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What Makes a Good Artist’s Website?

 

I’m between projects now. My new How to Make Masks! book has gone to the printer, but it still hasn’t appeared on Amazon.com. Soon, though, so I’m on pins and needles, waiting…

Meanwhile, my daughter and I have been having long discussions about artist’s websites, and we’d like to get some feedback from you, too. Questions keep coming up in our discussions, and there doesn’t seem to be any definitive answers for them.

For instance, I found this article about sculptor’s websites that immediately convinced me that the site’s home page should be all about the artist. But, on the other hand, you also want people to see your artwork right away. And it should be really easy to figure out how to buy something – you don’t want people to click so many different links that they change their mind before they hit that order page. And, most new visitors probably won’t land on the home page anyway, because they’ll come in from the search engines and land on one of the inner pages of the site, which means that the whole framework of the site has to be set up to make things easy for visitors.

Jessie is in the middle of re-designing her artist’s site, and, now that my latest book is finished, I’m thinking about trying to sell some of my own work online. Before we make huge decisions about what our sites should look like, we’d really like some feedback from you.

Here’s some of the questions I hope you’ll help us answer:

  • When you visit another artist’s website, is there anything in particular that makes you think you’d like to own that person’s work? Is it the artist’s statement? The way the images are presented? A story that goes along with each piece of artwork that makes you feel connected to it? If you’ve actually purchased art from a website recently, what made it easy for you to make that decision?
  • What sites have you visited that you liked so much you bookmarked them or sent a link to friends? Did you like the site for the basic design, the work that was shown, the text? Would you actually buy something from that site, or do you just like visiting?
  • How important is the “design” of a website when you make a buying decision. Does a pretty design sometimes get in the way?
  • How can you encourage people to comment on pages that show a work of art? It’s easy to get comments on a site like this one, where people come to learn how to do something, or share their own knowledge with others. But feedback is so important to any artist (it gets lonely in those studios), so any artist would like to get comments on pages where they show off their work. Have you seen non-how-to art sites that made you want to enter the discussion?

If you have examples of “good” websites that you’d like to share with us, a link would be nice. But be sure to tell us why you like the site, and if it made you want to buy something. There’s a very big difference between an attractive website and one that actually works as a store. I think that’s the biggest problem when an artist designs a site – designing is what we do, and selling is something that we usually hate doing, so we’re probably the wrong people to design our own sites. But, on the other hand, nobody knows our own work better than we do.

Of course, there’s a whole ‘nother issue – should we sell our work from our own website, or should we put our work on a site like etsy.com, instead? I’ve checked the sales stats on a lot of pages on etsy, and most people don’t seem to be doing very well. Is it because their page gets lost among so many different artists? Is it easier to send traffic to a separate site, or to get traffic to a page on a huge site like etsy?

So – if you have an opinion on this subject (and I hope you do) please add your comments to this post. What makes a good artist’s website, from the customer’s point of view? While you’re at it, are there any changes you would like to see in the UltimatePaperMache.com site? Let’s talk…

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About the author

Jonni Good

I'm a sculptor, author, gardener, and grandma. When I'm not catering to the needs of my obnoxious cat, I make videos, create stuff, and play around with paper mache. I'm also the author of several highly-rated books on paper mache. You'll find them in the sidebar, and on amazon.com

37 Comments

  • Too bad about the plugins, I don’t know whether there is a way to tweak them or not. Oh well.
    And I guess I’m the odd bird that will actually do a copy and paste of the url’s I find on Etsy, in the store announcements, so I can see the artist’s website. Many people either don’t know how to do a copy and paste or are just too lazy to do that.

    I totally understand why Etsy doesn’t allow live links to other websites – it would cut into their profits. And they are there to make money just like everyone else. I guess you’re going to have to do some really serious thinking on this.

    How successful you are selling all depends just how many people you can attract to your site. Internet marketing is a tricky entity to tame. I wish you all the luck in the world. (And maybe a chair and whip too…just in case. 😀 )

    As far as my web site goes….. I don’t have a web site anymore.

