By Nicole Tinkham
In the year 2015, it’s safe to say that building a business using nothing but the internet is not only possible, but actually the preferred (and most efficient) way to do so. If you don’t believe us, go over to Google and search anything related to “online business” and you’ll see what we mean. The internet has completely changed the way we do business, and as an artist, you need to pay close attention to what the trends are telling you. Here’s a fun fact: 42.4% of the WORLD is online as of 2015. That’s a 753% growth since 2000! At this moment, there are probably a million thoughts running through your head like, “I’m not ready” or “I wouldn’t even know where to begin” or maybe even “I don’t have the tools to create a website or build my own website”. Thankfully, you don’t have to be all that great with computers to figure it out. In fact, website building tools make it so easy nowadays they practically build themselves! All you have to do it find the right platform to start out with.
With that being said, the time to expand your online presence is now! Coupled with a new website, being active on social media sites, especially those with image rich platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are absolutely crucial for artists. Would you love to sell your artwork via your own website? If you’re even slightly interested, you need to continue reading. The first thing you must do is choose a website developing tool to host your site. Here are a few we recommend.
You may recognize the name as a popular blogging platform but it can also be used to build websites with multiple pages. We highly recommend this route because of all the customization WordPress has to offer. There are numerous themes and widgets (special add-ons) that can be used as well as different options to show off your artwork such as a gallery or slideshow.
There’s 2 different versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org
The .com version is free and still gives you a lot of options but it does limit you on what you can do. The .org version requires you to pay to use it but you can do more with it. Look thoroughly into both options to determine the best one for you.
Weebly is a great choice if you want super easy and free. You get to choose your own theme and the drag and drop function makes it simple for even the computer illiterate. You do have the option to pay for addition features like removing the Weebly branding, password protection, and fully integrated eCommerce (if you want to sell your work directly from the site).
3. Fine Art Studio Online (FASO)
FASO is great for artists because it’s designed for images, you can sell artwork directly through the site, you’re able to send out email newsletters, and payment is determined by how many images you post. So for starting out ($8 per month for 25 images) you won’t be breaking the bank.
If you’re a digital artist looking for the community feel, Behance (a production of Adobe) is the way to go. You can take a look at other portfolios as well as follow and message the artist.
Things we love about Behance: It’s FREE, offers a ton of resources, and gets your name out there.
Want to grow your following with the social media sites you’re already on? Squarespace is the place to do it with total social integrations to connect with your website. The simple drag & drop feature is back with this one so just about anyone can figure it out (even non Facebook users 🙂 ). What we love: You can customize, choose your own template, analyze the traffic you get to the site, and add your own custom domain. You can do a 14 day trial to see if you like using Squarespace but after that you have to pay $8-$26/month depending on the features you want.
Wix is another free website builder with various paid upgrades starting at $4/month. It’s totally customizable, allows you to choose a beautiful template of your choice, provides a ton of free images, has the drag & drop feature making it super easy to set up, allows you to sell directly from the site, and includes a series of business tools to help you along the way.
There are TONS of different platforms out there in which you can build your artist website so don’t limit yourself to just these 6. These are the ones that happen to stand out to us but every artist is different so do your homework and scope out a few before rolling with just anything. Some things to consider:
• Pricing- Choose a pricing that you’re comfortable with but remember that you get what you pay for.
• Features- Make a list of everything you want to be able to do on your website and match your list with what each platform has to offer.
• Upgrades- Upgrades are great because as your business grows, your needs will most likely change.
• Look & feel- Take a look at some example sites and layouts to make sure it’s what you had in mind. Even though many of these allow you to choose from many templates, it’s important to find a couple that you really like.
• Support- Nothing’s more frustrating than not being able to figure something out and having no one to guide you! Many of these tools offer support in case you run into any issues so double check and make sure that support is available.
We PROMISE you that creating your own website to display your artwork for the world to see isn’t as difficult as you may think. You don’t have to be a coder or tech savvy to understand the basics of these website builders. Take a look at our list, do some of your own research, and ask around for recommendations. This biggest hurdle you’ll face in creating a website is the decision to start. You may feel under qualified or even a little silly for trying to get your work out to the public. Don’t feed into those thoughts! You never know what can happen if you don’t try! Do yourself a favor and step out of your comfort zone and just go for it! We are here to encourage you and help you along the way. Let us know if you have any questions about the process, and once you’ve created a website, please share it with us! Here’s to new websites and new adventures!