Does An Artist Need A Website Or Online Gallery?
I wish to detail the advantages an independent artist obtains by taking part in an art website or owning an online gallery. Before I continue I need to preface the requirements of what qualifies for this.
Listing your art on someone else’s site or domain does not qualify. Also having a shop page under someone else’s brand like Etsy does not qualify.
So then what does qualify as a website or gallery? You must have purchased the domain. It must be your brand. You must own the online gallery.
Using something like WordPress for an online gallery is quite easy.
I wish to add an important note for new prospective gallery owners. Never fall into these 7 bad habits of marketing art. Please avoid them with your new gallery.
Having given these prerequisites, I wish to detail 10 specific advantages that this gives you in learning how to market art. They are advantages which you cannot live without.
Advantage #1 You Own The Online Gallery And Website
The first and foremost advantage is that you own it. What do I mean by this? It cannot be shut down by some terms of service which you do not control.
This has been a habitual problem for many artists within places such as Etsy shops. There have been cases where a shop has been closed by accident, or for minor issues that they should not have been.
Nightmare Etsy scenarios have occurred where the artists could not get the shop reinstated. Some of these conflicts have been caused by nothing more than competitor complaints.
In turn, by owning your online art gallery you control the terms and conditions. Defining something like an art return policy is something that you can control.
If you take your artwork seriously, and your life as an artist, then you must control your world.
An online gallery becomes one of your most powerful art portfolios that you can posses. While a gallery may be limited in its power within public relations for art, it can aid in showing who you ally with.
I will leave you with this Etsy story for you to contemplate. This lady is way too nice to them in her article, but its a counter perspective. Personally I cannot stand their or others atmosphere.
If you insist on using them in compliment with your own site, and I wouldn’t, there are Etsy strategies that can be used.
Advantage #2 You Control The Business Model For Your Gallery
Do you wish to charge for shipping? Maybe you prefer to include the shipping into the overall price. Choices like this can be made without fear of impacting your performance.
The small shops given by places like Etsy wish to control these aspects of your artwork. If you do not comply with their desires then it impacts your performance with their internal search.
In other words, your shop may not show among the top of the lists within searches.
The business model that you choose for your art and for your life should not come with ultimatums or consequences. Having your online art gallery will give you the opportunity to set your business model as you see fit.
Outside of these elementary points, a self representing artist marketing art will need this infrastructure when facing corporate brands.
Advantage #3 An Online Gallery Takes You Out Of The Sandbox
What is a sandbox? A sandbox is a created environment, such as a shop or store like Etsy, where you cannot control variables.
These variables involve things such as H tags, keywords, 301 redirects, and linking freely internally and externally to your brand without fear of conflict.
You design the support structure to fit your needs, appearance, and presentation.
Owning your online gallery gives you freedom to design and tool the platform for art so that it can truly serve you. Being within an Etsy is like having one small window in a building where the view never changes.
Additional sandbox’s can be found in the real world. Being confined to only art exhibitions creates severe limitations. The key to an online gallery is to create new paths and remove limiting barriers.
Advantage #4 Owning Your Art Gallery Gives You Long Term Growth
An Etsy shop cannot have growth. It is impossible. Search engines do not register or “index” your shop. You are not recognized, nor are many subdomains.
Owning your online art gallery allows for you to establish roots. Search engines will index your site and allow for your pages to rank within them.
This is an absolute must to have for any kind of real growth. Here you begin the seeds of making money within art.
While I have listed this as a number four advantage, it should be number 1 or 2. Yet too often people do not understand how absolutely critical this element is. That is until they see and experience this at work for them.
Advantage #5 An Online Gallery Is Evergreen And Preserves Your Past Work
If for some reason you were to lose your Etsy shop, or you choose to shut it down, all of your hard work is forever lost. This will not happen with an online gallery that you own.
If you decided to create a new platform in order to replace your old gallery, simply use a 301 redirect. Likewise if you need to make a page obsolete, or you no longer are creating a certain type of art, then redirect to another page location.
