ARTISTS WEBSITE CRITERIA
Two recent blog posts have been about retail art galleries and how an ambitious artist can show and sell their work on the high street. But one very important issue was left unmentioned. That is the glaringly obvious fact that all ambitious artists should be selling from their own online gallery.
The main reason for this is… no stop, because there are several ‘main’ reasons… not just one. The main reasons are as follows;
- A website shop is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, whereas a retail shop is shut most of the time.
- The potential audience for a website art gallery is in the billions, worldwide, and growing. Far fewer people will come to a real art gallery.
- It costs hardly anything to start, compared with setting up a retail bricks and mortar gallery.
- You get to keep all the money. The profit margin is huge because there isn’t a middleman.
- Artists can communicate directly with the potential collectors. Potential collectors can communicate directly with the artist. See my Feedback blog post.
- The products and services shown can be updated quickly and often. And easily as well.
- Other interesting aspects can be included such as videos, music, blogs, forums, etc. Much more difficult to include in a bricks and mortar site.
- The acceptance and growth in online sales means increased speed of reaction from visitor to product, product to checkout, checkout to artist, artist to sending product, happy customer, recommendation, future sales.
- Google and other established experts will efficiently analyse the art product and promote to a suitable searching audience. It costs nothing.
- You can offer other products, and a much wider range of future or potential products. This is especially relevant if you self publish with print on demand, or are looking for commissions.
OK there are just 10 quick ‘main’ reasons. There are loads more.
So how to go about having a website.
You need to have a computer.
You need a good Internet connection.
You should get access to word and image editing software.
Then become reasonably proficient in using them.
Explore the Internet and see what other artist’s websites look like.
See if they have a shop facility.
Watch and see if they change things very often.
Sign up to getting newsletters and blog posts from the ones that you admire.
Register a unique domain name for yourself.
Sign up for hosting services.
Explore Wix or WordPress software options to build your website.
Create a simple 4 or 5 page website.
Suggested pages are…Home, About, Gallery, News, Contact
Build the basic site, test it, invite comments from friends who can see tests, invite friends to try buying something, keep updating and adding material, test and test again.
Oh did I forget to say ‘go live’’? So yes go live as soon as you have a basic site. Don’t procrastinate and don’t wait until it is perfect.
For a start no-one will know that it is there. Google will eventually find it and examine it, probably in the middle of the night while you are asleep. But don’t worry, once Google knows that it exists it will keep coming back whenever you do an update of any kind.
Add the site address to your business card, your email address, your Facebook page, all literature that you can i.e. catalogues, brochures, invites, greetings cards, and tattoo it on your forehead. Oh OK don’t do the tattooing.
Then keep developing the site and letting people know about it. Share your journey, share your artwork, and keep learning. Eventually someone will buy something from your online shop. And that will be a wonderful new start to the rest of your life.
Or you could just get someone else do it for you.
If you just read that last sentence and said to yourself that you would rather get someone else to do it …. then that is a big shame..
It is a shame because it actually is quite easy for a creative artistic person to learn how to design and produce a website. And you should do that first if at all possible. Then maybe use other online galleries and shops to show and sell as well, not instead. Either way there are some super online galleries that you should know about.
So have a look around and see the many online galleries that exist. Artfinder.com springs to mind as a very good example of an online art gallery. They have thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of artworks for sale. They will guide you as a potential new artist and show you how to put your work onto their gallery. Then they will do their best to sell it for you and only take about a third of the proceeds. That is good because you can and must learn about pricing, describing your art, image manipulation, and other skills which can be used for your own website as well.
Here is a link to my own website.
I also have a much more comprehensive site that sells my artwork. This is a shared family site that we created to sell work by myself, plus Fran Slade my wife, and our daughter Shyama Ruffell.
Please have a look at these two sites. See where I am getting it right, and also where I am getting it wrong. I welcome criticism and feedback. And if you want to test it out, go right through the process and even buy something as well.
See how easy it is? That is what you can get your visitors to do.
Onward and upward.