    • Unfortunately, the sheer numbers of visitors doesn’t necessarily equate with sales, since some people look for information, and some people look for products. For instance, this site receives from 3,000 to 6,000 visitors a day, but “paper mache” is a keyword that is used by people looking for information about how to do their own. I sell books on the subject, of course, so that works really well for me, but it wouldn’t necessarily work if I was selling paper mache sculptures. Right now, I think the primary difficulty for artists selling their work is finding the right keywords. Maybe I’ll do a post on that subject one of these days.

  • Hi Jonni, I’m a newbie to your webste. I only found it about a week and a half ago but, here’s my 2 cents anyway. First I want to address one thing that I didn’t see any comments on. You asked for any changes we’d like to see on this web site and there is one that has frustrated me from day one. Under your blog post there are three randomized links to other pages we might also like to read. Personally I like to open links in new tabs (sometimes I’ll have 3 or more tabs open at one time) so I can come back to the original place I found them and read on or click on more links. On this site I can’t do that and if there is more than one link I want to read I can’t because clicking on a link takes me to the other page and when I come back there are three different links under your blog. Very very frustrating.

    It sounds like most of the people who have made comments have been following you for quite some time. I found you totally by accident. I had never heard of you and haven’t seen any of your books. I was looking for new content for my homepage and found your site while looking. I really love this site, your blogs, the recent videos, and everything. But if people have never heard of you how do they find you?

    I did a web search for “paper mache” and you showed up on the first page in the #5 position for this page http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-recipes. Which I thought was wonderful but, when I did a web search for “paper mache masks” I found you on page #4. That’s not good if you want people to find you.

    I’m sure that there are tons of people like me that have never heard of you. That’s the main reason I suggest that you get and Etsy store front. Not that you’ll sell a lot at Etsy but to get your work out there where people can see it and have your url in the store anouncments that will take people to your main web site so people can really get to know you and your work. I don’t know how well this will work or if Etsy has safe guards against doing this or what.

    At the same time though you can display your work at here http://www.papiermache.co.uk/. You don’t sell your work here it’s just a place so other people can see your work and put up links to their web sites if they have one. Plus you won’t get as “lost in the crowd” here as you would on Etsy.

    Well that’s my 2 cents. Everything else has been covered thoroughly.

    Teresa

    • Thanks for the ideas, Teresa. The little thumbnails at the bottom of my posts are created by a plugin, and I’m not sure I have any control over how it works, so I don’t think I’ll be able to change that. It’s a good idea, though.

      I have not tried to optimize my site for the terms “paper mache mask” yet, and that’s why you’re not seeing it come up on the first page of Google. Getting links to the site with the anchor links using those terms is the best way to do that, and I’ve noticed that Etsy won’t allow live links to any site except their own. That concerns me, so I’ll have to look into it a bit more.

      By the way, I notice that you didn’t give us your web address. I’d love to see what you’re up to. Where can we find your site?

  • hi! I call madely am Brazilian, working with paper mache and found you I was delighted by his work. When I look for an artist, as he did want to know what inspired and disseminate the work of the artist with others who have the same interest, I also like ask for suggestions to exchange ideas is isso.Bonito your work is having a day of peace! hug.
    ah! I work with all puppets made ??of paper mache

  • I’ve been thinking about some of your questions, Jonni:

    For me, it is mostly the visuals of the artist’s work that tweak my interest in the site – if they don’t appeal, I’ll immediately move off the site. Next, it will be the writing that engages me – I love to hear the stories behind the artwork, and an explanation of the thought processes that went into the work is a delight to me. Can you tell I’m a blog addict?

    When I buy from a site (and my ‘artist life’ budget precludes it happening often), I find that ease of purchase is key. Give me a quick option for a credit card to make my decision easier. I find that spare design of a blog or website appeals to me over some design that overwhelms the artwork it supposedly supports.

    Getting feedback on work is a challenge – engaging readers/viewers to comment (or participate in challenges) can be difficult. I think that being light-hearted and creative is key here, along with persistence!

