How to make an artist website?

  • Wordpress here as well. Although I have web dev experience I don't need to do more than a bit of customisation, plugin installs and using the free themes already available. Visual Portfolio plugin is the one I use to display images. Hope this helps (albeit a bit late)

  • Just use WordPress

  • If you have a subscription to any Adobe creative cloud programs then Adobe Portfolio ( is a great free option. You can add a custom domain name if you purchase one elsewhere and I think they look/run really smooth since they're designed for artists. Very easy to use. Here's mine for example

  • @ShannonBiondi I have also used Wix and I am pleased with it.

  • SVS OG

    @dgal I have a Wix site which is good for most things, but not great for comics. The more research I do the best fit for comics is a wordpress site with a comic easel plug-in. That set up allow for all of the things people expect from a web-comic. I have not found a theme on Wix that can compare. The problem is that to install the plug-in it requires a more expensive subscription. My plan going forward will be to maintain one domain for a portfolio for art directors and a wordpress site for the comics. I haven't put it all together yet though!

  • This is a great idea to have two websites!
    Thank you for reply!

  • I used squarespace because their templates work better on mobile than wix. I spent a good 2 months back and for with wix about issues that were happening on my galleries on mobile devices. They didnt want to refund me my money either when I tried to ask for a refund because their sites had issues (I'm not the only person). I like squarespace also cause it lets you put in your instagram feed directly into a page. I was able to create a separate "personal projects" tab on it.

  • I 'm a recovering web designer and developer. There is absolutely no reason not to use online solutions like Wix or Squarespace for your online portfolio. Avoid Wordpress at all costs—it's not worth the maintenance headaches.

    I currently host my portfolio sites with Squarespace.

  • @NessIllustration

    How much is domain and hosting and how would I go about getting it? I have no income coming in at the moment so I was planning just go free all the way till I figure things out for the future.

  • Pro

    @Heather-Boyd I host on SiteGround and if I remember correctly it's $3.95 per month or thereabouts. As for a domain you can get one on Namecheap or Google Domains at $15-20 for the entire YEAR. Then you need a theme, there are a ton of free ones. I use Blossom Fashion from Blossom Themes for my website, it's entirely free with an option to upgrade to premium for extra features which are absolutely not required.

    When it comes to affordability, you can't beat Wordpress. Services like Squarespace really bleed you dry for the "no hassle" of not having to update your plugins once in a while.

    For not having any knowledge in building a website, building my portfolio really was a total breeze. That being said, I'm currently building a second website for my business which will be a shop site, and for the first time I'm starting to see why some people might want to go to Squarespace or Shopify to save themselves the trouble. Wordpress can get quite a bit trickier than I thought when you're setting up some more complex stuff like carts and checkouts, client accounts, email opt-in pop-ups and memberships. It's giving me quite the headaches these days! But just for setting up a portfolio site (about, contact, some galleries and maybe some social links) it's really very simple.

  • @NessIllustration @Heather-Boyd Squarespace doesn't "bleed you dry"—It's a one-time yearly subscription fee that covers everything you could possibly need in a web site. In fact, Wordpress jumped on the web-hosted site bandwagon too and their pricing is actually more expensive than Squarespace.

    I've built enough custom Wordpress sites to know how awful that platform really is ... Especially if you are installing it on your own hosting account and managing the platform yourself using the "one-click install" option so common to hosting services. It's incredibly misleading. Without a basic knowledge of PHP and CSS, you are effectively trapped in a system you can't customize beyond adding plugins. And the more plugins you add to the system, the more likely you will run into problems down the road.

    There is really no point in building and maintaining your own web site any longer with options like Wix, Squarespace, Big Commerce, Etsy, and Shopify (among many many others). If you have any knowledge of coding and styling pages, Squarespace allows a substantial amount of flexibility for customization.

    Site maintenance is easy until it's not. The question you have to ask yourself is, "how much time do I want to allocate to maintaining my website?" I used to do this for a living and my answer is "as little as possible."

  • Pro

    @Paul-Burton I do agree SquareSpace's pricing is reasonable for what it is, with plans between $144 to $480 annually. For some people though, especially illustrators at the beginning of their career and just putting together their first portfolio website, this is not an expense they can afford. SquareSpace is pretty much a luxury service where you pay a bit more and don't have to do the maintenance yourself. For you it seems clear the expense is worth it because you don't want to deal with that. For anyone who can't afford that though, they can make a Wordpress site and pay around $50-60 annually for their hosting and domain.

    It seems like you were dealing with much more advanced stuff as a developer, but to make a simple portfolio site you really don't need to know code or install a hundred plugins. On my site I literally just installed my theme, picked my colors and fonts from the theme's customization options (no css), put in my images and text, picked my sidebar widgets (from theme options) and I was done. Later I got a little fancy and decided to install a gallery plugin for my portfolio page to do a masonry style grid with my images. That's it, and when you think about it there's really no need for much else for a portfolio site.

