Should Artists or Nonprofits Use A Domain Name?

Photo: The Joy of Art and Story – People admire the Art collection at the Union League Club in Chicago, Illinois – Copyright 2014 Frank J Casella.

It is said that if you want to be successful as an artist or nonprofit that you should have your own website and domain name to establish credibility. I think this can also be said for freelancers or bootstrapers. Lets take a new look at this. …

As an independent artist myself, I have noticed many artist to be transacting business without a domain name or their own website, even though if you ask an artist guru to help you with marketing they will tell you otherwise. There are now a number of platforms who will facilitate your art business so that you can concentrate more on creating art and getting your audience (your distribution) to the platform.

The key here I think is that you focus on one of several platforms that you use to be your embassy or base, and use the other platforms for products or artwork that better fits there than from your base. Also it is important to guard your distribution, mainly your email list. And you don’t need your own domain name as long as your name (personal or business) is in the URL of the subdomain of each platform.

Likewise, as a co-founder of a nonprofit, I find the same holds true if you are a nonprofit or freelancer, where I think it is more important to design any landing pages, like for a mailing list subscription page or a donation page, to have the same look and feel of your main platform. I find many nonprofits and freelancers using blogging or email list providers that employ a freemium business model to be successful.

In talking with many people in my circles on their experiences, the common response is that people just want to see your stuff, what you can do for them, and the impact of the important work you do. I’m told the use of URL addresses from free email or subdomains from freemium sites has no effect, especially if they have used custom sites and domains in the past. Content and presentation is most important.

So I hope this helps answer your questions about using a domain name or your own website if you are a nonprofit or artist. As long as your work has impact, and is distinctive and unique, then you should be fine.

Falling Leaves Green Grass – Abstract

A Fall leaf in the grass that illustrates the perfection of what God has created, to enjoy this beauty while on earth, in addition to His creating our lives. Although the leaf has flaws and scars, it still brings much beauty into the world for the short time of one season, just as our lives our short lived. Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella

Privacy, Security, and the Web

Photo: ‘Protection‘ – A man walks with a woman under an umbrella on a rainy Chicago city street – Photograph Copyright 2008 Frank J Casella

There is much talk these days with digital communications about privacy and security, because there seems to be much confusion mostly on what Big Tech is doing with it.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, known for inventing the internet navigation system known as the World Wide Web, has a mission which seems to be working toward a world in which users are in control, and empowered by large amounts of data, private, shared, and public.

Sir Tim is also an advisor to both social networking site MeWe and Email provider Protonmail, to name two. Both if these platforms use the Freemium business model, where the main features are accessible to all, and premium features available at added cost. Both are very private and very secure.

My take on this is, your website or blog should be open for all to be educated and informed, and your personal life should be private if you so choose. And the other aspect of security, for instance, the Vivaldi business model that this blog is hosted on – as they say the unnecessary collection of data is dangerous and has no place in your browser. And the same goes with their blog and webmail services.

So, all this to say, I think, privacy and security is something that should be by default, and not something you have to pay for.

Why Networking is Important

Photo: Autumn Pine – A square artistic photograph of the changing colors of a pine tree at Autumn in Midwest America – Square Color Photograph Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella

Why balancing your relationships online and offline is important in life, and how it can create more and positive impact.

On my social media channels I usually don’t post a picture directly, like many other artists do, along with sales jargon or a call to action. Rather, I share a blog post with the picture, or some copy that tells about the details of the subject photographed. In other words, social media, I think, as Seth Godin says, is used when something is working, not a tactic that causes it to work.

This blog, for example, is another platform that helps much with (my) networking, as well as a place that fosters the big fish theory: By engaging with the smallest viable audience, you gain the reputation and trust you need to move to ever bigger audiences. People usually know, like, and trust who they have developed relationships with.

And this is what I do on social media (presently on MeWe and GETTR), by just engaging in conversations and not worry about what happens next.

The best way I know to explain this is from when I was the executive director for my local Chamber of Commerce until a few years ago, how we’d have events for members to develop relationships and network, and how many of them saw this as opportunity to hand out their business cards to talk about what they do.

However, the members who created the most business were interested in the mission of the Chamber and helped out with the different committees, not worrying about what’s in it for them. Because when you get to working with other people on projects for the community, you get to know them as well.

So, when networking either online or off line, it is best to just give of yourself and your interests for the benefit of others. Do not worry about what you get out of it.

That when you develop relationships others get to know you, they start talking to others about the person that you are, and the quality of your talents. What happens then is word spreads about what you do and how you help people.

Yes, this can take weeks or years. However, you probably know more people who are spending years on social media and at social events who are not making any difference with relationships or sales.

Compare this to the big fish who spend years concentrating on each person in front of them, in the moment, and making a positive difference in the lives of others, helping solve their problems.

The Climate of Our Lives

Photo: Autumn Leaves and Raindrops – Raindrop patterns on a Autumn leaf – Image processed in-camera Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella

“Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains.”

~ Saint John Vianney

There has been a lot of talk lately, even from the pope, about global warming. How some say the climate change is in a state of emergency, and how others have a different opinion. Though both sides of the camp agree that the earth is warming up, and that it is best to be nice to it, global warming or not.

