How To Start An Art Blog
Starting an art blog is one of the best ways to promote your artistic endeavours and share more information about yourself with art lovers. It is also the perfect medium for posting images of your latest artistic creations and sharing important news with art lovers.
If you blog about art consistently, you can even form an online art world community of fans of your work, attract potential buyers, and boost your profile within the artistic community. It can be an important step towards turning your love of art into a valuable business that generates a good income.
If you are interested in starting an art blog, you have reached the right place. In this post, I’ll be sharing several essential steps for creating a successful art blog. These steps include:
- Finding a name for your art blog
- Choose a blogging platform
- Designing your art blog
- Choosing a web host
- Planning blog posts
- Writing engaging posts
- Marketing your blog
- Ensuring readers return for more
Before I share these details, here are a few reasons why having a blog to showcase your art is important.
Why do you need an art blog?
An art blog can help an artist in many ways, allowing you to:
- Promote your art – A blog is one of the most efficient ways to promote your art online. You can share images of recent work, talk about upcoming projects, and share some personal details about yourself.
- Build a community – Blogs can function as community hubs, where like-minded people discuss topics like art or music. This kind of close interaction with fans of your art can help you build a community that promotes your brand.
- Sell your art – Modern blogging platforms are quite sophisticated and can incorporate eCommerce functionality. You can use this functionality to sell your art directly to the public — bypassing any middle man and making as much money as possible for your work. With an art website not only can you share your work but it can be the first step to selling and having your very own art business.
- Share your artistic techniques – Many artists who blog use them to publish content that helps others. Artist blogging usually includes technical tips to help aspiring artists get better at their craft. This kind of content is very effective at attracting a larger audience for your blog and can help you sell or promote your art.
- Share your thoughts – Artist bloggers also use their blog to share your opinions on everything from paintbrushes to postmodernist art. It’s the perfect place to get your ideas out there and get some interesting conversations going with your readers.
Starting your art blog
Let’s get down to the actual process of starting a successful art blog.
1. Finding a name for your blog
The name that you choose for your blog can set its tone and help to create the first impression that visitors receive when coming to the site. It is also important because it will form the domain name of your website.
Many artists simply use their own name, or their own name plus a word like “Art”, “Studio”, “Artist”, “Fine Art”, “Paintings” or “Creations”. The main advantage of this approach is that the website’s name and URL is easy for visitors to remember.
Naming your blog this way can also improve its search engine optimisation (SEO) as most people will type your name plus “art” or “artist” into a search engine when searching for you specifically. If your domain matches this exact phrase, it is more likely to appear in a higher position in search engine results.
A generalised term like “art” is particularly useful if you sometimes change mediums. A name like “John Smith Oil Paintings” might not be appropriate if you suddenly started working with charcoal or pastels, while “John Smith Fine Art” would still work well.
Another approach is to build your blog around a separate brand. This brand could refer the kind of art you make or it could use a unique name. For example, American artist James Reynold specialises in landscapes focussed in Vermont and Cape Cod. He named his website New England Painter, which describes his work. That phrase is also used by people who are looking for those kinds of artworks in search engines — which helps him sell his work.
Some quick tips for choosing a name for your blog:
- Make it memorable
- Keep it short
- Make sure it is unique and not trademarked
- Make it easy to spell
- Use keywords that describe your work (“Art”, “Paintings”, “Drawings” and so on)
- Don’t use any hyphens, numbers, or unusual spellings
- Make sure it matches the kind of art you create
- Make sure the name reads well when in URL format
- Use a blog name generator like Name Mesh, Panabee, or Wordoid.
2. Choosing a blog platform
A blogging platform is the software or web service that you will use to create your blog. There are many options available, with different features and price points. The biggest differences between these platforms are:
Self-hosted or hosted
Hosted platforms include access to the blogging platform and a web server. The web server is the computer on which your blog will be stored. The company selling a hosted blog manages everything relating to web hosting including security, backups, and performance optimisations. This is the easiest option, but can be more expensive than self-hosted options and gives you less flexibility.
Self-hosted means you will have to install the blog on your own webserver to use it. This option gives you complete control over your web hosting, which means you can optimise your blog yourself and install any additional features you require. This option can be cheaper, but you will be responsible for server backups and security issues.
How easy it is to use the blogging platform can be a major consideration if you don’t have a technical background. Some platforms will use very simple drag-and-drop interfaces which allow you to reorder elements of your blog, others will require a little more technical knowledge to make changes to the website’s appearance or functionality.
Most modern blogging platforms have very advanced features including SEO optimisation, shopping cart functionality, forums, and membership programs. However, each platform will have different rules for how you can access these features.
