At ETChster we have the pleasure of powering free artist websites for people all over the world (as well as many other tools that are transforming the art world for art collectors and others).
Artists often choose our platform because it’s specifically made for artists to show visual art to the world.
Unlike other options including WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix & Weebly, ETChster websites are not generalized for any purpose whatsoever, leaving the purchaser to do technical and design configuration and ongoing maintenance thereafter.
Artists choose ETChster websites and the overall platform because it is 100% built to support the visual arts economy, but even before that, most artists are trying to get a website going because they want a functioning art business.
With that in mind and based on 100s of conversations with artists who are learning their way with digital marketing (websites, email, e-commerce, etc.), we wanted to provide an overview of how new websites work, grow, and become more powerful business tools over time.
What Are Some Common Misconceptions of a Brand New Website?
Thinking a freshly-minted website is an art business in a box.
There’s this myth that having a website at all works like it did in the AOL, Prodigy, and dial-up modem days, where just having a website meant you got free traffic that would ultimately lead to sales.
Those days ended 20 years ago. There are literally billions of websites and getting traffic to them is a fundamental activity for any business, like your new art business.
So your new website doesn’t generate visitors on its own, but there are all kinds of free ways to get business to your brand-new artist website, which does have a ton of business utility, nonetheless. Check out Crista’s guest series in our blog or pay TheWorkingArtist.com a visit.
What Does a Brand New Website Do Well?
We just talked about the early days of the internet, but how did artists conduct business before the internet took off? By phone!
You used these little pieces of paper called business cards that had some vital information for your art business:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your address (if you had a physical space where you wanted people to visit you)
Think of Your New Artist Website as a Super-Powered Business Card
Your ETChster website has your name, address (if desired) and contact form, and so much more.
Its job is to:
- Reinforce what they already know about you
- Get the visitor familiar with your story
- Create a lasting impression
- Convert them into a fan
- Give them a reason to come back periodically
- Make it clear how they can purchase your work
Your ETChster website provides:
- A full online gallery of your artworks, each with its own description and photos
- As long of a bio as you want
- A posting feature to keep your fans up to date
- An administrative interface (where you add new art and posts) that is 100% mobile-friendly
- A responsive design that makes you look professional on both phone and desktop interfaces
- A full hidden catalog where you can manage work in progress
- Free, physical NFTs to build links to your profile from your works in the real world
In other words, you’ve handled a lot of your art business needs in a single tool! That was a wise decision and will save you 1000s of hours of headaches and tons of marketing money over your career.
But what isn’t handled is getting your “super-powered business card” into the hands of fans. That’s why ETChster has built many training tools on building your art business such as how to get website traffic into the platform itself and continues to compile resources for you in our Blog and ETChster University.
How Does an Artist Optimize a New Website?
So now that you understand what a new artist website DOES and what it DOESN’T DO, let’s talk about how to optimize it so that you get the most out of your investment in building it.
In simplest terms, you want your website to help you build a relationship with strangers as quickly as possible.
To that end, you need to:
- Show a Lot of Art – Remember, you’re an art business, not a hobbyist. Fill your website with lots of well-photographed art.
- Write a Great Bio – When people your art, they’re buying a piece of your artist’s story. If you’re not telling a story, how can a fan feel like they have a relationship with you?
- Make Frequent Updates – When someone comes across a website that isn’t updated, they think it’s out of business. No one wants or even thinks they can buy art from an abandoned art business. Adding public Etchings and posting about what you’re up to are great ways to keep your site fresh.
Commit to doing the above on an ongoing basis. Keep in mind you can make updates from your phone.
If you take those steps, you’ll build instant credibility, and start converting strangers into fans and buyers of your art!
What Website Features Should Artists Care About?
If you’re looking at some of the websites mentioned above, you have to find and configure what they call “plugins” for things like a contact form, a mosaic display of photos, social media sharing buttons, etc.
ETChster websites have all of the above out of the box with no configuration required.
So instead of focusing on technical configuration, focus on
1. Doing a great job of showing your art in what we call Etchings. These are the physical NFTs that you create and attach to your artist profile within The Encyclopedia of Objects, our free database of visual art.
2. Writing a great biography that tells your story.
3. Posting frequently to let fans know what you are up to.
4. Checking your traffic tracker so you can see the impact of all things you’re doing to get your “super-powered business card” in strangers’ hands.
How Do You Power Up Your Website Over Time?
There are lots of ways to start building passive traffic to your website over time.
One of the simplest is to put your new website in your artist email signature. You expose everyone with whom you already email to your website.
If you already have work in the hands of others, you can create the Etchings (physical NFTs) and transfer them via email to the art’s new owner. They’ll have a link from their art collector app directly to your profile and a simple way to refer you to friends.
In digital channels, there are tons of ways to get your website linked in local directories and over time, national and international websites about artists.
You can also use social networks to introduce your website and individual pieces of art.
Building social media alliances is also a fantastic way to get free traffic.
Take a look at the resources mentioned above to explore all the possibilities that will take your brand-new website from “super-powered business card” stage to “tractor beam” stage.
Beginning artists can build a 100% free artist website in less than 30 minutes. Optimization requires ongoing commitment.
Artists already making sales can choose Pro for additional capacity, video, document management, and branding customization.