Drew McManus, Editor-in-Chief

Arts Consulting

“I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired.”

Those were the first words out of an executive’s mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house. I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight.

So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals “aggressively embracing career change” but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why. In short, it doesn’t matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can’t keep your own clients out of the ground, and I’m fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I’ve done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

Technology

In addition to my consulting business, I’m also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I’m just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower.

With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, founded an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.

Connect With Drew

Drew McManus, editor-in-chief

Article Archive

Google Grants

If You Use Google Ad Grants, You’ll Want To know About These Changes

There’s a terrific article by Jason King in the 1/23/2018 edition of the Nonprofit Technology Conference blog that examines how recent changes to Google Ad Grant’s terms and conditions put some users at risk of temporary account suspension. A whole raft of new rules came into effect on the January 1st of 2018, many of which carry the risk of temporary suspension of your account. Here are some of the new policies: If…

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities?

Artwork Archive recently compiled a terrific list of Artist grants and published them with a user-friendly lists of FAQ details such as award amounts, deadlines, and limited artist fields. Most of the opportunities focus on the graphic arts field but you’ll find a few that are broader in scope. Moreover, they have a handy list of online resources that help keep artists apprised of new opportunities. Visit Artwork Archive’s The Complete Guide…

Minification

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Minification and Reducing HTTP Requests

One of the most common problems WordPress users run into over time are slowdowns resulting from an overload of HTTP requests. In English, those requests are the sum of getting and sending data, which could be something simple like files and images to something quite complex like social sharing, analytics tracking, and eCommerce functionality. The more stuff a user can interact with on any given page, the more HTTP requests it generates….

CTA Generator

Just In Time For The Holidays: An Update To The Interactive CTA Generator For Arts Marketers

Back in March, fellow ArtsHacker Ceci Dadisman pointed out Capacity Interactive’s CTA Generator and they recently came back with an add-on by Krisi Packer for four new calls-to-action buttons: email subscriptions, view calendar, membership join, and registration. You can go through each variation using the super fun slot machine function they’ve baked into the equation. But if you’re the impatient type, you can leverage the Google Chrome Inspect Element skills you’ve developed here…

Database Optimization

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Database Optimization

At the heart of a website is its database. Different publishing platforms will opt for one database format over another but this installment will focus on the MySQL database management system as used inside a WordPress environment. Although most of the optimization tasks we’ll be reviewing rely on running SQL queries, we’re also include a list of WordPress plugin resources you can use for implementing some of these tasks. The good news…

Image Compression

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Image Compression

Among the wide array of options available for improving page load speeds and server performance, image compression is one of the most important. The best part is regardless your skillset, there are options at your disposal for making improvements. We’ll be examining both plugin based and direct methods. In most cases, you’ll be able to use one, the other, or both to maximize effectiveness. Contents1. Manual Image CompressionGeneral Image-Editing Software Optimization SettingsAdobe…

Establishing Speed And Performance Benchmarks

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Establishing Speed And Performance Benchmarks

In order to get the most out of your optimization efforts and counteract post net neutrality slowdowns, you need to have a reliable starting point to use as a frame of reference. That process begins with taking a series of page speed performance benchmark snapshots. To that end, there are several powerful tools available that are also free to use. The first two offer free user accounts that come in handy when…

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Where To Start

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Where To Start

Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, laid out his plan to repeal existing net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the name given to the set of regulations that require Telecom providers, (like internet service providers Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T) to deliver all web content at the same speed. If you aren’t already familiar with what net neutrality is and why it’s so important to nonprofit arts…

What We’re Thankful For As Arts Administrators 2017

What We’re Thankful For As Arts Administrators 2017

Editor’s Note: You don't need anyone telling you this year has been a steady diet of challenge coated challenges with challenge flavored filling, but we're not about to let that get us down. In fact, it's time to show some gratitude so to that end, I asked our ArtsHackers to share a few of the things they are grateful for as arts administrators during this Thanksgiving season. Joe Patti I am grateful that...
Master Your Domain With Google Search Console Connecting Everything To Google Analytics

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console: Connecting Everything To Google Analytics

Now that you’ve created your Google Search Console (CSG) account, have all the website versions set up as properties, selected a preferred version, and submitted a sitemap, you’re ready to connect everything to your Google Analytics (GA) account. Allowing GSC to share data with GA is one of the benefits that makes all this work worthwhile! Google is updating and enhancing the shared data benefits all the time. You can track current…