Open-source and self-hosted solutions like WordPress have thousands of free plugins which you can install and customise yourself. However, hosted platforms like Wix will charge a small fee to access certain types of features like shopping carts or payment gateways.
The 5 most popular blogging platforms include:
- Wix – Hosted platform with dozens of templates and third party plugins. Advanced drag-and-drop interface and easy set up. Only a small number of features are available in the free version, with advanced features requiring payment.
- WordPress.org – Self-hosted, completely customisable, advanced functionality, widely supported, search engine friendly, thousands of free plugins and themes. Requires technical knowledge to get the most out of it.
- WordPress.com – This is WordPress’s hosted service. It is simple to set up and use, but it has a limited set of features compared to the self-hosted version.
- Blogger – Hosted platform that is easy to use and completely free. The main downside is that you are limited in terms of features and design options.
- Tumblr– Another hosted platform that is easy to use and completely free. Once again, the main downside is that you are limited in terms of features and design options.
3. Designing your art blog
Artists should be good at designing art blogs right?
Well, not necessarily. Web design is a specialised field because it combines artistic design with usability and concepts like information architecture.
Visitors should be able to navigate around the website easily so they can find the information they need about your art. Make sure you have a contact page with all your contact info such as your email address, social media accounts and phone number.
If you intend to design your blog, check out this great article on usability from the Interaction Design Foundation.
If you don’t feel inclined to design your blog, you could use a third party blog theme. Most blogging platforms allow you to switch themes fairly easily and install custom themes created by skilled designers.
4. Choosing a web host
If you have decided to use a self-hosted blogging platform like WordPress, you will need to purchase server space from a web host. Fortunately, it is easy to buy hosting thanks to the many large scale providers like GoDaddy, InMotionWeb Hosting, HostGator, and Bluehost. Some quick tips for choosing the right host:
- Consider your specific needs – Check that the web host has the technical requirements needed to install the blogging platform you intend to use.
- Find a host that is fast and reliable – Website speed and reliability is more important than ever before. Not only will visitors expect your site to be fast and functional, search engines will use speed and reliability as a ranking factor that determines how high your website should be in search results.
- Find a host that matches your budget – When it comes to web hosting, you get what you pay for. The more expensive the web host, the better its reliability and speed. However, you don’t want to overspend if there is only a few seconds difference in terms of speed or a couple of megabytes difference in storage.
- Support – It is common to experience some technical issues when running a website. When you do, it’s handy to have a strong support team that you can contact immediately. The quality of support can vary greatly with some hosts only offering email support while others have phone and live chat support as well.
- Security and backups – Look for a hosting provider that has excellent security tools and free website backups.
5. Writing engaging posts
The quality of your content will determine how successful your blog is. Try to create engaging content that follows the EDIE formula, with each post being designed to Entertain, Delight, Inform, or Educate.
You can post about everything from paintbrush technique to your opinion on a particular style of art. However, you will find it much easier to write about topics that you already know about or that you find interesting.
6. Planning blog posts
Consistency is key when it comes to blogging. The most successful art bloggers will post high-quality content multiple times each week. The best approach for consistently adding new blog posts is to use an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar is used to control the process of posting — from the initial brainstorming of topics to writing the first draft and publishing the final copy. It makes managing a blog and consistently posting content much simpler. Check out this great article to learn more about structuring your editorial calendar.
7. Promoting your blog
A successful blog requires more than great content. It must also be promoted using a variety of marketing and optimisation techniques including:
- Social media marketing – Create profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other major social media platforms. Use these platforms to promote your art and share the blog posts that you create. They will help you build a strong following and give your blog posts an SEO boost.
- On-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Optimise your blog posts by using on-page SEO techniques like adding keywords you want to rank for, using headings/sub-headings, writing great URLs, linking to useful resources, and so on. View this great on-page SEO guide from Backlinko to learn more.
- Reach out to influencers – Connect with other influential artists and ask them if they would be willing to link to your blog.
- Contribute as a guest author – Write a post on another artist’s blog in return for a link to you blog.
- Submit to social bookmarking websites – Add your art blog to websites like Pocket, Digg, and Dribble.
- Post on art forums – Contribute in art forums and add your blog’s URL to your signature.
- Submit to blog directories – Blog directories are lists of popular blogs. They include sites like BoingBoing, Technorati, and Networked Blogs.
- Answer questions – Submit answers to art questions on sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora, and Amazon Askville.
- Post videos – Creating useful or entertaining videos for websites like YouTube can increase your readership and improve your blog’s SEO.
8. Ensuring readers return for more
You can also take steps to ensure that the visitors to your blog become repeat visitors. The best way to do so is to encourage them to follow you on social media and to subscribe to your art newsletter.
Your email newsletter can be a separate collection of short articles or a summary of the month’s best articles. This will keep visitors up-to-date in your content.