What Art Sells?

  • There are more than 132 million housing units in the U.S. Based on the average square footage and the average amount of wall space, a rough estimate is that that about six billion paintings, photographs and other decorative items are on display in homes.
  • Much of what we buy– the clothes we wear, the car we drive– is functional, but also reflects aspects of ourselves. Art is no different: It depicts things we like to see or feelings with which we sympathize or concepts that ring true. The art we buy is as much about who we are as it is about the artists who create it.
  • Sexes show stark differences in how they evaluate art (Michigan State University Marketing.)
    • Men seem to focus more on the artist’s background and authenticity. Men also evaluate how motivated and passionate the artist was/is.
    • Women pay more attention to the art, taking the artist’s authenticity into account, but a bigger factor was the artwork itself. “Women are more willing to go through a process of evaluating the artwork; men may say ‘This guy’s a great artist, so I’ll buy his art.’”
  • Estimates indicate that around 5% of the work featured in major permanent collections worldwide is by women. Example: The National Gallery in London contains more than 2,300 works; information in 2011 indicated that only 11 of the artists in that enormous collection are women.
  • There has never been a time when auction results for art made by women have equaled those of art made by men:
    • Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s in November 2014. But that is a rare sale.
    • Norman Rockwell’s Saying Grace went for $46 million.
    • Edward Hopper’s East Wind Over Weehawken went for $40.5 million.
  • The Art of Buying Art on a Budget.Collectors seek importance, eminence, and a dialogue with art history (a narrative not necessarily determined by either the artist or the consumer).
  • What do people buy?
    • Themes: animal portraits – your dog, cat, horse, exotic bird.
    • Jobs: dock workers, coal miners, studies by Norman Rockwell.
    • Locations: Popular home towns, i.e. San Francisco. Consistent bestsellers are images of exotic beach scenes in Tahiti.
    • Hobbies: Boaters (nautical scenes), hunters (duck and wildlife prints), fishing/streams


If you are using information to mimic other artists, this can rob you of your creativity and dignity.  What is your motivation to learn about what kind of art sells best? If it is just curiosity and a brief distraction, there probably is no harm.

What is your problem?

If your motivation is to know about what kind of art is selling best these days so you can make art just like it, this is not a smart idea for your art career. It quite likely means you may have acquired some practical art making skills, but are lacking in imagination, or don’t trust what you have.

If the art you currently produce is not selling well, you might find yourself using research to find bestselling art subjects. If that is the case, you may inadvertently overlook other reasons why your art is not selling.

As the Chinese proverb says,
“When business is bad, paint the counter.”

Asking the right questions.

“Have I done enough of the right kind of marketing to give my art exposure to my best prospects?” Is it that your art sucks, or that your marketing sucks?

If your marketing sucks, you cannot fix poor art sales by changing what kind of art you make. You will still have the same problem of not having enough eyeballs from your best prospects on your work.

It is a simple equation; the only way to sell your art is showing it to lots of the right people.

Determine your problem. Take action.

If your art is stacking up in your studio, you have a marketing problem, not necessarily an art subject matter problem.

Let’s assume your marketing is sufficient, and your work is not selling, consider:

  • Subject matter.   Color schemes.  Media.  Sizes. Originality.

When you have these things in harmony, you will have the greatest success.

Success: Bestselling Artists

Tell-The-Truth-Mark-TwainConsider what other successful artists are doing with each of the above categories. Bestselling artists usually make smart, informed decisions based on what is happening in the art business around them

If you are using research so you can make art just like what is selling best, i.e. copying others, it is likely you have put your creativity away, or don’t trust it, or that you do not have any.

By copying works, you are aiming for second best, or worst.

Copying another artist’s work, whether it is a painting, a photograph, or an image from a calendar or magazine is illegal copyright infringement. What you consider “borrowing,” is illegal use of another artists’ copyright.

This happens too often these days:  An artist will come up with a unique look or style and start enjoying conspicuous success with it. Soon, other artists take notice and start copying the style. Some copy so closely they are infringing on the copyrights of the original artist.

There is a fine line between what some call “creative borrowing” and illegally copying. If you are not sure of where you stand, or are unaware, it will not hold up as a defense in lawsuit against you.

If we all liked the same thing all the time, life would be boring.

The stark truth about what kind of art sells best.

