Website Design and Function Feed

HTTP to HTTPS and the future security of the web.

Recently I got a really scary warning from Google about my website. It said:

"Chrome will show security warnings about this website..."

It continued: 

"Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

The following URLs on your site include text input fields (such as < input type="text" > or < input type="email" >) that will trigger the new Chrome warning. Review these examples to see where these warnings will appear, so that you can take action to help protect users’ data. This list is not exhaustive."

Internet security is a big issue these days. I certainly did not want my website visitors to see this and feel my website was not secure!  This warning is enough to throw me into a nauseous spasm of internet inadequacy. Most of my silver repair business is with people emailing me through my website. None of us can afford to lose potential customers.

HttpsHTTPS is the future of the internet.  If you look at all the major retailing sites, they have migrated from the original HTTP address to the newer and more secure HTTPS.  Sticking my head in the sand (or retreating to my metalsmithing studio) would not fix this problem.  I could not go out and water my plants or snack my way through this problem.

https is also the reason for this post. I checked a random but broad selection of artist's, and maker's websites to see if this post would be relevant. Many had the old http prefix which makes them "not secure" in the current internet standards.  I even found the http prefix on art organization's websites. This is a serious issue.  

Ultimately, the solution came a lot easier than I initially imagined.  The "Help" contact on SquareSpace, told me the 1, 2, 3 steps to fix the problem. I am most grateful for their chat assistance. 

Take steps to keep your web presence secure.

Another security issue I noticed on artists' websites is that they posted their email. WARNING: 
Do not post your email online. Bots will capture your email and send you unsolicited email. Instead, provide a link to an email program or have a contact form instead.

Is your website working for you? Is it establishing the web presence and visibility for your work?  If you can't be found on the internet, do you even exist?  Well, not much in the commerce and visibility of the web.   


PS. Are you guessing about the ideal size for images on social networks? Here  is a guide for Social media image sizes in 2017

3 Tips - New Website, New Domain, Retaining Page Rank

The Internet is making a pivot to mobile viewing.
 Experts declare "We're now past the mobile Tipping Point" changing from desktop to laptop, mobile, and tablets. In the four years since I got my first smart phone the suggestions I considered as "optional" for mobile design have become website essentials. Google anticipated this pivot to mobile over a year ago. In April 2015, Google threatened to reduce the visibility of your website or blog in search results if it is not "mobile-friendly." 

Website-not-mobile-friendlyThe day came and went.  My website wasn't ready.  It didn't matter that my old website showed up on phones or tablets,  it did not fit the Google definition of mobile friendly.

What does mobile friendly mean? How can you tell if your website fits that restricted definition by Google?  Here is one simple test.

Just try to grab the right side edge of your website (on your computer screen) and pull in the width of the page. As you can see in the image (left) the content on the right side of my website doesn't show anymore. The viewing window is smaller and obscures half my content.  

If your website layout doesn't change, move, or realign to the narrower width of a phone or tablet...your website is not mobile friendly.

SquareSpace-responsive-designThe current goal in websites is a responsive web design. This means the same website works for all platforms. With adaptive web design layout, the content should automatically reformat to be tailored for any desktop, tablet or smartphone screen dimensions. SquareSpace templates work for all platforms and came highly recommended.

Now I am taking the huge step in creating two, yes two whole new websites. One website is for my silver repair business and the other for my artwork. For the past two months the intensive effort uses every free moment. New domains, new platform, new design, and completely new website. This has not been easy.

Harriete-Estel-Berman-websiteMy old website was custom made for me.
It was not a template. I the unique aspects, but the problem was that I did not have the skill to update the code. 

With sad heart I finally had to acquiesce to a template -  the only way to go for a small business. At least the code is updated regularly to comply with current and frequently changing internet standards. 

To get this job done within a reasonable amount of time, I hired a graphic design student from the local community college as a paid summer intern. She has been gaining great experience each week working at home and at my house so we can discuss problems and solutions at a moment's notice.

Berman-Fine-SilverworkAs the first goal while learning SquareSpace,
we constructed a new website for my silver repair business "Berman Fine Silverwork."  Purchasing a new domain name allowed the transition from the old website to new pages to be swift and painless.  

TIP #1. Keep URLs as short as possible.
A new domain name for "Berman Fine Silverwork" shortened the URL. 

TIP #2. Create a website that functions on phones, tablets and computers. 
SquareSpace is designed to function on all platforms.  During the construction you can double check how it looks on each device. 

