Do you know this pain? You put your heart and soul into building your beautiful website, you’re so excited to click the “Publish” button, you can’t wait for people to see it and… nothing happens. Barely anybody visits your website and nobody buys from you. How is it possible? Your website is so amazing, isn’t it? It’s not if it doesn’t contain all the necessary elements. Here’s what a successful art website looks like.

What a successful art website looks like?

1. Simple and clear

I know you want your page to look fancy, professional, etc, but make sure it’s easily navigable for your clients. Don’t write fancy titles like “On a journey”, when you can simply write “Travel photography”. It may seem boring to you but remember: you’re not creating your website for yourself, you’re creating it for your clients. It has to be easy to understand what is what, and how to find what they need. Leave fancy phrases for poetry, here you have to be clear.

Also, make sure that the layout is responsive and easily navigable. Too often I enter a website and I have no idea where to find the basic things like menu or contact page. Simplicity and functionality are a key to a successful art website. It doesn’t mean, your website can’t be beautiful, but your first goal should be that it’s clear and easy to understand.

2. Includes a bio

There’s this saying: “Facts tell, stories sell”. You can write essays about the details of your art, but what sells the most is your story and your personality. So show it! Include your photo – people feel a deeper connection with you if they can look you in the eyes. Write about where you come from, how did you start creating, what inspires you, what is your process, why do you do what you do, etc. Here you can add your personal touch – you can do it in any way you want: writing a paragraph, creating an infographic or, like me, list facts people don’t know about you. You can check the example of my “About me” here.

3. Includes a gallery of your works

It might seem obvious, but many artists don’t want to show their works online as they’re afraid somebody would steal the images. If you don’t show your art, how do you expect anybody to find you and buy from you?

If you’re afraid your images might get stolen, add a watermark big enough to make it difficult/impossible to remove. It might not be the most beautiful solution, but it’s better than not having anything online. To be honest, I don’t do it. I expose my images and whether they are watermarked or not, nobody has the right to use them without my permission, so if anything like this ever happens (for 8 years of the existence of my website it didn’t), I’ll just undertake the legal steps.

So having a gallery of your works is crucial. Again, please, please, please, make it clear and simple! I get a headache when I enter art websites and I see 20 categories, each of them divided into other categories, like: “Sculpture” divided into “Wood”, “Stone”, etc, etc, etc. I literally get tired! Especially if in each of them there are 1 or 2 pix! People entering your website want to be able to see FAST what you do – get an overall idea. So make sure you have a gallery that makes it possible!

If you want to show that the artworks are parts of various projects or are made of different materials, you can either add a small caption to them or create a separate page with “Projects” and there include all the pieces with a detailed description. But make sure you also have a general gallery giving an idea about everything you do. Another way, many people will get tired of clicking and clicking and clicking to see 1 picture and they’ll just leave your page. You can’t let that happen!

4. Clearly describes what you offer and how to buy it

For you, it may seem obvious that people can buy from you, but trust me, for the potential customers it’s not. If you don’t have any information on your page about how to buy from you, they may think your artworks are not for sale or that you’re too busy to take commissions.

When possible, add a shop to your website so that people can directly buy your artworks. If your pieces are sold by a gallery, make sure to include a link with a clear description of how to buy.

If you take commissions or want to get contacted first, before somebody buys your art, make sure to clearly state it as well. Create a “Work with me” section (or “Buy my art” or anything that works best for you) and describe everything:

  • How to get in touch with you?
  • What information to include?
  • What is your process?
  • How long does it take?
  • How do you deliver the artwork? Is shipping included?
  • General conditions, money back guarantee, etc.
  • And everything that your clients should know before they start working with you.

What about the prices?

Some artists include prices of their artworks, others don’t. It’s up to you, what you prefer. Of course, it also depends if you are selling ready pieces or customized services. I suggest including at least a price range or a starting point so that people get an idea and know whether they can afford it or not. It also saves you time, as you won’t have to answer messages that won’t have a chance to lead to a sale.

Make it as easy as possible! If you want people to contact you, don’t consider a simple “Contact me” page is enough. Describe all the elements I mentioned above on a page and insert the form there, too. The easier it is to buy from you, the more probable people are going to do it. If a person can do something in 1-click, don’t force them to visit 3 pages before they get what they want. They’ll get discouraged and will leave your page. Always keep that in mind while creating your website.

5. Clear Call To Action

Each section of your website should have a clear goal. Always think: what do you want people to do on each of the pages? Each page should have 1!!!!! Call To Action = 1 goal. Not 2, not 3, not 10. 1!!!! If you want people to buy from you, don’t write on one page: “Buy from me, like me on Instagram or send me a message”. These are 3 calls to action! It may seem to you, the more the better, but it doesn’t work like that. Given too many options, people get confused and don’t take any action. Always be very clear about what you want your visitors to do.

6. Contact

Make sure people know how to contact you. If you want to get clients, they have to have access to you. Especially, if you sell your artworks at premium prices. Also if you accept commissions – people want to get to know you before they start working with you.

7. Sign-up form

Everybody is crazy about social media following, but what is much more important is having your email list. I’ll write a whole blog post about it soon. For the moment, you should know this: you don’t own social media, you never know when and how the algorithms will change. It can happen that you put so much energy into building an audience and suddenly you can’t contact them anymore. This is something that doesn’t happen with email lists – thanks to them you can always contact your audience. Plus, email marketing is proven to have the biggest conversion rate.

Make sure to include a sign-up form in a few places on your website: as a pop-up, embed in the content, in the sidebar, you can also add a top bar, etc.

Attention! Forms like: “Subscribe to my newsletter” don’t work anymore. Every day, people get so many emails, so they are very careful of who they give their contact to. To make them subscribe to your list, you have to offer them some incentive, something of value. More about email lists, opt-ins, autoresponders, etc you can read in my book Fast-Track Artist.

8. Doesn’t lead to external websites

As I mentioned above, social media shouldn’t be your priority. Use them, but to direct traffic to your website, not the other way around. You want people to get to know you, see what you’re offering, and contact you or directly buy from you. To do that, they have to stay on your page! If you want them to follow you on Instagram, include it in the footer or on the contact page, but don’t put it in the central point of your page or in the sidebar.

Always remember: What is the main goal of your website? What do you want your visitors to do? Your priorities should be sales and getting sign-ups for your email list. Keep that in mind before you put external sources on your website. Also, if you include them, make sure that they open in a new window. This way your page still remains open and gives you a chance to get what you want from your visitors.

Is it how you imagined the successful art website?

Or maybe there’s something I forgot about? Let me know in the comments! And share this post with your art friends – if they are not getting the results they desire, maybe it’s because they don’t have a successful art website. Let’s spread the love!