How to Optimize your CustomMade Portfolio
This article was written by Heather Bailey, Maker Support team member at CustomMade.com.
Adding work to your portfolio is vitally important to gaining visibility on the site. Our most successful makers have over 50 projects and counting in their portfolios. The more content you have, the higher your chances are of having a potential customer find you. However, having a large body of work isn’t the only key to visibility on the Internet. You also need the right titles and descriptions for optimal results. When we use the word “visibility” we’re talking about search visibility. About 75% of all visitors to CustomMade come from search engines like Google or Bing and land directly on relevant pages buried in our site. The great thing about this is, visitors who are seeking your type of work will absolutely find it, but only if you are thorough in your titles and descriptions.
Let’s walk you through the entire process.
You (the maker) have crafted a table with matching benches. It’s a great set and a piece of work that you feel embodies your style and really shows what you’re capable of making. You’ve had it photographed and you’re excited to show it to the world of potential customers at your fingertips on CustomMade. Once you’ve uploaded the photo, you’ll be required to provide a title and a description of your piece.
The title might be one of (if not the) most important few words needed when optimizing your portfolio. The title of the project sets the web page address or the slug. Once you’ve chosen the title, it will now be stored in the specific web page title that looks like this; custommade.com/mahogany-table/by/johnsmith. The web page title is something search engines really value when determining what to present as results from a search query.
Initially you might be inclined to give a title that makes the most sense to you. For example: you may wan to call the table and bench set, “Set #23″, however, titles where the information only applies to you aren’t the best. When a consumer searches for what they want, the chances that they’ll type in “Set #23″ are pretty slim, and the search engines will never pick it up.
When deciding upon a title, start asking yourself questions about the piece. What style is it? What’s it’s purpose? Once you have a few descriptive words floating around in your head, a title will emerge. Let’s now say we’ve decided to call ours, A Scrap Wood Table and Bench Set. In this short title, we’ve identified the style, a material, and a function.
The description gives you a great opportunity to tell the story and the inspiration behind the piece. This is also where you should be writing as much pertinent information about the piece as you can. Here’s a trick, imagine you don’t have a photo or a title. How would you describe this piece to someone who can’t see it? What you’ve basically done, is describe the piece of work to a search engine. A search engine is not smart enough to “see” a photo and understand exactly what it is, therefore, it must rely on descriptive words to see whether or not it pertains to a search query.
Take a look at the description for this chest by furniture maker Peter S. Turner, http://www.custommade.com/fw-blanket-chest/by/petersturner.
“As an additional source of income, I write. Mostly for magazines but right now I’m working with Scott Gibson on a book about blanket chests. Tune in mid-March, 2011.
This piece ended up on the cover of Fine Woodworking, issue 203, along with a how-to article. It was inspired by a photo of a 17th century English chest added to my remembrance of an old pine tool chest that was around in my folks’ house when I was a kid.
The lid, panels and sliding, dovetailed tray are ash; the frames are shagbark hickory. I spliced an eye into each end of the lid stay.
The main photo shows a recently completed commission that grew out of the article. There are a few minor design changes to the battens and lid. For this one I used flatsawn cherry for the frames and quartered cherry for the panels.”
The bold words are searchable terms that a consumer might use to find the work.
Google makes a great tool called Keyword that can help you figure out which words to use. You can enter words that you’ll use to describe your work and see their popularity based on Google search data. There is a wealth of consumer data available to you at this link: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Now we’re not suggesting that you write a novel about every one of your pieces. A good rule of thumb is about two paragraphs of keyword rich description will suffice.
Once you have your title and description, the final step will be adding tags. Tags are simply keywords used to classify information. If you re-read your description, you’ll begin to see words that hold more weight than others. By identifying and extracting these keywords, you’ll begin to come up with your tags. For example (from the description above) the maker could pull out the bold words and make them into tags. The more tags the better, it just adds to your ability to be searched on our site.
Once you’ve done a few photos, they’ll begin to seem easier and easier. As always, the more photos you have in your portfolio, the wider net you are casting online and on CustomMade. By optimizing your portfolio for search engines, your work will be seen by many potential customers.