by Alyson B. Stanfield, Art Biz Coach
Your website or blog is the first impression many people will have of your photography, and you only have one chance to make a first impression. If your site has been around for a few years without major changes, it’s probably time to update it. Online design has evolved and many artist sites look dated and are under-performing as a result. Here are 8 fixes to improve website performance.
1. Lose the black background
• We used to think black backgrounds were cool and made the work pop. Now we know better. Black backgrounds are heavy, weigh down most artwork, and create a psychological barrier.
• More importantly, it’s nearly impossible for many people (like me) to read light text on a dark digital screen. When I see light text on a dark background, I leave.
2. Show off your work
• Your site is worthless if it doesn’t show your art in its best light. If your site is over-designed or too colorful, your work will suffer.
• Add your images to every page of your website. Use this free virtual real estate to display your photos at every opportunity.
3. Increase the size of your images and fonts
• The Web has become so much more visual, thanks to Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. Lucky you! You have a visual product. It would be a shame for you not to take advantage of this trend.
• No more postage-stamp-sized images. Small type size is out, too. Go big or go home.
• Remember, though, that your images must load quickly because so many of your visitors will be viewing your site on mobile devices.
4. Add a credit line with each artwork
• If you want other people to give you credit for your images, you first have to give yourself credit. This means a complete credit line with every piece you have on your site. It should look something like this:
©2010 Alyson B. Stanfield, On a Windy Day. Photograph.
• Avoid using “quotation marks” for your titles. They are visually distracting.
5. Streamline your menu into 5 or 6 major links only
• If you have too many choices, you’ll confuse people. And confused people don’t stick around or buy from you.
6. Disclose where you are hiding the photographs
• Sometimes when I go to a photographer’s site I don’t see any images and it’s not evident where the portfolio is. I shouldn’t have to guess. I’m confused, and so I leave.
• The link to your artwork should be clearly defined with any one of these labels: Art, Portfolio, or Photography. Don’t use the word “Gallery” to describe your artwork pages. Save that word for the galleries representing you.
7. Show your face on your About page
• We like to see the artist. It’s easier to relate to a photo of a person than to a bunch of words touting your accomplishments.
• Seeing your picture tells people that the work on your site has a real person behind it. It could be a headshot or one of you with your camera. Heck, do both! The more images, the better.
8. Place your social media info in conspicuous places
• On a WordPress site, your social media info should be in every sidebar. It should also be on your Contact page.
• People will search for these additional ways to follow you.
A website is a commitment. You can’t create it and forget it or your work will look dated when you want to appear relevant and vibrant. You must keep improving your site as new trends come along and as your work evolves.
Alyson B. Stanfield is an art business coach and the author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s Guide to Self-Promotion. She is hosting Art Biz Makeover, a 2.5-day live event in Colorado November 5-7, where you can network and pick up other tips for expanding your photography business. See http://artbizmakeover.com for details.