The art world has changed a lot in the past twenty years, and because of the internet, artists no longer have to rely on galleries to sell their artworks to make money from them. Instead of selling art themselves, one of the many ways artists make money is to have their website to showcase their art, photography, crafts and other creations.
Creating a website is essential for artists to reach their audience and promote their artwork online. However, knowing which is best for you can take time, given that many website builders are available.
This blog gives you an overview of the best website builders for artists, photographers, illustrators, designers and creatives that are ideal for showcasing your work.
This article is based on my experience creating websites to showcase my work and make money from my art online. I am not techy, but a creative that loves to paint landscapes, and I have personally used some of the website builders detailed in this article.
How Can a Website Builder Help You as an Artist?
Having a website to promote your artwork gives you, the artist, total control over your art business. You can monetise your creations and sell your artwork online, and you get to keep all the money, as you won’t be paying gallery commissions.
The main benefits of having your artist website include the following:
Complete control over your art business
Display your artwork to its highest potential
Show potential customers your online portfolio
Engage with and grow your audience
Sell your art directly from your website
Ability to monetise your creations and content
Email sign-ups and marketing to promote your artwork
With your artist website, the possibilities to make money from your art are endless.
When is it Time to Create an Artist’s Website?
One of the main things to consider before you create your website is whether you will be happy that images of your art potentially being on the internet forever. If you are going to showcase your artwork online, you need to produce work to the highest standard that you can make it.
If you are a new artist, you should take your time to improve before building a website and instead spend time working on your craft. Then, for example, when you have around ten good artworks, consider showcasing your paintings/creations online.
What to Look for in an Artist Website Builder
There are many things that artists should consider when creating a website, including:
User experience and functionality
Ease of website integrations, such as payment systems and email sign-ups
The reputation of the company
If you, the artist, are like me and not very technology-minded, choose a website builder that is easy to use and doesn’t require you to know how to code. Fortunately, most website builders work through drag and drop and are intuitive.
The Best Website Builders for Artists
As mentioned, building a website is essential for artists to showcase their work to the world and grow an audience. However the thought of building a website can seem daunting, but fortunately, several website builders can help you, the artist, to create a stunning website.
Here are the best website builders for artists.
Squarespace is an excellent website builder ideal for artists and anyone needing a website. I have experience using Squarespace, as I hosted my website with them for many years. Squarespace is one of the leading names in website builders, along with Wix and Weebly.
Squarespace has a range of templates ideal for artists with a lot to choose from. Their websites have a clean and modern design that can help artists showcase their work. In addition, Squarespace has good SEO tools that can help artists rank higher on search engines, blogs, e-commerce, and more.
The user interface is clean and easy to use. The Squarespace website builder works through drag and drop, so you do not need to know how to code. In addition, Squarespace has many free plans, online tutorials to help you build your website, 24/7 customer support and live chat.
Squarespace has a range of competitively priced plans, the free plan starting from $16 per month when writing this article. You also get a two-week free trial to begin building your website immediately to see if it is for you.
What I Like and Dislike About Squarespace
I love the usability and layout of the user interface, and I got the hang of it quite quickly.
Beautiful templates to use to showcase your art.
Good customer support.
I started to notice limitations with the Squarespace CMS, mainly related to the blog. With the template I was using, I wasn’t able to add a sidebar which for me was becoming a problem.
Portfoliobox is a website builder specifically aimed at artists, photographers, illustrators, designers and creatives. I have a second website to showcase my paintings built on the Portfoliobox content management system (CMS).
The Portfoliobox CMS is specifically designed with artists and photographers in mind to promote their work to the highest standard best. For this reason, the website templates are clean and straightforward, which is best so that your artwork can do the talking.
If you would like to see an example of a website built using the Portfoliobox platform check out my fine art website.
Portfoliobox has a range of beautiful templates that will allow you to create a stunning website. It also has SEO tools to help artists rank higher on search engines.
The user interface is simple to use with no requirement to know how to code. In addition, the intuitive website builder itself is also intuitive, allowing you to create a stunning and clean-looking website that is ideal for showcasing your work.
Portfoliobox has a range of plans that is good value for money, starting from $3.50 per month when writing this article. In addition to paid plans, you can get a free domain with their Pro program, priced at $9.50 monthly.
