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How to enhance the value of your catalogues on your site

Galleries presenting their catalogues, monographs or other publications on their site, generally show the cover, some brief summary information (that visitors can distill from the cover) and an invitation to 'contact the gallery' for more.

Few galleries openly display the price; even fewer make use of a third party to handle an online purchase. All in all it gives a rather fuzzy, timid, uncomfortable impression.


Art galleries aren't book publishers

Hence the confusing and timid approach on most catalogue pages. As if galleries feel they will lose some of their prestige if they start selling catalogues or artists' monographs.

Despite the massive production of cheap art editions, there is an increasing level of interest for high end editions such as catalogues and artists' monographs. More and more they play a role as a supplementary communication channel for galleries, beyond that of prestigious art objects in their own right.


Catalogues and monographs address separate, somewhat intertwined audiences

On the one hand art lovers in general, but especially collectors and fans of the artist's work. On the other hand book lovers, book collectors or even bibliophiles collecting but artists' catalogues, monographs, etc. And you have to serve them all on your catalogue pages.


Each audience has different expectations

Art lovers and art professionals focus on the quality of the content, expecting top contributions from critics, curators or fellow art professionals.

Book lovers look for publications designed and printed with extreme care. They are keen on additional information such as the name of the graphic designer or the illustrator, the publisher, the paper quality, the fonts used, the binding and type of cover, if the monographs come numbered and/or signed by the artist, the print run, etc. And of course the ISBN number.


Luckily your website offers a lot of features to meet these expectations

There are a lot of good practices you can introduce immediately. If you saw how much efforts publishers put in the promotion of their books, you would agree that it's better to leave it to their professional standards.

After all, due to the limited printing of most gallery publications, they will always be located in the top end of the market by price.

And it is really worth the effort too. Not only to enhance the experience for both the connoisseur and the art enthusiast or to optimize this extra communication channel towards art professionals, but also to add value to these somewhat 'secondary' pages.



Features to enhance your visitors' experience:

  • Take care of the name you give the cover tile images and subsequent images you publish.
    Also, it's paramount to complete the 'alt' tag of the images.
  • Make the cover tile clickable, opening a high-resolution picture of the cover in a new page where you have enough real estate to add all the information mentioned previously.
  • Don't forget to take care of the meta tags for this additional page too.
    Adapt the description tag and the keywords tag accordingly.

  • Invite people to have a glimpse at 'What's inside' with a dedicated message that pops up when they hover over the picture with their cursor.
  • Give visitors a preview to thumb through.
    It only demands a few extra pictures and quick programming to produce a basic version.
  • Include an excerpt of the text, especially for art professionals.
    It may be the introduction, a quote or a short description of the content.
  • Add the author's bibliography.
  • Link a monograph with the artist's page on your site and vice versa to reinforce the internal link structure of your site.

  • And most importantly: make the purchasing process as smooth as possible.
    Opt for a third party to handle the process. It's less hassle for your visitor and it adds to your professionalism.


    Add a separate link that explains what will happen when they click the 'buy' button. First time buyers are easily lost, especially if you set up your sales via a third party such as Paypal, 2Checkout, etc.


Features you can introduce later on:



More on this in a future article.





Next step: enjoy more articles. Optimize your gallery's site using these easy-to-implement
tactics to reach out to new audiences.



If you haven't done so already:



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Article written by Luuk Christiaens