Art & Craft Exhibitor Resources for successful online ecommerce marketing by artists & crafts-people

Art + Craft Magazines Resources at Amazon.com

JOLAF's GUIDE TO RESOURCES
FOR YOUR ART / CRAFT WEBSITE

[domain registration]   [tracking services]   [shopping carts]   [site promotion]
[accept credit cards]   [scanning services]   [basic html tutorials]   [html templates]
[html editors]   [ftp]   [graphic editors]   [email/anti-spam]   [copyright protection]
Please Note! If you are a novice at working on the WWW, it would be wise to read some tutorials so you can learn the fundamentals. For example, go to:  eHow.com  or  Site Guide for basic overviews.

Please REPORT any deadlinks!

INEXPENSIVE HOSTING SERVICES

There are many dependable services available for $10 (or less) per month to host your website, with reasonably fast connections to the internet and full access for you to make changes to your pages whenever you want via FTP. As long as you have local dial up access to the internet, it does not matter where your site is hosted.

If you are using a free service now, you should try to leave them behind as soon as possible. Not only are they generally slower than paid services, but often they will insist on placing commercial banners on your site, which in the arts field is a disaster. Plus, some search engines are NOT including sites hosted on free services within their own database - a serious disadvantage when it comes to attracting new traffic.

In addition to the ISP's listed to the right, you can also use a service such as Find My Hosting to generate a list of even lower prices hosts.

5$Hosts
TCH
WestHost
QHO
iPowerWeb
Addr.com
TimeHost.net
InterSurge
SpiderHosts
 

DOMAIN REGISTRATION

If you do not have your own domain name, you should get it asap. Try to reserve a name that is relatively short, easy to remember, easy to spell, and that ideally has something to do with your art/craft. The fee is generally between $10 and $25 per year.

[Here are some TIPS that you should read prior to paying for your domain name.]

NameSecure
GoDaddy
Register.com
All Domains
Network Solutions
 

TRACKING SERVICES

The only way to accurately know how many visitors that your site is getting is through tracking software or services. The information provided by these statistics is absolutely essential to ecommerce success.

A simple "counter" is meaningless, as it will tally the same person over & over & over (even if they repeatedly return to a single page), whereas the more sophisticated trackers will only measure each "unique visitor" one time only.

The better services will also keep a record of the sites that referred the visitors to you. In some cases they will only keep the most recent referrers, whereas others will keep records longer.

Your own website hosting service may already provide you with detailed statistics, so first look inside your control panel to see if that's the case. By periodically checking to see your total unique visitor count, plus the referring sites, you'll get a good sense of how your site is doing.

If you need to use a 3rd party for tracking, then set up is generally easy & prices vary, so check carefully to see which one is best for your needs -- we have some services in the right hand column.

NOTE: Read the fine print! You must sometimes add a banner to your site in exchange for the free tracking -- "FreeStats.com" for example requires this.

If you or your webmaster can incorporate cgi scripts into your site, then here is one of the best free tracking scripts we have seen:  LevelTen

[Here are some of the STATS that good quality tracking will provide.]

StatCounter
Extreme
GoStats
AddFreeStats
Goldstats
HitBox
SiteMeter
The Counter
FastCounter
Web-Stat
SuperStats
FreeStats
 

SECURE SHOPPING CARTS / SERVICES

JOLAF does not actually make sales for exhibitors - our job is to attract targeted visitors who are interested in original art & handmade craft, then direct them to exhibitors. We take the position that artists do better to make their own sales, and thus do not have to pay "per sale commissions".

To easily make sales on the WWW, you need to seriously consider adding a secure shopping cart capability to your site. People who use the web to shop also expect to have the option to use their credit card to pay via the web, without having to make a phone call or send a check.

The costs of carts can range from free to hundreds of dollars, depending on what you require. Most artists can do fine with the more simple carts - here are some that cost $10 per month or less...

