After all, the first thing anyone will ask you (when you tell them that you’re an artist) is, “Where can I see your work?” If you don’t have a website to point them towards, you may have just lost a potential sale.
The question for many artists becomes, “OK, how much will it cost?” And often, the cheaper it is, the better.
But today I’m going to go a different direction. . . I want to give you 4 reasons why you may actually want to consider a custom-built artist website. Granted, custom websites for artists are much more expensive, but if you consider your website an investment in your artistic career, it could turn out to be right choice.
So here are my 4 reasons why you might want to have a custom website built for you. Depending on your situation, just one of these reasons may make it worthwhile:
1. You’ve got the money and can easily afford it
If money isn’t a problem, then why not? A customized website, designed and built just for your art, and for your brand, will be much, MUCH more professional-looking and appealing to potential collectors.
When you’ve saved up a few thousand dollars, go to a web-designer (or two) and ask for an estimate. Tell him or her exactly what you want in your website. A gallery, for your images; a shopping cart, so people can purchase directly from you; perhaps a blog, or a list of your recent Twitter or Facebook posts.
They’ll return with a figure, and you can see if you think it’s worth it. The cost could range from several hundred dollars (for a more basic website) to several thousand.
2. You’re already an established artist
If you have a specific niche or brand that you’ve built up over time, and you’re more established as an artist, then having a custom-built website is probably a good idea.
Sure, the cost might be a tough pill to swallow, but it may be worth it just to make sure that your brand extends successfully online. If people tend to recognize your name, style, logo, etc, you NEED for them to connect with it on your website as well.
3. You want to sell various sizes of prints AND originals
Your website’s “shopping cart” section is probably the most important part of your website. It always needs to be secure, for credit card transactions; and the more options you want your shopping cart to have, the more personalized and customized your website will have to be.
For example, selling original works of art will simply require a shopping cart that can handle the sale of individual items, each at their own set price. Once an item is sold, it’s sold. There are no more.
Selling a single run of art prints in addition to your originals would also require a system to keep track of how many prints are left at any given time. And selling multiple sizes of prints requires everything previously mentioned, as well as different price points per print (for each size available), and possibly different shipping costs.
Basically, the more types of artwork that you want to sell, the more likely you’ll need a custom solution.
4. FASO, Foliotwist, or ArtSpan just don’t do it for you
Finally, the fourth reason you might want a custom art website is because the intermediate solutions—Foliotwist, FASO, ArtSpan, etc—just don’t appeal to you.
Foliotwist is the service that I co-created and help manage, but all three of these systems work in similar ways. Basically, they allow many artists to “share” the underlying website code, and thereby share the costs together, making a cheaper solution for everyone.
Each artist still has their own distinct website, of course, but the tradeoff is that these websites lack some of the options that a custom-built artist website would have.
In the end, the choice probably still comes down to money. Custom websites for artists are expensive, and there’s no getting around it. But if one of these options makes sense for you, then it might be time to bite the bullet.
If so, communication is key. Shop around, talk to different designers, and make sure you clearly explain what you want right upfront. Do that, and when it’s all said and done, you’ll be more than happy with your custom website.
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