My car warned me this week that I have driven 563 miles past the “recommended service check.”
I don’t notice anything wrong with the way it drives, but I believe in preventative maintenance so I’ll take the car in this week. I know nothing about engines or suspension so I leave that to the experts. I just make sure to keep it clean inside and out because I like my environments that way.
It’s too bad that websites don’t have similar messages telling us when it’s time to do a tune-up. I look at dozens of artists’ websites each week and even in a very short scan, I can cover a lot of ground. I have my own internal sensors run a methodical check on items that help me decide if I want to stick around.
Here’s a list of questions you can use to do your own version of my website audit.
Does your website domain name clearly identify you and/or your art form?
Do you have a tagline for your art business?
Do you have a logo or word mark for your art business on every page?
Does your home page design reflect your art style?
Do you include your business name, surface mail address and copyright date in the footer of each page?
Do the images on your home page grab attention in the first glance?
Does the text on your home page invite the viewer in?
Are your menu items easy to understand?
Do your web site pages have the most important information at the top in a screen the size of an iPad?
Do you have icons that link to your social media pages?
Side Bar on Every Page
Do you have a side column that contains ways to stay connected, like links to your RSS feed, social media pages, and customer support?
About the Artist
Do you have an artist statement written in the first person (like you’re talking to the reader) which introduces your influences, your art philosophy, and your working process to your viewer?
Do you have a bio written in the third person (like someone is talking about you) i.e. a summary of your history as an artist based on the facts listed in your resume?
(NOTE: Some artists prefer a hybrid of an artist statement and bio)
Do you have a gallery resume of at least 2 pages listing vital information about your art career accomplishments, including education, exhibits, gallery representation, museum collections, commissions, awards and honors, teaching, and publications?
Do you show only your best work on your website?
Do you have galleries to organize your images for different subject matter, media or types of work?
Do you include the title, media, copyright date, height x width x depth on each image?
Press and Reviews
Do you upload PDFs or publish links to recent articles, press releases, and reviews of your artwork?
Contact the Artist
Do you include your telephone numbers(s), your e-mail address or an e-mail form for people to contact you?
Do you have a guest book or opt-in page where viewers can sign on to receive updates about you, your art and your accomplishments?
Prices and Payment System
Do you post prices for each piece?
Do you offer convenient layaway plans with a deposit?
Do you offer payments through credit card or PayPal?
Do you have an icon to verify the security of your website payment system?
Do you have a link to your art blog?
Do you have clickable links to your social media pages?
Do you have images and links to recent exhibits and galleries who represent you?
This is just the surface, like looking at the lines and paint job of a car, but then again, you are a visual artist so that’s a great place to start. What else do you think makes for a great artist website?
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