Sculptor.Org looks at sculptor's background, sculptors contact information, quality of sculpture, types of sculpture, image quality, site performance, clarity and ease in seeing and ordering sculpture, search engine visibility, and technical issues when reviewing sites. If your page has serious technical problems, it will generally not be listed until they are corrected.
Before you submit sites to Sculptor.Org for review, have someone else check your site from another computer.
Reviewing Sculptors' Websites
Some Points to keep in mind:
- Who Owns this Site!? The main difficulty I find with many sites are that it takes the visitor a long time to find out who the sculptor is and what they are making. Tell people about yourself and your work. I find too many sites that say "Here is my work" and then images and terse descriptions. The visitor is not really sure what, if anything, is being offered on the site. The site does not tell anything about the sculptor! -- I feel strongly that your best approach is to tell people who you are and what you care about and why you love sculpture, why you wanted to create the work and how you went about it.
- This may sound obvious, but be sure to advertise yourself consistently on
every page of your site. The search
engines do not care which page is your home page, and visitors can
get lost if you do not provide them with good links on every page. Use
your full name and an email link on every page. Make every page on your site
inviting. Imagine that each page is the first page a visitor will
see, it often will be.
- Do not put text inside images. Some html editors generate images which contain the text of your resume and other words on your site. Get an editor that saves the words so they can be read by the search engines.
- Please have someone else review your site before you advertise it, especially to potential clients. Have a professional review or redesign your site if you have a serious exhibition or event you are going to advertise.
- Make sure that every page on your site has the Title, Author, and Description Meta fields filled out clearly. Be consistent, use proper spelling and punctuation. The title and description are often what the search engines display about your site.
- A very common problem is too many large images on one page. These pages take forever to load. Do not waste your visitors' time giving them everything you have done on the first page. Break it up into pieces that load quickly, where each page tells a clear and precise story about you and your work.
- On many sites I visit, the images are very difficult to see. This is your work!! You might have a $100,000 statue you are very proud of, but you present it online with $5.00 worth of effort. Get professional help if necessary, but do not damn your work with the faint praise of a poor image. The worst problem is poor contrast - either a dark statue on a dark background, or a light statue on a light background will not show well. A back-lit statue is nearly impossible to image properly. Investigate digital cameras or video-to-PC options if you generate a lot of works. You will be able to see the image immediately.
- Do not link to images files directly. Many people want to take a shortcut by linking from a small thumbnail or from text in their main page directly to the gif or jpg image file. The browsers allow this and will show the large image. What your should do is create a blank html file and insert the larger image there. Link to the html file rather than to the image. See the outline below under Blowup Images.
Basic Elements of a First Page presented to the public :
- Full Name !!! Country, Address, Phone, Fax, Email link !!!!
- Photo of the sculptor at work.
- A representative image of a sculpture, perhaps a recent work.
- List or description of the materials and category of sculpture.
- "Thumbnails" - Small photos of work (no more than 60k total on the first page)
- Brief statement by the author explaining why he/she creates sculpture
- Link to Sculptor's resume/bio - if you are new to sculpture, just give a general background.
- Text or Thumbnail Links to Sculptures
- Links to Clients and Commissions.
- Links to Shows, Exhibits, Galleries, and other events where visitors might meet the sculptor
- Link to Shipping, Insurance, Method of payments, and legal notes. Have this material in writing so your clients do not have to dig or ask for it.
Pages that make a better Sculptors Site. Create the following pages
- Sculptor's Studio, "The Sculptor at Work" where you show visitors what you do and how you do it. Give them glimpses of works in progress. I have repeated many times, "People do not buy sculpture, they buy sculptors!" Give your visitors some idea about how you create your work, why you are doing what you do. Give the search engines more words and descriptions to be able to find you!
- Commissions and Special Requests. Here you describe how you will work with your client in creating a particular work to their specifications. Detail the steps in the process and who will be responsible for what.
- Classes Offered. Many sculptors give regular classes for beginners and professionals.
- Services Offered. Many sculptors offer foundry services, restoration and other services. Be sure your visitors know what you do.
- Products Offered. Often sculptors sell hard-to-find tools, videos, books, materials. Make sure your products are clearly indicated.
- Try to use a background that doesn't interfere with your writing too much. Very dark streaks are not very good. Use as small a wallpaper file as possible. Check the site as it is seen by different browsers. I happen to hate black backgrounds with gray letters that are impossible to read. White or yellow or very light gray can work. Just have someone else check.
Blowup Pages showing details of sculpture:
- Include your name and an email link on every blowup page
- Include a link back to the "Gallery" first page or the "Home" page
- Title, Dimensions, Material, edition number
- Brief description, artist's comments, background on the piece
- Price, Alternative materials, Delivery options, methods of payment
Image Basics : (If a page doesn't load in 8 seconds, you'll lose 1/3 of your visitors)
- Use JPG images scanned at 96 dots per inch (dpi).
- Use good contrast all around your work, if the statue is white then use a dark background. It it is dark, use a very light background. If you take a picture outside make sure the light is behind you. When you have the image scanned, ask for it to be as light as possible without washing out. If you are not satisfied - go back and ask them to do it again!!