The stories that we often hear when we speak to individual artists about their own websites, is one of the following:
- I had a website a while ago, a friend did it for me but they are too busy to update my website for me or I don’t have the login to it
- I haven’t got one because I can’t afford a minimum of £1000 to get a web developer to do my website.
- I tried a few years ago to do it myself but it is too complicated so I just gave up
The truth is the majority of individual artists and creatives only need a simple website that can display:
- Who you are
- What you are offering
- Pictures of your work
- How to contact you/ get in touch with you
Some of you want to connect things to your social media and/or to your Etsy shop or other online selling platforms for visual artists, as we discussed here.
Easy web building platforms
To have a website with these simple functionalities, it is no longer as difficult as it was a few years ago and we expect it will also get easier. This is due to the existence of easy-to-use web building platforms. Of course you still have to pay, but similar to paying your Netflix account or your mobile phone bills, they are either monthly or yearly cost. One could argue that the cost is much cheaper than the cost of our monthly phone bill.
There are so many web building platform/programmes out there that you might struggle to choose which one is the best. The key thing is really is what programme are you most comfortable to use and therefore you are able update your website yourself.
We recommend you register, login, and try out these programmes:
From our website workshops, the majority of people find this the easiest to use web builder amongst the others. It allows you to build your website without having to pay until you want to connect it with your domain.
The programme is intuitive and provides you with a lot design options. If you are used to working on Word Document, you will find this web builder straightforward to use. We recommend either you try all the functionality buttons on the left hand side of the screen, or follow their clear video instructions.
We know a lot of people in the artistic and creative world love the templates SquareSpace offer. We particularly love this Squarespace advertisement featuring Keanu Reeves.
Squarespace definitely know their design.
The challenge that we hear from people using this platform is that it only allows 14 days of exploration, before you need to start paying. Which is great for those of you who are decisive and appreciate clean design.
WordPress is a very flexible and highly customisable open-source programme. There are two slightly different types of wordpress
- WordPress programme hosted by WordPress
- WordPress programme that you can download from WordPress then upload to your web hosting company.
For a bulk of people/ individual artists we met, WordPress is complicated due to the vast amount of possibilities, flexibility it offer and therefore a variety of considerations that you need to have. Unless you can settle on a very simple theme, then we would recommend hiring a professional WordPress developer.
For those who are considering or more likely want to be a professional blogger, a WordPress hosted programme currently you won’t be able to choose the advertisements that are on your blog.
Professional WordPress Developers
If you are an organisation, especially those in need for complex functionality we would recommend a self-hosted WordPress, built by a professional WordPress developer. Here are two WordPress Developers that we can vouch for their work:
How much are they?
Their pricing is different, with a variety of offers on each of their priced packages. They also change quite regularly. Some offer discounts in some parts of the year.
Usually they range between £3 to £30 per month/ £36 to £360 per year.
They all offer free domain and hosting for all or some of their packages.
If you already have a domain name that you know how to access, they are all easy to connect to your domain.
Now, it’s over to you
In summary, try them out and see which one you find easiest for you to use. Remember, things change so fast online, tech companies are constantly improving their offer, so the challenge with one platform today, might no longer exist tomorrow.
You probably don’t need to escape to the desert to make your website like Keanu, but you definitely need a good working website to be taken seriously as a creative and/or artist sooner rather than later.
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by any of the named companies.
Illustration by Bethany Lord