Creating an artist’s website with website builder & Co.

With their own website, artists have a personal opportunity to optimally present themselves to a broad, even worldwide audience. Paintings, graphics, sculptures, drawings, or prints find their way from the artist’s website into the hands of customers, and under certain circumstances, it might be that a passionate art collector or an art dealer looking for talent stumbles across your work. Your artist website might even catch the eye of the press, while they’re researching art topics.

You can also let your audience participate in the creative process by sharing your enthusiasm for shapes and colors, for structures and arrangements. The more personal the statement is on your artist website, the closer the bond with the audience will become. This article provides a step-by-step guide to creating your very own artist’s website.

Your own artist’s website

Whether it’s your profession or your hobby – your artist website is like having an exhibition space on the Internet: a virtual gallery. The website perfectly combines business card, gallery flyer, and art catalog in one. Creating your own website as an artist is not that complicated. Basic courses in HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript are no longer needed. Content management systems (CMS), artist website builders, and various services from providers and agencies can help you get online quickly and professionally.

Speaking of “speed”: When creating your artwork, you almost certainly take the time you need to transform your piece of art from inspiration into its result. This should also be a maxim for your website design. Take the time you need to figure out what is important to you and what your goal is with your artist website. Ask yourself who exactly might be interested in visiting it. Once your portfolio is up on the web, it’s also important to keep it up to date. Notices like “Next exhibition on Feb 22nd, 2017” or a blog post from 2019 will quickly sap the interest of website visitors and gnaw away at your credibility.

Corona and art

The coronavirus pandemic is also forcing artists to get creative when it comes to engaging with the public so as not to lose touch with loyal art lovers. Closed studios and galleries, however, do not have to mean that art no longer exists. Quite the opposite: “Click & Collect” is also an option for artists. IONOS also provides many solutions to help you build your online store.

What kind of a website suits an artist and what’s important when choosing the provider?

Creating a website for artists has become very easy from a technical standpoint. Many tools exist that can be used (almost) without any programming knowledge. Each tool and each approach has its strengths, but there are also some points to consider to make sure that your creative process won’t suffer when having to maintain your own website.

  Website builder CMS Custom programming Web design service
Advantages Many ready-to-go ideas available, easy to realize, no prior knowledge needed Easy content maintenance with knowledge of text editing, plenty of freedom in terms of look and feel Maximum freedom in terms of design Everything in one place, very low time input required, SEO included
Disadvantages Binding to fixed specifications, limited creative freedom Database knowledge, theme, plugin and SEO knowledge required, relatively high effort despite facilitation Very time-consuming, as extensive basic knowledge is required, error-prone Limited design options
Price group Depending on the scope of the project 100 to 300 USD per year Varies greatly depending on scope, e.g. approx. 200 USD per year for WordPress hosting From 0 USD for do-it-yourself to project-dependent high costs for service providers Approx. 1,000 USD per year, strong price fluctuations possible depending on project
Level of difficulty Very low Middle Very high Very low

Website builders

A website building kit provides a basic web design foundation that can often be adapted to the specific requirements of an art direction with just a few clicks. However, since an artist website builder contains only a certain number of predefined elements, the scope for design is limited. On the other hand, these packages often already include photos and illustrations that fit well with the theme of the website. When choosing a website builder provider, make sure that free offers for websites are not financed by external advertising. As a rule, this does not suit an artist’s website.

The website builder from IONOS

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Content management systems

Content management systems (CMS) have become widespread. Their great advantage is that once completed, the website can be maintained by the artist or by their team. All that is needed is knowledge of a word processing program and some image editing skills. Almost two thirds of all websites worldwide use the CMS WordPress (source: Statista 2021). A worldwide community develops and maintains several tens of thousands of design templates (themes) and plugins for it, which can be used to meet just about any requirement of an artist’s website. A CMS is easy to set up even for beginners – all you need is some basic knowledge about databases and communication with a server.

Tip

A quick, easy, and above all safe solution including a content management system is WordPress hosting from IONOS, with packages ranging from Essential to Unlimited.

Custom programming

The custom set up of the artist website gives you the greatest freedom of all options for implementing your creative ideas. On the other hand, however, it requires a (usually disproportionately) high effort. In addition to the necessary programming skills, the time needed is also likely to stand in the way of this path to your own artist website. If you are nevertheless considering this option, you can find out more in our Digital Guide: Our HTML tutorial for beginners and our tips on learning CSS, will help you with this.

Web design/programming service

Hiring a web design or programming service is associated with costs. Their amount depends on what demands you have for your artist website. On the positive side, as the operator of the website, you are initially rid of almost all worries, provided that your own ideas are well communicated to the service provider you’ve selected, and are implemented just as well.

