Your Online Presence - Website Building Tips and Resources
Building and Maintaining an Online Presence as an Artist: Websites
Artists living today have an incredible advantage: we can utilize the internet to showcase, sell, and advertise our work. Here are some tips on how to create and build a personal artist website.
1. Photograph and Document Your Portfolio
Make sure you have quality images of your artwork. Use a digital camera or scanner for high-quality. Cell phone pictures are low quality and will not portray the quality of your work or present you as a professional artist.
Bonus tip: Many photographers around Pittsburgh offer artwork documentation services. Just ask!
2. Find an all-in-one Platform
One of the reasons that many of us put off building our own website is the fact that most options out there are filled with tedious work. Avoid sites that require extracurricular tech work on your end.
Check out customizable website platforms like Squarespace or Wordpress. If that means paying a monthly fee for a service like Squarespace, it'll be worth it for the ease of access and the valuable time you save not messing with the backend.
Bonus tip: Consider for a minute how many people will check out your work from their phones. With sites like Squarespace you can sleep comfortably knowing that your site is perfectly optimized for every kind of device.
3. Purchase your own unique domain name
A domain name is your website’s name and address or url. Every domain name is unique, and the domain name must be registered before you can use it. No two websites can have the same domain name. If someone types in www.yourdomain.com, it will go to your website – no one else's.
Bonus tip: While your portfolio images are definitely important, another important way to add professionality to your website is to have a clean, descriptive web address for your site. It is ideal if your domain name can be your full name (www.janesmith.com). However, since no two domain names can be exactly the same, some artists might find that their name already exists for a different website. You can add something to your name to make it more unique if your full name is unavailable for a domain. An artist could add other words or a middle initial to their domain name if just their first and last name is already taken, such as www.janewsmith.com or www.janesmithstudio.com. Squarespace actually gives you a free domain for a year when you sign up for an annual membership.
Note: The website platform you choose to build your site should be able to tell you if your proposed domain name is already taken or not.
Bonus, bonus tip: Explore both hosting service sites and domain purchasing sites to decide if purchasing a domain name separately is the right choice for you.
4. Keep Your Website Simple
You have about 5–15 seconds to catch someone's attention. By keeping your site simple, you will to have a strong visual presence and a direct message about who you are as an artist. Choose a design that is attractive and clear: make sure you don't overwhelm your visitor. Let them focus on your work.
Bonus tip: Remember that clutter is bad at home or the office and it's just as bad online. Potential employers and customers should be able to easily access your portfolio, social media, and contact info without having to poke around your site.
5. Make your website a one-stop-shop for all things you
Your website may be the only chance you have to make an impression, so it should be one that is unforgettable. Treat your website as a resume, business card, portfolio, and a storefront all wrapped into one. You don't want to give people any reason to search elsewhere for your work, so take advantage of every feature you can. Add and customize your site to fit your goals. The beauty of a platform like Squarespace is the convenience of features like starter layouts, which come with pre-made standard blocks like "about", "directions", and "contact".
Hosting services that you can build a website on:
Websites where you can purchase a domain name:
Great examples of current AAP artist’s websites: