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Re: websites



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Dear Friends
    I have had a website for about two years. I use it primarily to promote the
workshops I give in schools although I also have instructional books and
booklets for sale. I decided I didn't want to bother with selling at all and
have a link to Book Central- http://www.bookartscentral.com. I'd rather ship out
the occasional box to Book Central than fill orders myself even if it means less
money.

  I don't think I sell the books particularly well off my site and I think the
reason, besides the effort of going to another address, is that the tone of my
site is informational. I have lots of information about teaching tips and
resources and I think visitors get the feeling that is there to help them and
are less likely to buy than at sites where it is very clear that the intent of
the site is to sell.

  This doesn't really bother me because my main purpose is to promote the
workshops. I use it in place of a brochure and mailings. The cost of the site is
a bargain considering what I was spending on printing and mailing, not to
mention the hassle. Plus I have color photos and much more detail about the
workshops than I could in a printed piece. By adding new information
periodically I give people a reason to revisit the site.

  To promote the site, I have bookmarks printed with my website information that
I use instead of a business card or brochure. I have an email mailing list and
collect addresses at workshops. Teachers who like my work and want to bring it
to their school or tell a friend can find all the information they need. I send
out emails every time I update the site which I try to do three or four times a
year, or if I have a particular workshop or event to promote. Since most of my
workshops take place in individual schools for their student and teachers, I
like to get the word out for the few I do that are open to all teachers. I try
to update the What's New section four times a year and add a new project 2 or 3
times a year. I give as much information as I can about the workshops including
fees. Unlike Roberta, I prefer to talk to people who have already determined
they can pay the price. What I love about teaching compared to commission work
(can make the comparison from a former life in calligraphy) is that the money
part is cut and dry. I have one fee per day, take it or leave it, no
negotiation. So it's easier if they know where they stand money wise right form
the start.

    I am pretty pleased with the traffic on my site. I can keep track of hits
and I get about 2,000 a month. This isn't as exciting as 2,000 visitors- it's
registered as a hit every time a new page is clicked on, but it's not bad. I use
Super Stats which used to be free but now cost $60.00 per year. For that, I get
numbers of hits per day, month, year and can find out how they found my site-
usually divided pretty evenly between bookmarked, search engines, and links. I
don't think it's really necessary but I like to know. I get a lot of my
referrals from links- Center for Book Arts (lots), Book Arts Web, etc. I found a
lot of sites added a link without my contacting them but you certainly can
contact sites and request that they add a link. And it's nice if you have a
links section on your page so you can return the favor. I haven't really done
anything to to promote my site to the search engines. I am good at doing things
and lousy at the follow through. As time has gone on the site has been picked up
by different lists- for example I get a referrals from a textile art directory.
I have some listings on educational sites but get very few hits from them. I
think the name of my website may be helpful- makingbooks.com. On Super Stats I
can also tell the search terms used and making books is typed in frequently. I
also get emails like the one from India from a person wanting information on how
to purchase equipment to set up an automated printing plant.

   I think having a website has brought me some business, has definitely made my
promotional efforts easier, and has been fun. I have had some interesting
correspondence as a result. I do think there are both business and personal
benefits that go beyond what can be directly measured in sales.

in good spirit
Susan


--
Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA

skgaylord@makingbooks.com
http://www.makingbooks.com

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