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Re: Web sites

Dear Friends
 Iíve been following the website thread with interest and would like to add my
2 cents. Iíve had a website- http://www.makingbooks.com- for almost a year. I
canít say it has made any kind of dramatic changes in my career but I think it
has been of value. I use it primarily to promote my Making Books workshops in
the schools. I am really not interested in traveling beyond my area- MA and
southern NH and ME, so the expansiveness of the web is not a big help in that
department. I also write books for teachers on making books so I use the site
to promote them as well. I get most of my work from word of mouth. I donít do
any advertising and I never call school systems or principals to introduce
myself. I hate making sales calls and I have managed to get enough work this
way. I think my bookings are up since the site. I present sessions at a lot of
conferences as well as workshops through some colleges. I used to give out a
little brochures but now I give out  bookmarks for my website. The bookmarks
are cheaper to print and the website offers a lot more material, color photos,
etc. Teachers can attend a workshop and like it, go home and check out the
site, share it with their colleagues, principal, etc., and get a good idea of
what I do and how much I charge without having to call me. Then if they are
interested, they can call and book a date. I rarely get calls that donít
immediately turn into jobs.
 I intentionally made the site much more than promotion. I have a Kidís Page,
Teaching Tips, an extensive Bibliography, Links, Supplies, and some projects. I
think itís important to have a balance between promotion and value in the
education world. I can direct people from my workshops to the site knowing that
they will get valuable information, and some of my promotion in the process. I
also wanted to be listed on educational sites. It turns out I get almost no one
coming from them. Most of the people who come to me from other sites are from
the book arts sites.
 My son did all the html and code for my site so I was able to concentrate on
the content. I found the hardest part was at the very beginning. We spent a lot
of time deciding what information to put on the site and how to organize it, as
well as on the overall design. Once we had done that, there was a lot of work
but it all fell into place.
 My primary audience is teachers and I feel I know them very well after working
with them for 10 years. I wanted my site to be attractive but simple. I think
of it as designed for people who are still more comfortable with print media
than cyberspace. I wanted there to be no question what you clicked to get
somewhere. I chose to have the projects in text and image rather than as a pdf
files because I wanted them to only have to click the print button to get what
they wanted. We are getting more creative as we add things to the Artists Book
Page where the audience is different.
 I am slowly adding information about my own artists books. While I am serious
about my work, I have never put much effort into making money from it. I put so
much energy into the teaching to make money and only have enough left over to
make the work. I pursue exhibit opportunities and at this point am more
concerned with building a good resume than making sales. I have had a page up
about my limited edition books since last fall and have not received an order
yet. Iím not surprised. I have not made it easy for someone to buy. A form must
be printed and sent with a check. I have not looked into connecting with one of
the services that takes credit cards. And again my primary audience, and the
one that I attract by my title- makingbooks.com, is teachers and book arts
people who are interested in teaching.
 I started thinking I would update the site with new material four times a year
and found that that was too much work. I am trying for twice a year now
although Iím going to start updating the Whatís new message more frequently.

in good spirit

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA


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