I’ll be the first to confess that I enjoy seeking out new places to post my art online. It doesn’t matter if it’s an online gallery, forum, blog, or marketplace, I’m always tempted to join.
But here’s the problem: I already display my work on my professional portfolio site, my blog, Pinterest, three online marketplaces for original paintings, an Etsy store, a POD portfolio, and an additional portfolio that can be utilized for networking or selling prints.
So in order to keep myself somewhat organized, I’ve come up with some helpful rules to follow as I join additional art websites to share my work.
1. Start with your home base
Whenever I upload new artwork (unless the piece is a miniature painting or a collage for my Etsy store) I start with my home base, which is my professional artist website.
My reason for this is simple: I want my website to be a resource for anyone who wants a complete picture of my work. My website service makes it easy to track pricing, so if I ever need to check a price on a piece of artwork, I can just head over to my website and open my price sheets.
Once the piece is uploaded to my website, I move down my list. If I’m including it in a blog post, I head over to my blog. I then add it to any online galleries, my POD portfolio, and my Pinterest page. lastly, I sometimes post it on an auction site.
Having an order of importance eliminates the constant decision-making, allowing me instead to keep the time I spend uploading each piece to a minimum.
2. Ask yourself the following questions
What am I posting?
What do I have to say about it?
Where would I like to post it for sale?
Where can I share it, both for feedback and to bring people to my site?
Am I going to promote it with an auction?
What do I want to get out of this posting?
As you might have guessed, each of the different places where I upload my artwork serves a different purpose.
I think of my professional website as my storefront—I use it to track inventory, reach readers through my newsletter, and provide basic information about myself as an artist. My blog is where I share my process, and my Pinterest boards are where I display my artistic preferences and influences. Online galleries help me expand my viewer reach.
My POD portfolio started off as a place to promote my work, but now it’s more of a social connection for me—and a quick way for me to occasionally order things I might take to festivals (like promotional postcards). My Etsy store is where I let loose a little (miniature sketches, collages that I don’t post on my professional website, etc).
I keep each site active because it represents part of me as an artist, rather than trying to do everything through one website, which would be limiting and counter-productive.
3. Keep posting to a minimum
If you think my list sounds like a lot of places to be uploading artwork, it definitely is! But as someone who looks at a lot of artwork each day, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. . . I see the same names over and over, in many different places. This tells me that it’s a good thing to put yourself out there as an artist, because doing so will earn you some name recognition.
I do try to be selective about the websites I use, however—I try not to take on anything I’m not willing to devote time to maintaining, and I also believe it’s important to join websites where the work is high quality.
I also have no desire to spend time social networking, so I avoid most of those, and i limit websites that post a lot of student work, because I don’t feel that those websites have the audience I’m seeking.
Being selective means that I can devote time to regularly updating my portfolio, which I figure is better than uploading a bunch of work and forgetting about it for a few years, figuring someone will find my work down the road and look me up when they do.
4. Keep your prices and brand consistent
Even though I share different aspects of myself through all these different websites, I feel pretty comfortable that viewers who look up my work will get a fairly consistent picture of me after a visit to a couple of these different websites. There are a few things that contribute to this: I try to keep my profile pictures consistent (sounds silly, but it’s that recognition thing again), I keep my bio information similar on each site, and I post pieces that show my signature style across most of my online portfolios.
My Etsy store is a bit of a wild card, but generally speaking, I show the same paintings on all my other art outlets, so that a viewer will recognize my work when seeing it on different websites.
Speaking of consistency, it’s important to keep track of your pricing and regularly update what you sell.
Your prices should be close to the same across the board, so that a buyer doesn’t get something at one website and then see it listed at a lower price on a different website. If you make a sale, go to your “home base” first and mark it sold—then go down your list of priorities and either take it off the market or mark it as sold and make prints available if you wish.
If you’re selling work through your blog, I would suggest linking all your work back to your home base for purchases—that way you don’t have to manage your pricing in more than one place.
5. Don’t be afraid to prune down
Every few months I revisit what I’m getting out of each site, and do a little housecleaning—especially if I’ve added a new website to my list. I know I’m always going to use a professional website and my blog. Beyond that, I look at what I want from each website, and decide to drop those that I’m not getting much out of and have started to neglect. It’s always fun to get the boost that comes with joining a new website, so I try to balance that by dropping websites I’m no longer spending time visiting.
Some websites don’t let you off the hook so easily, so if you find yourself with a profile that you can’t delete, cut it down to a few of your signature pieces, and remind yourself to revisit it every few months or so and update it. If you feel the website is truly awful and you can’t delete your account, you can delete all your pieces and change your username, which will limit your association with it.
Managing multiple profiles online can be time consuming, but with a prioritized list and a consistent routine, it doesn’t have to be a big chore. Remember, you have control over how your art is represented online. . . so take the reins and make your sites work for you!