Notes from the Studio

6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Art Website

"Dry Creek" 5x7" oil painting on panel

Getting the most out of your art website is crucial in today’s marketing climate.  Your website does not have to be extensive to impress viewers, but it must be current and easy to navigate.  Following are some tips for tuning up your website—go through the steps at least once every six months (quarterly is better.)

Check your outbound links

Check every outbound link on your website, including your prior blog posts.  If a link has broken, try to re-establish it (the URL may have changed.)  If it cannot be reestablished, give your reader a searchable phrase by which he may be able to find your source.

Check your internal navigation links

Don’t take for granted that your internal links always work:  They can fail for a variety of reasons.  If an internal nav link opens to a blank page, either get some interesting content on the page or delete the navigation link and page until you have material for it.

Use your spell checker

Spelling errors make you look unprofessional.  Give your entire website a baseline check.  An easy way is to copy-and-paste your text over to your word processing software and run it through spell and grammar checks there.  I do all my writing and editing in Word, then copy-and-paste to FASO’s templates. 

Use your grammar checker

This is harder for many people, especially those for whom English is not their first language.  Do your best.

Check your contact info

Sometimes we forget that the web doesn’t know we just moved, changed our phone number, or the phone company changed our area code.

Check location of your art

If you list the work’s current location in the description be sure to update the location as you move your work from studio to gallery to another gallery.  Since that is easy to neglect, make the verification of locations part of your tune-up.

Every time I give my website a tune-up I find a few quirks that need to be corrected.  Rather than commit them to memory, I make a list of what needs to be done and tackle it all at once.

When visiting other artist’s websites I do more than look at the art:  I look at presentation and learn.  Most artists maintain their websites nicely, but a large minority don’t.  Would you be favorably impressed by an art gallery that had filthy floors, loaded ashtrays, stinky bathrooms and crooked paintings?  Of course not!  You assume that if they don’t take care of their stuff, they won’t take care of yours.  Keep your website clean—take good care of it.  Be assured, you get judged by it.

Next week:  Some bigger improvements to your art website.  These may take a little longer, but they are worth it.

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The Compact Studio, Part 4: Untried Ideas

Judging by the spike in readership during the compact art studio series, there is a lot of interest in art studio design.  I hope other writers pick up on this and publish their successful solutions for efficient use of space.  Meanwhile, I apologize for dropping the ball—I was going to list a few untried (by me) ideas.  Here they are:

Remember those huge television armoires?  For an artist who has inquisitive toddlers and no designated space in which to work, I would think the interior of a big tv armoire could be converted to easel/painting space without too much difficulty.  Under-counter lighting could provide necessary light.  A tabletop easel could sit in the tv space.  Attach some wire or plastic racks to the interior walls to hold supplies.  A lock on the cabinet would make it child-proof.  For artists who sit, an old computer armoire might be better.

For artists lucky enough to have a room in which to work, but challenged by kids or pets, a Dutch-door (the top half open, bottom half closed) can allow contact and communication with less under-foot distraction.  There are other types of door barriers that are more transparent and can accomplish the same thing.

That’s it for my compact studio ideas.  Next blog is about my all-time favorite art blogger.  Find out who that is and why!

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