Monday, October 25, 2010

How to be a successful art writer online -- or -- how to put your best foot forward as an art blogger: Step 1 - Blog Presentation / Direction

Art blog tips and advice:

If you want to be a successful art writer online-- be it writing for a website or you own blog-- there are key steps that you can take toward that goal. Most are fairly straight forward-- unfortunately, many art writers-- specifically those working on solo endeavors-- fail to explore basic strategies that would help them to gain credibility and increase traffic to their content. Thus, I want to detail a few steps that I think are very helpful for art writers online-- especially for those starting their own art blog.

The first key step is to decide what kind of art blog you want to have. Is an art blog to you a way to gain exposure for your art? Or is it a way to give insight to your thoughts on art market trends and art news? True, you can mesh both directions with an art blog-- however, it helps to have a solid direction. Especially if you want to lure repeat visitors. My advice is geared more toward writers who want to add their voice to art criticism and dialogue of art as a whole online.

Step 1: Blog Presentation / Direction

It does not really matter if you have a personalized art blog or use a free service such as Blogger or Wordpress. Content is always King. If you have great content people will come regardless. However, when they do visit you don’t want to turn them off with a confusing mess of ads, links, and interests. Be careful not to distract blog visitors from the great content that you offer. In other words, avoid blog bling-- banner after banner, random links, or your mother‘s best recipe for fried chicken splashed on the side-- and try to stay focused on art in general. Don’t allow the presentation of your art blog to dictate how serious blog visitors take your writing.

Focus is key. If you want to be an art writer who is quoted and respected within the global art community you want to have a clear direction. As a blog reader it can be very annoying to have to dig through content that is a mesh of solid art advice and personal ranting. For example, there is one art blog that I know not to visit during the countdown to elections-- because I know the art writer, as great as he is, will start to direct entry after entry with a political focus.

I visit that specific art blog for art news and opinions about art-- not to read about who I should vote for and why. The abrupt disturbance in flow of art content can be a real turn off. Therefore I advise art writers to stay on task. If you want to explore other issues it would be wise to start a blog for those specific issues instead of placing the burden on your art blog-- and thus your readership. Keep in mind that for most people art-- even reading about art-- is a form of escape. Don't needle your readership with matters that they have most likely been bombarded with in the morning paper. Stay focused.

In addition to staying focused an art writer should display his or her dedication to being focused by means of what is posted. It is all to common to find art blogs that involve post after post of images and title/ artist name alone. True, some visitor may enjoy that simplicity when discovering the artwork of the artist you are spotlighting with your art blog-- in fact, a few art blogs have been very successful doing just that. However, content is key-- if you are going to include posts of that nature please, please, please write about the artist or the image you are directing your readership to. Chances are if you add more details you will also experience Google love.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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