Simply put, an artist’s website is their most important marketing tool. It is where your entire portfolio resides on the internet–where anyone globally can access and learn about your work. Therefore, it should be simple, professional, and comprehensive.
I have seen many artist websites, some are absolute nightmares, some incomplete, some neglected, some only have a facebook page (and sometimes only personal ones at that) and some are pretty damn good. There are crucial elements that every artist needs on their website:
– A custom URL – Use a variation of your name or studio name. This will make it easier for people who are looking for you to find the site.
– “HOME” – The landing page is the introduction to your site so make it powerful and concise. Welcome visitors to your page with a short introductory paragraph and some images. Make sure to have a sentence that states your location and that you are a contemporary artist, painter, sculptor, etc. (This is for search purposes, which I will discuss a bit below). You can also include links to all of your social media on the home page. Hopefully your site will allow your contact information to display on every page, but at the least put it on the homepage, and possibly create a separate page for all your contact methods.
– “ABOUT” – Here you can create one page that includes your focused artist statement, bio, and CV or you can create “child” pages for each element. This depends on the length of your materials, so use your best judgment. Images of you, your studio, and exhibitions are good on these pages.
– The artwork pages or galleries – Of course this is where you want your visitors to land. I do not suggest having images of every work you have ever created on your website, especially if you have been making for a long time. Break your work up into time periods, separate themes (bodies), or even media. Some artists only show their newest work on their website. This is a judgment call too but make sure your categories are clearly defined. The newest work should be at the top of your page or list of pages. Make sure to list the title, date, media, size, and PRICE of each work on your website. If you want people to inquire or purchase from you, tell them how much and if you will do a payment plan. Very few people will contact you if they do not know how much they might be spending, the social semantics of “if we have to ask we cannot afford it” still holds true to many people.
–BLOG – Yes, it is a must. Use your blog to post news about your art including new works, works in progress, exhibitions, ideas, shows or artists that inspire you–anything that keeps fresh content on your site. Dedicate a few hours a week to posting updates that automatically go on to your social media as well so you extend your reach.
– CONTACT – If you choose to have a completely separate contact page make sure to include your email address, phone number (if you want calls), and links to all your social media.
These “rules” are meant for artists that are directly marketing themselves, if an artist is represented by a gallery there may need to be some changes based on the contract. It is essential you honor your contract and use your website to promote your work in your gallery’s inventory.
A little about search… Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term used a lot in marketing and pushed by all sorts of sales people that want you to pay them to make your site #1. This is not important for a solo artist. Yes, you want people to find you but if they don’t know your name already, you could spend thousands of dollars on SEO, keywords, tags, and link building and still not be found in searches. So, here are a few important things that help with search and boost the importance of the information on your website.
– Use a platform already built for SEO such as wordpress, squarespace, weebly, or wix.
– Use text on as many pages as possible, search engines cannot find images. Some keywords are great. The first sentence on your homepage stating your name, location, and that you are a contemporary artist is great for search.
– Share links to your pages on social media and encourage others to share them as well. The more links to your website the easier search engines have to work to find it.
– Regularly post new content on your blog, search engines like new content.
If you have no idea how to build a website or want to make sure it is simple and easy to navigate let us know. We cost a lot less than a web designer and can consult with you on building a simple, effective site!