The Best Portfolio Website Builders for Artists
Our guide on setting up your artist portfolio online.
As an artist, you will want a proper presence online – nothing represents your work and its quality as much as your website. So don’t make the mistake of having a website that looks just like every other one out there. However, we understand that your budget may be a concern.
Besides representing you in general, your artist portfolio might also contain your pictures, videos, and music. By linking your website to your social media accounts (such as Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube), your visitors will be able to stay up to date on your creative work with no extra effort.
Should you want to sell your work through your website as well, you’ll also need an online store.
Your requirements for your portfolio might be:
- Very easy to use
- Small website (5 to 10 pages)
- Photo galleries, embedding videos and audio files
- Blog feature
- Social media integration (e.g. Pinterest or Instagram)
- Domain and email account included
- Different designs available (from clean to extravagant)
- Provider support
- 5 to $12 per month
- Optional: online store feature
You won’t need:
- A member page with a password protected login and varying levels of access for different kinds of customers
- Management options for hundreds of individual pages
- Full access to the code
Our Portfolio Builders Recommendations
The fastest and easiest way to get into this at low cost? A website builder. Among all the providers we tested, three rise to the top when considering the needs of artists: Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. All three of these solutions have free plans available, and the free plans can be used as long as you like.
Wix: Many artistic websites are created using Wix.com. This might be due to the fact that the editor comes with plenty of modern designs to choose from. You can make pixel-perfect adjustments by using your mouse. Editing photo galleries was never easier. Wix has a massive feature set – even video backgrounds and animated text aren’t a problem.
You can integrate a web store as well, which can be used for both digital products and traditionally shipped goods. Music artists can use the Wix Music app, designed specifically to sell MP3s. Check out our band article for more information.
|Loads of very modern designs||While designs can be edited, you can’t simply switch them out|
|Great expandability through an app market||Mobile website needs some additional, manual work|
|Pixel-perfect adjustment of individual elements|
Weebly: While Weebly is nowhere near as design-rich as Wix, every design can be customized to fit your needs. The grid structure allows you to create a nice and clean layout. The proprietary video and MP3 player is interesting, too, as it allows you to host content exclusively on Weebly without having to deal with YouTube or other streaming services. Unlike Wix, the web store supports digital downloads and services, which means that ebook sales are no problem whatsoever.
|Designs have a nice, clean structure||Designs can’t be created with pixel precision (only through HTML code)|
|Fully featured web store||The website editor needs a true “undo” feature|
|Video and MP3 player included|
Squarespace: Squarespace offers designs that beg to be used by artists and designers. Their style is elegant and reminds us of an avant-garde fashion magazine. There’s an online store feature, too, which you can use to expand your site. Unfortunately, the interface is a bit too minimalistic for our taste, and might be challenging for beginners at times. The price is also rather expensive, $12 for 20 pages is not exactly cheap.
|Beautiful designs||High price|
|Online store feature||Very minimalistic interface|
|No preview mode, so any changes immediately go live|
WordPress.org: If you don’t want to use a website builder, there’s always WordPress. While there are an infinite number of great-looking themes, customization is much more difficult. If that doesn’t scare you off, you can take a look at Themeforest. By using plugins, you can include just about anything in a WordPress page: Social communities, user ratings, online stores, etc.
|Everything is customizable||You’ll need a lot of technical know-how|
|Many features can be added||No official support|
|Relatively inexpensive hosting|
If you’re the creative type, you’ll find that the solutions we reviewed here will be all you need to create your own website. Website builders are made for beginners, with intuitive interaction principles, so you can go ahead and start without reading up on too many of the details.
Not needing an agency or a web designer will save you a lot of money. Just give it a try by checking out the free plans offered by each provider. If you have any questions, the providers do offer customer support (and it’s not a bad idea to see how you like their service, either!).
While WordPress is much more sophisticated, you don’t really need programming skills here, either. Professional themes allow significant customization, and some of it even at the click of a mouse. You’ll still need to set the whole thing up yourself, though, and keep it up to date as well – after all, WordPress is a work in progress. This takes time. Website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace keep everything up to date for you in the background.
Should you have any questions or suggestions, just leave us a comment. We look forward to hearing from you!