Ask #ArtistHotline: How to Drive Traffic to Your Artist Website
Your website is the ultimate conveyer of your brand. Experiment with different marketing strategies so that visitors return frequently.
An artist website is necessary to build your online presence and is a must have in today’s fast-paced digital world. It serves a multitude of functions: documentation of your artistic practice, online storefront, and the ultimate conveyer of your creative brand. If an artist has one thing, it should be a well-crafted website. We’ll review tips on building your web presence and how to successfully drive traffic to your website.
A professional-looking website adds legitimacy to your practice. Whether you’re applying to a fellowship or a potential client is looking to commission work, expect people to Google your name prior to making decisions. Your online presence is your opportunity to make a strong first impression. Individual artists should develop a goal-based strategy for what they want to achieve on their website. However, there are fundamental rules to help your website gain traction. Consider these 3 elements:
- A professional website builds credibility and trust.
- Your site should be easy to read, navigate, and understand.
- Sharing valuable content is key to attracting readers.
In order to gain more traffic, you have to determine the goals of your website. Our book, The Profitable Artist, provides useful tips to help attract visitors and practice viable ways to gain exposure.
“The goal of every website is to be user-friendly so that visitors will 1.) stay on your site for a reasonable length of time and 2.) return frequently. These metrics can translate into higher advertising revenues for commercial sites, but they also are of considerable importance to artists. The more time that someone spends on your site, the more exposure he or she receives to your work, and repeat visitors usually mean fans.”
There are all kinds of ways to find your audience online. Some artists create a monthly newsletter or strive to build an engaging social media presence. It’s important to experiment with different marketing strategies and determine what works for you. As you test out different channels, ask yourself “How effective is each channel for me?”
For example, before moving on to a new social media platform try and figure out why it’s working or not working. Post different types of content and use analytics to see what people are responding to. Over time, you’ll begin to measure interactions and accurately see what brings people to your website. When you combine a practical strategy with the right network, you’re guaranteed to see success.
Share Original Content
Content is the single most important element in increasing visitors. Grab the attention of your audience by sharing compelling content about your artistic practice. For example, if you have an upcoming exhibition or if you’ve recently won an award, use this opportunity to boast about these achievements. This can be in the form of a newsletter, blog posts, and/ or social media posts. Remember that your audience is looking for updates about your artistic practice. It’s also important to update your content regularly and highlight new information.
Experiment with Social Media
Using social media frequently can increase your online traffic and help you reach a wider audience while also establishing credibility and helping you develop your brand. Because of Twitter and Facebook, it’s now even easier for people to recommend things they love online. When you have a website, you give these recommendations a place to go and explore further. Your website serves as central place for potential buyers and/or funders to learn more about your body of work. In addition, websites are flexible and can grow along with you. Perhaps you start off with Facebook and then try Twitter. Visual artists tend to gravitate to Instagram to display their studios or work in progress. Do not post the exact same content across all social media platforms without adapting it to fit platform-specific best practices.
As an artist, it’s important to use the online tools you feel most comfortable with. You only have a few seconds to hook your visitors, so grab their attention by being clear, and display your best work. It’s in your best interest to focus your energy on strategies that work for you.
Become a Thought-Leader
You can also use your website as a tool to establish yourself as a thought-leader and build your reputation. As you participate in online conversations, you’ll begin to raise your public profile, especially when you share content that offers a unique perspective. For example, collectors and art enthusiasts often use digital media to discover new artists. If an influential collector retweets your content, you may gain new visitors from that positive interaction. Online engagement can work in your favor when executed well whether you’re looking for direct sales, email addresses, or simply to gain exposure.
Connect with Artists Online
Participating in online conversations like #ArtistHotline is a great way to network with fellow artists, and to cross-promote each other’s content. During forums and Twitter chats you may have the opportunity to highlight your own work, but make sure you are actively responding to the conversation rather than just promoting yourself. Another tactic is writing guest posts on relevant blogs — when you cite, quote or mention someone in a blog post, they’re more likely to share the content with their audience. Cross-promoting and building relationships with other artists in your niche will often result in referral traffic to your website.
Driving traffic to your website will take time and commitment to do well. You need to set goals, measure your efforts, and create content that is thoughtful, authentic and original. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth the long-term benefits.
– Glory Edim, Program Associate, Online Resources
What other recommendations do you have for artists looking to increase online traffic and visibility? Share your suggestions using the hashtag: #ArtistHotline.
Inspired by the NYFA Source Hotline, #ArtistHotline is dedicated to creating an ongoing online conversation around the professional side of artistic practice. #ArtistHotline occurs on the third Wednesday of each month on Twitter. Our goal is to help artists discover the resources needed, online and off, to develop sustainable careers. This initiative is supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.