Essential Elements of the Artist's Web Site - Draft I
by Clint Watson on 7/24/2006
I've been thinking about what things should be essential to every artist's web site. I'm still pondering the question and the list may change over time, but as it stands today, here are my top 10 recommendations:
Essential Elements of the Artist’s Web Site
1. A Domain Name containing your own name
a) A .com name essential
b) More than one domain OK
c) No hyphens or numbers in domain
2. Clean and Consistent Design
a) Navigation links should appear in same place on every page
b) Page design should be consistent across the site
c) Design colors should be neutral or complimentary to artwork.
d) Large image on home page – not much text
e) No long paragraphs of instructions or too much wording – people don’t read online
3. Easy, Text-Based Navigation
a) Image based Buttons tend to compete with the artwork
b) Text is picked up and followed by search engines better
c) It should always be clear what page the visitor is on
i) Navigation should be obvious links, underline, and change color
ii) Title of page should be prominent on each page
iii) Title of page should be properly displayed in title bar of browser
4. Contact Information on Every Single Page
a) Preferably a phone number for those who prefer to call
b) At least an email address
5. A “Join Email List” link that handles subscriptions automatically
a) Easy and essential way to build a marketing mailing list
6. Divide large portfolios into collections
a) Try to keep each collection to about 20 pieces no more than 50
b) Too many pieces can be overwhelming, so subdividing lets visitors narrow down the types of pieces they want to see without wading through too many images
7. Make it easy to buy
a) Display Prices - People don’t want to track you down to find out your prices…and many would be buyers won’t.
b) Include a good shopping cart if you sell direct from your site
c) Gallery / Contact information under each piece if you sell through galleries
d) Have a complete list of your galleries/dealers on your site
8. High-Quality Photographs
a) Large enough to see painting detail
b) Good color
c) Not too large (don’t take up bandwidth, download time and disk space unnecessarily)
d) Properly Cropped
e) If doing e-commerce, include Framed and Unframed for paintings, At least two sides for sculpture
9. Easy to Update / Site always Current
a) Preferably you can easily update the site yourself
b) If it’s not easy you won’t do it
c) Update site as soon as you finish new works
d) Don’t leave sold works on site for too long
10. Your current biography
Any feedback on this list is welcome from artists and/or collectors. I would like to know what works for others and what site visitors would like to see when visiting an artist's web site.
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