TIP #3.
Create a "301 redirect" for each page of the old website to the new site.  My silver business is a relatively small website so with a few 301 redirects all the pages (and page rankings) were moved over to my new website. In less than 24 hours I was getting inquires for silver repair jobs.

301 redirects are permanent. The closest analogy is like a change of address card that you would use at the post office for snail mail. A 301 redirect tells browsers to go to a different URL when someone clicks a link to a nonexistent page. The purpose is to tell search engines that a page has moved.  It also automatically transfers the old website page rank to the new page. 

Moving page ranks to your new web pages is essential when creating a new site.  If you don't do a 301 redirect from your old site to your new website....the years of history, internet activity, and even the links (from other people and websites) to the old website are lost forever. A 301 is easy to do and moves the established credibility from the old site to the new one.  

Ideally, create a 301 redirect from each page of the old site to the corresponding page on the new site. Do not just create one 301 redirect from the old website to the new home page. That is truly missing the point of a 301. You want to retain the old page rank from each page when creating the respective new website page. Each page of the old website should ideally link to a corresponding page on your new website. 

My future work is creating an Excel spread sheet listing every page of my old website anticipating the corresponding 301 redirects to my new website pages. In the meantime.....I will share my web design experience.

More information in future posts may help guide your new website construction.


Go mobile! Check your web site on an iPad and mobile phone. See the future!

Adaptive mobile web design

  This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.

OOPS! Examples of Creative 404 Error Pages & Mistakes.

OOPS-FLOWER-Front copy 

Before tackling the technical issues of a 404 error page on your website, try to think of an imaginative idea that can turn a WWW mistake into an artistic, cleaver, interesting and entertaining 404 error page consistent with your art work, media, signature style or brand identity. 

Goof-Off-Flower-Pin-404My 404 page uses a custom made OOPS! Flower Pin (shown above). My OOPS! Flower Pin was preceded by an earlier idea, the Goof Off Flower (left).
The images for your 404 page can be anything you want it to be, but for artists and makers, the images can and should be consistent with the style of your website and your art or craft. Seems to me it is a bonus for your website if the viewer experiences something special, even in the midst of a technical error.  Finding original content is a sure winner on the web.  And the content for this 404 page isn't a permanent commitment. You can change your images anytime you want.  

Below are a couple of presentations found on the Internet with lots of great 404 page ideas.  Following that are more 404 examples from art museums that successfully use the artwork in their collections to present memorable 404 error pages.

20 really cool and creative 404 error pages from

The presentation below has even more 404 pages (but most of them are boring and represent a functional corporate solution).
Don't let your 404 page look average. Quickly Scroll through the whole presentation as the Lego 404 page (about three quarters of the way through) is keep looking. 

As a creative artist and maker, your 404 Page can also reflect your creativity. 
Here is the 404 page for the Museum of Modern Art. This is what I would consider an effective use of art in their collection for the 404 page - an Edward Ruscha oil painting  "OOF" from 1962.
The 404 page for the Walker Art Center uses three paintings with the numbers 4, 0, 4 from Jasper Johns, Robert Therrien, and Jasper Johns respectively.  As you can see below, the use of artwork for the 404 ties directly into their collection. 

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art takes an image from Rico 98 titled Found LOST Bird Poster (right). Thematically it fits right into the concept of a 404 error page. I am not particularly fond of all the white empty space on the page (shown below), but keeping the image small keeps all the pertinent information "above the fold." 
"Above the fold" is an old newspaper term. All the important information was above the fold so it was seen when the folded paper was sold at the newspaper stand.  In web design it translates to the fact that all the relevant information is visible without scrolling down.  "Above the fold" is an essential part of good 404 error page design.
Here is how the Minneapolis Institute of Art plays on the "lost" theme of a 404 Error page.

MINNEAPOLIS-institute-art-Lost-statue-404The Randolph Rogers "The Lost Pleiad"
 statue is perfect for a 404 error page. It is just wonderful how this marble statue from 1874 is given an unanticipated new context in the 21st century.

The MIA 404 error page also included a Google search box so that the viewer can refine their search without leaving the site, however it would have been better to squeeze all of these features including the statue credits above the fold (perhaps left or right justifying the image). Then the text and search box would fit on the other side. 
Despite my advice to be creative, keep in mind that a 404 page should also help the viewer navigate your website. Here is an example of a very creative page that fails to support the navigation purpose. 
While this is a cute picture and captures the motif
 for a 404 error page, it is a 404 fiasco, a huge website blunder. Why? Because this has no specific identity for the museum and worse, no navigation back to the website.  It leaves the viewer stranded with nowhere to go. This is a big mistake.

