by guest blogger Sandi Dettman
The new year is a time to set new goals, both personally and professionally. For artists, one thing which is often overlooked is updating their website.
As an artist, you wear many hats. Trying to carve out time to deal with technical issues is not nearly as enjoyable as creating. However, your online presence goes a long way in getting your name and portfolio out there. With many artists moving toward selling art online, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
Here is a short art website checklist as we enter the new year:
1. Update your copyright.
You put time and energy into posting images of your art and updating content. Unfortunately, many artists don’t pay much attention to that little copyright notice at the bottom of their site. An updated copyright notice not only helps protect your content and design rights. It also tells potential collectors that your site is up to date and that someone is minding the store, so to speak.
How to do it: If you manage your own site, you should be able to go to the website template and find the copyright area. This is normally in the footer of the design. If someone else manages your site for you and you don’t see the copyright updated in a timely manner, simply contact them and ask them to take care of it.
2. Make sure your site is secure with an SSL Certificate.
If you don’t know what an SSL Certificate is, as of July 2018, you need to. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL certificate, once installed on your website’s server, activates a secure connection between a potential client’s browser (either on their phone, tablet or PC) and your website. SSLs are standard in all e-commerce, banking and other business websites.
You may think “But I don’t take credit cards or sell anything on my website, so why do I need this?”
Well, there are still many reasons to secure your website. SSLs help establish trust. Do you collect email addresses? Do potential clients contact you through your site? They expect you to protect their privacy and security, and an SSL connection does just that. Also, as of July 2018, Google Chrome prominently alerts users when a website is not secure.
Other web browsers such as Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox have similar alerts that let visitors know whether a website is secure or not. One last thing to consider: Google started using SSL as a ranking factor for websites a few years ago. Having a secure site can help to boost your site’s search engine rank!
How to do it: Most artists do not host their own website and will not have the ability to install an SSL. But don’t worry, your web host will do this for you, often at no charge. You will have to pay for the SSL Certificate itself, but this is not an expensive outlay. Your hosting company should already be working with an SSL provider. There are different SSL certificate costs, brands, and levels of assurance, so if you do not take credit card payments online, you can likely go with the least expensive one. Alternatively, if you do take payments on your site you may want to consult with your hosting company or web designer to see what level of security is best for your situation.
3. Update Your Site Content.
Nothing says “unprofessional” like a list of outdated shows, workshops or events. Even if you don’t have the latest greatest website design and a super current blog, your available works, bio and list of shows should be up to date. Sold works should be marked as sold. Gallery representation should be current. Upcoming events should be in the future. If a potential collector is visiting your site and sees you will be showing at an event in 2016, they will wonder just how up to date your work is and how serious you really are as an artist.
How to do it: Updating content is something you really should be able to do yourself. If your site is built in WordPress, you can edit your content quite easily on each page by logging into your dashboard. If your site is hosted by FASO, Square, Wix or other site builders, there is an easy-to-use interface to do this. If you don’t do any work or updating yourself, send your webmaster a list to do so on a regular basis. The small cost of having them update your site will definitely be worth it.
Today as never before, an artist’s website is an exceptionally valuable tool. With the surge of smartphone users, your site will only become more important as collectors can pull up it up at any time, including while they are viewing your work in galleries or shows. Doing these few things will put you on the right track for collectors to see you as a successful, active artist.
Sandi Dettman is a principal and webmaster at ArtistGifts.com, a website featuring gifts for artists since 2001. She has worked as a web designer and SEO specialist since the early 2000’s and enjoys creating art and designing jewelry.
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