In 2020 you would be forgiven for thinking that just because you are on FacebookTwitterInstagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, that there is no need for you to waste your time and money on building a website. Well, unfortunately, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but this is certainly not the case. Now more than ever building a website is not a luxury but a necessity for any artist, creative or small business that wants to get their name out there. It used to be that great art was discovered by galleries; written manuscripts chosen by publishers. These days, great content is discovered first-hand by ordinary people. People, like you and me, who are sitting on their computers just browsing for something beautiful, to fill their time. There is no longer a barrier between the artist and the masses. If you have an online presence – and your work can be found, shared, ‘pinned’ or ‘liked’ – you can achieve a level of recognition that could once only be dreamed of. A single image or blog post can receive thousands of views in a very short time-frame; be seen by vast numbers of prospective clients, admirers, and fans. If you are an artist, photographer, writer (or any other creative entrepreneur), you need to harvest the power of the internet and create your own website as soon as possible.

Whilst this may seem like a daunting task and the thought of taking the steps to make this a reality may be a scary one, I have pulled together 12 top tips every creative entrepreneur needs to know when launching their digital presence.

Building an artist website Tip 1: You need to know why your doing this and what you want to get out of it

Artists Tips for building a website in 2020 - Setting Goals

In a nutshell, you need to clearly define your goals. When creating your website, it has to be done with the overriding vision in mind and a clear end game. For example, do you want it to be a portal for your customers to buy your products? Then you will have to build an e-commerce website with ease of purchase as the central goal. However, not every artist wants a market place for their product, you may just wish to provide information to lure potential clients to you. Your aim could be to get more commissions or tease them into asking questions about a particular piece. Whatever your intention, the goal must be well defined and simple to execute. Creating a website without a clearly defined purpose will only lead to a waste of time and resources

Building an artist website Tip 2: The hostess with the mostess …

It is really important to select a reliable hosting platform and select the one that best suits the needs of your particular website. It’s a great idea to choose one that offers fast servers, free domain and high level of security and support. I use WordPress, but you could also check out Wix, Go Daddy and SquareSpace. It all depends on your ability level. WordPress works for me because I have a basic to intermediate level of coding experience, which means I can customise my templates and add features through the backend myself. However, if you are totally new to the game, Wix, may be a better option, because it offers a drag and drop option, which makes it very userfriendly.

Building an artist website Tip 3: Say my name, say my name…

Artists Tips for building a website in 2020 - Branding

Your website name is the starting point for your brand. For as little as £7 a month you can present a professional image with a .com site, as having a @freenet address is just a straight up no no. I learnt this the hard way. This website is not my first attempt, and I started with a free domain and quickly realised that if I don’t believe in myself enough to invest, then no one else will! ( Food for Thought)

Building an artist website Tip 4: Appearance is everything

The first thing to remember is that your website is your shop window, it’s like the reception area of a posh hotel. The first glance automatically shapes your guest’s opinions and gives them a glimpse into the type and quality service they should expect. Like a reception waiting area, your website is the main gateway to reach your target audience and connect you with people who want to buy your art or services. Therefore, the construction of your business website goes a long way in determining your outcome and a poorly designed site says more about you than you know.

Aesthetics are important! Your website should showcase your creative work professionally and communicate style and individuality, helping you to stand out from the crowd. This cannot be achieved with a standard page on a free site and by using a template that looks like a million others. With your own website, you can select a great design theme and customise this however you like. Remember like your domain name, avoid free themes, oftentimes they are not as secure as the purchased ones and an inexpensive investment in a good theme could be what helps to keep you in business.

Building an artist website Tip 5: Map it out…

Artists Tips for building a website 2020 - Site Map

Most business websites have at least a few different pages. You might choose to create different pages for the different services you provide with the main page that gives a general overview. You might also consider going with the simple format of having a Home page, About page, and Contact page.  Whichever route you choose to go down, it is imperative to decide on this before you start building  and writing your content. Your site map is the difference between a site that people engage with and one that they click off soon after they visit the home page.

Building an artist website
Tip 6: Keep it simple

Your website should include your business contact information. This can either be phone numbers, address, email address, social media accounts or all of the above. I have added a WhatsApp conversation pop up to mine, as this is a great and instant way to engage in real-time international conversation. This is important for me because I am based in London and the USA, so this enables me to keep in contact with my existing clients and connect with new ones, wherever I am in the world.

