In the age of minimalism, it is not hard to define the foundations of a potentially successful website. Aside from the content itself, a modern art website should be of a simple yet elegant design, easy to navigate and well organized. Straightforward navigation and content attract visitors and generate a high retention rate – a visitor should preferably be immediately familiarized with who the artist is, what the art is about and what it looks like. Unfortunately, many websites lack these basic principles, regardless of their simplicity. The good news? Under these circumstances, failure of many actually creates a stronger chance of success for the rest.
Optimizing Your Website
Cross-browser design – Make sure every browser renders your page exactly the same. You want everyone to perceive your art in precisely the same way. There are differences in the way browsers interpret portions of the code – these are minimal nowadays, but not so long ago you, you would need the help of a colleague artist, a CSS artist, to make all the necessary adjustments.
Responsive design – As the number of total mobile visits nears 70% toward the end of 2018, this is perhaps the most crucial part of website optimization. If you’re not mobile friendly, you lose 70% of potential website visitors, simple as that. Fortunately, this is getting easier to achieve each day because of various frameworks.
SEO – Making a website optimized for numerous search engines is a work of art itself. Each page of your website, as well as every image of your art, should be searchable. What search engines can search is text, so you have to make sure you include the title, description, alt attributes, and as many other details, where applicable, when applicable.
Typical Mistakes and Misconceptions
I do not need a website, I have a Facebook profile – While it is definitely preferable to own synced profiles on as many social networks as possible, in order to spread the word about your art as much as possible, you still need a website because it’s the only place where you are in total control. Social networks gain and lose relevance (did anybody say Myspace?), change rules all the time and are, ultimately, in control of your content.
I’m an artist so my website should be swarming with visual gimmicks – Visuals and plugins come in handy when used properly and in good taste, but to use artistic aids on an artistic website seems counterproductive. Your website is the showcase of your art, not the showcase of the latest achievements in web design and website rendering technologies; not to mention all the different aspects of website performance these add-ons affect.
I’ll avoid all the problems and buy a template – This one is pretty clear: you are an artist, you (probably) want your art to be original, and you want your website to be original. Quality templates do help you to avoid many technical problems, but templates are not original work – it’s as if you bought a licensed painting, added a few lines here and there and sold it as your own.