Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Seen: Website Essentials

Author: Kerry Azzarello
Operations Manager, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition 

You make great art, now give others the opportunity to see it. At the recent Creative Capital Core Weekend Workshop we hosted in Oklahoma, facilitator Jackie Battenfield emphasized the importance of artist websites as a key component to a successful art practice. What follows are five essential website rules that will help you get and stay on the art world radar.  
Creative Capital Facilitator Aaron Landsman presenting at workshop
Rule #1 – Have one. 
Let’s face it, we all want to wait until we have the ‘perfect’ site built before making that leap. Alas, facilitators stressed that artists have more to fear from obscurity than by not achieving perfection with their web presence. Remember that your website is a stand-in for you and your work. Make sure you are present.

Rule #2 – Keep it simple.
HTML, Java, C++, YMCA. Tech-speak and acronyms can be intimating. Have no fear. Numerous companies including Weebly,  Wordpress, and  FolioSnap offer easy to use, pre-designed templates that make getting your work on-line relatively painless. Custom-made websites can be costly. A little research could save you time and money, without sacrificing content and professionalism.

Creative Capital Core Weekend Workshop Participants & Facilitators
Rule #3 - Cover the basics.
As a visual artist, you know better than anyone the power of images. It is imperative to include samples of your work (complete with title, medium, and dimensions of course). However, it is just as important to include a moderate amount of explanatory text. Not only does it help provide valuable information to viewers (and potential buyers), it also helps Google bots boost your site in its search ranking.  Images + Text = Success!   

Rule #4 - Encourage a conversation.
Be it a gallery, a PO box, or your studio address ALWAYS include your contact information. Make this easy to find and large enough to read. Point 5 font hidden away at the bottom of the page won’t help spur a dialogue and may result in missed opportunities. Including links to any professional social media sites you may have can also keep a dialogue going.  
Creative Capital Core Workshop Participants Milissa Burkhart & Benita Brewer
Rule 5 - Update, update, update.
Once you have the website, be diligent in your updates. Adding new content, advertising your upcoming exhibitions, and posting current work are all great ways to keep collectors and the public up to date. Some artists choose to include work both for sale and previous sold. Others opt to only include works currently available. Pick what feels right for you and set aside time every month to update your site.

Ready to learn more? If you are tweaking a current site or making the leap to create your first one, I highly encourage you to visit Creative Capital’s Internet for Artists.

What do you think? Please comment and share your tips, successes, horror stories, and advice for creating amazing artist websites.

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