Best website builder for Artists in 2019
Wix vs Shopify
Today we are looking at the best solution for artists who want their own stand alone website.
Over the last few years we have built our own artist websites on various platforms. Some platforms were definitely better suited to our needs than others. We have narrowed it down to our two best website builders for artists and will be comparing Wix vs Shopify.
Firstly why you need an Artist Website...
Let's firstly briefly look at selling your work online as an artist (or crafter). There are two main ways to sell your art online. One, being on a marketplace, for example Etsy, Redbubble or Society6 and secondly, from your own stand alone website. The advantage of a marketplace is the sheer volume of traffic that these sites attract. Your work can be viewed without driving any traffic to the site and it is likely you will make sales. The disadvantage is however you can get lost in the crowd. A buyer looking in your shop can easily click onto another shop and you've lost their attention forever. With your own website the opposite is true. It's very likely you will initially struggle to get traffic to your site but once the customer views your work there is no distraction for them.
Another great advantage of your own website is you can build an email list. When selling online the most important thing to remember is email 'king' and 'it's all in the list'! We really wished we had begun an email list much earlier in our online business as it would have been a much faster road to more sales. If someone asks you in person about your work or searches for you online you can direct them straight to your website and hopefully get them on your mailing list. You can then build a repoire with them and promote your existing and new work.
Marketplace OR stand alone website?
So where is the best place to sell? We highly recommend from experience selling in both - online marketplaces and from your stand alone website. It all helps to build your brand as an artist and the more 'buy' buttons you have online the greater chance you have of reaching new audiences and making sales. Even if you just want a simple website to showcase your work you can easily direct them to purchase through your Etsy shop for example.
But it's too expensive and
I don't know how to build a website!
We hear you!
Our two main considerations we faced when trying to start our own website were price and our total lack of coding knowledge. Firstly you need to consider the on-going monthly cost of having a website.For example a hosting plan of $29.00 a month may not seem much however consider the cost over a year or a few years. Let's presume you are going to be in business for a very long time so it really adds up. Also an initial website setup can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on the complexity. When we researching platforms we really wanted a site we could setup and update ourselves or at the very least not have to pay a web developer to update. So on with the review...
Wix vs Shopify
Today we are comparing our 2 best website builder for artists. When we were choosing our own platforms we narrowed it down to these two. We have personally built on these so can speak from direct experience as designers and artists. Below is a comparison table and a list of the major pros and cons of each platform...
1. Let's take a look at Wix
• Easy to use for beginners.
• FREE and affordable tiered paid plans.
• Beautiful FREE templates.
• Lots of themes and free images to use.
• Wix have done an amazing job at lining up all the extra features you could need on one platform.
• Wix have loads of fantastic add on Apps (free and paid) to really customise your site.
• Easily add extra functions such as chats or forms without any coding knowledge.
• They also have their own inbuilt security and automatic software updates unlike Wordpress.
Let's look at these points in more detail...
Wix offers a very affordable way to have your own artist website and lots of plans to suit your budget or growing business. You can easily upgrade or downgrade at any time with a click of a button.
The completely ongoing all FREE Wix website plan is a great way to get started but its important to note Wix will display ads at the top of your website and your url (website address) will have Wix as part of the address too. This is not particularly professional.
• The cheapest paid plan just connects your own domain name. (see end of article for notes on Domain names.) The next plan up removes the Wix ads. We recommend this plan or a plans above.
• Wix overall is cheaper than other website platforms such as Shopify.
• As Wix it so easy to use - it is likely you will be able to manage the site yourself so no need to pay someone to update the site for you.
Overall we found Wix a great solution for artists wanting an online presence without the large ongoing costs.
Wix Easy of use:
Wix drag and drop technology makes it simple and easy for beginners. You can easily design exactly how you want your website to look without any knowledge of coding. You can use a FREE Wix theme or purchase a theme and easily change anything you want. We found Wix the easiest website builder to use.
• Loads of FREE and paid themes to choose from.
• Clean, minimalist themes - designed for artists/crafters.
We particularly love 'Little Ray' theme (below) and 'Poster Gal'. They both have filters in the side bar. Your customers can easily filter your all work based on product colour, price, collection (or anything) to find something that suits their needs.
To see 'Little Ray' and other Wix themes click here*.
