How to start an art blog that gets noticed

Make a statement online

If you’re an artist, the best time to learn how to start an art blog is now. The party is far from over and you haven’t missed a thing. Blogging takes time and effort but if you do it consistently, you’ll enjoy great success with it. Basically, the benefits of blogging are timeless.

To begin, think of your blog as an extension of your creativity.

 

By sharing your insights and ideas with your creative tribe and potential buyers, you’ll extend your sphere of influence. Most importantly, your blog can create steady traffic to your website. Your most engaged visitors will happily give you their emails so you can alert them whenever a new post goes live. Including links to relevant works in your posts will lead them to work for sale on your website. In this way, your blog will become a major asset to your business.

How to start an art blog

As you investigate the details about how to start an art blog, questions of what you need arise. Follow these steps to get yours off the ground.

  1. Choose a great name.

  2. Pick a blog platform you like.

  3. Write posts worth reading.

  4. Post on a regular schedule.

  5. Bring readers back.

Before we walk you through the process, let’s first explore the why of blogging.

Why learn how to start an art blog?

Know your why. What do you want to achieve from your blogging efforts? It’s got to be more than because people are telling you to start a blog. You might want to increase your exposure or improve your chances of having work accepted into juried exhibitions. You can find more inspiration for your “why” in the post, “Top 10 Reasons Why Artists Should Blog for Success.” Make sure your blog topics align with your “why.” Your readers will reward your consistency with more interest and time on your site.

Convinced? Follow these steps to start your own art blog.

1. Choose a great name

If you already own and use a domain name for your art website, you have the choice of using a subdomain such as blog.jaysmithfineart.com, or buying a domain just for your blog. There are pros and cons to both options. It’s a personal preference and branding decision. If you have an established brand and steady traffic to your website, go with a subdomain for your blog. This will build on the brand recognition you’ve already established.

How to Start an Art Blog Painter
Photo: Visual hunt
Your domain name serves as your web address and anchors your personal brand online.

Can’t find a domain name you love with the .com extension? Consider the new .art extension. It’s gaining popularity with many visual artists and art groups.

GoDaddy is a great place to search for an affordable domain name. Read their tips on finding a domain name you’ll love for years here.

2. Pick a blog platform you like

After a domain name, your next choice is what blogging app you’ll use to build and publish your blog. WordPress remains the best option due to its popularity, versatility and the enormous online community supporting it with plugins, themes and help.

You’ll need hosting to make your WordPress blog visible to readers the world over — get tips on choosing hosting here.

GoDaddy offers a maintenance-free version of WordPress for bloggers. Many artists aren’t technical, which makes this a good choice as it takes the bother out of account setup and core updates, daily backups, security patches and lots more. If you want to focus on learning how to start an art blog and not on the tech side, GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress is an excellent option.

Pro Tip: Whatever blog platform you choose, make sure your content can be exported to an .xml file. If not, find another option.

3. Write posts worth reading

Creating high-quality content is the cornerstone to success. As you learn how to start an art blog, remember “Content is king.” You can’t bore people into reading your blog posts or watching your video tutorials. Compelling content is the reason people will subscribe to your blog.

Equally important to the success of your blog, search engines like Google love words.

 

The more words you give Google, the more accurately it will categorize your content and serve it up to people interested in reading your posts (and hopefully buying your work).

How to Start an Art Blog Compose
Photo: Bench Accounting on Unsplash
Post once a week every week on the same day and at the same time.

The EDIE formula

One way to think about what to put on your blog is by using the EDIE formula as a guide. As you brainstorm ideas for blog posts, ask yourself if they meet any of these criteria:

  • Entertain
  • Delight
  • Inform
  • Educate

For best results, make sure two or more EDIE aspects figure into each post. Not all are needed, but more is better. A blog is about your readers — you want to leave them wanting more. To keep them engaged, revolve overarching themes using EDIE, picking three major themes and rotating them. For example:

Week one

One week you could talk about new work or something you are doing in the studio. Include photos and detailed descriptions of your process, being careful to write the way you speak.

Week two

The next week, converse about something topical — a movie you saw recently, a quote you love or perhaps a non-controversial current event. This is known as newsjacking.

Week three

For your third theme, make it about your life outside your art. For example, recipes, dining, lifestyle, self-improvement, yoga, travel, pets, activities, what’s on your playlist or reading list and so forth. This is how you draw fans in. They will love knowing other facets of your life.

For more topic ideas, check out this article.

A few tips on writing:

  • Keep your writing tight and professional. The free Hemingway App will help you learn how to write sparse, impactful copy.
  • Grammarly offers both free and paid versions of its online grammar checker.
How to Start an Art Blog Compose
Photo: Ludde Lorentz on Unsplash

Writing not your thing? Make live videos via Facebook Live or podcasts of you working, answering questions or interviewing other artists. Video is hot, so communicate that way if it suits your style.

4. Post on a regular schedule

How often you publish new content is crucial. To own a position as a favored artist with your subscribers, you must engage them frequently. Weekly is ideal, but I recommend no less than bi-weekly for your schedule. You and your readers will benefit when you set a day of the week and time when you will post.

Posting once a month isn’t enough — out of sight is out of mind.

 

One key lesson in how to start an art blog, is deciding when to schedule your posts. Ideally, you’ll want to release them on the day and at the time when your readers are most likely to stop what they’re doing and read or watch them.

If you have a Facebook business page, you can use the Insights link within it to learn when your followers most often consume your information. Google Analytics can also help you determine when to post new articles.

Once you know these data, set your schedule and stick to it. Being consistent proves your professionalism, honors your readers and creates a habit that will give you resolve to stay the course. It will also teach readers to expect and look forward to your posts.

5. Bring readers back

There’s no point in publishing a blog without gathering readers’ contact info. To sell your work, you need eyeballs on your content, and for your visitors to return once they’ve seen and liked what you offer.  Because email list-building is a huge benefit of blogging, you should give new readers multiple opportunities to opt-in to receiving emails from you.

How to Start an Art Blog Shoes
Photo: Joe Beck on Unsplash 
Add a signup form to your blog with one of these WordPress plugins.

We’ve all seen those pop-ups that appear the moment you open a web page. Statistics show these are very effective.You may need to move outside of your personal preferences when it comes to building your business and your brand. If this makes you uncomfortable, read about using ethical bribes to entice visitors to trade their emails for something of value to them. Remember, only those who love your posts will respond.

Consider using a pop-up opt-in form even if you think they’re annoying.

I’ve learned useful tips from Noah Kagan and Neil Patel on how to build an email list. They are both worth following because they give practical advice, based on how they built massive subscriber lists.

Look — list-building in action! Check out our guide to selling art online.

It’s all about connecting

As you already know, visual artists are unique. Yet some of the tactics used successfully by many others will also work for you. And you won’t need a massive blog with daily posts and a huge email list to succeed. In fact, you can use a small, engaged list to sell the bulk of your original works. You’ll see — learning how to start an art blog will pay dividends throughout your career.

Image by: Matthieu Comoy on Unsplash

Barney Davey
Barney Davey is an author, blogger and online course creator. Visual artists and fine art photographers use his advice and resources to find new buyers, sell more art and operate profitably. Davey began advising artists in 1988 while working for Decor magazine and the Decor Expo trade shows. Since 2005 Davey has published more than 600 art business posts on ArtMarketingNews.com. He is the author of six bestselling books on art marketing. Find him on Facebook.