We are always looking for good blog content from CDPUG members and friends. Contact the blog master for details at firstname.lastname@example.org
CDPUG member Janet Dodrill will be exhibiting at this event.
If you are in serious holiday shopping mode, then plan to attend the 31st Annual ArtCraft Studio Show next Saturday and Sunday that will feature over 70 local artists. This is THE holiday art sale that supports the many talented and prolific artists in Cleveland. For more information, visit https://artcraftstudio.wordpress.com/
Right now, Mac User Group (MUG) members get 30% off of “Take Control of 1Password, 4th ed.” For only $10.49, you can learn all there is to know about creating, securing, and keeping track of your unique passwords. From two-actor authentication (2FA) to syncing and sharing passwords with your family or team, this book focuses on 1Password 7 for Mac and Windows and covers iOS and Android versions of 1Password. It also contains information on 1Password X extension for Chrome OS and Linux.
Please RSVP and register now! https://cdpug.org/event/cdpug-holiday-party-2018/
Attendance requires prepayment. Deadline is Wed., Nov. 28.
Help people of all abilities access your content and know what to expect when you promote your great work. From print to digital to in-person marketing, minor tweaks can make a big difference. Erin Hoppe of VSA Ohio will discuss best practices for accessible marketing and we will use your own work for discussion – bring your marketing materials!
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Beck Center for the Arts
Music and Dance Building
17801 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107
Customer Service: welcoming people with disabilities
Help equip staff and volunteers with the tools they need to welcome visitors with disabilities. Services for Independent Living’s Laura Gold will lead a panel discussion filled with insights, resources and experiences that span the gamut.
Wednesday November 28, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Services for Independent Living
26250 Euclid Ave #801, Euclid, OH 44132
These are fragrance free events in wheelchair accessible locations. For additional access needs contact LeAundra Richardson, Arts Cleveland at LeAundra@cultureforward.org or (216) 575-0331, x132
Most fashion designers agree that the hottest fashion trend for the Fall/Winter 2018 season is anything with a CDPUG logo on it. Okay, that sentence isn’t true, but major fashion trends typically emerge from “street style” and why couldn’t the swag you purchase from the CDPUG Threadless.com store become the next big fashion statement in Cleveland? Sure, the CLE is cool, but the CDPUG is the newer cool.
Designed by Ron Scoczen, the colorful, pixelated logos featuring the iconic terminal tower are simultaneously retro and future-forward, so you will never go out of style! And, the new “CD pug” design by Jeff Poplar is so deliciously cryptic and clever that you are definitely going to want to display it on a variety of useful promotional products before anyone else does. Coming soon!
Be the first one to walk into a presentation yakking it up on your smartphone that is decked out in a flashy CDPUG plastic case. Then pull out your CDPUG zip pouch, notebook, mug, and water bottle from your CDPUG tote bag and start presenting! — all to the envious stares of your colleagues, who are already googling CDPUG Threadless.com.
Get ready for that unpredictable Cleveland weather by layering a CDPUG T-Shirt with a CDPUG pullover hoodie. If you prefer a zippered hoodie (or no hood at all) we’ve got those too. Imagine how you will stand out from the crowd strutting proudly at a Browns game in your CDPUG apparel. Some T-shirt styles even come in brown and orange. Win-win!
Did I mention CDPUG beach towels? We have beaches in Cleveland! You, your family, and your friends are going to need a couple of towels at some point this year. Don’t be the person that gives the gift of the fruitcakes. Give the gift of beach towels.
Go to the CDPUG Threadless.com store now to see all of the available products, so that you can start building your Fall/Winter 2018 “street style”. It’s also the perfect time of year to get your holiday shopping over and done with. All of the sales benefit CDPUG operations and programming. We appreciate your generous support.
by Carlo Wolff
A panel of experts in art sales explored an array of tools and options at the monthly Cleveland Digital Publishing Users Group meeting at the Garfield Heights Library.
Some 40 people gathered September 28 as moderator Linda Barberic of Keith Berr Photography led the panel through a discussion of popular online sales platforms, including Fine Art America, Zazzle, Etsy, Amazon and Society6. The wide-ranging discussion highlighted the pros and cons of the services, both for the artists and their customers.
The panel also considered how these services differ from selling in galleries, and how they can dovetail with a comprehensive marketing plan. The event covered such topics as what online platform is most appropriate for the art one wants to sell, how to determine which platforms to use, and how to prepare for art sales. The discussion was lively and often funny.
