Comments or not

artbiz blog

How comments work with WordPress.
Love them, hate them, disable them.

With WordPress.org or any blogging platform there is an area where visitors to you site can leave comments on your posts. It is usually found under the post with a form your visitors fill in with their website address, email (which is not published) and their comments.

I think one reason why people may shy away from blogging is because of the dreaded “no comments”. It’s like no body is coming to your party. I don’t get a lot of comments at artbiz or my fine art site. What I found is that if someone wanted more information they emailed or contacted me directly. Some visitors are also not comfortable commenting publicly.

BUT the thing about leaving comments on blogs is that it’s a way to link to your website and we all know how important back links are to your search engine rankings. Before you go out leaving the comment “thanks that was interesting and informative” in hopes of getting people to click-through to your website; stop. Even though it is nice to compliment the author it doesn’t really give people a reason to click-through to your website. You should have something relevant to contribute to the dialogue.  Say something more thought-provoking on the other hand will have people wanting to know who you are and gives them a reason to click-through.

All comments go through an approval process, meaning they are not published to your site until you approve them. With WordPress you can by-pass the approval process for someone who already has an approved comment if you want. WordPress will also notify you by email when someone leaves a comment for approval.

You can expect spam comments so you should have a spam blocker like Akismet (comes standard with WordPress) which will put the comments into a spam box like your email does. Here you can review the spam just incase there is a legit comment and mark it as such.

Whether you allow comments or not on your blog is up to you. You can disable comments on a per post basis by un-checking the Discussion box in the post editor. Or disable them globally in your themes loop.php file by changing true to false on this line of code
?php comments_template( ”, true ); ?

Blogging is about building relationships so don’t be shy leave a comment.

Website Terms

Ever wonder what the heck I am talking about when I use terms such domain name, hosting, DNS?

Here is a list of common website terms that you may hear me use when we are working together on your site.

Website terms and definitions

Domain Name – This is the internet address of your site. It is what people will type into the address bar of a browser in order to get to your website. Example: www.YourName.com


URL – The internet address to a website or to a specific page within a website or blog. Every web page has it’s own unique URL and will be the name that you give to a page.

www.yourname.com is a domain name, and a URL of your home page.
www.yourname.com/gallery is the URL of another page on your site.


Domain Registrar – This is a company where you purchase your domain name for an annual fee. The average cost of a domain name is around $10 to $20, any more than that then you are paying to much. (read my post on domain name scams)

Note that if you forget to renew your domain name your website will not appear on the web and can be sold to someone else.


Parked Domain Name – After purchasing your domain name it is considered parked at the registrar’s website until you redirect the name servers to your hosting site.

You can also register more than one domain name. Say you want YourName.com and YourName.ca, you will use one of these as the main domain of your website and park the other at the same hosting site. Then when someone types in either one of those domain names in the address bar of a browser they will land on your site.


DNS – Domain Name Servers – To point your domain name to your hosting account insert the name server addresses that are provided by your hosting company into an area called DNS (domain name servers) in the domain name account. This will connect your domain name to your website at the hosting servers.

If you have more than one domain name as mentioned under Parked Domain Names then you will have to point the secondary domain names as well.

Once the connection is made and resolves over the internet (usually with in a few hours but they will say up to 72 hours) your domain name will appear in the address bar and show off your new site.


Host, Hosting Account – This is a company that sells space on their servers so your website can go online. There many hosting companies out there and each have their own terms and costs. Hosts like HostPapa and Hostgator provide unlimited space and bandwidth.


Image Website Terms

.jpg or .jpeg – the preferred file format for most website images and images of your art. You would name your image and save it as a .jpg or .jpeg

Image Size – can refer to either the actual outside dimensions of an image in inches or pixels as well as the resolution.

Resolution – refers to the number of pixels, or dots, per inch in a digital image file. The fewer the pixels or dots, the lower the resolution and the smaller the file size. Resolutions of 300 dpi and higher are required for printing. Resolutions of 72 – 100 ppi are best for web sites.

DPI – dots per inch, typically used when talking about images for printing.

PPI – pixels per inch when talking about images for the web.

See also Resizing Images for the web


Developer Website Terms

Not that you have to worry about any of these items. They are the guts that run WordPress and what allows you to manage your website content with out having to know anything about how to use them. Just so you know.

PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor (the name is a recursive acronym) is a widely used, general-purpose scripting language that was originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages such as those in WordPress.

MySQL – “My Sequel” is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that runs as a server providing access to a database. We need one to run WordPress.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language is the language that most websites use for defining their layout and structure.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets are often used to define styles, such as colors, fonts and sizes, of elements on a blog or website. Changes made to a specific element on a stylesheet will apply to that element everywhere it appears on the site.

JavaScript – is a scripting language that allows applications hosted by other websites to work on yours. Many widgets and such that give you code to put on your website work via javascript.

CMS – Content Management System – are programs that run on your hosting server that allow you to manage your website content online with out having to know HTML, CSS or JavaScript. All Artbiz sites are created this way using WordPress.

Pages Vs Posts

writing blog posts

Understanding the difference between pages and posts

Before we start working on your site, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the difference between pages and posts:

Pages are usually those which have a static purpose in life. For example an artist statement, bio, CV, Gallery pages or a contact forms. They do not usually contain information about news items, for example, which are added to the site on a regular basis. Pages are generally defined so that they are always accessible from the front page. Some people build entire sites with just Pages – this is especially the case for sites with little need for dynamic content and is very popular with small businesses and us; the artist.

Posts usually contain semantically and chronographically arranged information – for example, news reports, event results, and of course blog entries! The semantic structure is defined by categories and tags, and whilst making it easy for people to navigate your site will also help search engines to understand the content of your site and so improve the relevance of search results.

Blogging for Artists: It Works

art blog
I wrote an article about the real reason artists need to blog, and jumped on the blogging bandwagon and started writing about my work.

Well I get to be my own success story. It works!

I received a phone call one Friday afternoon from New Haven artist & curator, Suzan Shutan. She was in the process of finalizing an exhibition proposal. But before she finished she decided to do one final Google search for art made with pins & needles.

It just so happened that I wrote a post at henigmanbruce.com (my fine art site) about my work with pins and needles (you can read it here). Suzan found it on Google and included my work in the exhibition proposal with some pretty amazing international artists.

Being found online by Susan created a domino effect that started with the Pins & Needles exhibition at  Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, CT.  When the exhibition opportunity came through I wrote for a A.F.A. project grant and was successful.

My Heels series was created for the exhibition and I posted images of the work to my Facebook profile. An artist friend (that I had never met) posted a couple of links to shoe museums, she thought I’d be interested in. I submitted my work to The Virtual Shoe Museum and was included in their online collection.

A few years later that same online collection site put together a major exhibition at Grassi Museum in Germany. I was included in the show and subsequently the Museum kept my piece as part of their permanent collect.

From there a New York fashion magazine, Heaven Has Heels,  found my work at The Virtual Shoe Museum and approached me for an interview. Which I happily agreed to.

I don’t know what, if anything, will happen next, but I firmly believe that none of this would have happened had I not written about my work and had my images ranked in Google.

There are many good reasons to craft content for your website, whether you blog or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is sharing your work with the world and letting them into your world so they can get to know the person behind the art.

 

 

To blog but not be a blogger

In a recent article I wrote about why artists should blog and I jumped on the bandwagon and started writing about my work on my fine art website.Then with life and work and all sorts…well I slowed down on the manic postings.

It seems to me that with everything I read about blogging it is an all or nothing scenario. That you must write a post at least 3 times a week and if you do your search engine rankings will increase and will get you all sorts of recognition. And if you don’t be warned the search engines will penalize you for not having fresh new content when you say you will. But what if you’re not that gregarious and still want to share your thoughts and ideas?

Personally I believe put out there as much or as little as you want. I know die-hard bloggers will totally disagree with me but still I think that it is better to say something than nothing at all. The great thing about WordPress is that you can configure it to make it search engine friendly even if you don’t post a lot. Using plugins like Google XML Sitemaps you can tell the search engines to come back once a month and not everyday. There that takes the pressure off, whew.

What I like about the blog format is that it separates the stuff that I want to talk about from my actual portfolio. This keeps my image pages clean and crisp just like an artist wants and what galleries and collectors want to see.  And with WordPress I can have the “blog” hooked into my website which makes it really search engine friendly. It also tells visitors that this it is where they can read more in-depth about my work. I can go when the mood strikes and talk about what is moving me at the moment… or not.