What I Like and Dislike About Portfoliobox
I love the simple layout of the templates, and there is no doubt that I display my art to its highest standard.
The user interface is good and generally easy to use.
Good customer service
Some of the functions of the CMS are limited.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems out there, and I have built my main website where you are reading this blog post using WordPress.
WordPress is used by over 40% of the world’s websites, and there is a reason for this, it has way more functionality than other website builders such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. This is due to the thousands of plugins available, of which it is estimated there are over 58,000. The available plugins extend the functionality of your website.
With so many plugins, using WordPress, you have infinite customization options, when it comes to building an artist’s website.
When creating a WordPress website, you must first pay for a domain name and website hosting. I use NameCheap as it is easy to use, and, as the name suggests, it is inexpensive and has good customer support. There are, of course, many other excellent web hosting services available as well.
WordPress has many themes and templates, such as Kadence, which I am using for my WordPress website, and it works by drag and drop. While coding is not required, the CMS has plenty of functionality to add custom code if needed.
WordPress is ideal for blogging, which is one reason I switched to WordPress as I write blogs about painting. There are so many features to optimise your blog, including plugins and blogging tools for keyword research and SEO. Blogs are an excellent way of driving traffic to your website hence my art blog, which you are reading now.
With WordPress, the possibilities to create a stunning artist website are endless.
WordPress can be daunting, but it is relatively easy to use once you have started working with it. However, the freedom to customise your website as you would like, combined with the many thousands of plugins, overrides any difficulties you may have when starting.
WordPress is free; however, you must pay for a domain name and website hosting. Many of the plugins are free, but you may have to pay for premium features of some of the plugins.
What I Like and Dislike About WordPress
I love the overall functionality of my WordPress and the many options for customising my website.
I especially love the blogging aspect of WordPress as there are many more options to customise your blog than compared with a website builder like Squarespace. The drag-and-drop editor is especially good.
The user interface looks a little dated and overall it can seem a little daunting to the new user.
Many of the plugins often have a premium version you need to pay for so the costs can go upward quite quickly
Some of the plugins conflict with each other which can cause malfunctions on your website.
Wix is a popular website builder that, like Squarespace, offers a variety of templates and features to help users create beautiful websites.
Whilst I have not used Wix myself, many people agree that Wix is easy to use and offers a user-friendly interface that is ideal for those who do not have any technical expertise. You can drag and drop elements as per your choice.
There is a wide variety of templates for you to choose from that Wix offers, allowing you to customise your website design and showcase your works according to your requirements.
Wix is great for creatives, solopreneurs and small businesses with fully integrated e-commerce features, including creating an online store, connecting your e-commerce features with customers, and managing your art business online.
Wix also offers a range of SEO tools and features to help optimise your website and make it easier for you to discover your artwork in search engines.
Wix premium plans start at $4.50 per month and a free 14-day trial where you can begin building your website. All premium plans include 24/7 customer care.
Weebly is another popular general-purpose website builder that, like Squarespace and Wix, offers a range of features so users can create and manage their websites. User-Friendly: Weebly offers a user-friendly interface that is easy to use, even for those who need more technical expertise.
As with Wix, I have yet to gain personal experience using this platform; however, it is one of the top names in website-building companies.
Fully customisable designs like Squarespace and Wix, Weebly offers a range of templates that users can choose from, allowing them to customise their website’s layout according to their requirements.
Again Weebly is great for small businesses and solopreneurs, including e-commerce functions such as creating an online store, connecting with customers, and managing your creative business online.
Weebly’s templates and designs have responsive themes, automatically adjusting to fit different screen sizes, including mobile devices.
Weebly has a free version of their website builder; however, to connect to a custom domain, you must upgrade to their ‘Personal’ plan, which starts at $10 per month.
How to Choose the Right Artist Website Builder
When it comes to choosing the right website builder for you, it largely depends on the requirements that you need. For example, suppose you are an artist who paints landscapes and wants an online portfolio to show potential clients, collectors and galleries and sell original artworks and prints. In that case, I recommend a website builder like Portfoliobox.
