Create an Artist Portfolio Website with Jimdo
Making art is a passionate activity by dedicated individuals. Creating new paintings, drawings, sculptures, or photographs is time consuming, but you still need to find time to present your work to new audiences. Creating a website for your artwork is critical for building your fanbase, selling your pieces, finding representation, and promoting shows.
Jimdo makes creating art websites easy. Any of our flexible designs can become a beautiful, clean template to showcase your artwork. And our sites have built-in tools to help you build your portfolio website, sell your artwork online, and land your website near the top of Google’s results so new fans can find you.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about making your artist website with Jimdo.
Start Creating Your Artist Website
Whether your art career is just starting, or if you’ve already got a big following, Jimdo is a great solution for creating a portfolio website for visual artwork like drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography. You can even make a website for free and then upgrade later. A JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness subscription includes website hosting for artists, your own domain name, and tools that help with selling your artwork and improving your search engine results.
Getting started building your Jimdo website is simple. Visit www.jimdo.com/templates and select a template to start with. Don’t worry though, you can easily change Jimdo templates at any time without losing any of your work.
Select a Template for Your Artist Portfolio Website
With Jimdo, there’s no one specific “artist” template that you have to use — Jimdo’s modern and responsive templates are available for all types of websites. With the right images and text any Jimdo template can make a fantastic artist website that will look great on laptops, tablets, or phones. The template determines where on the page your logo, navigation, content area, and sidebar will appear. You can learn more about how to select the perfect template for your Jimdo website on our blog.
Making the best artist or portfolio template choice for your artwork will come down to the type of specific features and content you plan on showcasing, as well as your personal taste. If you have nice photographs or scans of your artwork, choosing a template with a large “hero” area at the top will make sure that visitors won’t miss the details of your work. Try a template like Rome, Miami, or Zurich.
Choosing a template with a sidebar is a good way to keep your upcoming shows and exhibitions easily visible. The content in the sidebar appears on every page, which makes it a great place to promote shows and contact information. Bordeaux or Amsterdam are both good choices.
If you want to showcase your work with as little distraction as possible, consider a template that has a slide-out navigation like Cape Town or Copenhagen.
You can select or change your template at any time by logging into your website and clicking Templates in the Site Admin and then selecting one to preview from the alphabetical list. If you like it, click Save, otherwise choose Undo and try a different option.
To see all the features of different templates and sort them to find ones that will meet the needs of your portfolio website, browse the Jimdo Template Filter, but remember that you can change the color, photographs, and subject matter of the examples very easily.
Choose a Domain Name for Your Artist Website
While anyone can create a free artist portfolio website with Jimdo, most serious artists will want to use JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness so they can hide the Jimdo advertisement on their site and register and/or connect a custom domain name to make it super easy for people to find you and your artwork online.
Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting out with your artist website. Using your actual name is a logical first thing to try. Something like “JohnDoe.com” would work great, but using your name might not be a great idea if your name is difficult to spell. If your name if very common and is unavailable, try something like “JohnDoeArtist.com” or “JohnDoeArtwork.com”. Since domain names are not case sensitive, you can always make them easier to read by showing them written or typed with the first letter of each word capitalized.
If possible, the best choice is still to get the .com version of your domain name to avoid someone else getting traffic while looking for you. Remember that domains can’t have spaces or characters other than letters, numbers, and dashes.
Domains are just pointers to the actual website; this means that you can connect multiple domains to a single website. This can be a good idea, especially for artists. You can register your personal name and also a name for your brand or even a short slogan or phrase and visitors will end up at your website either way.
Avoid domain names that are too difficult to spell or ones that use hyphens as those will require you to spend extra time explaining how to reach your website. Another common pitfall is replacing words with numbers.
What Pages Does a Website
for Artists Need?
Most visitors expect to find certain information on an artist’s website. You want to make sure that you provide all the relevant information for all the different groups of people that will check out your site: patrons who want to see your work and possibly make purchases, critics and press who want to interview and promote you, and art galleries, agents, and representation who are interested in booking you for shows, commissions, and exhibitions.
Consider adding these pages to your website:
The home page is your chance to make a first impression. Make sure to have the most important information about yourself and your artwork in text on this page. Also make sure to mention the latest information about new works or upcoming exhibitions. Update this page often to keep all the news current. Consider using the sidebar or footer area of your template to promote your next gallery showing or provide easy contact information. Content that appears in that area will show up on all pages of the site.
About or Bio:
A Bio page should be all about you: your history, your education, and your inspiration. It is common practice to include a nice photograph of yourself in this area as well.