Your 404 page should always:
1) reinforce your identity,  
2) engage the viewer,  
3) keep the viewer on your website
The next post in the series "OOPS 404 Error Page"  is a list of recommended information for creative and effective 404 error pages and some hints to avoid some common missteps.
O.K. you've got the idea....think about the potential images for your custom 404 page. 
It isn't so hard to do after all and increases the usability of your website.

OOPS 404 Error Series and Related Posts:

OOPS! When Something Goes Wrong - Broken Links & 404 Errors

OOPS! When Something Goes Wrong - Broken Links & 404 Errors

OOPS-FLOWER-404 series
Does your website have a 404 error page? 
A custom 404 page takes your website to a more professional level. 

What is a 404 page?
A 404 page shows up when something goes wrong on your website such as a broken link or an incorrectly typed URL. Google offers their own explanation at length here.

Why do you need a custom 404 page?
A custom 404 page, can make a problem with your website into a fabulous experience. It is an opportunity to keep your customer, client or fan from becoming frustrated and leave your website. A great 404 page can reinforce your identity as an artist, maker or brand. This presentation below by Renny Gleeson, "The Story of the Page Not Found" explains many of the issues. 

Why did I create a 404 error page?
In an effort to improve my website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I changed the URL for about 50 pages.  Many more changes are in progress. Changing the URL to an SEO optimized format drastically increased the risk that I might make a mistake resulting in a broken link. Though I created redirects for every change (more information on this soon), even a mistyped URL mistake by a future customer can create a 404 error.

404 To Direct or Redirect?
That is a question.
Without knowing what I was doing, I created a 404 Redirect. In other words, my 404 Error page goes back to my HOME page. This is optional. My 404 Error page could just be a custom page which lets the viewer decide where to go. Think about either option for your own 404 page. 

Future posts will offer examples of great 404 page ideas and cover the technical issues along with optimizing your website for SEO and greater visibility.

Animated Images - GIFS for Everyone

Animated GIFS are great! They are a sequence of several still images that appear kind of like short videos and they play on all devices including phones and tablets.  They can give your site a "jazzy" kind of feel and added information.  For example, here is a GIF animation for the diagram and first stages for the assembly of Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.

This animated GIF shows the diagram, working drawing, and first days of assembly for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.

Some new free APPS create animated GIFs easier than ever -- and you no longer need to purchase PhotoShop Image Ready to create animated GIFs.  This post will provide some helpful tips to prepare for making animated GIFs.  Followed by the "pros" and "cons" of four APPs that I've tried recently.

If you would like some additional background on GIFs, visit some of the previous GIF-related posts listed at the bottom of this post.


1) Create the images you plan to upload for the animation. All images need to be the same size and shape (either vertical or horizontal) before you start. It doesn't work to mix landscape and profile layouts in the same animated GIF.

2) DO NOT put animated images near each other on your site. It drives viewers "wacky" to look at multiple moving images that are not synchronized. Make sure the next animated image is far enough down on the page so the two animations can't be seen at the same time.

3) DO NOT resize your animated GIF
after you make it. It will not animate. Decide in advance the size for the final animated image

I love the ease of this new technology for creating an animated GIF but it has limitations.

Below are four APP sites for comparison with the pros and cons.




Gickr will allow you to upload images from your computer. They say that you can also use your Flickr or Picassa site which would be great except I could NOT figure out how to make it work....This is just infuriating when the instructions aren't clear. Even asking for help from my tech savvy expert daughter didn't solve the problem.

Gickr pro and cons:

  • Allowed upload of large 2-3MB images from your computer
  • Adjustments for the final animated image size up to 450px. (That was bigger than the other sites.)
  • Adjustment for animation speed.
  • Deleting an image was possible. This is a great feature, because a one click mistake on the other sites and you had to start the animation over from the beginning.
  • Image download
  • Embed code for the image URL


  • Adjustment for animation speed was Slow, Normal, Fast
    (without a specific numerical value so it was a guess.)
  • No constrain proportions options, so you can easily distort your image.
  • Maximum of 10 images for an animated GIF.



ImgFlip pro and cons:

  • Uploaded large images but you had to upload all the images after selection


  • Animated image size limit is 300 px width or height.
  • No "constrain proportions" options so you can easily distort your image
  • The default animation GIF size is a square, so make sure if you change the rectangle dimensions, they are in the right proportions.
  • Adjustment for animated speed in NOT slow enough.
  • No download for the animated GIF image
  • Embed code to post the animated GIF to the HTML on your website or blog slowed down the load time for my web page. Slowing down load time is not good. It is one of the 200 criteria Google uses to evaluate your website quality.
  • This site appears to allow a fixed number of free animations per day.

