"Not having a website is like not having a phone number. You have to have it. At least get a blog and put some images up. Every artist needs a website." –David Gibson, critic and curator

Free-hosted sites

For an artist just starting out, buying a domain name and hosting service can seem costly and daunting. Luckily there are several free, hosted services that allow you to create a site pretty easily. All three of the following are blogging sites that have templates that might be suitable for an online portfolio.

  • Wordpress: An easy-to-use interface that can be hosted on wordpress. You can sign up for free and find portfolio themes that support gallery style pages.
  • Tumblr: Similar to Wordpress but with a less formal dashboard function and more limited template customization.
  • Blogger: Google's blogging tool. An easy-to-use interface with themes, some of which support portfolio style websites.

All-in-one packages

These services will do most of the work for you. You buy a domain name, hosting server space, and access to templates all in one. It looks slightly more professional because you get a clean domain name, but it is a little less daunting than just purchasing a hosting server and domain name. These services usually range from about $150-250 a year.

Hosted Sites

When you create a stand alone website, you're doing two things: purchasing a domain name and purchasing space on a hosting service's computer. Hosting services generally allow you to purchase a domain name through their service. A domain name and a hosting service will cost $50-100 and up per year.

Setting up your website with a hosting service is usually done through something called a C-panel. Here you'll be able to install content management systems, create an FTP account to upload HTML files, and do other backend work. Most services will offer tutorials on how to do much of this.

Remember to check the long-term pricing of your hosting service. Many services will offer the first few months or the first year at a significantly reduced price. Following years may be much more expensive. Make sure you'll be able to afford the site down the road.

Templates and themes

After you've nailed down the where you site will be hosted and what it's address will be, you'll need to actually have some kind of design for your site. If you're not a web designer, don't fret! You can find free or relatively inexpensive templates to use. Often firms that design templates might make one or two free ones with limited features. A few places to check might be:

Paid templates:

Themeforest: has a primary focus on wordpress themes but also offers a wide selection of html, psd, Joomla, and Drupal templates as well. HTML templates start around $15 and most WordPress templates start around $30-40.

Template Monster: has a very wide range of the types of templates offered. Less focused on individuals so the templates are slightly more expensive than Themeforest.

Free templates & resources:

Tutorials and Tips