Each week our network of art business experts answer your questions about growing an art business. Subscribe here to be notified every time a new Q&A is published. Have an art business question? Ask here and we’ll send it over to the people who have spent years growing their own art business and helping other artists do the same.
Hannah, pastel artist from the UK asks: “I’m having my art website re-designed. Which key features are best to include and which are best avoided on the homepage? Are there any other super important things I should keep in mind while having my site re-designed?”
ANSWERS FROM THE EXPERTS
“Congratulations on getting your site redesigned, Hannah! Since you have the option to include what you need, I’d suggest:
- A header on your Home page that has your logo
- A great tagline that says exactly what you do
- Your contact information – phone and email – readily available
Of course, gorgeous images of your art should be up front and center too. The latest wisdom on art marketing practices suggests that if you wish to sell art from your site, you show a grouping of your work that is for sale right on the homepage, and discourages the use of sliders since that usually shows a single image at a time.
Those images might represent collections that you have grouped, and that also might be in a dropdown list on your nav bar. They, in turn, link to gallery pages showing your collection, which in turn would link to product pages that have a shopping cart function. The thinking here is that the fewer times the site visitor has to click to see anything, the better.
I like to see art completely visible above the fold, with that tagline and content that tells me immediately upon visiting your site why I should love what you do. I recall a wonderful ceramic artist whose homepage shows his stunning work and the sentence, “My current work is made with stoneware clay, and is functional by nature. I want my pottery to become part of your everyday life.” Brilliant! You see that his work is gorgeous right off the bat, but he builds value by mentioning the functional aspect, and talks directly to the site visitor, letting them know that his work is for sale, and he wants them to be a collector. Doesn’t get any better than that!
My other advice for any artist who wants to build their best possible website is to present their work beautifully. That means outstanding photos of your art. Photos with glare, blurriness, poor lighting and inappropriate backgrounds make me crazy, and they are rampant. If you have spectacular photos, you are ahead of the game. Professional presentation all the way will get you taken seriously.”
“Be sure to include a large, clear image of your art on the home page. Avoid scrolling banners as they are confusing. The homepage is also a great place to have a call-to-action for joining your mailing list. We have a big list of all of the things you need to include on your website as a free download. Click here to get it: https://theabundantartist.com/the-artist-website-checklist/”
“Hi Hannah – great question!
Since you’re spending good money to have your site re-designed, you definitely want to get everything on the homepage that you need – while leaving out anything that will just distract from you artwork 🙂 In addition, when you hand out business cards or direct people to your website through links on Facebook, Instagram, etc, your homepage is your first chance to “wow!” visitors and get them interested in you both as a person and an artist.
To that end, I always recommend including these things on your homepage:
- A carefully-considered title and paragraph describing you and your art. This title should be wrapped in H1 tags and include a few important words or phrases that describe your artwork. This is both for your visitors and for search engines to take note of. The paragraph should have a bit more information, giving your visitors a quick overview of what to expect from your art.
- An easy way for your visitors to sign up for emails/updates from you. This can be a pop-up box, a noticeable bar at the top of your website, or a prominent sign-up box somewhere high up on your homepage. Even better if you can offer an incentive for them to give you their email address – perhaps a free art card, a special invite to your next gallery show, or just the opportunity to get “first dibs” on your newest artwork.
- A few excellent examples of your artwork. Ideally these should be recent pieces, showcasing your current style and subject matter. Make sure they’re cropped so only the artwork shows (no walls or easels behind the artwork should be visible). And if possible, make the images themselves links to lead to more information about that particular artwork.
- Easy navigation deeper into your website – “View artwork” “Bio” “Contact” etc.
- Social icons so visitors can follow you more easily through social media (assuming you’re on social media yourself).
A few things to avoid on your homepage:
- Any kind of advertisements or banner ads – this cheapens the look and feel of your work
- A long block of text – visitors want to see your work first, not read about it (and lots of text is daunting anyway)
- Spelling mistakes! Have somebody read over your text a few times, just to make sure.
As for your website overall, the biggest thing I recommend is making sure it’s mobile-friendly with consistent branding across desktop and mobile screens. Ideally visitors will also be able to navigate smoothly from artwork to artwork, either using a swipe motion or simple arrows (don’t make them use your menu navigation for every new artwork they want to look at). These days, 50% or more of your visitors may be on mobile, so making it easy to use for mobile visitors is pretty much required. And, if you can swing it, having “buy now” buttons next to each artwork (and a secure shopping cart) would also be good. The fewer steps there are between seeing an artwork and being able to acquire it, the better. Plus it’s more secure for you to sell that way, too. I hope this helps, Hannah – good luck with the redesign!