Below is my test example showing people threading pencils for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin at Maker Faire 2009. Using ImgFlip site was fast and easy. It uploaded individual 2.5 MB images quickly, but the default animated image default was a much smaller image. I was able to recalculate the size, but be careful.

Since  I couldn't slow down the animation more than what you see below  it was not a great choice. This speed is way too fast for a photo combination, and would be better as a flashing arrow, or blinking eye.

Despite the self appointed description of "Best Gif Maker on the Planet", ImgFlip is one of my least favorite APPs because of the size limitation.

GifMaker.Me looks respectable....offering free animated GIFs without registration.

GifMaker.Me pro and cons:

  • Uploaded large images but you had to upload one image at a time.
  • Allows up to 30 images for your animation.
  • Allows combination with music from YouTube. (See the animation of our Thanksgiving dinner at the bottom of this post. Click on the image or the link.)
  • Final animated image size limit is larger than other sites. 
  • Animation adjustment allowed a delayed start this is the only site that had this option.
  • "Constrain proportions" option so you can avoid distorting your image. This was the only APP that I found with this option.
  • Adjustment for animated speed is very wide adjustment.
  • Allows GIF to play backwards!


  • After a week our fabulous animated GIF of the Thanksgiving table was completely gone. The animated GIF dissappears....poof! We don't know why. Maybe adding the YouTube link for music caused this to happen. I will be checking into this and updating this post.
  • The small animated GIF below still works. 
  • This site put a white border above and below my image. Yuk! Ifyou have a white website it may not matter to you. For me the image is unusable except for this demo. I am very disappointed because this was the best animated GIF site.
  • Perhpas you can figure out out to get rid of this border.Output_L9Wps2


MakeAGif looks kind of cheezy, (bouncing boobs and dancing girls are a real turn off) but I decided to try it anyway.

Make a gif pro and cons:

  • Allowed me to upload 18 images and it looks like I could upload even more.
  • Allowed upload of large 1.75MB to 2 MB images.
  • Click and uploaded images so that they uploaded simultaneously while you selecting your next image.
  • Allows you to rearrange the order of the images after they are uploaded.
  • Allows tags for your animated GIF.
  • Allows download of animated GIF.


  • No uploades of images over 2 MB.
  • You can not delete an image...this is not good. Once you have your set of images for animation... if you have a  duplicate or unsuitable image, NUTS! you have to start over.
  • No "Constrain Proportions" thus you could easily distort your animated image.
  • Adjustment for animated speed in NOT slow enough, even the slowest speed was a little too fast. I experimented with this image and uploaded two doubles for some images so that I could have a image linger for a longer period of time.

I did not like the categories on the site for my GIF. Obviously they are usually dealing with questionable entertainment content and I am concerned about sharing my images on a site with sleazy entertainment.

I recommend using the custom size for your animated GIF.

One fabulous aspect for MakeAGif was that you could download your own image. Bad news was they inserted a MakeAGif logo onto my image. Do you see it? If I had made the animation myself in PhotoShop Image Ready that would never happen.

Concluding comments:

New APPs can create animated GIFs super easy but not all APP sites are created equally.  If you know of a better APP recommendation let me know.....every site had different limitations, pros and cons.

I prefer to animate the GIFs myself to control quality, but if you don't know how to animate GIFs, these APPs are good quick options.

My one concern is that these GIFS made from the free APPS will work not work on all technology, tablets and devices since the APP may be Flash based. Let me know if the animations do or don't work for you. 

Working on the pencil installation with young student 2011.


Superhero images - now animated

Digital Image (extensions) - Or alphabet soup? A quick tutorial.

IMAGE FILE NAMES can be your code for managing photographs.


For Extra Long Pages - Use These Arrows

ArrowBlueFor those extra long pages on your blog or website, I have just discovered these great arrows available in all kinds of shapes, sizes and styles.

GreenArrowThe arrow is added to the HTML code and easy to insert. See what it looks like on this page of my website.

ArrowRedArrowThe fabulous thing is that the arrow doesn't even show up until you have started to scroll down "below the fold". "Below the fold" means below the bottom part of your screen as you scroll down.

Round-ButtonIt seems a little nicer to use a symbolic arrow rather than "Back to top". Here is another arrow on my sculpture page. (Scroll down for it to show up.)