    While I’m commenting, I’m also posting a photo of my paper mache horse. Details of the process are available on my own blog: http://windinnart.blogspot.com . This piece is going to be sold by silent auction Feb 10 & 11, 2012 at ArtTrot here in Creston, BC, Canada in support of the Therapeutic Riding Program in town.
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/400.JPG[/img]

  • What a great discussion! Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. I’m going to try to summarize what we’re learning – remind me if I left anything out.

    1. people prefer to buy art from someone they know – and original art is hard to sell to strangers. That could mean one needs to get into galleries and all the usual traditional art-selling stuff, but perhaps it means we need to do a better job of introducing ourselves to site visitors (although that may be just wishful thinking).
    2. design matters, because it’s important to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. If the artwork is colorful, the site should be colorful. The design should reflect the artist’s personality, while making it easy to buy, if that’s the purpose of the site.
    3. customer feedback matters, because people like to know what someone else thinks before they make their own decision.
    4. traffic matters – without traffic, there’s no point in building a website.
    5. the text matters – just putting up pictures with a price tag, with no back story, won’t work very well for original art. Customers need to feel a connection to the artist, to the story, and to the art.
    6. free lessons might matter, like showing people how the artwork is created, or maybe some free lesson plans for teachers, or something. It may keep people coming back to the site long enough to build up an interest in buying.

    OK – what really important points did I miss?

    I think this is a really bit issue for a lot of us, because what artist or craftsperson wouldn’t like to sell what they make (and maybe even quit their day job?) Recognition is nice, too, even if we don’t need the money. So, starting in the very near future, I’ll begin an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. (First, of course, I have to make a few things to sell. That will be the fun part.) It will be a great learning experience for me.

  • Great, timely discussion as always!

    I’m like you and haven’t actually purchased art online — but I’ve come very close a couple of times. : ) The things that interest me are stories — the stories of making the art, and, where appropriate, the stories of the pieces themselves.

    Ghoul Friday does this brilliantly I think. She’s on a break lately, but here’s one of her summer posts. She creates a series. Then reveals them, usually one at a time. The description has something personal and amusing. And when the piece is bought, (often later that day) she edits the pictures with “Adopted.” She sells at craft/trade shows as well as online.

    http://www.ghoulfriday.com/little_minions_brimston

    Also, by getting me to subscribe so I see what the next story / character is, I’m always entering her site on the specific page of the art piece. I found the site originally because of the paper mache tutorials — which showed up in google searches. So a combination of approaches, I guess.

    Stolloween started doing something similar with Arsenic asylum project. (That got put on hold, but I think it’s his theme for this years haunt.) It seems to me he’s doing a kind of paper mache action figure / collector’s series.

    http://www.arsenicasylum.com/

    I’m also interested in how pieces get made. I know Jonty used to make his unfinished works in progress available, and that intrigued me. Since your (Jonni’s) following is also people who want to learn how to do what you do … could you make part of a piece and have that be a secondary market? (Kind of a hands-on tutorial in a way.) …

    I’ve done a lot of work with teleseminars in my past and know that authors have had a lot of success with virtual book tours (basically a book Q&A with the author — but on a conference call or webinar vs. in a physical bookstore.) I think the model would translate to artists as well (tho perhaps easier for artists who create pieces that can be duplicated like songs or prints.) At a minimum it could mimic something like a gallery opening, but be a little more shy artist friendly.

    But they do all rely on already having a following, or being willing to continue putting things out there waiting to build the following up.

    • Good points. You reminded me that Xan has one of my favorite art sites, because we get to watch each greyhound painting as it develops. Pretty much what I do when I build a tutorial, but spread out over many days. Her paintings are almost all commissions, so they’re sold in advance, but the idea still holds. My only worry is that sometimes (more than I want to remember) I start a project, tell people about it, and then discover that I don’t really want to finish the darn thing. So there’s these unfinished tutorials sitting out there, confusing people. Perhaps having a bit more discipline would help…

  • I like bright and bold, hate too many details, hate having to click too many times to get the info I want, especially hate waiting for pages to load. Love simplicity, ease and uncluttered. And love color. That’s my simple consumer opinion lol. Doesn’t matter how much I like the art, if I have to go through too much to get the info I’m looking for then I’m outta there. I like to see pages full of thumbnails with maybe a brief description maybe name, price and size, and if I see something that interests me I can click on the pic and get the complete info on the item. That makes it simple and easy for me.

