Website advice

Scamall

Supporting Member
Messages
348
I want to build a website to display my portfolio. I am very open to advice. I don’t mind paying a reasonable amount for a website and don’t really want to do anything approaching coding. My skills are more drag and drop. 🤣
 

ZenDruid

Well-known member
Messages
593
I've been using Zenfolio for about six years. It's drag and drop with a little bit of typing for your profile. About $200 USD a year. They have a free trial offer. They offer a retail service for your work - I haven't really used that, have no opinion about it.
 

Scamall

Supporting Member
Messages
348
I've been using Zenfolio for about six years. It's drag and drop with a little bit of typing for your profile. About $200 USD a year. They have a free trial offer. They offer a retail service for your work - I haven't really used that, have no opinion about it.
I just looked at your site, very easy on the eyes and professional, thanks again!
 

MurrayG

Contributing Member
Messages
272
Hi, either way, you will be up for fees. There are "free" options, but sometime come with downsides or limitations. If Free is a criteria - then try Blogger.com, downside is it has limited flexibility in names etc. Most "systems" will aim at a monthly fee for hosting eg Weebly and similar. To do it all yourself is not so difficult but you need to be clear about your needs. I selfhost and own my own domain names and use a number of website CMS's from Wordpress to Bludit, Both are free, and both come with some "learning". I am very happy with Bludit, simple, free etc.... WP can be complex for a beginner and is often a hackers heaven. Whatever route, be prepared to put time into the site.
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
9,131
To get a site up and running, it is an investment, if you want a real professional site. Some people can build one on a Wordpress site and make their domain wordpress.domainname.com but you at least have to pay for hosting and a domain name to have yourdomainname.com. That is not really that much. You can get a domain name for like 8 bucks a year and hosting for about 30-50 a year, depending on your needs.

There is a really big learning curve to Wordpress. It seems easy, but it's actually kind of difficult to make it look the way you want it to. It's very temperamental no matter what theme you use. I use it for my blog and it was hard to make it look somewhat like my website, or make it look like it matched it's "look."

My website I build from scratch, but Hannah and I know how to do that in php and whatnot. It's on a dedicated server and that cost a ton of money. It's not necessary for most people to get a regular website up and running. Mine is like that because it's running on a massive database that I use for my inventory on the back end.

I think sites like Wix and Squarespace have easy ways to put sites together because their templates are fairly simple to use. I lean toward Squarespace just because I like its simplicity.

There used to be a place called artcat that did everything and it was well worth the money because it came with support, hosting, SEO, etc. all in one, and helped make sites specifically for artist's portfolios--simply. You also want your site to be responsive--that's very important.

I don't know if they are still around, but I used to recommend them. There is another called bigblackbag that does the same thing, but with more templates.
 

KreativeK

Moderator
Messages
1,628
I've been very happy with Artspan and mainly because they have a prints on demand service. Many people/customers do not want or cannot afford originals and rather have prints. I pay about $219/year. They do offer a free month I think still. You can set it up yourself as far as what type galleries you want on the site such as Florals, People, Still Life, Abstract, etc.
 

Jo Castillo

Contributing Member
Messages
1,669
Daily Paintworks has no limit to amount of photos, has commerce including auctions. $12.95 a month I think with a free month. Contests. You can have a domain name but no personalize e-mail so need to go separate on that.

I use FineArtStudiosOnline. Lots of perks like email, newsletter, commerce, new art reminders, contests, different price range for amount of photos, usage of newsletters, etc.

Both of these are designed especially for artists.

I have a blog on Blogger which is free with no ads or junk. You can set it up like regular art page. Easy to use. It's with google so you can get a domain name and use google mail. No limit on images unless you post huge ones which isn't a good idea. Thousands of images. I do store my images separate on my computer after posting them for both my blog and website.

Have fun....
 

Bartc

Well-known member
Messages
436
Lots of options, all with their compromises. Based on something I read here (or another board?), I just tried Weebly and found it very easy to set up a clean, effective website for free, with the kind of options I would want to upgrade for sales/marketing potential in future. BTW, I'm no stranger to websites and coding, but simply found I didn't ever do it for myself (go figure.) I did try Wix about a year or so ago and found it cumbersome and not satisfying. So finding Weebly easy and effective on the fly suits me for right now.

