Many of my artist clients struggle with their website presence. Their difficulties fall mainly into the following eight areas:
1. Artist Statement. Most artists have a lot of trouble creating their artist statement. Sometimes they never land on language that they really love! As difficult as this task is, it must be addressed. If that means that you have to write draft after draft of your artist statement, then that is what you’re obliged to do.
2. Pricing. The question is not only what price to put on your art but whether or not to have prices up on your site. Because there are two schools of opinion on this and examples of successful sites in both categories, artists have trouble deciding whether or not to put up their prices.
3. Quality of Images. Artists have always had problems adequately documenting their work. Their two solutions—to learn how to do the documenting themselves or to hire someone to do that work—both have significant downsides. Doing it yourself involves navigating a huge learning curve, purchasing equipment you may not have, and producing results that may not match your needs. Hiring someone else is expensive, finding that person may prove difficult, and even if you spend a lot of money you may still not love the results.
4. Focus of Site. Is your site for galleries? Is it for individual collectors? Does it include information on the other things you do—say, your writing, your teaching, or your sideline business? Will it focus on recent work or cover your whole body of work? Will it have a lot of chatty text and present you as a human being or will it have a more aloof, professional feel?
5. Depth of Site. How many “pages” will your site have? How many “buttons” will your site have? Will you create a store where folks can make purchases? If so, do you know how to employ and monitor the shopping cart technology required to operate such a store?
6. Look of Site. There a million ways your site might look! Because all of us have visited so very many sites, we have countless ideas of what sites can look like—and now you have to choose one look from the virtually infinite number of possibilities available to you.
7. Help Making the Site. Can you make the site you want or do you need the help of a webmaster or the help of a savvy friend or relative? If you do need help, do you know where to turn? If the help is free help from someone you know, will they actually put you on their schedule and get the work done? If the help is paid, do you know what your budget is and is your budget adequate for the site you want?
8. Help Maintaining the Site. If you hire someone to make your site, will you also hire that person to maintain your site and make changes or will you try to do that maintaining yourself?
If you keep these eight issues separate and try to answer each one in turn, you will have a much better shot at building your site and having it look and function the way you want it to. Creating the site you want is a complicated organizational task and, like all complicated organizational tasks, requires that you look at each moving part separately so as to give it the attention it deserves!
Eric Maisel’s most recent title is SECRETS OF A CREATIVITY COACH. Take a look now: