Friday, April 11, 2008

My Art Advice: My art does not seem to be noticed much online... how can I improve my presence?

"My art does not seem to be noticed much online... how can I improve my presence?"

This is a common question and one that I've covered before with past answers. I will discuss this issue again since it is a common question and concern for artists utilizing the Internet for exposure. It is simple really... if you want exposure online for your art you must have traffic and in order to get traffic you must get your name and links to your work seen! You can't simply create an account on an art site and hope for the site to do all the work for you. True, having your work on any site will bring visitors to your art, but you need to do some work yourself in order to maximize that traffic.You need to have your name and links to your art on as many sites as possible.

Here are some suggestions on how to improve your online presence:

1. Post links to your art! Include a link to the art site(s) that you are using on every profile that you have-- every site that you are involved with. For example, if you have a profile on or make sure to include links to the sites where your artwork can be found. Thus, if you have an account on be sure to include that link on other sites. You will also want to include a link to your art on ever post that you make. You can even use html code in order to place something like 'View My Art Here' on your profiles so that people will click on 'View My Art Here' in order to be taken to your account.

I'll use my myartspace url as an example:

a href= "" > my art < a

When doing this you will want to type '<' before the first a and '>' after the last 'a' or it will not work. ALSO, I had to place spaces in several places... if you type it with your url the only space you will want is here-- 'a href'. In order to show how to do it I had to remove '<' and '>' and make the spaces between the other text or else it would have shown up like the example below... which is what you want if you do it.

my art

If you do it correctly it should work like the example above. This comes in handy because it will make your url active on the majority of forums and blogs that you might visit online. If you make a post on a forum right now with your link included someone searching the forum years from now may end up finding your post and clicking on the link. I've been contacted by people who observed links to my art on sites that I've not been involved with for over eight years! This is why it is important to get your name and any links to your art posted as much as possible. Think of it as a paper trail that leads to you and your current body of work.

2. Build multiple online networks! Build networks on sites like Myspace and Facebook. By building networks on several sites you will be able to use each of those sites as a vehicle for your art. Most of these sites will allow you to send links to your art out to several people at once through bulletins or posts. Take advantage of that!

3. Write about your art! Use a service like or in order to create a blog/journal about your art. Post entries about your art, exhibits that you will be involved with, and your thoughts about the direction of your work-- include links to your artwork on every entry that you make be it a comment to another user or a journal entry about what you ate last night. Do the same on any art site that you are involved with if they offer blogs or journals.

You don't have to write about yourself. Anything you mention in an entry can help improve your placement in search engines. If you associate yourself with a specific artist, style, or movement be sure to write about that. By doing that your name may show up on searches for those respected influences on search engines like Google. By including your name and links to your art on these entries you will greatly improve your search placement. In other words, each entry will help improve your online presence.

4. Alternative press is a good thing-- Seek it! Seek out art zines that may feature your work online. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these to discover-- and don't dismiss art blogs! As you can tell by my interviews( artists from all walks of life and stages of career have found value in what bloggers, such as myself, can provide as far as exposure is concerned. I've interviewed artists who are virtually unknown and artists who have had their work sell for over a million dollars at auction. These artists may not share artistic direction or financial status, but they all share an acknowledgment of what online exposure can accomplish and a desire for the recognition that the Internet can provide.

Many art bloggers will be more than happy to make a post about your art if you contact them. Sure, you may desire to be covered by a major art magazine... but until that day comes-- if it comes --the art blogsphere is the next best thing-- if not the best! An art blog article, review, or interview can bring a continuous flow of traffic to your website for years to come if you include links to your art. In other words, an article about your art on an art blog will most likely be viewed by more people than an article about your art in a magazine. Recognition is just a few clicks away! The times have changed.

5. Combine efforts, work together! Forming an alliance of sorts with like-minded artists can benefit you greatly as far as online exposure is concerned. If you admire the art of your friends be sure to include a link to their work on your profiles and make sure that they do the same. Working together you may decide to create a profile, blog, or website that represents all of the artists involved in the group. A page that includes links to each respected members art is of great value-- especially if each member includes that link along with their personal art links when posting on the sites they are involved with.

Art groups have popped up all over the net alongside self-declared art movements. Artists unified under a common goal-- in many cases exposure for each member --have worked with great success on auction sites and other online resources. There are other benefits to a union like this... for example, if you are unable to find time to get online you will know that your name is still being spread by your friends. Gaining exposure online can sometimes be a battle... it may very well be a fight that is best not fought alone.

6. Find the time to promote your art online! Many say that the Internet is an addiction best left avoided. However, if you want to gain exposure for you art-- both online and offline --you really need to find enough time to promote yourself. Spend some time each day posting links to your art, uploading images of your art, commenting on the work of others and building networks on the sites you are involved with. A half hour of concentrated promotion of your art each day will really pay off as the years go by. After-all, you can't build your online presence if you are offline.

7. Avoid throwing money away on 'how-to' art marketing books! Don't waste your time and money on 'how-to' books that are focused on gaining exposure for your art online. I'm sure there might be some that are worth your time and cash, but I've yet to find any. That money is better spent elsewhere for your online marketing/exposure efforts-- website construction or a premium account on for example. I've mentioned this before and have received some delightfully angry responses from authors of these types of books. Why do I say to avoid them? Because they are often over-priced for the information they contain-- information that is often not current with the times and that contains 'helpful' links that are no longer active... which is not very helpful at all-- especially when a $19.95 price-tag is involved!

I say this because if you do a Yahoo or Google search for 'art marketing advice' or 'gaining exposure for your art online' you will most likely discover everything mentioned in these books and more-- for free. True, those books may contain personal experiences that the author has had researching (note, researching) online marketing and exposure tactics, but more often than not you will discover that the author is not an artist and therefore has not had any direct experience marketing or gaining exposure for art online. Many of these books are also written by authors who have a business motive hidden within the pages of their book-- their $100+ per month art consultant service which is often times mentioned in one of the final chapters or pages. This is why I take a hard stance against these books and in many cases their authors-- and before you say that I have a motive note that I make it very clear that I write for Also note that you did not have to pay $19.95 to discover that fact.

You would be better off researching online art marketing and exposure on your own, discussing marketing and exposure tactics with other artists that you meet online, creating free accounts on every art site that offers free membership, creating a blog or two about your art, using social networking sites to build a network, posting links to your art on art forums, and if you must invest money, invest it in a personal website or paid-membership on an art site that you deem worthy of your hard earned bucks.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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