People read web pages differently than printed materials.
Most people find reading on-screen very hard on the eyes. Since reading on the web is 25 percent slower users scan the page until they find relevant information. Using these web page writing tips to make your content easier to read and increase user engagement.
After writing the post “You Don’t Need a Home Page Per Sa”, which basically says that with WordPress, you can set any page to be the landing page of your site; I have been wondering why we need a specific page called HOME or WELCOME at all.
By the way, more often than not, there isn’t any text on the “home” page, just an image (BIG Mistake). So why not send site visitors straight to the goods? It’s why they came to your site in the first place; to see your work.
In this tutorial we’re going to do something completely different; we’re going to create a new kind of “home” Portfolio page and set it as our landing page. This technique has been implemented at Jan Boydol Photography. Go there to see it in action (opens in a new window).
We are going to use the Media Library to upload and insert our images.
We are bypassing the use of NextCellent’s album in for this new home page for two reasons…1. I want more control over the size of the image. NextCellent’s album thumbnail size is set in the plugin’s files which makes it difficult to change for the average user. And even if you could make it larger it would be distorted and you will need to go through the process of creating new thumbnails for all your galleries.
2. I want more control over the entire page’s formatting. Using the extended version of NextCellent’s album will provide text if you enter it into the gallery’s description but it shows the galleries stacked vertically. I want mine left aligned horizontally.
The goal here is to show a larger image to represent the gallery with text under the image, not to the side. Hence providing left aligned images with text underneath.
STEP 1 – Check your media settings under Settings > Media
WordPress will create three sizes of images when you upload them. The default sizes are shown in the image below. Choosing Medium size will insert an image of the max height of 300 pixels while maintaining the aspect ratio and shows the entire image. Since showing the entire image is what I want to achieve, I’ll use the medium size image.
If you’re happy with the media sizes there’s nothing you need to do here. However should you change the sizes it is important to note that this will only size images to the new size on future uploads. Any images currently in your Media Library will remain as they are.
STEP 2 – Open your existing portfolio page in the editor.
If you don’t have one, create one by going to Pages > Add New. If your existing portfolio page is named “Gallery” or “Galleries” change it so that people aren’t confusing it with your list of galleries that represents your work. Portfolio, Artwork or Images are good page names.
STEP 3 – Insert one image to represent the work within each of your NextCellent Galleries.
To keep all your images left aligned with text below is to use the image caption. Not using the image caption feature and inserting text below the image in the editor, will result in alignment challenges that can be over come by using a horizontal rule but it is not ideal and your images may end up stacking vertically.
Once you insert the image you can open it again for further editing by clicking on the landscape icon when clicking your mouse on the image.
Apply the following attributes to your image…
Select the radio button to Left align the image
Here’s an opportunity to add a search engine friendly title and alternative text if you haven’t already done so.
Fill in the caption with a short sentence and series / image gallery name. As seen on the example above I placed a hyperlink on the word “Heels”. This link is optional if you’re uncomfortable using HTML.
Add the Link URL to the image gallery page. The easiest way to find the URL is to go to your live site and navigate to that page, then copy the URL from the browser address bar and paste it into the line as shown. By adding the Link URL the image will be clickable.
Save your page and preview. Make any required changes. On my site I decided after inserting all my images at 300 pixels high that they were a bit to big for my liking. To change the image size all I did was open the image again in the page editor and reduced the size by percentage. By reducing them all by the same percentage I maintain a consistent height.
Here’s another site that we just finished that uses the new kind of “home” portfolio page idea, but just on the portfolio page. Jan wanted a home page with her most popular image.
STEP 4 – Set your new home portfolio page as the landing page of your site.
Easy – go to Settings > Reading and select it from the drop down menu and save. If you want more precise instructions there’s a tutorial on that.
I like my new Home / Portfolio page. What do you think? Questions and comments are welcome.
The images that are presented on any artist website portfolio page have to be organized, curated and re-sized for the web. The most overlooked item that also belongs on every artist website portfolio page is descriptive TEXT. Tell us in words what we are looking at.
Most artists have more than one group of images to include on their portfolio page. With a WordPress site and the Nextgen Gallery plugin you can organize your work into separate galleries and create an album that acts as a container for your galleries.
When you include text with these images, you are not only informing people, you’re influencing them to click-through to see the entire body of work. You can easily add this text in NextGen Gallery or directly on the portfolio page.
The NextGen Album
There are two types of albums; the extended version that shows a feature thumbnail and a gallery description. The other is the compact version that only shows the thumb.
Your main portfolio page could have an album that contains your all your galleries. If you use the extended version you can write a gallery description that will show next to the thumb. This text is inserted inside the gallery. If you use the compact version that displays only the featured thumbnail, then you need to add some text to the page instead.
The description is added inside the gallery not on the actual portfolio page. This text is a short artist statement about this body of work and tells people what to expect if they click-through. It’s your job to get them to click-through.
The Compact Version
Here is an example of the compact version.
Rather than use the extended version of the album which stacks the galleries vertically, Liz Sullivan uses the compact album.
The compact album shows only a row of horizontal thumbs and title, without the descriptive text, so Liz wrote about each series of work in paragraphs below. This text, written directly on the page, adds context and frames your work with meaning.
Including text is extremely important! It helps site visitors understand your work and approach to your work. Often it affects their decision on whether or not the click-through and look at the full body of work.
Once a visitor clicks through to view a full body of work they typically see multiple rows of thumbnails that enlarge to full size image. It is important to curate your work and place your strongest work first, starting in the top left corner (that’s the typical starting point for most people).
Remember the descriptive text that I talked about above; include it on the gallery page as well. You may have a longer artist statement about each of your series. In this case you can select or craft one or two sentences to use on the portfolio page with the album and then use the full statement on the gallery image page.
If you craft one or two sentences you can also use it as a meta description for search engines.
Whether you use an artist website portfolio page with an album with all your galleries OR individual gallery pages without an album, it is imperative that you include descriptive text with images. It is our job as artists to inform and educate people about our work, using words.
A picture may be worth a 1000 words but words are worth 1000’s of understandings.
For an artist, the about page is typically where you place your biography. A biography provides visitors with an in-depth account of your art career. Since an artist’s bio is written in the third person your artist about page content should be as well.
An example of why you should write this page in the third person. Writing “I am an award-winning artist” can come across as bragging, While “Jane Doe is an award-winning artist” has more authority.
It should also include an image of you; the artist. Studies have shown that when visitors have a face to put with your name, you become much easier to remember.
Your image can be portrait style but it doesn’t have to be. A picture working in your studio, at one of your openings, or simply standing beside one of your pieces will do. Combined with some well-written text, your about page will help people feel like they know you.
Where to start…
By answering the 5 W’s you will find it easier to write your artist about page content.
Who are you?
What do you do?
When did you start doing what you’re doing?
Where are you?
Why do you choose to produce the work you do?
How are you accomplishing what you claim to do?
Video is also a great way to introduce yourself and chat a bit about your work. Remember if you use video on your About Page, keep it short and make it interesting. Not everyone will watch your video so it is important to include text.
Some artists like to combine their biography with their Curriculum Vitae (CV for short). If you do; rather than name it “About”, create a “Bio-CV” page. This is more in keeping with industry standards.
Looking at some client sites I found some interesting about page content…
I really like Isabel Forbes about page. Isabel used an excerpt from a review that captures the spirit of her work, providing instant credibility. If you have a number of PDF reviews you can dedicate an entire page to them as Kate Ruddle has.
Andrea Wedell has two about pages. The one shown below is specifically about her as an artist which includes a friendly image and a nicely written third person bio. Then on her blog she has written more causally on what her blog is about. I really like the image a the top of this page that melds an image of your studio with an image of her in a casual setting.
The artist about page content is where can to enlighten people as to why you chose to produce the work you do. Remember your about page is not an artist statement. This a casual blurb about who you are, where as your artist statement is more formal and typical written in the first person. As your work evolves so will your biography, revisit this page to make sure it keeps current with your work.
Know of a good artist about page content, post us a link in the comments area so we can all have a look.
An artist website contact page lists ways people can contact you. It can and should be more than just a contact form or an email address. List more information on this page, such as…
Two forms of contact in case one fails. This is usually a phone number and the contact form. Some people publish their actual email to make it easy for visitors to content them. If you publish your actual email address you are leaving yourself open to be harvested by spammers. People are getting use to contact forms and they really do reduce spam.
A picture of you, your work or your store front.
Your full name, address and phone number. Some people don’t like to include their street address; the minimum would be your location – town or city.
Gallery representation including full name, address, phone number and a link to their website. You can create a separate page to list your representation should the list be long.
If you welcome studio visits:
If you prefer appointment add your phone number. Use your cell phone number if you rather not use your home phone.
If you have an open studio list the hours that you are available and make sure you are available.
The artist website contact page is usually the easiest page to create content for.
Providing only a contact form without any further information is the biggest omission I see on artist websites contact pages. Suggest why people could contact you.
Some examples could be…Please contact me if you would like further information:
…on my work
…inquire on purchasing work
…join my email newsletter
…receive invitations for upcoming exhibitions
…just want to say HI!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a contact page professional; an image, your info and a form, that’s it!
The Home page content welcomes visitors and tells them a bit about who you are and what your site is about.
Artist website home page content is usually just an image or a slide show. They forget to write a few words.
The words are important! Not only do words inform, words also help search engines index your site, which in turn raises your website rankings and (most importantly) helps visitors find you in Google.
Here are some words you can use on your home page. Copy, paste and change the underlined words to suit your work.
Jane Doe is a Calgary artist that creates vibrant abstract landscapepaintings with oil on canvas.
This one sentence has 4 searchable terms in it and informs your site visitors about who you are.
Your home page also provides you with the opportunity to direct visitors to where you want them to go. For example…
I am very excited about my upcoming solo exhibition “Inside the Landscape” at XYZ Gallery on Oct 20 to Nov 20. Please see my Events Page for more information.
Preview the work in this exhibition.
In the above example you would provide a link to the gallery and an internal link to the events and image page of your site.
If you don’t direct visitors to where you want them to go, you leave it up to happenstance as to where they go to next. And that could be to leave your site.
I see a lot of artists’ sites that use “I” or “my”. These words do not reinforce your name or the type of work you do into the memories of your site visitors.
Write in the third person, using your name, location, a description of your work and your medium.
By crafting this one sentence you have not only made your artist website home page content more memorable to the actual people who visit your site; you have just written a meta description for the search engines.