Website: A craftsman’s marketing should adequately represent the quality of their work
In the recent past, a friend pointed out to me that my work was not well represented in the marketing resources I was using. He told me that the high caliber and quality of my work should be adequately portrayed in how I showcased it. At the time my portfolio had poor quality photographs, my business cards were bland, and the website I had was hard to navigate, outdated and cheap looking. His assessment was very helpful and caused me to reevaluate quite bit.
After our talk, I began to do some research. I went online and looked up hundreds of furniture makers and their websites to see what others were doing differently. What I found was that many skilled craftsman out there, at least who showcase their work online, were making the same mistake I was. The websites I found were not relevant to the quality of the work they were created to display. Many, if not most of them, looked as if they were created around the same time as the Internet….Very outdated, very poor quality, very off putting. In all I found maybe two or three websites that looked very professional, very clean and very up to date. Interestingly enough, they were the websites of younger woodworkers. Emerging craftsman that were more relevant to the multi media world in which we live.
Like it or not we live in a technological age where in an instant people can look up almost anything from almost anywhere. Word of mouth is still one of the best forms, if not the best form, of advertising, but if we’re honest, now a days when people hear about something they go straight to the Internet to check it out. On the business side of things we should be doing everything we can for a potential client to have an enjoyable and memorable experience in viewing our portfolios from where ever they are.
Some final thoughts particularly on the website: Keep your media relevant and up to date. If you can, invest the money to hire a professional that will do it right. A friend might be able to do it for cheap, but most of the time that’s how it will look too. You know that your work is worth the money, so is theirs. Also, don’t forget people look at the Internet on their phone, tablet and desktop computer. Each of these devices are different both in size and function, thus a generic site might not work as well on the phone as it does on the desktop. A professional should be able to design a website for you that works differently on all three. Finally, take nice photographs of your work. Great woodworkers sometimes don’t take the time to photograph their work well, take the time, it makes a huge difference especially with the high resolution available on computer screens today.