Thursday, March 01, 2007

Artists neglect the potential of the Internet.

A Good Site is a MUST

So often I hear artists saying they cannot afford a good web site, which worries me. I hear this and I see the results all the time. Since I got into this profession (web designer). I have seen businesses benefit so much for the initial investment of a decent we site design and I have seen them suffer from neglect or scrimping too much on a good web site. I see the potential and feel the frustration when watching people trying cheap alternatives.

We all think we can do everything ourselves and when we can’t we neglect that area until we get to it.

Just as artists need to present themselves professionally with their work, written profiles and artist’s statements etc, they must do all they can to present themselves as professionally as possible especially on the Internet. This is International clientele not local community.

I am never happy with my own sites and personally keep altering my site and with every improvement I can think of and it presents better and better as a result. Yes I am a designer so it is cheaper for me but I swear I would have got someone to do it otherwise.

My incentive to do 2 years full time condensed study was to make sure I did this well. You can go the long way around like I did and study flat out HTML, Java scripting, image editing and design or you can concentrate on your art. I did the long hall because I needed work to keep me afloat until I could get something going with my art so I chose web design but as a result my art was dramatically hindered for 3 years.

The design of your site counts with the gallery directors and clients. I have held back for this reason. I knew my sites needed to be at a certain standard not to be knocked back by the better galleries. Your web site represents you when you are not there.

Yes some are lucky to get by with a poorly designed and poorly functioning site but they will be loosing visitors and it does look substandard to Internet familiar visitors who are spoilt by fantastic designs everywhere. My own site may not be perfect, but I think it is far better than the majority of artist’s sites and some don’t even have them.

The good news is that although the industry is flooded with artist’s you have an edge over others if you do this well because artists neglect the potential of the Internet.

Save up and take a leap of faith. It has been reported to me that the sites I have done for others artists have resulted in either sales, collectors or gallery representation or all of the above. It does work. Do not get a backyarder who fiddles with Front page as says they can make a site cheap. Get a professional and check out their work. Ask for links to sites they have created. Check these sites for easy navigation and broken links. Be careful of who you host with. I have had to rescue a few businesses after their web designer just decided to shut down business. Some do it yourself hosts start out free or cheap then later bump up the cost and you cannot take the site with you so you loose all your hard work. These sites tend to look the same too.
This is your Internet Gallery we are talking about.

You know the difference in attitude you have toward art when you walk into a trendy gallery as opposed to seeing paintings hanging in an unkempt corner store. The Internet is no different.
The key to success

I remember a very wealthy and successful person saying something like the key to success depends on a team of professionals. You can’t do everything well yourself, to do well you need to do what you do well and enlist professionals to fill the gaps and maximize on your time.

If you can spend your time well, concentrating on what you do best and commission professionals to hep you do what you cannot.

Professionals get away with it or do they???

As I said some are lucky to get away with it but I wonder how much is lost for not doing it better.

I recently found a website by one Australia’s most predominate artist (internationally known) and their site is a shocker. I was horrified. Everything inside of me wanted to grab it and give it an overhaul. I only found it via a printed material. The artist didn’t even have their own domain. The artist was using a sub domain. By this I mean their name was tacked on to the end of another business’s domain example www.ceativewand.com.au/~myname
This name is too long for people to remember and the tilder (~) can easily be mistaken for a hyphen (-)

To add to this problem he chose a variation of his name.

Curious to see how easy it was to find him I Googled his name and combed through the first few of pages. This person should have popped up everywhere with their international reputation.

I found their name and artist’s by the same name who probably gained ranking through people searching for this wonderful painter. I couldn’t locate this person. I didn’t go through all the pages but who does. They may have been in there somewhere. Any possible lead led me to another artist or musician

I am very familiar with artists's work however other searchers may have been confused by the other artists with the same name. I spent too much time looking and eventually quit.

This incredibly talented person is relying completely on occasional printed material and refering to a long sub domain. Their rankings are low and highly competitive but so much could be done to change that.

This wonderful artist could cover the cost of a site with one sale.

I know it is hard to part with the almighty dollar but like all professional services that are needed – it is worth it ten fold.

Find yourself a good designer and get noticed!

Recaping:

* How important is to me that I gain the respect of an International audience

* What is the best domain to purchase, is my domain name too vaigue.

* How does my work and presentation compare to other sites in general

* How easy is it for my visitors to gain access to my information and contact details.

* Am I making it hard for people to find me.

* How much can I afford to invest in my web site business to ensure a better response.

* Do I want to learn HTML and web design properly or do I want to spend my time on painting and promotion.

* What can I do and what is best to be left to someone who has more skills in that area.

* Have I checked out possible designers properly so I don’t waist money

Good Luck

2 comments:

Alex Makin said...

Kayleen,

I do agree that so many people neglect the capabilities of the Internet, particularly in being able to engage in dialogue with visitors.

It's great to see that you have such a comprehensive website perhaps it will inspire other artists to also consider an online presence.


Alex

Kayleen West.- Stewart said...

Thank you Alex.

It really does open up the world and close the space between people.

Kayleen



 
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