by Renee Phillips
When your visitor lands on your home page you want them to be greeted in the same gracious manner as one would expect from the perfect hostess at an important event. You want to immediately engage your visitor’s interest and raise their curiosity. You want them to stay and discover more about you and your art work. As they click through your pages you want to motivate them to pick up the phone or send you an email expressing an interest in purchasing, exhibiting or writing about your art work.
I’m sure you already know to avoid the costly and common mistakes many artists make such as grammatical errors, incorrect image resolutions, flawed design, broken links, bad coding, faulty navigation, slow uploading of images, and missing or hard to find contact information.
Beyond those obvious technical issues, here are ten positive steps you can take to raise the volume of your website and attract more sales and opportunities. These ideas can also be applied to your blog.
1. Establish your own brand.
Most artists place their name at the top of their website and leave it at that. Savvy artists place a prominent, large image that represents their style on their home page. They may also add their signature and a brief descriptive phrase or sentence below their name on the home page. This sends a very clear message about the kind of artist you are. When you do this you set yourself apart from every other artist in your medium and genre. Also carefully choose the colors, fonts and logos that identify your brand and apply them across all platforms including your Facebook professional page, Twitter profile page and business cards.
2. Add a photo of yourself in the process of creating your art work.
It is important to share your creative passion and inspiration with prospective buyers. A photograph of you on the “About the Artist” page establishes a personal relationship and powerful connection with your followers. Whether it’s one of you on a mountaintop taking a breathtaking photograph or sitting with focused concentration in front of your computer monitor a strong photograph of you invites us into your world.
3. Add a video of your artistic process.
An informative, action related video on your website is a great way to share your story and engage your visitors. You should plan on adding new ones throughout the year. Generate publicity by placing them YouTube with a link to your website. An artist’s video is a valuable tool that educates people about you and your unique artistic process. If you are an instructor this is an essential tool to increase students.
4. Add “in situ” images to encourage sales.
These are images of your art work in different residential and business locations. If you don’t possess any photographs taken in your buyers’ locations create your own composites using stock photographs to which you can add your art work. This important step allows prospective buyers to imagine your art work in their own environments.
5. Add a page of quotes about your art work on you website.
Success attracts success. Having testimonials about you and your art work visible to those who may not know you will instantly serve as recommendations and endorsements. Create a page of brief quotes (words of praise) from your buyers, colleagues, other prominent art professionals, as well as excerpts from reviews. This will provide future buyers with the assurance that you are a person who is admired and worthy of their business. Tip: Make sure you get permission before publishing quotes from others.
6. Keep your biography/resume up to date.
As your professional career grows make sure you update your biography and share your achievements. Maintain a current listing of exhibitions, awards and commissions. It’s obvious that steady professional activity increases the value of your art work. Also proofread your written text for common errors such as: typos, improper grammar, run on sentences, too much personal information, and not enough professional information.
7. Organize your gallery pages with an eye on consistency.
One of the biggest mistakes artists make is confusing visitors with too many diverse styles and subject matter on their website. It is important to project yourself as an artist with a strong recognizable and consistent vision. Avoid the temptation to share everything you have created and learn to edit your portfolio. An artist who demonstrates a consistent vision is perceived by gallery directors as being professional and one whose art they will be able to sell to their specialized market niche.
8. Use analytics on your website.
9. Place “share buttons” on your website.
Share buttons invite visitors to share your pages with their followers and friends in social media. This free, simple and easy to add code has the potential to drive more traffic to your website. The more inbound links you have the more traffic you’ll generate through search engine optimization. Learn more information at http://www.sharethis.com
10. Market your art to your subscribers.
Design and send email marketing campaigns to many subscribers at once using professional templates. This can be set up using user-friendly email services such as MailChimp www.mailchimp.com. If you have fewer than 2,000 email subscribers the service is free of charge. When you sign up with mailchimp you will be given a code for the sign up form that should be place prominently on your website.
The present time is ideal for sending send an email campaign in the form of a seasons greeting message. Express good wishes and your gratitude to your fans and followers and let them know about your current and future creative and career activities.
I hope you are now inspired to apply one or more of these proactive suggestions to your website and/or blog and that you reap many rewards.
Renée Phillips, is the author of several books. Her publications and articles can be found on Manhattan Arts International (www.ManhattanArts.com), Manhattan-Arts blog (http://Manhattan-Arts.blogspot.com), and Renée Phillips blog (http://reneephillips.blogspot.com). She is also a curator, arts advocate and offers career guidance to artists. She invites you to follow her on Twitter @reneephillipsny, and join her on www.Facebook.com/ReneePhillipsArtCoach and www.linkedin.com/in/reneephillipsartcoach.