CONS OF WIX:
• Wix is not great for large inventories. It would be very cumbersome to upload hundreds of products.
• You cannot just single click and change to another Wix theme. You may loose some information.
• FREE plans have Wix banners on them and in the url name - which does not look professional.
• Although mobile friendly it sometimes requires some manual adjusting for mobile view.
• Cannot sell across multiple platforms - no connection to Amazon
• Currently no connection to the print on demand company - Printful.
Is Wix good for SEO?
It's been rumoured Wix is not up to speed for SEO. This 'may' have been true in the past however in 2016 Wix drastically updated their site to be in line with best practice SEO to help you rank higher. The truth is Google does not have any problem crawling and understanding websites that are built with website builders such as Wix. Using Wordpress does not mean you will rank higher with Google.
As with building any website, make you learn how to optimise your website for ranking by Google search. There is a free tool in the with dashboard called Wix SEO Wiz that will help you rank in Google.
Getting started on WIX:
We personally use Wix for one of our websites. What we love most about Wix is you can quickly get started on a completely FREE plan, simply choose a template and start loading up your images within minutes.
*We do recommend however you upgrade to connect your own domain and remove Wix ads.
You can start designing your Wix website for FREE here*.
2. Why we love Shopify
Shopify is hands down the best fully functioning ecommerce site around. We trialled Shopify in 2018 and found it really easy to navigate and packed with amazing features.
• Shopify is the industry leader for e-commerce websites.
• You get the all the features you could ever need built into the platform.
• They have a 14 day FREE trial to see if its right for you.
• It's very easy to change over themes by a single click without any loss of information etc.
• Easily manage large inventories.
• Easy to learn - you don't need to know how to code.
• Over 1200 apps available.
• You can sell across multiple channels - integrate Facebook, Instagram or Amazon and eBay stores.
• 'Printful' (a print on demand company) has a direct integration with Shopify. This means when a customer makes a purchase through your website, the order will automatically go to Printful they will print your design on the product and ship it fdirect to your customer. This frees up your time to design. We use and highly recommend Printful.
• Fantastic if you are thinking of also including drop shipping products - they connect easily to drop shippers 'Oberlo'.
• Regular automatic software updates & security.
• Shopify comes with a higher price tag.
• It is purely a e-commerce platform (full shopping cart with lowest plan.)
• No free plans and the cheapest basic plan is $29.00 per month.
• Charges its own transaction fee with Shopify payments.
• Often the ongoing expense of Shopify isn't warranted unless you have a large inventory and expect to sell a large volume of work.
• Not many FREE themes, not as tailored to artists and crafters. Paid themes are around $180.
All in all Shopify is a fantastic all in one ecommerce solution.
You can trial Shopify for FREE for 14 days here...*
and to wrap it up...
And there you have it our two top picks for stand alone website platforms for artists in 2019 Wix and Shopify. Both platforms are excellent for artists and crafters. Which one you choose depends on your needs. Wix is easy to use, great for for small inventories and you can have a FREE or budget friendly plan. Shopify is great for large inventories, selling across multiple channels such as Amazon and connecting to print on demand 'Printful'.
We hope this helps you in your decision making!
You can check out both platforms here...
PS Just a quick note about domain names
Having your own website or blog requires two elements: hosting and a domain name.
The web host being Wix, Shopify or Wordpress etc. The domain name is the name of your website and serves as an address for people to find you online eg. . We suggest buying your domain name separately from another provider even if it is included in your hosting plan.
Why would I need this separately?
Well, it's mostly a safeguard so if you decide your not happy with your website host and want to change to another provider it easily done. Domain names transfers can be time consuming and confusing. Having a separate name provider will enable you to easily change website hosting providers later if you need to. You simply setup a redirect from domain provider to the new website host. We have done this a few times over the years as we were not happy with our first two choices for website providers.
Our top two domain name choices are Bluehost and Siteground as they are industry leaders, have exceptionally fast page load times and have excellent pricing.
(Make sure you are signing up for domain name only if you are going to use Wix or Shopify platform.)
Checkout Bluehost* domains $12.00/per year
Checkout Siteground* domains $19.95/per year
* Please note some of these links are affiliate links to keep our blog up and running.
There is no additional cost to you if you choose to click on these links & purchase.