I started Sagacious Cedar to help artists, musicians, herbalists, and midwives to help connect with the communities they hope to serve. In order to help increase your ability to connect with potential clients, over the course of the next several weeks, I am going to offer some ways for you to improve your web presence. Ideally, these will be broken down into smaller tasks, and each one should take around 10 minutes a day.
When it comes to your web presence, it is important to consider what sort of message you are putting out in cyberspace. If your current website looks like a remnant of 1998, many potential clients will breeze past your site assuming that it hasn’t been updated in some time. By the same token, leaving out of date information on your site or social media will incur the same reaction. So how do you bring your web presence into the 21st century, especially if you don’t know code and you don’t have a lot of time to spare?
This week you are going to examine your web presence and do some basic improvements. If you only have a limited time to work on these, please at least do the first three days’ worth of improvements. It is important for your potential clients that you at a minimum are keeping all of your online information up to date!
Day 1: Take a look at your current website. Today you are going to make sure you have all the information on your site backed up to a word document (or your preferred word processing program). If you already have this information backed up on your computer, good for you! Today’s work has been completed.
Day 2: Take a look at the word processing files you created from your website yesterday. Is the information out of date? Check the email addresses, phone numbers, address, and any other information that may have changed. Update it both in the word document and on your site. Save these files. Next week we are going to talk about the merits of moving over to a content management system and you will want an easy back up of all your data before you make the switch.
Day 3: Check your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and any other social media site you belong to and make sure all the information is up to date. Many people look for information on social media sites instead of websites, so making sure your social media presence is up to date is just as important as making sure your website is up to date. If you do not have any social media presence, create one. If you want to limit your time to 10 minutes, try Pinterest or Twitter. Both will allow you to get up and running quickly and make your first post.
About The Various Social Media Sites
Pinterest: Pinterest is great for sharing picture and images related to your work. This may be articles on websites you find with great diagrams, or just a picture of your latest project.
Instagram: Instagram is great for introducing people to your process. Sharing images as you work through your creative process helps fans and potential clients understand what makes your art special and uniquely you.
Twitter: Twitter is great for getting information about upcoming events or new projects out quickly. It is wonderful for interacting with people, asking questions and generally getting people to talk.
Facebook: Facebook is popular and widely used, so it is likely that your potential clients probably already have a Facebook account. Facebook is great for sharing events with your followers and gauging interest in events; however, because it is constantly changing the way it works with businesses, your followers may not always see your events or posts, and they seem to be moving toward a system where you have to advertise even to get your followers to see your posts.
Google+: Google+ is not as widely used as some of the other social media sites, but it has some nice features, If you like to upload images, it has a nice interface that allows you to edit your photos and choose your favorite ones, just like you would with Instagram. You can also easily create your Google+ account using your gmail account, so the registration may be quicker than with the other social media sites.
Day 4: Interact with your social media followers. Go on to your social media sites and answer any questions you have received, tweet about what you are working on, post your latest project updates to Facebook, take a picture of your latest creation and put it on Instagram and Pinterest.
Day 5: Check out your newest followers are on your social media sites and interact with them. Ask your followers questions to encourage discussion. Respond to tweets directed towards you and wall posts. Retweet or share an inspiring quote. The more you interact with your followers, the better they get to know you and your art.
Day 6: Take a look at your about section from your website and social media sites. Do these statements reflect your art and purpose? If not, take 10 minutes and rework your about section. It doesn’t have to be perfect, artists evolve and change, but if your about section doesn’t reflect your products, then it is going to be difficult for potential clients to find you.
Day 7: Grab a piece of paper and list 3 reasons why someone would go to your website. Now, pretend you are a potential client and visit to your website. What about your site do you find facilitates those three reasons you wrote down? Is something difficult to find? If possible, have a friend, coworker or family member do this exercise as well. Did they consider something you didn’t? Is there something you should change?
That’s it. You now have updated your web presence so it is up to date. You have interacted with your followers and you have a little bit of a better understanding of your website. Next week I will examine some popular content management systems and we will look at moving your site over to a content management systems in 10 minutes a day.
I hope you find these exercises improve your internet presence. If you have any questions, something that really worked for you (or didn’t), any suggestions, or just need another set of eyes to look at your site, please comment!