How to create an artist’s website and why you need one

How to create a website if you’re an artist aiming to become more discoverable online. Why having a website is important if you want to make a professional portfolio and sell your artwork.

Why do you need a website for your art?

 “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart”, – this is how Vincent van Gogh described what he was doing. If you are an artist, you probably appreciate such state of mind. You may want to devote yourself entirely to your art just like van Gogh did. But despite the popular sentiment that artists are all about passion and creation, they are often not (although they wish they could be). They are often overwhelmed with tasks of promoting and selling their work.

The good news is that today, in the Internet age, promoting art is much easier than it was at the time of van Gogh. He had to rely on the financial and emotional support of his brother, who was his art dealer. This way van Gogh could fully devote himself to painting.

Whether you have an art dealer or not, it’s important to find time for presenting your works online in a professional way. Online presence is essential for your personal brand. Social media offers a safe refuge to the often impractical and impatient people of the arts: you can display your work with minimal effort, with as much passion as goes into making it. But there’s a catch – a few, actually. While social media is a great tool for showcasing your work and having a direct dialogue with your audience, it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for a full-scale online presence of a website. You don’t own the rights to the content you place on social networks and lack control over the digital representations of your works. Creating a website for your portfolio is critical if you want to position yourself as a professional and sell your works.

Choose an awesome name for your website

We have already shared some tips and tricks for choosing the right website name – beautiful, catchy and simple. A website name is the key for your brand’s identity. An address such as won’t communicate the image of a true professional worth investing in.

Don’t forget to choose your new site’s TLD carefully as it shapes the expectations of your site’s visitors. Extensions or TLDs are suffixes at the end of web addresses such as .COM, .ORG or .NET.  The .COM TLD is one of the earliest and the most popular, but it can be nearly impossible to find a memorable name there, as most are already taken. Solve that problem by choosing a new TLD which will also work for your advantage.

  • Using the right domain name extension will help you find the best and most beautiful name for your website.
  • As some studies show on some metrics the new TLDs were outperforming .COM, but the cost of a campaign on the new TLD was much cheaper. New TLDs can give more AdWords impressions and even better positioning’ according to the same studies.
  • You can make your TLD meaningful and industry-specific. The proper TLD in this case would be a relevancy signal for people and search engines and also work for your image and reputation. People will have a better understanding of what you do and – with a proper website name – of what your art is all about.

That’s easy: if users search for some art-related information, they will be more willing to click a site with the .ART extension.

Choose the best design, think carefully about the structure!

If you are an artist you should not be told about the importance of design, personal style and creative individuality. Aesthetics has an independent value in itself, that is why your website should showcase your artworks professionally and give an impression that you and your art are truly unique. This cannot be achieved with a standard website template so you need to spend some time and probably money for creation of a decent and eye catchy design with good navigation and clear organization. Don’t forget about the usability on mobile devices: people today use their smartphones much more often than laptops or desktop computers.

Here are some standard sections that you should have on your website:

  • bio, resume and your inspiring statement about art
  • portfolio or gallery
  • contact us section
  • links on social media accounts
  • purchasing information or online store

Put your best artworks on the front page of your website or make an astonishing background of them as some of our beloved adopters did. And of course, copyright your artwork. Don’t allow for it to be stolen from you!

Work on SEO

 You are proud of your website and people already adore it? Great, but that is not enough. Google must love it as well. You have to work on search engine optimization, or SEO.

We bet that when you google something, you click on of the first results from the rankings. As everyone does, with a few exceptions… If your website doesn’t come up on the first page, people will hardly find it at all.

Here are some tips on how to improve SEO:

  • Use a top-level domain! Google doesn’t like to show third-level domains with free hosting.
  • Improve usability and user experience of your website to make visitors feel more engaged, because the amount of time spent by them on your website also affects SEO ranking.
  • Fill your website with relevant content, you’ve probably already heard about the importance of key words for SEO, right content may also affect the «dwell time».
  • Use «contact us» page to elevate trustworthiness, Google likes it!

Sell art from your website

Your website is your own online gallery that you are totally in control of. We don’t want to tell you which art you have to create to make it marketable. But even if you make art which is understood by only a few connoisseurs, it is still a good idea to sell your artwork directly from your website.

Try to make a full-fledged online shop with clear usability and online shopping cart. Allow visitors to view all your artworks at few pages using simple template and convenient navigation. Don’t forget to place information about return and refund policies and offer different payment and shipment methods. This will help to improve sales and to create a more professional look of your website.

Everyone is online today. That doesn’t mean that you also have to be online to be a good artist, but why not to use all the opportunities that digital age offers you? Promote your art, add human touch, stay personally connected with your fans through social media, make a breathtaking online gallery on your personal website and sell your masterpieces!

Also published on Medium.

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.