Illustration by Casey Webb
Today’s post is brought to you by The Art League, a multifaceted visual arts organization serving artists in the DC Metro area and beyond. They post news and information for artists, students, exhibit- and event-goers, and everyone else interested in art. Feel free to sign up for their weekly e-newsletter or subscribe to their RSS feed to get the latest news from The Art League – upcoming classes, new exhibits, fun events, and more. Enjoy!
If you’re an artist and you don’t have a website yet, you’re missing out on lots of potential collectors. Instead of putting it off again, get started today with some of the low-cost, low-maintenance services below, collected from interviews and conversations with artists.
We’re keeping it simple today. There’s no need to make your website complicated or flashy. The general idea is to have a place for people to find you when they Google your name. These are the only necessities:
- easy-to-find contact information,
- a short bio or artist’s statement,
- and images of your artwork.
Here’s a list of services to start you off. Many of these platforms are made specifically for artists to build their website quickly by dragging and dropping, while others are more customizable and flexible.
The ready-to-build solutions:
Designed for artists, heavybubble has easy-to-set up templates for galleries, artist bios, links, and contact form. Options start at $20/month.
Other People’s Pixels, also for artists, promises “the best shameless-self-promotion that money can buy.” Plans start at $16/month. Check out their blog’s Tips & Tricks section.
Fine Art Studio Online, or FASO, includes easy-to-change image collections, events, and built-in visitor statistics. Two features that may make it more attractive are the option to sell artwork through the website, and a way to manage and send email newsletters. The cheapest option, $8/month, allows you up to 25 images; the next step up is $28/month.
Weebly‘s claim to fame is drag-and-drop website creation. They have free and paid options.
Big Black Bag specializes in portfolio websites. Plans start at $9/month, and you can click on “samples” to see examples of portfolios that use the service.
The do-(some-of)-it yourself solution:
WordPress: About one-fifth of the world’s websites (including this one) use WordPress, which is best-known as a blogging platform, but can also easily be used to build a regular website using static pages. It’s likely the most customizable option short of a custom-built site, with hundreds of different themes, and many options for beautiful galleries and slideshows of your work. There’s both a free option, WordPress.com, and the self-hosted software WordPress.org, which is free to use but will require you to pay for hosting (probably around $10/month). This article from WordPress explains the pros and cons of each option.
Blogger from Google isn’t the prettiest or most customizable, but it’s free and you can have your blog up and running in a few minutes. Even though it’s built for blogging, you can also use it to fulfill the three basic requirements at the top of this post.
WordPress: see above
Lots of the options above have free or trial options. While you shop around and before you commit, a few questions to consider:
- Technical support: Can they answer your questions in a timely manner? What is their customer service like? If they host your website, how often will it be down?
- Tools and options: Can you track numbers of visitors and where they come from? How easy or attractive are the portfolios? Will your site be usable on mobile devices?
- Sales: Do you want to sell work through your website?
- Domain name: Will you have your own domain, or a subdomain like LeoDaVinci.smugmug.com? If the former, aim for something easy to find and remember: yourname.com, yournameart.com, yournamestudio.com, etc.
- Hosting service: Most of the services above, including Heavybubble, Other People’s Pixels, Fine Art Studio Online, and Weebly, all include hosting and a domain name in their price. If you want to self-host on WordPress or a different service, you’ll have to find a web host and a domain registrar. WordPress recommends some reliable services here.
- No more excuses — get started on that website! Did we miss anything? What did you use for your website, and how has it worked out?
I hope you enjoyed this very informative post by The Art League. Feel free to sign up for their weekly e-newsletter or subscribe to their RSS feed to get the latest news from The Art League — upcoming classes, new exhibits, fun events, and more!