THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Miriam Schulman: The website is going to provide you with professional online presence. It’s going to help you showcase your art. It will enhance your credibility. It facilitates networking and allows you to have control over your artistic brand, serving as a valuable tool for emerging artists just like you, to establish themselves in the virtual world and connect with a broader audience.
Speaker 2: It’s The Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider podcast for artists by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.
Miriam Schulman: Well, hey there. This is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration, and you are listening to episode number 268. I’m so grateful that you’re here. So I’m doing something a little different today. Recently, as of this recording, I know you’re listening to this at the end of July, but at the beginning of June, I did a three-day boot camp. And during the boot camp, there were so many questions that came in. So I do them live. The first day we had 500 people show up live and we do set a timer at the end of each of the three days of the boot camp for questions. And on the first day, I want to say the timer was for 15 minutes. There were more questions than I could answer during 15 minutes. One of the questions that came up a lot was about websites.
Okay, so without further ado. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. All right. So the first question that came up. And it came up many times. Is a website good to sell art? Do we really need to have a website? I don’t have a website. Do I need it? There’s all different versions of the same exact question How important is a website? Okay, so let me answer that. So first of all, I will maintain that the most important thing that you need is your email list. You need a way that when somebody shows interest in your art to stay in touch with them because not everyone’s going to buy your art the first time it sees it. And by art, we’re using that term broadly. Art could be weaving, art could be pottery, art could be sculpture, art could be fashion. It’s whatever it is that you are selling. And of course, it could be service-based things too. Now, when you are selling in person, people can absolutely buy your product without a website. Sure. But if you want to stay in touch with them, you need an email list.
Now, if you’re sending people emails, they need a way to purchase what you are selling from them. And usually, that’s through a website. So the website is going to serve as your centralized hub where you can showcase your work. You can share your story, and that’s the best way to present yourself as a professional artist. And it allows you to have a unique online identity and really represent your artistic brand. What I think is so great about having a website is you can really take people through that journey of who you are and what it is that your brand is about. It’s kind of like when they get to your website, it’s like bringing them to the front door of your house and you want to show them around and show them where to go next. Okay. So that would be, I think the number one reason to have a website is really to establish yourself with an online presence as a professional. Next is your portfolio. So the website provides a platform for displaying your artwork, your projects, and your past works in a way that’s organized and visually appealing. So this gives your potential clients or gallery owners and fans of your art really a comprehensive view of your talent and creativity. And if you’re thinking about it this way, you’re really going to want to curate what it is that they’re seeing. So when you have a website, it’s not every single thing you’ve ever created.
It’s what is current for you now. And what is really representing you as an artist. All right. So this would be reason number three to have a website. This may turn into the, uh, seven reasons to have a website podcast. Actually, not an ask me anything call. Um, number three is control and ownership. So unlike social media platforms or other third-party platforms. So let’s see, for example, having your own website really does give you complete control over your content, over how it’s laid out over your branding. You have the freedom to design your website in a way that aligns with your artistic vision and you can update it whenever you want. The other thing in terms of comparing a website versus Instagram, let’s say, is that on Instagram you’re showcasing your art within a feed. And in that feed, they’re also being fed other items that are not in alignment with your brand and can be a distraction and takes people away from that. So I like the idea that you’re creating a container for your art, that when they come to visit again, it’s like thinking of it as your home. When you have this home, you’re not competing with other artists on Etsy. You are not competing for the attention economy of, you know, your cousin Susan’s politics. You are just creating a place where they can come and experience what your art is and what’s it about without that, the noise of social media.
Okay. Reason number four is it builds credibility. So a professionally designed website with a dedicated domain name. So the best domain name, by the way, would be yourname.com. So mine happens to be SchulmanArt. At one point, I think I had Miriam Schulman studio and I think I have Miriam Schulman and I’m not sure I may still be paying for those domains. I’ll have to double-check. I may still have those domains and they redirect to SchulmanArt.com. So this enhances your credibility as an artist. It demonstrates that you take your career seriously. You’re committed to showcasing your work in a polished and professional manner. And I don’t want to hear anybody saying, Oh, but it costs $35 a month for a Shopify or Squarespace.