Arrow-Square-boxThis yellow box arrow is on the page for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. (Scroll down for it to show up.)
Arrows5transparentFind a large selection of arrow options at:

Thank you to Jeffrey Herman for sharing this resource. If you haven't looked at his silversmithing website, check it out. He has lots of great information for silversmiths or silver fans.


H1-HEADER tag for better SEO for artists and craftspeople
In my webmaster series for artists and makers
, I noticed that both Google Webmaster Tools, and bing Webmaster Tools identify multiple H1 tags as a problem.


Search algorithms frown on anything that could be misconstrued as manipulating search results.


What are H1 tags?

Search engines evaluate the content on each page using the "header" tags. It tells the search bots what is important.


The header HTML code affects the size of the font, and the empty space above and below the text. This is shown below:

H1 header example.

H1 headers are the most important. Most likely it should be similar or match the title of your page. Search engines think this is really important to verify quality content. One H1 tag is best.

H2 header text example.

H2 are like chapter titles. If someone just wanted to look at the headers to skim the content, they should be able to gather some insight on the information. Search bots do the same thing.

H3 header text example.

H3 is more like a topic within a chapter.

H4header text example.

H5 header text seems more likely to be integrated into a paragraph.
H6 header text gets really small. Don't know why I would even use this?




Organize the content on your website or blog using the formatting tools to create "headers" throughout the page. Headers tell search engines and readers what is important content on a page and verifies quality information. Learn to prioritize your content with headers for better SEO.

HTML Code for headers is written like this list below.

<h1>This is heading 1</h1>
<h2>This is heading 2</h2>
<h3>This is heading 3</h3>
<h4>This is heading 4</h4>
<h5>This is heading 5</h5>
<h6>This is heading 6</h6>

In this video below from Google Webmaster Matt Cutts answers, Is "More than one H1 on a page good or bad?"?

Update Content or Create a New Post/Page?

I have always wondered if I should update old posts with more current information or write a new post as fresh content?  Have you wondered the same thing?

How about pages on your website....especially pages about work in progress or a continuing series? Does it work to keep updating the page?  Will people come back to the same page over time? What do you think?

UpdateTOMORROW2A recent Google Webmaster Video answered this  quandary referring to a news room site, but I think the information applies to all websites or blog posts offering information.

Watch the video on the bottom of this post, but to summarize Google recommends to update, revise and build on one page for the following reasons:

Wikipedia is an excellent example of "one page" that just gets richer and more developed" with "updates or more information".

I followed this practice of updates over time on my pencil page for the sculpture "Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin." Mostly, I did it to document the progress over the five years it took to construct the work, but it was a significant factor in building visibility for this sculpture. At the time from an SEO perspective, I had no idea whether it was a good idea but action was based on instinct rather than fact.

The day it was finished American Craft magazine committed to a story about the work. Do you think that would have ever happened if I had waited to write about the work until it was done?

If you are concerned about continued visibility for a single URL over time, artists and makers can always write about it on Facebook, other social networks with updates or place a link on your home page.

Consider this approach for your blog posts or websites.  I regularly go back and update older posts with current information occasionally going back as far as 2008 for this blog. Now I know that this is the "right approach"  for many reasons.

The Google Webmaster video recommendations with Matt Cutts is at the bottom of this post. Subscriber can click on this link: Do you have any specific tips for news sites?

This post is part of an on going series on Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people.

Trading Links and Lies = Poor Performance

"You link to me, I link to you."  I've seen such requests to trade links frequently and everywhere.

Fine, great way to make friends, but bad news for your web site.
This is serious.

Lie detector rmachineThe reality is that Google is getting smarter about search. They can now figure out which links are relevant to your site, and which are not. Consequently, and with increasing accuracy, those superficial links that were merely traded are becoming more like little "white lies" -- and search engines are becoming more like lie detector machines.

There are three concepts to affect links:

  • Link Juice
  • Measure of credibility
  • Content

Link Juice leaking juiceLink Juice
"Link Juice" is an SEO concept. Think of your website as a container of juice. Links to other sites from your website essentially leak "link juice." This is especially true if the links are not perceived as relevant to the information presented. Thus a random link not relevant to your website is not working FOR your site.  Instead it is working against your site by draining or leaking "link juice."

Measure of credibility
Links to your site that are NOT relevant, important, or generating traffic are considered weak or bogus by Google. In fact, links to your site that are weak, not relevant or without authority may even have a negative impact on your website.