Keith Berr—and in particular, Mary Urbas, director of the art gallery at Lakeland Community College—stressed the importance of offline sales. Berr noted that he saves his best work for exhibitions and gallery sales but finds online sales helpful for distributing good-quality prints of work that has mass appeal. Urbas expressed concern about the quality of digital printing, noting there is no better way to assess the quality of a work of art than seeing an original in a curated gallery. She also dissed giclée prints, noting the popular artist Thomas Kinkade passed them off as originals by adding a daub of paint and so inflating their value.
While panelists differed over which online platforms deliver the most bang for the buck, all agreed that selling art requires business savvy. Keep track of everything and document it all, Berr said. Copyright your work, counseled graphic designer Kelli Swan; as she says in a handout, owning copyright means you can “create once, sell often.”
Decide whether you want to sell through Etsy, which makes selling easy but requires the artist to fulfill the order, or Society6 or Zazzle, which create and deliver products made from the artist’s design, suggested both Karen Sandstrom and Swan. Sandstrom is an illustrator and the director of communications at the Cleveland Institute of Art and uses both Etsy and Society6. Swan owns Cygnet Graphics Ltd. and sells her black-and-white graphite pencil drawings through Fine Art America and Zazzle. Barberic produces photo shoots for Berr and sells healing teas through Somatea.com.
John Popp, sales manager at Dodd Camera, also sells photography and photography products, through Amazon. Heidi Cool, who has 25 years of experience in web development, said artists should have their own websites, figure out what audience they are trying to reach, and blog about their work to gain visibility in a crowded online marketplace.
It’s not just about the pushing out, however, it’s about the connecting, Swan said. She advised artists to use social media to create authentic connections with like-minded groups.
Also, decide how much time you want to spend on the business side of your enterprise. Your skill might not be web design or social media management. “Hire people who do it better than you,” said Barberic.
A regular contributor to the jazz magazine, DownBeat, Carlo Wolff is the writer of Mike Belkin (Act 3 Creative); the author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories (Gray & Company); co-writer, with Eric Olsen and Paul Verna, of The Encyclopedia of Record Producers (Billboard Books); and is currently working on Designing Victory, the autobiographical memoir of Robert P. Madison, Cleveland’s first black architect, to be published by Act 3 this winter. Wolff has been a reporter for and editor of both mainstream and alternative daily and weekly newspapers, and a review of his is contained in Killed, a compilation of censored journalism published by Nation Books. Wolff lives in South Euclid with his wife, Karen Sandstrom, and their daughter, Lylah Rose Sandstrom Wolff.
By Kelli Swan
The reason you may have so few visitors is that your website does not show up on internet searches. Google and other search engines look for very specific information on a website before ranking it with regard to the words or phrases (search terms) people typically use when looking up information on the internet. While the algorithms used for sorting and ranking search terms change often, there are some basics that do not change. Therefore, the use of these basic approaches is the foundation of any well-optimized, high-ranking website.
The first thing to understand about SEO (search engine optimization) is that it requires a two-tiered approach. There is onsite SEO, and offsite SEO. Onsite SEO is anything you do to the website itself to optimize it for searches. Once most of the work for onsite SEO is done, it is just a matter of fine-tuning it as an ongoing effort to enhance your website’s ranking over time. Offsite techniques involve obtaining inbound links from other sources, such as social media posts and reviews that link back to your site.
Before you begin with the onsite SEO, it is a good idea to do keyword research and consider the specific market you wish to attract. Thinking backward helps here. Under what search terms do you want to be found? What search terms might your typical audience use to look for a business similar to yours? List the words and phrases that apply to your business and your desired market.
• Meta Tags • This is the single most important subject to address. Meta tags are contained in the background code of a website. A user viewing the site doesn’t see them, but these tags hold important information for search engines. The two most important meta tags are Title and Description because search engines pull this information for its search return. If a search engine doesn’t find these tags on your website, it will look for and extract other copy from the page, often times with less than desirable results.
• Use quality keywords and phrases that describe your business • Search engines will index 50-60 characters for a Title tag, and roughly 100-150 characters (spaces included) for the Description tag. You will want to use up as much of that count as possible. For instance, your current Title tag on your homepage might be “Designer John Smith.” Changing it to something like “John Smith Graphic Design – Prepress Digital Artwork for Print” will be more effective.
• Customize the Title and Description tags for every page • Each page of your site is potentially a landing page onto your site. Thus, you can maximize your SEO by looking at each individual page and who you can attract with targeted keywords for that page. Never use duplicate Title or Description tags in an effort to save time as search engines reduce page rank for duplicate page tags.
• Make use of Meta tag plugins • To access Meta tags on a WordPress site, you can use one of the many SEO plugins that are available. Other platforms also have an SEO feature that lets you edit these key Meta tags. Those who custom code websites can easily access the tags in the source code.
