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If you’ve been following EmptyEasel for the last year, you probably remember reading about Art.com’s new websites for contemporary artists, Artist Rising and Sistino. (Artist Rising was to be a collection of individual artist portfolios, while Sistino was to be the main online marketplace.)
You’ll also recall that Art.com’s strategy suddenly changed halfway through their launch period when they announced that Sistino.com would be dissolved into ArtistRising.com, giving artists a more unified (and less confusing) platform to sell both originals and prints.
Well, at the end of October the new ArtistRising.com was completed, blending aspects from both Sistino and the original Artist Rising website. The result is really a somewhat less “artsy” version of Sistino (no flash on the front page, for example) but it still appears to be a fairly decent-looking art site.
I did notice one new feature that wasn’t on either of the two original sites—this thumbnail collection you see to the left.
It appears on the AR home page and allows visitors to quickly click through groupings of art from different Artist Rising categories. Landscapes is the category shown here, but I also looked through Originals, Travel, Photography, and Flowers.
I do wish the thumbnails were bigger (I like the size of RedBubble’s home page thumbnails, for example). If Artist Rising spread out a bit more they’d have room for it.
Plus, all the thumbnails throughout the rest of Artist Rising are bigger, so it’d help with consistency.
The home page also showed six thumbnails of recently added artwork and a featured artist, along with the main categories like Subject, Medium, and Style on the top (with dropdown lists below) and a column of “lesser” categories on the left side.
I was very glad to see that two of the key features I liked from Sistino made it into the new Artist Rising—the excellent color-matching system (not shown here) and the search/browse function shown below that, as far as I know, is quite unique.
Artist Rising’s search system is fantastic because it allows shoppers to add and remove extra search parameters on the fly, letting them browse more artwork, for increasingly specific details, in a shorter amount of time.
Other good things:
1. Selected works from Artist Rising DO currently appear on Art.com (which really helps those particular artists since Art.com has a HUGE amount of traffic).
2. Art.com has placed a site-wide text link to Artist Rising in its footer (it used to have an image link I think. . . in any event, that should help Artist Rising begin to rank better in Google and other search engines which in turn will help its artists.)
Now for the bad things—or at least the “needs improvement” stuff:
1. Artist Rising still has a lot of identical meta-descriptions and title tags for it’s artist profiles and gallery pages which ISN’T good. (Note the screenshot below or click on this link “site:http://artistrising.com” to see for yourself.)
It really is a big deal when Google thinks you have thousands of identical pages.
2. There have been reports of bugs and other technical problems by members of the Artist Rising community—which is only to be expected, really, and actually it seems like AR’s tech people are doing a decent job at fixing all of them.
3. And according to the AR member forums, the majority of art sales are still coming from Art.com and Allposters.com (for the lucky AR members whose works appear on those sites) with very few artists making sales from ArtistRising.com itself.
I guess overall I’d say that Artist Rising is on the right track, but I’d also say there’s no need to rush in and sign up if you haven’t already.
Let them iron out the kinks first, get their monthly traffic numbers up, and maybe (fingers crossed!) even start promoting Artist Rising like they said they would almost a year ago, when this whole Sistino/Artist Rising thing first began.
Then they might have something really good.
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