Your blog’s got it made where pretty pictures are concerned (you’re an artist, after all!) but is its engagement enough for visitors to return again and again? We all enjoy looking at beautiful things, but what do we love even more? Being seen and acknowledged. Engaging with others is the key to having them want to return to your blog.
What Is It You’d Like Your Blog to Do?
Here’s a question to ponder seriously: What is the purpose of your art business blog?
Once a visitor has landed on your blog’s homepage, what is it you hope that they will do? To see art you’ve made recently, smile inside at the inspiration and move on? Or, do you want people to come back to look at new art, try to figure out how they might purchase art from you or to know about other services you offer such as teaching workshops?
Attention spans can now be measured in seconds.
Interactivity and opportunities for visitors to engage with you makes your blog an experience, not just something to passively look at.
At a primal level, being given an opportunity to connect with you and to let you know they were at your blog, introduces a personal benefit to the visitor and it’s that benefit that will encourage them to come back and see you again.
So How Do You Create Opportunities for Engagement?
Social Media Widgets
On your blog’s homepage, be sure to include social media widgets. This is a big one. Even if what’s featured at the top of your blog on any particular day someone visits isn’t their cup of tea, they may still be curious about what you share on social media. Directing them to accounts set up to promote your art business (such as your Facebook artist’s page) can be just a click away.
Equally powerful is offering an opportunity for them to easily show you they ‘like” or love something you posted by including sharing functions such as sharethis and letting them spread the love around social media platforms.
A visitor may simply want to ask you a question about art you posted or they may want to share with you something it invoked in them. Let them do that in a comment and be sure to always respond. Worried that encouraging comments might result in spending too much time responding? A strong following is two-sided; a relationship results from both sides being acknowledged.
If a visitor spends more than one minute on your blog there’s a very good chance he or she would love to be reminded of your and your art’s existence (don’t take it personally, we can all relate to out-of-site, out-of-mind), especially when you’re ready to feature something new or a promotion that could benefit him or her. An opt-in prompt is an invitation for a visitor to let you add them to your e-mail list, and several widgets or services can help you set this up.
If you don’t yet have an email list, consider starting one. Services such as MailChimp make it relatively painless and come with helpful analytics to support you in learning more about what your fans want more of from you. Even if you don’t love the idea of sending out a regular newsletter, a list can be handy to alert people who have agreed they’d like to hear from you, that you have new work available or are enrolling students in an upcoming workshop.
Create Content for Your People
Posting about things you’re passionate about keeps you authentic. But take it a step further and ask yourself if what you’re posting can have some benefit to visitors and be as interesting to them as it is to you. Create content both you and your audience care about and include internal linking to related posts you think they’d enjoy. Ask them questions to encourage them to comment and thereby increase engagement!
This may sound odd, but the more ways you can find for your site and offerings to be about the visitor rather than just about you, the more that visitor will enjoy his or her time on your site and the greater the possibility her or she will return (and perhaps purchase from you) and tell others about you, your blog and your art.