Tips for an Artist's Website

The rules for a successful website has always been to keep it simple, keep it fast, and keep it organized. Content should be straightforward and provide content that will keep visitors on the site once they are on there. With so many great website add-ons and gadgets it is easy to get carried away and break these rules. I know this from my own experience as well as from others.

You want to make sure that first time visitors to an artists website quickly knows who the artist is, what they are selling and what the art looks like. You also want to make sure that you have easy to find contact information. You should have both a contact form and also your email address available and the address should be available on every page. All too often in the world of cyber space the form malfunctions and if this happens you could go a long time without even knowing it.

Here are some things you can do and things you can avoid in an artists website to get yourself a great online presence.

  • Avoid free web hosting and sub domains. The majority of free web hosting and sites offer really ugly templates and plaster your site with obnoxious advertising that make your visitors retreat in horror. Remember you are selling your art. Putting photos of your beautiful art on an ugly site is like putting filet mignon in a Big Mac box. 

  • Only use good (scratch that), great photos of your work. I am so guilty of using crappy photos! I was a great photographer with my old film camera, but have not yet mastered taking great photos with my digital camera. Nothing looks worse on an artists website than bad photos. Even if you only have a few good quality photos on your site, that is a lot better than a hundred bad ones. If you have to, hire a pro to take some photos for you. Heck offer them a barter!

  • Check your website on other browsers. This is something that is oftentimes overlooked. You spend a lot of time making a great looking site, but then hear from your buddy that when they visited the site it was all distorted. Be sure to check your site in Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and any others out there. You should also check it out in different screen resolutions. All computers are not created equal!

  • Don’t use a bunch of fancy gadgets. Flash and other web site gadgets can look really cool (or can be very annoying), but not everyone can view them. In fact estimates say that up to 75% of users do have a flash plug-in, but most are outdated.

  • Keep images under 100k. You really want a snooze fest? Go on a site that has HUGE photos that you have to watch s l o w l y trying to open. Not everyone has a high speed connection and even if they do, obnoxiously large photos still take time to open and most people won’t wait.

  • Avoid a lot of text. Keep your text to a minimum and be concise. A lot of text can be boring and if people really want to read more, then they can click Read more. Also, be sure to use lots of relevant keywords in your text.

  • Forget the music. I, like countless others, do not have exceptional computer speakers. So getting on a website with some cheesy music is like nails on a chalkboard and a quick retreat off the website.

    • Seo - Search Engine Optimization  This is where a lot of people have trouble.  How do you get your site found?  There are many different tricks and tips for this, the first being, what you read today may not apply in 6 months!  The SEO "rules" change all the time.  For instance when I made my first website in 1998, you added every single keyword you could think of.  We are talking hundreds!  Today, you need to limit the amount of keywords around 20.  Some places like Google will actually penalize you if you have more. 
You should have your email address itself on your site, not just a form.  Something like kbdesigns at gmail.com is a great way to make people physically type in your address and cut down on spam.  Make sure your contact information is not only on your "contact" page, but also in the footer of your website.  Have you ever gone to click on someone's contact page or filled out their contact form only to be greeted with an ERROR message?  This is very frustrating, especially if there is no phone number to be found!  It could be months before the site owner even checks out their own site and realizes their link doesn't work.  I did a class on website optimization last year and this is one thing I stressed more than anything.

Along with filling out your sites keywords, you should also have a meta tag desciption and title for your site.  Sounds a little silly about the title, but you would be surprised how many people don't add this.  You should also follow your title with  a brief tagline.  For instance, KB Designs, decorative faux painting Minnesota.   Take note of your keywords that you are using words that they are the most relevant to what your site is about and include these words in the content of your page body.  You should also keep your most relevant words in the upper half of your home page
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  1. Follow these tips so you won't have problems with your website. I have to agree that you shouldn't use free web hosting. Security is the issue here.

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