Find Your Image

07-find-your-imageWhen we say “find your image” we mean literally “finding your images” as in discovering stock graphics and photos for your website. It’s often best to create your own photographs and graphics if you can, but this is not always possible. Therefore stock graphics and photos become a viable alternative.

Of course another type of “image” is your brand – how people perceive you. That’s why it’s a good idea to figure out what your mission is so that you can in turn establish your brand. Your stock image choices should reflect your brand.

There are some very good stock image and graphics houses available. Many of them you have to pay for, but some of them are free. A simple series of online searches will uncover both stock images that are at no cost as well as those that require remuneration. So it is suggested that you do searches and make a list of choices.

Speaking of branding, because of the thesis that we have decided on for graduate school, we are likely going to be doing a “rebranding” of “Lights Camera Read” starting in a few months. We may even change the name during the rebranding process.

Wikipedia defines rebranding as being “…a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.”

But lest we get too far off the track of photo and graphic image acquisition, let’s discuss your next step after making an internet list of the image vendors you are considering.

Next you insert your images into your website alongside your text. Remember, these images should reflect your mission and brand. Don’t be afraid to go back to your images source for new ones if your current pictures don’t aptly reflect you and your business and organization.

Finally, be sure to market to your audience that your site has been updated.

For more information on “Finding Your Image” please visit the online education site Art Gush.

John Yianni Stamas Tells You How to Put Together Your Own Team of Ghouls

06-your-own-support-teamIt’s a spooky time of year so in our current Art Gush online education installment we are currently working on video/PDF course 6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series that will haunt you (in a good way). This episode is perfect for any goblins who want to have their very own support team of ghouls.

Hi. I’m John Yianni Stamas and I have a question for you. Is the idea of putting together your own support team a spine tingling concept full of fear? The good news for solopreneurs is that these days you can overcome being scared by now having access to special online services. These services make it very much like having one’s own group of other worldly helpers.

Putting together a group of freelancers means you don’t need to deal with with the frightening aspects of having actual employees. Sites like Fiverr make it possible to do things with your witch or warlock kettle of media such as creating a website at a very low cost.

Many solopreneurs try to do everything all by themselves – a “Ghost of All Trades” so to speak. But this is difficult, even impractical. For those who like working primarily alone but realize they can’t do it all themselves, hiring online freelancers can be a good fit for getting out from beneath the cobwebs.

When you hire freelancers online your communication with them is primarily by email which allows you to think through your business and art choices without the pressure of having to perform well in front of others. You can even wear your Dracula cape at the computer if you want.

So for more information on forming your every own support team check out webisode #6 of 9 in the “How to Create a Web Publication” series and make staying alone in your tomb a thing of the past!

John Yianni Stamas Talks About How to Finalize Your Content

05-finalize-your-contentLAST WEEK’S ENTRY

If you’ve been following along with our Art Gush online education courses and/or our Lights Camera Read blog plus newsletter, then you know that last week we looked at “Create Your Content.” This week’s video entry for “Art Gush” is the finalizing of that content.

WEBSITE CATEGORIES

The areas we developed website content for this past week included the “About” page (mission/vision), the nonprofit “Donate” page (or products/services for for-profit companies), the “Blog” section and finally the “Newsletter” category (which consists of excerpts from your blog).

BEST TIP FOR FINALIZING YOUR CONTENT

The best tip I can give you about finalizing the content of your website is that you need to ask yourself the question “What is it that I want my website to do for me that is simultaneously a useful solution for my readers?” In other words what is the call-to-action that you ultimately desire the web browser to take?

WHERE THE ROADS LEAD

If you are able to answer the call-to-action question it subsequently makes finalizing the content easier because then all roads lead to the same place: the thing that you wish your reader to do.

GETTING MY MASTERS

As many of you know I am currently working on getting my masters degree in “Arts Administration” so the work that I do for Lights Camera Read is relevant to the work I am doing in school and vice versa. I have a meeting soon with the new “Arts Administration” department head to propose an idea I have for my final project thesis and consultancy.

A POSSIBLE NEW ORGANIZATION

And although I am only about halfway through the degree, as well as am only going to school part time, I figure there’s no time like the present to get a jump on the final phase of the program. The idea I have for my thesis is the formation of a new organization that is quite different from what I have done before.