If you must, use your research to decide to include colors that match contemporary decor trends, or pay homage to a trending subject matter, or offer prices, sizes and media that the public wants. That is using research wisely.

Using your research to find top selling art so you can slavishly copy it is a terrible thing. It is unhealthy for your career, probably dangerous for your reputation, ruinous for your self-esteem and hurtful for the artists you choose to copy.

No one can own a category, style, subject matter, or look.

Some subject matters are so popular that many artists enjoy considerable success with it. The late Marty Bell had extraordinary success with a line of romantic cottages (image right) based on earlier works by English artists. Then the late Thomas Kinkade borrowed the subject matter and took it to unparalleled print sales success.

California artist George Sumner reportedly is the father of the still popular “over and under” marine wildlife-painting genre. However, Robert Lyn Nelson, Wyland and Christian Riese Lassen benefitted from employing ying the subject matter technique into their work. It takes a studied eye in many cases to identify which artist painted some images. Nevertheless, they all made millions working in the genre.

Through his unique marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life and environmental conservation.

Research:  What kind of art sells best?

You might be so smitten by the idea of painting cottages, whales or angels and dragons that you are compelled to make the subject the theme of your work.

If you choose this direction, use the influence of those before you who have taken the genre to a new level. Still, create your own distinctive masterpiece.

If you choose to use your research to understand what kind of art sells best to imitate it in a way that confuses art buyers, which I strongly urge you not to do, then I suggest you do not publish your real name on the piece. That way, you keep the knockoff entirely phony from start to finish.

If the above describes you, and you are selling work that looks almost identical to the original artist’s work, then I suggest you look into using your skills in other ways.  There may be a better way to manage your artistic talents and regain your dignity.

Art-related careers

Create and Run a Successful Art Gallery.If you are not yet ready to move into a full-time art career, I hope you find considering some of these art-related careers as possible leads towards an ideal situation for yourself:

    • Picture framer
    • Art gallery owner or employee
    • Art restorer conservationist
    • Corporate art buyer
    • Art handler
    • Graphic designer
    • Illustrator
    • Web designer
    • Video game designer
    • Animation and cartooning
    • Museum curator
    • Museum technician
    • Art educator (who understands copyright laws)
    • Art marketing consultant
    • Ad agency art director
    • Art agent / business manager
    • Art dealer
    • Art photographer (easier said than done)
    • Giclee printer
    • Art tour guide



  • ArtBusiness.com
  • Art Marketing News
  • WetCanvas.com (Forums)


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Copyright Ethics and Laws


Avoid copyright issues by taking your own photos or making your own sketches of your subjects.

Copyright Laws.Copyrights in a Global Economy.Copyright in A Global Information EconomyCopyright in a Global Information Economy. explores the full range of copyright law and its relationship to technological innovations and globalization. This casebook elucidates the fundamental disputes of copyright law with balanced perspective. The book features comprehensive coverage of domestic and international copyright law, a balanced treatment of controversial issues, as well as a wide selection of concisely edited cases, engaging and practical examples and discussions, and photographs that facilitate and stimulate discussion of cases.

Sources for the following include:

  • Harvard Law: www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/martin/art_law/image_rights.htm;
  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Text 1971) published by Cornell University Law School: www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html;
  • Huffington Post: www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-atkinson/ethics-for-artists_b_826053.html;
  • www.gyst-ink.com;
  • World Intellectual Property Organization: www.wipo.int/portal/en/index.html

There is a distinct difference between having your art and style influenced by another’s work and downright copying another’s work and selling it, without permission.


Serious problems with copying work, without permission, and passing it off as your own include:

  • Confusion: The public will see your art and confuse it with another person’s work.  This does not help either one of you.
  • Diminishes Your Respect As An Artist: People may claim that you are unable to create on your own, that you have to steal from someone else, which will not add to your success.
  • Stunts Your Artistic Growth: You will never grow as an artist if you outright reproduce someone’s art and style.  To grow, you must challenge yourself and cultivate your own look.
  • Illegal: If you are knocking off another’s work for financial gain, you are violating copyright laws.  You could be sued and/or get very bad publicity from it.
  • You’ll Get Shut Down: When you have accounts on Esty.com, Zazzle.com or similar sites, you’ll have your account shut down if they get complaints about you selling copied images.

Copyright protection exists from the moment a work is created in a fixed, tangible form of expression. The copyright immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author, or those deriving their rights through the author, can rightfully claim copyright. In the case of works made for hire, the employer—not the writer—is considered the author.

