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Web Sites for Needlework Teachers

Originally published in the June/July, 2002 issue of the National Embroidery Teachers Association (NETA) Journal

In this day and age, Web sites are ubiquitous. It seems like every business and entity has its own Web site. When you see a business’s truck painted with contact information, the Web address is often more prominent than the phone number. How can needlework teachers take advantage of the Web?

In general, there are three reasons for a Web site:

Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide some form of Web hosting services with your account. For informational and most marketing sites, this should be adequate. If you want to sell kits or patterns (or anything) directly to students, you will need a Web host that provides ecommerce capabilities, including a secure server. You will also need to accept credit cards; if you do not already have a merchant account, you may be able to use a service provided by the company that hosts your Web site.

It is not necessary to register your own domain. While it is nice to have a Web site named www.MyCompany.com, it costs about $25/year. The alternative is to have an address of the form www.myisp.com/myname.

Anything you can do on an informational site, you can also do on a marketing site; likewise, anything you can do on a marketing site can also be done on a sales site.

Informational Sites

For an informational site, all you need to get started is a place to put it! Check with your ISP to see what services they offer. Most provide templates or wizards for setting up simple Web sites. Such a site may have that "loving hands at home" look, but it provides you with an easy way to reach a lot of people. For example, you’re teaching a class and discover that there was an error in the directions or your students have asked for information regarding finishing options. Tell your students to check the Web site (give them the address in class) in a week or two. When you get home, you create a small Web page with the appropriate information. You only have to print and mail written directions to those students who cannot access the Internet.

You most likely would not want to register an informational site with any of the search engines. You’re not looking for people to find you; you simply want a way to give information to people you already know.

Marketing Sites

A marketing Web site serves as a brochure for your business. You can include your teaching portfolio, a description of your commercial products, a little bit about yourself, however you want to present yourself to the stitching world. Both ANG and EGA sponsor email discussion lists. Quite often when a teacher’s name is mention on one of these lists, there are requests for Web sites that show the teacher’s work.

A marketing Web site should have a professional look and feel. If at all possible, register your domain. During the past year alone, several major ISPs merged or changed in some way – addresses that were www.mediaone.net/myname are now www.attbi.com/myname . While this is a minor inconvenience for you as the site owner, it can make it difficult (if not impossible) for your customers to find you.

If your teaching portfolio is on a Web site, you no longer need to send it out when asked to teach at a Chapter – instead, give them your Web site address. Most likely you will still have to send out paper proposals for seminars, but this may soon change.

If you’re concerned about the entire world having access to your teaching portfolio, you can password protect that portion of your Web site. Different Web hosts provide different ways of doing this, but it is usually very easy to set up. Password protection allows you to limit access to only those people who know the username and password associated with that portion of your Web site. There is usually no limit to the number of username/password sets you can specify and you can remove any set when you desire. For example, if you’re contacted by a chapter that wants you to teach in May 2004, you could define a username of ChapterName with May2004 as the password. When discussions with the chapter are concluded, you can remove ChapterName/May2004 from the access control list.

Sales Sites

A sales Web site is an online store. It is like Merchandise Night, but with a much larger audience.

A credible sales Web site should have a professional look and feel, a registered domain (www.MyCompany.com), provide an online shopping cart, and accept credit cards. There should be good-quality pictures of all items for sale – small thumbnail images for fast loading, and larger pictures that show detail. You want to be careful to not show so much detail that unscrupulous stitchers could stitch from the picture!

For more information, contact Neon Flamingo Designs

Copyright ©1996-2002 Patricia Timpanaro
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: December 05, 2002