Making your website appear professional is an important step in gaining the trust of your collectors. The look and feel of your website and other communications can be the deciding factor on whether or not a collector chooses to purchase your art.
Think of your own online shopping experiences. If you’ve ever visited a clunky website, you already know what we’re talking about. Maybe the images were so large, you lost patience waiting for them to load. Or worse, maybe the images were grainy and dim. Or the copy was full of so many typos, you lost faith in the seller’s ability to send a package to you. You’d click away as fast as possible!
Don’t let that happen to your art site. Here are seven go-to rules to give your art website a professional look:
- Use a professional domain name and email address. Granted, this is a bit of an investment. You should select a domain name that best represents your artwork as well as subscribe to an email service under the same domain. Free domains are long and tacky. You can purchase a domain name from providers such as GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com. These providers also offer custom email addresses to go with your domain. In fact, at the time of this writing, NameCheap is offering a custom email for as low as $1 a month. In the alternative, you can purchase a custom email from Google for about five dollars a month.
- Get rid of any ads on your site. While some of the free website providers are a great way to get online quickly, they make their money by using your website to advertise for products and companies who pay. These ads are not only a distraction from your art, they may be in direct conflict with your artistic values. Imagine building a website about eco-friendly art only to have Exxon Mobile ads on it. Awkward! Not to mention ads just visually clutter your presentation and make your website look old.
- Use plenty of white space. As an artist, you want to allow plenty of breathing space around your artworks and writing. Just like the composition of the art you make, think about the composition of the visual presentation of your website. There needs to be plenty of negative space for your eye to move around between the elements that you want people to notice. You can make your website with as many pages as you want. There is no need to clutter your content.
- Make your website mobile responsive. While your website might look really great on your desktop monitor, make sure you take a look at how it is formatted on a tablet and mobile phone. Most of the people coming to your website will do so from their mobile phones. This means you will need a streamlined, responsive site, that represents your art and text in an easy to see and format. Most website providers already provide a “responsive“ theme, so make sure you look for that when you make your choice.
- Use high-quality photography for your artwork. A picture says 1000 words and if your artwork is not photographed well, it will say 1000 negative words. Your photographs must show your work at its best. The details should be crisp and the image should be bright and well lit. In addition, if possible, show the artwork in situ (meaning as it is usually displayed in a setting.) This helps convey the scale of the piece. Don’t forget to show your artwork from multiple angles and provide detail shots.
- Make sure your images aren’t too large. If they are, they will be slow to load. Slow website speed is one of the deciding factors that Google uses to determine whether or not to send traffic to your site. And, since most people will first visit your site on a mobile device, they will not stick around to see your beautiful work if it’s slow. In fact, they may think your site is broken and move on. Your images should be between 1500 and 2500 pixels on the longest side.
- Proofread your copy. As an artist, it is easy to overlook the written aspect of your online presence. However, your writing is extremely important to the sale of your artwork. It conveys everything about your artwork that the image cannot, such as your inspiration, your materials, the actual size of the art, and price. Not only that, Google uses the written aspects of your website to determine its relevancy to the search query (not the images.) Typos happen, but when you find them, make sure you correct them immediately.
Again, the professionalism you display on the details of building your website will go a long way towards building trust with your collectors. One typo will not send a collector packing. However, the care and detail you put into the presentation of your art reflects the care and detail you put into your artwork. Let your collectors know that you put a great deal of effort and care into your artwork by doing the same for your website.