When we released initial results from our Art and the Internet Survey several weeks ago, a number of you asked us to look at how spending on site design related to online sales. This seems like a logical question – spending for development of an artist’s website can vary wildly – it would be nice to know if spending more to develop a site would lead to better results. Today we’ll briefly look at this question.
Again, it’s important to state that the results shared here are not scientific. We had over 700 respondents to the survey, but the participants were volunteers, not a randomized group. When we filter the results down to look at specific questions, as we are doing in this post, the survey sample is even smaller. These results should be considered anecdotal.
We’ll look at several factors as we consider investment for developing artists’ sites, but obviously the most interesting correlation is between spending and sales, so let’s get right to it. When we look at artists who spent more than $1,000 developing their site we find that their average annual sales are $11,913. Artists who spent less than $250 averaged $1,756 in annual online sales. This is a pretty stark difference and would seem to draw a pretty clear correlation between investment and sales. It would be prudent, however, to pause for a moment and consider if there could be other factors at play.
First, we have a chicken and egg problem. Did the artists who invested more than $1,000 in setting up their site generate more sales because they made the investment, or were they able to make the $1,000+ investment because they had already obtained a higher level of sales (both online and off)? In other words, it seems likely that a successful artist would be willing, and have the means, to invest more in setting up a website. A successful artist would already have name recognition and a collector base, which would lead to more sales, both online and off.
Unfortunately it’s impossible, using our data, to make this kind of distinction. Before you go out and write a big check to update your site, it’s important to note that a full 1/3 of those who report spending $1,000 or more on their site design indicated that they sold nothing ($0) from their website in the last year! In other words, spending alone is no guarantee.
If you look at our report last week on artists who are selling more than $20,000 worth of work annually, you will see that only 35% of these artists reported spending more than $1,000 on their sites.
It’s also interesting to note that artists who reported spending 4 or more hours per week working on their site had an average of $4,900 in annual online sales while those who reported that they rarely work on their site had an average of about $2,200. Certainly not as pronounced a difference, but this indicates that keeping your site up to date can have a big impact on your sales, and this might be a better place to start.
For those who made larger investments on their sites, let’s look at how they responded to some of the other questions in the survey.
What has your experience with your site been? Have you made a big investment in your site and seen a difference in sales? Leave your comments below.