If you need help to get started, or if you’re unsure which option to go with when creating your artist website, you can learn more in our articles on content management systems in comparison and creating a WordPress site.

What content needs to be displayed on an artist’s website?

Weighing up the necessary content for an artist’s website isn’t just an artistic tightrope walk. After all, it’s a matter of highlighting your creative potential, talent, and at the same time, avoiding exaggeration and unnecessary opulence. The following elements should be considered when creating an artist website:

  • Homepage
  • My work
  • About me
  • Exhibitions
  • Press/Reviews
  • Blog/social media
  • Contact page
  • Legal notice

Homepage

On the welcome page of your artist homepage, visitors should immediately be directed to the essentials: the art. This first impression is extremely important to keep visitors and potential art prospects on the website. Large amounts of text, animations, or supposedly great music usually distract more from the subject than complement it. A simple, clear structure invites to discover.

My work

This page can be considered the artistic core when creating your artist website. Here, your art and your style will come across and can be experienced by visitors. This is your digital exhibition space. That’s why it’s important that you use high-quality images and make use of image galleries to showcase what you do. If art is being sold directly, you can also note that here. Otherwise, you can include a link to where it can be purchased.

Note

In the case of lifelike portraits or photography, be sure to obtain the consent of the persons depicted before publishing them on your artist website.

About me

Here you can describe your journey into the world of art, what inspires or inspired you, how you found your niche, and what motivates you. What did you study? Which artists are particularly interesting to you? Is there a motto, a philosophy, an artistic movement, that you follow? This all, together, defines your personal relationship to the presented art. You might also talk about how your art is created and the creative process behind a specific piece of art. On the “About me” page you can also include completed studies, masterclasses, awards, and other milestones in your life story.

Exhibitions

This is the events calendar of your artist website. When and where the next exhibitions and vernissages will take place, where your art has been previously exhibited, which institutions or doctor’s practices, businesses or restaurants are presenting an art piece of yours or purchased art from you. All this belongs on this page, complete with photography of the exhibitions and quotes from visitors.

Press/reviews

Were you interviewed? Was a TV crew in your studio or at an exhibition? Then this section of the website is the perfect place to score points with visitors with a digital press kit. For images (scans) or videos of contributions, make sure that permissions have been granted and that the copyright information is correct.

Blog and social media

With a blog, you extend the “About me” page with another private perspective that, for example, regularly describes sources of inspiration and the creative process. If you enjoy storytelling, then you should set up this kind of online diary – but it’s not a must.

Social media channels are in constant flux, including their value among target audiences. Links to your Facebook, Instagram, or Google accounts should only appear on the artist website if those accounts are maintained. Note that the direct integration of these channels is questionable under data protection law, because user data is already transmitted to third parties without being asked (i.e. before clicking). That’s why it’s better to link to your own privacy policy.

Contact page

The location of your studio or a gallery that is currently exhibiting your works gives visitors to your artist website the option to directly visit you or to arrange to meet you. When embedding an online map, make sure to comply with data protection requirements to prevent unsolicited data transfers.

A contact form can help you manage requests. However, you should always also offer the option of direct contact by phone. After all, you depend on personal contact when it comes to marketing your art.

Legal notice

Theimprint and privacy policywith the legally-required, mandatory information are a must for any website that has even the appearance of a commercial purpose, meaning it’s also important for artists. Diligence and legal certainty will protect you from legal warnings. There are various online tools for generating these legal texts, some of which are subject to a fee.

Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into force in Europe, supplements and amendments are regularly added. Always keep an eye on this, especially if you do business in Europe. Attentive web service providers will ensure that everything in this area is always up-to-date and legally sound. As a visual artist, a reference to the copyright protection of your displayed works is recommended. It’s also important to include an option for how cookies are handled for your website’s visitors that’s easily visible.

Here’s how: how to make an artist’s website, step by step

Step 1: choosing a domain

A domain is the prerequisite for being present and discoverable on the Internet. The domain is a unique Internet address that is used to access an artist’s website. And as with any address, a catchy name is a good prerequisite for being found by potential visitors and by search engines. It’s worth investing a little time in finding a good domain name. Pay attention to the following details:

  • Use your own name as the domain, possibly with an addition. For further details you should use the meta tags title, description, keywords and copyright on the artist website.
  • With the domain extension .com you can emphasize that you are pursuing a thoroughly commercial interest.
  • New domain extensions simplify the search for a domain name, e.g. .art, .gallery, .gifts, .studio or .work. However, some of them are expensive.
  • Using an art genre, genre, or stylistic term for the domain name is rather difficult – as is designating the practice of your work as “painting” because of the distinction from the craft of the same name.
  • If you use multiple domain names, redirect all additional domains to the main domain of your artist website.
  • Consider subdomains like https://me-artist.xyzbuildingblocks.tld as reserved for amateurs.
Tip

Find and register your dream domain with IONOS in just a few clicks.

