In part 2 of this series of articles, I briefly discussed some of the statistical reasons why we should be using the Internet as a vehicle to sell our artwork. I also mentioned the importance of utilizing social-media to drive Internet traffic to a central presence of some sort.
In my opinion, creating a central location for selling art online is a crucial element of any Internet-based marketing strategy. A central website is the virtual face of your company or brand on the Internet and must exude a professional appearance designed to encourage potential customers to make a purchase. Initially putting your best foot forward can mean the difference between developing a client base or instantly losing potential clientele. Often, an artist only has a single opportunity to make a lasting impression and this first impression is the key to selling art online. Establishing an air of professionalism increases a purchaser’s confidence level and demonstrating to clients that it is completely safe to purchase through your web site by appearing trustworthy can only lead to future success.
The online storefront needs to be easily navigable and provide answers to questions and access to product information with a minimal number of mouse clicks and unnecessary pages. As visitors navigate through the site, they should be motivated to learn more about your work. Potential customers who see a very haphazardly designed site will most likely navigate to another where they feel more comfortable. As an online shopper, I have experienced this many times. If I have the choice between purchasing a product through a very amateurish web site or one that has a professional trustworthy appearance, I am purchasing through the latter. Take time to make sure your main web site looks like a place where someone would want to shop. In this age of identity theft and economically motivated purchasing apprehension, a professional appearance means everything. Your Internet storefront is the core of your web business so devote quality time to its construction. This might even be the time to consider creating your website around a “mobile-first” responsive design concept due to the current prevalence of smartphone and tablet usage. According to Google Analytics, 30% of the traffic to my main web site in 2013 was through a mobile device or tablet.
This core Internet location is the website to which you will most likely be driving traffic from all other sources. At the very least, it will be a virtual business card that can contain a biography, artist statement, contact information, event calendar, samples of your artwork, or a list of clientele. If the site isn’t the central area through which you are actually selling your work, it is still a place where you can direct traffic so your potential customers can find out more about you and where to find and purchase your artwork. Links to all of your print on demand presences, Etsy shops, and Ebay shops can all exist on this website in an easily accessible form. If you don’t consider this site to be your virtual storefront, view it as an advertisement that helps your customers easily find you and your artwork. It is easy to get lost among other artists in a large print on demand website and being able to direct your own traffic and have control over the way your work is viewed can be an important factor in establishing an effective Internet presence. As my central hub of operations, I always include a link back to my main website from all my other networks.
By posting links back to your central website from all other web presences, the central site’s ranking in major web search engine results is increased. The more links existing that direct traffic back to your virtual storefront, the higher the page will rank in most major search engines. This simple methodology is part of creating a Search Engine Optimization strategy or SEO. By supplying links back to a main web site/storefront, one not only informs potential customers of product information, but also increases the level at which the main site appears during a generalized web search which ultimately generates more organic search traffic and therefore more potential purchasing customers. This is more effective than driving traffic to a variety of other sites where their ranking gets boosted and you are relying upon their internal search engines in order to be found.
The next article in this series will briefly discuss some simple search engine optimization strategies for your main website and how to implement them. This will then be followed by a discussion of print on demand (POD) websites and how they can be most effectively utilized.Tagged with: art, business, ecommerce, marketing, seo, shop, website