at my website. To be more specific, my customers were finding my page of silver repair examples.
So here are my simple SEO tips that artists and makers can implement with only the most basic web-savvy tools. No charts. No numbers. Each tip will link to a post that will offer more information on the particular topic, as necessary.
TRY FIXING ONE PAGE of your site.
Do your own experiment and see if you can increase traffic to one page of your website. This won't take too long and you may see that SEO can really make a difference.
1) Spelling and grammar are important. Google admits that this is a search ranking criteria.
2) Image File Names should describe the image. (Read the entire post or listen to the Youtube lecture. This is super important for image-heavy websites.) Help search engines find your images.
3) Image descriptions as text on your page should include words that your potential customers may use to find your site. Art speak and artist statements should be clear and understandable to your customer. Each image needs a unique description.
4) Provide image ALT tags for every image. (If you are using a template website, this option may be buried in an advanced level SEO, but the image ALT tags are absolutely necessary.)
5)Every page URL should briefly describe page content, topic or theme.
6) Every page should have a unique title and a unigue description in the HTML code. (Template sites may require using the advanced SEO section.)
7) Use one H1 Header tag per page. This is kind of like a chapter title at or near the top of the page. Use it effectively to improve SEO.
8) Update page content instead of creating new pages. I try to add images regularly along with new content.
9) Avoid all Black Hat SEO practices. Do not trade links. Link to only quality, authoritative sites relevant to your content.
10) Edit comments. Comments on your blog are adding content to your site. Edit for spelling, grammar, and authority. Do not let people leave spammy links as comments on your website or blog.
Yes, I think your website can do wonders to bring in business. Let your images and website information travel for you at the speed of light.
Pick one page, just one page, and fix it up. Do Your Own SEO Test. Craft a better web page with these 10 tips for Artists and Makers to attract web traffic to your website.
Harriete Estel Berman