Are You Making These 6 Mistakes on Your Artist Website?


I look at a lot of artists' websites and in my meanderings around the corners of cyberspace I mistakes on your artist websitehave found that there are some issues that come up again and again.

I would say that there are a core of common mistakes on some of these websites, all of which have the potential to seriously damage if not completely ruin the possibility of selling any art.

So here in no particular order are my top 6 artist website mistakes. Check your site to see if you have any of these issues, and if you do, sort them out quickly to ensure you are in the best possible position to sell art online.

1 } Hidden prices

There is nothing more guaranteed to prevent a sale than looking for a price and seeing “price list available on request”. It brings out in us all “the fear” of going into an expensive shop and dealing with a snotty assistant who assumes we can’t afford it and looks at us like we crawled from under a hedge.

Most people would rather pull their eyes out with spoons than ask the price.

If you are happy with your price structure you should be happy to show people the price. Make it clear on your site so that people don’t have to hunt for it.

Why is it a mistake?

People will just not contact you for the price out of embarrassment in case they have to make an “Ummm, Oh yes that’s fine but I think I have just strangely changed my mind” kind of excuse.  Just tell them.

2 } Muzak

Putting music on your site is really annoying to a visitor as the chances of them liking the same music as you are VERY slim. Then it just annoys them while they scrabble around to find a mute button.  It's even worse if you haven’t included a mute button.

Why is it a mistake?

People leave your site quickly because it is just too annoying.

3 } Splash screen lunacy

A splash page is a web page placed at the front of a site that contains a big image or an introductory flash animation, possibly of artwork swishing in and whizzing round.

They were popular about 10 years ago but can still be seen on some sites. I did think they were dying out but just this morning got a link to an artists newly launched site which had one.

Splash pages annoy and frustrate visitors [Have you ever watched an animated one through without clicking “skip intro”?] and confuse search engines, even if they are static by putting an extra, unnecessary and empty page between them and the content. It can make the site unusable on smartphones and just generally gets in the way.

Why is it a mistake?

Splash screens frustrate the viewer before they even get to consider buying your work, driving them away from your site and off to look at other artists work.

4 } Google Adsense chaos. A site cluttered up with advertising.

It’s quite common to find a site where the work is lost among columns of Adsense ads [little text ads from Google] as well as flashing banner ads taking up half the space of the site. As these ads will be related to art [Google places ads relevant to your content] it can be hard to see where the ads end and the art begins.

It's very annoying to users if your pages consist of large chunks of advertising. It's also very difficult for you to make money this way unless you have a very popular site with thousands of visits and constantly updated content. You won’t just get free money for cluttering your page up with a few ads. For most artist it’s better to concentrate on selling your work rather than advertising space.

Why is it a mistake?

The advertising devalues your work making your site look more like a “bargain basement” than a "premier gallery."  This makes visitors far less likely to want to part with good money to buy your art.

5 } The anti-Zen. An imbalance between form and function.

The best websites keep a good balance between looking good and functioning well. A site that does either at the expense of the other will perform poorly.

We have all come across them. The beautiful sites that take ages to load and then crash your machine or the extremely functional sites that look terrible. Good website design should balance both elements to create a harmonious whole.

Why is it a mistake?

An imbalance either way can prevent sales. Too much form can mean a deficit on the technical side and issues with the user having difficulty with the purchasing process. Too much function and you can devalue your artwork by placing it in a unattractive setting {back to the “bargain basement” again}.

6 } Weird Navigation involving fairies

Visitors to your site just want to be able to view your work easily and quickly. They don’t want to play a game where they have to discover an invisible hovering fairy on the page and then chase it around the screen until a menu unfolds out of its tiny wings {I have actually seen this navigation, I’m not making it up!}

Just make it as easy as possible for them to get around the site and find out more about you and your work. Don’t make them have to work for the information.

Why is it a mistake?

People have the attention spans of 3 year olds on the web. By the time they have found the hidden fairy menu they will have wandered off to do something else, thereby not even looking at your work for sale.

Just make it easy for them to find it and then they have more chance of buying it.

So there are my top six art website mistakes. Removing any of them from your site should definitely mean an improvement in your results and a general improvement in the user experience of your visitors.

Do you agree that these are mistakes? Has removing any of them improved the performance of your site? Do you have any more mistakes that annoy you? Please share your comments below.

And for more winning strategies, grab my FREE Video Training for Artists  You're gonna love this FREE 3-part video series that will help you sell more art.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Marian Yap

    Do you think it is better to have a price list the viewer can click on or to have each image priced along with the title, medium, etc.?

    1. Gary Bolyer Fine Art

      I think anything that is easy to navigate and simple figure out is acceptable. Just make sure it is simple and easy to use. Otherwise, your visitor will be gone after only a few seconds of hesitating and trying to figure things out. Bottom line: Keep it simple. For me that means price in large type near the painting.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.