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Re: Web sites

Richard provides some very good tips for getting found. I'm probably not a
good barometer for sites, though my private work site may be more
comparable to most (50 hits/wk), but even then I benefit from a front end
which gets 2000+ hits/week. Like Richard, I look at all the stats on my
(free) counter. The information isn't always as detailed as I'd like, but
it does give me an indication of how people are finding me. For instance if
one looks at the stats for the Book Arts Web site
and then under referrals you can see searches people did on some of the
search sites. That gives an indication of what language people are using. I
have a site internal search engine I look at sometimes as well which shows
the same sort of information. What is clear is that most don't use the same
vocabulary we do. It might make sense to put some of that into the meta
tags for keyword and description.

When designing your websites, provide clear information about what you do,
show examples (and these should be visual, and the quality of the work AND
image should be good), provide clear navigation, full contact information
accessible from any page in a click (Forms are great because they allow you
to direct queries). Contact information should also include resume/CV type
descriptions of your work, training, affiliations...  Stay away from
plug-ins, especially those that are too avant-garde and difficult to
find.  Avoid large .wav files or videos that have to be viewed or slow down
the page too much. The attention span of people is very short. They want to
get where they want to, and fast. Help them get there.

Another very overlooked thing is the signature on your email messages. One
thing I've noticed is that most don't have them, or if they do, provide
very incomplete information. Postings to lists such as this one are
archived, and doing a search for Book Arts will lead to many hits in this
archive. If you want to attract attention to your press, studio, whatever
it helps to properly identify yourselves. That includes REAL NAME, email
address, web address, maybe a short description of what you do... Don't use
those silly pseudonyms, which can appear off-putting and non-serious. You
want people to find you. I agree with a certain need for privacy, I don't
use my home phone..., but a certain level of openness is required.

In terms of sales/income, I've found the web page quite good, not enough to
live off of, but it helped sell out the edition of 26 Words. We sold 3 of
the five as a result of people finding us on the web, two to library
collections. I've also gotten a good bit of conservation work as a result.
I answer any "serious" query, even if it means referring them to someone else.

My thoughts.


Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen
<Fax: 612.632.3718>

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