The Best Website Builder For Artists & Portfolios
The top seven website builders for artists and portfolios.
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By Juhil Mendpara | Updated Aug 9 2022
Artist is a pretty broad term, at least if we go by my definition.
In my book:
- A cinematographer is an artist — but someone like Greig Fraser, who’s worked on Dune, wouldn’t mind paying $10,000 to a professional designer to build his website scratch-up.
- A website designer is an artist — but a bit of coding wouldn’t be an issue for them.
What I am getting at is there’s a lot of nuance to the idea of making a list like this “best website builder for artists” one. Therefore, solid foundational rules are a must.
For this list, we’ve imagined a conventional artist (say a painter or a photographer) who wants to build an online portfolio and/or sell art online. So the top priorities while building this list were ease of use, beautiful templates (with lots of white space, just like in an art gallery), web design flexibility (using drag-and-drop), needed features (including ecommerce), and affordability.
Let’s dive into it.
Website Builder Rankings
Best Website Builders For Artists
Best-in-class. Highly recommended.
Squarespace is the best all-around website builder. For artists, it has features for both a gorgeous online portfolio and ecommerce.
Aesthetic-wise, there’s no better website builder than Squarespace. It’s so good that the top three artist websites and art portfolios we’ve come across are created using Squarespace. And the same goes for the top ecommerce website examples.
What To Like
- Templates: Squarespace is known for its outstanding templates. And they have some stunning, specific ones for portfolio, art & design, photography, etc.
For example, the Novo template:
- Ease of use: Squarespace has a visual editor that lets you tweak its beautiful templates per your need. Plus, it’s a WYSIWYG builder: you’ll be able to preview changes as you make it. Check out our step-by-step tutorial to make a website with Squarespace.
- Ecommerce: You can sell physical art as well as digital art with Squarespace. It’s pretty much a full-fledged ecommerce builder with features such as a built-in tax tool, discount code generator, product variations, point of sale, multiple payment methods, simplified & secure checkout, and more.
- Other features : You can blog on Squarespace, set focal points on your images, send email campaigns, add social media sharing, create banners, have a members area, add a donation system, select beautiful fonts, and do a lot more.
All Squarespace plans include a free domain name, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, SSL security, and a 14-day free trial. The annual plans cost:
- Personal: $12/month
- Business: $18/month
- Basic Commerce: $26/month
- Advanced Commerce : $40/month
Though Squarespace’s ecommerce plans have all you might need, the best overall ecommerce builder is Shopify. Read Shopify vs. Squarespace.
Shopify is built for sophisticated ecommerce websites. So if selling art is your priority, get Shopify.
What To Like
- Intuitive editor : Ecommerce builders are often clunky, not Shopify. Its interface/editor is clear and intuitive.
- Shopify Payments : Set up Shopify Payments on your Shopify store and avoid additional fees except for the unavoidable credit card processing fees.
- 80+ templates : Use any of the 80+ ecommerce-first templates from Shopify Themes to show you art in the best light and sell more.
Note: Shopify is an ecommerce platform and not a visual builder, so if you’d want to make changes to your template, it’ll be complex and require you to know to code.
- The Shopify App Store! Besides the core ecommerce features, if you need additional functionalities for your store, you can rely on the Shopify app store. It has over 6600 apps from third-party developers and allows you to add all the features you can think of and more. For example, want a specific landing page that your theme doesn’t include? Build one with the Pagefly or Shogun page builder.
All Shopify plans come with a 14-day free trial. After that,
- Basic Shopify: $29/month
- Shopify: $79/month
- Advanced Shopify : $299/month
Great Website Builders For Artists
These are an excellent choice.
If you want to build a portfolio website quickly and on a tight budget, Weebly is your friend. It’s the easiest to use among all on this list, and its base paid plan costs a mere $6/month. However, it’s not as feature-rich or design-rich as Squarespace or pretty much any website builder. Read more.
What To Like
- User-friendliness : You can choose a theme if you’d like, but it’s pretty simple drag-and-drop after that. So just drag-and-drop a slideshow or gallery to showcase your art.
- The Square ecosystem for ecommerce : Square (not Squarespace) acquired Weebly in 2018. Square includes a suite of business tools, among which one is ecommerce. Since the acquisition, you can power Weebly websites with the ecommerce features of Square.
- The free plan : Weebly or Square online is the best free website builder. The free version includes an SSL certificate, ecommerce functionality, as well as customer support.
Apart from its free plan, these are Weebly’s annual plan prices:
- Personal : $6/month
- Professional : $12/month
- Performance : $26/month
- Premium : $72/month
Format is primarily built for photography portfolios and selling photos online. And it’s among the only two photography website builders we recommend.
Though it doesn’t have as many website building or ecommerce features as a general-purpose site builder like Squarespace, it’s right at the top with the best portfolio website builders.
What To Like
- Templates: Format’s templates are specifically made to make photos shine. Because you’ll be presenting your art as photos or videos on your website, your art will look top-notch.
- Client proofing: You can use Format’s client proofing tools and workflow if you provide any sort of digital art services (photo editing, illustrations, graphic design, etc.).
- Automatic watermark : You can auto-add watermarks to client galleries before sharing with potential clients.
After a 14-day free trial, Format’s professional portfolio plans annually cost:
- Basic : $7/month
- Pro : $15/month
- Pro Plus : $25/month
- Premium : $40 / month
Wix is the #1 website builder by market share. You can use it to create any kind of website, including art portfolios. Plus, there’s Wix eCommerce to sell your art.
