Patricia J. Velte, my Web guru, offers this advice for artists.
In a nutshell, artist should actually use the technology that they hear about and think they must have.
If they want a shopping cart … they should try purchasing things online so they know what online shopping is like and try PayPal so that they can explain the purchasing process to new clients.
If they want a blog … they should visit other blogs and even post comments.
If they want people to subscribe to their blog … they should actually subscribe to other blogs and see what they like and don't like about how the subscription services work, etc.
If they want to podcast … they should actually own an mp3 player, know how to use it, and subscribe to a few podcasts–even downloading the files and listening to them to see what the experience is like.
If they want the ability to track who opens their e-mail messages and know what links they use within the message … they should sign up for mailing lists and use the links in the messages so they can find out if they find it convenient or inconvenient to receive follow-up messages.
If they want to have audio or video on their site … they should visit other artists' or competitors' sites to find out what they like to experience as the visitor and what they don't.
Pat, I couldn’t agree more. I have seen so many people bumble their technology because they were told (by me?–oops) that they needed a blog or needed something else. But they haven’t the curiosity to find out what that will mean and how to do it right.
Back to the in a nutshell thing: USE technology before you commit to it. Otherwise, it becomes a frustrating diversion on your artist’s path. You’re stuck with something that doesn’t behave as you would like and wasted a lot of time.