Just recently Leah Markham joined our staff of consultants at the Painter’s Keys. A professional website designer who has built dozens of websites for artists, she will be improving the worldwide visibility of artists on our Premium Listing pages. This is where, for $100 per year, we build a special page for artists. Currently accessed by thousands of Painter’s Keys visitors, we are looking to build further search engine traffic.
From the day in 1999 I first looked at the Internet, I’ve realized what a game changer the medium is. Artists need either a Premium Listing or a stand-alone website — or both. A web presence is a must for marketing yourself, securing and empowering dealers and, for some, the growing convention of direct sales. For a once-only fee of $100, Leah has come up with a useful tool to make your stand-alone website happen.
“More and more artists are tackling website design without proper instruction,” says Leah. “Often they become frustrated and give up using their website altogether because they don’t know how to use it to attract visitors. They find it difficult to update, or it lacks the features they really need. I’ve undertaken to clearly show everything artists need from start to finish in one comprehensive package.”
Leah has made a 7-hour video (divided into short segments) that walks artists through an easy to follow step-by-step instruction showing how to:
Set up your own website in a system that is easy to use and has all the tools needed.
Engage with your collectors through email marketing.
Sell online using PayPal or Google Checkout.
Set up Facebook/Twitter and show how these tools can be used to grow your collector base.
Incorporate a blog into your website and how it can be used.
Photograph your work and edit images using Photoshop Elements.
Incorporate social sharing buttons to encourage people to tell others about you and your work.
Optimize pages for search engines to attract more visitors.
Utilize website statistics to see who is visiting your website and how that is helpful.
Tie it all together to promote your work.
While the quality of your art is the greatest determiner of success, Leah’s online video tutorial will show you how to effectively guide people to your work. You can check out Leah’s offer here.
PS: “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” (Thomas Gray)
Esoterica: Our webmaster Yuri Akuney and other trusted advisors have looked at Leah’s material and found it to be clear, thorough and effective. I found it to be a no-frills, straight-up demonstration of hands-on information. There’s a learning curve, but it’s not daunting. For those who want to inexpensively become a player on the world art stage, Leah’s selected and free tools are the best we have yet seen. The reason for an online tutorial video is the changing nature of technology, applications and software. Unlike receiving a disc in the mail, Leah regularly updates the info so you stay ahead of the pack.
Hop on the train
by Adriana Rinaldi, Oakville, ON, Canada
My art group has a website. We created the website two years ago and now the number of visitors to our site has more than doubled. We have visitors from all over the world and have recently started to connect with Facebook. The power of this technology has never been riper than now. This power propels artists forward in their careers. They just have to hop on the technology train.
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You’re out there
by Susan Avishai, Toronto, ON, Canada
I’ve had my own website for about 6 years and one of the most fun parts has been periodically checking Google Analytics which is linked to my site and seeing where in the world people are looking at my work. In any one month time frame there are visitors from maybe 30 countries, most of which I’ve never stepped foot in. How have they found me? I have no idea. I know that being a Premium Artist on Painter’s Keys site brings in a bunch of lookers (what a bump I got when my painting was featured on the clickback pages!). But it proves how once you have a presence on the Internet it takes on a life of its own. Robert once quoted something I said in a clickback about drawing being a “frame of mind, a loving embrace.” To my great amusement and delight that quote is now on blogs, leather notebooks, and I even found an exam where the instructor repeated the quote and asked students to write an essay describing what Susan Avishai means by that. Too funny. Having a website and/or a Premium Art Listing means you’re out there. And there’s no controlling it. That’s something to think about.
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You need to be committed
by Denis Hopkins, Orton, ON, Canada
I read these letters and responses with great interest. I was quite late before seriously undertaking the study of drawing and painting. Having been persuaded by friends and family members that a website is the way to go, I commenced the process 14 months ago, via the Internet and with my son in PEI as designer and taskmaster. Not easy going. I have had to learn to photograph paintings as well as the computer skills to transmit them via the Internet. I have also learned things about family relationships which I did not understand too well before. So the site is still in the making. My advice is to be committed before starting. My unfinished site is www.denishopkins.ca
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Leah’s videos informative and well organized
by Sheila Tansey, Lake Country, BC, Canada
A couple months ago I purchased Leah’s set of videos. I’m pretty computer/internet literate as my degree is in computing, but I left that career 13 years ago. A few years ago I decided I was ready to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an artist. I created a free website and blog – Leah’s helpful art marketing blog directed me to a free website service that is very easy to use and I haven’t looked back! Even new users can create a website and with Leah’s video; she makes it even easier.
Leah’s videos are great, informative, well organized. As a visual learner (I remember more by seeing and doing, not reading), I find this extremely helpful and it has given me a “quick kick start” to begin marketing my art online, to the public and to galleries. It’s helped me to do the initial work to get my artwork seen. It is worth it! Now I better get my site on your Premium Listings!
