Website Basics For Artists – Elements Of An Effective Website

In the first article Website Basics For Artists – Why You Need A Website we took a look at how important it is for you to have a web presence for your art business.  Just like any marketing activity such as advertising or public relations your website needs to cover the basics. An effective website includes the choice of your website address, a strategy for your content and key design elements.

Choosing a URL – Your Website Address

Your website address can have a large impact on your overall web success. With millions of websites it should come as no surprise that the really good website addresses such at “www.theartgallery.com” are already taken. Here are some tips if you are in the process of getting a URL or thinking of adding a new one:

  • Make sure that you don’t infringe on other’s trade names or trademarks
  • Ideally the name should be descriptive and tell something about your business
  • Keep the name short as possible but long enough to identify what you do or who you are.
  • I would stay away from URL extensions such as .net, .info, .biz etc. as most people expect a .com extension.
  • If you can stay away from cute suggestions like adding “the”, “my” or “a” to the front of an existing web address. Don’t do this unless you have a real good reason to do so – like it is the name of your business. These remind me of businesses in the yellow pages that start their listing with “A”, “AA”, “AAA”, “AAAA” etc.
  • If you are looking for a new URL you can use free services such as those provided by Godaddy.com to search for and then purchase your website address.

Content is King!

A good book cover may get you interested enough to take a look inside but if you don’t find content that is interesting or engaging then you will probably put it down – websites are no different. Some ideas to keep in mind about content:

  • Keep your content focused on your customer and prospects
  • Keep your content fresh and give your audience a reason to keep coming back
  • Keep your content interesting and relevant and perhaps your readers will pass it on to others they know
  • Publish content that is useful, entertaining, informational and appealing
  • Make use of graphics, photos, video and audio where appropriate and not just for the sake of having something to fill a space
  • Make your website a place where your audience enjoys coming to

Elements of an effective website

As with any form of publication or marketing it is important to follow some basic rules with regard to design and content. Here are a few things you need to make sure you have right:

  • A good website title or headline that immediately connects with your audience, one that is to the point and is not confusing.
  • An easy to read website with little clutter and text sizes/fonts that don’t strain the eye.
  • Easy navigation to find other pages or move around using methods that are likely to be familiar to your visitor
  • Effective graphics and images that support your content and are well executed
  • Effective writing to get your points across that is not too wordy or hart to understand.
  • No roadblocks for your audience such as requiring them to register to view your basic content.
  • If you use multimedia such as video or audio make sure that it isn’t annoying to your audience, makes your pages load slowly or otherwise detracts from you main purpose or message.
  • If you are using your website to sell your products or services make sure you follow the advertising basics of having a headline, your story and a call to action.
  • Make it easy for people to contact you for more information or purchase your products.

In the next article Websites For Artist – Building Your Website we will take a look at the various options you have to developing a web presence.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto