There is no one type of website, but it should be easy to type in (www.danielgrant.com, rather than www.artisteextraordinaire.com) and easily navigable, with a basic menu of: Who is the artist (there may be both a narrative bio and a C.V. that lists exhibitions), who has collected the artist's work and what has been written about the artist or his or her work (perhaps a link to an article or review), images of the artist's work (perhaps including close-ups to offer details) and how to contact the artist (or his or her representative).
As art brings out a lack of confidence in many people, who fear that they will be making a mistake if they buy something, the website should answer as many of the questions as a visitor to an art gallery might ask: What is the size of the work? What is the artist's background and who has collected his or her work in the past? How soon could it be delivered? May one pay with a credit card? Does the artist guarantee to take the work back if the textures or colors aren't exactly as seen or described? It is frequently the case that colors vary from screen to screen and, knowing that, artists should reassure potential buyers that they will honor their money-back guarantees.
Some basic points of etiquette
If someone emails you, respond in a timely manner, within 48 hours. (Or, if you plan to be away, set up an auto-response email: Sorry, I am away from my desk until Monday, January 12, and will respond at that time.)
If someone emails you a question, but you aren't sure exactly what they are asking, respond by requesting a clarification.
Indicate in the subject heading why you are writing: This is the information you requested or New Series of Paintings by Daniel Grant Now Available is better than "Hi" or "Me, Again." People are quick to delete emails without reading them if they have some sense they may be from people they don't know or want to know.
Read and reread what you write in an email before hitting Send. Close your communications respectfully -- Sincerely, Daniel Grant. Very truly yours, Daniel Grant.
There is no one type of blog, and there is no one type of artists' blog. Some are focused purely on the artist's own work, providing images, information on what is new or showing step by step the progress in creating a new work, while others sound off the ups and downs of their careers or review regional art exhibits or just sound off on the news of the day. Some writing is far more polished than others, but the blogosphere is a realm in which spelling, grammar and clean language is optional. It is a most democratic forum - everyone is equal (visitors to your blog or Web site judge you by the quality of your ideas or artwork and not by the name on the gallery door) and the words and art are available to anyone with a computer around the world -- but that makes it very difficult to conceptualize one's audience. You may picture prospective blog readers as your friends and colleagues, and it may be that these people do read your postings on a regular basis, but others might read it as well. The inside jokes, opinions and language of a particular clique might be found offensive by someone not in that group: A swipe at Republicans could turn off a potential red state collector. I'm writing here with a lot of "may's" and "might's" and "could's," because I don't know this for a fact. No one does. It is possible that a collector will read a blog posting that ordinarily would seem objectionable but let it pass, because he or she likes the artist's work and artists are strange cats anyway; it is just as possible that an offended collector will simply decide not to contact the artist, and the artist will never know that an opportunity has been missed because of something written in a blog.
Creating a blog is also a commitment -- if you start one and then take a long break from it, some people may be apt to think you died or are doing some other kind of work. There also needs to be some sort of consistency in your postings -- if you start out writing about art in general or your art or your art career and then post messages about your friend's love life or your cat (known as "blah-blah blogs"), you give readers less incentive to come back and you may not be seen as so serious.