From my inbox . . .
Rebecca Finch asks:
I work primarily in fine art paintings, but I also do graphic design and portrait photography. Do I have to create different websites for each? Should I have one landing page from which to choose of the three sites? Should the look/feel of each site be different yet unified?
Should I then have a separate blog for each art form, or can each site point to the same blog?
In I’d Rather Be in the Studio I write:
3 different styles of art = 3 different audiences = 3 times the marketing effort [tweet this]
I’m sure this probably isn’t what you want to hear, Rebecca, but this is you. You have 3 different businesses and, therefore, 3 different audiences.
The people you promote portrait photography to are different from those that you want to share your paintings and graphic design with.
There might be overlap among them, but, in general, you confuse people when you send them to see your portfolio page and they see three different businesses.
If you create one landing page for choosing among the three (which is really what you have with the above portfolio page) you add to the confusion. Not because of the landing page itself, but because you are sending people to a page where they have to decide how they are going to relate to you.
The better option is to send targeted audiences directly to the type of art that interests them. Promote the photo page to people who might be interested in portrait photography and the graphic design page to those looking for help in that area.
Rather than creating three different sites, you could create one site with three distinct areas:
- Rebecca Finch Paintings
- Rebecca Finch Design
- Rebecca Finch Portrait Photography
Since you’re a graphic designer, you could figure out a way to unify them on the home page.
But here’s the key: Don’t give people the home page URL!
If someone inquires about your paintings, send them to a URL specific to your paintings page. Ditto for either of the other art forms.
Yes, this means that your list is clearly segmented. But that’s another post.
I’d like to see you at least have separate URLs for those other art forms, which you can use to promote to the specific pages.
For example, if I send you to OrganizeYourArtBiz.com, you will find that you land on artbizcoach.com/organize-your-art-biz. I don’t send you to my home page if you’re only interested in that particular class. And the distinct URL makes it easier for me to promote.
Problems with the Shortcut
There are at least two downsides of the shortcut, but they’re biggies.
The first one is that you should have three different About pages for your various businesses.
I hear you saying, “3 About pages? That’s nuts!” But it’s not. Think about it.
An About page is for establishing yourself as competent and authoritative in a particular area. If you put all of your businesses on a single About page, you appear scattered.
The second problem with the shortcut is that, presumably, you would have menu tabs for the all of the art forms. Again, this leads to confusion because the additional businesses would always be visible to visitors who, most likely, came to be enlightened about a single aspect of your work.
The clearest solution is to have three separate sites, although they don’t have to be huge sites with lots of content. If painting is your primary focus, make that your juiciest site.
Elements such as colors and fonts can unify all of the sites so that you don’t feel like you are designing three different sites. You design one site and apply that design to the others.
On your About pages on all three sites, you could mention the other sites – at the bottom, after you have established your authority for that body of work.
And the best news of all . . . You only need 1 blog! BUT (big But) only if you don’t want to become known a THE #1 EXPERT in one of your media.
If you do want to become established as an expert in an area, a focused blog on that topic is far preferable to a blog comprised of a little of this and a little of that.
Otherwise, it’s okay to mix up your art-related topics on the blog. People understand that artists are creative and inspired by many different things.
In order to unify your blog entries, try to write about common threads among your media whenever you can. That’s my challenge to all artists
in your predicament who are lucky have so many talents.
There’s more about improving your site’s look and functionality in the audio program Website Makeover and Cynthia Morris and I teach how to improve the health of your blog in our Blog Triage Self-Study.