Just like there are a lot of things that you must keep control of in the offline part of your art business…there are a number of things that you need to be in control of if you have an online presence or if you’re selling your artwork online. Unfortunately, a lot of artists give up a lot of control over their online presence simply because they don’t know how certain parts of the Internet works or because they don’t want to get into the technical parts of running a presence online. And this usually ends up in disaster for the artist who caught unawares. In this show I’ll talk about how to keep control of your online presence and how to avoid some of the pitfalls that can take how your present yourself online out of your hands.
1. Register your own domain name…and always register it yourself– Domain names are like digital real estate. If you wait until you’re ready to build a website before you register your domain name, you might miss out permanently. You don’t have to have a website in order to use a domain name, you can send email under your own domain name or forward it to your third part store or blog. You can get your own domain name for as little as $8 per year…so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have your own domain name even if your not ready to build a website yet.
2. Have more than one place online where people can contact you…perferrably a channel that you have control over, whether it’s a blog, social networking site, or your own website. Websites and social networking services aren’t forever. If you have multiple places where people can contact you, you increase the chance that people can find you and you have a back up if one channel disappears or goes down.
3. If someone is helping your with your website or other technical aspects, always keep control of the login information– This applies to domain names, web hosting, social networking passwords, etc. Always be the main contact for any of these accounts instead of your assistant or web designer.
4. Come up with some good strong passwords for your various accounts and change them regularly. Account hacking does exist and one way to combat it is to create good, strong, hard to guess passwords. You should also remember to use different passwords for each account so that if someone guesses one password, they don’t have access to the rest of your accounts and change them up regularly. If you have a lot of login information, use a program like RoboForm to help you organize your passwords and login information.
5. Keep backups of everything– Blog posts, customer data, email addresses, sales data…losing any of this information can spell disaster for you. Keep regular backups of all of this information on a weekly basis…especially if they reside on a third-party system.