  • Jonni,

    Didn’t intend to put any web designers out of work . . . !

    It takes time to design and maintain a website, or the time to earn the bucks to have it catered. After I lifetime of being a peddler, I favor bricks and mortar — letting someone else do the selling stuff.

    At one point, maybe six years ago, I started an online art site: WNC-OnLine, a local Asheville art e-zine. It was a neat site and a dud. I think the economy had just started to rock the national art market. I suggest that everyone have a “hit counter” on any website. A “hit-counter,” for those who don’t know, counts the number visitations a site gets. Given the number of my recorded hits (even with a now-and-then first page Google position) I received . . . it was futile fatal information. It, the site, never floated and was promptly scuttled.

    I agree with Jonni and her comment about the ETSY link that takes you to the ETSY site and way from your website without an automatic return mechanism. I had the feeling about the the Sculpture site that want’s tons of linkage. That drives not only people to your site but also lets it flow through to a bigger hosting site. Google position is sensitive to the number of sites that are linked to it. Remember that Google position is what sets the worth of the hosting site. Can’t blame them for asking.

    Jim

  • My website is perpetually unfinished (http://jimkransbeger.com). I’m still trying get the minimal notice to need a website. Secondly, I am not inclined to sell over the Internet. Pick your favorite ETSY artist and check out their online retails. I did and found I can’t make work in the time it takes to make it and sell at those prices.

    There was, earlier this year, an article in a magazine —perhaps ARTnews— to the fact that people don’t buy art on the Internet from artists they art unfamiliar with. Their reason was that people go online only (mostly?) buy art from artists they have actually laid eyes on somewhere else before.

    If you take that to heart and treat it as a given, then to get the results you seek, you must drive people to your site. First you can insert into your meta dirty words, but unless you the local police department officer (the one with the juvenile telephone voice) is an art aficionado, you are wasting time. So you can either drag your wares to market to introduce and/or promote your self or get someone to do the heavy lifting for you.

    To get publicly noticed you can attend art festivals, enter competitions, get into galleries or get publicity of one sort or another. Art festivals are costly and probably equal in expense to the fifty percent that galleries require. One of the greatest expenses that go unrecognized in festival attendance is that you are not in your studio, producing. The rap against galleries is that are —as they have to pay all the marketing costs— very selective in who they represent. Ouch! Hope you are not just another insecure artist in waiting.

    Competitions are great because you get seen, noticed and establish an acceptance . . . if you pass muster and are selected. Getting into a local art show qualifies you only for your local market area, something that carries no particular weight in someone’s Google search. If you want the required minimal, national recognition to be discovered online, then you’ve got to get something to move you from the fourth page of a Google search. Did anybody ever tell you that seldom does any Google used look beyond the second page? To get on the first two Google pages -where the big boys play- is backbreaking. Keeping yourself there requires almost a small staff.

    The rule-of-thumb, for success in promoting yourself, is that you must spend 50% of your time beating your own drum until you reach some sort of critical mass within your discipline. If you want your website to carry enough water (sales?), you’ve got to invest the time and/or dollars to make it fly . . . unless you’ve more artistic talent than everyone else in the game. You can’t place a dime bet at the two-dollar window.

    Now, once you’ve surfaced and have been recognized, people will go online and can search you out. Once people have a recognizable name to search for, your web site becomes wondrous. Don’t avoid getting noticed.

    Jonni is an excellent marketer. She positions and promotes herself actively online. She sells her books online through the big box booksellers. The booksellers give her high Google visibility and she gets to promote her art form, and herself based on that feed. She in turn directs sales to those vendors. In the yarn business, they say a good yarn has “good hand” and that a good merchant knows inherently a yarn’s quality by touch. Jonni has that inherent ability in what she does. Listen to her . . . she shares her knowledge willingly. She is a willing mentor.

