If your website is more than 2 years old, you are probably losing sales! Every serious artist that is concerned about their sales should take a hard look at their website and see what can be done to have it improved and updated now. Technology has changed the design and functionality of most websites and an artist’s website is no different too. Have you kept up to date with your website?We all know that a first impression is important when meeting someone. Within the first 7 seconds of meeting you, the other person has already formed a lasting impression of you! This is an impression that is very hard to change from that point on too! When someone visits your website they are also forming an opinion and impression of you as well. Therefore, an artist’s website is one of the most important marketing and branding tools that you can possess. Ultimately, an artist’s website will not sell art for you but a poorly designed website can loose sales for you if it is not properly functioning and easy to navigate for your visitors.Today, an artist’s website should be clean, easy to view, effortless to navigate and it must load quickly. There is nothing worse than going to an artist’s website and having their flash drive takes 30 seconds or longer to load. Guess what? When that happens to me, I am gone and so is everyone else, except maybe your close family members and a few friends. Recently, Google admitted that when they are sweeping websites, that they are timing and grading how quickly websites load. If a website takes a long time to load, they will lower the page rank for that website in their search results. Remember that speed is important, not only for your visitors but also for Google too.Anyone who is a serious buyer, seller or evaluator of your art will not want to hear “your choice in music”, therefore get rid of the music presentation as it only detracts from your art. Remember, the purpose is to present and sell your art. If selling your is not a priority to you, then keep the music.
If you have not kept up to date on what is happening with website design then go to the WordPress Showcase page at the website: http://wordpress.org/showcase and look at some of the amazing websites that are being created today. They are incredible, quick and slick. The WordPress platform is not just for blogs and newsletters as they are becoming the basis for some of the best websites now coming online.Besides being a free platform in which to build and operate your website, a WordPress website is Search Engine Optimized (SEO). What does this mean? It means that each page and each post (and even each image) that you create are maximized to be read and picked up by the major search engines when they perform their sweeps. Properly written title tags, meta tags and key words on a post or page can help to have your website discovered and ranked higher, (there are even plugins that will write these for you). Today, Google even picks up title tags on images too! With good SEO, it will lead to more hits and more visits to your website and isn’t that you want?Below are some absolutes and tips that you need to have incorporated into your website design in order to have a more effective website:1. Get a website with your own domain name (example: Billsmith.com), with your own web host. Yes, there are many great online art galleries that have website packages for artists. These online galleries will provide the hosting and provide you with a website template, while you become the administrator of your website. I will explain why this is not the right way to go for a serious artist.These package websites are limiting in many ways and they are especially limiting when you have to attach your name on to their “community” name. You will not be able to SEO your site, content and images. The online galleries promise that they will bring in X amount of visitors a month to their portal and that you will be the beneficiary of all of this traffic. Remember, by doing this, you are being thrown in with a whole pool of other artists and the idea is to separate yourself from the other artists and to have your art stand out from the crowd!As long as you are going to be an administrator of your website, get your own and maximize it in order to not only display your art but to attract visitors to your website as well. This effort will all will pay off for you in the end, in terms of more traffic to your website. This may sound daunting to you but it really is not that difficult to do. WordPress has a whole huge community of people who will help you set up and operate your website too.2. Make sure that you SEO each page, each post and each image with title tags, meta tags and key words. These tags and words are what your target market will use while searching for your art. Therefore, these tags, titles and words should be maximized to attract your target market. If you have no idea what I am talking about, just go to Google and type in SEO and read the articles and tips that come up that not only explains what SEO is, but will explain the importance of good SEO, as a way to drive traffic to your website for the purpose of presenting and selling your art..3. Overall the most important aspect of your website is to present your art to busy people and for your art to stand out in the crowd. If a visitor to your website has to wait for it to load, you will loose them. Also, if a visitor has to click too many times to find your art, you will loose them too. When the page loads, it should be easy for someone to make no more than one click to see your portfolio. Does your current website avoid these issues?
4. Use a minimalist design and have “safe” backgrounds that showcase your art. As an artist you want a minimalist website design in order to allow your art to show itself and this will also to allow your visitors to navigate your website more easily. Do not assume that all visitors are as knowledgeable as you or your website designer when it comes to technology. Keep your website design as simple as possible.The same holds true for your page backgrounds, grey, black, white, or soft light colors are most advantageous in presenting an artist’s work. No matter how neat that you think that some background is, if it is too busy, a background will detract from the presentation of the art.5. Include About, Statement, Bio and Resume sections for the website. Gallery directors and collectors want to know about the artist and their art. This is also an area where you are able to sell yourself and your art. Have someone read it for you. Make sure that you edit, edit and edit some more! Check your spelling and grammar too.Also, include as much contact information as possible and provide choices on how someone can contact you. Provide Social Media contact information if you are using Social Media for “business” purposes and promotion only. If you are using Social Media to keep up with friends and family, do not include it. This goes without saying, but I see it all of the time, make sure all contact information, social media and pages/links are working and that it is up to date too!Follow these simple tips and get your website up to date now. It is a whole new sophisticated world out there and it is essential for an artist to capture the attention of their target market with a well designed and functioning website.