Thinking about a new artist website? Two weeks ago 1stwebdesigner featured a great article titled, “Six Solid Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress”. We think that’s a great message and its just as true (if not more so) for artist websites as it is for the Joe Schmo small business.
Lets start with 1stwebdesigners 6 Reason Titles and we’ll add our 2c worth on why WordPress makes SO MUCH sense for artists! Oh – and just to be clear we’re talking here about the version of WordPress you host yourself (wordpress.org), not the hosted version (wordpress.com).
Flexible Open Source
In a nutshell this means that it uses a flexible open platform and that there are literally thousands of developers all over the world constantly making improvements and extensions which benefit you. It’s happening while you sleep! The framework is also free – you can put up a WordPress website with a number of different themes all by yourself at no cost. A designer can also develop a fully customized site with unique design aesthetic for you too – but still based on the WordPress engine for ease of updating and simplicity. Many of the customized sites we build at Beautiful Artist Websites are just so.
Great Content Management System
To understand this think simply as follows – you can change your own content – images, text, create new pages, create blog posts, add YouTube videos etc, all by yourself. This is really important because you need to update your website content regularly to keep visitors interested and coming back. And in our experience designing artist websites – if its not easy to make the changes it ain’t going to happen! (Not so often anyway)
Search Engine Optimization Friendly
This is really BIG. We wrote a whole book about search engine optimization for artist websites – and we just released a rewrite for WordPress. WordPress is great for SEO because it comes out of the box with a structure and page naming (permalink) methodology that is very simply understood and indexed by search engines. The ease of updating and adding new content is also important because search engines like sites that are active and adding new content regularly. Finally, there are some excellent plugins (extensions) that push the SEO envelope further – such as the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin and The All In One SEO Pack. That gets you at least a third of the way to great search engine results and that’s priceless.
WordPress makes it very easy to add images, videos (e.g. a video artist statement), audio, maps, slideshows, google docs, google maps, etc. Adding appropriate media content can make your site really interesting and engaging – and a superior art marketing magnet. Not only that but it actually makes it fun for you the artist and website owner to experiment with new ways of promoting.
This is another big one and comes back to the Open Source pint above. There really are literally thousands of plugins (extensions) available for the WordPress Platform. You can check them out on the Plugin Directory. Most times you can find a plugin to do almost anything. Examples: Want to add a Facebook “Like” button to your pages and posts? There’s several plugins for that. Want to check how your Mailchimp email campaigns are affecting your Google Analytics results? There’s a really nice plugin for that. Want to automatically ping Facebook and Twitter every time you add a new blog post? There’s a plugin for that. There are plugins for almost everything and nearly all of them are free, gratis, – a gift for you from some unknown developer somewhere in the Cyberverse!
Easy To Use
The back-end user interface is extremely simple and requires no programming skills at all. You can setup an administrator level account for yourself for use when you need to make design or extension changes, AND you can also setup an editor-level account if you are just wanting to add or change content. The editor level account is really simple to use. You can also setup editor or author level accounts for other artists so that they can post in your blog. The WordPress Forums also provide fairly good support – in our experience you will get a response within a few hours in most cases. And in several years of developing sites we can count the number of times we’ve needed support on one hand!
That’s the scoop. Think about WordPress seriously when contemplating a new artist website. We’ve tried a bunch of platforms over the years and WordPress gets our thumbs up for artist websites.
Also, this week we are having our annual “SEO For A Song” 30%-off sale which we’re extending to both the General and WordPress editions of our Artist SEO Success System. Enter Coupon Code SUCCESSFULARTIST in your shopping cart and click “Update” to grab the discount. It goes away for another year after Saturday October 15 so grab it while you can!
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While wordpress is great for artists, and many people alike, I think it should be said that even with all the great functionality offered from an open sourced platform there will still be a learning curve if the artist plans to do all the work herself (due to budget restrictions). None the less, it is a GREAT system and probably one of the easier ones to become self sufficient on.
This is a fair point but I don’t think it’s unachievable. I just wrote a blog article about this exact topic (http://www.wiredcanvas.com/2012/10/websites-for-artists-how-to-make-an-artist-website-using-wordpress/)
Granted, it’s a bit of a learning curve, but I don’t think that it is unachievable for most artists. The reality is that out-of-the-box solutions tie them into an unprofessional-looking package, whereas WordPress might have more work involved in setting up but is a much better starting block to work from.
Hi Alice, Great in-depth article. I agree – most hosted artist website solutions are limited in marketing functionality and often don’t look professional.
Nice article. I translated it and put it on my French blog. I hope you appreciate and your French speaking readers can get a translation.
Best regards, JG
Got a question for you about my old art related website. Are you still active?
Hi Nitsy, What is your website question? Feel free to ask in the comments or send us an email.