Millions of artists go online to showcase their artwork, hoping someone will buy it directly from their website, but knowing very little about website design. Not fully understanding how their art is perceived by visitors to their online portfolios, they are prone to making certain errors in design. Even having one or two design mistakes may leave a bad impression on the artist.
To stand out from the crowd and get your work noticed, avoid these design errors for your artist websites. Don’t try to make your portfolio website a work of art in itself. It should be simple and the emphasis has to be on the artwork.
Recently, we shared with you the first 10 of these errors in artist website design which artists should avoid.
Here is the link to the first 10: 20 Common Portfolio Design Mistakes – Part 1
20 Errors in Design for Artist Websites
- Poorly photographed artworks
- Splash or entry pages
- Very little text and content
- Mistakes in formatting of text
- Displaying page after page of thumbnail images
- Pages too cluttered
- Spelling and Grammatical Errors
- Using too many fonts
- Difficult to use navigation
- Using flash on portfolio websites
Difficult to find contact informationContact information should be very easy to find. Don’t make visitors search for it. Include general contact information on your main page (email and an optional address and phone number) Have a page with a form where people can easily contact you with any questions or inquiries.
Inconsistent color schemeUsing improperly matched colors is one of the main problems I have seen in artist websites. Avoid using bright colors for text, especially if having a dark background. This may render it very difficult to read. Actually a black background should be avoided. Have you seen artworks displayed on a black wall in galleries?
Neutral gray to white is the best background for displaying art on the web.
Keep your colors consistent. Don’t use different or rotating colors on pages. There should be full control over how the viewer sees the artwork. Also, keep all text color consistent throughout your portfolio website.
Not paying enough attention to the introductory portfolio pageThis is the page that visitors will see when they first enter. Make them go “WOW” when entering your first page for the first time. Several small thumbnails will generally not provoke this reaction. Have one large image of your artwork as the main attraction on your introductory page. Use a design that emphasizes the artwork.
This image should be your star piece, one that is not necessarily your best, but has attracted the most positive reactions from viewers.
No artist statement or information about the artistIf someone enters your art website wanting to buy your art, they will probably want to know about you as an artist. They may want to know about your artistic background and where you are going in your art career. Some collectors only buy from artists if they can see an actual value in buying the artwork. They have to see tangible information that will make your art worth buying. This may include an artist statement, resume, awards, art exhibitions, upcoming events, etc.
If only artwork is displayed without as much of this information as possible, the impression will be that you have nothing to say about your art and have no experience in the art community.
Having auto playing music on the art websiteThere is nothing more annoying than entering a website and having music or video automatically playing. The first thing I do is search for a mute button. If I cant find it, I leave the website, and I’m sure others do the same.
Advertising on an art portfolio siteAdvertisements are distracting for viewing art and will take viewers away from your art website. Only include ads that link to your online store where you sell art. (eg. Fine Art America) If you feel the need to make money in this way, consider creating a separate blog or website with a different theme.
Advertisements can be placed at your artist blog, but keep them very limited.
Links linking to other websitesIf you have links to other websites, make sure they are in a separate section, such as Resources. These links should be helpful art resources, other artists’ portfolios, and art blogs. Do not include link building websites or directories, or websites that have nothing whatsoever to do with art.
All these links should be set to open in a new window, as not doing so may cause you to lose site visitors.
Displaying too much art that is not categorizedIt can be annoying having to go through pages and pages of thumbnails to search for a certain piece. The art collector may like your art, but not being able to choose, they may leave without buying anything at all. Related art and collections should be categorized into sections, making them easy to find. Place sold art on a separate page. If you want to show everything, place them in a completely different section labelled Past Artworks or Archive.
For art websites with more than one gallery, don’t just label them Gallery 1, Gallery 2, etc. Galleries should be categorized according to subject, series, or medium. This will make it much easier for visitors to find what they are looking for.
No title and meta description on website pagesThe title and description tells visitors and search engines what your website is about. When someone shares your page with their social media circles, they will be sharing your title and description as well. Search engines use the title and description to display information about your art website in their search results.
Include a unique title and description for every single page of your portfolio.
Not buying a unique domain nameDomain names are important for branding and helping the artist look more professional. Many online artists fail to get domain names. Maybe they do not see the value in it, but a domain does add professionalism to an art site. Think of the millions of artists online who have free blogs and free websites at services such as Blogger, Wordpress, Weebly, Wix, and others.
Don’t you think it will give a much better impression if the domain was theirs instead of belonging to a free service? I am not saying that artists should not have their portfolios at free websites. But, it is so easy and cheap to buy a domain and redirect it to the free website. From then on, the artist will be promoting their custom domain, not the free one. If they ever decide in the future to create a self-hosted portfolio, all they would have to do is redirect that domain to the new website, without losing visitors.
The domain registrar we recommend is Godaddy (banner above), not because we are an affiliate, but they are the best and largest website domain registrar in the world. Try getting a domain of your own from them. I’m sure you will be glad you did.
If you are making some of these errors, try to set a goal of fixing them as soon as possible.
Do you have any artist website design errors to add to this list?
Please tell us about it below.