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Critique your website

Critique your website

Why artists, makers and creatives need a website

You know that your website needs an update, but you’re not sure where to start. You aren’t getting the traffic you’d hoped for when you built it, you aren’t selling as much as you’d like to, you need some direction.

This post will take you step-by-step through critiqueing your website to create a plan for getting that traffic, selling that work, and creating an upward trajectory for your business. It’s always easier to change something when you know exactly what to do next.

Make notes as you go to develop your plan.

At times I will refer to your Preparation Worksheet. If you don’t have your preparation worksheet yet, you can download it here:

Step 1. Above the fold.

Every website needs a headline. Something that is visible to visitors the moment that they arrive at your website, and something that makes it crystal clear what you do. You have once chance to capture a visitor’s attention and get them to take action when they come across you online. Make sure you use that chance well.

What you put ‘above the fold’ on your website depends on what you have decided that the purpose of your website is. (Refer to the notes you made on your Preparation Worksheet.)

Suggestions of what to put ‘above the fold’ on your website:

  • An image that shows what you do
  • A headline that makes it clear exactly what you do and how you do it
  • A call-to-action

As an artist, you may resist ‘too many words’ on your website, believing that your art will speak for itself. This is all fine and well if you aren’t bothered about ranking well on Google for the type of art that you make, but I’m pretty sure that is not the case for you.  It definitely isn’t the case for me. I want new fans and collectors to be able to find me easily on Google.

Step 2. Call to action.

A call-to-action tells visitors what to do next, and helps move them one step closer to becoming a collector or client.

There should be at least one call-to-action on every page of your website! These don’t have to be pushy or salesy.

Examples of CTAs for artist websites:

  • Subscribe / sign up for a studio newsletter
  • Subscribe / sign up to see your studio and watch you paint (if you make videos)
  • Find out when… you have new art available, a new workshop date confirmed, space in your commission schedule, etc
  • Join me for classes or workshops
  • Learn to paint / draw / sculpt for classes or workshops
  • My work button leading to your gallery or shop
  • Explore my portfolio
  • What I do leading to more information about your process
  • Get in touch

3. Design.

Take a good look at the design of your website and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there anything about this web design that is distracting or noisy?
  • Is your work the focal point?
  • Does your site look good on your phone and on your tablet?

4. Navigation.

Easy navigation is essential or site visitors won’t bother getting past your homepage.

  • How clear is your navigation?
  • And how many clicks does it take to get to any particular part of your website?
  • Are your menu items in the right order to lead visitors through your site in the order that you want them to experience your website?
  • Is there a clear call-to-action on every page of your website?
  • Does your About page have a call-to-action at the bottom of it leading to your portfolio?
  • Are you using easily recognisable names for your pages? e.g. blog, about, contact. Being different with naming your pages will put you at a disadvantage when being ranked by search engines.

5. Galleries.

Check for consistency across your gallery pages. Preferably use one style of gallery. 

Are your galleries easy to navigate? If you are using a lightbox, is there swipe control for mobile devices?

6. Typography.

When it comes to fonts on your website, less is usually more.

  • Are you using more that two or three fonts on your site?
  • Are your chosen fonts easy to read on all devices?
  • Is there enough contrast between your background and your text to make it easy to read?

7. Speed.

Site speed is important for two reasons. First, your website won’t rank very well on Google if it’s slow. Second, visitors won’t stick around if they have to wait for ages for pages to load.

For how to optimise your images for speed and search engine ranking on your website, take a look at this tutorial.

Test the speed of your site with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

This post is the first of a series of tutorial posts that I am writing for my Facebook group of artists and creatives who want to get their online presence up to scratch and create a practical online marketing strategy while we are self-isolating. Let’s come out the other side of this time better prepared to make a good living with our creative talents. You can join us here.

Learn more about creating a website and marketing your art, creative services or products online with Websites for Artists.

Tracy Algar is a visual artist, web designer and online marketing specialist who has been selling her art online since 2013. For more tips on creating a website and marketing your art and creative products online subscribe to her email list below or Like her Facebook page.

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