Those of us who have our own artist portfolio websites are probably familiar with the concept of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is marketing jargon for the dozens of techniques we can use to help search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo find and categorize our website content so that people out there who are searching for what we’re offering have an easy time finding us. SEO is what helps your artist’s website appear at the top of the search engine’s list when people search for whatever type of fine art you create. It may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
Last year I decided to dip my toe into the street fair pool. I signed up for three different events around the city, and showed up with about a dozen reasonably priced paintings to sell along with boxes of other odds and ends. I thought I was ready for anything—sun, wind, rain, bugs, long days without a potty break, and no place to buy a bottle of water for less than five bucks—but there were still quite a few surprises.
Not too long ago I was having a conversation with a number of friends who are artists, and we were talking about the struggle to get into good galleries. One friend posed a really interesting question that I’ve been mulling over in my mind ever since. It was truly profound and showed just how savvy she is at the business end of art. She asked, “Once I get into a really good gallery, how can I become a great business partner to the people representing me?”
First response: Wow! Second response: There’s so much you can do!
Why do you need to tell your story? The simple truth is that we artists need to connect with people who can support our artistic endeavors (buying our work, exhibiting our art, promoting us in the media), and the best way to connect is through the power of a personal story. Yes, of course, people will connect with your work, but they also want to know who created the work. They want to know you.
So my last post offered tips for writing your own story of your life as an artist, but each art object you create can and should have a story, too, don’t you think? You could display each artwork’s story next to the image of the artwork on your website, and you should be ready to tell the artwork’s story whenever anyone shows interest. Stories provide yet another way for a person to establish a connection to your work and to you.