8 MUST HAVE TOOLS FOR YOUR ART WEBSITE
We are firm believers that a website is essential for any artist looking to reach potential buyers and generating income through selling artwork. That being said, we also know that setting up a website can be daunting if you’ve never done it before or aren’t super tech-savvy. We thought it would be helpful to share the 8 art website tools we feel are essential for every artist to manage their art website and online art business.
8 MUST HAVE ART WEBSITE TOOLS
**Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, so if you click through and purchase something, we may receive a small commission. If you decide to do so, we would like to thank you for your support!
1. THE RIGHT WEBSITE PLATFORMS FOR YOUR ART WEBSITE
If you’re just getting started launching your art website or looking to upgrade your current site, there are a number of platforms you can use that are super user-friendly even for non-tech types. We’ve outlined three below that we have experience with and love all for different reasons.
When it comes to setting up a website quickly and easily with a beautiful template, Squarespace is always our first choice. To start they offer a free trial where you can basically build your website without paying a penny. Then to sweeten the deal they also offer a free domain name when you sign up and free hosting, which are two less things to worry about right off the bat. Moreover, they have excellent 24/7 customer support, so if you have a question or an issue with your site, you can drop them an email and they will get back to you in a jiffy. If you’re looking for a platform you can easily set up and manage yourself, Squarespace is our top pick.
Costs: The starting cost is $16 USD /month billed annually or $22 USD per month billed monthly. Squarespace pricing.
What’s included with Square Space?
Website templates for artists, you look professional from the start!
Free custom domain
SSL certificate included
24/7 customer support
Fully integrated eCommerce
Statistics show that 28% of websites out there are on WordPress, so it’s pretty safe to say that this is a solid choice. The platform gives you complete control of your site, amazing flexibility with plugins for everything from setting up a shop to implementing SEO, and tons of gorgeous templates to choose from. Here at Creative Founders, we use WordPress because it gives us the functionality we need and the option to keep adding or tweaking things as needed. If you have a little bit of website experience and knowledge of HTML (or can afford to hire developer who does), the opportunities with WordPress are pretty limitless!
Costs: Free. BUT… you have to purchase your own domain and set up hosting before you can install WordPress. Don’t forget you will also have to set up your own SSL Certificate.
What’s Included with WordPress?
Free themes, plus you can find tons of themes for purchase from a number of different sources. Check out Creative Market for their WordPress themes (and much more!)
The option to integrate eCommerce
Access to style sheets for custom HTML
Shopify can be slightly more expensive than Squarespace, but they take care of pretty much everything for you in terms of eCommerce. They also offer great customer service, so if you need help with anything, they’re there for you. You can choose from a selection of free and paid themes, and they also have an app store where you can purchase plugins for everything from product reviews to shipping calculators. The one thing we really love about Shopify is that as your business grows, the platform gives you the option to upgrade to more advanced services to suit your needs.
Costs: $29.99 USD per month plus transaction fees. Shopify Pricing.
What’s Included with Shopify?
24/7 Customer Support
Fully integrated eCommerce
Free plugins as well as plugins for purchase
2. ART WEBSITE DOMAIN NAME
There are tons of sites where you can purchase domain names, but we get ours from GoDaddy because the site is super easy to navigate, they’re affordable and they have great customer service to boot. We love how Squarespace has integrated their domain set-up with GoDaddy. If you’re setting up your Squarespace website for the first time, and you already have a domain with GoDaddy you simply choose to link to GoDaddy, enter your login details and they do the rest. Easy peasy.
If you are looking out for a domain name, you can now purchase .art domain names. To learn more about .art domain names check out art.art
3. ART WEBSITE HOSTING
If you’ve already grabbed your domain name and have decided to go with WordPress as your platform, then you’ll need to host your own website. Basically, a host gives you the virtual space to put your website out there. Here at Creative Founders we use Bluehost to host our website because it’s very straightforward and affordable. If you’re just starting out, then a shared server is the most budget-friendly. This means your host will have you on a server with other sites they host. If you need more space and faster site speed, a VPS or dedicated server is a good option, but usually this is only for larger sites that have tons of products and get tons of traffic.
**IMPORTANT** If you are selling your art online and have your website on a platform like WordPress, make sure you purchase a SSL certificate. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is an SSL cert? It basically tells search engines that your site is secure and safe, so if you are selling online, this is a must! If you’ve decided to go with Shopify or Squarespace, you don’t need an SSL cert as they offer this as part of the package.