Links ideally should offer additional relevant content. Thus an article about fashionable hand knit scarves and current fashion trends that link to a knitter that makes fashionable hand knit scarves would be great. In this example, the content and link are relevant.

A link from your best friend who likes your work, but is otherwise unrelated, is not relevant content. A link like this may actually hurt your site as a weak leak and lacking authority. It could also hurt your best friend's site (because it is leaking their "link juice" as well).

In an age of information, search will become even more refined. Search will be more accurate. Search will discount superficial or fake links.

Lots of links to your site or from your site that are not relevant or content based information will not be considered credible. Trading links are like little white lies that just keep accumulating negative points.  Links should be about content and based on merit, not trading links.


  • Make sure your links are authentic and sincerely related to the content of your site.
  • Seek high quality links from relevant sites with high traffic.
  • Do NOT pay for links or trade links in the future.
  • Remove all weak or irrelvant links.

Below is a video from Google about links. Note that the speaker makes a specific reference to what Google calls organic links. The term "organic" (in regards to search) means naturally fitting into the context, not artificial.

Links need to relate to the content.
Links that you buy or share are not organic.
They will not help your SEO.
P.S. Do not look at any information or YouTube videos about link building from before mid-2012 when Google Panda and Penquin algorithms changed search.

Another video about links building.


Spam Comments Hurt Your Site

The best website or blog evaluation!

Years ago I was looking for ways to evaluate my website.  

I tried different websites to test for my website and blog, ASK Harriete, . . .  and then learned the harsh reality - my website needs work. Welcome to managing a website yourself.

Sitebeam results  for Harriete Estel Berman

What distinguishes a website testing service?  I no longer have any idea, but the issue is still important. Google is not as transparent as it used to be about search ranking. Security, spelling, images, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are still important but cloaked in more secrecy to avoid people gaming the system like they did in the past. 

What is important now?  Updating your website. Avoiding stagnant content.   

SiteBeam offers a whole list of web site or blog evaluation criteriaThe free test offers information on multiple categories:

  • broken links
  • content keywords
  • headings
  • printability
  • twitter
  • W3C compliance
  • social interest
  • stylesheets
  • broken files
  • incoming links
  • spelling
  • poplularity
  • url format
  • link states
  • freshness
  • search engine results
  • facebook
  • readability
  • analytics
  • alternative text
  • speed
  • visual interest
  • image usage
  • links
  • search ranking

Look for a website testing tool every so often.   See what happens.

While I am a rank amateur in web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this test raised my awareness of many SEO evaluation standards. I didn't know that links from social networks, spelling, titles, headers, or image ALT text (descriptions of your images) had such an important impact in evaluating my site. (Since this was a free test, many results were withheld.)  Still, I have lots of information to work with in the next weeks.


UPDATE 2013: This post was created in January 2012. Since then I have learned about free tools provided with Google Webmaster Tools (and changed again more recently.) Find all ASK Harriete posts on Search Engine Optimization for artists and craftspeople with this link.

In February 27, 2023 I tried  

I am always willing to try an experiment.

This post was updated on February 27, 2023

Does Your HOME Page Load Quickly?

Have you ever tested how long it takes to load your website or blog? The HOME page of your website should load quickly to satisfy viewers.  How long does it take your web site to load? Watch the clock. If it takes too long, readers may not wait!

A super simple, easy test for upload speed is (no registration required, thank goodness).

Factors that can influence load time are the size of images, number of images, podcasts, and videos. Advertisements and widgets that require contact with another site also delay the upload speed. 

Sure, different pages of your website may load at different speeds. Viewers may consider waiting for a video or slide presentation to upload AFTER they have discovered that your website has something worth waiting for.  But your HOME page is their first introduction.  It needs to make a quick impression without being burdened with heavy content. 

Use your HOME page for the initial introduction only and let the viewer click through on the content that they wish to pursue.

Time how long it takes for your home page to load.  Alarm cllockredThis is a consideration for ongoing improvements. It was brought to mind because I've noticed that ASK Harriete is taking longer to load.   I've been including a lot more images that are much larger as an experiment, and this is influencing how long it takes to upload. In the future, I need to make the images smaller and compress them a little more for a speedier upload.

Check your website and blog to see how long it takes to upload.  Maybe people are leaving your website before they have a chance to view your work.


This post was updated on February 17, 2022.

Simple, Sensible, Sensational, SEO Improvements.

Harriete cheering on SEO for artists and makersLook for easy ways to boost SEO for your website and blog. I don't know about you, but who has the time or patience to make Excel lists of keywords.  Just can't do it. I prefer to find SEO plans that are simple, sensible, and easy to implement.