USING OTHER PEOPLE’S IMAGES: An ongoing problem, which has increased dramatically because of the Internet, is that artists use other people’s images without giving the artist any credit, or not changing the image enough to make it distinct from the original. Copyright infringement is quite serious.

Also, while not illegal, making work that looks like someone else’s is unethical. Sometimes this happens unknowingly. But, if you saw a great image in Artforum, and then remade it as your own, you are charging into unethical territory.

ONLINE POSTING: Artists that display their work online or allow their art to be published often include a copyright symbol (along with their name and the year the artwork was created) next to the reproduced image. This practice isn’t actually necessary—you still own the copyright, even without using the symbol—but at least this will remind people not to copy your work.

Copyright Laws.Copyright Laws.If you find out that someone HAS “infringed” on your copyright, and you can prove that the copyright symbol was next to the image of your artwork that they copied, you’ll have a very strong case against them if the issue ever goes to court—which is exactly why so many artists choose to put up that copyright notice.

Even after selling an original work of art to a collector, you still hold the copyright. The buyer cannot make prints or sell copies unless you’ve given them express permission in writing.

PINTEREST has a growing group of artists and professional photographers in an uproar due to possible copyright infringement issues. Before you pin, re-blog, or otherwise use material that is not yours, make sure you understand what you’re getting into and when in doubt, seek the advice of a competent copyright attorney. Initially, make sure you have the right to pin someone’s work.

Ruth Carter, attorney at Carter Law Firm, PLLC cautions against using Pinterest recklessly, saying “Assume you are committing copyright infringement until proven otherwise. Giving an attribution or a link back to the original source may not save you; be prepared to spend over $150,000 in damages every time you don’t verify that you have permission to use an image.”

Don’t rely on urban folk tales. Common issues that can get you into trouble:

  • All materials created since 1989, except those created by the U.S. federal government, are presumptively protected by copyright.
  • ‘Fair Use’ is one of the most misunderstood concepts in copyright law, probably because of the reference to reproducing a ‘small portion’ – often quoted as ‘ten percent’. However that small portion referred to is for review, criticism, illustration of a lesson, or quotation in a scholarly or technical work.
  • The US copyright office mentions parody, which some artworks are, but this is a specific instance – and you might have to prove it in court. If you copy part of an artwork for the purpose of a learning, that’s one thing, but as soon as you exhibit that work, its function has changed – exhibition is regarded as advertising – and you are now in breach of copyright.

I changed it ten percent. Does that make it okay? No. That’s another myth that originated from the ‘fair use’ guidelines, but as already established, most drawing does not come under ‘fair use’, and copying, even if you change it, breaches copyright.

Paintings Made from Photographs: A painting made from a photograph is known as a derivative work, but that doesn’t mean you can simply make a painting from any photo you find — you need to check the copyright of the photo.

The creator of the photograph, i.e. the photographer, usually holds the copyright to the photo and, unless they’ve expressly given permission for its use, making a painting based on a photo would infringe the photographer’s copyright.

As for the argument that it’s fine to make a painting from a photo provided it doesn’t say “do not duplicate” or because 10 different artists would produce 10 different paintings from the same photo, that’s a misconception that photos aren’t subject to the same stringent copyright rules as paintings. All too often artists, who would scream if someone copied their paintings, do not hesitate to make a painting of someone else’s photo, with no thought to creator’s rights.

  • The First Sale Doctrine: The physical ownership of an item such as a book, painting, manuscript or CD is not the same as owning the copyright to the work embodied in that item. However, it does not permit reproducing the material, publicly displaying or performing it, or engaging in any of the acts reserved for the copyright holder.
  • Duration of Copyright: The term of copyright protection depends upon the date of creation. A work created on or after January 1, 1978, is ordinarily protected by copyright from the moment of its creation until 70 years after the author’s death.
  • For works made for hire, anonymous works and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
  • Public Domain: The public domain comprises all works that are either no longer protected by copyright or never were. It should not be confused with the mere fact that a work is publicly available (such as information in books or periodicals, or content on the Internet).
  • Essentially, all works first published in the United States before 1923 are considered to be in the public domain in the United States. The public domain also extends to works published between 1923 and 1963 on which copyright registrations were not renewed.
  • Penalties of Copyright Infringement: By reproducing, republishing or redistributing the work of a copyright holder without permission, you may be violating or infringing on his or her rights under the Copyright Act.

