Day 9 of #100daysmarketingcreatives – Create Your First Art Website
Do you want to create your first art website? A big mistake with online marketing is trying to run before you can walk. Many people think they can quickly create a website and they will start selling online immediately. That is just not the case. If you have followed this project this far you will have realised that there are lots of things to think carefully about before setting a website up. Those things will strongly influence the design of your website.
We are not yet ready to set up an all singing all dancing website with online shop etc. That comes later. Having a website presence isn’t the end of the story. There are many many things you need to do to drive visitors to your website otherwise you own a gorgeous store on a deserted high street. Some passing trade will come in but not in the numbers you need to make a success of it!
What we want to create at this stage is a simple online presence. There are then many more things that we will put into place that will help your website evolve. At this point we just want to create a simple website for you that will link everything else together. We can the build on as we go forward.
It Isn’t Rocket Science To Create Your First Art Website
A second big mistake is the thought that building a website is rocket science and beyond you. Yes to do it well a good degree of skill is needed. When starting a business, however, budget is tight. There is a lot you can do yourself with the right guidance and tools that are now available to you. As you start to sell more, however, it may become a distraction. That is when you may wish to move it across to a specialist. But when starting out why not have a go yourself and see what you can achieve, you might surprise yourself!
You REALLY DO Need A Website
Another common mistake is to believe that you do not need a website. Every business needs a website. You might think you can set up an Etsy, Folksy, Not On The High Street, Art Finder, Fine Art America, Satchiart or similar shop and it will do everything for you. With these systems, however, you work to their rules and you use their layouts. You pay their commissions and put things where they ask you. You sit in amongst all your competition. Here you let their algorithms and filters decide your future because you rent the platform rather than own it!
Within your own website you work to your own rules. By all means set up an Etsy shop or similar and link your website to it to handle sales. Make sure, however, that you create a website to showcase your brand, host your mailing list, link everything together including your shops, social media accounts, to show your portfolio, blog and so on. Customers will expect a professional business to have a professional website. They will expect a professional email address. Show them you have one even if product sales are handled externally to start with.
So Where To You Start To Create An Art Website
So where do you start to create your first art website? There are many companies that provide website hosting with many different cost offerings. There are a wealth of different tools to create your website. These days it is very unlikely you are going to have to get involved in coding webpages. Today most systems offer professionally designed website templates that you can choose from. You can then customise these using easy to use tools until you achieve what you are looking for.
For several years I used Jimdo to create websites. I used them because a number of customers were already using them. Their software was easy to use and felt comfortable. I helped clients to take their websites from where they had taken them themselves to where they wanted to take them! Jimdo does a lot of things for you by providing templates that you can easily customise to your own brand. You don’t need to be a programmer or website designer and it provides all the essential tools to create an online shop.
Since then I have come across other customers using WIX, Squarespace, Shopify and several other platforms all offering similar functionality and similar templates to get you up and running quickly. You can be successful with any of these website platforms or many others. Don’t rush to change if you already use one of them. Try to make that one work first, you can always change later if you need to but it isn’t the host that makes it a success it is how you design your website yourself.
What Do I Recommend For A New Art Website
Having said that if you are looking to create your first art website it is worth choosing carefully. If you want something fast and intuitive then you might find products like Shopify, WIX, Squarespace and Jimdo tick the boxes for you. Personally I like to have more control over my website and using tools that are much more widely used which is why I use WordPress. At time of writing 39% of the web is built on WordPress!
WordPress is extremely well supported, free (you just pay for hosting not the software making it a cheaper option) and has a wealth of plugins which are often free or affordable bolt on pieces of software for extra functionality. Traditionally it was used more by developers than small businesses or individuals, however, as it has matured it has become easier to use and additional ‘builder software‘ has appeared that sits on top of it and makes it even easier and more powerful to use. I have a course called Simple Art Marketing Academy which will show you step by step how to build a website with a fully functional online shop using WordPress and builder software if you need help with the nuts and bolts of using WordPress or just need help with the mechanics of how to sell your work online.
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Where do you host your website?