Category: Website Bootcamp

Five Reasons Why You ABSOLUTELY Need A Website Right Now

As a professional artist myself, I’m all about embracing what makes our work unique in our marketing and branding practices. Utilizing your creative DNA in this way isn’t just smart, it’s essential. The more customized you can make all aspects of your customer’s interaction with you, the more he or she will feel connected to your artist brand. We know the look and feel of our favorite brands or companies before we even see their newest products based on how they have cultivated their presence. Tone of voice, language, color, font and style all share the details of what we can expect. As artists, we inherently understand this about our creative work. And many of us work hard to cultivate this creative voice.

Yet unfortunately, taking this highly customized approach to managing online presence is something artists can often neglect. Sure, I know lots of you spend time cultivating your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as if it was a MOMA exhibition. We agonize over hashtags and make sure to like and chime in on every comment. But how many of you spend that kind of time on your website? Better yet, do you even have one?

Why in the name of Instagram do we even need websites anymore anyway? Aren’t they irrelevant? You can sell work through Facebook and Instagram, share live feeds through Facebook Live, meet new fans through Soundcloud, and use those fun bunny filters in Snapchat. So what do I still need a website for anyway?

One thing you still can’t do on the Instaface? Brand everything directly to yourself. At the end of the day, Facebook still feels and looks like Facebook, even with all the apps, features, filters, and functions you could ever have. It’s not built with you in mind. Not only are websites relevant, they can enhance and boost your social media following if they are well maintained. But left to rot in the netherworlds of the interwebz….Well, we’ve all seen those artists who haven’t updated their sites since Geocities was still a thing. Don’t know what Geocities is? You probably still need a website.

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Not convinced? Here’s a list of 4 reasons you need a website (or a website upgrade for you Geocities folks) right now. #LetsDoThis

  1. You need a home for your work. Think of your website as your online address. Just like your real home has furniture that you love and walls painted in colors that make you feel good, so, too, should your website look and feel like you and your work. Fonts, colors, photos and logos can say a LOT about you before your customer ever makes it to your “About Me” page. Everything should look and feel like your work, and the more it does, the more your customer will connect with you. You know what I’m talking about – there are those places you like to browse or shop just because it feels good to be in their space. You like the environment. Give your customers the same feeling when they come to visit you.
  2. Facebook isn’t made for you – or your customers. As great as social media platforms are for interacting with an audience and sharing content, they offer a cookie cutter platform that isn’t tailor made to the needs of you or your audience. Social media platforms also don’t play well with others. Content shared from one platform to another doesn’t have the same traction as if it’s organically shared within the platform. Functionality is constantly changing. Your own website allows you to host the features and content that are specific to you are your work, without other distractions competing for your customer’s attention.
  3. It makes you look like a professional. Having a website makes you seem like someone who has their …ahem…STUFF together. Having everything laid out in a format that’s easy to navigate for your customer makes you seem like you have thought through their buying/experience process before. The easier it is for a customer to find the information about you that they’re looking for, the more trusted you become in their eyes. If information is hard to find because it’s between several different platforms, it’s gonna look like you don’t know what you’re doing. And buyers aren’t the only ones looking. Are you applying for residencies, grants, awards, exhibitions, shows or any other kind of work? It’s guaranteed that folks who book and work with artists are also looking to see what you look like online to know whether or not they should risk working with you.
  4. People want to know how to contact you. This is my biggest pet peeve with professional artists. Have you ever found someone’s work that you just loved only to never be able to find them anywhere else ever again? No cards, no phone number, no email address…nothing. You hope maybe one day you can find them at a festival around town, but that’s a longshot. Don’t be that person. Have a home for your work online and a place where people can find out how to contact you. Another word of advice? Contact forms are great, but have a REAL email address or phone number available, too, just in case. Sometimes “Contact Me” forms aren’t the easiest way for folks to send you information. And you want people to be able to get in touch if they want to know more about you and your work. You can always get a separate business email or Google Voice number to keep your personal contact info separate.
  5. New and different is attractive. Updating your site regularly with new information, new work, and new content helps to keep folks coming back again and again. Train your audience to use your site as a platform for finding out new information by driving traffic from your other social media accounts and email marketing. Updating your website regularly also helps to show folks that your constantly working as an artist, which inspires trust and confidence in the value of your work. Remember that Geocities artist with the website from 1998? Who knows if that person is even still working anymore? Make keeping your site up to date a part of regular part of your creative work.