Today's suggestion:
Use image descriptions or ALT Image tags that match the content in your post.

Why didn't I think of this before?
I always try to label my images on my website with ALT Image Tags to create Internet visibility for the images. On blogs and 2.0 social networking sites, upload the image and create an image description so the images will be found by search engines.

The methods are different, the end result is the same. And it makes the images searchable.  What I hadn't realized was that if images descriptions match the title for each page or blog post with the same words, it can increase the SEO ranking for your website, blog, or image search!

Megaphone cheering on the importance of SEO titles.


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Image labels generate Internet visibility.

Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images

Finding The Orange Lifeboat - Will Your Images Be Lost at Sea? by Brigitte Martin

This post was updated on February 17, 2022.


TYPEPAD BLOG Performs SEO Seasonal Miracles

Every year in the past, I spent a quiet week between Christmas and New Year in a marathon of website corrections and updates.
December 2011

The problem is that I work on my website myself.   I never really have time to study properly.

Harriete Berman websitehome Do you have a similar problem?

Yet, every website needs to be maintained or updated from time to time.  My first website was designed in 2003. It continued to function, even though newer versions and new capabilities had come along.  

Years ago, I have to create a whole new website compliant with current standards. Using a website platform seemed a little too cookie-cutter for my taste, but this is the current reality of web design.

Search engines, however, are constantly updated with the latest in code and compliance. Correct code improves the SEO.

If your website is filled with incorrect code, search engines rank your website as "amateur," dumb, stupid, or incompetent.  Keep updating your website the best you can, all the time.  Add new content, improve your images, and share your experiences as an artist.


updated this post on February 27, 2023


Titles RULE - Title EVERY ONE of Your Website Pages Differently

Every page of your website should have a DIFFERENT title. This is called the "title tag" and looks like this <title> in the HTML of your website. On a template site, it may be a line you need to fill out.

The title of every page is basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and is very important to the success of your website.


Title tags are also the easiest SEO feature
to understand and do effectively. No one knows your website, your work, and your audience better than you do!

Unfortunately, all the time I see websites for artists and makers where the title for every page says exactly the same thing...the person's name. I used my name in the example below to protect the innocent (or guilty):

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Welcome</title> (another bad example)

Titles that are the same make it look like every page of your website is the same which isn't true. Right? Search engines think every page is exactly the same.  That's right! Every page looks exactly the same because the titles are the same. Welcome is no better. It says nothing about your site. 

Sometimes it isn't even the whole name or identity of the artist. Here is a super bad example especially since my last name is so common.

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

On a practical level, this means if a person bookmarks a page of my website (because they want to come back) every page says the same thing....they can't tell which page has earrings or rings, paintings or prints, sculpture or jewelry.

What is worse?
Search engines currently use titles for finding your website pages. If you don't title the pages on your website with accurate and useful information the chances of people or search engines finding your work is less likely.


If you are using a template site, change the title of every page. If you are using a website editing software look at the very top of the HTML code for the <title> tag.

Here are some guidelines for the <title> of your website.

  • A UNIQUE TITLE for each page of your site.
  • The first 59-60 characters will show in search results including spaces. (Updated March 2014.) You can add extra words if you want, but make sure the most important words are at the beginning of the title. Jill Whalen says, "I'm a firm believer in longer titles, rather than exact matches with just one keyword phrase. Title tags are given so much weight, in my opinion, that it's critical to have 2 or 3 keyword phrases contained within them, not just one."
  • DO NOT repeat words. (Example: TIN, TIN CANS)
  • Consider geographic location IF this is important to your business.
  • Think like a person, not a search engine. (HINT: Search engines don't think.)
    Optimize your page for people with interesting and informative phrases. So if the page of your website is about gold rings it might be better to use the terms "gold rings" in the title instead of the name of the series.
    EXAMPLE:  <title>Gold Rings by Harriete Estel Berman</title> instead of <title>Orbit Series by Harriete Estel Berman</title>
  • Your company name or artist name is important to build name recognition, but irrelevant if people don't know it.  A compromise would be including your name after important keyword phrases that would be used to look for your art or craft.

I am spending the entire day checking (or rewriting) the titles for every page on my website. As I learn more about SEO I try to improve my website, one feature at a time.


PREVIOUS POSTS in this SEO series:

Your Website HOME page is Like The Front Door of Your House

Find the entire series of Search Engine Optimization for Artists and Craftspeople

This post was updated on February 17, 2022, to provide current links.

