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

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,…

Detailed Image Analysis

An Already Great Tool Just Got Better: WebPageTest.org Image Analysis

We took a deep dive into webpagetest.org in December, 2016 to uncover how it can help you improve page loading times for your website. Recently, they released a new feature in the form of a detailed Image Analysis tool. To use the new tool, begin by running a standard test. Once the results are generated, select the “Image Analysis” link in the summary navigation row: A new tab will open and you’ll…

Break Out Of Dull @Org Mailbox Names

Break Out Of Dull @Org Mailbox Names

First and foremost, every organization should have at least one general mailbox name on hand. Yes, personal mailbox names are great (provided attrition isn’t too high) and following that, departmental addresses are also useful. Your group needs at least one generic mailbox name to use for the slew of third party provider accounts you’ll need that can always be accessed or recovered regardless of attrition (here’s why). Having said that, there’s no...
Why That Popup You Want So Badly Is Likely Killing Your Search Rank

Why That Popup You Want So Badly Is Probably Hurting Your Search Rank

Rarely do I encounter a web client that doesn’t want some sort of popup to capture email addresses, push an advertisement, or serve up some sort of call to action. Often, the need is genuine but how they envision implementation often risks hurting their search ranking. Here’s what you need to know in order to get past that learning hurdle. Traditional popups tend to force web visitors to interact with the popup…

Time To Sharpen Your Metrics Skills With A Free Webinar

If you’ve always wanted to attend a Click. Click. Done: Developing Your Google Analytics Skills session but couldn’t get away to the respective conference, I have some good news for you. This Thursday, May 25, 2017, the Ohio Arts Council is hosting a one hour webinar version from 12:30pm CT – 1:30pm CT. You can join me and fellow ArtsHacker Ceci Dadisman where we will be focusing on the nuts and bolts…

Venue Security

One Crucial Item You Don’t Want To Forget About When Creating Bag Policies For Your Venue

When it comes to a performing arts venue’s security measures, it’s easy to see why there’s been a sharp uptick in concern over the past few years. I recall a session from the 2016 Arts Midwest Conference titled Venue Safety and Security: Protecting Public Assemblies in the 21st Century. There have been several similar sessions across the performing arts conference circuit and as a result, arts venues have been updating and refining their…

net neutrality

What You Can Do To Help Save Net Neutrality

As arts managers, we should all be very concerned about net neutrality, the series of FCC regulations that limit internet service providers, or ISPs (think Time Warner, Cox, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, etc.) from restricting, or even blocking, content for pretty much any reason they see fit. Net neutrality managed to dodge a bullet in 2015 but the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair, Ajit Varadaraj Pai, would like to gut those rules…

learning css

Three Useful CSS Learning Resources To Help You Become A More Valuable Arts Manager

One of the most common tech education questions I get from clients and designer colleagues is recommendations for learning how to code. Gone are the days where coding skills are limited to those who want to become professional programmers; instead, we live in a digital platform world where beginning to intermediate skills can go a long way toward letting you have increased control and a better understanding behind how and why online…

Should Links Open In Same Or New Windows/Tabs?

Should Links Open In Same Or New Windows/Tabs?

When it comes to whether or not links should open in the same or new windows/tabs, the answer for most arts organizations is straightforward: links should open in the same window/tab.  Before diving into why this is the case and how to determine when they should open in new windows/tabs, we’re going to approach this from a contemporary web environment and take a few things for granted: It’s rare for web users…

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