Just yesterday I had the opportunity to get on wordpress.com for the first time in ages to start a little volunteer project for a group of which I am a member, A'RT - Artists 'Round Town. This group of artists has a 16 year history and has been missing a good web solution for show promotion, fan collection, and participant bios for nearly all of it. When I was juried in as an artist, it was immediately made clear to me what single contribution I could provide that was out of reach of every other group member. Of course it was my choice - but being the youngest and newest kid on the block can make the decision to break out the inner super-hero less than slow to make.
The new A'RT website is remarkably simpler than the hand-crafted solution I would normally create for an individual client with similar needs. This is simply a wordpress blog that comes with Wordpress features: a blog (obviously), pages, an rss feed, a search box, and standard navigation, categorization, and tagging features for blog posts. There are also a variety of visual themes that can be applied at the click of a button, changing the site's look and feel, something that takes far more time and resources in ExpressionEngine. However, ExpressionEngine would allow for full control over page code and custom fields, allowing for artists to be linked in their similar media, and perhaps to even be found easier on the web with better SEO. The pages for each artist could contain more specifically organized information that could allow for better targetted page population of data on sidebars, footers, and "related" areas. Such a project would be fun to complete. I'm sure we'll be ready for it some day.
This new Wordpress site is great for A'RT for many other reasons; the first being that it's exponentially more substantial web presence than the group has carried for most of its life. Secondly, the site is being hosted on an industry-standard platform and will be taken care of in all of its technicality by forces unseen about which they will probably never know, and never have to know. Third, the costs are low - for about thirty bucks a year, we got a site with our own domain name. Fourth, contributing is about as easy as typing a word document, and every member is invited to post news and events in the blog, as it pertains to their art or the group's mission: to get our art work into exhibition venues all over the city of Albuquerque.
I'm looking forward to watching knowledge of A'RT permeate the internet and watching the group's new accessibility to the public lead to more opportunities, both for sales and for growth in number of shows and interest of other artists. It might even be worth figuring out what a "case study" is and doing one - just for kicks. I'm glad this marketing gap is now full with a site that is useful, dynamic, and will remain up-to-date, and that this talented group of artists now have this tool working by their side to ensure further success and growth.