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Communications Networks

Ashley Hendrix–Artist, Educator

I had the joy of speaking with Ashley Hendrix today.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing both her and her work for quite some time.  I’ll be attending her commencement exhibit in a few weeks as she is granted her BFA.  She’ll be spending next year finishing her Masters in Education.  There is no doubt in my mind that given her patience, demeanor, and talent that she will be a fantastic educator.

She showed tremendous promise as a young adult, and has spent the last few years refining her vision, focus, and skill. Jeremy

This picture, Jeremy is part of her thesis.  She has always had a tremendous eye for the beauty of people in everyday life.

She called me, as she has set up her personal website, and had been somewhat surprised by how far down her own name showed upon a Google search.  (4 pages down).

I sent her a link to a post that I had written last year on “how to let the internet know that your site exists”.   I think that answered the question that she had asked.  But since we’ve known each other a long I took the liberty of telling her that I thought she still had more work to do.  The front page of her site is crystal clear – Ashley Hendrix, artist, educator.  It is visually pleasing, as you would expect.  I gave her a couple of unsolicited comments on how to make sure that she really invests the time in creating a strong “about me” bio. 

I also gave her a few more instructions that I thought that I should capture here for anyone else that is looking to improve their internet search ability.  Once you’ve told the internet that your site exists, you then need to pay attention to a few more things.

1. Your content needs to tell your story.  Your key words – in her case, Ashley Hendrix, artist, educator – need to be used early and often.  Both search engines and people want to get the most important stuff first.  My recommendation was to create a bio intro that said something like: “Raised in a creative family, art education started early for Ashley Hendrix….”  It’s off the cuff, but manages to get her name, educator, and artist in the first few words.   You don’t want to take it too an extreme and cram every sentence full of keyword contortions, but you do want to first tell people what you do and what makes you different.

2. You need pictures on every page.  I think this is extra true for visual artists.  (to think extent that you can be truer than true).  Facebook capture of Ashley Hendrix link previewGiven the fact that link previews have become so prevalent, they are “must have” for everyone.  If you can’t come up with a good visual to illustrate a point, you’d better hope that someone is being paid to read it.

This shows the preview showing up because I’ve linked directly to the page with the picture.


3.  Post your bio and a link to your website on appropriate sites. Some of them are “no brainers” others take a bit of work.   I recommended that she tries for 10 sites. 

The way that internet search engines rank websites (simplified) is that they combine the content relevancy with the content authority.  Content authority is largely a factor of who links to you.  Let’s take an example of medical advice.  Two different people could give the exact same advice, but if only one was referred by the Mayo Clinic and 78 of the best hospitals in the country, it would be more trusted because of the authority of the referrers.  The key is that the places linking to you need to be relevant.  Being picked as a great artist by the Mayo Clinic and 78 of the best hospitals in the country is not very useful. 

Going back to Ashley, her Bachelor of Fine Arts came from MICA, a highly regarded educational institution.  They provide their students with a portfolio on their site.  That’s a perfect place to start.  She also already has a Behance portfolio.   Facebook and Pinterest similarly should take around 1 minute each if you work slowly.  I offered to create a link from my website here.  (done with this post) and have also arranged to get a link from the tumblr site of one of my favorite people photographers.  The fact is, if you pick the right people and sources, it is a win / win.  They get to associate themselves with other “birds of a feather”. The fact is, I am proud to know Ashley and delighted to help her in any way that I can.


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