If you’re looking to build a business that’s going to generate, let’s say, between 50 to $100,000 a year, you shouldn’t be worried about a monthly cost that’s under $50 a month. Really, this is just the cost of being in business. It’s certainly a lot less than paying rent on a gallery space if you were to open your own brick-and-mortar store. So for $35 a month to have your own virtual real estate, that’s a really good deal. All right. Number five. A website is a great place for people to get in touch with you. So I would say number five is networking and collaboration because this website serves as a hub and you can have a contact page or form on your website.
So if someone is searching for Miriam Schulman that I should double check what happens when you search Miriam Schulman. And I really should do this incognito because it’s going to be skewed because it knows it’s me. All right. So let me try opening like an incognito. So I just took a moment to open an incognito window. And that is because if I use a window where I’m normally scrolling and they know that Miriam Schulman is the Google account owner or whatever, it’s going to show me different results. So when I type Miriam Schulman into Google, the very first thing that comes up is my website, which by the way, is fantastic because there is more than one Miriam Schulman I’m glad that I’m the first one that comes up. The next thing that comes up for me is my Instagram channel. And then the next thing that comes up is LinkedIn. And then the next thing actually that comes up is Fine Art America, which makes me understand that I really have to curate what’s up there because I don’t love all the art that’s on there. And then the next thing that comes up is Etsy, followed by Pinterest, followed by my Twitter, followed by. Let’s see, there’s a Miriam Schulman on Amazon, but I just want to see if this is me.
Oh, it’s actually an ad that Harpercollins put for my book. Uh, the next thing is my YouTube. Which is great. Next thing is my Facebook. Oh, the next thing is actually a licensing deal I have with art needlepoint, and I actually haven’t received a check from them in a very long time, so I should, like, find out what’s going on. Okay. And then what starts to come up? Oh, there there’s actually on the on the very first page of Search for Miriam Schulman, there actually is a podcast that is not my podcast. It’s somebody else’s podcast, which is very interesting, which shows the power of publicity. So he has the person. I’ll give you his name. This is The Thought Leadership podcast. So he must have a very high Google ranking if his podcast is coming up on my first Google Rank page. Next thing that comes up is my audible book. And then Jean Oliver had me on her podcast. And yeah, so then after that, so there’s my audible one guy’s podcast interview did pop up on this first page and then followed by a bunch of publicity, which is why publicity is actually so important. Yeah. And then you can see if you type in Miriam Schulman, you’ll see all the different things. But there’s a lot of publicity that is coming up. And now on the home page, almost on the very bottom, there actually is a Miriam Schulman.
That isn’t me. So there is the Miriam Schulman who I know about, who is the associate director of the Applied Ethics at Santa Clara. Then there’s a couple more Miriam Schulman. And then there’s another Miriam Schulman who isn’t me. Anyway, very interesting exercise. You should do this for yourself. Type in your own name as a search and see what happens. Fascinating. Okay, so back to our regularly scheduled program. I just want to continue on about why you need a website. Why? So if somebody were to see me on a podcast or they read about me in an article or they they hear me on a podcast, they may go to Miriam Schulman and type it in and you really want your website to come up. And then from the website, then it tells you how to contact me. When you go to my website, you can get my Instagram, you can get my email, you can fill out a contact page, you can get in touch. You want a way for people to get in touch with you. So this allows people to reach out to you. This will open doors for potential collaborations, for commissions, for exhibition opportunities. So you really do need the website also for that to have that kind of networking hub. So that’s number five. Okay. Number six, I have this down as number six as the reason most people think this is the number one reason, but it isn’t actually so.
