Monday, May 4, 2009

Alpha Mare Gets a Makeover

Whew!! That’s one more big job accomplished! Or, as my grandmother used to say, “I’m glad that elephant is behind me!”.

I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks revising my website which had, frankly, become a bit of a shambles. I had started to revise it a couple of times but never completed the job, so there were pages with three different designs, and the site had lost its uniform look. More importantly, I had rearranged some galleries but neglected to change old links and the result was duplicate content. Google doesn’t like duplicate content.

My visitor numbers have dropped dramatically over the past two years to a point where they are now less than half of what they once were. Knowing that there had to be a reason for this, I did some exploring, both on the website pages and in my stats and came up with some answers. I hope. I found a lot of broken links, among other things. Google doesn’t like broken links.

One of the things I did was to go through my Sitemeter visitor logs and write down every single page that visitors visited during a 10 day period, excluding those who only visited one or two pages. I wanted to see which are the more popular pages and how visitors were navigating around the site. Then I compiled the figures into a spreadsheet and sorted them by number of visits. This was invaluable information as I decided which images to keep and which to leave on the site; which galleries to keep and which to combine with others.

My mantra with this revision was to simplify the whole site, so the first thing I did was to decrease the number of different galleries by combining some together. For instance, the old jumping and dressage galleries were combined into an all english riding gallery. From there I proceeded to make a list of paintings and drawings I wanted to take off the site. Mostly these were paintings which were either old portraits or just not up to current standards. Some had been sold and didn’t really fit in anywhere or serve any purpose. I figured there was no point in showcasing a bunch of old portraits if I’m not accepting commissions any longer.

I made a bunch of other changes that I won’t bore you with and have ended up with a “new” website which I think is both warmer and softer in feel and cleaner in look with the artwork better arranged for greater impact. I’m hoping that the Google gods will now smile on my website again, raise its ranking in the searches and once again bring the hoards to my doorstep, metaphorically speaking.

Perhaps you could help the cause by visiting my new website and letting me know what you think. You can visit Alpha Mare Equine Art by clicking on the link.

Meanwhile, back in the studio, I’ve decided to resurrect the pony drawing at the top and work on it again. It’s the preliminary drawing for a painting, but I got stuck with what to do about a background. I’m thinking now of going simple with mainly a toned canvas. The title is The Little Inspector, and I’ll get to work on it very soon.

But first the house needs cleaning.

Thanks for visiting, and please come again.


Linda Shantz said...

The site revamp looks great, Karen! I wanted to thank you again for helping me out by being a guest blogger last month. I'm sharing a blog award for that purpose! You can get it from my latest post. I'll be looking forward to some of your new work!

Karen Thumm said...

There is no need to thank me for being a guest on your blog, Linda. I was honored to do it!

And, thank you for the blog award! I'll go get it post haste!

Karen Thumm said...

I forgot to thank you for taking a look at my new website and letting me know what you think.

Thanks also go to Judy J. who was the only other person to look and contact me.