How to Design Your Own Artist Website

After my article last week on why it’s important to have a website as an artist, I got a bunch of emails asking me how I designed my website and the steps you need to go through in order to have your own website! In this article, I’ll guide you through two different ways you can have a website, both are made for artists on a budget.

Let’s jump right into it!

Method #1: The Tumblr Approach

If you’re the kind of person that wants a website but doesn’t want to devote an entire weekend designing it and then more time updating it every so often, I highly recommend the Tumblr approach.

Best part? It’s totally free. That said, I would suggest getting a custom domain name from a service like Namecheap, which costs $10-14 a year.

Tumblr is a blogging social media platform. Every user has a “blog” that they can use to post whatever they want; text posts, images, videos, audio, etc. There are hundreds of custom templates, both free and paid, that you can add to your blog. Many of them are really visually appealing, and very customizable, so no two blogs have to look alike.

Stash Themes makes a lot of really great Tumblr themes, and you can find them all on tumblr.com/themes.

When you add hashtags to your posts they’ll appear in Tumblr search, and Tumblr blogs rank pretty high on SEO (search engine optimization) so there are ample opportunities to build your platform!

The downside to the Tumblr approach is that you don’t have a lot of control over the order in which your posts appear, the recent ones are at the top and you can’t rearrange them.

Integrating e-commerce into Tumblr is also a big hassle, so if you want to have a shop on your website then this might not be the best strategy for you.

Method #2 The Squarespace Approach

If complete control over the presentation of your artwork is absolutely vital for you, then I would highly recommend building your website with a service like Squarespace.

That’s how I built my current website, it took me about two hours using their Wells theme, and honestly? I think it looks amazing.

I have the opportunity to display my work by category, have a sign up for my email list, an about me page, link to all my social media, and also integrate my new blog right into the same URL, no need for extra accounts!

You can arrange your static posts and images however you like, and integrate a blog, shop, slideshow or whatever you like right into your website.

Squarespace’s themes are absolutely stunning, and the presentation of your work will benefit from the added emphasis of their minimalistic aesthetic.

The only downside to Squarespace is the cost. The personal plan (no e-commerce) costs $16 month to month, and their business plan (with e-commerce) is $26 month to month, but you can get a free custom domain and save a lot of money if you pay for an annual plan.

If you need any help designing your website, just email me or comment below! How have you designed your website?

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Kelsey Rodriguez headshot

Kelsey Rodriguez is an emerging artist and Political Science undergraduate student in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She just recently opened her small business selling her original artwork, Poured Planets, in the spring of 2018. She has exhibited at several cafes around the Twin Cities and has ongoing consignment relationships with galleries and art consulting agencies around Minnesota.

To see more of her artwork, follow her on Instagram check out her website or shop originals and prints on her Etsy.

Comments

  1. Kelsey – thanks for the info! Squarespace has some of the best layouts for art & photography I’ve seen. How much would you charge to spend some time helping me? Honestly – tech stuff, no matter how “simple” feels overwhelmingly hard for me (I’ve tried Wix and WordPress in the past and they were an epic fail. Don’t even get me started on Etsy and Shopify. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    1. Hey Deborah! I would be more than happy to help you set up your website, I charge about $20 per hour, with most projects taking anywhere from 2-5 hours. A lot of web developers charge anywhere from $90-$200 per hour for website set up. If you want my help, you can email me at [email protected] and we can talk more about your project!

  2. Hej Kelsey,

    thanks for the article.

    I recommend always other artists to build their websites in WordPress.

    Compared to the 2 solutions you mention, WordPress have much more to offer. Especially regarding SEO for ranking high in Google and you can very easily expand with a webshop.

    It’s easy to build a website in WordPress and because it’s the most popular CMS in the world you can always find a solution to problems online.

    I created my own website in WordPress 4 years ago. And now I have a large exposure and lots of traffic to my website.

    BR Michael

    1. Michael,

      WordPress is a really good tool, but if you want a custom theme or other features that are provided by other services at a much lower cost, costs for using WordPress quickly add up.For me, WordPress was a bit out of my reach and the same website that I have on Squarespace would cost twice as much.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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