Tips for Building an Artist Website

Build An Artist Website

What Goes Into Making A Great Artist Website?

You can ask this question whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned artist who needs a new website presence. The reality is that there are a number of factors that go into a great artist website, and not all of them are obvious. Sure, picking a beautiful website design is part of the process, but read on to learn about other things you may want to consider.   


1.    First, Why are you building a website?

An artist website can be used as a professional calling card, for selling artwork, for branding, as a job search tool, as a simple online art portfolio, and more. What is your main purpose? Once you identify your purpose or purposes you will be in a better position to decide if you need to speak with a custom web developer or if you can go it alone with a free or paid online website service where you mostly do everything.

2.    Work with an online service with easy to reach tech support

If you can go the route of working with an online provider (often much cheaper or free compared to custom website design), we recommend looking for a service that specifically deals with artists and photographers. If you are not that comfortable online, you should pick an outfit with excellent technical support, where you can speak to staff on the phone, and one that makes it easy to create, host and manage your site all in one.

3.    Yes! Choose a beautiful website design

Your artist website should be about your work. We are partial to simple and elegant designs that put the emphasis on what you do. Choose a layout and color theme that compliments what you do.

4.    Pick a design with dead simple navigation

Whatever you do, make sure your website is easy to navigate. You don’t want to lose your website visitors because they didn’t understand how to visit the pages in your site or there were too many clicks to get information about your work.

5.    Use a logo?

Think about branding for your website and whether a designer logo would be appropriate for your work. For many artists just using their name as a website title is often enough, but a logo can be an important graphical asset for the presentation of your site. If you opt for a professionally designed logo, be sure to request a version of the file saved with an EPS extension as this is a vector file and can be easily scaled. Files saved as PNGs or JPGs cannot be scaled. If you do opt for a logo – it can also be used as a favicon, which is a graphic element ahead of your domain name in the browser bar.

6.    Make it easy to contact you

Prominently display your contact information and include a guest book or newsletter signup to capture site visitor email addresses. Be sure that it is easy for your site visitors to find your contact information, and don’t overlook the importance of capturing contact information from your site visitors. Artists who take marketing seriously know the value of an opt-in email list. To legally email site visitors they must have agreed to accept emails from you.

7.    Site design for all devices

Make sure your site is mobile friendly for phones and tablets. Your site visitors will come to your site on any number of devices from desktops, to laptops, to tablets to mobile phones. Your site must look good on each device.

8.    Include your social media icons

Include social media icons to make your site visitors aware of your social pages. If you maintain a social media presence your site should include links to your social pages. You can also include social media share icons so that people visiting your site can easily share your website with others.

9.    Your copyright

The Internet is a bit like the wild west. To help protect your work, your copyright should be easy to find and included in a right click message for your images.

10.   Discourage image theft

Make sure that drag and drop and right click are disabled in order to discourage image theft. If your website does not stop site visitors from dragging and dropping your images onto their desktop and/or does not disable the right click action of a mouse, your site visitors will be able to download a copy of your image.

11.   Selecting a domain name

Consider your audience as you decide on your domain name. Artists often wonder what domain name to use for their site. Unless you are already known by a company or studio name other than your own, artists are generally best served using their own name as their domain name. Your followers and collectors who know you are likely to search for your name. If you have a more common name shared by many, you can get around that by adding artist, photographer, or fine art for example to your name ahead of the .com designation. While there are other domain name extensions such as .org, the most used is still the .com designation.

12.   Raise interest with carefully selected works

How much of your work should you include in your website? This is an important consideration as you think about the attention span of your site visitors and your website loading speed. You will want a fast loading site which is generally achieved by optimizing your images for the web in terms of their physical dimensions, the file sizes (KB) on your site, and the overall number of files on your site. Consider limiting the overall number of works or creating a portfolio for older works.

13.   SEO considerations for your content

Carefully consider the text you add to your site.  How do you imagine people will search for your work? Are you known for a particular style of pottery, painting or photography? Include that language in your site. The more specific you can be in terms of your work, location, etc the more your site will get listed as it should. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic and many companies now focus on SEO as their sole offering.

14.   Keep your content fresh

Maintain a blog and/or make frequent updates to your site. Search engines pay attention to how frequently the content in your site is updated.

15.   Create doors to your website

Look for additional built-in marketing features for your work. Services like FolioLink feature Promo Pages for marketing and client outreach. Promo Pages are essentially microsites that run off your domain name. These can be linked to your main site or shared independently. Artists like to send clients Promo Page links with special studio sales notices, show announcements and more. You can learn more here:

16.   Selling your art online?

If you will be selling your work through your website, look for a solution with easy e-commerce integration. Ask yourself if you want to avoid commissions and be responsible for order fulfillment or whether you want another company to fulfill the orders on your behalf.

17.   Easy to use content management area and tools

Choose a service for artists that makes it easy to host and maintain your site all in one place. Some services are not all inclusive. You have to buy a template, hire someone to modify it, and find hosting for your site. We recommend finding an all-inclusive service so that it is easy to update your site, easy to renew your domain name, and website hosting without having to contact multiple companies.

18.   Video hosting considerations

Will you incorporate any video into your site now or in the future? Look for a service that makes it easy to share videos. Your best option is a service that can integrate videos that are hosted in Youtube or Vimeo; both of these video hosting services take care of encoding your video for the web which means they convert it into a web friendly format that is responsive across devices.

19.   What is GDPR?

Don’t forget General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you anticipate European website visitors. Your site will need to share a privacy and cookie notice if you use any tracking software such as Google Analytics or capture any site information such as email addresses with an online form.

20.   Custom design options

Have a specific design in mind, but can’t find a website service with exactly what you want? Custom design is an exciting option, but keep in mind the cost. Most true custom sites start at 3K, require a significant amount of effort, and you bear the whole cost on your own. If you go this route, we do recommend that you consider a custom-built website that you can maintain on your own after it is built. We have never heard of an artist who was happy about having to call their website developer each time they wanted to add new work to their website.

Disclosure:  Kodexio is the developer and the company behind, an online service that helps artists, photographers and other creatives build and maintain their online portfolios. 

Copyright (C) 2020 Kodexio


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