• Use Alt tags • Alt tags tell search engines about your images. When you add pictures to a website, particularly on a WordPress site, the act of inserting the images will result in weird filenames such as “1234555.jpg.” This means nothing to a search engine, so you want to create an Alt tag particular to each image, using the same keyword advice mentioned above. Not only does this help with the SEO of your site, but your images will also begin to show up in more internet image searches. Ideally, your image filenames will also contain keywords, though as mentioned above, this can be difficult with some website platforms.
• Don’t use Keywords meta tags • Don’t waste your time on Keywords meta tags — none of the major search engines use them anymore because of past spammer abuse. Besides, Google’s own blog states that the keywords meta tags are not used.
• Write sensible keyword-rich copy • Use keywords and phrases for all of the content on your website but beware that the overuse of keywords and phrases can be recognized as spam. If it sounds spammy when you read it, then it will appear spammy to search engines.
• Include more content • In the SEO world, it is often said that “content is king,” meaning that search engines love quality content. More is better here. Continue to add information and articles to your site over time if you can. The more content you have, and the more keyword-rich it is, the better your potential ranking will be. Search engines give preference to sites that go beyond merely advertising a product or service. That means if you can provide free and useful content (design tips, framing info, etc.) it will help your site rank higher. Also, add a Favorite Links page for sources such as suppliers, inspirational sites, or whatever, as these links will contribute to a more connected web.
Off-Site SEO and Other Important Tips
Search engines learn from user behavior. They want to know when a site is popular and when others think it is important. Being the topic of others’ conversations is one way you move up the list of search term ranking and build credibility for your site over time. So, you want to start an ongoing campaign to get inbound links to your site. Ask friends and other businesses to add links to your site from their site. If any of your friends or associates can post in topic-related forums with a link to your site, that is very helpful. Social media posts help too. Search engines monitor chatter everywhere — this is one area where we toss privacy to the wind and hope that we are being watched! Online reviews are also an excellent way to get search engines to see your site favorably. Ask clients and friends to post reviews at Yelp, Google, Facebook, or other popular review sites.
• Create a blog and frequently link back to content on your site • You can blog about anything, not just topics related to your website. And you can use this platform to help not only your own ranking, but other websites as well.
• Create email campaigns with links to your site and products • MailChimp is a free and user-friendly way to manage email campaigns.
• Upload a sitemap to your site • Sitemaps help search engines better understand the navigation of your pages. You can create a sitemap for free using any of the online sitemap generators such as https://www.xml-sitemaps.com.
• Make sure you have a mobile friendly design • Search engines are now penalizing sites that are not optimized for smartphones and tablets. Mobile friendly themes are available for WordPress and other website design platforms. Custom-coded websites will need to create special CSS (cascading style sheets).
• Obtain an SSL certificate and secure your site with .https • Even if you don’t collect payment or personal data, security is an important criterion for search ranking. Google’s latest release of the Chrome browser labels .http sites as “not secure”. Even if you are not worried about search ranking, the not secure tag could scare off your potential customers. Most hosting companies will help you with the SSL certification process.
• Use Google Analytics to track your website performance • This service is free and allows you to track many aspects of the data generated from your site traffic. Enjoy, although reviewing statistics can become a time vacuum!
• Join an SEO group on LinkedIn, Facebook, or through other organizations • As new tips and tricks are introduced, you will be the first to know about them while immediately incorporating the latest techniques into your website.
A versatile content specialist, Kelli Swan’s talents range from writing to digital design. Her specialties include black and white illustration in pencil or ink, and custom logo design. Her detailed illustrations depicting a variety of themes have won many awards in prestigious juried art shows. In addition, her drawings have been widely published. She received her BFA with Summa Cum Laude honors from the University of Akron in Ohio.
Participant registration is now open on spaceappschallenge.org — a global hackathon that takes place over a 48-hour period in cities around the world. The NASA Glenn Research Center will be hosting this free weekend event in Cleveland, October 19–21.
Space Apps is an international hackathon (started in 2012) and coordinated by NASA to help solve a variety of problems.
Hackathons are tech development marathons that draw on the talents and initiative of bright-minded volunteers, such as software developers, engineers, technologists, designers, scientists, and anyone with a passion and desire to have an immediate impact on the world. This year’s event will focus on developing open-source solutions to challenges we currently face on Earth and in space.
Last year’s hackathon included 187 events worldwide with more than 25,000 people participating from over six continents.
This weekend event features:
- Free food
- Opening night keynote address, “In the Beginning: The Race to the Moon and Its Ohio Connections”
- The NASA band
- A quiz show about NASA history
- Fun human swarm activity to show how emergent behavior can come from simple rules
- A trip to the NASA Exchange store to buy NASA gear
- AR/VR NASA demos
- A trip to the Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) Laboratory