Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Web Pages

I was looking for an artist I know I'd seen at the Corvallis Fall Festival, and I noticed how many folks don't have a web page.

I think that's nearly inexcusable for almost all businesses, but especially for artists. Mary and I talked about it for her business, and we figured it probably wouldn't be worth the effort (at this point). A friend of hers, however, has a great web page for a naturopathic physician. As good as she is, Portland is inundated with naturopaths, and she probably needs something to help set her apart. Mary's situation in Corvallis is a bit different.

But, back to artists, you simply have to have a web page now. Let's say you're one of the 22 artists who do jewelry. How am I going to remember which one was the one I liked? The name probably isn't going to stick, I need to see your product. Plus, what if I want to contact you to buy something? The Fall Festival at least provided an option for a website - but no other contact information. Even if they didn't provide a slot for the website, a quick google on your name would probably find your website (especially if it's listed on a couple of the festivals you'd frequent in a year).

One of my favorite vendors at the festival is King Wu. And, to be honest, I didn't remember his name (and he's someone I actively look for each year we go). But given the list of artists, I was happy to look through the 6 web sites for photographers at the festival to find his site.

In fact, that's exactly what I did a couple of years ago when I was trying to find a particular photograph Mary and I saw while visiting Arizona. She'd really liked a couple of prints in a gallery in Flagstaff. A quick search of galleries in Flagstaff gave me a couple of phone numbers to call. I called each and asked about their artists, and 10 minutes later I was on the guy's website - looking at the exact print I wanted.

It's just a shame that only 87 of the 171 artists at the Fall Festival have web sites. It's not difficult to do, it's not terribly expensive, and I'd bet that even a simple web page with a couple of representative photos and contact information would result in more sales (provided you produce a unique product - I just don't understand how the dudes who try to sell middle-school shop class quality woodwork at Portland's Saturday Market stay in business... I mean, seriously, a mirror behind a wooden board with a routed edge???).

Every business should have an answering machine/service that at least gives the business name and hours of operation (I should *never* get a busy signal). And secondly, most businesses really need web pages.

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