Beccy here, Director of Inkluded – hello!
As well as working as a tattoo writer and running this blog, I also work in marketing, specialising in digital and social media. I give brands the knowledge and support to reach new followers and markets through today’s prominent digital channels that are forever growing, expanding and changing every bloody five minutes!*
*official marketing term
Saying and posting things in the correct way on your website, Facebook and Instagram can mean the difference between a new customer engaging in your brand, and them not bothering.
In a noisy world that is rapidly getting busier and quicker, your online presence as a company or individual can be the make-or-break when it comes to acquiring new opportunities and income.
As an independent business or self-employed creative, it’s a struggle to constantly market yourself on so many different websites. We spend more time looking at screens now than we do at each other… it’s shit, but it’s the world we live in. And if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and be the best at it.
I want to use my knowledge and experience to give you some short (and hopefully simple!) guides to assist you in having a successful online presence.
Maybe you’re an artist wondering if you should have a Facebook page or profile, or a studio wondering what the recent changes to Instagram mean for your brand… let’s kick off with our first guide in the series…
- Part 1 – Websites
Having a website for your business will fulfil many different functions for you. Not only can it host the portfolios and information about your artists, but can be a way to gain new customers who search for local tattoo studios on search engines (e.g. Google).
In order for your website to appear at the top of the search results on websites like Google (e.g. to appear first when someone types in ‘tattoo shop in Birmingham‘) you need to have a website with good search engine optimisation (SEO). We’ll talk about this another day.
Let’s start at the beginning and discuss website creation and domains
In today’s world you don’t need to go to a website designer to create a website – if you’re even slightly tech savvy, you can create it yourself. I would recommend creating a website with WordPress.com – it’s completely free and very user friendly. You can download free themes to decide how you want your website to look, and there are forums and guides all over the web to help you get through.
I won’t go into a step-by-step guide on how to use WordPress, as we could be here forever. My recommendation would be to go in, have a play, and if you get stuck, type your question into Google and you’ll find an answer!
You create an account on WordPress, and chose what you want your website address to be. For example, it might be http://www.birminghamtattoos.wordpress.com – all websites created on WordPress.com will have the wording “.wordpress.com” at the end of the website address.
As you don’t really want it to say ‘WordPress’ in your website address (or maybe you do!), you now need to purchase a ‘nicer sounding’ address, and re-direct it to your existing WordPress one. You do this through a website called 1-2-3 Reg.
1-2-3 Reg are a domain purchasing website – a ‘domain‘ is basically your website address.
You search for a domain you want to buy, for example, http://www.birminghamtattoos.co.uk and you purchase it. They are relatively inexpensive. From what I can recall, this http://www.inkluded.co.uk is no more than £15 a year!
Just in case you want them for the future, or to make sure no one else takes them, you might want to buy ALL of the domains available (they would all go to the same website). These might include:
… and so on, the list is endless! As a small business, you’ll probably be OK with just one website address.
As default, if .com is available, you want to go for that. The original gangster of website address endings, he will cost an arm and a leg, so you may opt for something cheaper. But if you’re thinking of launching a worldwide brand, go ahead and buy as many as you can afford.
Once purchased, you can go back into your WordPress account and follow step-by-step instructions on how to ‘map‘ your new website address (birminghamtattoos.com) to your old website address (birminghamtattoos.wordpress.com).
You also don’t have to do it this way. In a less complicated manner, you can search for the more friendly website address within your WordPress account, and let WordPress do the work, and pay them direct. Again, WordPress create step-by-step guides on what to do that are easy to follow.
This all sounds super complicated but it’s worth it. This one seemingly annoying step of mapping your domain is the price you pay for having a free WordPress site. WordPress are also now hosting your website (if you set up a website from scratch yourself this would cost you, you’d have to find and pay a website hosting service too).
The bad news is that your website is ‘owned’ by WordPress – all that means is you have to be careful what you post on there. No profitable advertising. Nothing offensive. No porn. It’s not a big price to pay, I don’t think.
If you are using your site for information (studio address, portfolios. telephone numbers, artists’ bios, contact forms), you aren’t trading through your website so you don’t need to worry about this. You can add external links to Big Cartel, Etsy, PayPal, etc. that’s no problem either and doesn’t break the WordPress rules.
If you haven’t got a website yet, and want to create one, just go for it! Create a WordPress account and take everything one step at a time.
Above: how it looks to update a website page in WordPress
Next week, we’re going to talk all things Facebook, and how you can post content on this site to reach potential clients in the best way.
Digital Marketing Guides For Tattoo Studios And Artists
Part 1 – Websites
Part 2 – Facebook
Part 3 – Instagram
Part 4 – Twitter
Part 5 – Other Social Media
Are there any other websites or channels that you want to learn more about? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org