It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and that’s because I’ve been preparing and building a brand new website for my artwork and merchandise. Maintaining this blog plus my Etsy profile, Fine Art America account and a few other profiles where I displayed and sold my things and decided to invest the time to put one whole new site together.
Actually, this has been in the works for a few years, and I finally found the time to get the site built. I have set up my new website for Portraits of Animals! That’s what you see above, a screen shot for the home page. Finally, this plan I’ve visualized for the past five years has been put into action. I found a template I liked, I’ve planned out my new products and I set up my Sampler Box Program and a free gift for those who register for an account on the site. It’s ready to go! Mostly.
If you are already a subscriber, your subscription may have already moved to the new site—I moved subscribers today. But if not, you can go to Portraits of Animals and subscribe to “News and Articles” there. Of course, you can always change your subscription preferences if you no longer want to be subscribed. But read on—I have features on the new site that I couldn’t have here, including setting up an account with a free gift when you do, member rewards programs and a sampler box program!
A Soft Unveiling
I’m calling this a “soft unveiling” because, while the site is structurally ready to roll, I’m missing…a few products. Well, quite a few. And it’s my own fault. I had started working on a new site in December set up on a template from my shopping cart provider, and while the back end of it is impressive, and the front end was attractive, clean and easy to navigate, the product area just looked like…and internet store. As well it should if it was selling merchandise.
But it wasn’t selling merchandise. It was selling my art. And it wasn’t looking like a gallery. And I couldn’t blog on that platform, essential for driving traffic to the site, and I couldn’t use some of the plugins to set up galleries of art and merchandise the way I’d envisioned.
January had originally been my deadline to have this website ready, but the holiday season doesn’t permit focus on too many things other than the holiday season, so I didn’t get too far. And then I ran off to Savannah to deliver a couple of kittens and visit family. But before I did I decided to stop building that site and decide which way to go: continue with the site or look for a template that better represented my work.
I found the perfect template, designed by an artist for artists. Next, I needed to find three or four days to set it up and get all the parts in there and start adding merchandise. Designing websites has always been a process of not only putting your visualization on a computer screen but also fixing all the little issues, bugs and conflicts that come up, and at this point in my life I like to stake out some time to just focus on it.
I have not posted since last week, on Tuesday. Because I wanted a long weekend to work on this I had to get all my regular work done early last week, so I settled in and focused on that so that Friday I could put it all aside and get my hands into this site and work through the weekend. I’d intended to post at least once each day, but I was so focused on finishing the other projects and lining things up for the new site, and I knew I’d be distracted and didn’t want to be. By Monday morning a good bit of it was set up and some products in place. All ready to present it on Tuesday, my hosting company had an issue on my shared server that kept filling up the memory and shutting us all down. It turns out it had something to do with the voting on Super Tuesday, and though they found the site that caused the problem and could shut it down, I wasn’t back up until Wednesday.
Now it’s Thursday and I miss posting about my cats and stuff and I can’t wait to share this site, even though it doesn’t have much on it! You can imagine it will take me quite some time to get my things up there. I shake my head and think, why did I do all this stuff? But really, I can’t wait to fill out the pages I’ve set up!
I love the way I can set up the galleries so that you can see a whole screen full of images and read the headlines, click on the item and read the details and order. Above is a sample of art papers on display and below is a sample section of animal sympathy cards.
And here is a detail page, what you see when you click on a product.
A signing bonus!
I like to thank each person who signs up for an account on Portraits of Animals. Each new member receives a thank-you gift not only as an honest thanks from me for signing up, but also so that you can see a sample of my art and the quality of my merchandise, even if you’ve been a customer already and purchased from me in other places.
You don’t need to purchase anything to get your thank you gift, you can just register an account and get your free print.
The thank you gifts always include matted digital prints of art and photos that I usually sell for between $20.00 and $40.00. The selection includes the current month’s featured artwork and several of the more popular images I sell. Sizes vary according to the size of the art itself—some of my more popular sketches are as small as 3″ x 5″—but they are always matted to fit a standard frame size so you can use a frame you have on hand or easily purchase one without the cost of custom framing. Below is the current selection of prints you can choose from. Visit Current New Member Gifts to read more about the size and matting for each print.
About that Sampler Box
Each box will receive the following items in a design appropriate to the audience:
• an 8” x 10” print matted to 11” x 14”, ready to frame OR a small framed print, either an existing piece of artwork or a new one
• two or more greeting or note cards, current designs and new designs
• a handmade or other gift item—a small keepsake box or a little art sampler book, a polymer clay or ceramic item, screen-printed dishtowel, tote bag, crocheted item or rubber stamp, new art paper, for instance
These can be things your use for yourself or give as gifts or donation items to shelter or rescue or other fundraisers. Sometimes they’ll be little experiments and I’ll be asking for feedback. I’ll be happy that you get to see art you may have never noticed, and little handmade goods that work so much better in your hands than a photo on your computer.
Sampler boxes can be purchased singly or in subscriptions of three and six boxes. Shipping within the US is included.
$30.00 for one box, value about $47.50
$75.00 for a three box subscription, value about $142.50
You can read more about the content in the gift boxes on the page on Portraits of Animals, and don’t forget to go and visit the rest of the site too! I’ll be adding things every day, and also my links from Marketplace articles on this site will now go to Portraits of Animals. I’ll keep a few things on my Etsy site, but nearly all of it in time will be moved to Portraits of Animals.