Low Cost:
Cool Cart
Remote Cart
Better Cart
 
Free:
Mals E-com
EZCarts
 

CREDIT CARD SERVICES

If you want to do business on the web, you must accept credit cards. You can first inquire at your own local bank, where you currently deposit your checks, to see if they will set you up with a Visa / MasterCard merchant account. If they do not, here are some places to check out, plus, we have a lot of other alternatives at: CWSD Merchant Accounts

Pay Pal
ProPay
ReveCom
2 Checkout
 

BASIC HTML TUTORIALS

Once you have your website online, then it is to your advantage to learn how to do your own basic maintenance as much as possible. It makes a lot of sense to pay for the foundation of the site to be professionally designed, but thereafter, you should learn how to make simple changes yourself.

Simple changes include adding new shows to your schedule; updating your prices; even adding new graphics periodically. If you are not sure how to do any of this, here are some online tutorials that cover the fundamentals of html...

w3.org
BareBonesHTML
Adam's HTML
CNET
WebDesignGroup
Advanced HTML

Please REPORT any deadlinks!

 
HTML PAGE TEMPLATES

This site offers some free (and paid) HTML designs to help you get a jump start on your web pages. If you use any of their selections then you can always tweak the code however you want to give your site a more personal expression...

FreeWebTemplates.com
WebsiteTemplates.com
 

FREE HTML EDITORS

It is possible to work on your html coding with a basic program like NotePad or SimpleText. However, to do it right, you should use an html editor. Here are some excellent free ones to download...

PC: 1st Page 2000
PC: Arachnophilia
MAC: BBEdit Lite
More Mac Editors
 

FTP SOFTWARE

File Transfer Protocol allows you to easily send html or graphic files from your computer harddrive to your site directory at your hosting service.

PC: W_S Ftp
PC: Voyager - $40
MAC: PowerFTP - free
MAC: Fetch - $25
More Mac FTP
 

FREE GRAPHICS PROGRAMS

After you have your images converted to a digital format, you will need to occasionally re-size them, or crop them, or do simple color adjustments, or compress them for quicker downloading. Ideally you'd use a program such as Photoshop, but it has a steep learning curve and can be expensive. Here are free programs that work very well for basic graphic editing...

Graphics Editors
PC: IrFanView
PC: PixResizer
Mac: Graphic Converter
Mac: BME
File Compression
PC: JPEG Wizard
PC: GifClean
 

IMAGE SCANNING SERVICES

For professional artists or craftspeople who want to sell their work on the WWW, everything begins with quality images. Once you have photographic prints or slides that properly present your work, then you have to get those images into a digital format.

If you do not have your own flatbed or slide scanner, there are a number of top quality scanning services that will put your images on a CD for very affordable prices. If you go this route, make sure you have them save the images to CD in a variety of resolutions. While the web only requires 72 dpi, print work such as brochures will require higher resolutions, so you can get that also included for very little extra cost.

Imagers
PrimeColor
ScansToday
Color2000
ScanningService
DigitalTreasures
 

EMAIL / ANTI-SPAM

Soon after your email address is published on your website, you will begin getting much unsoliticited junk mail.

EmC checks the messages that you have on your server, then allows you to delete the ones you do not want *without* down loading them to your harddrive, and it has a great filter system.

Both PegasusMail & MailSiphon are more traditional email programs, but they also allows you to check/delete the spam directly from the server, to keep your harddrive clean of unnecessary files & attachments, and free of viruses.

EmC - free (PC)
Pegasus Email - free (PC)
 

SITE PROMOTION

One of the biggest misunderstandings that people have when first entering the WWW is the notion that the project is over once their website is uploaded. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In the opinion of many web professionals, the single most important job is driving quality traffic to your site, and that happens after your site is ready for prime time.

Here are some promotion suggestions to help you get started on that all-important effort. Even if you only do 30 minutes a day, within a month you'll see a difference in your visitor stats.

There are also a number of excellent Marketing Books to guide you with the promotion of your work.

Additional resource:  ArtAdvice.com

 

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION

Copyright Information -- Explains the legal protection available to artists & craftspeople regarding any copyright infringement of their work.

Please REPORT any deadlinks!

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