PDP Tips: “Must Haves” For Your Artist Website

Straight from our Professional Development Program’s Internet for Artists curriculum, here are some tips on what content every artist should include on their portfolio website.

GENERAL TIP: Think of your website as the pedestal for your artwork and practice. The format of your website should not distract from the work you want to share with your audience. Remember, the website itself is not your artwork, it is the venue for people to see your artwork and find out more about you. Therefore, a simple, clear and easy-to-navigate site works great for most artists.

NAVIGATION: There should be a consistent menu in the same place on every page to help the user  move intuitively through your site.

Include the following pages in order of preference:
1. Projects/Work Samples – arranged chronologically, by media, content or any other structure you think is appropriate.

Recommendations for media:
• Images: JPEGs (.jpg), GIFs (.gif), or PNG (.png) files. Make sure your images are big enough so that people can see your work clearly. (No squinting!) Try to keep the image file size under 1MB so your website loads quickly.
• Video: We recommend that you use a third-party website to host your video; it will increase your visibility and save you server space! Vimeo or YouTube are good spots.
• Audio: MP3 (.mp3).
• Text: (.pdf) downloads.

Tip: When offering something as a download, tell the visitor what they will be downloading before they click the download link! i.e. “Download my Resume (.pdf)”

2. Bio and Resume: Keep this up-to-date. Be sure to include printable/downloadable versions (in .pdf form). This will save you time, when someone asks for a copy of your resume, you can say “go to my website!”

3. Contact: Provide your email address at a bare minimum. A contact form is also fine.  Ideally you also want to collect the email address from the person who is visiting your site. Having a Email List Sign Up is essential. You might also want to consider putting up a photo of yourself so people can say “hi” when they recognize you at openings, performances or other public events.

Tip: Tell people how often you send email updates if they sign up for your list (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.).

4. Artist Statement:
Gives your audience a window into your practice.
5. Links Page: 
Linking to affiliated sites (galleries, performance spaces featuring your work, your publisher, magazines where your stories or poems have appeared, foundations with a page devoted to you). Ask those same places to link to your website as well!
6. Press Materials:
  Having a spot where press people can download hi-res images and press releases can save you time!
7. Blog:
Tell your news, speak in the first person about your process in your studio, share your research, link to articles related to the subject matter in your work, etc.
8. Give-a-ways!
Showing a spirit of generosity can help you connect with your audience. What are the things you can share? A special technique you use in the studio? A poster to download? These things help make your website “sticky” and encourage people to return for more!
9. More Options: Press quotes, Pull quotes, Rights information, Tech riders
Get more tips and tools on the Internet for Artists wiki page or bring an Internet for Artists workshop to your town!

Anything we’re missing? Leave a comment!

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