How to Make an Artist Website: The Complete 2023 Guide

As an artist in the digital age, having your own website is crucial for establishing your online presence, showcasing your work, connecting with art lovers, and growing your career. But between choosing the right platform, designing an effective portfolio, integrating e-commerce, and all the technical considerations – building an art website from scratch can feel daunting.

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process, providing tips and best practices to help you create a stunning, user-friendly artist website tailored to your specific needs. Whether you’re a painter, photographer, illustrator or sculptor, read on to learn how to build an online home for your creative work.

Selecting the Best Platform for Your Art Website

With so many options for website builders and CMS platforms, deciding where to start can be confusing. Here are 6 of the most popular, artist-approved platforms to consider:

1. WordPress + Elementor

WordPress is the world’s most popular open-source CMS, offering unparalleled flexibility and scalability. Combined with Elementor, the leading drag-and-drop website builder for WordPress, it provides an optimal framework for art websites.

Key Benefits

  • Endless customization options for unique designs
  • Easy to use, no coding required
  • Robust features specifically for artists like portfolio grids, galleries, and art e-commerce integrations
  • Ability to smoothly transition to an online store later
  • Great SEO capabilities out of the box

2. Squarespace

This all-in-one platform is one of the most popular choices for creatives, with beautiful templates and intuitive website building tools.

Key Benefits

  • Stylish portfolio presentation with built-in galleries
  • Sleek minimalist designs
  • Simple drag-and-drop editor
  • Includes hosting, domain services, and marketing tools
  • Can integrate e-commerce

3. Wix

Wix offers another user-friendly website builder with extensive design freedom and customization

Key Benefits:

  • Intuitive visual editing
  • Large template library
  • Built-in image editor
  • Options for animations, cinemagraphs, parallax effects
  • App market for extending functionality

4. Carbonmade

Geared specifically towards creatives, Carbonmade makes portfolio building easy with a minimalist approach.

Key Benefits:

  • Simple drag and drop interface
  • Clean, gallery-style themes
  • Integrates with Behance and Instagram
  • Affordable pricing

5. Cargo

A portfolio-focused platform with deep roots in the digital art community.

Key Benefits:

  • Made by artists for artists
  • Customizable pages and layouts
  • Support for video and audio
  • Built-in shop integration

6. Adobe Portfolio

Leverages Adobe’s creative suite for easy integration, especially for existing Behance users.

Key Benefits:

  • One-click publishing from Behance and Lightroom
  • Smart templates
  • Useful for cross-promoting Adobe CC products

Key Criteria for Choosing Your Platform

With so many options, focus on a platform that aligns with your specific goals, budget, technical skills, and creative vision. Key factors to evaluate:

User Experience – Is the interface intuitive and easy to use? Can you create the exact designs you envision?

Customization – Does the platform offer sufficient creative control and flexibility?

Templates – Are there enough visually appealing portfolio and gallery layouts that fit your style?

Features – Does it have everything you need like image galleries, slideshows, portfolios, and e-commerce capabilities?

Community – Does it have an active community of artists you can learn from?

SEO – Does the platform produce SEO-friendly sites that help you get discovered?

Scalability – Can you easily add pages, galleries, blog, and shopping cart as your site grows?

Budget – Do the pricing options fit within your budget? Watch for hidden fees.

Ease of Use – Is the learning curve reasonable based on your technical skills?

Choosing the right platform sets the foundation, but the real work comes in designing and filling your website with captivating content.

Crafting an Impactful Homepage

Your homepage is the face of your online presence – that crucial first impression. An effective homepage should immediately tell visitors who you are as an artist and showcase your best assets.

Here are key elements to include:

  • Prominent branding – Make your name or logo clearly visible.

  • Hero image(s) – Feature eye-catching examples of your work. Curate a rotating selection to add dynamism.

  • Tagline – Summarize your artistic identity or specialty in a few words.

  • Call to action buttons – Provide clear next steps like “View Portfolio”, “Visit Shop”, or “Contact”.

  • Navigation menu – Link to key pages like About, Portfolio, Shop, Blog, Contact. Keep it simple.

