Scanning Web Pages

People are scanning web pages in an F pattern.

Eye tracking studies show people read the first full paragraph of the page but their attention wanes as they continue down the page. It is therefore important to tell your readers what the article is about by putting the summary at the top of the page.

Scanning Web Pages
Reading and scanning behaviors when reading web pages

Attention span is short on the internet, we want to complete tasks fast. Breaking up large blocks of text as you go down the page with meaningful subheadings, bold or italics text and bullet lists makes the page scannable.

Below is an example of making my artist biography scannable. Continue reading “Scanning Web Pages”

Artist Website Portfolio Page

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 Extended Version

Artist website portfolio page
Extended version of NextGen Gallery Album

Here, as an example, is Christine Eckerfield’s site using the extended version of the album.

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

compact-liz
Compact version of NextGen Gallery Album

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.

The Galleries

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.

Artist About Page Content

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.
isabel forbes


 

 

 


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.

andrea-wedell-about


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.

Artist Website Contact Page

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…

  1. 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.
  2. A picture of you, your work or your store front.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Artist Website Contact Page
Artist Website Contact Page of Nicole LeBoutillier

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:

  1. …on my work
  2. …inquire on purchasing work
  3. …join my email newsletter
  4. …receive invitations for upcoming exhibitions
  5. …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!

Artist Website Home Page Content

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 landscape paintings 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.

wilson-valerie
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.

For more on SEO for Artists

SEO for Art Websites

SEO for Art Websites

Have you applied any SEO for your art website?  You have probably heard the term and have even been contacted by some SEO company promising to get you to the top slot in search engine results – HA!

First off I should tell you what SEO for art websites is, we’ll get back to my “HA!” in a minute.

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, where one optimizes their art website to make it not only search engine friendly but, first and foremost, visitor friendly.

This entails everything from incorporating keywords, (which are actual short phrases), into headings and content, to adding Alt and Title descriptions to links and images.

To have your art website indexed by a search engine, basically, what happens is that the crawler, robot, spider, what ever you want to call it, follows links, gathers info, and adds that info into the search engine database. As you know, Google is a search engine, as in Bing, and Yahoo, etc. In essence, crawlers find web pages, read what’s on them, and index that info into their database.

Search Engines index your art web page with the information you provide. Since the Internet is mostly a word-based medium and art websites consist mostly of images, and robots can not read images, and the only thing on your home page is an image, well, you can see where we are going with this.

A lot of art websites’ home page consist of either a single image or a slide show (they can’t read slide shows either). Robots can see that there is an image because they can read the image tag in the source code, but they have no idea what the image is about. It is true; search engine robots do not know that the single image on your home page is a blue landscape. You have to tell it by filling in the alternative and title attributes for each and every image on your art website. This is the way to have your images properly indexed, the way you want them indexed, by Google or any other search engine, for that matter.

Here is a list of what needs to be done to help index and rank any art website:

#1: SEO Friendly Images

Traffic to your art site can grow substantially with proper search engine indexing of your images. Using the Alt and Title descriptions is the way to do this and have your images indexed how and where you want them to be. Your images should also have your name and the name of the artwork in the title of the jpg. Like so: ©your-name-art-name.jpg

#2: Meta Descriptions:

Meta data tells search engines what your site is about and it shows up in search results, which in turn tells people what your site is about. You can hand craft this 140 character sentence, otherwise the search engine is just going to grab what ever text you have on the page, that is if you have any text on the page.

#3 Keyword Placement

Keywords are not actually single words, but groups of words or phrases. They pertain to the content and subject of the page and are what you think people will enter into search queries to find the information on your website. The higher up on the page the more prominant they become and subsequently more weight is assigned by the search engine.

#4 Using Heading Tags

If you have subheadings inside your post, make sure you actually tag them, and tag them according to a hierarchy. Search engines add value to headings but that doesn’t mean every paragraph gets a heading. On this page, for example, I have applied the H3 heading tag to this list as each item talks about a specific topic.

#5: Linking Strategy

Every time you link to a page, post or other site, you are passing “SEO juice” from every single page or post you are linking from. Having other sites link to your site also increases your relevancy in the eyes of search engines.  “SEO Juice” is internet slang referring to the substance which flows between web pages via their hyperlinks. Pages with lots of links pointing to them acquire much ‘SEO Juice’ and pages which link to highly ‘juicy’ pages acquire some reflected ‘SEO Juice’.

#6 Use a SEO Plugin

A good SEO plugin can help cover your butt for those pages that you do not optimize by simply filling in the master template. There are a number of them out there and if you use WordPress for your art website, I recommend either All in One SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast, both are free from WordPress.org.

The SEO for Art Websites Tutorial at the WordPress for Artists School, covers all the above topics, along with instructions on how to apply the techniques using WordPress.

If you are an Artbiz client this resource is free for you to use. Just contact me for the registration details at the WordPress for Artists School and have at it. Even if you are not an Artbiz client you can still register.

Oh my HA! There are SEO companies that will promise to get your website to the top of page one in Google. Typically they are using an obscure keyword, making it easy for them to increase your ranking for just that one keyword. But what good is it if nobody searches using that particular keyword.

Creating good content and optimizing your images for search engines is a way to provide SEO for Art Websites. Adding text to your images pages and sprinking your content with good keywords is a bit of work, but if you write naturally, with a bit of practice, you’ll provide your site visitors with meaningful content and a memorable experience when they visit your art website.