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3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Custom Designed Artist Website

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Image courtesy of Matthew Hillier

Most people, when thinking about getting their own website set up, would probably look for a web design company, and talk to them about getting a website ‘designed’.

The web designer would get a brief from the client, and then get to work creating a beautiful image of how the website should look. The client would then give feedback on the design, and any required changes would be made, until the client was happy with the design, at which point the website would be built in accordance with the visual design.

This is a common way of getting a website set up, and it definitely has its place for certain types of sites and companies.

But in my opinion, as an artist and a web designer, this is not the best approach to take if you want to get a website set up for your artwork.

So, aside from the possibility of your web design going straight to hell, here are three reasons why a custom website design may not be what you really need for your artist website:

1. It Takes Too Long

The traditional process of getting a website designed and built from scratch can take an inordinate amount of time to complete.

From the initial briefing, through design iterations and revisions, to the website production, customisation and finally the launch, you can be looking at a period of weeks if not months before your website is live.

2. It’s Too Expensive

Getting a website designed and built from scratch (by a professional) can be prohibitively expensive.

Many web design companies, even the smaller ones, will have prices starting at no less than $1000 for a basic website.

That’s not to say that the web designers are charging too much, but as an artist on a budget, it may not be a wise investment to spend your money on a custom-designed website.

3. There’s No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

An artist’s website does not need to be the most complex system in the world. It simply needs to present your art in an engaging way, allow visitors to interact and share your art, and in one way or another, give them the opportunity to buy your art.

Rather than spending your time and money getting a designer to create this system from scratch, why not take advantage of the clever people who have already built such systems, and use an existing artist’s website template?

There are plenty of inexpensive artist website themes out there to choose from, many of which will do a great job of showcasing your artwork, for a fraction of the cost of getting a custom website designed and built from scratch.

Note: There are also a lot of free templates, but personally I would steer clear of these, as they tend to have had less work put into them, which can leave them with bugs and security issues. There is also usually no support for these themes from the developers, so you’re on your own if things go wrong.

So What Do You Need?

So, instead of spending thousands on a custom website design, all you really need is a great artist’s website template, and someone who can put it online for you.

The template I would recommend for any artist’s site is the Statua WordPress Theme by WooThemes, as it has pretty much everything I need, and anything it doesn’t have can be easily added through WordPress plugins.

I use the Statua theme on my own art website, so I’m happy to recommend it to any artist.

If you already know a bit about websites, and you’re handy with WordPress, you could easily set up this theme on your own.

If you need a bit of help getting set up, check out the Complete Guide to Building Your Own Artist’s Website.

But My Site Won’t Look Unique If I Use a Template

This is a common concern, and it could be a valid one if you were building a company website, where you needed a strong brand identity running through your web design.

But as an artist, the template you choose should focus on your images, and the rest of the design should be very minimalistic, so as not to divert attention from your artwork.

Your artwork is your branding, and that is what will make your site unique.

If you have anything to add, or any questions about using artist website templates, please leave a comment below.

9 Comments on 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Custom Designed Artist Website

  1. Jess Morrow says:

    Thank you for this. I discovered your blog about a week ago, and it’s been so refreshing and inspiring to read your viewpoints on creativity. Posts like this one take so much pressure off an artist/writer. I also love the stuff you’ve written about being a “renaissance” artist … I’m a musician too, and it’s just reassuring to have someone tell you that you DON’T have to pick just one thing to focus on.

  2. kara rane says:

    hi Dan-
    I think it is absolutely essential that an artist (or nearly anyone) be able to change and update their website. Why give this control away? Plus in a very short time you will want to add new images, etc..
    I am happy with Intuit and a blog I can update frequently. Also for banners, widgets, etc. try Gimp, free and pretty easy. Also LOTS of tutorials on Youtube. Best to be a Jill or Jack of all trades..

  3. Stacy Hay says:

    I am in the process of trying to find a place to create my own website and have it hosted for not too much money. I looked at WooTheme, but I do not know much about wordpress so it seems daunting. Any other suggestions?

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Hi Stacy. You definitely need to know your way around WordPress if you want to use WooThemes yourself. There are several other options, from ready-made artist websites, to custom built solutions. What you choose will mainly depend on your requirements and your budget. Feel free to drop me an email if you want some advice.

  4. Hello Dan !
    I first thought, hummm, how can I promote for free?? Well facebook has been great, and now wordpress.
    I decided last year to see what I could make , on my own, with wordpress.
    I found it extremely easy to use, and I have unlimited “power” to do as I wish,(change photos, etc.) and I am not the greatest at a computer , either, so that being said, I did it, and think it is sure better than not having anything out there at all , to show my customers . I also combined both my “businesses” Feminine Touch Signs, & Pet Portraits on the site. The response has been great and other artists really like what I came up with :) …now I wonder how I did without it before !!

    Warm Regards,
    Debb

    • Dan Johnson says:

      Hi Debb, that’s great! I would definitely recommend every artist to get a WordPress site set up asap. Love your pet portraits by the way :)

  5. I went one simpler — Included in the $30 Premium annual fee to join FineArtAmerica.com (my favorite print-on-demand site) is a free, user-friendly website. Currently, I have my domain redirected toward it — art166.com.

    If I ever decide to leave FAA, I’ll just redirect the domain to my new site! This system has worked very well for me and is as affordable as it gets. -)

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