Spring is always a great time to update your look, right? A fresh hairstyle and some new accessories in your wardrobe can make you feel like a million bucks. And since your artist website is the face of your artist brand, representing you round the clock, this is also the perfect season to give your website a makeover. These tips for refreshing your site just may be the secret to attracting more fans, inviting them to spend more time looking at your art, and turning them into collectors!
Spruce Up Your Home Page
- Evaluate your web address. Are you using a URL (web address) that includes the name of your service provider because you haven’t upgraded to a URL of your own (as in johnsmith.fineartstudioonline.com)? Sorry, but this looks unprofessional, and many service providers will change this for free or minimal cost.
- Examine your navigation menu. This just may be one of the most important parts of your website, so make sure it’s very visible and easy to read.
- Feature a great representation of your art. You’ve basically got one shot to make a lasting impression on first-time visitors, so make sure your home page displays one of your absolute best paintings… BIG!
Update Your Contents
- Upload new works. When was the last time you added jpegs of your recently completed works? Do it! Make a date with yourself to shoot photos of all the new pieces and get them posted.
- Replace any “bad” photos. While you’re at it, review the jpegs in your portfolio. Are some blurry or showing the backdrop? Clean up and replace as many as you can.
- Eliminate older works. We’re all guilty of including “okay” quality pieces, but if you’ve been making art for a while, your older pieces probably aren’t as strong as your current work. You’re doing yourself a disservice by showing these less-than-best pieces, even if you’re thinking they might still sell. Time to get rid of them!
- Use only low-res jpegs. For a variety of reasons, it’s best to use only low-res jpegs that have been optimized for use on a website. If you’ve got hi-res images on your site, do yourself a favor and swap them out for low-res.
- Organize your work into separate “galleries” or categories. If visitors are coming to your website and finding dozens of works that they have to scroll through, they’ll probably get bored quickly and leave. Find a way to create distinct bodies of work, and then label each “gallery” with a descriptive or intriguing name.
- Add detailed descriptions, or “stories,” to each work of art. Not only can you offer your website visitors the fun of reading a brief anecdote about each piece, you can increase your search engine rankings by incorporating your keywords.
- Let visitors get to know you. People are fascinated by artists, and if they’ve come to your site and spent any amount of time looking at your work, it means they’re interested in you as a person. That’s why you should include a fairly lengthy bio (I recommend three to six paragraphs), a few pictures of you and/or your studio, and maybe even a video clip of your process.
- Bring your written content up to date. To be honest, whenever I go to an artist’s website and their resume ends with events in 2015, I wonder if the artist has died or something. Or at least quit working as an artist. If you’ve got a resume and other events listed—and you should—make sure they’re current.
Refresh Your Design
- Opt for the perfect background color. It’s essential to present your artwork in the best possible light with the right background. White is always a great option, but sometimes black or a neutral color, such as gray or tan, work best. It all depends on your art.
- Pick typefaces that fit your brand. Use one, maybe two fonts at most, and choose those that match the style of your art, whether it’s traditional, contemporary, or whimsical.
Sharpen Your Communication Skills
- Ask for e-mail addresses. Hey, you’ve got a new fan, so ask that person to keep in touch by requesting his or her e-mail address. It might be a subtle little box on the home page, a separate item on the navigation menu, or even a pop-up window that shows up after the person has been on your site for a while.
- Make it easy to contact you. Naturally, you should only give out as much info as you’re comfortable sharing (like your e-mail address, phone number, or physical address), but at the very least you should offer a contact form so people can get in touch.
- Include social sharing and social contact buttons. Social sharing buttons make it easy for someone who loves one of your works of art to share it however they choose, be it Facebook, Instagram, or whatever. Social contact buttons make it easy for someone to connect with you on the different social media platforms you're using. Both of these are great for you and will increase your reach!
Upgrade Your E-Commerce Options
- Make it easy to contact you. Didn’t I already mention you should have a contact form? It becomes even more essential if you hope to sell your artwork directly from your site.
- List your prices. If you’d like to sell your work to website viewers—especially if you don’t currently have a gallery representing you—let them know how much your work costs! If you don’t want to place the prices next to each piece, you can create a separate page with a price list by title. If you're not comfortable with either of these options, then at least consider writing a note in the description of each piece that asks people to contact you directly for purchase information. That way they'll know the work's for sale.
- Link out to your galleries. If you’re blessed with one or more galleries representing you, it’s essential to provide links to those galleries from your website so that your web viewers will know where they can go to see your work in person. Plus, it makes your galleries happy.
Just as it’s important to boost your confidence periodically with an update to your look, it’s important to enhance your website’s appeal with a quick makeover. What do you think is the most important thing to do to update your artist website? Let’s connect!