Posts Tagged ‘making a website’

"What Do I Do Now?"

Now that you have made the decision to create a website or have one created for you, you might be asking, “What Do I Do Now?”

Well, I am about to answer that question! So sit back and relax, I will try to walk you through the next steps in your process.

Keep it simple. That could be the most important tip I can give you today. Don’t add so many tabs or pictures or text that it keeps the potential customer or gallery owner there too long. In this day and age, no one has time to sit in front of a computer and sift through your poorly planned site to figure out how to use it. Keep it simple.

Some of the tabs you use might be the following:

  • Home– this page will be the first glimpse of your website. This is what  people will see when their browser opens your page. Keep it clean, keep it interesting, remembering that first impressions make or break you.
  • About the Artist– keep this simple as well. Don’t write  your autobiography with all of the details on this page. Give highlights that pertain to you as an artist and keep the focus on YOU. If you want to include your artistic philosophy here, make sure it’s neatly separated from your bio.
  • Gallery– You don’t have to have every piece you’ve made on this page. Post a few pieces that show the diversity in your work. You don’t want to show that you’re locked into a style that you can’t get out of. Show some old work and new work.
  • Links– Keep the links list, to a minimum. If you have logos for the sites on which you have your work, use them and link them to the site (this will make it easier for the viewer to go see what you are doing there). Link photos to the site where you sell that piece. Again, no one wants to sift through things. They want what they want to see, at their fingertips.
  • Contact the Artist– Offer a simple form that the viewer can fill out to comment or ask questions, that will be sent directly to your email account.
  • Etsy page -(if you are a crafter, and your main purpose to having a website is to drive business to your Etsy shop (or other shops) I would say to do this). If you are an artist looking for gallery representation and/or sales from this site, you might be wise to leave this out as not all gallery owners think Etsy a viable or suitable place for serious artists to sell.(This is up to  you, of course!) If you are an artist to whom gallery representation is not a priority, but this site is to get your work “out there” it’s your choice as well.

Please remember, this is not a blog. Keep the focus on you and your art. (It’s ok to mention your wife, husband or girlfriend/boyfriend, kids as people in your life with whom you live, but keep it focused and don’t ramble on about them). A  website is a factual tool that represents your work to the online world. This is not intended to necessarily bring out your personality, or be cute, you can use your blog for that. If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, you need to make the decision about what it is you want this website to do.

You can do this and keep it simple!  If this is your first time, keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a more interesting site.Happy Website to YOU!

Next post will hopefully address some marketing techniques that can drive viewers to your site.

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I See a Website in Your Future

Picture this if you will, you walk into a sparsely lit room that is adorned with beautiful silks, and beads. The air is thick with excitement and incense. Your heart is pounding, your pulse is racing as you see table covered in a breath-taking silk table cloth in the middle of the room, with two chairs sitting opposite of each other. On the table sits a crystal ball, nothing else. In walks the woman who is going to tell you your future. She is dressed in the same silks that surround you; she offers you to sit at the table. She sits down and asks a few questions, then begins to tell you what she sees…If I could tell your fortune, and give you great news about a flourishing creative business with lots of sales and notoriety, I would definitely tell you about it. But alas, I can’t do that so I am going to fill you in on some information about something that could also tell your future, but with some work on your part…WEBSITES. I know, it could be a boring post, but it’s not!

If you’ve ventured offline to expand your horizons and spoken with gallery owners, shop owners who offer consignment, local juried shows, organizations you are applying to become a member of, you’ve probably heard some of the following questions: “Do you have a website? What’s your web address? Is your website listed on your business card?” The word “website'” is a common buzzword you might want to pay attention to. Articles I have read, books I have scanned and artists with whom I have spoken all swear by the necessity of artists having their own…yes, you guessed it, website. Don’t be alarmed, or have an anxiety attack,it’s not as scary an on-taking as you might think. I promise I am not going to get technical.

