What You Need to Know About Website Building As an Artist

Everything is on the internet nowadays; having a website to showcase your work, whatever it may be, is an excellent way to open yourself to consistent engagement with little to no work outside of building your website. Here's how!


STARTING OUT: A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER

Don't feel like you need to know how to code in order to make your dream website; the majority of people self-marketing via websites know little to nothing about code, so don't worry if you're not a computer wizard.


Website builders are a great place to start getting your work out there. They save you the pain and time that coding by hand will cost you, and most offer this with little to no compromise on creative freedom. Another benefit is the capability to choose from templates; these are a great place to start if you're feeling overwhelmed by too much creative freedom.


The nature of your work also matters a lot. Whether you're showcasing your newest music or your recent line of prints, the medium you work with is very influential in determining how you can best present your work. For instance, galleries are very effective at showcasing artwork while musicians might benefit more from embedding a link to Spotify.


BASIC WEBSITE BUILDERS

You're probably already familiar with Wix and Squarespace; and while they're both solid options, it's always good to know you have more. Consider checking out Weebly, WordPress, and Strikingly.


Here's a great article that ranks different website builders and gives you a great breakdown of what each is best for.


EASY DESIGN TIPS

Stay organized

There's nothing worse than a poorly organized website. Avoid info-dumping at all costs. Where you can, organize categories of information onto different pages so that viewers can intuit where they should navigate to find the information that they want.


Page designs should be clear and organized

Headers, dividers, and bullet points are your best friends here! Images also serve as apt dividers.


Approach page design as you might approach constructing an essay: There should be a natural flow to the progression of information.

  • start with a general statement-making the topic of the page clear

  • follow this with a short introduction paragraph with relevant information (make sure this doesn't push the main content down so far that they have to scroll to access it)

  • incorporate the main content of the page organized into intuitive categories


Proofread

You've probably heard this a million times, but that's because it's true: typos, no matter how infrequent, look very unprofessional. Make sure you're always double-checking for syntax and spelling errors


Contact information

Your contact information should be readily available on every page. At the very least, viewers should be able to find it at the bottom of each of your pages, but you may find it helpful to incorporate it in a few other strategic places (i.e. perhaps in the middle of the home page).


Let people decide what they want to know

This falls into the branch of info dumping. People don't want to have to sift through large amounts of information to get to that one piece of information that they need.


A common error related to this is making the 'who you are blurb' on the home page far too long. People need to know who you are, but you don't need to write an entire autobiography. Instead, have that information readily available on a separate page; then viewers can engage with that material when and if they want to. Strategies like this prevent people from clicking away.

Brain Candy home page; emphasis on the menu tab to showcase the website's organization
Notice how we make it immediately known who we are and what we do, but also offer the opportunity to learn more about us should viewers want to

ORGANIZATION BASICS

There are four pages that most websites should have: Home, About, Portfolio, Shop/Services. These are a great place to start, and should you feel you need more pages they are a great place to branch out from.


Home Page

This is the most important page on your website. If there's any single page you should spend time perfecting, it's this one: it's the first impression viewers will get of you, and they will click away if they don't like what they see.


Here are some things you can feature on this page.

  • a sample of your works (or a small, diverse group of samples)

  • a short blurb relaying your name, location, specialties, and optionally a few other small details you feel are relevant to who you are

  • fun graphics

  • A picture of you (this is optional, but can help viewers to connect with you)

  • contact information

  • links to other ways people can engage with your content

This page should make immediately clear who you are and what you do. An effective home page design bleeds into a portfolio page so that if viewers are initially intrigued by what they see, they will naturally come across more examples of your work as they are compelled to scroll. Here's a great example:


Summer Belt home page
Name is immediately presented, it is clear they are an artist, direct opportunity to engage via link to song, and bleeds into merch selection

Portfolio Page

This is the meat and potatoes of your website, and the second most important: it will house a more substantial selection of your work than does the home page.


Consider breaking up your works into organized categories, whether that be by medium, subject, project, etc., and display them in separate categories. Some artists find it helpful to include a small blurb delving into the connecting theme above each gallery.


About Page

As was delved into a little earlier, this is the appropriate place to store more information you think is essential to your identity. Write with this intent: how can I communicate the most essential tenets of who I am in a few paragraphs?


Consider including information like:

  • name

  • where you're based

  • relevant experience

  • any projects you're proud of and you feel help define who you are/your career, etc.

  • fun facts, some autobiographical details

Viewers click on this page with the intent of getting to know you; keep this in mind when constructing this page. Good About pages tend to have language that showcases professionalism and personality!


Shop/Services

This page delves more into your business practices, or it can simply be another instance where you make your contact information readily available. Consider adding a blurb at the top of the page expressing your excitement/willingness to connect with viewers!


There are three common options for this page:

  • If you have work you're looking to market, consider setting up an online store on this page.

  • outline your booking process and guidelines. This can help prevent your inbox from filling up with messages from well-intention individuals who misunderstand your availability, specialty, and desire to take on a project.

  • simply re-iterate your contact information.


GOOD EXAMPLES

We're pretty proud of our website; consider perusing it for inspiration! (:

Check out this great website that Brain Candy built for Summerbelt!