My impetus for this was an upcoming show in which I will have a couple of pieces to sell, but had no place to direct folks to see my work overall. Hoping this works out well for now and future. We'll see.
 

picassolite

New member
Messages
8
Building a website is the easy part. You have some great suggestions here.

However - once you build it - have you thought how you are going to drive traffic to it?

Have you thought about SEO?

What I'm getting at is this - nothing equates to the come down you might feel - when

very few come to your site after you have knocked yourself out getting the site online.

Most of the visitors to this site are Semrush Robots - so mentioning you have an art site

on this platform won't drive the kind of traffic you might think.

If you already have a traffic funnel in place - great.

On the other hand - if you don't already have a traffic funnel working - an art site

is not the first place to start.

You want to build a traffic funnel before you build a web site.

If I were you - I would start with a Youtube channel.

Take a look at - https://doodlewash.com/angela-moulton-artist-how-watercolors-changed-my-life/

scroll to the bottom of this page and you will see her traffic links.

Her web site - https://pratt-creek-art.myshopify.com/ ... shows many sales.

That did not happen by chance.

Normally who.is site will tell you how long a site has been up. But hers is Shopify site - so no info.

Hopefully she bought her name from an online site registry - allowing her to transfer her site

to another platform in future if she wishes to do so.

Her last link is her Youtube channel - currently with 4.17k subscribers.

However her Youtube channel has been up for 2 years.

Now here's the clue - a Youtube channel enables you to direct traffic to your web site.

This is a traffic generator.

Back to Doodlewash - her links also show a link to her books selling on Amazon.

I'm sure her books include her art web site url.

She also has a Facebook account. From there you can again direct links to one's art site.

Whatever one thinks about Facebook - it's ad engine is without peer.

She also has an Instagram account with guess what - 12.9k followers. And a link to her art site.

Her TikTok site has 157 followers - also linking to her art site.

All of these have created awareness of the artist. Once you get that going - then it is time to

knock yourself out putting up an art-selling site. This is what it takes.

All of this has created a Google footprint of 3,330,000 links on Google with her name.

This is a traffic funnel. Without it - your art site won't get any significant traffic.

Just my 2 cents.

Best regards.
 
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Bartc

Well-known member
Messages
436
Picassolite, all agreed. A site alone is a very lonely dinner indeed.

My post was not designed to drive anything to my new website. I realize that's a job in and of itself, and frankly, as I near my impending retirement I'm not sure I even want to pursue a "job" selling my artwork. All I was saying was that I had found this particular site easy to set up and it seems easy to enhance/upgrade if desired, but free for starters. There are others, of course. And free doesn't equate to value if your aim is a serious sales channel.

The whole rigamarole you describe is not news to me. Today's marketing seems to require you to become a multi-channel "influencer" in effect. A shitload of work in a crowded field of wannabes. Some make it, most just make a lot of work for themselves. Some even make fools of themselves.

And were I to appear dancing on TikTok, I would certainly fit the latter.

Your prescription is correct, but the medicine for some would be worse than the disease! YMMV
 

picassolite

New member
Messages
8
Bartc - how right you are.

Marketing any site, let alone an art site is not for the feint of heart.

It is a 'job' in itself. No getting around it.

Which explains why so few artists online make any money - after they put

up their site.

All this marketing work used to be done by the art gallery.

That's why they could ask and get a 50% commission on each sale.

In today's environment - the artist needs to put on their 'marketing' hat

or - to put it in perspective - nothing happens.

The good news is - should an artist go to all this trouble ...

they will be sitting pretty. Why?

Because they will build a list of buyers - and one time buyers -

with a little schmoozing can be 'turned' into life long buyers.

And that is where the real money is.

Marketing heads call this 'the lifetime value' of the customer.

Once an artist builds that list to a substantial number -

all they have to do is send out a mass e-mailing to their list

and if even 1-2% buy ... that's a lot of money.

