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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

The tools of The Watercolor Gallery, so far

September 16, 2010

We live in an increasingly interesting world where creating something from nothing is getting easier and easier. Several years ago I would say that it was easier than ever to set up a new website and get going. The same is true today, of course, but I am just as astounded by this fact today as I was then.

The Watercolor Gallery is not even two months old yet and it has 70 pieces of art in its archive, a Twitter account, a brand-new domain name thanks to Jesse Davis, a fledgling yet unused mailing list (you can subscribe on the gallery’s homepage), and much more.

How, in such a short period of time, could one person who is running this website as a few-hours-a-week hobby possibly have set all of this up? It is all about the tools.

The website, as you’re undoubtedly aware, is using Tumblr for both hosting and the content management. I use the “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet to quickly create drafts during the week as I rummage around the Internet – which I’ll then go back in later (typically on Sunday mornings) and pretty them up, write some sort of description and queue them up for the entire week. Tumblr has made creating posts for the site quicker than any other software I’ve ever tried – and I’ve used a lot over the last 16 years.

The mailing list, which I haven’t yet used but am collecting email addresses for to the tune of a few a day, is powered by Mail Chimp. For my use, so far, Mail Chimp is free and simple to use. Win, win.

Having an account on Twitter has several advantages. Many people do not use feed readers. Having a Twitter account, even though there are a very few people following it currently, makes it possible for those that do not use feed readers but do use Twitter to keep up-to-date with the gallery. The other main advantage is being able to engage the community and artists that I find on Twitter under The Watercolor Gallery’s brand other than my own Twitter account.

To track the statistics for The Watercolor Gallery I’m using Google Analytics. It does a pretty decent job of quickly showing me what people are most interested in on the site as well as whether or not people simply come and go or if they stick around and look through the gallery or not. It is pretty interesting to see.

For an upcoming artist interview series, wherein I will interview some of the artists who have been featured on the gallery already, I am using a quickly thrown together and free Wufoo form. This form asks the artists the same few questions, collates all of the information together for me, and emails me an easily digestable block of text that I can then use for the interview itself. It is quite wonderful really.

Aside from that I may need to edit an image here or there to fit the gallery – which I use the incredible Acorn for.

Although I’m sure the number of tools I use to make life easy over at The Watercolor Gallery will increase or change – I’m really happy about how easy it is to put out what I think is a fantastic website.