You may read through the following list and choose to believe that none of this applies to you and your site or blog.
You will be wrong. 99.9% of you? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
It’s not entirely your fault, though. See, you’re a “creative”. You make things, paint things, forge things out of wire or metal… you’re a hands-on rockstar when it comes to making art. No one ever told you (or your stubborn creative side chose to ignore) what it means to build an online presence as an artist. That’s why I’m here, remember?
Anyway, if you seriously believe that none of these apply to you, I triple-dog-dare you to leave a link to your site in the comments to back it up. I want to see for myself. Deal?
Okay, so here we go:
7. You haven’t written anything new on it in a year. Or a month. Or a week.
You see, people aren’t going to keep coming back to your site just to look at the pretty pictures. No one’s going to tell their friends about your site just because your last project was posted in 2012 and they think it was sooo awesome.
You need to get people to subscribe to you, and the only way to do that is to keep them up to date with relevant, current content. Call it a blog, call it a news section, whatever. Just stop ignoring it.
The fix: Update your site no less than once per week. Period.
6. Your photos suck. Big time suck.
I realize that not everyone can afford a good setup, or to hire a photog to take flattering photos of their work, but with a little research, you’ll find that it’s not the money holding you back, it’s the time. You have to put in the effort. Taking a pic with your 3 megapixel camera from 1998 ain’t gonna cut it. Sorry.
The fix: Take the time to take really nice pictures of your work. Edit them properly, or go to fiverr and pay someone a few bucks to edit them for you.
5. You don’t have a photo of yourself.
You really wouldn’t believe how many blogs don’t, but most especially artist blogs. It’s like you guys are afraid of anyone knowing what you look like because you think they’ll find you and murder you or something. Or you’re insecure about your looks and you think that people really care that you don’t look like a Kardashian. Guess what? No one needs to see your face for any other reason than to feel more connected to you and your work.
Appearances do matter, but not in the way you’re thinking. You don’t have to be this bohemian goddess or some bearded, brooding man… you need to be you. You don’t hide your face in the real world, so why hide it in the online one? Especially when you’re trying to sell yourself.
The fix: Okay, so it doesn’t have to be your face, it can be a pic of you working your craft. You don’t have to be all posing and smiley… be creative, dammit! Just do it.
4. You don’t have a way to help people buy anything from you.
Sure, you can write a post whenever you create an Etsy listing or something, but if you think for one second that a link in your sidebar that says “Shop My Etsy” is enough, you’re sorely mistaken.
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t WANT to have to click through more than once to get to where they want to go. Okay, maybe that’s not popular belief, but the way people run their sites sometimes, you’d think it was.
There are tons of tools out there that help you embed your shop/s right on your own site, and the only time the person will leave is when they go to checkout. Even then, you could always just sell from your site itself (in the event you don’t have an Etsy or Zazzle or whatever). If you don’t know how to install a shopping cart, again – check fiverr or elance.
The fix: Have a way for people to shop without leaving your site.
3. You don’t have a custom site that is a reflection of your art.
This is a HUGE problem. I probably should’ve put this one in the #2 spot as a tie. But if you seriously think that a stock WordPress theme is fine as-is for your artist site, you really need more help than this list can give you. You need to hire a professional. You need a business coach to teach you about marketing and branding. You should take out a loan and let someone else do all the work while you lock yourself away in your studio. Yes, I’m dead serious.
No, a minimalist design with an all black background and white text with a huge scrolling gallery on the homepage isn’t gonna cut it. It’s cold. It’s corporate. It’s meant for photographers who work for magazines. It’s not meant to display your beautiful creations.
The fix: Either learn how to customize your site or pay someone else to do it. And learn about the importance of branding everything with your name on it.
2. You don’t give people easy ways to talk about you.
You probably have a facebook profile, and maybe even a facebook page, but you spend all your time in groups talking about how hard it is to break out on Etsy. You got a Twitter account because your favorite celebrity or politician has one, and the only tweet is the one you sent to them. You like Pinterest, but you only post recipes you like. Any of this sound familiar?
You don’t have any sharing buttons or tools on your site. I bet more than half of you reading this right now fit that one. It’s ridiculous.
The fix: I hate to keep saying, “Either learn or pay someone else to do it for you,” but it’s true. You need to give people a way to bring your work out to the world for you, and when they do, you need to be active in not just showing your gratitude, but sharing even more things they’ll love.
And the number one reason, the most common of all…
1. You refuse to get personal.
Gone are the days when some good SEO would get and keep people coming back. Never mind that… the fact is that when people buy art, they don’t buy it just because it’s got their favorite shade of blue in it. It’s because something about the art resonates within them. You know what helps make that happen? The ability to feel like they resonate with the artist.
People aren’t going to slap down $500 for a pretty painting just because it’s pretty. It’s because you shared with them your reason/emotion behind creating it, and they feel they can relate. You’ve created something that fits exactly how they feel, to the point where they feel they can’t live without it.
Before you start saying, “But Lara! I make dishcloths! No one has an emotional tie to dishcloths!” I want to remind you of something. You started creating those dishcloths for a reason. Was it because you wanted to create extra income for your family? Because you wanted to come up with a project you could do with your kids? Because your husband was laid off, and you had to do something to pay the bills? It’s YOU. Your story. Your reasons. Your every motive and means for doing what you do, that has the ability to make someone else feel attached to you.
The fix: Stop hiding. Start telling your story. Even if it’s posting about how your trip to the ocean with your 8 year old resulted in you being attacked by seagulls. Whatever it is – if you can’t come up with something to say, tell the truth.
Now… Like I said before, if you can honestly take a look at this list and tell me that none of this applies to you – I want a link in the comments. Tell me why, and show me. Otherwise, which of these DO apply to you, and what are you gonna do about it?