This way your material, artwork, or information never just “goes missing”. The Etsy style platforms do not allow for this. This is a major element for maintaining consistency and professionalism for customers and fans alike.
Advantage #6 An Art Website Allows You To Cultivate Real Followers
Obtaining followers via social media means little to nothing. In fact if more artists were to have online galleries they would begin to question the need for social media.
As visitors come simply ask if they will sign up for your newsletter. Using a newsletter is a media platform that allows real connections to those who are genuinely interested in your work.
If you choose, you can also use social plugins for your artwork or pages. It is a great place to showcase promotional art videos. This allows people to share to their platforms if they so decide.
With these tools you have harnessed the power to take your online gallery seriously as its own media. This is something that social media cannot do in selling art online.
Additionally you do not run the risks negative social media impact.
Advantage #7 The Online Art Gallery Will Work For You While You Sleep
Do you ever get tired of trying to come up with new content for that social media post? While you sleep the online gallery will still be used via search engines to reach people. No further effort needed.
You schedule your content creation for weekly consistency, yet frequency is at your leisure. The pressure is lifted to attempt maintaining a presence.
You are able to leverage the power of bigger systems to your advantage that the Etsy shops will not give you. All these little shops will do is allow for product pages, and this is not enough.
Advantage #8 Online Galleries Can Remain Up To Date With Technology
Did you know that Google can update their algorithm every day? While not every update is critical, some are within a six month time span.
You have the flexibility to remain adaptive to the changes which the big engines make. Your art gallery can stay up to date with present technical requirements to maintain consistent exposure.
The sandbox shops do not allow this. If you are in these small sandbox shops you then are locked into the infrastructure of that design. It does not, and will not be improved for you.
I will give you one example of this issue. Etsy pushes the use of tags. The old tag system is now outdated and nearly irrelevant in Google. Your on page text becomes critically important for engines.
Advantage #9 Your Art Website Can Be Upgraded For Speed And Storage
You can control where your site is hosted from. While I am in the USA, my art gallery out of Singapore on some of the fastest servers in the world. This matters when high traffic becomes an issue.
Content delivery speed is a ranking factor. Those with Etsy may not know this. You also can control how much memory you need or pay for. Likewise if you really wanted a dedicated server just for you, it is within your power to choose this.
The point here is that you can control the hardware infrastructure supporting your art gallery. The website you have can be tailored in every respect. You do not have to be locked into someone else’s infrastructure.
Advantage #10 Online Galleries Allow For Artists Collaboration
Have you ever wanted to work with another artist in a collaboration? This could be either within the creation of art, or simply in the sharing of information and content.
An online gallery gives you this potential and power. You can dedicate a part of your website to the art community that is local to you, or friends that you have made.
The Etsy design does not allow for any real networking. This can only be achieved if you own your platform. Why is this important?
It is through networking and other people that often success is achieved. Rarely does anyone ever find success without this influence, or by helping to influence others lives. Not having a website with a well presented art gallery really ties your hands behind your back.
How Important Is An Art Gallery To The Artist?
Being within an art gallery is absolutely critical. It has been this way for centuries. The artists within the Salon’s of France from the 1800s could not survive without them.
Their importance today is just as critical. The difference today compared to other periods of history is our capability through technology. As art continues to move into the digital age as with NFT Art, this becomes more critical.
Not every artist will be able to access their local arts center or be accepted by them. While an online gallery may not be the best way to achieve art commissions, it is essential to establishing an authentic audience and legitimacy.
Some local art guilds are too restrictive, or just outside of an artists boundary. Physical art galleries are struggling to succeed within the present state of the world. There are many complications that surround us.
The online gallery is a way to escape these hazards and complications. It puts the power of self promotion back into the hands of the artist. Aspects such as these are a part of art education that must be learned outside of schools.
Furthermore it removes the vulnerability of someone else taking away all your hard work by shutting down a social platform. To say that having an online gallery is important is an understatement.
Owning your platform is essential. The modern artist cannot survive without it.