IF YOU ARE ASKED BY A CLIENT TO COPY SOMEONE’S WORK: It is an insult to say to an artist “Hey, I like your work, but will you copy this other guy’s art for me?”  It can also be illegal.  But some people aren’t aware of the ethics.  As an artist, it’s up to you to educate your clients. When someone asks you to copy another’s artwork by handing you another’s artwork, tell them no and then give a suggestion as to what you will paint instead, in your own style and of your own design.  Let them know that you don’t want to break any copyright laws.


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Follow Your Dream

Our dreams are many-fold; it has been difficult to focus and meander down one (oh, maybe two) paths.

Fruit Eating Flying Fish

Fruit Eating Flying Fish

Dianne has wandered back into Benicia’s Tannery with web work (for Once Upon A Canvas in Benicia and will be exhibiting a selection of drawings and cards at their shop in The Tannery.

She has also added paintings and photographs to her own art site at World Images.

World Images has been exceptionally interesting since coming across Artist Websites.

At that site, one can upload original art and viewers can choose to turn that art into canvas or acrylic framed prints, greeting cards, phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags.

There is no right or wrong. Just enjoy the process.

The artist-owners of Once Upon a Canvas believe that there is no “right” or “wrong” with your art. Do what you love, take tactile pleasure in all mediums, and enjoy the result.


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The Largest Project!

The Maritime Heritage Project.We started working on The Maritime Heritage Project about 18 years ago. It has been designed, redesigned, added to, changed, etc., throughout those years. Now, because of responsive Web design, it is again being updated.

San-Francisco-Bay-Russian-1200x362This time, however, it is going through a full redesign due to cell phone use and for search engine convenience. The lists of ship passengers, which is perhaps the most valuable portion of the site, has been split into Ship Passengers along with copies of the pages on sea captains, VIPS (very important passengers), and quirky news stories of the day.

It is but one of the sites we manage that we’re scrambling to bring to its new electronic life on the World Wide Web (or, more accurately, your cell phone).

Of course, such updates are fun (when they’re not frustrating), because we seek new images, such as the map of the San Francisco Bay Area above — what’s new or fun about that, you may ask. It’s from the 1800s and it’s in Russian.

Folks along California’s West Coast constantly argue about who was here first. Our searches while building The Maritime Heritage Project site indicate that it may well have been Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and various Pacific Islanders. Islanders are sea people; they traveled thousands of miles in their craft.


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Responsive & Intuitive Design

Changing Web Design
Sites designed and coded some years ago now necessitate rebuilding — or at least refreshing — to deal with hand-held devices, particularly cellphones as that is how the world is being viewed. Some “designerly” sites, albeit initially expensive to develop, are outdated and will NOT display on a cell phone. If your audience is between ages 8 and, oh, 50, cross-platform designs are mandatory. In addition to a redesign, many considerations remain:


  • Indexing: You have less than 3 seconds to grab your visitors. Indexing on the bottom of the page (“below the fold” in newspaper jargon) is inadvisable. This can’t be seen on a mobile device, which is how many younger executives view the Web, and, generally people will not scroll down to the bottom of a page in any case.
  • Graphics must be top notch and compliment the layout and site. If they are poor quality, viewers will assume that you and/or your Web designer does not know what they are doing.

Updating Your Knowledge Base:

More on the F-Shaped Pattern (F Means FAST)

According to Jakob Nielson, who recorded how 232 users view thousands of Web pages with their Web Content
Eyetracking visualization heat-reading software, users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.  In a few seconds, your visitors eyes move at amazing speeds across your website’s words in a pattern that’s very different from what you learned in school.

Basically, they found that the reading pattern resembles an “F”:

  • Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
  • Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.
  • Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.
    Obviously, users’ scan patterns are not always comprised of exactly three parts. Sometimes users will read across a third part of the content, making the pattern look more like an E than an F. Other times they’ll only read across once, making the pattern look like an inverted L (with the crossbar at the top).
Heatmaps from user eyetracking studies of three websites.

The areas where users looked the most are colored red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Gray areas didn’t attract any fixations.

Heat-maps illustrate how users read three different types of Web pages:

  • an article in the “about us” section of a corporate website (far left)
  • a product page on an e-commerce site (center)
  • a search engine results page (SERP; far right).
    If you squint and focus on the red (most-viewed) areas, all three heatmaps show the expected F pattern. Of course, there are some differences.