Think of it this way regarding Ms. Moulton -

2% of a list of 12.9k followers is 258 orders. That will keep

an artist in the green.

How does an artist handle 258 orders? Simple - they sell prints.

Price it right and it's golden.

But - to confirm - it is a lot of work upfront.

However - once you get the wheel rolling downhill -

it rolls all the way to the bank.

In marketing it's called - 'rinse and repeat.'

For an artist who has the drive to put this 'funnel' in place -

and they are out there - you won't believe how much they make.

If one should google 'Jack Vettriano' on Firefox search engine

you will see 1,140,000 links to his sites.

Search his 'net worth' in 2021 - it's estimated between

$1-$5 million. Not bad for putting a brush to some paper or canvas.

Jack Vettriano controls his site and his marketing. In fact ...

when he self published his 'Singing Butler' poster it pissed off

the art world - because it became the #1 selling poster in the

world in it's time - and he didn't have to split the income

with anybody.

Not bad - for a self-taught artist.

Best regards
 
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picassolite

New member
Messages
8
Which brings me to another insight ...

The self-taught artist has a built-in psychological advantage over the school trained artist.

The self-taught artist by their very nature, their persistence, their curiosity ... they know

the 'truth of life' vis-a-vis the art world -

which is - they are not sitting around waiting for roast duck to fly in.

They know - if they don't make it happen, no body else will.

Norman Rockwell in his biography mentioned -

when he was studying art at the Art Students League -

there were many artists with more talent then he.

But he had one singular advantage over them.

He was willing to study his craft while they were out partying.

He did not take his ability for granted. He worked and worked at it.

That same drive is what propelled Jack Vettriano to his success.

Charles Shulz the creator of Peanuts (that was not the name he wanted -

but wiser heads prevailed) ... was a workaholic.

In today's world it pays to work smart - not hard. Pace oneself.

Having said that ... Shulz got so much fan mail - the post office

gave him his own zip code.

Imagine what he could have done with email and that mailing list.

Granted - cartooning is not fine art - however ...

google search cartoonists 1940-1960 and you will see why

Shulz worked 6 days a week. Every one and his brother wanted

to knock Shulz off his perch as a cartoonist.

Rockwell had the same kind of competition.

His work ethic cost him 4 wives. But he averaged a cool Million a year

for almost 30 years.

However with the internet - a fine artist for the first time in recorded history

has an opportunity to work smart (not hard) and reap a windfall.

All I can say at this point - if I were 40 years younger and knew then

what I know now about marketing.

Best regards...
 

Bartc

Well-known member
Messages
436
Which brings me to another insight ...

The self-taught artist has a built-in psychological advantage over the school trained artist.

The self-taught artist by their very nature, their persistence, their curiosity ... they know

the 'truth of life' vis-a-vis the art world -

which is - they are not sitting around waiting for roast duck to fly in.

They know - if they don't make it happen, no body else will.

Norman Rockwell in his biography mentioned -

when he was studying art at the Art Students League -

there were many artists with more talent then he.

But he had one singular advantage over them.

He was willing to study his craft while they were out partying.

He did not take his ability for granted. He worked and worked at it.

That same drive is what propelled Jack Vettriano to his success.

Charles Shulz the creator of Peanuts (that was not the name he wanted -

but wiser heads prevailed) ... was a workaholic.

In today's world it pays to work smart - not hard. Pace oneself.

Having said that ... Shulz got so much fan mail - the post office

gave him his own zip code.

Imagine what he could have done with email and that mailing list.

Granted - cartooning is not fine art - however ...

google search cartoonists 1940-1960 and you will see why

Shulz worked 6 days a week. Every one and his brother wanted

to knock Shulz off his perch as a cartoonist.

Rockwell had the same kind of competition.

His work ethic cost him 4 wives. But he averaged a cool Million a year

for almost 30 years.

However with the internet - a fine artist for the first time in recorded history

has an opportunity to work smart (not hard) and reap a windfall.

All I can say at this point - if I were 40 years younger and knew then

what I know now about marketing.

