As an artist creating a virtual, online precense can be a dauting task. To help you overcome that hurdle, here is how I built my artist website, not just as a showcase of my work but as a sustainable platform for my art business.
Why an Artist Needs a Website
While social media platforms like Instagram have been helpful for me to engage with and grow my audience, they are always changing. Algorithm updates can be difficult to navigate and frustrating especially as artist would rather spend time focusing on their art. That's why having a website is crucial. It's a stable, controlled environment where your art takes center stage without the whims of social media algorithms.
How to Choose the Right Platform
Initially, I considered several website hosting services, weighing their pros and cons to find the best fit for my needs.
1. Big Cartel
- Pros: Ideal for artists with small product catalogs. User-friendly with a focus on eCommerce, it does not take a cut of sales. Third-party plugin support and simple onboarding are major pluses.
- Cons: Limited design flexibility and customization. Not suitable for large catalogs.
- Best for: Artists with unique, limited-edition works who want a straightforward selling platform.
- Pros: Offers a modern interface with over 900 customizable templates. Rich in eCommerce features and advanced SEO tools.
- Cons: Changing templates post-publication can be challenging.
- Best for: Artists seeking design freedom and a more tech-savvy approach.
- Pros: Known for beautiful templates and excellent customer support. Ideal for artists prioritizing aesthetics.
- Cons: Limited customizability with the basic editor; manual saving is required.
- Best for: Artists seeking a balance between simplicity and functionality.
- Pros: Comprehensive eCommerce solution with multi-channel selling and add-on features.
- Cons: Transaction fees and no free plan.
- Best for: Artists aiming to scale their business robustly.
My Choice: Big Cartel
I settled on Big Cartel, attracted by its simplicity, effectiveness for small-scale artists, and the absence of transaction fees. It offers multiple themes and integrates well with Mailchimp, which I use for my email newsletter marketing. The platform showcases my artwork effectively, though customizing it requires some technical know-how.
Consistency Across Platforms
One key decision was ensuring continuity between my website and social media handles. I opted for "kmaloneypaintings" across platforms, creating a cohesive and recognizable brand identity.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Linking a GoDaddy Domain to a BigCartel Website
Finally, I'll walk you through how to link a GoDaddy domain to your BigCartel website, ensuring your digital presence is as professional and accessible as possible.
Purchase Your Domain:
- Visit GoDaddy.com and search for your desired domain name. Remember try to keep it consistent with your social media handles. Once you find the perfect match, purchase it.
Access DNS Settings:
- Log into your GoDaddy account.
- Navigate to the DNS Management page for your purchased domain.
Update DNS Records:
- In the DNS Management section, locate the 'Records' section.
- You’ll need to update or add a CNAME record. The CNAME record should point to your Big Cartel store URL (e.g., yourstore.bigcartel.com).
Verify the Changes:
- Save the changes and wait for them to propagate, which can take up to 48 hours.
- Once updated, your domain should seamlessly redirect to your Big Cartel site.
Link to Big Cartel:
- Log into your Big Cartel account and navigate to the settings where you can update your domain.
- Enter your new GoDaddy domain name here.
- Ensure everything is working as expected. It’s always a good idea to test the domain to make sure it directs to your Big Cartel store correctly.
Creating my website was more than just a technical endeavor; it was my path towards self-empowerment in the digital space. I hope this guide helps my fellow artists save some time and headaches in creating your own website. Your art deserves a space where you can connect with your audience on your terms.
Now go check out my artist website!