The Blog Newsletter Combo Makes Art Blogging Easy

CONCEPT: The concept behind the blog newsletter combo is that content sent to followers in emails can also be blog posts. This will make creating content and art blogging  easy.


As an artist I did not set out to blog about anything, let alone my art work.  However, I did start to blog when a client sent me this article by Chris Tyrell. Then I felt pressure to keep putting things out there until I realized I didn’t have to.

After I settled into routine of blogging both here at Artbiz and my fine art site, I came up with one really good use for my art blog.  I use my fine art blog as an archive for my exhibitions (here’s how to use your blog for exhibition history).  It’s great because it provides a chronological listing of my exhibits with pictures, review links and I can write about it as much or as little as it want.

Now I have another idea on how you can use your art blog and not have to go through writers anxiety every time you feel it’s time to communicate with your followers. I call it your blog newsletter combo!

No doubt you have an email list to send out your studio news. You may even have a Mail Chimp  or similar account that you use to send out your emails. If you don’t, get one, it’s free.

THE IDEA: Turn studio newsletter’s into a blog posts and use Mail Chimp to send it out automatically. Oh Yeah, we`re done here.

Well not quite. You probably wonder what makes good blog newsletter  content. Here`s some ideas…

  • Show images of your studio, people love to see artist studios.
  • Document the stages of your work. This could also be turned into a how to article.
  • Take pictures and write about  your visit to a local art show.
  • The opening of your show (see here’s how to use your blog for exhibition history), or an artist you admire.
  • Your fav art reading list.
  • Interview an artist you admire.
  • Take pictures of crating and shipping your work.
  • Ask collectors for images of your work in their home or office.
  • Ask for testimonials if you do commissions.

There’s so much you can write about that will let people into your mysterious life of an artist.  You don’t have to do both a newsletter and a blog. Make art blogging easy by combining the two tasks into one.

What do you think, will you turn your newsletter into blog posts? Any other content ideas you wish to add?


Insert a Single Image from NextGen Gallery

Once you have images in NextGen Gallery you can use them throughout WordPress posts and pages. This tutorial will show you how to insert a single image from NextGen Gallery on to any post or page.

You can always upload images into the media library for use as feature or post images but if you have already uploaded the image to a gallery you can access these images for use elsewhere. One really good reason to use the gallery images as post images is to save space on your server. After all it is a bit redundant to upload the same image over again.

So without further adieu this is how to insert a single image from NextGen Gallery

1. Open the page or post you want the image to appear.
2. Click the “Add Media” button on the top left of the editor
3. Once the media library window opens looks for NextGen Gallery on the left and click that link.

4. On the next screen select the gallery from the drop down menu  where it says “No Gallery”.

5. Once you have located the image click the “show” link to reveal some options.

6. The description does not show on the page under the image like a caption does. It will however show on the image enlargement of the lightbox  from NextGen Gallery plugin if you select to link to the media file.

To show the entire image and not a cropped version select “Singlepic”.  Select the desired alignment and then “Insert into Post” button.


7. Once inserted the actual image is not seen but rather a short code that calls in the image.  It looks similar to this >> [ singlepic id=31 w=320 h=240 float=left ]

The image can also be used as the feature image if you select that option.

That is how you insert a single image from NextGen Gallery onto a page or post in WordPress.  Any Questions?



The differences between WordPress and Squarespace, Wix and Weebly

The differences between WordPress and Squarespace, Wix and Weebly

After researching, comparing and gathering information on what you need to know to make a choice between WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, I have come to the conclusion that there is no conclusion.

Each of these services has something to offer depending on what you need. For example, if you’re a hobby artist, a free Weebly site (with advertising) may suffice. An artist with little or no computer skill may want a simple drag and drop interface, which is available with all services (drag and drop themes are available for WordPress). A professional artist may want the power WordPress offers.

In all honesty, I find it very difficult to compare Squarespace, Wix or Weebly with WordPress the self-hosted version. WordPress is different, it’s a robust, scalable, open source (free) application that can be whatever you need it to be.

You’ll see how hard it is to compare WordPress with the others in the table below. But first I think it’s important to understand how these proprietary services work.

Where is my backup?

Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and other website services like them are proprietary. Which means you don’t own your website, they do. These companies can choose to close their doors tomorrow and your site goes with it. If you have spent years creating content and a blog following, it can go poof! Don’t think it can happen? Remember when Apple shut down iWeb. Then there was Posterous that left 60,000 clients in the cold.

SquareSpace is the only one of these services that will let you export a XML backup of your content that could be imported into WordPress, but you don’t get everything. It’s not an easy import either as you have to save the export as Livejournal or Typepad which may or may not work when bring into WordPress.

Wix allows you to duplicate your site but it stays on the Wix server, as that is the only place it will work.

Weebly allows you to download a zip backup of your site but has a disclaimer that your blog posts are not part of it because they are in the database, which can not be accessed. They go on to say that your site probably won’t work as expected unless it’s on the Weebly server.

If you’re an avid blogger or just have lots of content and don’t want to go through the hassle of recreating all that content elsewhere, you’re better off using (the hosted version) or Blogger. When you have outgrown these platforms or need extensibility you can easily import into the self hosted version of WordPress.

What about WordPress backups, I can hear you asking. You can export, migrate, save in the cloud, or download to your computer, a complete backup of your WordPress site. You can use this to migrate to another host provider should you ever feel the want or need.

