Belinda Lindhardt

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tracking Your Artwork and Website - My Web Update

This weekend i updated my website (AGAIN :) This time the update isn't visual ,its in the functionality or what we web people call the "backend", so for this blog post i thought you might all like a bit of insight as to how I have worked my website and how it all integrates with the way my artwork and files "tracked" or organised. So stay with me, here we go :)

Some of you may remember my post last year about - Keeping Track of Your Work, which details a system for the way that i (and YOU) can track artwork, files, filenames etc. and generally make life a bit easier.
I developed the system after years of working with my and other peoples files for websites etc and i know that o
nce you have the system in place if you stick to it, it works :) I have had lots of people write to me to tell me that this kind of system has helped them organise their work and files and this makes me happy as i love being able to help people out this way :)

Just to recap for those who missed it, in my post i talk about my tracking document (i used a word document) which keeps a record of details for each artwork that is produced or displayed on my site. The details in the document are things like reference numbers, price, medium, size etc. I recently found that this version of the document was no longer working for me as some of my pieces are no longer all kept at my studio (some are in cafes etc) and i have been exhibiting more so i need to keep better track of where the physcial location of artworks are and for how long. I also have smaller artworks for sale on my website and wanted to track what i was selling where ... so basically the previous document didn't contain all of the information i needed and worse off as i wasn't updating it.

Before i go any further, i need to elaborate on how my website works. :)
I am lucky enough to have a database drive website, so here is how that works.
Each artwork has an entry the database. It has fields for all the information you see displayed on my site ie. Title, Medium, Description, Prices etc. So each time i add new works to my site i fillout the form and a new entry is added with all the relevant information and it is "published" if you like.
Previously i was coming up with my own reference numbers, but one of the new functions is that the site assigns a reference number to ensuring each one is unique. The ref no. system is important not only does each artwork contain the unique number for the site, the number also corresponds to my file system on my computer so its easy to find all the files for the artwork and all the details are displayed in a word document to quickly and easily find out things like sizes titles etc (see the previous post on ways how i name files etc to do this ). My dilemma was that i was having to update two different areas, 1 the website and 1 the word document there was a crossover of information happening between the two and for admin purposes i needed more information to be displayed privately rather than than it all being displayed to the public.

So, i sat down and worked out what extra "fields" i needed. They were:
Location ie. Studio / shop address
Contact (name if applicable)
Selling Description : (sold, NFS, For sale via site )
Price: (Prices aren't always displayed on my site and i need contain whether they include commission)
Medium: (this one was a quick reference for myself rather than the detailed description for my site)
Link: (link to the page so i can get to it or give it out if need be for blog posts and wot not)

After doing this I went to my hubby Daniel with big woeful eyes in a nice pleasant voice saying "HONEY, Can you please.... " (Dan handles all the database and tough technical stuff :) and asked him whether he would do it all for me. So, i must stop to say a big thankyou to my hubby if your reading this, who created all the extra fields i needed. Then he created the ability for me to generate a "report" of all my artworks on the website which basically spits all my information onto a html page and allows me to look up the status / or details as needed, or periodically I can also do a print out that i can refer to quickly when starting a new artwork or adding it to the site.

Now i can hear you all murmuring through the computer .. great ! well thats fine for you .. not everyone is a superfantastic web designer like you and your hubby ! (and yeah i know to be honest its hard being this good (as he always says) HA HA. I realise we are lucky for the fact that we can do these things ourselves, the reason for myself posting this post to talk more about the way it works (plus i am excited and think its cool).

I know many people struggle with managing files, images, finding details and as artists the more artwork we create the more data/files you have to wade through to find what you need. So, i am sharing to let you know the possibilities of how you CAN organise your data, sure your site might not be able to do all of this detailed here, but you may be able to modify this system to suit you :) OR simply start organising your system now so that when you get to the point when you need some type of super organisation or super website it will be easier to manage if your already thinking ahead.

Here is a pic of my report, its not supposed to be fancy or look pretty, it allows me to print the info i need :) and i am sure i will be making more changes in the future. :) Does organising ever end ?

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