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Need a helpful hand to help you take the first step? Never fear, C4 Atlanta is here! A new Website Bootcamp class is starting on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Over four weeks, you’ll learn how to build an attractive, easy to use site for yourself that you can easily update and maintain on your own. We’ll also cover some basic user design info, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and a little content marketing to help you drive traffic to your site. If all of this still sounds scary, we promise that there is a lot of hands-on work and facilitator feedback in this course to build your confidence.

Join us for Website Bootcamp!

Date/Time: Tuesdays, April 17 – May  8, 2018 – 10:30am -1:30pm

Location: Fuse Arts Center

Cost: $125 for non-members, $100 for members Register Online Here

For more information or to register, visit: Website Bootcamp Course Page.

5 Types of Bad Websites & How to Avoid

As an artist you NEED a website. All small businesses do. Not only does it serve as a place to sell your good and services, but it provides brand value to your customers. These days building a website is easier than ever, but there are some key things to consider before you begin.

Chelsea Steverson, C4 Atlanta’s Operations Manager and facilitator for Website Bootcamp, took some time this week to screenshot some of her least favorite websites, and breakdown common mistakes many small businesses make.


YOUR WEBSITE REPRESENTS YOU

Websites are an asset to your business. Everything including your social media and business cards should lead people to your website. Isn’t it important then to have a website that professionally represents what you do? This one was top on my list of least favorite sites. Simple, bland colors does not equal professionalism. Not only have they chosen to use Pantone 448C, voted the most offensive color in the world, they don’t even have a logo. Simple choices like color and logos are key in helping customers trust and identify your brand.


DESIGN WITH YOUR CUSTOMER IN MIND

You can be the BEST at what you do. You can win all the awards, and even be certified in your field. But when it comes to your website shouldn’t it be about your customer or client’s needs? This website was clearly designed with the optometrist in mind, not the customer. The entire first page is dedicated to his practice, and doesn’t provide clear, solid navigational options for customers to take action. Really think about what you want your customer to do when they come to your site. In this case, I’m sure this Eye Care business wants to be booking patients and providing eye care services. So why is the main page of this website dedicated to something different?


MAKE PRODUCT NAVIGATION & TRANSACTIONS AS EASY AS POSSIBLE 

If the main purpose of your website is to sell a product… you need to have images of your product. Not only are there no images, but there is no hierarchy of information, no buttons, and tiny text. People don’t buy things they can’t see. This is especially true for the creative sector. The customer has to really know what they want before they ever arrive on this website. This puts potential new customers in a place where exploring these leather goods is not intuitive and makes purchasing difficult. The more difficult browsing and purchasing is the less likely customers are to actually complete the transaction.


DON’T TELL US ABOUT PRODUCT, SHOW US

Wow. Just wow. This Web Solutions company provides lots of text about what they do and how well they do it, but I don’t see any links or images to websites they have actually designed. Without other examples all the customer has to go on is their current website, and I wouldn’t pay to have my business website look like this. Would you?


YOUR WEBSITE SHOULD REINFORCE YOUR BRAND & PRODUCT

There are so many things wrong here, so lets just stick with the basics. I’m sure you’ve heard that a professional looking website provides your business with the first chance at make a good impression on a customer.  What impression is Ling making? Truth be told, this is a pretty infamous website because of the purposeful, careless design. Either way, I wouldn’t be caught dead buying a car from Ling. From the Lisa Frank-ish background to the disturbing GIFs, I question the legitimacy of this business. The whole site feels like a joke. I don’t know about you, but the last time I bought a car it was pretty serious business. Not to mention that Ling felt the need to reiterate how trustworthy he is… kind of makes me not trust him. If Ling’s cars are really that great then he should consider customer testimonials/reviews as a way share this knowledge and build brand loyalty.


Are you in need of a website? Maybe you have one, but it needs major updates. Then join C4 Atlanta for Website Bootcamp, Tuesdays May 16th – May 30th from 10:30am to 1:30pm at Fuse Arts Center. 

Website Bootcamp is a three-week, hands-on workshop for artists and arts administrators who want to learn how to quickly build a website.

Learn more or register here >>