All the bells and whistles
by Jolene Monheim, Great Falls, MT, USA
I had a website for years that I wasn’t proud of. It was difficult to update with new material, and I kept forgetting all the steps I needed to make to do so. It was not flexible in terms of tracking visitors, or inclusive of social networking features. Then a fellow photographer told me about zenfolio.com. Using a Lightroom plugin built by Jeffrey Friedl, I’m able to easily keep track of my portfolio online. I built my website in a couple of hours. I don’t currently use the print features that are part of zenfolios partnership in with Mpix, as I make the prints myself, but I really appreciate the interface and would highly recommend it to any visual artist. Had I known about Leah Markham a month ago, I would have used her.
Using both sides of the brain
by Suzanne Gaudette Way, Nashville, TN, USA
Great idea! In two weeks I will be done moving around and will get to it. I need Leah’s system and if it works for a non tech like me, I will rave to the world. I’m very pleased with the Premium Art Listing on your Painter’s Keys site and also have a large website administered by a friend. She is wonderful but so busy with her real job that I hate to bug her with changes so having another website that I could create myself and link to sounds like a great solution. Thanks, Robert, for being so right- and left-brained.
Can all flags fly?
by Cathy Tokheim, Swea City, IA, USA
Your letter today intrigued me, regarding the setting up of my own website. I have wanted to do just that, for some time, but have no knowledge of it. I am, however, a fiber artist, working with primitive design. Is this information available to all? I know there are other paths to websites but I’ve always been interested in designing my own instead of going by someone else’s template formula.
(RG note) Thanks, Cathy. Several artists asked about this. We think a variety of media — quilts, glass-art, ceramics, etc., makes the Premium Listings a most rewarding place to spend a couple of hours. Yes, some people do.
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Where do I go from here?
by Adrienne Godbout, Grande-Digue, NB, Canada
I make and sell about 50 or 60 paintings a year although last year I sold 62 but only made 35 so my inventory is at an all time low — not one painting in stock, everything in galleries and making them and then shipping as soon as they are done. Still, after all that effort, I can’t rely solely on my art to make a living for me and my two girls — I am a single mom since April 2010. So to supplement my income, I’ve had to take a part time job working for Emergency Roadside Assistance at home. I work between 20 and 30 hours a week and dispatch tow trucks all over Canada and the US from the comfort of my home office. It’s convenient, it pays well and the bonus is the fantastic benefits — health, dental, insurance, long term, short term, pension, the whole package which was expensive to pay for as a self-employed artist. So my question to you is how do I increase sales so that I can rely a bit more on my art to live and less as a Roadside Assistance agent? I think I’m going in the right direction and my sales have increased dramatically in the last 5 years so I’m getting there but according to you — do I need more galleries? More work in each gallery? Representation elsewhere than where I am? Am I in the wrong places? I keep my web site up to date and get between 5 and 20 visits per day — which always blows me away. I have taken up space on Facebook and I never thought I would see a difference, but I do… a lot of people have found me on Facebook. So where do I go from here?
I’m trying to shoot for 52 paintings this year — at least one per week and so far I’m ahead of the game by a few paintings… I think that alone, should make a difference. Can’t sell inventory I don’t have. And I’ve added one more seasonal gallery — on the Magdalen Islands. They are only opened 8 weeks but sales are good there… we’ll see what happens.
(RG note) Thanks, Adrienne. About thirty years ago I asked the same question of a seasoned artist friend. He said, “Do what you’re doing now, only do it more efficiently.” It seemed a funny answer at the time, but now I know it was spot on. Being an incompetent person, I didn’t have a job, but I loved painting and by sheer volume I doubled the number of galleries that handled my work. Blessed are those who happen to make a lot of art.
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Novel brush holder
by Lesley White, Prince George, BC, Canada
The porcelain brush rest pictured here is now in the dumpster out back. It’s always taken up more than its share of space on my work table and the brushes roll and slide, sometimes hitting the floor or exchanging paint with one another. Here’s my solution: simple, inexpensive, works beautifully. Fill a plastic container (4″x 4″ pictured) with tiny glass beads. When brush is not in use, stick the handle in the beads. Glass beads (purchased at any craft store) give the holder weight and roll easily against each other accepting the brush handles with ease. It takes up one third the space, brushes don’t move until I tell them to, there’s no problem with colours mixing with one another and haven’t had a brush hit the floor in a while.
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Before the storm
acrylic painting 12 x 24 inches
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.
That includes Renate M Reuter, Founder, President, Executive Director, Portrait and Figure Painters Society of SW Florida, Inc., who wrote, “Thank you, Robert, for your letters. They are very educational and informative. We, therefore, like to forward your free emails to our artists.”
Enjoy the past comments below for Your own website…