Let’s say you’ve just discovered a new artist, and taken a little time to browse her website. The artwork is beautiful, and as your interest grows, you decide to click on the “blog” tab to see what else you can learn about her work and her art.
How disappointed would you be to just see one or two posts from several years ago?
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You’d thought you would see some recent works, or news, or shows. . . instead you’re left wondering if the artist is even still active!
Blogs are a wonderful feature of the modern website, and a very useful marketing tool for many artists. Personally, I really enjoy perusing fellow artists’ latest blog posts, just to see how they’re progressing, or what’s inspiring them.
You can always use social networking to stay in touch, but blogs allow a much deeper look at the individual artists who publish them. When updated regularly, they can increase an artist’s fan base. When abandoned, they give the impression that the artist has gone AWOL, or is too busy to bother updating interested viewers.
If you’re really not up to using a blog, it’s better to not have that feature at all than to have one that’s been left on your website as an afterthought. Keep a recent works page, and get rid of the blog altogether if it’s not something you want to maintain. That way, there won’t be anything that feels unfinished about your website.
At this point, you might be thinking “Well, I didn’t ask for that blog feature, it just comes with my website!”
If your website came with a blog feature that you can’t remove, you might as well make it work for you. How? Spend an extra few minutes after you upload any new artwork to add it to a short blog post.
Write about why you created the artwork, or what you learned from creating it. Talk about the medium you used, or how you approached the piece’s creation. Give a review of the brands of materials you used. You can even write about how annoying it was that your cat kept trying to drink your paint water as you worked.
Your blog is just another tool that allows you to make a connection with people who are likely already interested in your work (or at least curious), so give those people a little piece of you to go along with the art. Many blogs allow your posts to be sent out as newsletters, so this is a great opportunity to reach out to your readers and draw them back to your website.
And even if you find yourself unable to upload new work for a while, try a short post updating your readers about what you’ve been doing (photos of works in progress are wonderful ways to share!) Or, feature an older work that you’d like to bring to a fresh audience.
You don’t have to post on a strict schedule just for posting’s sake, but if it’s been a few weeks, write a little update so your readers don’t forget about you, and new visitors will know you’re still around and making art.
If you’ve been gone awhile (I went through this a few months ago with several months of morning sickness) don’t panic.
Just pick it back up when you can and get into a routine, or write a quick post to let readers know you’re alright if you won’t be able to post regularly. Getting back onto a blogging schedule helped me work my way toward a general routine once I was able to start painting again.
There are also a few very important things to remember when blogging:
First, do your absolute best to correctly edit your writing—especially spelling! Readers won’t stick around if they have to struggle to understand what you’re trying to say.
Second, make sure your goal is to connect with your readers, not just to sell to them. Most of us get tired of hearing a sales pitch when we’re trying to learn or be inspired.
Blogging is certainly not for everyone, and it’s not something that should eat up most of the time you would otherwise spend creating. However, if you DO have a blog, make sure it’s working to enhance what readers see when they visit you on the web, rather than detracting from their overall experience.
Trust me, a few extra minutes of updates is always a good investment. . . you never know who might be stopping by!