Jan 12, 2010

Some handy website resources

I have attended a couple of art group meetings recently where the use of website tracking utilities has come up in the conversation. For artists that have a blog or portfolio online, there are some free tools available to promote your work, and track the visitors to your websites. Here are a few of the tools that I have used and find helpful.

Google has added profiles to their generous list of online applications. You can create a web profile that you want the world to see. If you are a creative and someone Googles your name, there may be some listings that come up, but maybe not all of the work you really want to display. By creating a Google profile you can expand on those links with exactly the content you want people to see. You can list your work history, a bio, your location and websites, attach picasa or web photo albums and more. It's a great way to be found on the web. Here's an example with my Google profile

Statcounter is a free website that allows you to insert an html tag into your blog/website. You can create multiple projects (one for each website) and monitor who visits your site, the path that got them there, the visitor's location, how long they visited each page, keywords used to find your site and more. Now I know that a couple of people actually read my blog, and see that they mostly visit from facebook, etc. Very handy.

Google analytics is another free tool that has the same capabilities. I use that for my blog and it's got a lot of bells and whistles, but I find statcounter more intuitive for me. Statcounter will only show the 500 most recent records though, and I believe GA has no limits. Google's tool seems to be more about analyzing trends rather than drilling down to unique visitor information.

Google also has some webmaster tools that will crawl your website and report back how many pages on the web are linked to your site pages, and give you a site map indicating all your website pages and how they are linked. There are lots of help links to show you about search engine optimization, etc. if you want to really dig into that info.

Compete.com is a website that compares estimates of user data from the top 1,000,000 consumer websites. While many of the features of compete require a subscription, and are targeted at businesses, I found that the free comparisons of several websites to be of benefit to my fine art career. I was able to compare traffic between etsy.com and artfire.com to see which site had more traffic, and determine where I would like to sell my art online.  I could make similar comparisons of print-on-demand websites, etc. You can compare up to three websites at a time for different time periods.

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