Many small and medium-sized businesses fall in to the trap of making their websites way too bloated, difficult to change, and expensive to manage.
Personally, I’ve been using WordPress as a website solution for quite some time. Why? Because it is powerful, flexible, and cost-effective. So when Charleston artist, Kat Hastie, mentioned she needed a website refresh, I naturally suggested it.
Her original website had been designed and managed by a local Charleston marketing agency. While it did the job, she had to pay for any changes such as adding new images (paintings), moving navigation items, and/or editing text. Furthermore, she had no means of posting News items to inform site visitors of upcoming exhibitions or new works of art.
Now all of these before mentioned headaches can be accomplished quickly and easily on the back-end with the WordPress Content Management System. In addition, she can take advantage of new plugins for ecommerce, social channels, media galleries, search engine optimization, and so on. The entire website is completely scalable if the artist so chooses. Even then the process will be kept simple and streamlined because, well, that is how she wants it.
The design itself is simple but effective.
Use of the artist’s signature as the background speaks to her unique character and identity. It is simple but effective because it is hers and only hers. This is her website – welcome!
In regards to color, many artists and museums have gone to white as a means of making the space feel light and lit. It works in certain situations, but there is no denying that black makes colors POP. It also focuses your eyes on the work. Considering that many of Kat Hastie’s paintings are quite large and could cover an entire wall, they aren’t really meant to be forced down to the view of a computer screen. The black helps give dimension and texture that is otherwise lost in the digital realm.
The homepage uses imagery to connect the artist with the work and offers few entry points. Of course, the images can easily be swapped out and the pathways, or links, changed. In further keeping with the simplicity, there is only one Feed from the News section pulled on to the homepage, which constitutes the latest post to that Page. Call it a blog post if you want, but either way it acts as a separate and indexable web page with the ability to add links and accept comments. There could be more News items there if needed, but again, for now that is the way the artist wants it.
The media gallery is slick and offers a few different ways of viewing the artist’s work. Scroll through the thumbnails at the top and hover and click on any one you want. You can then click to view the image at full size. Mouse over the slideshow at any point to pause one of the paintings for further study. On the back-end, the images are uploaded, saved, and served at a consistent size. They can be added to any one of the sub navigation sections as well as the main Work gallery. The titles and descriptions are fully editable along with the images because they each act as a Page. Changing the order of the images is as simple as dragging and dropping them in to place.
And I know this is so fundamental and such a simple function of the Gallery, but so often Flash sites get this terribly wrong. Each one of the paintings has its own unique url so it can always be referenced, emailed, and shared. So simple, but so often overlooked!
Finally, the artist’s website is equipped with Google Analytics for tracking visitation and measuring offline and online activities. This will help her determine what events or exhibitions are most successful, paintings people find most interesting, what cities visitors are coming from, and even what other websites are referencing her.
At the end of the day, the artist got a website that works for her, and she didn’t have to spend a ton of money building it. Did I mention she is also saving a bundle on hosting? Sounds complex, but it is really quite simple. ;~)