Ah, the age-old question…do artists need personal websites anymore? Or does Instagram suffice?
Ok, this is not an age old question. It is probably a one-year-old baby question that will be sorely outgrown by next year. Alas, in my circles it is quite a popular question.
If you choose Instagram only:
So you’re going to save your money and time and just do instagram, great! If so, you should be able to curate a beautiful feed that all has the same ‘look’, and accurately conveys the motives and intent behind your practice. Some artists are great at it! Look at Danielle Krysa:
Good instagram feeds should not only look great, but they need to tell people how and where to buy your work. Your profile description will have to include details on how to get in contact with you. Your motives and ideas behind your work will have to be told in pieces throughout the feed, which creates the need for your viewer to piece the story together themselves.
Is a good instagram feed essential?
Is a good instagram feed essential even when you have a website?
So, do you need a website?
Life in the gallery world is busy. Most gallerists (including myself) scroll instagram as much as possible to see great art. Once you see it, you head to the profile and give it a once-over. If you get to that point of having a potential gallery looking at your profile, you want to make sure they are getting what they need. In most cases, they don’t have a lot of time. So when I was in the position, I liked to scoot over to the artist’s website, check out their bio statement, physical location, and CV (if time!). Then, if you like what you see, use the handy contact info that is on the website. I liked to get right to the point by contacting through a web form, email address or phone call. I never DM’d artists of interest as that would mean contacting through my personal Instagram account which would be inappropriate.
You may attract followers by presenting a beautiful instagram feed. But what about BUYERS? (Isn't that what we are here for?) Your potential buyers should look at your feed, like it, and be able to easily connect with you for more info. Now…buyers are often secretive during this ‘interest phase’ of a sale. In my experience, after a buyer likes something, they will scour the web doing ‘research’, so ideally you’ll have a personal website at the top of google that will effectively convey more information about your artwork, and show the client more examples of your work. This research will help the client make a decision whether to buy. If you are selling through a gallery, it is appropriate to link your sales galleries from your personal website, so that they become part of the sale process (teamwork makes the dream work!). Aside: For more information on client and gallery relationships, head to this post.
So, that’s my pitch on why artists still need websites: to attract gallery representation and to convert instagram followers into buyers. I think those are pretty important things!
Related: Here are some instagram tips
Even more related: I can make a website for you (really fast and inexpensively! And you’ll be able to update it yourself!)