By Abby Hoeft

You have your website but it isn’t generating the traffic and sales that you were hoping for. Don’t despair! Ask yourself the following questions and implement changes accordingly:

Have I done everything I can do to make my website easy to find?

If people don’t know your name or your brand, how can they possibly become buyers? Solution: Utilize search engine optimization to get your website the exposure it deserves. Now, if you’re thinking, “search engine opti-what,” check out Michael Miller’s book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. Proper optimization will yield profitable long-term results. It is well worth the effort!

Is my website easy to navigate and user-friendly?

Can visitors quickly find what they are looking for before they lose interest and exit the scene? Consider your website’s loading time. If it takes more than five seconds for your website to load, you’ll definitely need your web host to streamline loading times. You can also do this on your own by avoiding large image files (always use web-ready images that are smaller than 100K). It’s a good idea to eliminate any audio, plug-ins, complex graphics or animations, and special effects on your home page. Visitors are on your website to look at (and buy!) your art. They don’t want to be bombarded by obnoxious audio or visual files that distract from their experience.

Is my website filled with captivating images or long and boring text?

Consumers are naturally drawn to an image more so than lines and lines of text. Include written descriptions of your work, but keep them brief and let the images be the stars of the show. Additionally, always include prices for each item and include a variety of price points on your homepage and throughout the user’s shopping experience.

Does my website look and operate the same way in different web browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari)?

Make sure your website is fully operational in all browser formats before launching your website. What may work great in Internet Explorer may not be so fantastic in Firefox or Safari, so test out different formats and tweak the design as necessary.

The Internet can be a great tool for selling your work. If you have a great line, you need to showcase it the right way. Given the competition, it is imperative to make a great initial and lasting impression through your online presence.

If you aren’t tech-savvy at all, find someone who is. Or, consider reading a resource like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. If you choose to hire outside help, find someone who has a proven track record and is suited to the needs of your craft business. Just because your nephew knows how to set up a Justin Bieber fan page, doesn’t mean he is the ideal person for the job.

Consider your website an important investment in your business and in yourself as a professional craftsperson. A bad website can make great work look subpar, but a good website can take great art to the next level.