    Jim

    • Excellent points, Jim – as always. You’re a master at promoting your work, so I hope everyone pays attention. I think a really big stumbling block for many of us is not necessarily the time one needs to put into promotion, but the fact that a lot of us are shy. Dr. Asperger himself said, with a little smile, that no art can happen without a little bit of autism. (“Get over it,” by the way, is not useful advice.) When you have an entire community of people who are intensely uncomfortable approaching strangers, or, even worse, being surrounded by hordes of strangers at an art show, you can see why some of us would consider giving it up and going back to being accountants if that’s what it takes to sell our work. The internet implies that we can communicate with those hordes from a safe distance, and that’s obviously true – but only if you dedicate yourself to learning a whole new set of skills.

      I learned what I know about getting traffic by building about 75 websites over about 10 years. And I love to write, which is a big plus when you become a web publisher. Once I got fairly good at giving away information (getting income from Google ads), I started selling information in the form of books. I don’t know if anything I’ve learned would help sell physical products online. I do intend to, someday soon, do an experiment to find out, but I suspect that Jim’s way would be more productive.

  • I haven’t looked at any of the websites above, but this is an interesting topic as I hope to sell on-line soon. As a shopper and art lover, I like a web site that has muliple images on the home page. I strongly prefer to buy from a place like etsy in that feedback is important to me. I have given newbies a chance who have very little feedback but if I am making a larger purchase, I like to see multiple positive feedbacks.

    It is frustrating to see so many good artists on etsy who get little traffic to their shops. I sell digital prints of old postcards – images mixed media artists _should_ love – I have seen similar images sold for more than double and people buying them like hotcakes, yet I only made about 36 sales in the last few months, to probably about 25 buyers. I use lots of keywords.

    Tascha is an artist I like – here is her blog
    http://timewithtascha.blogspot.com/

    I like the blog concept as it is personal and you can put some great images at the top an advertise etsy shop on the side. She also has a Facebook page that she is active on and has little giveaways from time to time of bookmarks and pins, etc., and I think that keeps folks looking.

    I’m going to go look at some of those websites now! Thanks for the great question, Jonni. I am always learning here!

    • I like Tascha’s site better than the ones with just one image on the home page, but maybe it’s just all that bright color that’s grabbing me. I hate the Etsy link under the images in her sidebar that takes you to the etsy home page. Good for the big company, but not good for the individual artist.

      She does seem to be doing well, and that seems to be the price point and style that does well on etsy.

      I agree about the feedback. I don’t buy art myself, since I spend all my “extra” money on books – and there are so many artists in my family that my walls are filled up, no more room. But I buy books based on recommendations from other websites, something I’ve seen on YouTube, or the comments below the book on amazon.com. I only pick books at random and take them home when I shop at my local bookstore. So how can you get that kind of discussion going if what you sell is all original art?

  • You know Jonni
    I think there is a very good chance that you would do well on Etsy. And command the prices you wish…because, you are well known in the paper mache community. You already have a following….you have soon to be 3 books + published and your name will be recognized. I urge you to give it a try.

  • Jonni,

    Wow…lots of good questions…When it comes to designing anything, you need to decide who is your target market. Ask questions like: how old are they, where do they live, what kind of jobs do they have, what car do they drive, where do they shop, what kind of music do thy like, what clothes do they wear, what other art do they like…the list can go on and on. It’s important to understand your market, because they are the ones you are trying to persuade to give you their money. Remember, if you go too broad, you won’t be able to satisfy them all, you need to focus in on a very specific group of people and target them in a very specific way. If they are the older generation, think about how they use a computer…a website for them should be simple, and a website for the younger generation should attract them with trends of the time. Although, if you go trendy, you have to work hard to stay on the top of the trends.

    What is the purpose of the site?
    To sell your art work? If so, then your artwork should be front and center with the artist’s bio and info somewhere else, but easily found.

    Web site designs with an “enter” page should be avoided like the plague! Visitors wanting to come to your site expect to enter your site when they click on your listing in the search engines. Don’t make them have to click again to enter your site.

