Yippee!! My website was restored yesterday! I didn't have to populate the images myself as I first thought I might have to do. I do have to spend some time and organize it a bit, but basically everything is there. All of this has made me think about how important a good website is to an artist, so I put a list together of what is important to me in a website and another list detailing how a website is integral to an artists' business.
1. An attractive site that lets the work be the star - I like sights that don't have too much going on like a lot of flash stuff. Sites that don't compete with the work and display each piece large enough. I want to be able to customize my site so it doesn't look too much like every other artists' site out there.
2. Easy to navigate - the site has to be self explanatory and easy to access all the content.
3. Portfolio groupings - I like to be able to put my work into categories and be able to change the categories when I develop new bodies of work. I don't want to pay admin charges to say add a "Still Life" portfolio. This is especially important if you work in a couple media or "styles".
4. Content - I want to be able to put lots of content on my site, so if people want, they can spend a lot of time there and look around. So again, this means that on the admin side, I need to have the ability to add or subtract pages. This is also important if I want to do a special event or promotion. I also want the site to be able to grow with me. For instance, I'm planning on doing some videos next year and want to be able to post these easily on my site.
5. Capture emails of visitors - having a guest book is really important. If people have visited once, they are more likely to visit again and bookmark your page.
6. Make a statement about who you are as an artist. This sort of encompasses all of the above, but I think different kinds of artists and art need different kinds of websites.
What impact does my website have on my business??
1. First and foremost, my site gives me credibility. Almost every business these days, has a website. You need one, if you are in business. I have so many clients that see me at a show in the evening, go home, look me up on the web then come back the next day and make a purchase. They need the reassurance that I'm "somebody".
2. Galleries,designers and architects can view a breadth of work quickly. This is huge and has led to large projects.
3. Direct sales. I don't sell too much right off my site, but patrons familiar with my work, sometimes see new work posted and will contact me for sales. I try very hard to make sure that each piece has it's gallery location listed, so patrons know how to proceed in making a purchase.
4. Workshops - students can see my workshop listings and download supply lists right off my site. This is a great thing for potential students and students that have registered for a class.
5. My website works in conjunction with other online tools, like this blog, email newsletters, social networking, snail mail marketing, shows and events. It all ties together.
Basically, I can't overstate the importance of a good website. Having mine down for an entire week was a potential loss of art sales and workshop registrations. It was a source of anxiety for me, but fortunately I wasn't in the middle a a show or promotion!