If you are serious about creating a profitable and fulfilling art career, then building a successful website should be one of your top priorities. Websites allow you to showcase your work, give more information about yourself and your process, and give customers the opportunity to contact you directly. Without a website you are limiting your business and ability to grow.
When I help artists’ build and develop their websites there are a few main issues that I see them making time and time again. I am going to provide you with the 7 most common mistakes and how to avoid making them yourself.
1. Too Busy
The most common mistake I see on artists’ websites and sales pages is that there is too much going on. If you learn nothing else from this post, remember this, SIMPLIFY. A simple website your customer to easily navigate to find what they are looking for and it will allow your artwork to stand out on the page.
2. No Branding
Your website is another extension (possibly the most important extension) of your brand. When building your art business, it is important to think about how you want your work to be portrayed.
Brainstorm three words to describe your business. Then, ask a couple friends for three words that they think define your artwork and business. Use this as a launch pad to envision how your brand will look, speak, and act.
Take this idea and put it into every touch point of your business. Your copy, logo, colors, font, etc. should all reflect this brand. I️ will go into branding in more detail in later blog posts, but for any specific questions about how to brand feel free to reach out for a quick consult session here.
3. Not Treating Your Website like a Store
I️ understand that as creatives, we want our site to be beautiful and unique, but it also needs to be functional. People have short attention spans and you don’t want to lose a potential customer because you didn’t make it clear what was for sale.
Treat your homepage like your store front. What is new? What do you want to highlight? Did you just launch a new collection? Create a "Featured" section to show off these new pieces.
Is there a holiday around the corner? Include new holiday-inspired photography or giftable items on your homepage.
Imagine yourself strolling along when something beautiful catches your eye in a store window. It draws you in and you want to browse the entire store. You want your homepage to act in the same way.
4. Poor Photography
If you are selling artwork online, your number one concern needs to be great photography. People want to invest in your artwork, but to do so they need to know what it looks like.
The photography needs to elevate the work. Include shots of the work styled in beautiful rooms, detail shots, and close-ups.Your customers should be so sure of the painting's beauty that they say, "I️ NEED THIS NOW WHERE IS MY CREDIT CARD!"
Quality Photos don't require a nice camera. In fact, your iphone should do the trick! The key is even lighting and a solid background. Try taking your paintings outside on an overcast day. Have fun with it and find what works for you!
There are plenty of ways to take great photos without outsourcing to a professional. That being said, if you have the budget, getting a professional to take studio shots, head shots, holiday shots and more can be a great investment and way to take your business to the next level. Maybe offer a trade, a painting for a photo shoot!
Check out this great example of a studio shot below by artist Caroline Stroud!
5. Unclear Call to Actions
You want it to be as easy as possible for customers to buy from you. This means it needs to say “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” and your shop page should clearly be labeled “Shop”. It may seem like a fun idea to give these buttons fun names, but over the years I️ have learned many people don’t spend the time to figure out that “My Inspiration” means "About Me".
6. Too Many Clicks to Purchase
7. Your Website isn’t Sticky
What is the ultimate reason you want customers on your site? To buy!
Don’t have links that take those customers away from your shop pages. If you have a blog post announcement as a footer bar on your shop page, you are immediately drawing attention away from your main goal of selling. Include links within your website such as links to other paintings they might like or information about ordering commissions. This keeps people “stuck” in your site longer vs. heading to other pages like your Instagram. After all, the only goal of your Instagram is to get them back to your website!
If you do need a link, say to your Instagram for example, have it appear in a new tab.
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End note: Still feel overwhelmed or maybe the technological world just isn’t for you. Then I️ encourage you to value your time and your strengths and hire someone else to help you get your website up and running. I️ offer simple website building on Shopify or Squarespace platforms and would love to set up a call to discuss how I️ could be an asset to you. Contact me here!
Photography by: Abby Murphy Photography and Color Creative Co.