MAKING A CONTRIBUTION

The thesis organization is based on an issue that I think is very important to solve in contemporary times. It’s a big issue with lots of social ramifications so I don’t think my proposed organization will necessarily solve the problem – but I do believe it can make a contribution to the effort.

WAITING FOR GREEN LIGHT

What is the issue that my possible organization will solve? I am not at liberty to reveal that just yet. I need to get the green light from my department head so that I can work on the business plan in conjunction with getting my masters.

POINTING IN ONE DIRECTION

But I will say this – if I do get the go-ahead from the department head, there will be big changes to the courses, blog entries and newsletters that we do. All resources will be pointed in one direction.

How to Create Your Content

create-your-contentNEWSLETTER MISSION

The mission of our newsletter is to bring you updates on Lights Camera Read creative projects (Platinum Pias Awards Show, Art Gush Online Courses, Magic Neighbors Theater Company and so forth) as well as help you build your visibility on the web.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR CONTENT

Last week we covered how to plan your website and this week we are going to lightly touch on how to create your content.

CONTENT IS KING

You may have heard the saying “Content is King” and it’s true. The text you put up on your website can make or break it, so it’s a good idea to put some thought into what your content is going to convey.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEB PUBLICATION

In this week’s Art Gush course entry (Number 4 of 9 of the “How to Create Your Web Publication” series) we are discussing the menu items “About,” “Donate (or Products/Services),” “Blog” and “Newsletter.” In this communication we will explore these areas also, with more information available in the Art Gush course.

YOUR “ABOUT” PAGE

Studies have shown that the “About” page is one of the first read, so it is important to work hard on this one. It is a good idea to have your organization’s mission and vision on this page. As we’ve discussed in the past, your vision is what you are trying to achieve and your mission is how you are going to get there.

YOUR “DONATE” OR “PRODUCTS/SERVICES” PAGE

If you are a nonprofit you should have a “Donate” page and if you are a for-profit you should have a products/services page. The intent behind both pages is the same: you are trying to get the reader to take action. In the case of the “Donate” page you want your viewers to donate, and in the case of the “Products/Services” page you desire your readers to purchase your products and services.

YOUR “BLOG”

Your blog is an important part of your website. Why? Because your blog is a consistent way of creating new content, usually on at least a weekly basis. New content means more listings on search engines as well as can be used as the basis of the content for your newsletter.

YOUR “NEWSLETTER”

It is a good idea to stay in touch, and your newsletter is a way to do this. And the great news is that if you are doing a blog on a weekly basis you can re-purpose this content for use in your newsletter. It is recommended that you include approximately half of an individual blog entry in your newsletter and link from it to that blog entry. This means that people reading your newsletter will potentially click through to your blog.

Yianni Stamas Shows You How to Plan Your Website

plan-your-websiteAs we’ve mentioned in the past, we are working on a series of courses on the “Art Gush” site concerning the topic of “How to Start a Web Publication.” These courses are intended for those who have an interest in journalism as well as folks who want to promote their company, organization or themselves. In other words, the sequence of courses will be ready-made for those desiring to make a difference in their community.

Therefore this entry is going to be looking at the current online course in the publication sequence we are working on which is “How to Plan Your Website.” This topic is useful both if you are just starting out with a website or already have a website and are looking for ways to improve it.

One of the first things you should do when planning a website is to decide the format you are going to use. The two basic ones for those who don’t want to hassle with difficult-to-learn programs are “control panel” and “WordPress.” There are tons of control panel sites out there offered by many different companies. When choosng one you want to think in terms of ease of updating and if the aesthetic works for you. The other option is WordPress which is the best choice for those who are going to want to do a lot of updating of functions. You see, there are literally thousands of different kinds of plugins you can get that do different things.

Once you’ve decided on the format, the next thing you’re going to want to do is look at what menu items you are going to present. If you already have a site then you’ve done this, but might be interested in adding some new ones or delete those that are no longer relevant. Here are five that are classics: “About,” “Contact,” “Donate,” “Staff” and “Blog.” We’re not going to go into detail in this article about these menu items (we do more of that in the Art Gush course) but we will say that these are just a few that are possible.

For example, if you are a nonprofit you might use “Donate” since this is how you survive as an organization, whereas if you are a for-profit you might substite “Products” or “Services.”

In the end what you want to do is to put yourself into the position of your user and audience member and think in terms of what kind of information is useful to them and how you can you make it as easy as possible for them to access what they need.