I was very excited when I got my first computer a few years ago. I unpacked it, set it all up, and thought of all the wonderful things I would do with my new toy.
At first, I didn’t see the opportunity my computer would present for promoting my art.
But I soon did, as I began discovering that other artists were posting their artworks on the web. I thought – “I want to do that too!”
So, I found a free site, began uploading a few of my paintings and drawings, added a visitor counter widget and thought I would get a boatload of people flocking to see my paintings and drawings. I waited for a few days, and I did have a visitor here and there, but they were mostly from my friends and family – whom I had informed of my new “website” – and others from that particular free site. I did not get nearly the number visitors I had hoped for at all.
So, I began researching internet marketing and how to promote art on the web, and discovered some things that I was doing wrong and some basic truths about the internet. One of the first things I discovered is that a website is like an island – no one will know it is there unless I let them know!
This is part 1 of a three part series on Myths About Promoting Art on the Internet.
Myths About Having a Website and Using the Internet for Art Promotion
If I put my art on the internet, it will be seen by millions of people.This is the biggest myth for newbies on the web. The internet certainly does not work this way.
As I said, a personal website is like an island – no one will know its there unless you let them know.
The first time I posted on the web I thought it functioned like a billboard – everyone on the internet would see it! Was I ever wrong about that!
My free web portfolio is MY website.I told everyone that I had my “own” website, but it was not actually mine. I thought that just because my artwork was there, and I spent the time making it look the way I wanted it, I could say it belonged to me - it was my website. But, it was never my own. It belonged to the portfolio service where it was hosted.
A free website is reliable and forever.Posting art on free sites actually carries a risk. All your hard work will be gone if the company decides to pull the plug on the website.
This has happened a few times. Remember Talent Database? It was an online portfolio site service/ social network where artists and creative people could share artworks and interact with other artists.
I spent a lot of time there and made many connections and friends, but one day the site was suddenly down, with no access to my portfolio. All my connections were gone, and I had to rebuild. This would not have happened if I had my own website and newsletter from the very beginning. I would still be able to keep in connect with the people I met there.
A personalized subdomain makes a portfolio seem more professional.A portfolio site profile with a personalized subdomain still does not make it appear to be my website.
Yes, I feel proud to have my name there, and to be part of a community of artists, but that profile does not function as an artist website.
Take Fine Art America as an example. My website address there is http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/graham-matthews.html.
This URL has my name, but the URL almost reads like a sentence that says “This is the Fine Art America profile of Graham Matthews”. Even their artist website service URL reads in a similar way: YOUR-NAME.artistwebsites.com
It’s great to have your art on the web, but if you have a domain similar to this for your “official” artist website, you and your art are not what is being promoted – it is the portfolio service!
This does not mean you have to get your own domain name for every single profile you have on the web. But, when it comes to the site that you show your main work on, that site should at the very least appear to belong to you with a personalized domain and branding. Collectors will take you much more seriously and are much more likely to trust you if you own the domain and website. For those who are ready for a website and domain of their own, I recommend you take a look at WIX by clicking “GO” above.
Stay tuned for a future article where I will continue this series on 5 more myths related to promoting art on the internet. Subscribe here to be notified of this post when it arrives.
Any thoughts to share about these art promotion myths?