How to create a website for artists

I thought it would be helpful to write a post about how artists and illustrators can easily create a website showcasing their work.

There’s multiple services you can go with for making your website. The first option is a website run on the free WordPress content management system, and the other option is to go with a all-in-one website service company.

WordPress

I created my website using WordPress CMS. It’s the cheapest option out there I think. You buy your own website hosting and domain (website url), and then just install the WordPress CMS on it. It costs between $8 – $12/month, with most of the companies offering special cheaper price for the 1st year.

The two hosting companies I recommend for your website are: Bluehost and Siteground.

Siteground hosting plans
Siteground hosting plans
Bluehost hosting plans
Bluehost hosting plans


Both of these companies are reputable, Bluehost being the cheaper option. Bluehost is more popular and has a bigger user base. When I was looking for hosting before, what made the decision for me to go with Siteground was the free SSL certificates (so your site is secured with https). Now Bluehost also offers free SSL, so that’s good.

I’m happy with Siteground so far, their customer support service is excellent. So either one would be a good choice for hosting. Bluehost also includes 1 free domain with their hosting plan, whereas Siteground does not.

Summary Bluehost vs Siteground

Bluehost: Cheaper option, very popular. Include 1 free domain. $3.95/month for the basic plan for 1st year, $7.99/mon after that.

Siteground: Faster speed, very good customer support. $3.95 for basic plan for 1st year, $11.95/month after that. Domain not included (around $10/year usually. I buy my domains from Namecheap.com).

Domain name

Domain name is the the website url name, so my domain name is xiaotuneko.com. Thinking up of a domain name for your website can take very long!

My advice for getting a domain name: short and sweet, should sound nice to the ears, and easy to spell. For a lot of artists, using your name is not a bad idea since it is your artwork that you are showcasing. But if your name is very common or hard to spell, then it would be a good idea to come up with a unique word, or some add-on word to a part of your name.

Namemesh and Instant Domain Search are two websites you can use to generate domain name ideas.

Installing WordPress on Hosting Account

After you’ve signed up for the hosting, in your account, find the WordPress Installer and go through the easy steps to install WordPress. Then wait about 24hrs and then go to your website wordpress login page “https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin” and use the username and password that you set up when you installed the WordPress.

WordPress Themes

Next step is installing wordpress themes! By default it comes with the Twenty nineteen theme. There’s a ton of themes out there you can look at and choose for your website. The one I use currently is Flatsome (costs $59). I opted to go with a paid one since it made it so much easier to customize the website for what I need. If you don’t want to pay for a theme, then these free ones I think are good for your portfolio website:

Brad
OceanWP
Themx
Hamilton
Sydney
Hatch
Shopisle (online store focus)
Storefront (online store focus)

For these free themes you can search for it directly from wordpress theme page (under Appearance > Themes > Add New).

If you’re going with the free themes, then I’d recommend installing these three plugins:

Envira Gallery: Envira Gallery lets you showcase your images in Masonry style.  

Elementor Builder: It’s a visual page builder where you can create your pages without knowing code. So you can add columns, text, images, and other modules to the page easily. The default WordPress page/post editor has improved a lot recently already actually, but if you want more pre-designed modules then you can try this plugin.

Smart Slider 3: An awesome slider you can add to your page. It’s very easy to use. You can add images, video, text, etc visually to your slider.


All-in-one Solution Website Companies

All-in-one solution websites services are a good choice if you just want a super easy way to set up a website and store, without any need to set up anything. You just create an account, choose a template/theme, and upload/add your content using their platform.

Shopify

Shopify is a very good choice if your main focus is eCommerce (online store). They also have free and paid art and photography themes that you can use. It’s $29/month for the basic plan. Domain is not included so you can purchase your domain with a different company or you can purchase directly on their site.

shopify plans
shopify plans

Squarespace

Squarespace is a good choice if your website is more content driven. They have very nice looking templates you can choose from for your art or design website. It’s $12/month for the basic content website, $26/month for online stores. Domain is included free for 1st year only.

Squarespace plans
Squarespace plans

Conclusion

Making a website in this day and age is much easier to do than before. So don’t be afraid and get started on creating your own website!

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