It shouldn’t be a surprise that I spend a ton of time cruising art websites and it astounds me over and over again how inept artists are at building and maintaining sites that are attractive (myself included.) They should be nothing less than attractive, but sadly - most of them look like they are still stuck in the late 1990s! (#SoRetro, anyone?)
Here’s the problem: Building websites is hard work, even when you use such services as Squarespace and Wordpress (which is an annoying and impossible service) and it’s not just the initial building out of the site, it is also the maintenance of the site as well and from my professional experience as a designer, I’m finding more and more that people really are not into spending a lot of time “clicking about” sites just for the enjoyment of looking at art.
For artists, then - the standard website is not the answer, at all - ever.
What’s the option?
When I originally wrote this article in 2017, I came to the conclusion that my personal opinion for a good website was Tumblr. With really cheap templates (as low as $11) and a fairly easy to use dashboard (tho finding specific things in the settings can be a nightmare) the nearly-free service enables me to have a site that is set up much like Pinterest, and it's very attractive - which for an ARTIST, is extremely important. What's good about this is the never ending scrolling feature that allows people to look without the irritation of having to click into other pages...because let's face it, even the most dedicated enthusiast would rather scroll than click thru endless pages.
However, the future of Tumblr in my estimation is very sketchy. They recently updated their user policies with the sweeping change of not allowing adult content on the site, which I whole-heartedly welcome, but unfortunately - that was the majority of their business....so now I have to ask - exactly what are they doing now? Are they going to move forward to make this the great blogging site it was before 2013? Let's hope so, because I will personally put my stamp of approval to it.
For now, tho - Weebly is my paid site provider to the tune of $500+ dollars and while some art bloggers say that having a website is not necessary and there are other ways to get your artwork sold without the steep cost; until I get real gallery representation or a solid list of collectors then the paying feature is very necessary, even tho as artists - resources can sometimes be scarce.
All this and the problem remains the same: artists' websites are often horribly planned out and executed. As a former graphic designer I have a huge advantage in this area and all of my sites I'm happy to say are attractive. I cannot emphasize it enough; however, that the site that introduces, displays and sells your art should be at the very least attractive.
With plenty of social media options out there, it really is optional as to whether or not an artist chooses to have a dedicated site. My opinion? Do a Tumblr blog and you have the almost free with minimal work/difficulty option. Keep plugging away at social media and eventually people will come to know you. Good luck and keep posting!