    We're talking about basic stuff, but so many people make it sound like a hassle so terrible that we artists could not possibly figure it out or maintain it so we have no choice but to spend a lot for a website-in-a-box service like SquareSpace. That's really not the case. I'm sure SquareSpace is an easier and more pleasant experience, but I want to reassure anyone who can't afford it that it is definitely POSSIBLE and even EASY to make a simple portfolio site on Wordpress.

  • I used wordpress but wouldn't say its any better than wix or squarespace (for beginners). you can do a whole lot more with wordpress from an SEO perspective and have a ton more flexibility (and its cheaper too if you get the proper hosting). Its very intimidating and can be frustrating but there are lot of people (even on here) that im sur can help if you have any questions.

    im happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability if you want to talk.

    here is my wordpress site

  • Pro

    @pagurcia Beautiful site, looks very professional!

  • What I did was marry someone that was a professional coder. Now that I think of it, that was sort of the round-about way of doing things. 🤔

    Seriously, though, at first I made a basic site on It's a little convoluted at first, but once you get used to the Wordpress interface, it's a really great way to build a website. Plus, it's free! Then, when you want to get your own domain, Wordpress can help you with that, too.

  • Clarifying a few things for posterity ...


    If you self-host [a wordpress site] your upfront costs will include hosting fees, purchasing your domain, and security (SSL) certificates. All of these costs add up.

    You will also have to consider your time spent installing and building out your site ... if you do not have basic coding skills, you will not be able to customize your site much beyond the free template and free plugins that WP offers. Factor this into your decision.

    In the end, not only will you likely not save money, it may cost you more in time spent trying to figure out how to maintain your site or add functionality. If something breaks (and trust me it will), unless you know someone willing to give you free troubleshooting help, you'll be forking out cash to hire a WP developer.

    Webhosted Platforms [eg Squarespace, Wix, etc.]
    With a hosted site like Squarespace your costs will include the subscription fee and purchasing your domain name. You don't pay additionally for hosting or software updates and you never have to worry about PHP server updates, whether a plugin remains supported, or your site going down. If you want to sell your work, all you have to do is upgrade and start building. All the tools you need are right there. It was also originally built for photographers and designers (artists) in mind so many of their templates are geared specifically toward showcasing portfolios.

    "you can do a whole lot more with wordpress from an SEO perspective" This is a myth.

    With the self-hosted version, Wordpress does not offer built-in SEO tools. Accessing advanced SEO tools and premium plugins are only available starting on their business plan for $25/month. Advanced plugins will cost you more.

    Squarespace's SEO tools are built in and cost nothing to optimize. Wix has the same SEO features out-of-the-box as Squarespace but you also have the option to purchase plugins that can supercharge your SEO.

    Assuming you know the basics of good SEO and how to properly improve your website's SEO using available tools, Squarespace is the better and cheaper option.

    In the end, it's not the platform, only what you have the skills to make of it.

    Web design and development adage—Free is never truly free.

  • Pro

    @Paul-Burton It's not free, but when you're not sure where your next paycheck is coming from $50 a year is a lot better than $144. You obviously know a lot but you're coming in a little bit with an attitude of "if you're using Wordpress you're an idiot" which is a little insulting considering many of us here use it. I think they're all good tools and it's only a matter of what's a good fit for each person and what they can afford.

    I've made my 2 sites using only free plugins including very good free SEO plugins, my sites have never broken before including the one I've had for years. Once a month I log in to add a few more images to my portfolio and while I'm in there I update my plugins, then go on my merry way. It's really not the "nightmare" maintenance big deal you're trying to make it out to be...

  • SVS OG

    @Paul-Burton I’m no WordPress expert but I do know for a fact that you don’t need to know code to make a WordPress website. In the instance that you do, there’s youtube. Everything is learnable nowadays with the internet.

  • Moderator

    I'm personally quite happy with both of my sites through Portfoliobox. I pay $7.00 a month. It's a WYSIWYG alterable-template thing, but it's web-based. They include free e-commerce, practically all the images and pages I'd ever ever need, hosting, my domain name, and look good on mobile (which I've heard WIX is not so good at...). I'm sure it's similar to Squarespace and such.

    I like it because it is clearly specifically image-based for creatives, not a general catch all mechanism that tries to do all things for all people.

  • Pro

    @Coreyartus I've heard great things about them also! For a simple no hassle portfolio site it seems they're the obvious choice and most affordable option 🙂 I heard they don't offer many templates or customization options, but lot of artists want something really clean and simple to put the focus solely on their illustrations.