5 Ways to Improve Your Online Art Presence
Amy Wilson | ArtBistro
I was speaking recently to a young artist who asked me to take a look at her webpage. Despite having had it professionally designed and having spent countless hours getting everything about it just right, she found that nothing was really happening for her – she had no leads and had made no connections that she could connect back to the site. After a quick look around, I found that her site was everything an artist’s website should be – it was neat, well-organized, and easy to maneuver. There was just one problem: Nobody was actually looking at it.
Making it so that people can find your website and actually spend time there is a real challenge. Figuring out how and why people gravitate to the websites they do is a whole career onto itself, but I’ve laid out a few suggestions here to help you get started drumming up an audience.
1. Assess the situation
Search for yourself using a few of the major search engines. Try variations on your name – you can just entering your first name and last name, put your name in quotes (“Jane Smith”), and if your name is incredibly common, try pairing it with a keyword or two (“Jane Smith” art or “Jane Smith” drawing). This is how people will often find you, so make sure you make it easy for them. Try this process and see what they see.
Related Article: Get Your Mailing List Together
If you’re like me, there will be many hits for your name – I have a webpage, my writing on Artbistro, pages on other social networking sites, links from my teaching job, etc. Make sure that none of the hits reveals a site you wouldn’t want prospective employers, clients, and professional acquaintances to see – if you must post pictures of your spring break in Cancun, make sure that the casual searcher doesn’t come across them. You can do this by hosting those pictures on a site completely separate from your professional information and then taking steps to make sure that the pictures are hidden from general view via passwords or other methods.
2. Curate your web presence
Make sure what you want professional contacts to see comes up on the top of the list, before all the other stuff you have up there. It’s totally fine to have family-friendly pictures of your kid’s birthday party pop up when you search for your name, but it would be nice if someone looking to work with you got the information they needed before they clicked through a hundred pictures that are completely unrelated.
We’ll call the site you most want people to see your Main Site. Make sure that on it, there is contact information for you (at the minimum, an email address), a resume that is appropriate for the kind of work (or exhibitions) you’d like, and some images of your art. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated, but all this information must be there and it must be easy to find once you’re on that Main Site. Your goal now is to direct more people there than all other links that pop up when you search for your name.