 

Building an artist website
Tip 7: Content is key

Artists Tips for building a website in 2020 - SEO

Now you have the website builder, name and appearance sorted, you need to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it. This is when having clearly defined goals will help you out. Content is the most important part of your website, so you need to make sure that you state your purpose clearly and quickly. Visitors get very annoyed if they have to spend a lot of time reading through pages of text in search of important points about your business or the products or services you are offering. Remember they just want to see your creations, so make sure that they can do this easily.

Building an artist website
Tip 8: You’ve written it, now you need optimize it!

If you ignore everything else that I have said in this article, please take this next section on board.

You need to optimize your content and each page on your site. If you fail to do this your website will be left floating alone in cyberspace, relying on endless social media promotion and kind visits from friends or followers. And you don’t want that! There is nothing more depressing than looking at Google Analytics and realising that you only had 100 hits for the month, 40 of which were you!

When developing copy, it is important not only to write for humans but for Google too, as Google is a necessary evil. As much as I hate its dominance, understanding how they roll can be the difference between a site that exists and a site that performs. 

Google constantly updates its algorithm to determine where websites should appear in the search results. When someone types a query into Google, the search engine carries out a complex calculation to estimate which – of all of the websites it has discovered in the world – you want to see. Therefore if your website doesn’t make it onto the first page of results, only a tiny percentage of people will ever find it, rending all your hard work null and void.

This means you need to ensure that Google understands what each page on your website is about. Therefore optimizing your page, using key search terms, not just words is essential. However, I will go into more detail about SEO in my next article which you can register for here

As this isn’t enough for you to get your head around, Google also knows whether your website is created using a free platform, and may perceive your website accordingly: as less professional, less serious, and less important, therefore it will hide you away in the “ Not so important box” making it harder for people to find your content. This is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to create your own website.

Building an artist website
Tip 9: Say it with images

Images are your key as a creative. So, make sure they are professional but also optimized. Images are also another great way to improve your SEO. Sign up for my SEO article to find out the most effective way to tag your images. Also don’t get caught out by using imges thst don’t belong to you. Many people steal from the internet, but that can result in hefty fines. So be smart and if you need stock photography, use free sites such as Pixbay and Unsplash.

Building an artist website
Tip 10: make sure it’s mobile friendly

Regardless of what type of content you decide to include on your artist website, ensure that the site is mobile friendly.  Operating a website that is not mobile optimized can drive away your customers, hurt your search engine optimization and make your website look unprofessional. This can be done, quite easily using the website builders that  have suggested above, but it is important to remember that your mobile site should not just be a copy of the desktop site. It needs to be cleaner, load faster, easier to navigate and get to the most important stuff quickly. 

Building an artist website
Tip 11: Knowledge is key

This is the part that people often overlook. It is really important to know who is coming to your website and how they are engaging with your content. Google Analytics and Search Console are free tools that are easily integrated with your website. Most free blogging or social media platforms do not allow you to use these, and offer inferior statistics if any at all. However, Analytics and Search Console provide in-depth information about those who visit your site. For example, you can see which countries visitors are from; how many minutes they spend on certain pages; which pages they leave immediately and what they typed into Google prior to arriving at your site. This information is invaluable. It helps to shape and direct your creative work and improve your content for the future.

Building an artist website
Tip 12: Data is the foundation to new sales and commissions

Artists Tips for building a website in 2020 - Setting Goals

If you have the option for your audience to safely share their email address with you, you don’t need to be at the mercy of third parties: you can contact your followers whenever you like. An email list is an asset that you can backup, and keep, giving you direct contact with your audience, no matter what happens. Almost all online entrepreneurs regret not starting an email list sooner. An email sign-up box can be added in a couple of minutes to your website and can be one of the most effective marketing tools that you own.

In conclusion, it is important to keep things simple and ensure you don’t get stuck trying to achieve that perfect outlook for your website on first go. Start small and get all your pages right, as professional as possible and optimized. Kickstart your website today and get your brand and creations out to the world. If you require any help setting up your website you can contact me using the form below and I would be happy to help.

oyaarts
oyaarts@artlover.com

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