Best regards...
Picassolite, it's my fantasy - along with most other creatives - that we can find a manager/agent who will handle the marketing for us, thus permitting us to just pursue our creativity. That way our "work" will be our "artwork" and not sales. That is indeed what made the old gallery system worth the 50% commission desirable for those few artists who would be adopted by the gallerists.

I have been selling all my life it seems. I started when I worked for a photographer in resorts at 14, and while I learned photography and even managed a color darkroom, the business was all sales (at which I was pretty good.) Later had my own photo biz for a while, but hated it because it was all sales and that was robbing me of my creative hobby of photography.

I've been at a couple of points in my career a business consultant, part of which was marketing consultation. I've been a public figure "marketing" human services for over 50 years now and am about to retire.

About the second to last thing I want to do now is to spend my days selling yet again, and have that concern about repeating the photography biz experience of turning my creative pursuit into yet another sales system.

So, yes, were I 50 years younger I might jump at the chance to exploit the advantages of the Web. But now, nope!
 

picassolite

New member
Messages
8
Hi Bartc ~

I recognize what you are saying and

it reminds me of a story I once experienced

with a friend over 30 years ago - a very good graphic artist.

He ran a business out of his garage - selling logos and figurines.

He called it 'the fastest day in his life.'

This day the 3 employees did not show up.

On that day he had deliveries to one end of the state,
figurines to mold press, and also deliveries to the other end of the state.

After that 10 hour day ... he started to rethink his business plan.

I asked him ... "Mike, if you had to do it all over again -
how would you change it?"

He laughed and said - "Nowadays ... all I want to do is
grab my coffee, walk to the mail box and pick up checks."

That conversation really got me thinking about how do I want

to simplify my business model.

That's when I began to realize the power of the internet

to do the 'leg work' for me. But that opened up a learning

curve that it has taken years to master.

Best regards ~

PS - the good news is -
for those willing and able to tackle the internet
it is doable.
 

picassolite

New member
Messages
8
There's an old saying about success -

"it's 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration."

When artists embrace that blue collar work ethic -

they will succeed beyond their wildest imaginings.

Let me be clear - the 90% does not apply to producing the art.

It applies to learning the marketing of art.

The story of Leonid Afremov should be an inspiration -

Best regards ~
 

Artyczar

Moderator
Messages
9,131
I really think it depends on what your goals are--specifically. (By the way, picassolite, welcome to the site. Can you format your posts in single line sentences?)

Traffic funneling, as you call it, is smart. It's always good to have an alternative place to bring traffic in from other sites, especially social media sites and YouTube (powerful stuff), if you are looking to bring in more traffic. It only needs to have relevancy to what you are trying to do or what you are selling -- if you are selling anything at all.

SEO cannot be accomplished prior to building your website, but you can certainly plan your SEO beforehand. SEO is really best created as you build your site so you can describe each page of your site and how relevant it will be for Google to index each page. The point of SEO is to make your site searchable in relevant search terms. If you are selling landscape art, you want it to come up first when someone types that into Google, but more importantly, you want to get as specific and descriptive as possible, i.e.: "science fiction landscapes," "landscapes with flying saucers," "alien worlds," etc., or whatever your landscapes are about, not necessarily just your name, medium, and genre. Site titles are of course, most important, but the main description is super important, and for the words in that description to somehow get repeated in the text on the page in a relevant way. Google likes authentic relevancy, not tricks.

It's great to have a million followers on your social media sites, but the quality, not quantity is what matters. If they are all other artists that like your demos on YouTube, that doesn't do you much good if you're looking for serious collectors of fine art.

Just things to think about.

Goals are very important. If you just want to make money and are not all that interested in making original paintings, then by all means, make coffee mugs and posters. While you're at it, make sneakers and potholders too. Are you after "products" or a career? Do you want to connect with your viewers or are you after only sales, or both? Are you looking to get into a commercial gallery or sell on your own? A lot of strategy goes into these things before laying out a whole business plan and trajectory. We must ask ourselves who our audience is and why we are making art. It's important to know these things.
 
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