As much as all of this is important, I think the state of emergency in America is not as much about the climate of our environment, but more about the climate of our lives. We need to invest more time in the silence of listening to our own voice instead of others, say, on social media and the like, and being an positive example to others in our lives.

More specifically, American’s need to all do a better job at embracing the Constitution and the Ten Commandments. Many people today in our culture have made themselves their own God, we turn to each other for answers that only God can provide. And if you watch the news or social media with a keen eye, you will see there are movements like pro-abortion, gay pride, or gun control to name a few, who are just a small group of the masses making it look like everyone agrees.

It goes back to the saying the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The business model of social networks has replaced the simple act of being in community. The solution I think is how we often place people and things before God, often without realizing it. We put our happiness into the hands of other people – our spouse, our friends, or our children, or co-workers, the government.

Yet, this always falls flat because another person can never fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts. No matter how much you love your spouse or children. When we have God at the center of our lives and every relationship, those human relationships will be right-ordered and bring even more joy to our lives.

A priest I know said that he often wil tell new couples that he is helping to prepare for marriage, “Your future spouse cannot fulfill your deepest desires. Only God can.” Put God first in your individual lives and in your marriage and then your love will be taken to a new level. As each of you grows closer to Jesus, you will grow closer to one another.

If you talk to the people in prison ministry, they will tell you most inmates, and mass shooters, come from a home where they didn’t have a father as a positive influence in their lives. Too many of us depend on the government to solve our problems, like creating a law so everyone can have a gun, instead of doing the deep work of loving through example those in our lives on how to do the right thing. Instead we have sports figures creating confusion about how to (not) respect the American flag and kneeling for the Cross.

The fiber of our country, and the Constitution, is to embrace the Judeo – Christian beliefs. When we choose to not rule out the Ten Commandments, by living them, all else will fall into place. Yes we can have freedom of religion, after we don’t rule out the beliefs that founded this country. Again, the reason everything is falling apart is because the ones making all the noise lack structure, and don’t respect the structure already in place.

As much as you hear about the latest scandal in the Catholic church, people are flocking to the church all over the world because they lack structure in their lives. The Catholic Mass and the Catholic Sacraments provide structure. One priest abuse is too many, but you would think the whole church is full of abusive priests, when it is a small, small group. I would suspect about the same percentage of parents who abuse their own children.

This all goes back to how we need to have a heart for others before ourselves, and to seek the causes of the problems in our in our own lives and work to correct it. We need a return to making prayer, and dependence on God, as the foundation of our being. If you talk with people who work in hospice or cancer, they will attest to the positive difference, and healing experience, from people who have prayer in their lives.

Let us start by praying for our country, and for our world, every morning when we wake up to a new day, please pray for me, and know that I am praying for all of you.

My post here today is a bit longer than usual, so sorry for the rant. I just think this needs to be said. This is my opinion, and I don’t mean that I have all the answers.

Keep Your Focus

Photo: Weeds – Square Sepia Photograph Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella – Note: This image has intentional soft focus.

Sometimes weeds are beautiful to look at, other times can grow so much when not cut back they can choke out flowers and other landscape growing around them.

In life, weeds are the distractions and noise that keep us from doing the deep work that we are called to do.

In our spiritual lives, weeds are the things that keep us from God. When you give God the place to speak, He has a lot to say.

All of this to say, that we need weeds in our lives to help us keep our focus, and the fastest way to success is to replace bad habits with good ones.

The World Is A Great Gift

Photo: The World Is A Great Gift – weather illuminated clouds above the trees. – Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella

As I rise up to each passing new day, as with the passing of the clouds, I’m not only thankful for the gift of the beauty of this world, but also thankful to God the giver of this gift.

To fully appreciate this, I think we need to make time for solitude: A state in which you spend time alone, or with God, in thought and free from the input from other minds or interactions (such as listening to the news, podcasts, or reading books).

Because we live in a war torn world shows how we can easily take this world for granted. Solitude, when kept in balance, can keep things in right perspective.

How To Beat The System

Photo: Sunset on the Ranch – Copyright 2012 Frank J Casella

Back in the day when I started to drive a car, the police were in the beginning phase of using radars to detect the speed you were driving. What followed was the radar detectors so that you would know if you were in the vicinity of the radar.

Well, over the years there has been this back and forth of new radars or detectors as the signals kept getting upgraded. So I recall asking my late father at the time what this is all about. He told me not to worry about it .. that the best way to beat the system was to simply drive the speed limit.

This way there is no reason for the radar or the detector, because we are following the laws or the rules. But, there is something in us as humans that is competitive, or something. Today you might compare this to digital communications, and privacy and security with search engines, browsers, and email.

Enter the Vivaldi browser: “In a world where what we read online is being monitored, stored, and sold to advertisers, Vivaldi Feed Reader is a breath of fresh air. Skip the algorithms and create a private news feed of the latest content from your favorite sources.”

Short of the long, We are PAYING, with our data, to use these services. But we still consider them to be free, which makes us very lenient on them when we get poor value.”

The only way it seems to stay out from under the radar is to stay off the platforms as much as possible, at least for now. Privacy and security is not something you should have to pay for on the free internet.