How Easy Are You to Find Online?

A little intermission from our inspiration here–but don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for more of that: there’s a real treat for you then!–while I rant a little, OK? I’ve spent the last couple days trying to find people online. As you know, my other gig is writing about artists for Stampington magazines, and I’ve been trying to track down people my editors want to contact and, in addition, find images from other artists I want editors to see.

You would think that, with the Wonderful Fabulous Infallible Internet, that would be easy, right? Bwahahahahahahaha. It is not. OK, well, sometimes it is. Some people are very conscientious about updating their websites and including email addresses in the sidebar of their blog and just generally making themselves easy to find. Other people? Not so good about it. And not so easy to find.

So if you’re selling anything online–from your art to your classes, workshops, books, expertise–whatever–you need to go right now and see how easy it is to get in touch with yourself. And if you’re selling something tangible–like, you know, pieces of actual art, what kinds of photos are out there? Because, oh, honeys, I have seen some pathetic photos. (The worst place has nothing to do with work but is still pretty amazing: you’d think that if someone were selling something on Ebay and was hoping to get, you know, some actual money for it, they’d take a little extra time in the Taking of the Photos part of the process of listing the item so potential buyers could tell exactly what That Thing is. There have been bags that were so poorly photographed they looked like poodles sleeping there on the bed, and shoes that looked like pieces of kindling. Just amazingly bad photos. And, sadly, there are some photos on Etsy, also photos of things people hope to sell, that aren’t much better). So here are some things to think about as you organize yourself in these first days of the new year:

~~First of all, who are you online? If you’ve got half a dozen aliases and are “Anonymous” half the time and go by your shop name on this site and your email address on this one and a nickname over here, can you even imagine how difficult that is for someone to make sure you are really You? I’m trying to contact someone now who uses one name for one place and another name, which I guess is a business name, over there. But you know what? I’m not even sure it’s the same person. I think it is, but I could be wrong. It could be two separate people, and then I’m going to be really confused. Also embarrassed when the non-art-making one finally replies to my messages and asks, “You want to see more of my *what*?”

~~How do you want people to contact you? How easy is it for them to find that information? Just putting it in one place–down at the very bottom of one page on your website, for example–isn’t good enough. Make it easy. Make it readily visible.

~~Once you’ve done that, you’ve got to make sure to check your email. Or, if you included a phone number, check your voice mail. You’d be amazed: I’ve tried to leave messages on business voice mail that had the “sorry, but the voice mailbox is full” message for WEEKS. I’ve been trying to reach one particular artist for over a week, sending email from every Contact Me page on every website I can find. No luck yet.

~~Photos. Honey, if you’re going to put it online, take that little bit of extra time to make sure it’s clear and bright. Don’t be in such a rush you throw up any old photo. Once upon a time you could blame it on your crummy camera; these days, even mediocre cell phones take good clear photos, so there’s no excuse for bad ones when you’re showing work you supposedly care about. Not that I’m recommending you populate your website with cell phone snapshots. Oh, goodness, no. If you’ve got a website, fill it with good, professional-quality photos of your work. You can do it; it’s not rocket science. Go here for some tips.

OK. That’s enough griping for today. Take it as a spur to make a little tour through the online World of You. Google yourself, check out your “contact me” links, make sure everything’s up to date. And then get in there and answer your email, please!

And then come back Wednesday for something really cool~~


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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