A Fact Based Comparison

Below is a fact based comparison. If you want opinions on how easy each platform is to use you can find lots by doing a simple Google search. These types of comparisons are subjective depending on the author and their bais. You’ve probably figured out by now that I am pro WordPress, but have to say that all the proprietary services mentioned in this article are fairly easy to use.

So just the facts based on the basic entry package of each. All these services provide upgrades that will give more space, ecommerce, etc, which you can check out at their respective sites.

Note: at time of writing the prices are as shown. Please check the service’s website for up to date prices.

Yearly Plan$9.25 – 24.92$8 – 25$12 – 18Varies $3.95 and up, depending on the hosting company
Monthly Plan$9.25 – 24.92N/A$16 – 26Varies
Bandwidth2GB – UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedVaries
Storage3GB – UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedVaries
Number of Websites1101Varies
Number of PagesUnlimitedUnlimited20Unlimited
Email ServiceGoogle AppsGoogle AppsGoogle Apps, Zoho EmailVaries
Max UploadFile Size15MB (audio)10MB (images)100MB120MB (audio)20MB (images)Varies
HostingGrid HostingCloud HostingCloud HostingGrid, Cloud, Shared, VPS, Dedicated
Domain NameFREE (1 Year Plan)Not IncludedFREE (1 Year Plan)Depends on provider. I recommend to keep them separate.
Drag n’ DropYesYesYesYes, depends on theme
Free Themes100+100+251945 + premium
SupportPhone – 24/7 Email – 24/7 Forums
Knowledge Base
Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 9pm Forums
Knowledge Base
Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 7pm Forums
Knowledge Base
Community Forums, WordCamps, free & paid resources around the world
AnalyticsGoogle AnalyticsWeebly Analytics Google AnalyticsSquarespace Analytics Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics plus many other plugins to chose from
SEO OptimizedYesYesYesYes
Mobile WebsiteYesYesYesYes, depends on theme
Social SharingYesYesYesYes, plugin or theme supported
Image EditorYesYesYesYes
Form BuilderYesYesYesYes – plugin
Custom HTML/CSSHTML OnlyHTML and CSSHTML and CSSOpen source so all code is accessible

As you can see it is very difficult to compare WordPress with the other services. All these services can provide you with a basic portfolio site, a blog or ecommerce, including WordPress. But only one is unlimited in its functions and can be as small or as BIG as required.


Quick Steps to Create & Link NextGen Gallery

These three quick step lists should help you remember how to do the common tasks required to create and link NextGen Gallery.

Create and link a gallery to a page

  1. Create the gallery and upload your images
  2. Inside the gallery’s top task pane click the button that says add page.
  3. Go to Appearance > Menus and add the new page to the menu and save.

If you want the new gallery to also appear in the album

  1. Go to Gallery > Album
  2. Select the album from the drop down menu
  3. Drag and drop the new gallery into the album and save.

If you want to add a gallery to an existing page or post

  1. Open the page or post in the editor
  2. Place your cursor in the editor where you want the galley to appear
  3. Using the “Add Gallery” icon on the top row in the editor select the gallery you want from the drop down menu and insert, then update your page.

How to Copy and Paste a Link

You will find many uses for it so I am going to show you How to Copy and Paste a Link URL.

First it would be handy to know some internet lingo, specifically URL. URL is an acronym for uniform resource locator which is basically a web address. So when I say copy and paste the URL you now know it’s the web address.

Where to find the URL

All pages on the internet have a unique URL which can be found in the address bar of the web browser.

Browser Address Bar in Chrome
Browser Address Bar in Chrome

How to copy a URL

1. Navigate to the page you want and copy the URL by highlighting it all with your mouse, right-click and copy. It is now copied to your clipboard.

browser address bar copy

2. Now navigate to where you want to paste the URL and right-click and paste.

It is important to know that pasting a URL does not automatically add a hyperlink to it.  Nor should you be using a URL as the link text for a hyperlink. This is because most URL’s are not pretty and don’t have meaning. Read more about meaningful hyperlinks here.

Pasting a URL on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will dynamically turn the URL into a hyperlink. That’s unique to them.

Now that you know where and what a URL is you’ll be able to copy and paste it in all sorts of places.  I’m now going to copy the URL of this page and paste it into Facebook, you can too.


How to Add a Red Dot to Sold Art in WordPress

Artbiz receives the odd request asking if there is a way to put a red dot in the description of their images. Unfortunately NextGen Gallery doesn’t have that option and you’ll hard pressed to find a WordPress gallery plugin that does.

By the way, the red dot tells people who the work is sold. 

The reason it’s not a feature is probably because – unless you’re an artist or involved with the fine arts you’ll have no idea what the red dot means. That’s why writing sold or private collection or in the collection of... is standard practice for website image galleries.

But for those of you who really, really want to know how to do this I have this solution.

Using HTML to add a red dot to image descriptions in NextGen Gallery. Here goes…

First we need a dot. The best dot to use is a bullet created by keyboard command “alt + 7″ and gives you a bullet ” • ”

Once we have our ” • ” we need to style it. Make it red and make it bigger. This bit of code does just that, copy it from the screenshot below, highlighted in yellow.

Copy the above and paste it into the image description box inside NextGen Gallery as shown below and you’ll have the red dot.

Screenshot of description box

Here’s a screenshot of the image as it will be seen by your site visitors once the thumbnail is enlarged.


If you feel strongly about knowing how to add a red dot to sold art then this will work. Otherwise writing “sold” or “private collection” is perfectly fine and doesn’t need explanation.