In my first blog, last week, I outlined the difficulties I was having setting up a website to present my art to the world. Well the good news is that after about three weeks of concentrated work, during which painting has had to take a back seat, it is now up and running and on the whole I feel pretty pleased with myself. It has definitely been a slog. Everything seems to take so much longer than you expect and you definitely need a very patient other half, as they won’t see much of you till it’s completed. I was even waking up in the middle of the night and working on things that were bugging me. I just hope it’s all been worth it!

One of the big realisations has been that with WordPress you basically need a plugin for everything that you want to do and there are so many it can be a bit of a trial and error process till you find the right ones for you. In the end I ended up with:

  • NextGEN Gallery – to show my works in galleries and albums.
  • MailChimp – to allow people to sign up to a mailing list.
  • Contact Form 7 – to allow the creation of a contacts page.
  • Simplified Social Sharing – to allow me to add social sharing icons to my pages.
  • WooCommerce – a complete eCommerce solution.
  • Simple Twitter Tweets – to add a twitter feed widget.

All the above are free plugins and seem to be working really well. They take a bit of setting up, but there is a lot of very straightforward help out there on the web to get you going. The one plugin that I didn’t realise that I would need isn’t free but is well worth its $8 a year subscription fee. It turns out that blogging, like every other area of the web is prone to the frightful spammers! Within minutes of publishing my first post I was getting comments on my blog. I thought “Wow I must be good – comments already!” Then I realised that they were actually adverts for everything from hair loss to dog grooming and they were coming in thick and fast. The plugin that filters them out is:

  • Anti-spam by CleanTalk

I’m on the free trial at the moment and it seems to be working really well so they will definitely be getting my $8.

So now with the building basically complete I am starting the even more onerous task of generating traffic. So much of all this goes against my basic artist’s nature. I would be much happier just painting my pictures and leaving the business to someone else, but as that person has never materialised it is obviously up to me to be my own dragon. It seems to be a steady, slow process of posting on groups and other people’s pages until more and more people know that I exist. When I am supposed to find time in all this to paint I have no idea. Perhaps someone has produced a plugin for it!

Till next time,

Steve.

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