Episode 312 – New Markets for Artists / Networking All of Your Media

Networking All of Your Media

To summarize what I have said so far pertaining to networking, there are three things to keep in mind for your artist webpage. The first is the “like” and “send” buttons from Facebook and Twitter. The second is a signup form for your mailing list that you will get when you subscribe to a paid e-marketing service like icontact (which is what I use) or mailchimp, constant contact, patronmail or another, they are all the same more or less. The third is widgets that will stream information from your Facebook and Twitter accounts, providing your page with constant updates. And, of course, you have to decide how to handle the text and image layout on your website. If you really want a lot of images on it, I would suggest embedding a slide show that you can easily update and doesn’t unnecessarily clutter the page. Try to keep your text brief, and embed active links to essential information about you or your work.

All You Need Is Updates

That is really all you need to connect and automate your website to your social platforms. You can change the text on your website every now and then to reflect current news, but for most part the website will update itself using your widgets. There are several other sites which let you share and post information and you can always add new widgets to your website to include these as well, but I like a minimal look, as it makes content and aesthetic easier to maintain.

Clean and Simple Single Page Website

Pages that have minimal clickable buttons and links are nice because they are easy to navigate. Think of the Google homepage. It really only has one box, the Search Bar, that a user can interact with. I believe we all want our pages to be that elegant. Google is a good example of how less can be more on a website. I say this because I think that part of my project’s success was due to how easy it was to share online. Our art website was not just minimal, it was easy to read, and because it was also interesting, people “liked it,” shared it, and tweeted it.

News Media Design on the Web

Your webpage should have a similar design as that of an online news article. If you look at an article from the Huffington Post, or any other major online news publication, it only includes the article and relevant links embedded into the text, a few select photos, and “like” and “tweet” buttons at the top. Sometimes the all-inclusive “add this” button pops up to let you conveniently select which of the growing supply of networks you want to share the article on. The point is that these news sites are designed to be read and shared, and that’s how your site should be as well. You want people to understand who you are, what your project is, and what things they need to click on your page in less than a minute. The simplicity of this model means there’s actually less for you to do when you make your page. The hard part is having the restraint to not include unnecessary pictures and links.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 311 – New Markets for Artists / What We Want from Our Website

What We Want from Our Website

There are three things we want from our website viewers. We want their email addresses so that we can keep in touch and let them know about future projects; we want their financial support; and we want them to spread the word about our project on Facebook and Twitter. To help facilitate these activities, we made new webpages. One was for MONA, and the other was for Praxis, our general art page. Then we opened new Twitter and Facebook pages for Praxis. The next thing we needed was an e-marketing program.

E-marketing  Program

E-marketing programs, of which there are many, are used to create signup forms on your website so people can join your mailing list. When they do this, their information is stored in a database and they will be included in future newsletters and updates. These programs are very important because you want to be able to collect contact information from potential customers who visit your site. Artists’ websites are usually a bit of a mess, with lots of old work, and typically a homepage that hasn’t been updated in a while. I have an idea to solve this problem, a kind of web 2.0 artist homepage for the 3.0 world. And it’s really much easier than current website models.

New Web Design with “Like” Buttons

The MONA website that I designed with my wife is very simple. There is some brief text describing the museum, and above are two widgets and a simple graphic of the acronym MONA. One is a Facebook widget that allows other people to “like” and share the website on their Facebook page.  The other is a Twitter widget that lets them tweet about your website directly.  The page also has a  sign-up form which  I keep extremely simple so that subscribers only have to enter their email and click the “Submit” button. Additional things like email verification and more personal information is unnecessary, and may discourage people from signing up.

Simple Signup Form

The sign-up form is super simple, even elegant, and there are no other photos on the site—just a link to the Kickstarter project. The website’s simplicity is important because there is little to navigate, and just a few elements for sharing , so it works perfectly. People can read the entire page in less than a minute and they can post, like and tweet it without leaving the page. The only other thing they can do, also without leaving the page, is sign up for the email list. You can still see the site by going to thenonvisiblemuseum.com. However, at the time of this reading, the site has been redesigned by the Saatchi & Saatchi, who did it for me pro bono, and incorporates much of what I just said above.

A New Artist Website, Too

Another similar site focuses on all the work I do with my wife (twobodies.com). You may already have your own site or are thinking of building one soon. Twobodies and MONA have similar web designs—few to no pictures, the same “like” and “tweet” buttons, a sign-up form, and some descriptive text—but the big difference with Twobodies was four large live-feed widgets which constantly update and displayed portions of my Facebook page. On Twobodies, these four rectangular widgets sit next to each other on the bottom of the page showing new information all the time. One of the widgets is a Kickstarter widget tracking the progress of the project, and others are for Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Now, whenever I post something new to my social networking ac- counts, my Twobodies homepage updates automatically.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 184 – New Markets for Artists / Website Ranking

Website  Ranking

You have probably heard about “website ranking,” which determines how likely it is for your art website to come up in online search results. Those rankings are determined in part by how often the content changes on your website— that is, how often you put up new images. If you don’t make those updates every day, your website will not be ranked very high.

But do not fear; it is still valuable to have a website, and I’ll explain why. If you have a website already there is really only one thing you need to do at the moment, and that is to make a link on the first page of your website to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (more on those in a bit). You may decide to change your website at a later date, but for now, let’s keep it simple; just leave it as it is but add links to get people to go to your Facebook page and Twitter account. Your webmaster can easily do that for you once you have set up accounts, or you can try to do it yourself.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 183 – New Markets for Artists / Facebook and Twitter for the Complete Beginner

Chapter 2

Facebook and Twitter for the Complete Beginner

This chapter is for both those who are new to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and those who use Facebook sparingly and reluctantly. More advanced social media users can skip to the next chapter. I write a weekly newsletter, and one time I was writing about managing all of your social media accounts. I received this letter from one of my readers.

Dear Brainard,

Yes, there are artists who have never used Facebook! (More time attaching me to my computer screen.) I thought it’s enough to have a website. Please tell those few of us, what should we put on our Facebook page? How does this reach the people I need to reach? And would it link to my website? And then, how does Twitter get me contacts? Who do I send it to, or does it just go out to the whole world? Does Facebook go out to the whole world? Yeah, I know this is embarrassingly basic. Thanks, Stephanie

I will answer Stephanie’s questions here in detail to cover the basics. Even if you decide not to use social media tools at all, the information in this chapter will familiarize you with the language associated with these tools, which we encounter more and more often in movies, on television, and in print. These words have entered our daily slang, sometimes taking on new meanings and even becoming verbs; for example, to “like” a page or “friend” someone are now common expressions. All of this and more will be discussed in this chapter, which deals with the very first steps to using social media and your website to promote your artwork.

Artist Websites and Their Purpose

Artists have been building websites (or having them built for them) for over a decade now. For many, the purpose of their website isn’t clear. Is it a showcase? A virtual gallery? Or is it a commercial site through which to sell one’s prints or original work? Most often, it ends up being a sort of archive of an artist’s work, in which pieces completed by the artist in the past are organized according to year. What we have learned from artists’ websites is that they are largely ineffective. This is not to say that they can’t help artists in many ways and even help them to sell their work, but the idea of a website that needs to be updated frequently comes with two problems. One is that, in most cases, it actually doesn’t change much or get updated too often, so there is little incentive for anyone to visit it more than once.

Two, it is often the case that the artist cannot change the website by themselves; they need to pay someone to do it. Those are two big problems, and even if you can update the website without a professional’s help, number one is a big problem unless you are updating the site all the time. This does not mean you should give up your website, however; it just means that it needs to be linked to your social media pages.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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