  • Social media links – Place icons and links to your profiles prominently.

  • Email newsletter sign-up – Collect emails to build your audience. Offer an incentive like a free artwork download.

Pro Tip: Draw visitors inwards by linking call-to-action buttons to inner pages rather than opening external sites.

Building a Compelling Online Portfolio

Your portfolio is the heart of your website – the virtual gallery space to exhibit your creations. Follow these best practices to craft a portfolio that captivates collectors and art enthusiasts.

Curate Only Your Best Work

Be highly selective. Only showcase pieces that represent your current skills and style. About 10 – 20 standout projects is ideal.

Optimize Images

High resolution photographs are essential. Ensure images load quickly without compromising quality:

  • Use an image optimizer like TinyPNG

  • Compress and resize for web

  • Add descriptive alt text

Organize Logically

Categorize works into logical sections:

  • By medium or technique

  • Chronological order

  • Ongoing series

  • Commercial projects vs passion projects

Provide Context

Help viewers engage with each piece by including:

  • Descriptive title and date

  • Medium, dimensions, and any other specs

  • Background on inspiration and creative process

Enable Image Zooming

Let users zoom in on details of your work. Many platforms have lightbox or image pop-up features.

Showcase Videos

Display timelapse videos, studio shots, or other videos highlighting your creative process.

Include Client Testimonials

Quote feedback from satisfied clients or collectors. This builds credibility.

Crafting an “About” Page That Connects

While your portfolio shows off your work, your About page introduces you as the artist behind it. An effective About page should:

  • Share your story – How did you get started as an artist? What motivates and inspires you?

  • Establish your cred – Highlight accomplishments, awards, press features or publications.

  • Describe your style – What medium/techniques define your practice? What themes and concepts run through your art?

  • Add a personal touch – Show your personality! Quirky details make you memorable.

  • Include a headshot – A professional photo makes you relatable.

  • Provide contact info – An email, contact form, and location if comfortable.

Keep your artist bio concise, sincere, and insightful to form an emotional connection with visitors.

Accepting Online Payments

If you plan to sell your art through the website, implementing e-commerce functionality is essential. Here are two great options:


A popular standalone e-commerce platform designed for simplicity and flexibility.

Key Features:

  • Beautiful themes for art and photography
  • Easy customization and branding
  • Robust features for art sales like prints, downloads, and digital products
  • Integrated payment processing


A free WordPress plugin that can transform any WordPress site into a full-featured online store.

Key Features:

  • Limitless design flexibility when combined with Elementor
  • Accept payments, calculate taxes, manage shipping
  • Extend functionality with plugins and extensions
  • Ability to scale from several products to large inventories

For WordPress users, WooCommerce offers seamless integration. But Shopify is ideal if you want a standalone shop.

Enhancing Your Art Website with a Blog

Adding a blog or news section provides valuable benefits:

Promote new work – Share newly completed pieces or works in progress.

Offer behind-the-scenes content – Let fans see your creative process in action through studio shots or videos.

Establish yourself as an expert – Write technique tutorials, commentary about the art world, advice for aspiring artists.

Improve SEO – Fresh, keyword-optimized content

how to make artist website

2 Three Must-Have Pages

In the introduction, we mentioned an artist website is your publicly accessible portfolio and resume, as well as an online business card. This results in the three must-have pages for artist websites: a home/works page with a selection of works as your portfolio, an about/bio/info/cv page with your artist resume, and a contact page.

The selected works page—often the website’s homepage—consists of a reasoned and representative selection of the artist’s best artworks and installation views. Additional information includes the metadata of the artworks (title, year, medium/surface, dimensions), or, in case of an installation view, you can specify the venue and photo credits.

Next, we have your about/bio/info/cv page. The most important thing for this page is to share your professional artist resume communicating the required factual information in bullet points, such as year and location of birth, education, exhibition history, publications, collections, and more. [learn more about how you can set up your artist resume correctly here] You could also add a short and descriptive biographic text written in the third person or by an art critic. If you do not have a lot of experience yet, make sure to read our article on how to improve your artist resume with no experience next.

