DIY website design tips for artists
Your website is a powerful tool in a strong element of the art market. Irrespective of whether your practice is focused on art buyers or exhibition curators, having a website gives you the opportunity to be discovered by your ideal audience and you have complete control over how your are represented on your own website. From design style to content, your site can emulate the values of your practice. Having a site that does this establishes professionalism and encourages consumer confidence.
Think of it this way, if you were browsing online to invest money in a product or service, would you choose to purchase from a business that provided little information about itself or its offering, giving the impression it wasn’t legitimate or would you choose the one that had a clean, easy to navigate layout with links to social media, reviews and plenty information about itself?
Taking on the project of creating and maintaining a website can feel daunting. Not only are there many options to choose from when it comes to platforms like Squarespace, WordPress and Wix there are design choices and of course the cost involved. This is one of those scenarios though where, if you are determined to grow your profile as an artist, the investment is as necessary as buying supplies to create your work. It’s an essential tool to have in your art world arsenal.
It is possible to create a site cost effectively by giving into the temptation of DIY website design. There are a myriad of easy to master options like the ones mentioned above that provide easy to design and set up sites with and without e-commerce facilities. That said, you should consider recruiting some external help in order to get the best result and have a site that generates a return.
The Learning Curve
If your skills or patience to learn the skills required to do the design work are minimal, the time alone that it will take to master them and create a design worthy of your practice will cost you a lot more than what you will pay an expert
SEO (aka Search Engine Optimisation)
There is no point in having a site that nobody can find. Optimising your site towards your target audience or people interested in your work is essential! SEO helps Google to understand what your site is offering and include it in searches for relevant terms. EG. If you’re a pet portrait artist people will likely be using search terms like ‘pet portrait commission’ An SEO expert will be able to determine a range of these terms for you and integrate them strategically into the site you create so that your practice will show up.
GDPR & Privacy
All the details about yourself and your work should be written by you, in your own voice, telling your story your way.
Take good quality, clear photos that represent the work well. If applicable, take a selection from multiple angles. This is particularly relevant for sculpture, ceramics and installation. Where 2D work is concerned, consider using photoshop or Canva to mock up an example of the work in a virtual room.
Identify Your Audience
Take the time to profile your audience so that you know exactly who you are marketing to with your website. This will help to shape the content you include, how you present it and how you talk about it. Knowing your audience is relevant to all your marketing activity so this research is very important.
It’s important to remember the critical role a great website can play in making sales and the contribution it makes to generating exhibition opportunities for your work. A relevant, up to date website is essential and is one of the best investments you can make for your art business. Download my free website content checklist here as a resource for your DIY website design project or to give your current site a check up.
About 2020 Curates Creative Careers is an art business consultancy that offers advice, support and resources to visual artists to help them create viable and sustaiable businesses from their practice. To find out more about how 2020 can help you click here