Making a website as an artist is essential.
A website opens your career up to so many potentials: You can have a landing page, shop, blog, about page, courses, contact page, links to all your social media, etc.
Having a website as an artist is essential: You have a central place where your social media and search engines can lead people towards so that they can learn more about who you are as an artist and take action (whether this is by purchasing your art or following you on your social media).
And also, the older a website gets, the more valuable it becomes: You build trust with Google, you get more traffic to your website, and you build your brand as an artist.
This is why one of the first things an artist going professional should do is set up a website.
Disclosure: Some links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I first started this website in 2016 and have been through so many experiences because of it: I never blew up as an artist as I had hoped, but nonetheless this blog blew up more than I had ever expected.
I now make passive income through this blog and help hundreds of thousands of people become creatives in their own ways.
Sometimes you never know how you’re going to find success in a creative career, but if you don’t try and just keep the door closed, you may never know what kind of future is in store for you.
1. Determine Your Website Platform
There are so many platforms out there to build your artist website on.
Below I will be going over several website-building platforms you can choose from and which platform is best for your needs as an artist.
Squarespace is a great option for those who are looking to create a professional-looking website, without the hassle of learning how to build a website.
Squarespace offers an easy user-interface with drag and drop controls. They have a wide variety of beautifully designed templates to choose from, and all the user has to do is fill their website with your own content.
Squarespace pricing includes their Personal Plan which is $12/month for the annual plan. They also have a Business Plan which is $18/month for the annual plan. If you pay monthly, it is $16/month and $26/month respectively.
Squarespace is the platform I first started my own website on. I later switched because my website was growing in traffic and I wanted more control over what I could do with my website.
Although Squarespace makes website building easy, their stream-lined process and user-friendly interface makes other options (such as hosting choice) not available. This is something to consider when deciding on a website building platform.
Overall, it is a great website building platform, and as a beginner, I may have given up on creating a website if it weren’t for Squarespace’s ease of use. Squarespace is a great choice for beginning website creators.
Squarespace is a great option for artists who want to build a professional-looking website easily, without the hassle of making it from scratch.
If you are intimidated by the idea of creating a website, I highly suggest Squarespace because they make the process so easy.
Popular Templates on Squarespace
WIX is another website building platform that offers an easy, drag-and-drop user interface.
They have may website templates to choose from, organized into categories best suited for your niche. If you fill our their questions, they will even build a custom, personalized website for you and your needs.
They also offer blank templates for those who want the freedom of designing their own websites from scratch.
WIX offers a free plan for users to try, although it isn’t your own domain and the website does contain WIX ads.
Premium plans start at $13/month for their Personal Plan to be able to get your own domain and remove ads, plus other functions.
WIX is a great website builder for artists who want to easily build a professional-looking website fast.
WIX is a great option also for artists who are intimidated by the unknowns of creating a website: They offer a simple questionnaire and will build a website for you and your needs.
Weebly is another option if you are looking to build a website easily while on a budget.
Weebly also has a drag-and-drop user interface and multiple beautifully designed themes to choose from.
You can start building a website for free using Weebly, although it isn’t your own domain. This is detrimental for getting traffic through Google, so I would recommend at least getting their $6/month plan so that you can have your own domain.
Weebly is a great option for new artists who don’t have a large following yet and are looking for a budget friendly, yet easy way to build a website.
Weebly isn’t as large of an investment as other website building sites, so your website can grow as you grow as an artist.
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that is great for those who are looking to create a website with their online shop being their main focus.
You can try out Shopify with a FREE trial here. Basic Shopify prices begin at $29/month – So it is more pricier than other website building sites that offer ecommerce integrally with their plans.
However, some of the benefits of Shopify include the ease of building a visually appealing online shop, numerous apps to add extra features and customizations to your store, and payments are made easy with their numerous payment gateway options.
Users also have the Shopify support team to turn to with any questions or concerns they have.
All in all, creating an online shop can be a very difficult process with a lot of research and trial-and-error.
Shopify makes this process easy, as it is designed to have all the tools and admin work already done for you.
It saves you the time of looking for hosting, security, payment gateways, and other backend functions.
All you need to do is set up the shop and you are ready to go online with Shopify.
If you are an artist looking to create an online business with a strong emphasis on your online shop, I would suggest taking a look at Shopify and trying out their Free Trial for 14 days to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Self-Hosted WordPress Site
WordPress is a great option for artists who want the most out of their website and are okay with a steeper learning curve of building a website.
WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world and is used by over 75 million websites, and there is a reason for this.
With other website building sites, there are always going to be limits to what you can do with your website, as your capabilities are limited to what they provide on their interface.
With self-hosting, you have freedom and control over your own site, as it is completely owned by you.
You have control over what host you use for your site, which determines site speed and other factors. You can also choose which plugins you want to use, giving you almost infinite possibilities as to what you can do.
WordPress is what I use currently for this website and the main reason was because it gives my website the most potential.
Drag-and-drop website builders are easy to use for people, but the coding behind them is complex and messy. This hinders SEO and site speed, which is critical for bringing in traffic from Google and overall user experience.
