Artist Web Services: Major Update for Artists

[Nov 15, 2006] Artists: Look at ArtSites Web Services for artists on our main menu, and you'll find 19 brand new pages all about ArtSites's Web Development model. If you are an artist who is serious about representing your art on the Internet, we're trying to make it as obvious as possible for you to consider ArtSites as your first choice in a Web Developer .

Some of the pages existed before, like Web Services, Why Choose ArtSites and The Website Development Process. However, they have all been entirely rewritten, reorganized and expanded.

Each new page is planned to let you simply skim it's subject via a brief, opening paragraph and a list of sub-subjects at the top. When you want to examine any of the subjects more closely, you can scroll down the page or simply click on a subject in the list at the top. Each list item is a link that will let you leap down the page to a fairly succinct expansion of the subject. In many cases, that expansion includes links to even further expansion for the benefit of artists who wish to thoroughly peruse the particular subject at hand.

As a footnote, I'm explaining the new Web Services for Artists department as I am for the benefit of established artist clients as well as prospective ones. The Administration Pages--AKA Content Management System--included with each ArtSites developed website permits clients to easily manage their own content, getting things just the way they want and without having to pay continuing updating fees to a webmaster. A caveat of that, however, is in knowing how to create effective content for the Internet.

Our new Web Services department is a good model of effective content. We all know that Web surfers are often in a hurry, rushing from website to website, skimming to see what piques their interest. So the idea is to give them something to skim. They'll like it when you've given them a quick take on the subject, and perhaps it will encourage them to stick around and look a little more deeply at what you have to offer. And, unless what you are selling is very superficial, it's also important to offer more detailed information to those visitors who want it.

The new ArtSites's Web Services pages may not be a literally appropriate model for most of our artist client websites, but it's the general idea that I'm talking about. As an alternative, this current news article is also meant as an example of a well-optimized Web page--although quite different from the Web Services pages.

Search engines will love it. Why? Look again at the title, heading and first paragraph...starting with the very first word. I'm not going to repeat all the words here, but you know that ArtSites is in the business of providing Web services for artists. Notice how rich that first paragraph is with our most important keywords in different forms, plus plural and singular...and there are links to relevant content, too. Well, maybe that paragraph is a little over-wrought, but I pushed the limit in order to make a point: If your website or a particular page is about a particular subject, the first paragraph is the place to say what it is and to offer relevant options. Search engines like it, and so do people.

If an article is really focused on the claimed subject, as it progresses and the subject is developed, a natural sprinkling of the keywords is also to be expected throughout the body of the page. Don't try to stuff the whole thing with keywords like I did that first paragraph, though. Doing that might make the search engines think you are trying to spam them, and it makes it less readable for real people, too. That's the main reason why I didn't want to simply repeat the keywords of the first paragraph in the paragraph immediately above. In the body of a page, it's perfectly natural to write a whole paragraph without using your primary keywords. Besides, major search engines are smart enough these days to recognize that it's perfectly natural for a Web developer to speak about keywords whether he's speaking to artists or not.

Although the current article is fairly well optimized to the liking of search engines, we shouldn't expect it to get a number-one ranking any time soon, however. That's because ArtSites doesn't yet have a very high link popularity. Even were this article's content superb, that isn't everything in the eyes of search engines. While Content is King, from the perspective of search engines, Link Popularity is the Throne it sits on. I mention this only because I don't want to mislead as I continue this little spiel about optimizing content.

The current article is becoming a less and less good example of a well-optimized page as it wanders farther from the initial subject and becomes too long. However, notice that when I've "adjusted" the subject I figured that I might lose a few readers, so I've offered links to give them an option to look at something else instead of disappearing if this subject becomes too peripheral for them.

Back to the main subject--with a general content development point to be made for established clients, too--the Web Services for Artists pages are not yet entirely complete. We plan to significantly expand them and add images where appropriate. Most immediately noticeable, however, if you click down the menu to below the Dynamic Galleries article, you'll notice that the proceeding articles do not follow the same format as the previous ones and are much more sketchy. Eventually, all of the pages in the department will follow the same format as the ones above, but that will take some time. As it is, we could have had the first new pages published weeks ago, but an important part of the overall model is to include crosslinks to more information when wanted. Making the pages public before they are all completed is something of a compromise, but one that can be lived with for a while. However, what would been absolutely unacceptable would have been to make "Under Construction" pages to serve as place holders for any planned but unfinished pages.

And that's the general content development point that I wished to make for established clients who ArtSites Administration Pages to manage their own website content: Never, never, never put up a page that says "Under Construction." If you imagine that publishing such a notice is an invitation for visitors to come back and see the finished page later on, Web surfers have seen too many such pages that have been "under construction" for years, and the most it's going to inspire in most of them is a guffaw. "Under Construction" pages run people away from websites even faster than "Page Not Found" errors, and artists don't have websites to run off clients. If a page isn't ready for public consumption, simply don't make it public until it is ready. Even on our Web Services pages that have more limited than is ultimately planned, like the one about ArtSites's Show Calendar and below, no explanations, excuses or plans for expansion were mentioned. That page and the ones below aren't yet what they will be, but their content is useful, and the pages are what they are. of my soapbox...except to do the keyword thing in closing for another slightly overdone final example:

As it is, the new ArtSites Web Services for Artists department provides you, an artist, with a rich assortment of options for developing a website to represent your art with greater economy and refinement than other Web developers are able to offer. After you've taken a look, please contact us with any questions.

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