Not everyone wants to be on the interwebs.
It can be invasive and pervasive, and dirty great big time waster.
And besides, the ‘real world’ doesn’t revolve around the internets …
really, it doesn’t.
If you’re a maker, you probably want to spend most of your time making and dreaming of making and talking about and planning making… and maybe also working at a non-related job so you can do all this in your free time.
Though an internet presence can be a good idea for potential stockists and customers to find you; you can create your profile and the kind of ‘presence’ you want to put forth. It’s less about self-promotion than creating a feel for the kind of work you make. It’s also a good way to connect with other makers – my first exhibition opportunity only came because the curator read my blog.
If you do want an internet presence, how do you choose what to do?
I am by no means an expert in this field – though I think it can be done in a way that doesn’t require a degree, or even an interest, in marketing.
There are lots of free choices for a do-it-yourself beginner, where all the technical stuff is figured out and it’s simple to add your own content. These include:
- blog : Blogspot and WordPress are the most popular; I use and like WordPress (it was a simple choice when I started writing, I preferred the look of it), however I like some things in Blogspot that I don’t have with my WordPress theme (eg. blogroll of recent posts from other blogs, the different views like magazine and classic)
- Klimt02 / Kit & Caboodle (I’m sure there are many others): community sites for sharing with other makers, where you set up a simple profile; update: I understand Klimt02 is curated and not necessarily free
- Facebook : best the page is available for searches by the public, not just members of Facebook
- Tumblr / Pinterest / Instagram / Twitter : sharing platforms for (variously) images and text and links; I don’t know a lot about these … so would appreciate any comments from users on the best aspects of these platforms; I do regularly read a number of tumblr pages and like them a lot
- website : again, this is not in my experience; some friends have had websites designed for them; though I have been told of a free platform that you can use to make your own, Weebly (the first time someone said they had a ‘weebly website’ I thought they were deriding themselves!); update: I’ve been told of another website builder Jimdo
Please comment and let me know if I’ve omitted any other obvious options (by no means do I think I know everything).
If I could make only one suggestion, I would recommend somewhere on your chosen site ought to be the name under which you’ll be making … either your name or your chosen brand name – the name that will be used by searchers looking for you.
The only reason I suggest this is that when recently searching for a maker I used her full name and couldn’t find her site or blog (which did exist), and using only her first name brought up so many results I didn’t have the heart to continue through more than a few pages of search results (even when I added ‘jeweller’ or ‘jewellery’ to the search).
That said, I really hesitated doing this. I was fearful of my full name being in ‘public’ so to speak; I didn’t like the idea it may then be appropriated and messed with and such. But then I thought, how else will anyone find my work if they wanted to? I created a separate email address to connect with my blog, and yes it does get some spam but the filter is pretty good – I’d say this a much better idea than using your already-established private email address; and personally I would never publish my mobile number as a means of contact.
Speaking as a reader only, if the intended audience for your online presence is potential stockists / customers, but you’re not keen on maintaining regular updates, a ‘static’ website is a probably better option. Sites rarely look out of date (unless of course the ‘latest news’ page isn’t updated), whereas blogs and other dated sharing platforms can easily look neglected when you’re running low on time (and enthusiasm) to update them.
You may not want an online presence. I mean we all got by without it before it was invented right? It’s likely not critical, especially if you’re not making to make a living. There are quite a number of exceptionally high-profile makers who don’t have a website… though many do have a profile on Klimt02 or Kit & Caboodle.
What are your thoughts?
PS. Thanks to Annelise for her post, which inspired me to write this. I wasn’t sure if I was being chided or not (most awkward part of text is that tone is often lost, especially if you don’t know the author), but I took her point that beginners may appreciate some ideas.
Update: this story has received some excellent and informative comments already, so please do check them out too.