Saturday, October 09, 2010

The website dilemma

For anyone that does it all themselves, you know what I'm talking about. What site do you use to host your website? How do you create it? Which is best? In the last six years I've probably changed my website 100 times or more! In recent years I've had it on WordPress, then Weebly, then this blog, then the site I got when I signed onto FineArtAmerica. I liked the idea that people could purchase prints through their shopping cart but after a brief stint of having that as my website, I changed back to Weebly for a number of reasons. The first being, someone contacted me confused over the prices for prints - were originals going for as low as $19 - how was that possible? I wrote back with a link to my Etsy shop for originals but who knows, I could have lost a potential customer over that confusion. The next email I got through the site was a Nigerian scam. Lovely. Another reason for the switch is a website should be the epicenter of everything you do. I missed the freedom of designing my own pages with links going everywhere. Hence, the new change. Having made a Weebly site before, it was relatively easy to bang it all out in the last 24 hours.

Making the FineArtAmerica site still wasn't a waste of my time because now it's the go-to place for my prints. (You can see on the website, I've got a page for Reproductions). That's the thing that I've learned through the years. There really are no mistakes. Even if you scratch a new site or creative direction altogether, lessons are learned along the way, and sometimes efforts you make intended to work in one direction end up working out in ways you didn't expect.

Take my investment in Illustrator for example. When I bought it, illustrations were all the rage on Etsy (as they still are) and I thought, "I can take my little, cute line drawings I've been making for years, digitally alter them in Illustrator, and start selling prints! It's going to be a wild success!" And, well, it wasn't. I started a shop on Etsy for decorative art called Pure Decor thinking "I'm going to sell less expensive decorative original paintings and they're going to sell like hot cakes!" and, well, they didn't. So are those examples of a waste of my time? You could say that, if you just look at the original efforts and results. Here's the thing though - Now I'm using Illustrator to make digital stamps that are starting to already take off and gained me an interview with a popular digital scrapbooking magazine that will be out Spring 2011. I scanned the Pure Decor paintings I made that never sold, turned them into vector art, and made a Zazzle shop with those images that continues to make me money out of the blue selling prints and mostly mousepads. Illustrator and Pure Decor not a waste - CHECK

Last night I went through some of my first blog entries here (I want to go through the blog and delete posts that lead to dead ends, etc) and it's interesting how the theme throughout my entries is being able to roll with change, that this whole interconnected world of technology is constantly shifting and you've got to continually educate yourself about it or get left behind.


*Do you have a website? Did you design it, or did someone design it for you? Feel free to share your links!

*Do you regularly update your website?

*How do you feel about the rapidly evolving online world? Are you overwhelmed with "the next new thing" or do you look forward to them?

Thanks for reading!
- Jessica Torrant

Return to Art & Life by Jessica Torrant


Rachel said...

I use weebly too and I have to say I'm pretty happy with them. I try to update it regularly but my blog is the thing I have the most trouble with. I just don't know what to say-and I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid!
And I agree with all of the choices out there, there's way too many. I'm sticking with flickr, facebook, twitter, my blog, and my site. That's about all I can handle right now.

soraya nulliah said...

Dear Jessica-I use Squarespace. The plan I have costs 15$ a month and I set everything up myself. It was super easy and their customer service is great...I am no computer whiz let me tell you:) It was frustrating "pointing my domain name" etc(I bought that separately) etc was well worth it once it was all done. I have only had my website up for a few months now and I am still tweaking it-its' difficult to find the time. I can't keep up with all the technology..I think its' great and powerful...but so much to learn. I had no idea what Twitter was until a few months ago!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,
Interesting to read about how you've switched sites many times. I used to have a blog on blogger but it hung up on me one day about 3 years ago, and so i switched my blog to wordpress. i like it because it has support staff that will email you back troubleshooting when needed. that's great. I have a website with FineArtStudioOnline, a template driven system specifically for artists, and i love it. I update it myself regularily it's so easy. they also have great support too. my blog link is on my homepage of my website.