Do artists need a website? When social media isn't working for you.
Learning how to share your art in a meaningful way is paramount to the growth of your art career. I am here to convince you why artists need a website to promote their artwork.
I hear most people going... but that's what social media is for!
The biggest dream for most artists is to have thousands of followers on social media who love and buy their art.
So we spend a lot of time posting regularly, trying to keep up with changes to the platforms, posting stories, and researching new ways to play the game to get a bigger audience.
I am sure you have spent hours and days investigating ways to get more followers. You follow all the tips that social media gurus give you with the promise of success and sales.
Yet your sales continue to stagnate...
The reality is that most people on social media will scroll past your artwork quickly and maybe leave a 'like' in passing. Your artwork is in a sea of other distracting content competing for your buyers' attention.
Additionally, your artwork is short-lived on most social media platforms. When you post your art, it lasts for a few days, hours or minutes, depending on the platform. You rely on a fickle algorithm that changes easily, so your followers might not even get to see your work.
Worst of all, anything you post on social media is not searchable. Even if you use the right hashtags, your content has a short shelf-life.
You need people to return to your work and easily find it.
That means if you create a piece of art and share it on search engines such as Google, Pinterest or YouTube, people can find them years later. Your art continues to be valuable for much longer than the few minutes of exposure you might get on social media.
This is why I am here to convince you to get a website and start a blog or share your process.
I understand that not all of us have dreams of being art bloggers or art YouTubers. But the principles of making art and sharing it with people who care remain the same. You don't have to blog regularly, but it might get you in front of the people who love your art.
You need to create a website so people can learn about your work. It also makes you look professional and serious about your art career and stand out from other rookies.
Here are the benefits of having an artist's website
1. A website belongs to you.
When your art is on a free platform, everything you create is a subsection on their site. That means that you have no control over how they use your content. Platforms' rules change quickly and arbitrarily. They can ban you or delete your files and there's nothing you can do about it.
If you don't own the site, you might be left at the mercy of random changes. A website that you own gives you full control of how you depict and share your work.
MySpace was once a popular platform that was overtaken by Facebook once it gained popularity. This forced many people to adapt to a different system very quickly. People lost contacts and clients as more people moved to the new site.
2. Build an e-mail list
While e-mail might sound old-fashioned, it's also the most personal way to connect with your audience. Most people don't give away their e-mail addresses easily.
Create an e-mail newsletter that people enjoy reading. When someone subscribes to you, they are signalling that you have something of value to them and that they want to hear what you have to say. You can build personal connections with those interested in receiving e-mails from you. If they stick around to receive your e-mails, they might also want to buy things you sell.
This way, you don't have to worry about a tricky algorithm that might not deliver your work to your audience. You will always be able to reach these loyal followers.
3. Don't get lost in the crowd
On social media, your artwork is in a long string of other things vying for your buyer's attention. Having your website channels people to your creations and you can choose how you curate and show it. You can also sell your work to your loyal subscribers.
Please avoid the free websites that use a template and look like any other website. Your site should be fully customisable to show your creativity and individuality so that your artwork is the main focus.
4. Develop your brand
Van Gogh is a popular name among most people, irrespective of whether they love art. Most people are familiar with his name but might not be familiar with post-impressionist art. Clearly, Van Gogh had work that was uniquely his.
Is there something unique about what you create? You don't have to be interested in branding, but as an artist, your work is your brand. Your artwork depicts your values and ethics and people buy art that reflects their principles.
A website is the starting point for creating the brand that helps you stand out. It shows who you are and what you stand for.
5. Solidify your credibility
What would come up if someone Googles your name? Can people easily find your work? Do they know how to find you? Does your artwork appear in search engines? Do people know about the other artists you have collaborated with? Are you linking to other artists? A website can build your reputation as a professional rather than a hobbyist.
Most people expect to find a website of an artist or maker to get to know them better. If you have a website, you can use it to build trust with your followers in the digital space and improve your reputation in the real world.
6. Blogging and SEO
If you have put days, months or years into honing your skill, you should be proud to share it. What's the point of creating a series of art pieces if no one sees it or interacts with it? When you post your work on social media, it is quickly filtered out to be replaced with other content.
On your blog, you can share how you are honing your skills and improving your artwork. This helps you find your voice and identity as a writer and artist.
By creating a blog, you ensure your chances of showing up in search results. Producing evergreen content of your art makes sure that people can find it. The right keywords can help you attract the right audience for your work.
7. Make money from your website
Having an online store on your site allows people to purchase your work, irrespective of whether you are exhibiting or have a stall selling your work.
The number of ways you can make money on your website is endless. You can add advertisements, find sponsors, suggest affiliate products, or simply focus on building your brand.
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8. What to include in an artist website
Every artist's website needs these core details about you:
1. Your Portfolio or online shop
2. Artists bio and artist statement
3. A newsletter sign-up form
5. A blog
6. Links to social media
7. Contact information
Having your art website is show and tell.
You get to share your work with people who are interested in what you do. Marketing your art doesn't have to be unpleasant. What you choose to add to your website can be fun and individualistic to your needs.
Social media won't guarantee more sales.
From a business standpoint, are you getting a return on the time and money spent on social media?
If your answer is no, then perhaps you need to consider alternatives.
I would never base my art business solely on social media. It can only be a contributor to a much more concrete plan. I urge all artists to consider if the time and effort spent on these platforms are worth it.