I belong to several newsletters and blog sites and this week I am going through http://www.artistmarketingtips.com/ and re-reading their series of newsletters about artist profiles and how to market your artwork online. I will re-blog their work and make sure to credit their site through out the blog. That way those who would like to check out their website and newsletter may.
Week 1: Building An Online Portfolio
- The best place to start with this series is to talk about
building an online portfolio
- . Every artist/photographer that wants to market their artwork, needs to start with a good online presence – and why not? Portfolio websites are easy to setup and so inexpensive, there is no excuse for not having one!
- Your online portfolio displays your artwork to the world. It also allows others to contact you and gives buyers the chance to purchase your artwork.
What Is Your Purpose for Being Online?
- The first question you must ask yourself is, why do you want to be online? The answer to this question will help you determine what type of online portfolio you look for. There are typically three responses to this question: Sell my artwork, display my artwork or participate in an artist community. Some artists want to have all three. Once you have defined your online purpose, you should look to create an online portfolio that will accomplish your goals.
Two Types of Online Portfolios
- All artist websites basically boil down to two types…1) Artist Community Websites and 2) Custom Artist Websites. Here is a brief description of each:
1) Artist Community Websites
- allow the artist to upload his/her artwork into a online portfolio at little or no cost. Normally these community websites have hundreds (or thousands) of artist members, who display their artwork together and interact with each other. Art community advantages include: Low/No setup cost, high amount of traffic, rich set of features, built in e-commerce shopping cart, artwork feedback, the ability to interact with other artists and much more. Each website has it’s own list of features/benefits. Pick the website that aligns with your goals and has the features you are looking for.
- is an example of an art community website.
2) Custom Artist Websites
- are unique and custom built for the artist. Normally these websites have their own ‘dot-com’ web address (ie http://www.ArtistName.com) to make them more personal and easier to remember. Custom websites are good for artists, because you have full control over the exact look and feel of the site and they will only contain YOUR artwork. However, custom websites are normally more expensive to build/maintain, web programming knowledge is required to keep the site updated and they usually get far less traffic than a community portfolio. Some artists drop their art community website, once they have a personal site. This is a big mistake! You should still upload some of your artwork to one or more art community websites. Then use your community website to gain exposure and point visitors back to your official website.
- Get the best of both worlds. Register your own dot-com website address (for under $10/year) and then point it to your community portfolio website.
How Many Websites Should You Have?
- This is a common question we get asked by artists.
The answer is…
- you should have as many portfolio websites as you have the time to maintain. For some artists, this may only be one website. For other artists with more time on their hands, posting your artwork on multiple websites will always increase your exposure and potential buyers.
- For example, if you wanted to advertise a new product on TV, wouldn’t you rather advertise on three TV stations, instead of just one? Marketing your artwork is no different. The more places you can post your artwork, the better!
What Should Your Online Website Contain?
- Every portfolio website is different, but there are several things that all artist websites should have. Here is a quick list..
- Your Artwork – This is a no brainer. You are an artist, so you better show off your art (or photography) on your website. Your website should showcase your BEST artwork. Remember, your online portfolio is not a collection of everything you have ever doodled which dates back to elementary school. It’s a place to show off how talented you are, so make your pieces count! If you have a lot of art on your site, break your artwork into categories, so your website visitors can see the many styles/subjects you have made.
- Artist Bio – If people are interested in your artwork, then they will want to know a bit more about you. You need a spot on your website to toot your horn. Talk about your schooling, your experience, past clients you have worked with, your philosophy, hobbies/interests and anything else that will help someone get to know your better. You should also use this area to promote any galleries or exhibits you may be featured in.
- Contact Information – What’s the point in having a website, if people can’t contact you? At the bare minimum you should allow people to e-mail you from your site, but if you are interested in selling your artwork, you should include additional contact information, such as your phone number or mailing address.
- Fresh Content – If you went to a clothing store every month for 4 months, and it never had anything new, would you come back on the 5th month? Probably not. The same concept applies to websites. You need to continue to post new artwork and new content on your website to keep your visitors coming back for more. Even if you don’t have any new artwork, at least have a blog/journal that your fans can read and see what you are up to. If your website gets stale, you can kiss your fans good-bye.
- Other Ideas – Here are just a few additional ideas to get your brain going. Let your visitors sign-up for your newsletter. Post tutorials or step-by-step photos on how you have created a recent piece. Offer advise to new artists. Create a blog, so people can see what you are up to. Encourage visitors to bookmark or share your website with others. Post links to other websites that contain your work. Feature specific artwork or products that are new or on sale. Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about some of these ideas more in-depth, so you can see the power of marketing.
Promote Your Website Everywhere!
- We will be talking about this topic multiple times throughout this course. What’s the point of a great website, it no one knows about it? You should advertise your portfolio website anywhere and everywhere. Make sure it’s listed in your e-mail signature. Tell your friends and family about it. Print your website address on your business cards and all other marketing materials. Talk about your website on your social media website (ie Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.) Print personalized products (t-shirt/hats/mugs) that advertise your website address. Mention your website on your voice mail message. Bottom line, you want to drive everyone to your website, because this is where they can see and purchase your artwork.
Track Your Website Statistics
- Once you have a website, it’s important to make sure you have some kind of statistics tracking enabled. How many people are visiting your site. What artwork did they like? How long did they stay on your site? Did your gallery showing increase visitors to your website? Did your last e-mail newsletter bring in new traffic? Are people browsing and not buying? All these questions and more can be answered by having the proper statistics tracking for your website. You can then use this information to give your art fans what they want.
- Most community websites have basic statistics tracking enabled for your online portfolio. Some websites offer very detailed reports of your website traffic. If you own your own website, then you will need to install some type of web analytics program to track your website activity. You could spend thousands of dollars a month for an excellent statistics engine, but lets not go there now. Google offers a free statistics engine for your site called
- that is actually quite powerful. For more information, visit:
- Yep, that’s right, you WILL have homework in this course. What’s the point in learning how to market your artwork, if you don’t put any plans into action? Don’t worry, your homework will be light and will leave you plenty of time to use your right-side of your brain to create new artwork. This week’s homework is:
- Write down your purpose for being online and the goals you would like to accomplish.
- If you don’t already have an online website, get one! If you already have one, review what you have and see what you can do to improve it.
- Update your website this week with at least one new image or one new blog post.
- Add your website URL (link) to your e-mail signature.
- Review your website statistics (if you have them) and see what images/sections are the most popular.