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Step 2: the design – setting the scene for your art

As an artist, you usually have quite fixed ideas about how you want to present yourself to the outside world. The principle of “less is more” is, however, also a recommendation here. The overall look of the website for an artist should help visitors focus on your work, i.e. it should offer plenty of space to display the art itself – a concentrated amount of text, generous white space, and plenty of space for illustrations. Many visual artists simply use their name as the logo for their website.

Most users go online with their mobile devices. And quite logically, search engines also evaluate websites according to whether they are fit for display on smartphones and tablets – here, the “magic word” is responsive web design. This means that the visual appearance of your website depends on the device used to access its content. Design templates (themes or templates) are usually filtered according to this criterion.

Tip

Use our massive repository of design templates as your foundation or as inspiration.

Some of the templates for building websites – often also called site builders or page builder plugins – offer great freedom for designing your site, posing hardly any limits to your own creativity.

Step 3: inputting content for your artist website

Once the design framework is in place, the content can be added. In the process, texts are put to the test once again, both in terms of their headings and their length, as well as in terms of important keywords and their logical place in your artist website. Correct spelling and grammar are of course important, but experience shows that these factors are often neglected. For a good structure – and also to simplify future maintenance – a division into main and sub-pages (e.g. “parent/child pages” in the CMS) is important.

Image material should be fitted to the correct dimensions for the artist website. The compression rate should not be too high. Broadband Internet and high-resolution displays make for high-quality imagery. Be sure to assign an alt tag to each image. This is important for image SEO on the one hand. On the other hand, it’s valuable information for users if an image cannot be displayed. The corresponding field for this is usually provided in most CMS. The same goes for the title tag. If you (have) programmed it by hand, it looks like this, for example:

<img src="../path/mypicture.jpg" alt="A hand painted image by Max Artist" title="Self portrait Max in example landscape">

Always assign tag content as soon as you post the material. We’ve all heard ourselves say “I’ll do it later” and then not gotten around to it.

Tip

While you are working on your artist website, create a file titled index.html or a similar corresponding plugin in the CMS with a maintenance notice.

For storing large amounts of large size image or video material, cloud storage is a secure option. Our comparison of cloud storage options will help you find the right provider. Some CMS or modular systems limit the file sizes for uploading media. This can be problematic when using video files. With videos stored separately in a cloud, you can simply link to the file.

Note

Document your website well. This makes it easier for everyone involved in the project, even if a service provider changes. Always keep the access data for your website extra secured!

Step 4: publish your artist website

The time has come: the design is perfect, texts and images are in place, all mandatory data is correct – you can now go live with your website and reach your audience as an artist. Now make sure to make others aware of your artist website. The web address should be included on every business card, flyer, and studio sign. And why not also on your private vehicle or bike helmet?

Another consideration: Where do you like to go for a good meal? Why not consider placing a notice there to generate contacts? Adding the website to regional directories should not be underestimated. IONOS has developed the tool List Local for this. A local audience is important to you? Our guide to local SEO will help you out.

Tip

Looking to rank well with Google and other search engines? Find out how with the training program RankingCoach from IONOS.

FAQs

Do artists need a website?

A clear yes! Without a website, an artist is effectively “invisible” these days. Only the artist’s website can create a broad audience for the art to be seen in a digital studio. An artist’s website means accessibility, openness, and a multitude of opportunities for publicity and sales success.

What are the advantages of an artist’s website?

The website is the 24/7 studio. Anyone who earns or would like to earn a living with art must have a public presence. The artist’s website is a fundamental building block for public relations.

How can you easily set up an artist’s website?

Website builders like the one from IONOS make setting up a professional and nicely designed website super simple. In addition, the costs are reasonable. An important bonus for beginners: the internet address, the required storage space, and the system to create and design, including SEO, are all in one place.

Where can templates for an artist’s website be found?

If you choose to use a website builder or a CMS, then you have a good selection of ready to go, mainly responsive templates or themes on offer. Simple select the template that speaks to you most and use this as the foundation for creating your artist website. Then use your creativity to refine its identity.

How can you market art online?

Often, art is sold at auctions. You can use this as a guide for selling art in a limited time frame to the highest bidders, also through dealers. As a beginner or hobby artist, it’s advisable to take a look at similar offers. Don’t set the bar too high right away – this will save disappointment. Read our guide for more information on selling art online. To get started right away, IONOS offers a Social Buy button and a shop integration feature.


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