Separate from your Bio, an Artist Statement is all about your work. Your statement should be simple and talk about how and why you work. Mention what medium and materials you are drawn to. Keep this short and in the first person (“I” instead of “he” or “she”). You can place the Bio and the Artist Statement together on a single About page if you like.
This is the heart of an artist website and you’ll see a section dedicated to this topic below. This page or set of pages is where visitors will see examples of your work in photo or video form. You can even turn part of your artist portfolio into a store if you would like to sell your artwork on your website.
List all current and upcoming events and locations where visitors can experience your artwork. Having a list of past exhibitions, commissioned pieces, and galleries where you have shown your artwork is also helpful.
While some journalists revel in the idea of discovering a new artist, most play it safe and want to write about artists that they know are newsworthy. Creating a page of your website dedicated to your press clippings and reviews can be really helpful. Make a list of some of the best quotes written about your artwork and then create hyperlinks to the full articles in case your fans or other reporters want to get the full scoop.
After the Portfolio Page, the Contact page is probably the second most important area of your artist website. This is where patrons, fans, critics, press, galleries, and agents will come to reach out to you. In addition to using a standard contact form, make sure to list all social media profiles where you are active. If you already have existing representation, make sure to place their contact information here as well.
Minimize Your Website Design
After selecting your template and making a plan for what pages you want to create on your fine art website, it is time to make some design decisions and begin adding your content. The key to a good artist website is to make the visitor feel like they are witnessing your artwork in person. This is mostly done using high-quality photographs and possibly video. Consider hiring a professional photographer or taking some classes in photography to get the best possible quality for your images.
Since the artwork should be the highlight of the website, we recommend using a clean and minimal design. Here are some design tips that will help your artist website succeed:
- For your website background, consider using a solid white or black background color. This will make sure the visitor will immediately see your art instead of being distracted by a background photo. If you are using a template with a hero area, you can add an image of your artwork that will appear in the top portion of the page. Then use the Style Editor to set the background of the content area to be white or black.
- Jimdo templates are built according to modern web design practices that strongly emphasize a logo. If you don’t have a logo, you have a few options. You can have a logo professionally designed for you, or you can make one yourself. Many artists use their signature as a logo. This can work well if you scan it and convert it to a solid black or white PNG with a transparent background. If you don’t want a logo, just leave the Logo Area of your website blank.
- A clean and simple website is one thing, but make sure to always include some text on every page. Text is very important in helping your visitors understand your website and artwork. Plus, it is the single most important piece of your website for search engines. Having a beautiful website is not helpful if no one is able to find it!
Optimize Your Portfolio
While you should have photographs and examples of your artwork on all pages, the portfolio page or section of your website is where you will keep the bulk of you images. Building the best portfolio requires some forethought and planning on your part.
One of the biggest pitfalls that many artists fall into is showing too much work. You should only show your best artwork in your portfolio. Pick ones that represent your style and best aspects. Don’t put anything online that you are not completely happy with even if you might have sold it for a lot of money. Trust your own judgement or talk to some peers that you trust to help you select which pieces should be included. You can always swap out what you show at any one time, so keep that in mind. Your portfolio should be a living, evolving section of your website.
Start by selecting the pieces you want to use in your portfolio, then decide how you will want to organize it. If you keep to a reasonable number of pieces, you can put them all on a single page of your site, using Heading, Columns, Photo Galleries, and Spacing Elements to organize the page into sections based on category, collection, or medium.
If you have a lot of work, you can make each section into its own page of your website by creating sub-pages in the Edit Navigation area. Many artists will even create a separate page for each piece that they showcase, similar to the way that an online store uses product pages to boost SEO and support material. You can include multiple shots of the same piece, a text write up about the inspiration, the medium or methods used, and even reviews or art critiques on that page.
The Photo Gallery Element is very helpful and has several beautiful display views to show off your work. The Horizontal and Vertical views create a Pinterest-like feel by tiling your images. If space is limited, try the Slideshow view.
If you already have a solid social media presence on a network like Instagram, consider adding it to your artist portfolio section. You can use the Instagram Feed tool from POWr.io to manage and embed your Instagram feed in your portfolio.
Promote Your Artwork with a Newsletter
Email marketing is a huge part of being a working artist today. You can collect email addresses of fans at every public exhibition or gallery where you show your work, as well as collecting them on your artist website. The best option for running an email newsletter for artists is MailChimp. You can start with a free Mailchimp account that will likely be enough for most illustrators, painters, sculptors, and photographers out there.