You can still get organic traffic to your website from other website building sites, but it is limited compared to WordPress sites. In fact, the majority of bloggers use WordPress because it is the best at gaining traffic from Google.
Using WordPress is free, but you need to pay for hosting (the servers your site will be using).
For beginners, I recommend Bluehost as they are cheap (approx $3 – $5 per month), you can scale up your hosting needs as your site gets more traffic, they streamline the process of making a website on WordPress, and they have great customer service.
Whenever I have website issues, I can easily online chat with one of their customer service reps and they fix the problem for me easily. This is extremely helpful for people like me who have no knowledge about building websites or coding.
Also, it may be daunting as you do have to pay for at least 12 months up front, but they give a full refund if you change your mind within 30 days.
They also offer a prorated refund past those 30 days, so they will refund the number of months you did not use Bluehost if you want to cancel at any time.
WordPress is a great option for artists who: Want more control and more options for their website, especially if your site is getting thousands of visitors each day and choice of hosting and site integrations is important.
WordPress is especially great for artists who want to build a blog on their site and monetize incoming traffic, but is not limited to that. Anything is essentially possible with WordPress, but prior research is crucial as there are so many options to choose from.
Steps to building a WordPress Site (Do not use WordPress.com – this is different!)
- Find hosting (I recommend Bluehost)
- Install WordPress (Bluehost makes this process easy as they do it for you once you sign up)
- Open your WordPress site through your host
- Find and Install a theme (I recommend purchasing a premium theme, although free themes are available)
- Create content and make it your’s
For a more detailed step-by-step guide with pictures for creating a WordPress site using Bluehost, check out this blog post. I wrote it specifically for bloggers, but this guide can used by anyone wanting to create a website using WordPress.
2. Choose a Theme or Template
No matter what website-building platform you decide to go with for your artist website, you will need to also choose a theme.
A website theme is the design your website will adopt in order to make it unique and stand out.
I highly recommend spending time browsing several themes and carefully choosing the one that is perfect for you.
A theme is important to your brand, as an artist – And I highly recommend choosing a theme you know you will stick with for a very long time.
If you are using WordPress to build your website, here are a couple blog posts to help you choose the right theme for you:
How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme for You
20 Gorgeous Feminine WordPress Themes
Even if you don’t use WordPress, I highly recommend checking out the blog posts listed above in order to set a guideline for yourself on what you should be looking for.
Choosing a theme for only its design can prove to be a mistake in the long run. You also want to choose a theme for its functionalities.
3. Create Your Website Pages
Here are a few examples of pages to include in your artist website. You don’t have to include all of them, they are just basic recommendations:
Pages to Include on your website: Home, about, gallery, shop, contact, blog, email opt-in, social media, services, and news.
The exact process in which you create these pages will defer depending on the website platform you chose at the beginning.
However, most platforms (Even WordPress – if you purchase a premium theme) will have layouts you can follow.
All you will need to do is fill in the text with information about you and your art, as well as upload pictures about your art and process.
4. Research and Adjust Your Website
Frankly, there are so many little details to not only starting a website, but making it work best for you: Whether you want to optimize it for great user experience, monetization, or high conversion rates.
Every artist will focus on something different on their website, but no matter what your focus is – Always learn as much as you can about your focus from multiple sources.
Every source out there will teach you something new, so with all the new information you gain, adjust your website accordingly.
Every little tweak and optimization you add to your website builds up to make huge differences for your website in the long-run.
5. Launch Your Website!
When you’ve finally got your website looking and working just the way you want, it’s finally time to launch your artist website!
Every website platform will have a different set of instructions to launching your website, so follow those instructions accordingly.
Even if you have any issues or questions, there will always be help with every platform’s customer service to fix it for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help from these services – I had to do that multiple times with Bluehost when I was starting my WordPress site and they helped me so much!
Once your website is live, you will now need to focus your attention on getting your website viewed by an audience.
I highly recommend at the beginning, optimizing your site to be crawled by Google by setting up Google Analytics and Search Console.
Because your website is new, it takes Google a long time to get your site on its search rankings (6-8 months). So set it up and give it time (It is completely normal to not have traffic from Google at the beginning).
Create some blog posts if you want your website to receive traffic from Google.
Otherwise, focus on getting your audience in the short-term through your Social Media. That will be the fastest way to start getting traffic to your website.
30 Passive Income Ideas for Artists
How to Promote Your Art on Pinterest
How to Schedule Pins on Pinterest (And Go Viral)
14 Ways to Get Your Art Noticed on Instagram
How to Start a Blog (Beginner’s Guide)
I hope these recommendations for website builders were able to help you choose the right platform for you and your website needs as an artist.
I tried to include a variety of platforms, as every artist has different needs and vision for their art and art business.
Building an artist website is a long process, but I hope you have fun doing it! Remember that above all, your website should be a reflection of your art and who you are as an artist. Your website should be your art as well.
Also, keep in mind that websites take time to grow. In fact, it takes Google approximately 6-8 months for it to start ranking your site in its search engine.
So during those 6-8 months, build up content and perfect your site, while also driving traffic to it from your social media.
For this very reason, it is also better to start a website now than later. Time is a factor in everything in life, but taking even the smallest step now can make a huge difference in what is to come next in life.