When my friend, artist Sue Bennett, called me to say that a friend of hers needed a website and asked a few questions, I never would have dreamed that her friend was Kim Novak. Yes, THE Kim Novak. But indeed that’s that lady on whose behalf she was inquiring. Later, she called and confessed that she’d been asking for Kim, then offered to take me to Kim’s home studio to discuss the prospect of a new website for her. Kim’s dogs welcomed me with over-the-top enthusiasm, which settled my nerves and probably hers, too. We had a delightful meeting…what an honor to meet such an esteemed actor/artist…how lovely to see a pasture full of horses…what an eyeful of fabulous artwork I had the pleasure of seeing, from stained glass to pastel over watercolors…AND I got the job! Wow. Just remembering this makes me smile again at this lovely twist in my journey as a web designer, artist, horse lover and human being. Kim is so beautiful, inside and out. She is also very “real,” so enough of the fan-blab.
My first task was to secure the domain www.kimnovakartist.com and sign her up for hosting at Ipower.com. We later purchased officialkimnovak.com as well, and this address also leads visitors to Kim’s art website. Unfortunately kimnovak.com is being held for ransom by a domain collector in South Korea who has not responded to our attempts to contact them.
Kim’s project is built with a heavily modified version of the WordPress 2014 theme. We were starting from scratch with the images of her art, and began with about 20 paintings. These appear in the form of blog posts that show the most recently added pieces on her home page. Kim also wanted to add an artist statement and/or poem to each of the paintings. She wanted her poetry to be seen in a special font that was distinct from the site-wide font, so we made images with the poems’ text in Harrington font. Her intro/welcome to the site, essentially a sticky post, is made with Noteworthy, an attractive and very legible handwritten font. Click the image on the right to view her home page, with quite a few paintings removed. Of course you can also visit kimnovakartist.com to see them all!
(Clicking any of the images of Kim’s website I’ve posted here will pop up a larger version, but if you need to review them closely, you can also right-click to download the full size image.)
We needed to do some fancy work with categories to exclude all but painting posts from the home page. Kim’s Articles page is a category for posts about important articles regarding her artwork which she did not want to interfere with the continuous flow of paintings on her home page and its subpages.
E-Commerce and Image Enlargement Features
Kim’s Limited Edition Prints page is an ecommerce page using simple PayPal buttons. Thumbs of each giclée print are linked to larger versions so people can get one more look at each piece as they make their final decision on what to purchase. She also wanted a gallery page where people could enjoy viewing her paintings all on one page without any prompts to buy her prints. It uses the same FancyBox lightbox plugin to display the large versions of each image.
Though the primary objective of Novak’s website is to promote her art, we did want to accommodate the many fans of her acting. Originally we thought we might create a separate fan site, but so much work went into it and promoting her art was her priority, so we incorporated some material for fans into her art website and planned a social media setup to help hers fans connect with her. For Kim Novak admirer, Kim’s About page is a treasure. This brief autobiography with a history of her acting career, the reasons why she left Hollywood, and her philosophy of life today is more enlightening than most of the interviews that can be found online.
Since many people know I also do a lot of writing for my clients and their websites, I should make it perfectly clear that Kim wrote all the text on her website. The minor exceptions of page introductions, etc., were all approved by her before publication. Kim is no control freak, but she has an admirable amount of wisdom in this regard, born of many difficult experiences in her past as a celebrity with a very public profile. It is wonderful working with a woman who is such a professional when it comes to marketing herself and her work, and protecting her public image while maintaining her personal privacy. She is meticulous about every detail of each new post; I take it as a huge compliment that she respects my own writing and opinions, so we work closely together when adding new content to her website and social media sites.
We finished the website and followed it up with a complete rewrite on Kim Novak’s Wikipedia page just before she presented at the Oscars in March 2014. This, despite the ugliness that occurred afterward, was a terrific promotional strategy for her website and her art, as a huge number of people went to her Wikipedia page (which was then coming up at the top of Google search results for “Kim Novak”) and found the newly added link to her website. The links I had added to Wikipedia and IMDB led to about 1000 visits that weekend.
