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you are here : help! how do I sell from my own website?


How Do I Sell From My Own Decorative Painting Website?

A Letter

I recently received the following email from a decorative painter who is very new to Web Marketing:

If I can ask you a question real quick I would be really grateful.....what in God's name is an html and why does everyone tell me I need it??? Also how do you get hooked up to Google, AOL etc. so that people can find you? Sorry to be asking so much but I am really new at this.   M.

What is HTML,really?

Hi M.

Here is my best explanation of what “everyone” is talking about... (my understanding came from "The Non-Designer's Web Book" by Robin Williams and John Tollett.)

 HTML (hypertext markup language) is something you already "have", whether you know it or not.

Every web page is simply text and graphics with coded messages that tell a browser what to do.  For instance, when you click on one of your photos, there is a code that tells the browser to open the enlarged view of the photo.

That code is HTML.  My daughter sits in front of her computer all day long and types in the code.  She uses symbols that tell the browser what font to use, whether to make letters bold or in italic, when to make a page break, when to make a new column or what page to open when someone wants to buy one of your items.
It can make your pages more beautiful, more precise, more, more, more because the code is infinite (or darned close).

If you created your own web page, you did it with Web Authoring Software.  That is a program that takes the text and pictures you, the Web Author, put into the program and translates it into the code (HTML).  You never have to deal with it.  It is wonderful and perfectly sufficient for most lay people.  You are limited only by the amount of code they included in your software.  Simplistically, maybe you can only include 2 columns per page or only pictures to the left of each text box, whatever.

Now you need to answer this question, "Are you going to go into making websites or are you going to be a painter?" A bigger, more elaborate website can be useful but you may want to hire someone if you are in the market for that, because you would have to do some study, at home or a night course, to become competent at HTML coding for creating websites.  Similar to learning French so you can make crepes.  Not so necessary.

How Do I Get Noticed?

Search Engines do research. They are interested in how relevant your site is to what people are looking for.  Basically, how important are you.  10 being the most important and 0, well, that speaks for itself. And they do it by reading the code that you have (behind the scene and without realizing it) put out there when you made your site.

What are they looking for?

1.  Keywords that someone might type in for their searches: Painting, One-stroke™, decorative painting, painted glassware, etc.  The more of those they find on your site, the more "points" you get in their overly-complex rating system. It increases the number of opportunities for your site to come up when people are punching in words to search for something they are interested in.

2. Links.  They are looking for the number of people who put your website link on their links page.  And you get more points if they have your site up and you don't have theirs!!!!
Example: On my Banyan Studios site I have a link that takes people to Makoriginals.  Let's sayGoogle gives Makoriginals a point for that.
Now, when Google goes to Makoriginals and they don't find a link to Banyan Studios they give Makoriginals an extra 1/4 point.  Why? Because they consider that her site is more valuable or important if I recommended it without demanding an exchange.
In this game you definitely don't get points for being a good guy who likes to exchange evenly!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Articles on other websites that you have written that are about painting or family or A mom with a career on the side and how you make it all work.  Within that article you put a link to your site.  Google absolutely loves that.  Points, Points, Points.

4. The size of your website.  I have a website for my work as a teacher in the field of Criminal Rehabilitation.  It has a large number of pages because each of my students has their own page.  Google loves that because they are sending their searchers to a site with lots of seemingly important data. (And in this case they would be right!)                                                Big site---Big points.

So part of your job as the web administrator for your site is to build up the rating you have on the search engines, Google, etc. That is referred to as your PR (Page Rank) and it is followed by a number from 1-10.  Banyan Studios is a PR3 with Google.

Now, don’t fret you are probably on Google somewhere but it may be page 456 when someone enters a search for painting, or painted, or hand-painted.  Get the idea?

What Is The Purpose of Your Website, Really?

Now let’s think about something else.  What is the purpose of your website?  You have to decide; but it would probably fall into one of these categories: it is to sell your wares, or to inform people about your service, or to teach people something, or to direct people to other websites that would be helpful to them.

A PR determines the volume of people who will visit your site while you paint.  You are basically getting the Search Engines to do a lot of your Marketing for you.

So, get more links, one-way are best.
Write about your experiences and get them onto related sites so people will link to you that way.

But don’t let the Big Scary Search Engine dictate your life. Create a big, beautiful site and get tons of people to visit it yourself.  Word of mouth, fliers and business cards may be a bit slower but it is still going to get people there.  You know, the good old-fashioned human linking process!!!!
Change your site around frequently, it will keep people coming back to see what is new.  Make it interesting.
You can do give-aways.  "Buy something between March 15th and March 31st and you will be entered into a free drawing for a Painted Vase for Easter."

Or “Sign my guest book and be entered into our monthly drawing for a free set of paintbrushes .”

Make sure someone actually wins each drawing and put their name and information up on your home page !!!!!
Create a Blog,(web log)  where people can ask you questions about painting, or a home-based business, or Stay at home moms with careers!

Make donations and get free advertising wherever you can.  Any local shows, even if you aren't selling at them, usually have a raffle.   Give them something you have painted and put your card in it.  Lots of times they put the donors name and business info on their brochures.  I just went to the flower show and there were little cards with company names everywhere.  I was thinking someone should have donated hand-painted flowerpots for display so that they could get advertising for free.

It is a numbers game and if you are doing it all yourself, bless you!!!!!!!! When you are ready for it there are professionals who can make your Web Marketing much easier.

For now, assign part of your week to getting related sites to put your link up on their page and tidying your site.  It will pay off, but keep in mind the Purpose of Your Site.

Now go paint! Go on, paint.

You may copy this article to your site only in its entirety and with the agreement that you will maintain all links and credit Banyan Studios as the source.







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