How Building an “Authority” Art Website Can Help Me Sell My Art Online

Published on Jan. 7th 2008


I’ve been thinking (a lot) about how the internet works these days, especially in regards to how I plan on selling my own art online this year.

Most people would agree that when artists decide to put their artwork online, they usually choose one of the following: a personal portfolio website, a daily painting blog, or a membership in a large online gallery of artists. Depending on what you you’re looking for, of course, any of those options can work.

A daily painting blog (or simply a blog where you write about your own artwork) allows you to “put yourself out there” and will probably bring in some traffic from the search engines, while an online art portfolio can be a very professional way to present your work to galleries or interested art buyers.

Joining a larger online gallery or artist community usually means better management tools and more traffic than if you’re on your own. . . and some options even combine features from all three, like the company I recently co-founded, foliotwist.com.

But there’s a certain type of art website that I think works the best—and it might not look any different than a regular art blog, at least at a casual glance.

I’m talking about an authority website.

So what’s an “authority” website?

Simply put, it’s a website that other people (and possibly Google) consider an authority on any given subject—in our case, art.

And again, just to make this clear, an authority website could BE a blog, written one post at a time. (This is what I do with EmptyEasel.) The difference is not in how an authority site looks, but in what the artist behind it decides to write about—the actual content of the website.

For example, an artist could write about her own artwork five days a week (a typical art blog) or she could write about her own art on Mondays and four other artists on Tuesday through Friday (and that blog has the makings of an authority website).

You don’t have to limit yourself to just that example, of course. Here are a few other ways of developing an authority art site:

1. Interview other artists—that’s what photographer Andrew Gibson does.
2. Allow others to submit their own articles to your blog—I do that here on EE.
3. Or write about art history, art events in your city or around the world, art tutorials, etc, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

How will it help me sell my art online?

The benefit of creating an authority website is usually pretty obvious—more traffic, more inbound links, and more recognition online. Essentially what every artist wants (or needs) to sell their art over the internet in the first place, right?

Once you have a well-known website, you can then send traffic directly to your art portfolio (or wherever you’re selling your art) yourself. To put it bluntly, it’s like having a megaphone to promote your art rather than having laryngitis.

If you’ve already got an art blog of some sort (and according to my current poll, many of you do) why not make it into an “authority” website? Or start a second blog if you don’t want to change the first. All it really takes is a different mindset about blogging—a different philosophy about what an art blog is.

Well, that and a little time and effort.

I did mention that this would be a long-term project, right? Probably a year if you‘re starting from scratch—maybe less if you already have an established art blog.

But don’t let that dissuade you because anything worth doing takes time. And look—there just happens to be a brand spanking new year spread out in front of us, called, let’s see. . . 2008 is it?

Sounds like the perfect time to start to me. : )

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