To conclude, we have the contact page—often combined with the about/cv page to reduce the number of pages even more and simplify the website structure. Here you can mention your email address, which is arguably more professional and less “corporate” than a contact form, and offer the visitor the opportunity to join your mailing list and receive updates on any upcoming exhibitions. In addition, you could add your studio address and the contact information of the galleries representing you. This will elevate your credibility as an artist and the trust and spirit of your galleries. Win-win!

E.g.: The websites of Stan Van Steendam, Minh Dung Vu, and Johnny Abrahams and the recurring three must-have pages for artist websites.

how to make artist website

how to make artist website

how to make artist website

If you have the three must-have pages on your website, you’re all set and can publish your website. However, if you would like to add more information—especially when you are more established—here are some pages that are also industry-accepted in the art world.

You could consider creating a page with an overview of all the texts and publications about your work as soon as there is a significant bibliography about your work. Think of press releases, magazine features, online interviews, and more. Try to present them as formally and professionally as possible using text only and including hyperlinks to an online pdf or webpage of the publication or text in question.

Another possible page is an overview of your monographic, printed publications. Here you can add a picture of the book, including the metadata of the book (year, publisher, author(s), designer(s), pages, etc.) and where to find or purchase them.

To conclude, you could also add a news/projects/exhibitions page, communicating your past, current, and upcoming shows and projects. Please note, once again, this page should remain as formal as possible. Do not use too many s, long descriptions, blog-like text, or additional pages.

We discuss the optional pages more thoroughly in our article All Pages You Need for a Professional Artist Website.

E.g.: The websites of Hans Op de Beeck, Pieter Vermeersch, and Justin Mortimer and the recurring possible additional pages for artist websites.

Understanding the Unwritten Rules and Archetypical Structure for Artist Websites

Before we start creating our artist website, we must understand what we have to create. For this chapter and throughout the years, we have visited and analyzed hundreds of artist websites by successful artists in different phases of their careers and places worldwide. Yet, all these ‘serious’ and professional artists have the same structure, pages, and look. A coincidence? Not at all.

These websites align with the art world’s expectations of your website’s appearance and what information it should communicate. Very similar to the websites of established art galleries, a few must-have pages form the industry-approved archetypical structure for websites. If you follow this structure, the seasoned gallery director, critic, or collector will recognize this structure and conclude you know what you’re doing—being a “serious artist,” “art world insider,” or simply having a professional approach to your artistic practice and profile.

This also implies that as soon as you have something on your website that does not align with this structure and expectations, you will be seen as unprofessional, an outsider, and not a serious artist they want to work with or collect. As a result, we highly recommend that you follow this structure and tutorial closely because every page or action not included in this tutorial is an unnecessary risk and a potential dealbreaker. For your convenience, we have listed some of the most common mistakes to avoid later in this chapter.

So let’s start and discuss the expected overall look and feeling for artist websites, the three must-have pages, some possible—but not necessary—pages one could add, and what to avoid at all times.

how to make artist website

how to make artist website

how to make artist website

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How To Create A Professional Artist Website (Industry-Approved)

How do I create an artist’s website?

When you log in to Bluehost for the first time, you see a screen similar to this. Click ‘ Create your website .’ Select ‘ A little help .’ Select the type of website you are trying to create. Most artist’s websites are ‘portfolio/resume’ sites, so you might wish to choose this option, but it does not matter what you pick here.

Should you make an artist website?

A website is an effective networking and business tool, making your work publicly available for potential curators, gallerists and collectors to see. If you’re an artist reading this, you’ve most likely wondered if you should make an artist website of your own.

What should be on a website for an artist?

Your homepage is the first impression for visitors; it should immediately convey who you are as an artist and showcase your best work. Here’s what to include: Your Artist Name or Brand: Make it prominent and clear what the site is about.

How do I create a creative arts website?

Pick a template Once you have a website builder, choose a creative arts template that’s especially set up for displaying your art work and putting it in center stage. Something with a built-in gallery and an easy-to-view format is a great start for sharing your artistic vision.

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