This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.
For many people, the “big three” have come to dominate their internet time: the email inbox, Facebook, and Google. This trend puts the squeeze on how much time and attention other websites can garner. Like hawkers in an open air market, everyone is screaming at us, trying to get our attention. And, as we become more and more overloaded, we’re learning to filter and prioritize. Some websites we used to visit don’t always get as much attention as they used to.
What are the implications of these trends for your artist website?
When starting out, most artists think the first thing they need is a website. And I used to think that too, but I’m not so sure any more.
Your artist website doesn’t fit into those “big three” activities: Email, Facebook, Google – at least not at first. 
So, instead of a website, I’m now thinking that your email newsletter should be your “hub.”  By that, I mean that an email newsletter should be the central strategy around which all your other online marketing activities are organized.
Why? Because the email inbox, as one of the big three, gets a lot of people’s internet time. And your email newsletter can put your art and information right in your prospective customers’ inboxes.
Nobody will visit your website until they know it exists. So you have to tell people, repeatedly, about it. And email is the simplest, most effective way you can put yourself into one of the “big three” places that most people check every day. Ergo, you need a newsletter before you need a website.
But why not focus first on the other two legs of the “big three:” a Facebook page, or on optimizing your site so that you rank in Google?
Here’s why: In the tech world, we are constantly warned not to build business models that rely on someone else’s platform. As Twitter investor Fred Wilson, one of the most respected venture capitalists in tech, put it:
“Don’t be a Google Bitch, don’t be a Facebook Bitch, and Don’t be a Twitter Bitch. Be your own Bitch.” – Fred Wilson [http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/23/fred-wilson-be-your-own-bitch/]
The point is that you want to own your primary marketing asset. And you, personally, own your email subscriber list. That’s what Fred Wilson meant when he said, “be your own bitch.” In contrast, Facebook can ban you at any time, and Google can remove you from search results at any time, as many businesses that had relied upon Google have learned the hard way.
Even if you could rely on Facebook and Google’s platforms, they are not nearly as effective as email: the average lifespan of a Facebook post is about 3 hours  after which point, it scrolls out of your newsfeed forever. And, regarding Google, think about this: when you are first starting out, nobody is searching for you on Google anyway. That leaves only 1 leg of the “Big Three” that can start delivering immediate results: the email inbox.
In fact, email is such a strong channel, you could theoretically set up an email newsletter even before you set up a website. All you have to do is email people you know, ask them if they’d like to receive your newsletter and add them to your list. You don’t even need a site to do that. Of course, it’s better to have some sort of site, even if it’s only one page so that people have a place to sign up for your newsletter and, ideally for them to see at least some of your artwork.
In practice, I think the best strategy is to set up a simple website and IMMEDIATELY start promoting it with email . And when I say immediately, I mean it. DO NOT set up your website and then decide to add a newsletter “later.” Later invariably becomes “much later.” And “much later” means you wasted your time and money until “much later” finally happens. Remember, you are setting up the website to support your newsletter, not visa versa.
Like we say at FASO: “Sharing Art Enriches Lives.” And email is still one of the best ways to share. So stop waiting and start enriching lives with your art today.
FASO Founder, Software Craftsman, Art Fanatic
 I said “at least not at first” – after an artist is more established, people will search for an artist by name on Google and his or her followers will click through from Facebook. Although, in my opinion, those channels while providing value are not close to the effectiveness of email.
 Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying I don’t think artists should have a website, I’m just no longer sure that it should be the very FIRST thing that they focus on.
 Lifespan of a link on Facebook, source: [http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/07/the-lifespan-of-a-link/]
 For FASO customers, we are, later this year, releasing an update to the FASO email newsletter system. It will have a much improved design area backed buy the same great, reliable email delivery engine. You won't have to change anything to take advantage of it.
Editor's Note: You can view Clint's original post here.