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Make your website more user friendly – Divide your artwork up into portfolios

Jasmine Hill, Portrait © Norma Casteel Black
Jasmine Hill, Portrait © Norma Casteel Black

If you have a lot of images of your artwork on your website, it might be more user friendly if you divide your images up into small manageable groupings.


Dividing your work into portfolios serves several functions:


First, as I mentioned, it makes the groupings of images easier to deal with. Don’t make all your portfolios contain so few images that the user has to keep changing portfolios to see them. But if you have a large number of images, say 50 or more, it might be time to start thinking about how you can break them up.


Second, it allows you to spotlight the various types of work that you do and as a result target the visitors who may be interested in that particular type of work.


For example, say you are a landscape artist and all of your images are in one group. A visitor comes to your website looking for a seascape and starts to browse through your portfolio. You do paint seascapes but they are at the end of your portfolio, and after browsing several pages and seeing nothing but desertscapes the visitor leaves. It’s not that you don’t have what he/she is looking for, it’s just that it was too hard to find.


So how should you arrange them?


Some ideas for organizing your images include:


By subject matter: landscapes, portraits, still-life, abstract, etc


By distinctive lines or series: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc


By media: paintings, prints, sculpture, etc


By color: color images, black and white images, or even reds, greens, blues


By theme or feeling: portraits of children, historical portraits, equestrian portraits, etc

or any combination thereof.


Of course there are all sorts of other options. It all depends on your own personal preference and your artwork. Have fun with it- make it interesting.

Tagged: Website Tips

Keep the Content of Your Website Focused

FocusLately I have run into a number of rather unfocused websites. It seems the owners of these websites work as accountants by day, teach yoga at night, sell cars on the weekends and, oh yeah, in their free time they are artists. I know that many people enjoy a multi-faceted life, but really, if you want to be taken seriously as a professional in any of these fields, they shouldn’t all be included in the same website. I’m not sure if this is an attempt to cut costs but maybe they should save their money altogether. A website is a business tool and should be approached in a professional manner. You wouldn’t try to cram all of these activities into the same office space, would you? Of course not, you’d look ridiculous. So why would you do it on your website?


Try to keep your site focused and relevant. Now of course if your love of dance informs your paintings, it is perfectly reasonable to include this reference on your website. I am speaking of sites where all the disparate parts have no relation to each other, with separate menu items for getting your taxes done or balancing your chi. If you run two different businesses, they should each have their own website. Of course as artists our outside interests and hobbies effect our work, just try not to veer so far of track that visitors to your site are confused as to what it is your website is all about.

Tagged: Website Tips

Flashy Websites

For a while there it seems like every website I came across had all sorts of Flash content, rampant animations, fancy impossible to navigate links, spinning plates and spitting fire (just kidding...kind of).


Unfortunately Flashed based websites are not really great for Search Engine visibility. When Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc get to these sites they basically just see a line that says “run this flash file”. They have no way of seeing what’s on the website.


In addition, neither the iPhone or the iPad support Flash- that is, they won’t run it at all. So, unless your website has an HTML “shadow” or mobile site, your website won’t show up at all.


We advocate the use of basic HTML websites- all of our template and custom sites are HTML based.


This doesn’t mean your website has to be plain or boring. Flash and other technologies such as animated gif files and javascript can be use to spice the site up. The key is to use them where they are appropriate and only in moderation.


The bulk of your website content should be in HTML, a language that allows search engines to see the actual content on your website.

Tagged: Website Tips

What things should you include on your artist website?

An artist website should include the following:

  1.  Your name and contact information
  2.  Well composed, well lit photographs of representative samples of your work with descriptions, dimensions, and prices
  3.  Some sort of statement about your work
  4.  An up to date list of your events
  5.  Your current gallery affiliations


It's just that simple. Of course you can make it more complicated. The point is you don’t have to.


At Art Studios Online websites for artists, we make it easy to get your website online quickly using one of our professional artist portfolio templates. Our easy online system is written in plain english, to take the stress out of setting up and editing your website.


Want something fancier? We can do that too. Add your logo, or a custom homepage. Or, work with one of our designers for a fully custom design.

Tagged: Website Tips

Talk about your work… and be specific

Search engines like Google and Yahoo rely on words when determing how to list a website. Unfortunately for us artists, when it comes to search engines, photos just don’t cut it. This means we must talk about our artwork in order for the search engines to take notice. Additionally, search engines rank sites in terms of what they consider to be greatest relevance. This means that in searches for generic terms like art, painting, printmaking, furniture, ceramics, glass, etc, it’s nearly impossible to get on page one.


So what can you do? Talk about what makes your work unique, discuss apects of your technique, be specific about your themes. Give as much information as you can. Talk about your work as though you are trying to explain it to a potential customer- after all, YOU ARE. Don’t just randomly stuff in keywords to attract the search engines- they are looking for naturally written, authoritative text.


If you have trouble coming up with something to say, try having a friend interview you. This can often be a very effective technique because they may ask questions you never would have thought of. Have them take notes, or record the the conversation.


If you do art fairs or attend gallery openings, think about what you tell customers when you meet them at these venues. And if you are out of practice, this will give you the oppurtunity to think about your answers so you’re prepared for the next public event.


And after all, who is more qualified to talk about your work than you?


So, talk about what makes your art unique; explain art terms and techniques so the general public will understand; tell your story. It will make your website more engaging for visitors, and could have the added bonus of helping your search engine ranking.

Tagged: Website Tips

How do I choose a domain (.com) name for my art website?

.COMIf you register your domain name through ArtStudiosOnline.com, we will ask you what you would like your name to be. It’s a good idea to think of several possibilties because your first choice may not be available. We will check on the names’ availabilty and often come up with several other possible suggestions. If you need help choosing a name, just let us know - we’re always happy to lend assistance.


Here are some tips to make choosing your name a bit easier:

  • A domain name can only registered to one owner at a time. Very common names and phrases are quite often already taken. Don’t worry though, sometimes a little creativity is all that’s needed to come up with a great name that’s available for registration.
  • You want your domain name to be easy to read and remember. Try not to make it too long or complicated.
  • We usually recommend that you try first for a .com name rather than a .net, .biz, or other suffix, because most people automatically type .com.
  • You want a domain that your customers will recognize, such as your name or your studio name. You can also try adding a term such as art or studio or a phrase that describes what you do. Some great examples of customers who have done just that are: LindaHollandStudio.com, JoshuaFrancoArt.com, GourdArtByNoreen.com, and BrendasJewels.com.
  • A domain can only contain the following: letters, numbers, and dashes. Although they are perfectly acceptable, we usually try to avoid dashes, because they may be hard for people to remember. Spaces and other special characters are not allowed in domain names.
  • Domain names are not case sensitive so you don’t have to worry about capital versus lowercase letters. Though we do recommend that when you have business cards and other stationary printed, that you put in capital letters where they make sense- it’ll make your .com name easier to read and remember.


Remember, your domain name is your brand identity on the web. It’s a good idea to make sure the name is something you’ll be happy with for the long haul.

Tagged: Website Tips