    I find, too often, artists’ sites that take too long to lode because there are so many images that are so large. You can still have visually large images on a site that don’t take up tons of space and are much faster for loading. You need to know how to resize images for the web.

    I have never purchases art work on line before, but I do make regular online purchases. A quality website speaks loudly when it comes to making any online purchase. I know that just because a site looks great does not make it a safe site to make a purchase, but it does go a long way in credibility.

    You have to make it as easy as possible to make a purchase. Give as much info about each work as you can, and make a way for a customer to ask questions about the work of art they are interested in.

    Now for a big idea…
    YouTube
    Consider making short youtube videos to promote your work…the goal is to get people to your site.
    Here is a link about marketing on youtube…I like it! Read the article, it explains it all.
    http://technology.inc.com/2008/08/01/marketing-your-business-on-youtube/

    Here are two books with a ton of web design ideas that I love!
    http://www.amazon.com/Web-Designers-Idea-Book-Ultimate/dp/1600610641
    http://www.amazon.com/Web-Designers-Idea-Book-Vol/dp/160061972X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b
    These books will give you a visual overload very fast, but they are great!

    Have you seen sites with a workspace look http://designbeep.designbeep.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/27-free-wordpress-themes.gif
    This ideal of incorporating your workspace might work for your site. You could try adding all the things that are involved with paper mache to the design of the site.

    Ok…that all for now…if I think of anything else, I’ll be back.

    Matthew

    • After taking a look at those books you mentioned, it occurs to me that one really important design issue is simplicity. Not for the reader, necessarily, but for the artist. We tend to get totally immersed in “getting it right,” and waste tons of time building a beautiful website that may take a lot of time to maintain. That’s why I recommend WordPress and off-the-rack themes on my how to build a website tutorials. (One of these days I really do intend to make that site look better, but who has the time?)

  • I think you have to figure out why the artist set up his/her site before judging: is it meant to sell, or to display, or some other reason? I’m shortly going to change my own site — I have to say I don’t know the first thing about the nuts and bolts of web design, and this site was conceived and put together for me when I said I wanted something a little different to start out: http://www.patchapin.com . My site can sell work, but is principally set up more to show work.

    Etsy is too many good artists and artisans all stuck together in one enormous place.

    A painter’s ‘sell it’ website might be: http://www.monicalinville.com/index.php.

    In the end, no matter how clever a website is, if a person doesn’t like the work it won’t be able to sell any, would be my opinion.
    patch
    [img]http://ultimatepapermache.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/SPI.jpg[/img]

    • Good points, Patch. So I suppose one needs to be careful about keywords on the page, so they attract the visitors who might like the work. That’s a difficult job – what does go on in other people’s minds, anyway? I’ve never been able to figure it out…

  • Hallo

    Here is four from me:

    This one is simple and easy from a great artist

    http://jamesjean.com/

    Here is one that I love, because it is what I think he is as an artist. It´s welcom me …

    http://www.shauntan.net/

    When I found this one I remember how fun it was to play office, long time ago

    http://newhousedesign.com/

    And at last, a she, after three he

    I just love her work, and the homepage is taken care of the feeling I has about it

    http://jmurphybears.com/

    Ciao … Amanda

    • It’s interesting that all four sites have similar designs, with the home page displaying one large image and no text. What do you think, everyone – this layout is beautiful, but does it sell art? (and how could one know without testing? That’s the hard question…)

      • I think …

        James Jean is a big selling artist, and the sites is a forum for info and also a fingerprint for his art level.

        Shauntan is so funny, I think every one whant to jump around in the site.
        And the same for newhousedesign.
        And also the same for jmurphybears.

        All four has a quality mark with theme. But do they sell?

        James Jean sells the big part from the gallery – I´m not sure, but I have read somewhere ?!
        J. Murphy bear sells a lot from the webb site.

        For me webb site works because it´s easy for me to remember them.

        I don´t think that webbsites works alone, they must mix with other thing. Nowdays there is a huge discussion how authors can start selling books with the social media, even before the book is finisch writing. (www.creative.penn)

        But the outfit is number one, it must be proff done and also welcome me. And a balance of information and selling things. Joanna Penn on the Creative Penn has a charming balance.

