Artist Website Basics-Part 1
If you sell art, or have any desire to do so, you need a website. A website is a must these days if you are an artist - and it is simply expected that you have one. Your website acts as your digital portfolio, accessible from all of our mobile devices. This freedom is very different from a decade ago when we were still carrying around those bulky portfolio books with printed pictures of our work. Thankfully those days are gone!
Your website functions as the "Hub" for all of your sales and marketing activities. Think of it as the center of a bike wheel, with all the spokes leading back to the hub from your social media pages, art shows, galleries, advertising, etc. Since your website is the hub of your sales activities, you want to constantly drive traffic to it so that potential customers can find out more about you and purchase your products (art, books, etc.), programs or services. Constantly keeping your website updated will give potential customers a reason to keep coming back to your site.
Twelve to Fifteen years ago websites were very expensive, but today you can post your website on a great platform for less than $300 per year. The other great thing about modern website platforms is that you can do the design work yourself, thus saving potentially thousands of dollars in design fees.
One of the most important points I want to share is that you MUST learn to design, manage and update your website YOURSELF! Websites today are so easy to layout and work with there is no reason not to know how to do it. It is as easy as dragging text, image and video blocks into place. There is no longer a need to have a middleman between you and your website. After completing a painting, you should be able to photograph it and have it on your website in about 5 minutes. Do not depend on someone else to do this for you. Learn how to do it. Go to YouTube and you can find hundreds of videos on how to set up a website.
There are some great website providers available that make the set up and design process simple. Modern platforms have various templates to choose from to use as a basis for your site design.
There are several common providers that I know lots of artists use: Squarespace, FASO, Wix and Weebly are some of the most popular. There are many others so search Google to find out what is available. I originally started out with FASO, but switched last year to Squarespace. Squarespace is a much more modern platform and it coordinates better with my online program platform. The other reason I love Squarespace (they are not compensating me for mentioning them) is the how-to videos. They have great videos for everything needed to set up a great website. Which ever platform you use make sure that the website is mobile-ready (also called mobile-responsive). this just means that the website will be readable on your mobile devices.
Some folks use Wordpress websites. I have heard good and bad things about this type of site. The bad is that you have to have lots of separate plug-ins that don't always work well together and are not always updated properly. For me that is too much trouble. I want a package deal that includes everything I need in one package.
My advice regarding website providers is to sign up for tree trials (they all have them). Play around with the interface and templates to see how you like it. If it isn't as user friendly as you think it should be, then move on to the next one until you find something that works well for you.
In Part 2 we'll talk about what should and shouldn't be included on your website.
For those that are interested in a fun and engaging workshop experience, I have some workshops coming up that you will love: (You can see a full list of Workshops by Clicking HERE.)
- May 5-7, 2017 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Contact David to register: firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-418-3038.
- May 20-21, 2017 Anchorlight Raleigh, NC. To register contact Monica Linares email@example.com
- June 5-8, 2017 Dillman's Creative Arts, Lac Du Flambeau, WI. To register contact Stephanie 715-588-3143 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details HERE.
- June 19-22, 2017 Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH. To register contact Danielle email@example.com or 330-928-8092.
- July 10-14, 2017 Cloudcroft Art Workshops, Cloudcroft, NM. To register contact Linda Shiplett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 915-490-5071. Details HERE.
As always, thanks so much for your support!
P.S. If you cannot attend a live event, or prefer to learn online in the comfort of your home or studio, Abstract Painting Academy is my online workshop:
Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop. You can learn more about the program by Clicking HERE.