Friday, January 30, 2015

Exploring the Options (During a Deep Freeze)

Frosted Treetops
Letchworth State Park
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2014

Last week, I touched on the difficulty of finding an effective, and cost-effective, method to locate buyers for our works. And, a huge "Thank you!" for all the feedback and information regarding your experiences!

My experience with Etsy, Zazzle, and Fine Arts America was disappointing. I've been "developing" a website for 3+ years and have yet to find my stride with it, but thought that maybe, just maybe, I could fine-tune it & set up a PayPal cart. It would be simpler, right?

A couple of big problems with that: I am not technically proficient when it comes to coding & it is really kind of ugly once you embed the PayPal buttons/options next to your artwork.
Icy Sunrise
From Our Front Porch
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2007

Looonnggg story shorter: came up with as pretty a design as I could for the buttons & the "View Cart" button. Tested them. The cart button worked & the others did not. Ouch. Another couple of days wasted. Apparently, it has something to do with site verification and HTML coding into the site. Yea. I got this. Um, I got not a clue. HTML coding is on my list of things I'd like to learn, but this is needed now. The other probable issue is that, for some reason, despite the copious cost of using GoDaddy, I do not have a hosting service?!? So, back to the beginning. Again.
A Winter Viewing
Letchworth State Park
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2014

Then what is the next move? Do I keep the website & just try to find a different cart platform through a 3rd party site? Do I follow Crystal Allure's lead and upload the site to the blog? Would still need a cart option. So, do I simply drop the website & use a 3rd party site instead? 

This then comes back to being 1-in-a-million artists on any given site & keeping the fees under control, so as to keep the prices of the products under control. Print-on-Demand sites are out, so it also means keeping a steady inventory of inks, papers, mats, envelopes, shipping materials, etc., for any possible orders. And, again, how to reach out to the world?
Frosty Fir Fingers
Our Backyard
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2013

I thought that I'd have had more insight to offer this week, since I thought that the PayPal buttons would solve one major dilemma.

That being said, however, here's the intended plan, in no particular sequence:

1. Use Pinterest and Facebook for "advertising". Pinterest offers business accounts & I have switched my account over, but, I haven't had an opportunity to explore the details of the features & abilities of the business platform. I will keep you posted.
Winding Winter Way
Letchworth State Park
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2014

Facebook is threatening to become more difficult to use for advertising your products. Rumor has it that if you try to link back to your own commercial site, they will drop the post, unless you want to pay for advertising. I say "rumor" because I haven't tested it per se. However, I do know that if you want to link your page directly to your website, Facebook will charge you an advertising fee. Articles that I've seen indicate that Instagram, as a part of Facebook, will most likely follow suit. 

Pinterest, at this moment, is seemingly not taking this approach. So far.

2. Use a site, such as Square Market, as a 3rd party sales platform. They offer a lower transaction fee than any other, including PayPal, and do not take any other fees for the web storefront or sales. 

And, if I decide to ditch the website, the look of the storefront Square Market offers is clean and simple. They, most likely, do not have the following and exposure Etsy, Zazzle or FAA do, but that really is irrelevant, since those sites are overwhelmingly overloaded.

Alone at Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2005
Part of my reasoning for dropping the website is that, while it's paid for the rest of this year, I've hated supporting GoDaddy since the beginning. I dislike their advertising for exploiting the female body and, recently, a tastelessly cruel ad involving a lost puppy and selling him. And, honestly, I haven't gained anything from using them for the basics. Again, like Etsy, I do the work and they reap the fees. Unless, of course, I want to pay for more features. Hmmmm...

3 Inventory: I am obsessive out of the gate. I have so much inventory that I've accumulated over the last 5 years of doing this, I sincerely doubt that I'll need a whole lot of anything for quite a while. But, that's me, the borderline hoarder!

So, for this week, this is the plan. Let me know what you think of it or any of your experiences!
Ice & Fir
Our Backyard
©Mike Deuel Bronson Hill Arts 2013

The next quest is finding my "brand" and what exactly is that?


  1. Great photos, thanks for sharing. Valerie

  2. Wow, lots of good questions...I have no fact, I'm curious to hear what you learn. I do have a few names to throw out to you but haven't really explored them so not sure how they work, but have you looked at Minted and Big Cartel? I see people selling artwork on both. As far as building a website, have you looked at Wix? I used it build a website and it was quite easy. Not sure about adding sales to the site, though, as I didn't use that feature. They get better reviews than GoDaddy. Beautiful pictures and good luck!



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