What would doubling your website sales mean to you?
Many artists don’t know what to do to improve their websites. There are thousands of people searching to buy art, but getting your website onto page one so you can drink from that river is a big old topic and quite understandably, artists would rather do art.
I can’t draw for toffee, what I love to do is website improvements and SEO (search engine optimisation .. getting yourself discoverable in search (eg. Google)). I’ve been doing that for about twenty years. We could make a good team.
You know how real experts have ploughed through all the detail, they’ve internalised it all and frankly they now seem to live by a few key rules that summarise everything? That’s me.
So, for the benefit of artists everywhere, here’s my expert approach to SEO.
OK, I think that’s everything, if you need me I’ll be in the bar.
What? You want more? Cheeky.
Well, OK, if I must.
SEO has two parts. One is what’s on your web page. My big advice about that? If it’s an oil painting, say it’s an oil painting. If it’s an oil painting of a donkey, say so. What would someone who wants an oil painting of a donkey type into Google? Yep.
The other part, and this is how Google got to be in control of the world, is links. When hobby Geoff publishes a link to your website, that’s taken as a vote of confidence in your website. When Apple links to your website, that’s a bigger vote of confidence in your website. The more ‘votes’/links, the higher up the search results page you will go.
Now, there is a whole industry around getting links. Back in the day, you would get in touch with people and beg. But asking for a link .. what’s actually happening is that website is losing a little so you can gain a little. So asking for a link was always about using your knowledge against people, and now many more people are wise to that, so they say no. Anyway, it’s a massive grind and you definitely don’t want to do it.
So, how do we get more links?
The answer lies in Hollywood.
How do they market a movie?
They hint. Beware The Blob!
They ask a question with a headline.
They give a weeny snippet. A flash. A moment. A preview look at something .. what one part of the monster looks like.
There’s the trailer and reviews.
Then the actual movie comes out.
They go around again with sequels to people who enjoyed the first one.
It’s only years later you can tour the studio and see how they made it (the Harry Potter experience is worth it, btw).
The good news, for you, is you can stop doing timelapses of yourself doing painting. The only people into that are other artists.
Here’s the thing. Brace!
You probably don’t think of yourself this way, but you are a leader.
As an artist, you are out front thinking the edge-thoughts. Even if you do pet portraits, you’re still inviting people to think about the love of a great doggy.
And you’ve kind-of escaped the daily grind. You’re doing what you want. Frankly, you’re living most people’s dream.
And whereas perhaps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might be thought of as having some traditional leadership qualities, Greta Thunberg doesn’t. She didn’t think of herself as a leader, but she did it anyway. She got a core value and turned it up to eleven.
The task at hand is to work out what you are for. This may or may not be easy to work out. But if we can say that you stand for friendly humour or Yorkshire landscapes or PTSD, then we are on our way.
If you paint Yorkshire landscapes, then there are other people in the world who enjoy the Yorkshire countryside. To them, you are a leader. You stand for something.
So, imagine you get inspired one day to paint all 100 trees aged over 100 years old around Whitby. Whatever. So go do it. Hint at what you are up to, but don’t give the game away.
Talk to the Woodlands Trust and Whitby Tourist Board and a gallery or two by all means.
So then when you have your exhibition lined up, start hinting. Don’t show a whole painting, show a part.
Coming up to your exhibition you can start to go for it, start talking about what you’ve been doing, but don’t yet show much of the art, perhaps one or two pieces. Talk to the monthly press.
Coming up to the preview, then talk to the daily press, local news and so on. Get all of the people you’ve been talking to to link to your website page about your exhibition. Inbound links, right? From the press .. that’s good.
Alright, so, exhibition, sell some paintings, etc. Take it all down.
When you’ve recuperated, see where your head goes.
Cycle again. Think like a rock star, the album launches and tours with rests inbetween.
But having done that, you’ll have a load of people on your mailing list who are into old trees in Yorkshire. If your next project is about that, you’ll have a headstart and your next exhibition will be twice as successful.
I know some artists are shy. Anxious about crowds and people. I get that. That’s OK, it can still work. Think Kate Bush.
Don’t know how to talk to the press? I can help with that.
Want to just plod on, painting a little each day? You can still do some art every day. I’m just saying that organising things like I described will get you more ‘success’, if you like selling art or influencing or reaching people. Partly, it’s about the event, the moment, and the frisson of it passing.
Ultimately, having some money around gives you space to follow your heart.
Not sure what you’re about? I can absolutely help with that.
Don’t think you’re a leader? OK, but here’s the thing. Carry on, then. You’re reading this for a reason. You’re a thousand words in. So go on then, carry on. Do what you’ve always done (and you’ll get what you’ve always got). I’m here to flip your dip switch. And if you got this far, you might not like it (because you’re not yet comfortable with it, you have questions, that’s natural), but I did change something in you just now, or you wouldn’t still be here.
I’m going to leave it there. But I can feel another of these missives coming on. We need to tackle that whole “what are you for?” thing don’t we?
OK, next time.
PS. What do you think? Comment below & let me know