Blue Rhino Paintings SEO Example

I have been asked about SEO and to do it for clients, which I am happy to do, but before I take your hard earned dollars I would like to show you this example. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not that complicated. It involves focusing on one search term per page or post. Google wants to know that you are an expert on the topic you are writing about. To do that all you have to do is repeat your search term in key areas. But be careful; you still need to write with a natural voice so it doesn’t sound like you are stuffing in the search term too much.

Here’s an example…

Text that talks about this work.  An internal or external link for more info on Blue Rhino Paintings.  More text about why you do what you do.  Ask yourself why do you like rhino’s? Tell us about your experiences with blue rhinos that lead to creating a series of paintings.

Blue Rhino Paintings by Ricky Martin
Blue Rhino Paintings © Ricky Martin 2010, Watercolor on canvas 8×10 inches

Where would you like people to go next? Your contact page, a detailed blog post about one specific blue rhino. Provide a link to make it easy for people to move around your site.

If you have a gallery of this work, tag  each image blue rhino paintings

The screenshot below is of the WordPress editor with the keyword phrase highlighted.

Below is the report from WordPress SEO by Yoast for the above texts and images.


Don’t Remove Your Site Title – Hide It!

Most WordPress themes allow you to upload a header image, including ours.  But your header image may also include your logo with a unique font style and color. Then once you upload it and  check it out on the front end you see your image logo and your site title above it.

So you remove the site title and tag line by going to Settings > General which is a REALLY BIG MISTAKE!!!

Example of a header image and site title both active

You may think removing the site title this way solves the duplication of your site title and it does. But what happens is search engines no longer see your site title in the source code and site visitors don’t see your site title in browser tabs or bookmarks.

How your site appears in the browser tab with the site title removed.
How your site will appear in peoples bookmarks.

The solution is to hide your site title so it doesn’t appear above your uploaded logo image but remains visible where you need it for search engines and visitors alike. Here’s how the proper way to remove your site title and tag line.

  1. Go to Appearance > Customize
  2. Click on Site Identity
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Display Header Text”
  4. Save your changes by clicking the blue button at the top that says “Save & Publish”
Step 1 – Navigate to Appearance > Customize
Step 2 – Uncheck the box to display header text
Site title and tag line are hidden from view

Now the site title will still appear where it is needed most and your new header image/logo is presented the way you want it with your site title hidden.

artbiz-remove-site-title-wordpress-favicon Footnote: There’s a new feature that will add add a favicon (website icon) that will appear in browsers and other apps.  Cool! Thanks WordPress!


How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings in WordPress

Are you seeing more spam trackbacks listed in WordPress comments?

A trackback helps to notify another author that something related was written to what the they wrote, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.

That’s the way they are supposed to work. But spammers are also using them to bring unwanted comments into your site.

A pingback is an actual link to another blog contained within a post. 

To prevent the unwanted trackbacks and pings you can disable them in WordPress. Here’s how….

Disabling trackbacks and pings can be done in 2 places.

Overall under WordPress Settings > Discussion.  Uncheck the box next to allow link notifications from other blogs. settings-discussion
This will only apply to new posts.

To prevent trackbacks and pings on existing posts you’ll need to edit each one individually.

Open the post for editing and go to Screen Options at the top of the browser window to make sure that the discussion box is checked so it appears under the editor.


Then scroll down to find the discussion task pane and uncheck the boxes. You can disable comments if you like as well.

Trackbacks and pings can also be place on you media files. You will need to follow the instructions above to disable them by opening each image for editing.

If you’re not getting a lot of trackback spam you can simply keep deleting it from comment moderation. However, if you’re getting so much that it is making you crazy you can mas disable site wide via the database by following the instructions at post.. If that freaks you out, contact me and I will do it for you for a nominal fee.


Designing Fine Art Websites

When presenting to artists about their online presence I always preface my remarks about designing fine art websites with…

There’s a reason why galleries have white walls and minimalist environments.

Artfirm Fine Art Website
That reason is that nothing is to interfere with the viewing of the art. Nothing!

I started using WordPress in 2004. At that time minimalist websites just weren’t done . When searching the WordPress theme depository, I found many themes that showed off the graphic designers prowess but did nothing to put the focus on my fine art.

WordPress Art Themes
I used search terms like art, fine art, photography and even design and architecture. Invariably this is what I found .

Since I could not find what I needed for my fine art, I started to design fine art websites and themes. Themes that were simple and clean. Themes that allowed the end user to make their art the focus of the site. In the design world this style was called “vanilla”.

Now a days the minimalist vanilla theme is trending!

Vanilla fine art website
I really like Verna’s site because the images showing the tools she uses in her work are very intriguing.

