Your artist website is an essential ingredient if you want to sell art online.
I’ve gone through dozens of iterations in my website. in the beginning I built it using flash. When Apple killed flash on their iPhones, I quickly learned WordPress and never looked back.
Even though I swear by WordPress, there are a lot of other website builders out there that are easier to use.
In this article, I’ll breakdown three of the most popular website builders, explain the pros and cons of each one, and help you make the decision which of these artist website builders is right for you.
Price: Completely free
WordPress.org is the most popular artist website builders you’ll find out there. My art website is running on WordPress and has been since 2005. My website has easily evolved alongside the growth of my art business.
In the beginning, I only needed a place to showcase my portfolio to get storyboard and illustration clients.
Then I needed a blog under on my site as well.
Later I started to sell my art online and needed a store.
Recently, in just the past few years I started offering workshops and needed a way to put my workshop material behind a paid membership wall. WordPress was able to seamlessly grow as my needs grew.
It’s the engine behind everything from the New York Times, which gets millions of visitors every month, to smaller artist websites.
(But before I dive any deeper, I want to make an important distinction: there are WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG and they are NOT the same thing. WordPress.COM is a blogging platform that requires no software installations or downloads; just sign up and start using it.
On the other hand, WordPress.ORG, however, is blogging software that must be installed into a web server but allows for full customization. For more information on the differences, check out this guide.) For example, my website runs WordPress on my hosted server. So I’m using WordPress.ORG.
- Unlimited functionalities. You can have ANY feature you want for your artist website by simply installing a plugin from their directory. Galleries, store, membership functionality, sell courses… anything. Just download the plugin and it works automatically.
- Customizable. There are thousands of themes so your artist website can look the way you want it to. If you have the know-how, you can also edit the look of your theme using CSS as well.
- Blog ready. The best artist website builder with blog functionality. Blogging is the best way to share your creative process and grow your audience. It also has valuable SEO benefits so you can increase organic traffic to your artist website.
- Technical. If you’re a beginner at making any sort of website, WordPress can be a little technical.
- Hidden costs. While there is a free option for any functionality you’ll need on your artist website. Such as a gallery, store, managing members if you offer courses. There is also a premium paid option.
- A lot of moving parts. You’ll have to manage your own hosting, update to your plugins and themes, while also taking care of backing up your whole website from time to time. Not as complicated as it sounds, but you’ll have to take the time to learn about how to do this (yes, it can be automated).
Price: Unfortunately, SquareSpace doesn’t offer any free plans (just a quick free trial). However, they offer three plans with different levels of storefront services and features.
- Personal Plan: $8/month
- Business Plan: $16/month
- Commerce Plan: $24/month
SquareSpace many well-designed themes and allows artists to build crisp, modern designs into their art websites. It’s perfect for any artist website because it is centered around image-driven content.
- Many features. You don’t need any technical knowledge to implement things like galleries and stores.
- Easy to design. Their style editor lets you quickly customize colors, fonts, widths, and images without fumbling through code and CSS. Plus they have a nice collection of videos to help you get up and running with your artist website.
- Everything is included. Everything is under one roof. From hosting to analytics, it’s all together on one platform, which makes things easy to manage.
- Limited blogging. Compared to WordPress, SquareSpace is very limited on the content-management front.
- Limited customization. Because you can’t edit code as with other website-building options, that could cause problems if you want to add advanced level customization to your artist website.
Price: Shopify charges the highest rates out of all the other artist website builders, but is worth the extra money because it is an extensive e-commerce solution.
- Basic: $29/month
- Professional: $79/month
- Unlimited: $179/month
Shopify is an awesome e-commerce platform for an artist storefront. Thousands of artists online use this Shopify as a way to grow their businesses and customer bases.
- Simple art stores. Lots of flexibility in designing your online store. You can easily track inventory, customer orders, and much more.
- Great designs. Offers a lot of great-looking, pre-built themes for your online store.
- Fast. It has some of the fastest page load times which are essential for keeping visitors on your website.
- Storefront focused. Because it’s designed to be purely an online store, there are limitations to the type of content you can make.
- Fees. Unfortunately, Shopify charges fees for each credit card transaction, from 2.4%-2.9% (plus $0.30) depending on which package you purchase.
- $$$. Pricier compared to other artist website builders. Again, it depends on the plan you purchase along with the volume of sales.
Which of these artist website builders is right for you?
Now that we’ve gone through the most popular artist website builders, let’s figure out which one is right for you?
- WordPress. A great option for artists looking to grow their business because of the unlimited features and the flexibility of the platform — you can customize it so many ways and even turn your site into a solid eCommerce destination with the WooCommerce plugins.
- SquareSpace. Perfect for artists who would like to design an artist website around their images — because of the sleek designs to showcase your art. Also, the drag-and-drop editor is a great solution for artists who want to avoid coding to customize your site.
- Shopify. The main solution for artists with many many art products to sell. Shopify can handle every facet of a larger art store. You’ll also have control over invoices, coupon codes, inventory, and email customer interactions..
Getting started selling your art online
Once you’re done building your art website, you’re ready to start growing your email art newsletter. Which is an essential part of selling your art online.