Your Website HOME Page is Like The Front Door of Your House


Your website starts with your HOME page. It's like walking through the front door of your house.  This is where you want your guests to enter your home, neat and tidy with a positive impression.


First impressions are important.  The HOME page ideally establishes a signature identity or impression that should align with the style of your art or craft.


Does your website do this?

PatternsToo many websites (and blogs) look like a flea market with clutter and advertising. It really bothers me. When the HOME page of your website is the first thing people see, I think this clutter is costing far more than the potential revenue from affiliate advertising.

Looking beyond or behind the appearance of a website, on a practical level, the HOME page of your website is given the most weight by search engines because it has the most links. So even search engines enter your website through the front door of your website, the HOME page. I wonder if filling your HOME page with clutter is the most effective message to send for SEO (search engine optimization).

Tomorrow...HOME page navigation...a map for your website.


This post was updated on February 17, 2022.


Go mobile! Check your website on an iPad and mobile phone. See the future!

2011:  Have you looked at your website on a mobile phone and iPad (or a similar device)?

Crystalball You are looking at the future! Your images are like superheroes working 24 hours a day, traveling at the speed of light.  And now they are going mobile. 


How does your website look on a display the size of a RITZ cracker? Could some small changes to your images or your website improve how it looks for mobile viewers?  


Why do I even ask this question?  Recently I got a new 3G Android phone.  I can now surf the Internet anywhere, any time.  It is fun and convenient to have mobile Internet access. Yet it still astounds me that many people are using their phones every minute of the day. Looking up a word, an idea, a picture, or a fact.

StuckINtraffic Last month I was stuck in traffic for over an hour....stopped, completely stopped.  I had the chance to look around at all the other people in their cars.  What was everyone doing? They were playing with their phones. Ironically, so many people were on their phones, the web traffic was also slowed down to a "crawl" (pun intended).

It won't be long before the whole world has "smart" phones, iPads, or other electronic devices all connected to the Internet.  And they will be looking at everything including your website if you plan now.

So . . . how does your website look on these smaller electronic devices?  Consider checking your web site on your phone AND your friends' phones, and your sister's iPad...that's assuming you don't own all these devices yourself.

Even more basic, does your web site function on these mobile devices? Start now to consider adaptations for your web site to work well with these devices. Here are a couple of non-technical options for better mobile performance:

Postage stamp Your amazing photos with strong graphics and uncluttered backgrounds are good for easy viewing. Think great postage stamp!

Take FLASH off your website. It doesn't work on most mobile devices.  This may be fixed in the future, but is it worth losing your potential buyer now?

Turn off the music on your site. It slows down the viewer's experience to a crawl.  Or, this may embarrass someone taking a sneak peek on their phone. 

Simplicity is important for mobile web layout. It goes without saying that the more information piled into a small space, the harder it becomes to read and the more scrolling that will be required. With such limited space to display website content, a single vertical column layout would be ideal.

Horizontal copyWebsites should avoid horizontal scrolling.  This is a recommendation by website gurus for all websites, but the problem is even more acute on mobile devices. It seems that some mobile devices can't make a horizontal scroll on a website evident, thus your viewers may miss your web content. 

Images on my website work like buttons for navigation.

Navigation can be optimized for mobile viewing (without reinventing your website).  Don't assume that everyone can just zoom in . . . because some can't. Consider larger easy-to-press links or clickable images to streamline the experience. 

Images on my website work really well as "buttons" to other pages.

Text Links with multiple words are easier to tap with your finger.

Shorter URLs are easier to type in a search box.

Downloadspeed.png Speed for page downloading is once again an issue. It is kind of like the old days with dial-up Internet connections (if you are old enough to remember the early days of the Internet with 56k modems). Keep your images compressed and small enough to download quickly.

For now — at least until mobile network infrastructure improves and mobile connectivity becomes more pervasive — simple, low-tech changes to your website can improve your mobile viewers' experiences without costing you a penny.


[2022: When I wrote this post in 2011, the idea of using phones for the Internet was relatively new, but gaining traction.  Now re-reading this post in 2022, I am stunned by the look into the past. Most of the information above is still relevant. The website templates are all designed to be compatible with phones, tablets, and computers.  Make sure your website is working on your phone. A couple of years ago....pre-pandemic, I spent an hour in conversation with a curator for an important exhibition and navigated my website showing exhibition suggestions from my phone. Last week, I was on television in Los Angeles, and the commentator and producer were using their phones to download images from my website for the next segment. Your website has to work on phones! 


This post was updated on February 5 , 2022.