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Attention artists and writers! Here’s a simple rule to follow for your website.

Building a website for artists to sell work is not easy. In my experience, writers and illustrators are hesitant to sell. And that’s fine. As long as they do it anyway.

The biggest obstacle to doing the right thing by your online presence is over-thinking things.

After years of working for companies like ESPN, Aol and Sony, I can tell you one ingredient that sells better every single time: focus.

When you visit a site that is trying to sell you something you’re making a lot of judgments in a split second.

  1. Is it nice looking?
  2. What is being sold and does the product look good?
  3. What else is here for me? News? Advice? Videos? Contests? Podcasts?

By answering these questions clearly, your site will do the most important thing it can do for you …

…show the reader your work AND what your priorities are…

With focus in mind, here’s what every artist’s website must do:

* Highlight the product

* Have one (or two, MAX) strong calls to action (sign-up for newsletter, buy, download)

* Include blogging, video, illustrations, SOMETHING to keep folks coming back twice a month.

I call these fundamentals, PaB, which is a really irritating non-word that I hope sticks in your craw. PaB stands for Product/action/Blog.

Why PaB? Because it sells yourself and your work through focus. The kind of focus that lets the potential customer know what you’re all about.

A good example is Amanda Palmer’s website. Palmer is selling herself first and foremost, which can be seen in the Mission Statement button that stands out like the rising sun. But the first image that you see at the top of the page is always the latest product she’s selling.

Amanda Palmer

And she keeps people coming back often with galleries of fresh content that appeals to her target audience.

How can you take this simple concept of PaB and apply it to your site? And why is the “a” lowercase? We’ll explore the answers in our next post.

Ben Zackheim

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