7 Dec 2009
Artists Online Presence – how one artist does it?
Artists Online Presence – how one artist does it?
It’s been 3 months now since I started actively marketing my art online. I have my portfolio website, this blog, a store at Zazzle, my licensed art at Ketubah.com and UJA Federation, and I am using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for networking with the world. I am having a blast! But, when I saw how many sites are out there for artists to promote their art, I got a bit discouraged. Who has the time to create and maintain all these sites?
Until I got the following response on LinkedIn to the discussion about my article, List of 66+ websites for artists to build online presence. Peter Worsley, an artist from Santa Barbara, California, wrote to me:
These are all the websites at which I have presence:
AbsoluteArts, Artflock, artId, ARTslanT, ArtWanted, Boundless Gallery, Fine Art America, Fine Art Registry, Juried Art Services, Noenga, nuzart, ImageKind, RedBubble, Saatchi Online ( Saatchi-gallery.co.uk/yourgallery), Simply Licensed, WOW- Window On Web, Zatista, Zazzle
None of them are producers. But I like Zatista for its potential for original art sales. ImageKind is the best for prints and cards because they allow the uploading of the highest resolution images. Though I have sold more cards through Zazzle.
Mostly I only use their free services, though I pay for ImageKind, and maybe some others I cannot remember which without looking them up.
Including his own portfolio site, I counted 19 sites on which Peter is maintaining an online presence! I was very impressed and intrigued. The main questions I had were “how much time does he spend on maintaining all of these sites?” and “how does he do it??”
So, of course I had to ask Peter, and here is what I found:
All my paintings have been photographed or scanned, and I have prepared a folder of files for each painting. Every time I edit the original image, or use it as a card layout, the original of the altered file goes into that folder.
I prepared a table list of all the websites that I use, and a copy of that table goes into each painting folder. If that image appears on any specific website, a check appears on the table for that image. This table was created after many of the websites had been launched. I found that keeping track was getting out of hand.
After a new painting is completed, I create a new folder and decide where I want the image to appear. I create a new table for the new painting, scan the painting, resize the painting into a variety of sizes to meet various website standards, and mark the table as images are uploaded to the selected websites.
Typically, new paintings go to my website (PeterWorsley.com), and to Boundless Gallery, Fine Art America, Fine Art Registry, ImageKind, RedBubble, Zatista and Zazzle.
And from here, followed this interview:
I see in the second list that you update fewer sites than in the first list. Is there a reason for that?
The first list was, hopefully, inclusive of all the sites where I have a presence. (There may be others where I have posted an image, but for the moment I have no record. If I uncover others, they will be added to my basic list.) Some of these websites may have a limit on how many images are free. Others I may have decided the website is going nowhere or the website seem to offer me little in return for my effort. Still others I am disillusioned: for example AbsoluteArts.com. This was probably the first online gallery where I listed images, beginning years ago. I even paid the $100/year for their premium membership. There was no useful feedback, no easily accessible reports on visitors, it was harder for visitors to search, etc. Of course some of these things have improved over the years. But I dropped my premium membership. One of these days I will update my posted images.
How much time do you spend on average on these activities when creating a new painting?
An hour or two.
Which application do you use to maintain the table list of the sites? Do you want to share the fields/columns of the table with the readers of the article?
Microsoft Word. The list is very simple – the name of the site and a checkbox for posting the painting in it.
Do you use other sites to network? We met on LinkedIn, but which other sites you use?
Years ago, while working for myself, in other fields, I learnt that one must dedicate about a third of ones time to marketing. Without that, existing work will dry up. I have continued this philosophy into my art career.
I have recently felt that participating in forums is of growing importance as a part of my marketing campaign. By participation, one becomes known by one’s social group, that leads to referrals and spreads knowledge about my website and blog.
As a result, I am starting to identify and work various Art related forums. I have not made a list, but will do soon. So far, the ones that look interesting are: LinkedIn – Art Professionals Worldwide; Linkedin – Work At Home Artist Group; Linkedin – Visual Artists and their Advocates; Linkedin – True Artist: living the art; Linkedin – Fine Arts Forum; b-uncut.net/forum (this has a very clumsy interface); Online Professional Visual Artists Forum. There are others, and some of these may go nowhere and be dropped.
What is your biggest tip for artists who want to maintain online presence?
Keep working the forums. Keep up your website, and make sure it is simple in design and very easy to access your art. Assign a regular amount of time to work your marketing. Keep your pricing consistent across all your outlets – online and off line. There are always new innovations appearing. Be ready to grasp them and use them for yourself. Be ready to drop anything that does not seem to work for you. But keep an open mind.
I saw on LinkedIn that your background also has marketing positions, logistics and ownership of a company. I am sure you take from all these past experiences into your current life as an artist. Can you share a bit about that?
I am a marketer turned artist. Marketing is in my blood. I love working the brick and mortar galleries when I have a show. Also, I am lucky that I am an artist who does not have to sell to live. But I am always trying.
Do you sell and show also offline such as galleries, art fairs, group shows etc? If you do, how do you see it complimenting the online sales/presence?
I always show at our local collaborative gallery and often join in local Group Shows. Though, I think twice about any art show that costs serious money. Talking to real people at local shows helps me get meaningful feedback.
I have done art fairs, but at age 80, I find the physical work necessary to set up and take down too difficult for me these days. The same goes for painting plein air, which I love. Today I only paint from photographs.
How much traffic do you get to your portfolio website from all of this online presence?
I use Statcounter.com and Google Analytics to watch my web and blog traffic. All the marketing in the world is useless without eyeballs looking at one’s work. On my website I now have over 100 page hits a day, with about 40 unique visitors. This has gradually grown over the last year or two. Alas, my blog is much smaller. As for my website, I have gone through two major redesigns. Feedback I receive is that simplicity is key. It must not take away from the art itself and must be extremely easy for people to find the art they like.
One of the tools I developed is my website online articles for Art Collectors and other artists. The majority of my landing page hits are on these pages. I have half a dozen more under development, but they take a lot of work to produce. With Google reducing its dependence on key words and upping the importance of content, these articles get good coverage from Google searches.
I look upon my website as a continuous work in progress. I have a long list of new website developments I will introduce over the next year or so. On the other hand, I sell very little directly from my own website. Another thought to ponder.
I just admire Peter for his organized matter and keeping it up, with many different efforts, looking at it in a holistic way – where at the end, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I would like to thank Peter for sharing his experience. Please visit Peter’s website at www.PeterWorsley.com. You can also visit his ImageKind store, Fine Art Registery, or just search for him on the other 16 sites he is utilizing.
So now it’s back to making art, or marketing it online, or putting your own system to manage your online presence, so next time you have a new painting you won’t forget where you should put it.
[Update March 4th 2010] This post was published today on FineArtReviews. Read it over there and some of the great comments posted.
Read more about online precense for artists:
List of 66+ websites for artists to build online presence now has more than 110 sites!