If, however, you would like to monetise your paintings, photos, and illustrations by creating content such as a blog or video media or you have many products you can sell that have originated from your art, then using a website builder such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly might be better suited for you.
Price may also influence the decision of which website builder to use, as when you are starting as an artist, you may have limited funds to invest in a website so you may use a cheaper website plan.
Lastly, if you are an artist with a specific goal in mind to create multiple sources of income from your art in the form of a blog and have various products for sale, then I recommend WordPress.
One of the main reasons I moved from Squarespace to WordPress was that I wanted to focus on my art blog, and I was beginning to see the limitations of Squarespace. Squarespace is still an excellent platform on which to create an artist’s website.
How to Design a Simple Artist’s Website
When it comes to designing an artist’s website to showcase your art, photography, illustrations, designs, crafts etc., it is best to keep the layout of your website simple to display your creations best.
Use a White Background for Your Website
Setting a white background for your website will make it feel more spacious and open, allowing your art to be displayed to its highest potential. This is because the white background will allow for the true colours of your art, whereas having a different coloured background may conflict with the colours of your artwork.
Keep the Header Simple
When navigating through your website, you want to keep it as clean and straightforward as possible. The main pages to link to in your header should be ‘Home’, ‘About’ ‘, Shop’ and ‘Contact’ pages. You could also create a ‘Gallery’, although your shop could be your gallery too, and you can add a ‘Blog’ and ‘Subscribe’ page where your audience can subscribe to your email list.
Make it Easy for a Buyer to Purchase Your Art.
If you create a shop on your website, make it easy for a buyer to purchase from you by adding the price of your paintings next to each item. Make it easy for the customer to buy something from you by setting up a cart function and a payment system.
All too often, I see artist offering their work for sale with a note to say to email the artist for prices. Unfortunately, for many people enquiring about the cost of paintings is too much work, and it could result in a loss of sales.
Present Your Artwork to the Highest Standard
When uploading images of the artwork you intend to sell, displaying several high-quality images of your art is crucial. You can make mock-ups of your art to show it hanging on a wall in a room using a site such as Placeit.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Website
Once your website is up and running, you want to drive traffic and grow your audience.
Use Pinterest and Instagram
Pinterest and Instagram are great for engaging with your art as they are visual platforms. Pinterest has been one of the best ways of getting traffic to my website, as I have made pins for my blog post articles and paintings for sale.
I have sold many paintings on Instagram and used them to drive traffic to my website.
Posting images to Pinterest and Instagram can be time-consuming, so I use Tailwind, which is an app for scheduling both Pinterest and Instagram posts.
Use Keywords and SEO
Using the right keywords within your website be it for your art or other products can help your website to rank in search engines. This is where having a blog on your website can really help to make search engine optimization drive traffic to your site as you will be able to make your articles keyword rich.
Learning about keywords and SEO takes a bit of research and is beyond the scope of this article but it is something to consider when growing your audience.
Create an Email List
When visitors come to your website, some of them could be potential buyers, so you will want to keep in contact with them. This is where you should create a page on your website so people can join your email list, and for this, you will need to use a bulk email service. I use MailerLite.
Emailing your audience is a great way to keep them engaged and make sales of your art and creations. It also means you don’t have to rely on someone else’s platform such as Instagram or Facebook in order to communicate with your audience.
When creating your artist’s website, it is important to choose the right website builder that offers the features you need for your art business. It is also best to keep your website looking clean and simple, so it is easy to navigate and will show your art, photography, illustrations and designs to their highest standards.
If you are after a simple clean looking website to showcase your portfolio and make some sales of your original works, then Portfoliobox is recommended. On the other hand, if you want a website with multiple functions, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly are more suitable. Finally, if you want complete control over your fully customisable portfolio website, I recommend WordPress.
Price is also a key factor when choosing a website builder, so if you are starting, are an emerging artist or are in the early stages of your art/photography career, you will likely want to keep your costs low. Therefore you might choose a website builder with a lower entry price.
The information I have provided in this blog post is mainly based on my experience building several websites for my own art business. However, it also comes from the point of view of someone that could be more technically minded. I prefer simplicity in a website, but every artist and creative is different, has different requirements, and there are many caveats to it. Regardless I hope you found this blog post helpful and that it helps you on your art journey.