4. EMAIL TOOLS
If you’ve already read a few of posts on our site, then you probably know that we believe email marketing is essential for any online art business. Collecting the email addresses of your fans and customers allows you to communicate directly with them. These are two of our go-to email marketing services.
One of our favourite email marketing services is MailChimp because they’re easy to use, easy to implement with most website platforms, and they have tons of pre-made newsletter templates and forms. Even better, it’s FREE for the first 2,000 email addresses.
ConvertKit is a pretty cool tool that allows you to organize your subscribers into different categories, create customized forms for particular subscribers, and create landing pages for your site where you can offer special deals or products. We’re absolute fans of ConvertKit because it really allows you to focus on your demographics and create relevant content that will convert to sales. The starting cost is $29 USD per month, but for us it’s absolutely worth it.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOLS
Building a social media presence is a great cost-effective way for you to promote your art, but we totally appreciate that keeping up to date with your social media can be a tad bit overwhelming. This is where Social Media scheduling tools come into play.
Planoly is an Instagram scheduling tool that allows you to drop and drag your photos before you post them to see which arrangement looks most visually appealing. They also have cool tools where you can save groups of hashtags that you plan to use regularly, schedule Instagram Stories, and check your analytics to see your top posts and posting times. Planoly offers a mobile app and web version, and is free for 30 posts per month. The paid version offers you unlimited posts. Planoly is always launching great new tools so we definitely think you should check them out!
We’ve been using Hootsuite long before Creative Founders even came into existence, and we have to say that this is a firm favourite. We like that you can post to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all in one go. You may not have the drag and drop option photo like Planoly, but they do have nifty features where you can respond to messages right in the app or web version. Just like Planoly, they offer 30 posts per month but across three different social media accounts. They also have a number of plans to fit businesses of all sizes.
We absolutely love Pinterest, not necessarily as a social media tool, but more as a search engine that can drive traffic to your artist website. For us the one tool that has genuinely changed our business in terms of site traffic is Board Booster. This cool tool allows you to automate your pins and will even search for and post pins for you, which can really amp up your presence on Pinterest. We love that once it’s set up, you don’t need to worry about it at all. You can grab your free Board Booster trial here.
TIP: If you’re interested in learning more about using Pinterest to boost traffic and sales, check out our post The Complete Guide To Marketing Your Art on Pinterest
If Facebook is your one-and-only social media tool for the moment, you can use Facebook’s scheduling tool. It lets you load all your posts directly into Facebook so you don’t need to worry about them again.
6. A GREAT PHOTO EDITING TOOL
As an artist and creative entrepreneur, you probably wear many hats, but graphic designer may not be one you are all that familiar with. If you’re looking for a little help resizing your new art photos for your website, these are a few of our favourite easy-to-use tools.
We really do love Canva, because it easily allows you to create banners, brochures and more. They have loads of lovely free and paid templates to get you started, and you can load your own images, change the fonts and add frames and graphics. Canva truly gives us non-graphic designers the ability to create professional looking graphics, and they even have a mobile phone app so you can update your work on the go.
Pixlr is a web-based photo editing tool that is basically like a scaled down version of Photoshop. It allows you to touch up your photos, add filters and share your photos across multiple platforms. If you’re working on more complex graphics for your artwork or are experienced with photo editing software, then Pixlr may not give you the flexibility you need, but for us it’s just perfect.
7. GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Once you have your art website live, we recommend setting up Google Analytics. This is a free tool that gives you an overview of your website traffic and in-depth information like where your traffic is coming from, what your most viewed pages are, the demographics of your site visitors and more. You can then use this information to create new content that is relevant to your audience, tweak your existing content, or make changes to your site to bring in more traffic and convert more sales of your work!
8. WEBMASTERS TOOLS
Google Webmasters is another free Google service that allows you to submit your sitemap to Google so they know your art website actually exists. It also offers tons of tools that allow you to check on things like broken links on your site, and they have courses and guides on how to make your website more user-friendly and searchable. Definitely, a good service to sign up for!
Phew! We know that’s a ton of information to take in, we hope you found this post on art website tools helpful! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to drop us a line. Also, we’d love to know if you have any additional tools that you use to amp up your website?
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