Even though a vanilla fine art website will work for all types of art, I’m not saying that the design for fine art websites has to white. It doesn’t! There are many shades of gray, soft pastels or the use of graphics that relate to a body of work.

For example This is the website of Canadian artist and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts inductee, Beverley Tosh. Bev’s work is about WWII war brides and she wanted the site to reflect that era. We used simple graphics and typography but used larger thumbnails so the focus stayed with the paintings. We also used one of the installation images from Bev’s One Way Passage exhibition as a background.
Graphics are okay when they reinforce the artwork. I like to use the artists actual work for graphics when designing custom sites.

Taking in to account the artists’ work is also very important when designing fine art websites. Take for example the wonderfully delicate work of Mary Lou Blackledge. Mary Lou’s series Soul Stories has very fine line. When placed on a white background it washes out. The solution was to place the work and only the work on a darker neutral ground.

Mary Lou Blackledge Fine Art
Mary Lou has a unique signature which we turned into a graphic and used as a header image. Her site name is also presented in plain text in the upper right corner.

Coloured backgrounds are okay so long as the colour doesn’t compete with your art for attention.

Example of overpowering colour choice

I call the above image “blue murder” because the colours are killing what otherwise is a decent abstract painting. This is one of those do it yourself sites that artist pulled the colours from their palette thinking it would enhance the painting. Unfortunately the colours are overwhelming the image. Here’s the painting without the coloured background. It’s much easier to appreciate.


I’ve seen 1000’s of art websites over the years and have developed a pet peeve about the lack of content. Words are really important, not only for search engine indexing but to educate site visitors about what your work is about.


Follow this list of design suggestions for your fine art website that will provide a good visitor experience.

  • Design to show off your work not the graphic designers prowess
  • Simpler is usually better
  • AVOID bold coloured backgrounds and complex graphics
  • Take into consideration the nature of your work and what would be suitable to make it stand out

Your Fine Art Website should…

  • have a responsive design
  • work on all the major web browsers
  • load quickly
  • be easy to navigate and use
  • have image portfolios
  • have attractive, fast loading, professional photos
  • provide examples of what your work looks like in context
  • have information on how a sale works if you have an e-commerce site
  • provide links to any social media sites

There is an art to design.
Design for fine art websites should reflect your art.

Looking for a fine art WordPress theme, please go to 


How to Open WordPress Menu Link in New Window

There’s a little known button concealed in the screen options menu that will allow you to have your links open in a new browser window.

Standard web practice is NOT to have links open in new windows as it is thought that in the end there would be to many windows open which will inconvenience the user.

It’s acceptable to have some external links, like social media open in new windows. Also links to documents like PDF’s is good practice to open in a new window.

So where is this mysterious function? Start by navigating to Appearance > Menus in the admin menu of your WordPress site.

Step 1


1. Navigate to Appearance and click on Menus

Step 2

2. Look up to the top right corner and click on the Screen Options tab

Step 3

3. Check the box next to Link Target by clicking on it

Step 4

4. Click on the menu item that you want to open in a new window and check the box next to “open link in a new window/tab”

It’s always easy when you know where things are.


WordPress Single Image Gallery

The WordPress Media Library has come along way since I start using WordPress back at version 2.6. Internet connections are faster too (is anyone still on dial-up?). Having faster computers and lightening speed internet means that we don’t have to use thumbnail images as much.


You have probably seen this concept on sites like This is Colossal and others. I decided to use this WordPress single image gallery on my fine art site  as is evident from the image to the left.

To do this insert  large uncropped images (meaning no thumbnails) directly on the page using WordPress’s built-in media library.

If you link the image to the media file, when people click on it, it will enlarge to full size but on a white screen. To avoid this and have the image pop up to full size use a plugin like Auto Thickbox


The other option is to have the image open on the image attachment template should your theme have one. All Artbiz David themes have an image attachment template.

The last option is not to link the image at all. Often the large image on the page is large enough and doesn’t require an enlargement

For all the options for inserting images review this tutorial or this one at

Here’s some guidelines that will help format and make this type of WordPress single image gallery look and work the best.

  1. Because the images are going to be large it is imperative that they load fast. Optimize your images for the web!
  2. Make sure all the images are the same width. This blocks the images into a clean and simple column.
  3. Align the images with the “none” option so they stack nicely.
  4. If you add metadata to your jpegs using Photoshop the data will be extracted to fill in the image description only. You will want to copy and paste that into the image caption box so it shows under the image.

A number of artists I threw this out to on my Facebook page are looking for alternatives to NextGen-Gallery  plugin.  I think there’s a way to use both as can be seen on the Face series at my fine art site.