The Internet provides a powerful new way for galleries to engage potential buyers. And most galleries nowadays do have beautiful graphics and images on their web sites. However, some sites are not yet taking full advantage of the interactive capabilities to enhance the client's experience.
A web site enables a gallery to be showing and promoting their entire inventory 24 hours a day around the world in beautiful full color. The web site (like a full time digital assistant) should help the visitor enjoy themselves nearly as well as a walk-in visitor to the gallery itself. The web site is not just a place to publish static text announcements and pictures. It is a dynamic medium that can and should be able to help visitors easily cross reference the artists' profiles, statements, and artwork along with the variety of events and other content that is unique to each gallery.
Here are a couple of easy recommendations from my personal experience.
Internal Links On a number of different gallery web sites, I've noticed the same problem. For upcoming gallery shows, the web site announces the show and lists the exhibiting artists' names, but does not enable internal links to the participating artists' pages and images within the gallery's own web site. Each artist's name on the web site could have been a hyperlink taking the visitor directly to images of the artist's work already at the gallery. The lack of internal links forces the visitor to stop, look around, and attempt to figure out how to navigate around the web site for additional information. If visitors get frustrated, they leave. Consequently, both the gallery and the artist may have lost potential buyers. Internal links also enhance SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is very beneficial to any web site.
Hyperlink Anchors A long page of content on a single web page is a common occurrence on many web sites. If a visitor must scroll down an extensive page to find multiple artists or exhibitions further down a web page, then I recommend that some hyperlink anchors should be inserted at important subsections . . . and a small navigation list of these subsections (similar to a table of contents) should be shown at the top of the page. This helps a visitor who is unfamiliar with the website to see what is further down and "jump" directly to an item of content. The purpose is to empower visitors to follow their interests as easily as possible.
These are two very useful and easy features to implement that can make a gallery web site more enjoyable for visitors - and more profitable for both the gallery and the artist. Artists can be advocates by providing amazing images and giving constructive feedback to galleries regarding ease of navigating around the gallery web site.
Galleries continue to offer real benefits for clients by selecting and displaying work of merit from represented artists and makers. Additional guidance, appraisals, and insights can be achieved through direct contact. The overall value still revolves around the client relationship, even if a part of that relationship is now an online reality.