A lot is made of the power of the internet to help independent artists sell their work. You have, I’m sure, heard plenty about this incredible tool at your fingertips and it may sometimes sound like just the thing to launch your career as a working artist. But the internet is a huge place and can certainly be a complicated one. While you may have visions of the beautiful online storefront you dream of creating, actually making it a reality might feel impossible if you’re not the tech savviest person in the room. Fortunately these days, website creation has been taken from its pedestal and brought down to earth where even the least tech-friendly can harness the power of online sales. Read on for some tips and information to have you ruling the world wide web in no time.
- Find a host. You may have heard the words web host before. Maybe you’re already aware of this important component, but if not allow me to enlighten you. Every website needs a place to go. A web host provides that place. It’s one thing to have a blog tucked away someplace and quite another to have your own domain name where potential patrons can visit and view your work, contact you directly, and make purchases. There are many web hosts out there but some stand out as the top of the pack. Bluehost is a popular one for people of all levels of skill and comfort. Site Gator, iPage, and Site Builder are just a few more. Most hosts offer the chance to own your domain name and have an email address linked directly. There is a fee but typically a small one. Browse around until you find a host that suits your needs.
- As I said, most web hosts (if not all) offer the chance to own your domain name. That means you get to decide how potential patrons identify your storefront. There are some general rules of thumb to follow when selecting a domain name. First of all, make it something that isn’t too difficult. You want your domain name to be easily typed and not easily screwed up. To this end, avoid using numbers or special characters. Make the name something that identifies you. Simply using your own name is a popular and sensible choice for a lot of artists. If you don’t wish to use your own name or if for some reason it isn’t available, give some thought to your domain name. Make it something that will leave an impression but keep it short and sweet.
- Attract the eye. You’re an artist which means that your work is, by definition, a visual feast. Flaunt it. Fill your web page with high-quality images of your work. That said, do not overwhelm your web page with high-quality images of your work. Select a handful of your favorites and turn them into digital images. Be sure to photograph carefully so that you capture the correct color and light to best portray your art to the online community. Enlist the help of a photographer if this isn’t your strong suit.
- Tell your story, but don’t overshare. Every artist website should include a page for your bio. A good bio will be no longer than 150 words. Ideally, it will be even shorter. Think around 120. Don’t feel the need to tell your whole life story although that may seem like the thing to do. Just the highlights will do. A few important bits and pieces about you and your work are enough to give a general idea. Consider every word and ask yourself whether it drives your narrative forward. If you’re saying where you are from, it should in some way be in context to your work otherwise it’s not terribly important for your audience to know. Writing about yourself is hard and ironically, over-writing about yourself is easy.
- Blog, blog, blog. Remember when I said that readers lose interest after 150 words? Well, I’m about to completely contradict myself. Thing is, blogging is one of the best ways to continually connect with your audience. Through active blogging you can keep potential patrons updated on your work, your influences, and your life in general as an artist. This kind of backstage access will go a long way when it comes to making your site visitors feel more connected to the human behind the work and the webpage.
The internet is a powerful tool. When used well, it can truly make a career. There are lots of artists who have used various internet options to promote and sell their work from Kickstarter to eBay. Above all, do not be intimidated by the prospect of starting your own artist website. Not everyone has an advanced degree in coding and there are loads of support services that know this and count on it. The good news is that most of them are extremely affordable and, with a little work from you, there is no reason you can’t build a beautiful website to display, promote, and sell your beautiful work.