Monday, November 29, 2010

Pastel Basics by Anne Enochs

Many artists, through choice or necessity, supplement their art income by teaching.  For some, teahcing becomes their primary vocation.

Anne Enochs' site,, is a great example of an art teacher's website. 

The site is easy to navigate, and it's easy to find info about Anne's background, and her classes.  In addition, there is a prominent link at the top of the page for a basic course on DVD.

There are also several gallery pages with large thumbnails of the artist's work.  By featuring her own work on the site, Anne establishes her credibility as a teacher.  In addition, some of the works are for sale and can be purchased directly through the website.

Overall this is a very professional and effective site that clearly accomplishes the goals of marketing Enochs' teaching services and artwork.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Website Killers

We're frequently asked how we select the Art Site of the Week. There's no magic formula; we try to feature sites that illustrate useful ideas or new features, but sometimes a site just catches our eye!

However, there are many sites that are almost sure NOT to be selected, because of design flaws that make the sites difficult or frustrating to navigate and view. These are things to avoid when creating an artist website, because they will cause many users to leave you site without viewing it.

  1. Music on the site.  Contrary to what you might think, music does not enhance the user's experience.  Visitors may be in an environment where they can't listen to the music, or they may simply not like your choice.  Whatever the reason, analysis of web logs shows that a significant percentage of visitors leave immediately when the music starts.  So unless you are trying to drive people away from your site - get rid of the music.
  2. Long load times.  The web has made people impatient!  If you site takes more than a few seconds the load, visitors will often leave.  This is often a problem for Flash websites. 
  3. Amateurish design.  Design is subjective, but studies show that people judge you by the quality of your website.  If it looks amateurish, visitors are unlikely to take your work seriously.  If you don't have the skills to create a professional looking website, consider hiring someone to do it for you.
  4. Hidden or 'mystery' navigation.  Sorry, the visitor doesn't know that the little easel icon is a lin to your portfolio...  and probably won't bother to try it.  If you want people to find their way around your site, spell it out!
  5. Inconsistent navigation.  Make sure the same navigation choices appear in the same place on every page (typically at the top or left edge).  Visitors who can't easily find what they are looking for frequently leave.
  6. Typos and spelling errors.  While not as serious as some of the other website flaws, typos and mistakes make a site look less professional.  If you are not confident with your spelling and grammar skills, have someone proofread your site.
  7. Display problems.  Artist websites often use advanced Javascript, CSS, and server-side scripting to deliver advanced features.  However, these features may cause the site to display incorrectly in some browsers.  (Most professional web designers test on the two most recent versions of each of the major browsers, and versions 6 through 8 of Internet Explorer...  another good reason to hire a professional.)
  8. Proprietary plugins.  You website should not require the visitor to download and install something in order to view it, because very few visitors will.
There are many potential problems that will make visitors leave, rather than explore your website, but the list above represents the problems we see most frequently.  Check your own site, and if you have any of these problems, it's time to fix them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ambitious project seeks to create virtual museum

Visit the site:
The Museum Syndicate website is not an artist website per se.  Rather, it is an online gallery displaying the works of almost a thousand artists.  The goal of the site is to "provide an archive of the world's artistic works and historical artifacts in a single online environment."

Given this huge goal, the current collection of 47,521 works is barely scratching the surface.  Still, its interested (and fun) seeing the works of so many great artists.  The works can be sorted by artist, country, museum, or "tag."

I was somewhat disappointed that the tags do not identify major movements or styles of art...  for example, you can view "impressionist" paintings.  Still, that's a minor quibble about what is otherwise a useful and fascinating resource.

The creator of the site, Jonathan Dunder, accepts contributions from living artists as well.  His contact information is provided on the website.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pennsylvania Guild Crafts a Nice Website

The recently updated website of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen ( is a good example of a website for a guild or group.

The site is cleanly designed and easy to navigate.  It's got all the expected features of a modern website (tie-ins to social networking pages, e-mail list signup, calendar of coming events), without being flashy.

In its current form, the site does a great job of serving the needs to visitors and the general public.

There seem to be many more pages and features planned in the Member Resources area; we look forward to seeing the site when these are complete.

For sites that do a good job of providing services to their members, see our post on the Boulder Potters Guild and Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild, in June 2010).

Monday, November 1, 2010 offers rich array of features

We'd like to start out this month by thanking Toni Daniel, who alerted us to by showing us her own website, is operated by, a popular print-on-demand service for artists.

Toni is one of a growing number of artists taking advantage of artist website hosting companies, which offer attractive site templates, simple navigation, and an extensive set of features.

Toni's site showcases her beautiful nature photography and impressionist oil paintings...  most of which can be purchased directly from FineArtAmerica in a variety of formats, including posters, framed Giclee prints,  stretched canvases, and even greeting cards. 

The site features include an artist statement, event calendar, blog, contact form, mailing list signup, and much more.  It's a sophisticated, full-featured site that really promotes Toni's work.

For another example, we looked at  Karin has taken advantage of the blog and news capabilities at to talk about her gallery shows and awards.

Companies like usually limit the ability of the artist to control the appearance and functions of their website.  In return, they offer a great set of features - include easy ways for artists to sell their work - at a very affordable price.  It's certainly an option worth considering!

(Note that it would also be possible for an artist to have their own domain name, and "forward" the name to their page.)