Blog vs. Website

Now you understand why Facebook can never replace your blog.

But do you also need a website? Or can you use a blog AS a website?

In other words: Can a blog replace the old standard website?

Answer: Absolutely!

Caveat: IF it’s done properly.

If you’re going to be sending gallerists, curators, and collectors to your blog, you don’t want to waste any time wowing them. And you certainly don’t want to waste their time.

To Use a Blog Instead of a Website, These Items Should be in Place

1. Your own URL without typepad, blogspot, or wordpress in it. This is me getting picky. Obviously, there are numerous sites out there that can prove me wrong and do just fine with these URLs. I just find it easier to promote your own brand without them. They’re cumbersome.

2. A place on your blog to view portfolios of your art. I’m dismayed about how difficult it is to find art on some artists’ blogs. We shouldn’t have to wade through a lot of posts to see what you do.

Blog visitors should be able to go to a page of good-sized thumbnails, but you also need to direct them to any one of your images. You must have a system in place that allows you to find your art quickly online and share it with others. Here’s how to create a portfolio management system with WordPress.

You can use image-storing sites like Flickr, but you need to be able to control how the images are viewed and the credit lines.

Beth Robinson

Meet Odele. Beth Robinson's Strange Dolls ooze Halloween spirit. Paperclay, resin, and mohair, 23" high. ©The Artist

3. A link to quickly find your résumé (if needed; otherwise, past exhibitions), bio, and artist statement. This can be in the sidebar, menu, or on your About page, but it shouldn’t be any deeper than that.

4. Not too much bling around your art. We should be able to easily focus our attention on your art. Avoid RMOs (random moving objects) and anything else that is too distracting on your art pages.

5. A place to sign up for your mailing list. Signing up for a blog feed is one thing, but cultivating that all important list of people who love your art should always be a goal.

6. How to contact you. This should be more than an email. Email can fail. You should have a phone number and business address as well. These additional contact methods also inspire trust in your visitors.

What did I miss?

We help you with all of these and much more in the hands-on Blog Triage class. Check it out.
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26 comments to Blog vs. Website

  • I have been noticing that in some searches my blog comes up before my website. Lately I am getting just as many visits or more to my blog so I have realized that I’m going to really need to spend more time on it, get rid of things that are meaningless because my blog may be the first impression someone gets of my artwork.

  • I am an artist that currently only has a blog. While it does bother me a little to have that “.blogspot” after my name in the url, I have found it a great tool to talk about my art, get some exposure, and interact with other artists. Also-it’s so easy to keep updated! I am working on a web page, but I was thinking that would be used primarily as my “store” , a place to sell the art, which I currently don’t do on my blog.

  • kat

    #6~ I only give out my email address, not my cell number or address. The reason being is I like everything in writing and i’m extremely leery about putting my address out there…don’t want any strangers coming to my door. I have no problem if a client wants to send me a check, but just to have it out there for everyone to see…i don’t think it’s safe.

    What’s your thoughts on that Alyson.

    • You need a PO box. Every legitimate business has a mailing address. If you don’t like giving out your address, get a PO Box.

      There are also alternative phone numbers you can get. You just can’t rely on email to reach people. Read that linked text in #6.

  • I nonetheless prefer to use my blog as an adjunct to my website. Nonetheless for contact more is better. I don’t give out a phone number (yet) but I do give out my PO Box as well as my main email address.

    My question (for which I think I know the answer) is which is the best place for linking as an affiliate (I want to promote Alyson’s book!)? I’m thinking my blog because that’s where most other artists interact with me (aside from FB and Twiter anyway).

  • Love this post Alyson, so on topic to questions currently running through my mind. In answer to Ann’s question- I am currently using blogspot as my website too- I just paid google/blogger something like ten bucks to get a custom domain name (yearly).

    They don’t give you as much control over where the domain points as other services, so if I had it to do over- I’d still probably use them, but be more careful about what name I use, as I might prefer to have my name pointing at a real website at some point and it will take a little doing to untangle it from my blog.

  • WORDPRESS – you can blog to your hearts content and have a website all in the same place, honest and for true. You need the stand alone version of WordPress not the one at wordpress.com. It is easy to install on hosts like Hostgator or Hostpapa with one click. I use it for my fine art site kimbruce.ca and numerous other artist’s site that I design through artbiz.ca

    If you want to see a demo of how a blog and website would look together please visit http://artbiz.ca/demo/?themedemo=Clay-Side

    WordPress is an amazing tool for anyone to manage their own website (and blog) with out having to be a rocket scientist.

    • LOL, but I AM (or was, anyway) a “rocket scientist.”

      Hahahaha. Thanks for much needed laugh. In any case I agree that wordpress is fabulously flexible and the standalone is what I have. (WordPress.org). I have used their support forum occasionally. Have you? It’s best, I think, for forwarding one to other folk’s offsite tutorials and fixes.

  • Funny – I was just listening to a John T. Unger podcast, and he and the guest were talking about this subject. Though they disagreed with the idea of a blog as your main website, I think it works fine. Plus, with the constant updates it helps with search engine optimization. It’s also nice that everything is in one place. ehem, and I can use my biz dollars in other areas. Who doesn’t love that?

  • I currently have a website as my formal on-line gallery updated every 4-8 weeks, and a more casual blog that I can chatter on and update 1-2x/week.
    In addition to all those ‘must-haves’ Alyson, I like having a place on the blog to put upcoming exhibits.

  • This is a great and very timely post for me. I have been toying with this idea for a while now. At the moment I still have a a separate website and a wordpress.org blog. I would love to have them both together and I would also save money because my website averages out to $28 a month.
    I haven’t done it yet because I would have to mess around with domain names for one. And then, should I have the website 1st or the blog 1st? What I mean is what should my main page be?
    Thank you Alyson for this post!

    • Oh no! Not again, Dora.

      I would write out a very clear strategy. What would you use the blog for or the website? The results you want from the site should dictate how it functions and the content.

  • Helpful, clear tips as ever.

    I guess a blog that ticks all these boxes – clear navigation to key pages, newsletter etc. – becomes fairly close to a frequently updated website. Equally, I have a website with a blog page that draws comparable traffic from the search engines as the homepage!

    My impression is that a site/blog can work if all the key components (content to drive traffic, clear galleries, contact info…etc)are there in any form; it can be shaped around the individual artist.

    I like to use an old-school website layout because I don’t know when I might be less able to spend time on it in the future and require it to run on auto-pilot.

  • huzzah, Alyson. I’ve blogged about this more than a few times. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of WordPress as a way for artists to get their own site – and it takes no coding knowledge.

    There’s really no excuse for not having a professional site, even if it’s simple. One thing that every artist can do to improve their site is look for 10 – 15 sites by artists in their niche and make a list of what they like/don’t like. This exercise alone will inspire you to make some positive changes.

    Google Blog Search, Twitter search, and Flickr are some great places to start looking for great artist websites.

  • [...] write a lot about promoting your art online because it’s cost effective and easy. But you shouldn’t be satisfied with showing your work [...]

  • [...] write a lot about promoting your art online because it’s cost effective and easy. But you shouldn’t be satisfied with showing your work [...]