What kind of online portfolio website a visual artist should get

I wrote an article a couple of days ago about web hosting choosing options as an artist.
Now I’m going to answer to the next question:
OK, I have chosen a website hosting provider and a domain name. Now what web site platform to use for my online portfolio gallery ?

For a visual artist, that’s quite a question.
The answer depends on your goals for your online portfolio gallery:

  • expected results
  • how much money do you want to spend to meet your goals.

Free of charge option

Well, If you’re a starving artist with empty pockets and want a simply online place where to upload your great art and to post your thoughts, you may consider using these 2 great free blogging platforms:

  • WordPress offered by WordPress.com
  • Blogger (formerly Blogspot) offered by Google.com

WordPress.com offers free accounts on their server to build up a wordpress blogging website.
It’s a complex blogging platform which has lots of setting options and themes (both free or commercial)
These make WordPress a great web platform but not as much newbie friendly. Yet, is not rocket science setting up your own WordPress blog.
When you sign up for a WordPress account, you get a domain name like this:
www.your-web-site-address-option.wordpress.com
If you want your own personalized domain name (www.your-website-address-option.com) and also your site hosted on the WP servers, there is the option of a monthly paid account.
I find WordPress suitable for almost everything you would think.

Blogger (the formerly BlogSpot) is the free blogging platform by Google.
It provides a complete and nice blog website with a large number of free themes.
Compared to WordPress, Blogger is much more newbie user-friendly.
When you sign up for a Blogger account, you get a domain name like www.your-website-address-option.blogger.com or .co.uk, .fr , .it etc because the domain name extension changes automatically depending on the place where your device accesses the site.
So that if you read your blog from France, your web-site address looks like www.your-website-address-option.blogger.fr and if the same blog is read from Italy, it appears like www.your-website-address-option.blogger.it…well, I think you get it.
If it’s to tell my opinion about Blogger for visual artists, I find it best for “a painting a day” artists and for video artists.

Wix.com . This company offers you Flash based sites. If you want a fancy gallery to show out your portfolio, to write down your CV etc.
Wix.com gives you lots of fancy themes and modules to build up a beautiful professional looking artist site.
The main minus of Wix is that these flash websites are not “dynamic content websites”
To have an idea of how this Wix.com works for artist, here’s a link to an online art gallery of a friend of mine, a great surrealist artist:
http://sergiugrapa.wix.com/artgallery

Of course, there are more free options for an online portfolio out there. Just do a google for “free online portfolio”

Paid services option

If you want from your site more than a simple on-line portfolio gallery and a blog or you want the complete control of it, then you have to open your pocket for a domain name of your own and a web host account. Here’s a blog post I’ve written about. Ok, you have already got a domain name of your own and a web hosting account, now : How to set up a website to put on the Internet your online art gallery?

The simple way is to pay someone to do it for you. There are many offers for this kind of services.
Read this article on About.com of estimate pricing http://webdesign.about.com/od/beforeyoustartawebsite/a/how-much-should-a-web-design-cost.htm
Well, if your budget is very tight, I can do it for you for a small fee.

The hard way is to set up your site by yourself.

Either hiring someone or doing the job by yourself, the answer is

WORDPRESS

(WP). Hey! but you told that WP is free! , you may shout. Yes, indeed. WP is a website platform software offered for FREE. Everyone can download it and install it on personal server, free of charge.
You can download from WordPress.org and install on your web-server. Most probably you purchased web hosting at a web hosting provider. In this case WP framework software is already installed and ready to set for your needs.

WP is the ultimate website framework. Using it you can set up online everything you want: from a simple web-blog to a very complex online shop and any mix of these.

All you need for WP to work is , aside of a working web-server, a MySQL database and available free space on the hard disk of server.

A major difference between a self hosted WP and a free account on wordpress.com is that self-hosting it you can install a lot of useful plugins that enhance the power of the bare WP framework.
This plugins are free plugins or commercial.
To get an idea of what this plugins may are, think of Firefox or Chrome web browsers plugins. They provide new features.

I’m going to write a post about some useful plugins to install on a WordPress online art gallery, so sign up to my newsletter to stay informed.

So these being said, I think that an artist who looks for good exposure, should choose a self-hosted WP website for his / her online art gallery / portfolio.
If you are not a tech person and your budget is quite tight, you may consider hiring me to set it up for you.

And remember, the best web hosting which I use since 2007 is offered by Globehosting.com .
The best thing that I found at them , besides of ridiculous low monthly fee, is the cheapest web host plan for those who only want to register a domain name.
Check out their offers www.Globehosting.com

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