12 Most Crucial Considerations for a Creator’s Web Presence
For creators — musicians, artists, writers, and many more of you with that inner spark of artistry — the disruptive dawn of the Internet age has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. Though traditional players in the creative industries have reacted to change by investing less in developing new talent and taking fewer risks on unproven works, the opportunities to spread your creations far and wide by your own hand have never been better.
At the heart of these opportunities lies your web presence. This affects how easily people can find you, how quickly they’re drawn into your creative world, and how long they’ll choose to stick around.
A well thought out, user-friendly presence across key online platforms will unlock so many possibilities that you’ll wonder why you hadn’t considered these 12 Most crucial factors before!
1. Own it
Your own website should not only exist (plenty don’t bother), it should be the centerpiece of your online network. Think of it as the hub from which all of the spokes of social networks, blogs, and other sites branch out. You have the most control and monitoring available to you through your own site, so be sure to afford it the importance it deserves.
2. Width & depth
There are thousands of platforms to choose from and the number is growing every day. Many will offer very similar services and functionality, so you need to decide where your efforts are best invested. How widely will you spread your web presence and how much time can you set aside for each?
Some elements of your web presence will be more important than others. Your website and blog should be at the top of your priority list, following which you should pick a few key secondary platforms. Define these and put more work into building an audience in those spaces.
4. Points of engagement
Even if you choose to maintain a presence on tens of platforms, you will only have sufficient time to truly get involved with your fans on a handful of them. Better to spend time understanding where your fans spend their time and allocate your efforts accordingly, than try to be everywhere at once and end up engaging nobody.
5. Make it interactive
It’s becoming more and more important to integrate ways to interact and communicate with you into your sites. Giving visitors a way to connect more deeply, through chat options, social network widgets, games, and more, increases the likelihood that they’ll become a fan.
6. Put your art front and center
The primary purpose for your web presence is to share your creative works, so it stands to reason that they should take center stage in your presentation. Make images easily navigable via high resolution galleries, music accessible and easy to play, and samples of your best written work highly visible from each visitor entry point.
7. Move towards mobile
Mobile web access is hotting up: smartphone ownership is predicted to reach 43% of the population by 2015 (eMarketer) and the nascent tablet market is growing rapidly. All of which means that your sites need to be mobile-friendly as well. At minimum, this means that your site can be accessed and navigated clearly on a variety of mobile devices. To take it further, innovate to reward fans with exclusive mobile content and special offers.
8. Link it up
No man is an island. Nor is a social network. Where it makes sense, have content flow fluidly from one place to another. Avoid duplicating your posts too often but focus on making the most of your content by automating sharing of things such as blog posts and news announcements through to your social networks.
9. Divide and conquer
Do you have other band members? Other artists in your gallery? Or perhaps a business manager? “Many hands make light work”, as Grandma used to say, so spread the responsibility & bring different voices to your web presence.
10. Have objectives
Investing all this time in building your online profile is only worthwhile if you know what you want to get out of it. Building an e-mail list? Selling your work? Driving leads for new projects to work on? Whatever your aim, it’s more likely to be achieved if you mould your web presence to that end.
11. Monitor it
When you know what you want your web presence to achieve, you need to know if you’re moving in the right direction. Selecting & monitoring the right metrics will help. Make use of free tools like Google Analytics, in addition to your own website provider measures, to sense check your traffic, engagement, and other key performance indicators.
12. Continuous improvement
“You can’t improve 100% in one thing. But you can improve 1% in 100 things.” ~ John Willard Marriott
As you build your web presence, always look to tweak existing sections and trial new ones. Watch for attractive features on other sites that you can ‘borrow’, as well as new platforms that will help to spread your work. Test out new ideas and measure their impact on your overall objectives.
The online reflection of your creativity is more important than ever before. By focusing on each of these concepts and delving deeper into the meat of each, you’ll be developing a superior web presence; one that gets you noticed and moves you forward more quickly.
What have you found to be the most crucial considerations in developing your web presence?
Featured image courtesy of Jakob Montrasio licensed via Creative Commons.