Working with pages on Wikipedia is very different than working with website pages. The code is completely different and there are volunteer moderators who scrutinize every change. It can be more time-consuming than you’d think, but if a page exists on Wikipedia concerning you or your business, it’s worth it to make sure the content is acceptable to you. If this is you, please keep in mind that Wikipedia guidelines dictate that any content that’s added to one of their pages be documented on an external, non-biased website. We are not allowed to write anything from a first-person point of view, so content must be written in a third-person, unbiased manner. By non-biased, I mean that you can’t include marketing or promotional copy. It must be more encyclopedic, and is subject to approval by moderators who inspect the pages for quality of content and adherence to Wikipedia guidelines.
Shortly afterward, we started a new Facebook page where Kim could share her paintings, event announcements, personal thoughts and photos of her life after Hollywood. The timing proved to be perfect, as this provided a platform for Kim to post a statement about bullying. Inspired by the dreadful experience of so much negative media attention following the 2014 Academy Awards (especially Donald Trump’s unfortunate comments on the matter), Kim Novak’s April 17, 2014 post resulted in nearly 26,000 visits by 12,000 unique visitors to the website, over 39,000 page views and 5 sales, as well as over 600 comments (including many by people they are interested in prints) left at her website, on April 18 alone! It quickly reached over 50,000 people, got over 1500 likes, nearly 600 comments filled with love, appreciation and encouragement, and almost 200 shares! Today the post continues to get attention and new comments, and as of March 2016 Kim’s Facebook page has over 13,000 fans.
KIM NOVAK SPEAKS OUT ABOUT OSCAR BULLYINGIt’s time to address the elephant in the room…the Oscars. I was very…
Nearly 6,000 people have viewed the video post w/ Robert Osborne below, which was filmed at the TCM art show that accompanied the 2014 classic film festival, where she was able to share her thoughts and feelings about bullying with Osborne and film festival attendees in person. Social media resulted in a large number of visits during the TCM film festival, also in April 2014, and a sale. Pretty awesome for a brand new artist website! Of course Kim’s celebrity status has much to do with the incredible numbers I’ve mentioned, but without the social media setup and the amazing response to her anti-bullying posts, it is unlikely that the website could have had such tremendous success so quickly after its launch.
With Robert Osborne, Kim Novak addresses the reaction to her appearance at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, and her…
In February 2016 we expanded Kim’s social media presence to include Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Fans of her acting and admirers of her art can now connect with her on their favorite network, and we anticipate good results to show up in the analytics for her site soon. Her website is loaded with comments about her artwork and continues to perform successfully, with multiple sales of her artwork occurring every month.
I am always delighted to receive a testimonial from a client, but what Kim wrote for me in 2015 brought tears of joy to my eyes:
Hannah created my website about a year ago after she was recommended to me by a close friend, and I’m so glad! Not knowing ANYTHING about the world of online promotion, I was extremely insecure about the process of building my first website. But I found that Hannah is an artist herself, understands the artist’s mindset and business needs, and has cultivated the skills to help artists with online things they might not get involved with otherwise. These, along with her caring personal attention, gave me the confidence to proceed. Being a very visual person, I found I needed to see my art images and poetry in the context of the site so I could make the changes necessary to represent my art and poetry well. Sometimes that requires a lot of revisions! Hannah’s patience and understanding during this process made it possible for us to create together an online presentation of my ongoing creative work that I’m very happy with and gets real results. My friends say it even reflects my personality!
Hannah also created a Facebook page for me, and has helped me to maintain it with posts about newly completed paintings and special events. Since I’m so busy, she also keeps an eye on the comments on both my Facebook page and website so I can respond to anything she thinks I might feel important. It’s helpful that she is sensitive to my unique personal security and public relations needs, and she’s quick to make adjustments when I feel something needs to be tailored to these needs. Her expertise has helped me understand more about online promotion, and she is always there for me, not only to answer my questions and concerns, but with encouragement and advice that helps me continue with this new form of marketing. As a result, we have succeeded in raising awareness of my current creative pursuits…I have sold quite a few prints through my website and made contact with fans around the world who are happy they can now follow my creative life “after Hollywood.”
Because I stay so busy painting and with all that goes on at our ranch, etc., Hannah keeps me posted so I don’t miss anything really major in my life from comments on the websites that I may not have seen from family or friends.
On top of all that, Hannah has become a friend I know I can trust. It’s my pleasure to recommend her work to you, knowing that she will honor your confidence in her with patience, understanding, attention to detail and professionalism!!!
It is truly an honor, a privilege, and a blessing to work with this kind, intelligent, sensitive and creative woman on an ongoing basis. Her confidence in me is a gift that is always uplifting. I can never thank Sue Bennett enough for bringing Kim into my life!