by Carolyn Edlund
Use this simple guide to build an inviting art website with a great visitor experience.
Is your current artist website working for you? In a world of intense competition, a well-made website gives you an edge in making online sales. Use the following checklist to create a site to impress visitors and provide an enhanced shopping experience. Here’s what you need:
The right website platform
Plenty of platforms exist that cater to all types of online businesses. But vendors who specialize in art websites understand the business of art and offer features that give visitors the best experience of your portfolio. These functions allow site visitors to click through a collection easily, pop up images for closer viewing, display art in room settings, or use augmented reality to customize shopping. Find listings for art website providers in our Directory of Places to Sell Art Online.
A simple menu on your website works best; don’t confuse visitors with too many options. Use dropdown menus to list additional pages that relate to main navigation items. This makes it easy for site visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Nest different collections under the menu title Artwork, for instance, with each leading to a separate page with a cohesive grouping of work. Include information about yourself such as an artist bio, artist statement or CV under the About menu item. Customize your website menu if you are pursuing a particular sales channel, such as art licensing or the corporate art market, to direct potential customers looking for those options.
Friendly, easy-to-read content and an approachable attitude go a long way to gaining the trust and interest of website visitors. Do they get the impression that you’re interested in helping them find and own a great piece of art? Do you offer plenty of information about the shopping and acquisition process? Are you easy to reach? Does your site invite engagement?
An FAQ page or a How to Buy section on your art website should provide answers to common questions collectors have when considering a purchase. Shipping costs, turnaround times, your return policy, installation info and more are typically included here.
Beautifully photographed art is a must in order to present your work like a pro. Make sure you have plenty of shots of your work. Multiple views assist site visitors to understand your art more fully. In situ photos help the shopper imagine your work in their own space. You might include a photo of the back of a painting that shows the hardware included for hanging. Photographs of work in progress can convey the complexity of your technique.
As a visual artist or maker, your images are extremely important, but potential customers need more. Well-written descriptions (especially on the product pages of your site) complement your photos with additional information that matters in the decision-making process.
If your art website lists only title, medium and size for each piece, you are missing an opportunity to sell the features and benefits of your work. Can your painting be hung in different ways? Is your handmade jewelry hypoallergenic? Will the story about a piece of art make it a great conversation piece? Write complete descriptions that answer questions and overcome objections. This helps to expedite the purchasing process.
Clearly marked prices
Is your artwork for sale, and are there prices on your website? If not, you are unlikely to close any online sales. This puts the shopper in the position of having to guess whether they can afford a piece of art, or contacting you to find out the price. Long before that happens, they will simply move on and make a purchase from another artist who does list their prices.
When it comes to commission work or special projects, you can give a price range, but for available inventory, be up front about the cost. Taking the mystery out of buying art is the customer-friendly way to sell online. Everyone considering an art purchase appreciates transparency.