What To Like
- 800+ templates : Wix offers a wide range of website templates. Though not all templates are of the best quality, I found some good ones for portfolio sites. For example, this template called “Commercial Photographer”:
- Unstructured editor : Wix has a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG visual editor like most website builders. However, unlike most others, Wix’s editor is unstructured. Meaning, you can place any element anywhere on the webpage (other editors only allow placing elements in specific blocks or grids).
It’s a double-edged sword, though — complete control over customization can lead to chaos and bugs if not handled carefully. For example, in our tests, the desktop and mobile versions of the website went out of sync.
- Wix Ecommerce : Wix’s ecommerce plans include all the fundamental features you need to sell art online. However, compared to Squarespace or Shopify, Wix is basic. For example, Wix doesn’t have a Sophisticated form builder to ask customers for more details during checkout; Squarespace does.
- Wix ADI : It’s Wix’s AI tool to set up a website quickly.
Wix has a 14-day moneyback guarantee. Its annual plans are a bit expensive than others:
- Combo: $14/month
- Unlimited : $18/month
- Pro : $23/month
- VIP : $39/month
Business & eCommerce plans
- Business Basic : $23/month
- Business Unlimited: $27/month
- Business VIP : $49/month
The GoDaddy website builder is on the Weebly side. By it, I mean it’s easy to use, and you’ll be able to create a website in no time.
However, you won’t have much control over the look and feel of your website. For example, you can add sections to your site but can’t add individual elements to those sections.
Similarly, GoDaddy’s ecommerce isn’t ideal. There are some issues, like your store checkout wouldn’t be hosted on your domain — your customers will be redirected to mysimplestore.com during checkout.
What To Like
- Templates : Godaddy has a pretty decent collection of templates under the “Art & Design” and “Photography” categories. You can create a website like this with it:
- Easy to use : Though you’d want a lot more customization options than GoDaddy offers, the lack of customization makes GoDaddy’s interface straightforward.
There’s a limited free option and then these paid ones:
- Basic : $6.99/month
- Standard : $10.49/month
- Premium : $13.99/month
- Commerce : $17.49/month
Note: The plan prices increase on renewal.
When people say “WordPress,” they mostly mean WordPress.org, an open-source content management system (CMS). WordPress.com, on the other hand, is a popular blogging platform that has expanded into offering other sorts of website-building tools, including one for portfolios.
Compared to all others in the list, WordPress is complex and will likely need you to know HTML, CSS, and JS to make most of the changes. So we recommend not touching it unless you are comfortable coding.
What To Like
- Plugins : WordPress allows you to install thousands of plugins on its higher-tier plans. WooCommerce, the popular ecommerce platform, is one of those plugins.
Get plugins for SEO, stats, security, contact forms, and more.
- Theme options : WordPress.com has a lot of native themes you can choose from. Most of the themes are suitable for blogs, but some are good for portfolio websites as well. For example, Photos by Automattic:
But the more important part about the “Theme options” is, you can even upload your own themes on its Business plan. And there are thousands of third-party themes out there!
WordPress.org is free-to-use but needs you to buy web hosting, SSL, and more. WordPress.com includes all of those, which annually costs:
- Premium: $8/month
- Business : $25/month
- eCommerce : $45/month
The above seven are the best website builder for artist portfolios and/or online stores. But there are definitely other website builders worth checking out:
- Webflow: It has a steep learning curve but can help you design templates and build your dream website.
- SmugMug: A popular photography website builder.
- Strikingly: Good for beginner sites.
- Carrd: Want a one-page website for your personal brand online presence? Check out Carrd.
- Adobe Portfolio: Easily build a portfolio and have access to Adobe fonts, Photoshop, Lightroom, and other Adobe Creative Cloud products with Adobe Portfolio plans.
- Ucraft: Beginner-friendly builder that allows connecting a custom domain name on the free plan.
- Behance: Social media to showcase and discover art.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best website builder for artists?
In general, you can’t ever go wrong with Squarespace. It’s easy to use and made keeping creatives in mind, i.e., all its templates are aesthetically-pleasing. At the same time, it has all the functionalities and robustness of a top-of-the-line artist website builder or ecommerce builder.
How do I make an artist portfolio for a website?
If you choose a portfolio website builder like Format, all templates are around building a top-notch portfolio. However, if you use a general-purpose website builder, you’ll need to select specific templates to build a portfolio website—for example, Squarespace’s Novo template.
Moreover, drag-and-drop editors typically have a gallery feature. You can use it to add a portfolio.
What’s better, Wix or Squarespace?
Both Wix and Squarespace have their pros and cons. But in general, given its ease of use, higher-quality templates, and solid ecommerce features, Squarespace is the better of the two.
Read more: Wix vs Squarespace
What makes a good artist website?
Over time, art museums and galleries have figured out the best way to present art. You just have to replicate those fundamentals on your websites to make it eye-catching:
- Have a lot of whitespaces to not overpopulate the walls/webpage.
- Use high-quality images to make your art look good + as close to authentic as possible.
Then, there are some website basics you must not forget:
- Easy navigation,
- No ads
- Fast loading speed
- A relevant domain name, etc.
Does an artist need a website?
If you want to showcase and sell your art to the world, yes, you need a website.
With a professional website comes credibility, creative ownership, copyright protection, and more.
What is the best website builder to sell artwork?
If your priority is showcasing + selling, use Squarespace to sell artwork.
If your goal is just more sales, use Shopify. Its ecosystem + third-party ecommerce tools for marketing enable you to sell more.
What about SEO for artists?
None of the website builders on the list block search engines from crawling web pages. And most have basic SEO (search engine optimization) features like adding meta descriptions, setting URLs, etc.