Let’s just explore some reasons why it’s a unanimous vote for artists to have their own website…it won’t be painful or scary.
Firstly, your own website will give you exposure. Websites can offer exposure to artists, people and organizations wouldn’t otherwise know exist. A potential customer in Illinois has no clue that they would like and probably purchase a piece from a silk artist in North Carolina, if they don’t know the artist is around. A gallery owner in London would have no idea that there is an artist living and creating in Toronto whom she would love to represent! An organization such as Worldwide Women Artists doesn’t know the hard working glass artist producing gorgeous pieces in Maine and that they would love to include on their member charter, if there is nothing happening with promotion. Remember the story of the tree falling in the forest and no one is there to hear it?

Some art schools require a portfolio these days for admittance. Some will ask for a web- site to suffice that requirement. If you want to join an organization or an art club, they may ask to see your website to view examples of your work. It is much easier for people in these positions to view a simple site than to wait for your cd to arrive (or not) and find it amongst all of the other cd’s they are inundated with on a daily basis.

Secondly, a website allows you to keep all of your work in one place. Yes, that spells organization, oh, you have heard of that haven’t you? Artists are not known to be organized, that’s why we marry people who are! Just kidding. Imagine, all of the examples of your work contained in one place, wouldn’t that be a miracle? If someone asks to see your work whilst riding the train to the city, hand them your business card! They can then go to your site and take a look and all of it will be there. There’s nothing like being asked to be able to view your work and you have nowhere to send them. You want to be thought of as a professional artist don’t you? Maybe it’s time to act like one and having this tool will assist you on that journey.

Lastly, the final word…sales. If you want to sell your work and not have to pay fees in order to list it, then pay fees when it sells, an e-commerce website is the way to go. The potential customer goes to your website, views your work, purchases it from you and that’s that. You decide if you’re going to accept credit cards, money orders, personal checks, PayPal, REM etc. There’s no one else involved! And as sites that allow you to sell your work through them begin to get overcrowded, therefore minimizing sales, e-commerce sites are taking root as another more personal alternative to sell your wares.

Now that you have seen what a web site can do for you, how do you go about getting one? There are many sites that offer free websites, and make it easy for you to create it using templates. If you blog, you know that blog sites offer templates for that. Well these sites offer templates to you to get you started. Some templates aren’t flexible and therefore you might get bored with them rather quickly if you like to change things around a lot. These sites are great places to get started, to get your feet wet and they don’t charge anything to enter the pool! Here are some free website companies that don’t have hidden charges at first glance, they are completely free: Microsoft Office Live, CrawlDog.com, geocites.com , mosaicglobe.com weebly.com Of course there are others, but these were the sites that had the simplest layouts and upgrades are available for a cost.

If you are able to afford it, you might want to work with a professional web designer to design this new business opportunity. There are many of them out there, some good, some not so good. Prices shouldn’t vary too much from one to the next, and if they do, be wise about their training and ask questions, ask to see their portfolio or THEIR site! If you decide to go this route, be sure you have your plan written down and have a clear idea what you want it to look like and who your target customers are. If the designer spends only an hour with you and then runs off to design, you are probably going to be seeing a lot of that person in the future. Ask questions, give the designer the clearest possible instructions and needs. Creativity is fluid, ever changing and our ideas, our “product” is ever evolving with us. You will want to invest in this web site so it lasts for a specified period of time. You really don’t want to have to spend that money every year or so, do you? Be sure to have your ducks in a row and you get what you want and need the first time around.

So, to wrap this up, websites offer new possibilities for artists in this ever changing world. Whether you try a simple, free website for starters, or hire a professional, it’s an opportunity for you to gain the exposure Van Gogh, Vermeer, Whistler and others could not have dreamed of. A website offers organization, and a more personal atmosphere from which to sell the work you love to make! Try it, it doesn’t hurt and you’ll learn a lot. You might just have some fun along the way.