        Yes, that is my opinion, thank you for the asking … Amanda

        • I’ll have to spend some time on the creative penn site – that’s a subject close to my heart. 😉

          Good input about site design – it gives us a lot to think about.

      • You always come up with such interesting and helpful topics here Jonni. Love what you do.
        I took a peek at all the websites mentioned and think they are all wonderful. Spending very LITTLE time giving your questions some thoughts all the while looking at them…here’s my 2 cents:
        Reading the article on the Sculptor’s websites I found I agree with the statement that if I buy a work…I have to like the artist. That is my deciding decision maker if I’m on the fence…no matter how much I love their creations, therefore, if I don’t “like” the artist, that is a big influence on my decision making. So, something personal about the artist that I can admire or relate to or warm up to, right off the bat, opens the door, or should I rephrase that to pulling out the credit card?
        I prefer seeing their work front page also. Not huge images, but enough to made me take notice and reel me in. I won’t spend time clicking through all links: shopping cart, shipping, policies, other images of their work…until I am on the verge of a purchase. Finding links that are easily available as well as easy to use are essential.

        • Thanks, Sharon. Great feedback. So, using your criteria, how does Jessie’s new home page work for you? (Ignore the dead links in the sidebar – she’s packing for a big move, but she’s working on the site a bit at a time…)

          Since you use etsy, do you think that’s the best way to go, do you think? I’ve heard that painters have a hard time selling more expensive work on etsy.com. Do you think that’s true?

          • Jessie creates beautiful work.
            Here’s another of my 2 cents worth of ideas:
            Jessie’s images are soft pastel tones that get lost, actually they seem to blend in to the page because of the white background color. To zero in, get the viewer’s 100% attention to her art, the ground color is crucial. I believe if she gives her background a dark color, possibly even black, that will make her images pop. Maybe she should experiment with that and see what kind of difference a contrasting dark will create.

            Another suggestion is Jessie might want to cut down on her bio. So much information, for me I felt compelled to read it all before I could return and really admire her work. That kind of wore me out…you know I am an old woman, right? Maybe she could keep the first paragraph and bring it to a halt with a little blip (continued on my Profile page).

            Images of the Artist at work, (You with your face covered in aluminum foil for example…hehehe) makes me see the artist as genuine, busily involved in the art she loves to make. We all like to be able to envision an artist loving her/his work. That adds a nice touch.

            Well, I’m going to quit before I offer 3 cents worth of nothin. Oh, I don’t know about high priced fine art on Etsy. I haven’t been successful in my endeavor but I love the customers I have had and have found them to become wonderful friends. Jessie should give it a try. The cost is very minimal to list an item which will run for a good 3 months. I don’t know what the magical formula is to become seen there though.

          • Thanks, Sharon. I’ll make sure Jessie reads this. But I’m not sure about the black background thing. I’m getting up there a bit there myself (ahem) and white type on a black background makes my eyes hurt. But a black lightbox look for images works well. hmm…

  • This is an interesting question. I think each person’s art site will be as unique as the artist. I like to read about artists, and always like to check out their blogs. My own blog IS my art site, and that is tricky. I have links at the top for paintings and folk art dolls, and some images in the sidebar (which I should make link to the galleries, now that I think about it).

    I’ll be interested to follow this discussion. BTW, I came here through a search about homemade paperclay, I think. I’ve been following for a couple of years.

    • You have a nice site, Dixie, and you do lovely work. Your top link to Folk Art Dolls takes you to the comment section, though – was that intentional? (I once worked as a website tester, and I can’t seem to help myself…) Do you primarily sell from your blog, or do you do shows, galleries, exhibits, etc.?

      • what i like is for it to be more appealing, something has to attrach me to want to stay and look at the web site. i like both pretty or appealing. but i like something to want to continue to see and read that catches my curiosity. but i want to know bout the artists also…but make it about why they did the piece of art…what inspired them. probably confused u even more.

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