After you are signed up and have started to build your list, it is easy to embed a MailChimp signup form on your website wherever you would like it to appear. Putting it in the sidebar or footer of your website is a good idea as it will then display on each page of your site. Your Contact page is another logical place to put it, so fans can keep up to date with your latest work and exhibition schedule.
Sell Your Artwork on your Artist Portfolio Website
If you are interested in selling your artwork directly from your website, Jimdo is a great solution. It’s very easy to start an online store, and you can build this right into your portfolio. If you have made separate pages for your individual pieces, add a Store Item Element to each page. You will then need to enter a few store settings on your website and connect your PayPal account to accept credit cards.
For more tips on starting your own online store, check out our Support Center.
Search Engine Optimization
for Artist Websites
Once you have all your content on your website, the next step is to make sure your artist website gets the proper attention from Google and other search engines. The practice of actively trying to make your website more appealing to sites like Google is called Search Engine Optimization. Appearing in all the search results that you want will take time, but by following the advice in this guide, you will be successful.
Start by using the tools that Jimdo provides. Go to Settings > Site Title and entering your name or the name you exhibit under. Next go through each page of your website and click on the SEO button on the Site Admin. For each page, enter a Page Title. This will appear after your Site Title, so you don’t want to make them too long. You will see a handy preview of what your Google result will look like that will tell you if you use too many characters.
Take this opportunity to add a Description for the page as well. Make sure to mention the type of art you create and probably your geographic area as well. Both will be important terms that people will use to find you on search engines.
The most important thing to know about search engine optimization is that Google is smarter than all of us. You can’t trick it, so don’t waste your time trying. Make sure you have lots of text on your website that mentions your name, your genre, your geographic location, and other noteworthy attributes that potential visitors might search for. It is also important to properly use headings throughout your site. Put a large Heading Element at the top of each page and use Medium Headings and Small Headings to introduce new sections of pages.
Also make sure to update your website regularly. This should be easy to do if you are adding new artwork to your portfolio or additional exhibitions and gallery showings to your calendar, but adding news about these things will keep Google (and your audience) coming back to your site regularly.
You can gain further traction for your artist website by making sure that you link to your website from all of your social media profiles. Make sure you have a Google Plus listing and a YouTube channel as these are Google properties and usually show up pretty high in search rankings themselves. Then try to find logical places on the web where it would make sense to have a link or artist listing with a hyperlink. Having links coming to your site from art competitions, local art organizations, DeviantArt, and other resources for artists to promote themselves, will have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
Do’s and Don’ts for Artist Websites
Here are some more best practices to follow and some pitfalls to avoid:
- Don’t use a background that draws attention away from your art. Consider using a solid white or black background so the photography of your artwork will be visual focal point of each page of your website.
- Do link to all of your active social media profiles. Make sure you promote your presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media profiles where you can potentially gain fans. Make it a two-way street by placing links to your website in each profile as well.
- Don’t show all of your artwork. There is no need to show absolutely everything you have ever created. Stick to the best of the best and leave them wanting more.
- Do update your website regularly. Keep visitors coming back by giving updates about works in progress. Also make sure that your exhibitions list and contact information is always updated as soon as possible.
Artist Website Checklist
Building an artist website is not difficult, but there are a lot of small details that you need to make sure you take care of. This checklist can be really helpful to make sure you don’t forget any of the steps that will help you be successful with your website. If you have trouble with any of these steps, please explore the Jimdo Support Center.
- You registered or a connected a unique custom domain
- You created an email address using your domain
- You tried out a few templates and selected the right one
- You have created 4-8 pages of your website
- Your navigation menu does not break onto a second line
- (for templates with horizontal menu)
- You have a professional logo
- Your logo has a transparent background
- Your headings font stands out but is easy to read
- Your paragraph font is very easy to read and not overly stylized
- Your website colors match your logo
- You hid the login link
- You hid any unnecessary footer links
- You are using a plain background or an image that doesn’t detract from your portfolio images
- Remove unnecessary or redundant header text
- You use images regularly on every page
- Your paragraphs are in short blocks of 2-4 sentences
- You are using Columns Elements to place content side-by-side
- You have added a newsletter signup box to your website
- You added a favicon
- You updated the Site Title
- You added a Page Title and Description in the SEO panel for each page of the site
- You linked to all of your social media profiles from your website
- You linked to your website from all of your social media profiles
- You have a list of current and upcoming exhibitions of your work
Artist Website Examples
Template: Rio de Janeiro
Additional Widgets: SumoMe (pop-up collecting email addresses)