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Things to Consider Before Showing Your Artwork Online



Protecting your artwork

Before I started espdigiart.com I found out some things that every artist should know about before they start their own website, or post their artwork on somebody elses. One of the key things I wondered about was how to protect my artwork (I used a couple of fairly simple methods), and honestly when an artist puts their artwork online a certain amount of it getting ripped off is just an ocupational hazard (it's illegal and wrong and just because people might get ideas doesn't mean I should make it easy for them, anyone who looks at my artwork knows they best anyone will get is a low resoultion obstructed version of the original, assuming they get passed my first safe guard), for obvious reasons I'm not going to explain how I protect my artwork but point out that if you want to display your artwork somewhere you should be protecting yours.

I've also read some articles that suggest that people will use space on another persons website and the end result is that when they are ready to quit using that web space they have basicly handed their efforts to another person to use freely with no compensation. I don't know what that means for the copyrights on the pictures but I do know that regaurdless that amounts to being ripped off. Which brings us to the next important consideration.

Copyrights

When deciding how and where to display your artwork online read the fine print when it comes to copyrights, it's not unusual for part of a contract to require you to license your artwork and content to them to some extent, and allow the to put them to some kind of use and create derivitive works. Other company's may require you to give up ownership of your copyrights to them. Make sure that it's written in the fine print who owns and to what extent you have to license the copyrights. This consideration isn't just for displaying your artwork online, in general giving away your copyrights or selling them is bad business.

Design of the Site itself

This consideration is mostly for people who want to start there own website. Any new website needs to be built, and them regularly maintained. While you can hire someone to do this there are a number of programs out there that allow the non-techy person to build and maintain their own website. While I know of their existance I can't in good consious recommend any of them since I am a techy person and I've only ever done used a word processing program, and basic knoweldge of how to code a website with things like html, and css.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is another consideration that is mostly for people who want to start their own website. SEO is one way you can increase your website traffic, it's how you get your website noticed by search engines and long term get a good ranking. Some sites I've read say that being first in search engine results will get you hunderds or thousands of hits that you'd otherwise never see, I don't know if being the first result makes that kind of difference but I'd be surprised if being on the first page didn't. Little things like knowing that search engines love links a certain kind of link and how to create them, search engines like new and fresh content on a regular basis and more importantly they prefer that content in written words (originally espdigiart.com wasn't going to have articles only pictures, of course if you are reading this you know that because search engines love words so much I changed my plan), and how to write a good discription for to show up on a search engine (even how to code that discription correctly).

If you want your website to get noticed and you are on a low to non-existant budget SEO can be time consuming but it is the way to go. With everything else you do to get your website noticed if you do your homework you'll find there is a serious down side.

Be Prepared for Rejection

This is actaully true of any artist who's work is public in anyway and anyone who is displaying anything online, but be prepared for rejection. Some people might love your artwork, some people are going to hate it, and some people just won't have much of an opinion. Putting your artwork on the internet means that the whole world is going to be able to see it and not since no two people are alike at least one person in the world will hate it (in all likely hood probably more than that). The first time I someone I'd never met in person openly said they didn't like my artwork I wasn't sure the day before how that happened how I would take it, I assumed I'd walk through it without to much difficulty and as it turned out that's what I did. I wasn't sure because I haven't always taken rejection well, but I think part of the reason I had no trouble this time is because I went in with my eyes open and knew I couldn't expect every person in the world to love my artwork, and work by the philosiphie that a bad response is better than no response.

Monitization

If you are going to put your time and energy into displaying your artwork online you might as well use it as an overture for income. Like it or not the arts are a business, and if you display your artwork online that means time energy and risk. There is a really good question that is worth asking before you create your website. Do you want to make some money from your website? I have a hard time beleiving you really want to turn down the prospect of having a little bit of money from displaying your artwork. If you want to monitize your website it's probably best to be starting your own rather than building on someone else's website.

Like I've said before read the fine print on any contract if you want to monitize your site there are places that won't allow for selling of ad space, and it wouldn't surprise me if some company's won't allow selling of products on their website either. Make sure that if you want to monitize your website you know what you want type of thing you want to sell (ad space, products, both), even if you don't see yourself selling products in a shop within the first couple of years you should never enter into an agreement that precludes it if you plan to open an online shop later, you may find that when you think you'll be opening that shop and when you actaully have the chance to open it are two very different things some new information could change everything (when I started espdigiart.com I actually thought it would be several years before I could open my online shop and that there would be a lot less in it when that day came, that changed when I found some new information).

Read the Fine Print

I can't stress this enough, I've litterailly never signed something without reading it or having it read to me word for word and I'm someone who tends to get drained more quickly than most by reading. When you set up to display your artwork online you need to read the fine print, one wrong word in that contract and you could go from having a website that was worth every bit of time, money, and effort you put into it to losing your copyrights or finding that your plans for monitization of your website are no longer possible. And if you have any doubts that about what you the terms of service or the privacy policy then by all means ask someone who might know to help you make sure you've read it correctly, honestly.
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