Sunday, 29 August 2010

Top 10 sites to promote your art online: part 2

Part 1 can be found here if you missed it first time round,
as I said before if any of your favourite sites are missing feel free to comment, I'm always looking for new art inspiration : )

Ok, so even though I myself don't really use/update my flickr that much anymore, because it's more of a photographer's dream than an illustrator's, it's still definitely worth mentioning here; and don't be put off by the fact the site seems photo-dominated, because that means your art will stand out more. In theory.

Flickr allows you a certain amount of space (monthly limit) depending whether you have a free or premium account, but unless you are incredibly prolific or upload in bulk the free space should be plentiful for general use.
This site makes the most of group 'pools' that you can submit pieces to, or better yet sometimes the groups with comment on your art asking you to participate. Obviously some of these groups aren't as popular as others, but contributing your art to the bigger, more well-known pools is a great source of exposure.
Flickr also allows you to make slide shows of your photostream that you can embed into other sites as a mini showcase that links back to your account. It's a very nifty feature that more sites should offer.
But perhaps the site's biggest draw to me is the fact they work with Snapfish, one of the cheapest ways to get your photos/art printed and their books make excellent, professional-looking portfolios.

Toonpool
This isn't such an obvious choice, but I couldn't dismiss it solely due to its viewing traffic.
I found this site a while ago and wasn't sure what to make of it at first, having steered away from traditional 'cartoons' in a past couple of years joining and uploading was more of a curious experiment than anything; but within that first few weeks I received more friends requests and feedback than many other sites.
It's also the meaning of worldwide, with an option to provide translations for each piece you upload and people from many different countries submitting/commenting on all the art; it's truly a great community to be a part of.

There are so many different sites out there to sell your art: Etsy, Cafepress, Zazzle, Imagekind is technically just another addition to the long list, but it has some features that might make it stand out from the others and prove to be your chosen selling place.
This site has pretty much everything, and I wouldn't be surprised if you've already been recommended it because it is an all-round great selling platform; it's well laid-out, with everything being easy to find whether you want to buy or sell, it gives you your own imagekind page and whether you need it or not it's nice to have an option to link to your items for sale through another site.
Another added extra is that every time you upload something it automatically comes up with an option to notify people on facebook, which could be a great help if you have your own page for your art or have a loyal following on your personal page. Finally they include a selling option which has become very popular recently which is to turn your art into greeting cards, cutting out the middle man when christmas rolls around.

I joined this site because I'd heard my tutors talking about it and it has recently been getting more and more attention for becoming a Really Good Place To Promote Yourself, although I'm sure that does depend on how many people you can get to click on the 'promote this' button. The front page gives you a quick idea of the art being promoted and you can switch between popular/new to give you a better idea of the typical standard of the work and to show that the selections change daily; giving more artists the opportunity to get featured.
Another nice thing about Society6 is that they really do all the hard work for you when selling your products, including the dreaded packaging/shipping of the art because we all know how expensive nice frames and postage can be when doing it out of your own budget.
Blatantly though, their top feature has to be, in their own words "Every time you Post your artwork for sale as a Society6 product, it is automatically eligible to be sold through the online stores of our Retail Partners" Threadless & Urban Outfitters. That's right, with no extra effort your products will get further promotion from these two hugely popular clothing companies. Not bad at all.
Even if you don't need to join another portfolio site it is well worth just taking a look around Carbonmade's humble abode.
it is a joy to visit, the graphics are clean, fun and colourful, with a moustache being your way to sign in(!) there is nothing I find dull, uninviting or elitist about this site; and that's why it's one of my favourites.
The individual portfolios themselves are simple and effective, the 'examples' page lets you see what can be done to customize them; but bear in mind the sole purpose of the site is to give all artists the chance to create an online portfolio even if they are html-illiterate, so if you're more a whizz with code then maybe look elsewhere. The site also has 3 useful counters along the side giving you a real idea how many people/portfolios, projects and images have been uploaded to the site. The site even has an active twitter feed in which they thank new members for joining and answer any questions; my only request would be to make a forum/community page because I can see myself connecting with a lot of nice people through this site. Here's hoping, they've got a lot of new things to come yet!

Bonus: BigCartel
I know I said I was going to stick to 10 but Bigcartel is amazing, although they are partly geared towards selling products for bands, record labels and clothing companies, there is also the 'speciality' section, which allows you, the artist, to start up your own online shop and sell sell sell.
Why is this different to previously mentioned e-commerce sites? Well we all know that a web store can be kitted out, looking great with awesome merch but still not sell anything; that's because it's all about traffic and without people to see your stuff it's pretty hard for them to buy it. That's why Bigcartel comes in handy, because it works. Whether you link to it via your social networking sites, or let people stumble upon it, the chances are a lot higher you'll get a sale. One of the reasons for this is it's a big 'indie' shop, so if your target audience like handmade things, zines, t-shirts, generally "different" type things you're in luck. And even if you're not, you can try and convince people otherwise. Their browsing system is fantastic because it puts as many different shops on one page as possible, making it easier to browse and discover art quickly; the best way to optimize this feature is to become visible on one of the first 'most popular' pages, because then you're literally a few seconds away to anyone browsing and won't be bumped off the listings very easily.
If that's not enough, they also have a 'Today's Top Stores' and 'Recently Updated Stores' selection on the front page, from what I can see the site works very hard at getting people noticed.


Hope you enjoyed that mini crash course list, feedback is appreciated & I hope you enjoy whichever site(s) you visit

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