The F viewing pattern is a general shape.
On the e-commerce page (middle example), the second crossbar of the F is lower than usual because of the intervening product image. Users also allocated significant time to a box in the upper right where the price and “add to cart” button are found.

On the SERP (right example), the second crossbar of the F is longer than the top crossbar, mainly because the second headline is longer than the first.

  • Users won’t read your text in a word-by-word manner.
  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. This is consistent with classic newspaper style — an inverted triangle is generally used to describe this.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content.


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Read for Success

Train Your Brain For Success
Read Smarter, Remember More, and Break Your Own Records

Roger Seip

Train your mind to achieve new levels of success!

Professionals and entrepreneurs do a great job of keeping up appearances. But if they’re honest with themselves, they’re short on living the life they really want. Train Your Brain For Success provides the perspective to analyze how you got where you are and, more importantly, learn the skills to get where you truly desire to be. Train Your Brain for Success.

Train Your Brain For Success explains specific ways of thinking and acting that will get anyone where they want to go, fast.

Learn to condition your mind to move towards success automatically, by discovering greater memory power and fundamental techniques for boosting reading speed and comprehension.

Get a proven strategy for succeeding and becoming a record-breaking performer.

  • Learn to live in the moment
  • Become brilliant with the basics
  • Aggressively take care of your mind

Train your mind for new levels of success by boosting memory power, reading speed and comprehension.


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Build Your Audience

If you are in business, you need a Web presence. Web sites are actually somewhat difficult to build and manage; however, blogs are relatively easy after the initial learning curve. You might find it worthwhile to hire a professional (or trade services) to have it set up, but most people can take it from there and add new content every week or two to increase your Internet visibility.

Overview of Setting up a WordPress Blog

WordPress gets the public vote for being easiest to use and currently it is the most popular

Fortunately, you will not need new software, which is necessary to build a Websites. Blogs are a perfect example of “cloud computing,” which simply means using the internet to access software running on someone else’s hardware.

WordPress.com vs wordpress.org:

WordPress.com is free. However, you end up with a clumsy url, i.e. yourname.wordpress.com. If future employees (or your family/friends) forget the wordpress portion of the name, they will not find you.

WordPress.org requires that you have your own url and hosted web site. At GoDaddy.com, for $10-$14 per year you can register your name (or if your own name is gone, a clear and memorable name). YourName.com is the best name as most people automatically type in .com; however if .com is gone for you, consider the newest .co.

Hosting at GoDaddy.com runs around $5 per month . . . Initially you will not need add-ons, so don’t worry about them. BIG TIP: No “dots,” “dashes,” or “underscores” in your chosen name. Absolutely no one remembers them.

Setting Up WordPress

Instructions follow, and I’m on the other end of eMail, but it might be easier for you to go to one of the following:

Online textual Instructions: www.wordpress.org or www.wordpress.com

How-to Video: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/08/21/how-to-set-up-wordpress-step-by-step-video-tutorial/

Or: If you do use GoDaddy:

  1. Go to Hosting Control Center
  2. Setup your account: GoDaddy is in Arizona, always there, and can help with this if you get confused (which is easy to do initially): 480 505 8877.
  3. Click on “Manage Account” to the right of your new account
  4. Click Your Applications on top.
  5. Click on Blogs on the Left.
  6. Click on WordPress.
  7. Click the INSTALL NOW orange button.
  8. You will have to unzip this file: If you do not have Unzip software, there is a free 30-day trial from WinZip: http://www.winzip.com/index.htm. Download that and then unzip the file.

Your Blog

There is a lot of information to wade through.

Once that is done, go to http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons where you will find WordPress for Beginners. Again, it looks overwhelming, but you won’t need to read all of it, you don’t need to know any of the complicated coding, etc.

Mainly you will need to go to: http://codex.wordpress.org/First_Steps_With_WordPress for an overview of setting up your site. This page has everything you will need starting with a free Theme which you will download from: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ Then to: http://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts for information on writing posts and to write your first post.



[adinserter block=”1″]


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Content = Still King

Google Analytics continues to validate that “content is king.”

A growing number of information providers are online; as a result, being able to produce copy suitable for online readership is increasingly important. This book covers basic copywriting principles. The differences between writing for online and offline topics are highlighted to enable you to write the best form of copy for the end source.

