Recently I found a good article by Clint Watson at his blog, Fine Art Views. It discussed why artists should have their own personal art websites rather than buying a membership at one of the many large art sites around.
In a nutshell, Clint stated that the large amount of traffic by bigger art-selling sites isn’t as good as a small amount of traffic at your own, personal art website.
Clint went on to explain that since most art is sold to a small group of dedicated art buyers, capturing leads (like email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) on your own website and keeping those potential buyers interested in your art is the most profitable way to sell your art online.
He also offered the services of his company, FASO if you’d like an art website of your own.
While I agreed with most of what he said regarding marketing, here’s a few reasons why some artists might prefer an art memberships over having their own website.
1. Buyers should be able to buy your art easily
Capturing leads is good but so is allowing visitors to “buy it now,” especially if your artwork is priced affordably enough to purchase in one installment.
You only need two things to start making online art sales from your own website: the ability to accept credit cards and a sense of trustworthiness.
Unfortunately this is where personal art websites tend to fall flat while major art sites shine. Visitors can immediately tell when they’re dealing with a well-established company, and are more willing to pull out a credit card because of it.
2. Basic portfolio websites just aren’t enough
The best personal art websites will always have an integrated blog and be completely optimized for search engines (SEO).
Unfortunately, most personal art websites are just online portfolios and won’t actually bring in any traffic from the search engines. That’s fine if all you want to do is tell people about your website, but not if you want Google traffic.
Bigger art websites, on the other hand, have a sure thing when it comes to search engine traffic, which is why many artists would rather choose one of them than pay for a personal site that might not get any traffic ever.
In the end, I don’t think memberships in large art sites are a bad choice. Even though the traffic that artists get may not be specifically intended for their art—as Clint mentioned in his article—there’s always a chance that those visitors will become dedicated fans anyway.
I’ve also got to be honest. I think an art blog would do the job just as well or better than a paid website. And while I can’t say for a fact whether Clint’s services would work or not, I will agree with his last point: every artist should have their own website.
Whether that website is a free art blog or a paid portfolio site is up to you.
UPDATE: EmptyEasel has recently launched it’s own art website service that does things a little bit differently. We’ve created a system that combines a blog, a portfolio, and PayPal all on the domain name that you choose—and we’ve made it easy enough for anyone to use. You can learn more about it at foliotwist.com.
*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*
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