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console Must-Have Settings

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console: Must-Have Settings

Now that you have your Google Search Console (GSC) account created, you’re ready to get cracking on must-have settings and configurations. Immediately after your account is verified, you’ll notice a message in the site’s “Messages” dashboard. It’s an automatic message from Google and although it might seem like one of those obligatory “thanks for signing up” notes, it points out some critical next-steps you’ll need to complete. The most efficient way to…

ArtsHacker's Guide To Setting Up A Google Search Console Account Getting Started

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console: Getting Started

Earlier in the month, I posted an article about how you can use Google Search Console (GSC) to temporarily hide a page from Google Search Results. Several readers wrote in to say that although they could really use that tool, they didn’t have a GSC account set up and when they tried, they gave up after reaching a few frustrating parts of the process. As such, we wanted to create a new…

Get Serious About Your LinkedIn Profile

Get Serious About Your LinkedIn Profile

If you’re like me, LinkedIn can often seem like that oddball item on the dessert menu. There’s little mystery when it comes to Facebook or Twitter, the apple cobbler or cheesecake of social media platforms, but LinkedIn is more like the Mille Crepe Cake; it could be fantastic or a huge letdown. Add to that, LinkedIn has gone through a considerable number of changes and updates over the past year, all of…

Update Time

It’s Time For Infrastructure Updates

Over the weekend, we rolled out a bunch of updates. The majority are under the hood improvements that’s you’ll experience in the form of snappier performance but here are a few key UX items that will enhance your visitor experience. ContentsLess Is The New MoreA More Content-Centric DesignIf You Liked This…A Slimmer Nav Menu, Now With Built-in Search! Less Is The New More After pouring over a year’s worth of metrics data…

Need To Temporarily Block A Page From Google Search Results

Need To Temporarily Block A Page From Google Search Results? This Search Console Tool Makes It Easy

Regardless the reason why you need to temporarily block a page from search results, there’s a handy tool inside Google Search Console made for that exact task. Make sure You’re logged into your Search Console account before starting, then head to the Remove URLs tool admin panel at “Google Index > Remove URLs.” Select the “Temporarily hide” button. In the popup, enter the URL’s relative path; that would be everything after the…

Last Minute Hurricane Tech Checklist

Last Minute Hurricane Tech Checklist

With Hurricane Irma heading toward Florida, I wanted to offer up a quick checklist of website related items arts orgs can use to help anticipate and mitigate any potential outages. Place a notice on your website indicating any hours the office will be closed during the storm. Don’t forget to remove any notice after the storm is passed and you’re back to regular operating hours. Contact your web provider (or hosting provider…

Does Your Website Have A SSL Certificate

Does Your Website Have A SSL Certificate? If not, you may need one sooner than later.

At the beginning of August, Google Webmaster Tools began sending notices to users with a warning that “Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.” Currently, “not secure” warnings only appear on webpages that asked for passwords or credit card fields but this latest step expands those situations to…

Buff Up Against Net Neutrality

A Stitch In Time Saves More Than Nine

With the fate of Net Neutrality still very much uncertain, it pays to begin thinking about ways you can marginalize any slowdowns in the light of potential deregulation. Regardless your level of technical expertise, here are some key areas you can address to tone up your websites. ContentsStop Using Cheap HostingOptimize ImagesUse A Content Delivery NetworkSTOP USING IMAGE SLIDERS!Intermediate-Advanced Options Stop Using Cheap Hosting If you pay for hosting directly, you need…

Onboarding

Using Onboarding Techniques To Improve Web Engagement

If you’re looking for some low hanging fruit to improve online engagement with users, look no further than using an onboarding email campaign to introduce website visitors to key functions of your website. Ideally, you’re capturing user email info at your website; it might be via newsletter subscription or a new user registration. Regardless of which capture point it is, knowing that the lead came in through your website is a crucial…

String Substitution

Hidden Productivity Gems: Using Adobe Bridge To Remove Unwanted Characters From Filenames

Adobe Bridge CC, a digital asset management app, is not only a hidden productivity gem, it’s one of the rare Adobe apps that is 100 percent free. If you don’t already use it, swing by the Bridge CC page and download a copy. Once you do, you’re going to save yourself an amazing amount of time cleaning media file names using this little trick. Batch Rename If you already use Bridge CC,…

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