Artist Website

Artist websites are kind of a peculiar breed. It seems like the only place on the web where tacky flash intros, pixilated animated gifs and confusing navigation bars are accepted and commonplace is artist websites. Screw accessibility. We want to cause epileptic seizures. So - to get to the point - if you want to, you're allowed to be a bit quirky with your website (because you're an artist).

For the rest of us, you might consider using some of the following, sensible and logical items.

Image Gallery/Portfolio

So, you're an artist. Whether you're a sculptor, painter, photographer, illustrator or other kind of artist (post-modern dinosaur Atlantic masochist; I don't know, I'm just putting words together), it would probably make a lot of sense to have a gallery on your site. Put it this way; if you use visual mediums at all you're going to want to showcase it somehow. On the other hand, it's a little challenging to take a picture of an audio file (you could use the waveform, I suppose).

An artist needs a portfolio, right? Sure, you might have hard copies of your work sitting in your closet, but it's also a good idea to have a page on your site where you display your best works. Who knows? It could lead to additional work, right (commissions, merch sales, etc.)? Don't be so fussy about it that you self-sabotage. Show the world what you're working on, even if it's just concept sketches.

News/Blog

Google happens to like websites that are updated regularly (but who cares what they think, right?). For maximum search exposure, it may be wise to keep a blog. Yeah, I know, you don't really need to be more of a nerd than you are already. Still, some people would probably like to know what you're working on (your parents at least). So you begin building a community and maybe even a mailing list.

Your blog could be a good place to test some things out too. You've probably figured out by now that people don't like everything you create (unless they're too nice to tell you). Before you put another five hours into that headless chicken sculpture (you never know), you could run it by your fans and audience to see if they actually like it. You could also get creative and do vlogs or shoot a quick video of that sick street art you did last week.

Social Links

Did you know that Google factors interactions on social networks into page ranking (but who cares what those corporate giants think, right?)? The people that take the time to come to your website may also want to interact with you on other channels (can't imagine why). It couldn't hurt to be on a few different sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You could always ask your audience what they like to use and where they want to connect with you (come on, don't be shy).

It probably won't hurt your online presence either. In case you hadn't noticed, people are pretty addicted to social media and it isn't about to go away. Not like you really need an excuse to be more of an eccentric recluse and introvert, but if you can exercise some self-control and use social networks in moderation, it'll probably help your marketing. Content and social media go hand-in-hand (yeah, I hear they're dating), so it's all the more powerful when you share blog posts and gallery items and such.

Press Clippings

Your website is a great place to show what Gene Simmons, Perez Hilton and Tom Hanks are saying about your latest works. What? You don't have quotes from any of those people? What are you waiting for? Get on it!

As the saying goes, all press is good press, right? Even bad stuff can sometimes be turned around and used ironically. How about this: "Yes, John is absolutely the worst artist we've ever been witnesses to this side of hell. No talent, no skill, no potential whatsoever". Man, if I had a press clipping like that, I would put it on the front page of my website in big bold letters for everyone to see.

So don't just paste your press clippings on your corkboard. Put them on your website for added credibility.

Events/Show Listings

Now with all of your shameless self-promotion out of the way… oh wait. There's more. That's right, if you have any exhibitions or shows coming up, you could always utilize your website to promote them. No, an event listing on your site probably won't do all the work for you, but it's another promotional avenue that allows you to reach out to more people.

If you don't have shows… make something up. Host a cheese-and-wine party at your house or deck out your garage with Christmas lights and arrange for VIP viewings in there. Just don't do anything creepy. That could be counterproductive.

Web Store

Make your wares available for sale through your website. If you don't have the technical know-how to do this, either find a geek friend and buy him a six-pack (of beer; just so we're clear), or do a web search and find some free sotre options that help you get up and running quickly. With some sites, you don't have to do much setup at all. That's right; you don't have an excuse anymore (in your face!).

If you just want to sell your art, that's totally cool. You could also have merch items like buttons, shirts, and stickers too though. Just saying.

What else should artists have on their website? If you have any thoughts, leave a comment.

Image: moriza