Of the Internet’s more than 1 billion Websites, less than 20% are visible; most receive less than 100 visitors monthly.

Many Web sites you are up against have teams of writers, editors, photographers, artists, and programmers (i.e. SFGate.com is owned by Hearst Corporation and fed by San Francisco Chronicle media professionals).

You CAN play with the Big Boys and keep your service/company on top of searches by adding frequent content relevant to your business and audience.

Check your site by visiting Google Analytics. (Because of continuous updates and refreshing of Google’s ranking algorithm, pages fluctuate.  Google’s algorithm is designed to work without internet marketers pushing sites. If your website provides value to visitors, you’ll naturally rank well in Google. Google wants these types of websites to be on page #1. When someone searches a specific keyword, Google wants to provide them with the most valuable website possible.

What we monitor on each site developed:

  • Bounce Rates – When you type a search term into Google, you’ll generally click on a websites displayed on the first page of results. If the page you visit doesn’t give you the information you’re looking for, you’ll generally click right back to the results search page. That is “bounce rate.” A high bounce rate (50%+), indicates that people are merely glancing at your website, didn’t quickly find needed information, and bolt to search other sites.
  • Average Time on Site – Conversely, if your website provides value, visitors will take time to read the content throughout your site.  Google Analytics, “average time on site” indicates how long visitors stayed once they landed on your site.
  • Number of Pages Visited – When visitors find information valuable to them, they tend to click links to other pages. This is what the “number of pages visited” metric tracks, which indicates the depth of valuable content on a given website.

Ranking factors include:
• Keyword usage  • Site structure  • Site speed  • Time spent on site
• Number and quality of inbound links

Comparisons and
~Client Sites




Time on Site

1 (low)
10 (max)











SFGate.com   (Chronicle/Hearst)








MarinIJ.com (newspaper)




(International: 400+ links in;
Valued at $20k)






(San Rafael)




Jared Huffman.com (Assemblyman)




~ MarinEStudios.com
(Small site valued at $13k)







~ SpudPointCrab.com
(Bodega Bay Seafood)




(Non profit: Peru)












~PriscillaRoyal.com  (Author)



























(World Images)






~PaulMcHugh.net (Author)




Marin County Firm




FinishesUnlimited.net: California Firm




MooreCPA.com (MarinMarket)
(Ranked 3 in 2011)




ProMortgage: National Firm




~ Sites developed by MarinEStudios.
Updated February 24, 2015


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Online Business 2014


  1. Blogging – Blog your passion and expertise until you earn a wide audience or loyal readers online. Make money online from advertising on your blog and other blog monetization schemes.
  2. eBook writing – If you are already a reputable writer or blogger, you can write an eBook and promote it on your blog. We started Terra Publishing House to see how this goes, and were pleased to learn the process and watch our books sell.
  3. Social media marketing services will help promote your idea via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This is important; lots of people don’t have the time or desire to “chat” on social media sites, but the effort can bring excellent returns via developing audiences and selling product.
  4. Website design and development: Create and design corporate websites to help them build their Internet presence. There is a steep learning curve to building excellent blogs and websites for today’s market. However, it pays well and if you like design, it’s a great way to spend your life. You can Prosper in Pajamas
  5. Content writing: Create quality content and articles for businesses on their websites. If you are a writer, this is a splendid way to work . . . you set your own pay, hours, goals and can work from anywhere in the world.
  6. Website flipping: Buy undeveloped websites or develop your own websites, then sell advertising space, or sell the site for profit. Associates have done quite well.
  7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services help companies and businesses rank their web pages higher on the search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. However, those services along will not grow your audience. You need to “feed” your market frequently, or they will find new pastures.
  8. Social media management services – Help businesses maintain their social media presence (ex. Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, Google+ pages, and YouTube channels) alive and engaging.
  9. ORM (Online Reputation Management) services: Help companies manage what people are saying about their brand and products online. A cautionary note: We know of a timeshare company in Hawaii that got into trouble by hiring a company to keep them up in the charts by pretending to be timeshare purchasers and by pretending to be happy with their purchase. If you hire someone, such management should be honest and ethical.
  10. Web application development – Develop Facebook apps and other web applications for business and marketing purposes.
  11. Online trading/auction – Sell merchandise and other items on Amazon, eBay, and other online marketplaces.
  12. Online webinars – Train people and share your expertise through online webinars. You may also create a membership site and charge people for premium membership fee.
  13. Create online directories and other money making websites. Develop online yellow pages and charge companies for their business listings. You many also create online classified ads, forums, and other community sites.

Your Business Plan

Before you start any of the above, PLEASE develop a business plan to determine if it’s worth your time, what’s the competition, will you stick with it?

  1. Is this a great idea? Research as many aspects of your business as you can before you start it – for example; is there a market for your product/service? Who are your competitors? Do you have the financial capacity to start a business?
  2. Will the time invested in developing your product produce sufficient returns so that you can recover your investment? Seriously, we had a client that wanted to go into a “cupcake design” business — each cupcake cost something like $2.10 to make and could not sell for enough to cover that cost, the cost of labor, delivery, etc. The idea got scratched.
  3. Have 20/20 vision – your vision statement, included in your business plan, should be a solid basis for all your business activities.
  4. What’s in a name? A good business name not only identifies you to your customers, but has the potential to make you stand out from your competitors.
  5. Licence and registration: Be sure to have the right licences and permits for your business activities.
  6. Own your product rights: Do you have a great business name? Or perhaps a unique design or patent? Protect your intellectual property (IP) rights by registering for the right IP.
  7. Insurance is vital to guard you against events that may not be within your control.
  8. Advertising on the cheap. There are many ways to market your business, regardless of your financial budget. Ensure that your advertising efforts are rewarded by doing research on your market and request audience numbers from any media you are considering, i.e. who watches, how many people, ages, etc.
  9. Having an online presence has been quite important for a few years now and it is becoming more and more important as people switch to online searches for just about anything. There are many upsides to developing an online following, including the ability to talk about your business with experts around the world.
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User Experience Team

Leah Buley’s The User Experience Team of One prescribes a range of approaches that have big impact and take less time and fewer resources than the standard lineup of UX deliverables. Whether you want to cross over into user experience or you’re a seasoned practitioner trying to drag your organization forward, this book gives you tools and insight for doing more with less.

Google remains our favorite search engine . . . and has been since we came across it in a newsroom about 20 years ago.

Since its inception, Google has employed a “User Experience Team” to create designs that are useful, fast, simple, engaging, innovative, universal, profitable, beautiful, trustworthy, and personable. We first posted their guidelines a couple of years ago. Following is updated from their Corporate Philosophy. Their rules are excellent guidelines for anyone planning their business/Web presence.

They suggest that a Flexible Web Design product that gets the following principles right is “Googley” – and will satisfy and delight people all over the world. The following is excerpted from their site and, if you haven’t already done so, their site IS worth a visit for anyone in business; they are the world’s top search engine and they make many of the rules.
The following is generously excerpted from their site.

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

    Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line . . . our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly . . . advertising is clearly marked and offers relevant content . . .

  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

    We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better . . . Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help people access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.

  3. Fast is better than slow.

    We know your time is valuable . . .  We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our website as quickly as possible. By shaving excess bits and bytes from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, we’ve broken our own speed records many times over . . . And we continue to work on making it all go even faster.

  4. Democracy on the web works.

    Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web . . .

  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

    People want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos . . .

  6. You can make money without doing evil.

    Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords and Adsense to promote their products . . . To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users, we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:

    • We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find . . .
    • Advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop-up advertising . . . text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher click-through rates . . .
    • Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link.” We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank.
  7. There’s always more information out there.

    Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search news archives, patents, academic journals, billions of images and millions of books. And our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers.

  8. The need for information crosses all borders.

    Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in more than 60 countries, maintain more than 180 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 130 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages and accessible formats as possible. Using our translation tools, people can discover content written on the other side of the world in languages they don’t speak. With these tools and the help of volunteer translators, we have been able to greatly improve both the variety and quality of services we can offer in even the most far–flung corners of the globe.

  9. You can be serious without a suit.

    Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture–and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success. We put great stock in our employees–energetic, passionate people from diverse backgrounds with creative approaches to work, play and life. Our atmosphere may be casual, but as new ideas emerge in a café line, at a team meeting or at the gym, they are traded, tested and put into practice with dizzying speed–and they may be the launch pad for a new project destined for worldwide use.

  10. Great just isn’t good enough.

    We see being great at something as a starting point, not an endpoint. We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected. For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.

    Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours. We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards . . .  Ultimately, our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.


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