The number six reason for having a website is selling your art. If you’re interested in selling your art, having a website provides a platform to showcase and sell your pieces directly to collectors, the easier it is, the easier you make this process for your collectors, the better it will be. So if you have a place to sell to them directly, they don’t have to go to intermediaries. Now, you notice for me, my number one search site for me is my website, not Etsy, not Instagram, not Facebook, not any of those other things. My website comes up first. So setting up an online store that is integrative e-commerce is very important, and if you’re not sure what website to use, I recommend that you use either Shopify or Squarespace. My art website is on Shopify. Many artists are on Squarespace. It almost doesn’t matter which one you use. It’s almost like buying a toaster these days. So just pick one, pick one and use it. I know some people use WordPress with the Wix plugin. That is more complicated though, so I don’t want to encourage that. Priya Gore, who is one of my clients, she does have a WordPress and I believe it’s a Wix plugin, but don’t forget she used to be an engineer so that technology doesn’t bother her at all for most people. Use Squarespace or Shopify and don’t second guess yourself. Make it as easy as possible for you and make it as easy as possible for your customers.
Okay. Number seven. So this is one of the last things I put on here is tracking and analytics. So with a website, you can gain insights into visitor behavior. You can track engagement, you can understand what content resonates with them. For those of you who do podcasts or blog post content, you can see what your most visited pages are. By the way, for most artists, actually, I’m not going to say artists for most people. Most Artpreneurs, whoever you are, the most visited page is actually the about page, which is why I provide so much training for my incubator members on the about page. But in terms of the other pages, it’s really nice to have tracking analytics, because it’s really valuable for making informed decision about your artistic direction, your marketing strategies, because if you are just starting arts. So when you’re just starting out selling your art, or even if you’ve been at it for a long time. Sometimes you don’t know what’s resonating with people if you haven’t had sales, but if you have a ton of people visiting certain pages of your website and you can see what art is getting clicked on the most, that provides a lot of valuable data for you. All right. So let us sum up. I thought I was going to get to a lot of questions, but this question actually came up over and over again on this Ask Miriam anything boot camp was, do I need a website? So I’m actually glad that we went into it in depth because it is important.
But let me just sum up. So I’m going to go over the seven reasons again. One, establish your online presence. Two, showcase your portfolio. Three, control and ownership. Four building credibility. Five, networking and collaboration. Six, selling your art. And seven, tracking and analytics. So while having a website is highly beneficial, it’s important to know it’s not the sole focus of your online presence. Social media platforms, publicity are all very important. Online community are all important. Yeah. Let me back up. Social media platforms and other online communities can complement your website by helping you reach a wider audience. So by that I mostly mean the publicity opportunities. Etsy, all those things, but really having that central hub. Where you can engage your followers is so important. So you always want to be driving traffic, whether it’s through emails, whether it’s through social media, whether it’s through publicity back to your site. All right, So let’s just sum up. The website is going to provide you with professional online presence. It’s going to help you showcase your art. It will enhance your credibility. It facilitates networking and allows you to have control over your artistic brand, serving as a valuable tool for emerging artists just like you, to establish themselves in the virtual world and connect with a broader audience. But more importantly, it just makes things easier.
And in terms of websites, yes, it must have e-commerce. Please, please, please. This was the other questions I was getting over and over again in the bootcamp. You need to have your prices on your website and you need to have a way for them to check out. And it’s not about, uh, please email me to get the price or please email me to find out how much the shipping is. Put the information on your website. So yeah, I’ve seen these question over and over and over again. Terry, how critical is it to have her own website? Yes, you need it. Mindy, can WordPress be a successful art-selling website? Only if it has e-commerce. Let’s see if there’s any more website questions. But that was. So many people were asking about that. And you. Yeah, you really, really need it. All right, my friend, thank you so much for joining with me here today. So that was it. We really went over why you need a website. The seven reasons why having a website is important for building your art business. Thanks so much for joining me and I will see you back here again next week, same time, same place next week. We’re talking about comparison to confidence, how to embrace self-worth in the artistic world. And my guest is Julie Reisler. So I hope you’ll join me next week. Until then, stay inspired.
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