While showing at a gallery or exhibiting at a fair, someone asks for your card. Sheepishly, you retrieve the card from your bag. Your card is beautiful, but a bit menacing at the same time, because it boasts four different web domains:
- blog on a community site
- shop on a marketplace
- portfolio on a photo sharing site
- email address on a free host
As the person leaves, you think: Are they REALLY going to check out all of my sites? Will I lose them when they shop the marketplace? Do I look like an amateur?
If this sounds familiar, you might have ULBCS
: URL-Laden Business Card Syndrome.
STOP THE MADNESS
If you think that ULBCS is a headache for you, it’s even more of a headache for people who might want to do business with you. It demands too much from your customer.
It is next to impossible to engage fully with the browsing audience at a craft fair or art show. There’s just too much competing for your visitor’s attention. The same goes for the Internet: by hanging a shingle or blogging on a community site: your interaction with a visitor is limited, and there are too many distractions.
When everything is on your website, it’s all about you, your expression, and your work. You’re competing with no one. It’s only your stuff for sale, only your words and images on the pages. It is the perfect place to define your brand and engage your audience.
Besides expecting too much from your audience, it is ridiculously hard to update multiple sites. If you update information one place, you also have to do so on all your other sites.
Finally, those sites may be free, but frankly it looks unprofessional.
You have probably longed to have all of your stuff on your very own website, with your own domain name. Professional artists the world over have these.
A dedicated website is the perfect venue to share your body of work, communicate your brand, and create a connection. It’s your brand’s home. For most, however, it is cost prohibitive to have a blog, store and a gallery custom programmed into a website.
I am here to tell you: you can have it all. You don’t need to hire a programmer to get a feature-rich, professional-looking, affordable website with store, blog, gallery, calendar, press and other pages. You can do it in about 10 minutes using a Content Management System. Some offer built-in templates that can be customized.
With the proliferation of Content Management Systems, it’s never been a better time to look into DIY website options. Using a CMS, it is incredibly easy to add or change anything on your site at anytime, directly from your browser. Some systems will give you all the functionality you want out of the box and host it for you too.
Really, this is a biggie. Let your content work for you.
Content rules the Internet. When you have your original content hosted on your own site, search engines give you the credit. If you are posting to a blog, uploading images, and listing products all on different sites, you are not getting the full benefit of your work. You are missing a huge opportunity.
The more original, descriptive, relevant, and ever-growing your content is, the higher your website’s search engine ranking will be and the more likely quality sites will link back to your site. The more backlinks, the higher the ranking, and the more visitors you’ll get.
The Internet is a competitive jungle for eyeballs. Don’t get lost.
KEEP YOUR OTHER SITES
Just because you have your own website doesn’t mean you need to leave your communities. Not at all. Keep them if your presence on community sites is working for you. If someone is accustomed to buying from you on Etsy, let ‘em.
But link from those sites back to your hub – your website.
Your content should be born and live on your site permanently. Your site can also become the “style guide” for your brand. It should be the original source.
There are now many effective tools available to share your website content on other sites electronically, making more time for you to do what you love.
So you can toss those URL-laden business cards that send your customers to community sites and get some new ones featuring your own website address.
For tips and tricks on creating content and sharing content the SEO friendly way, please check out IndieMade Resources.
IndieMade’s mission is to provide indie entrepreneurs clean, elegant websites that are both affordable and powerful. With IndieMade®, a single artist can easily have a ravishing, feature-rich, and branded presence on-line that competes with the big boys.