Taking your art business online can be exciting, and it’s understandable you want to do it in the most cost-effective way possible. However, when it comes to ‘free’ or low-cost websites versus a professional website you own, is there a difference? Yes, there is! It’s important to understand the differences.
First you need to determine your goals:
Are you moving out of the ‘hobby’ category and looking to go Pro?
If so, it isn’t really a good idea to take the cheapest route possible when you’re looking to increase brand recognition and grow your client base. Your website IS the foundation for your business. You need a website that is distinctive and unique to your business, one that is designed specifically for your goals and brand and effectively optimized for search engines with the keywords your targeting.
It’s important to keep in mind that online, your website is the hub of all your marketing and branding. Your first impression. You don’t want a cookie-cutter website that looks like so many that your visitors have seen before – you want a website that stands out, that’s memorable.
If your going Pro you need a fully functional website you own (along with your domain name), control (you can access the server that the website resides on), can update easily, can add on features as you need too and that you flat out own all copyrights to the design of the website.
When looking at the free or low cost options (pricing so good you can hardly believe it), read the fine details. Who owns what? Do you own the website? Do you own the domain name? Do you own the design? And, do you own your images and content, or does the company own it? And God forbid if the company should fold at some point after you’ve gotten your website up and going, then suddenly “POOF!” it’s gone. Be sure you understand all the options up front.
You want a great website design that is uniquely yours, and that perfectly reflects your message, style, brand, and trust. What you also want is a service provider who can carry on after your website is built in regards to content, branding, social media, technical issues and all of the aspects of successful web marketing.
Your in it for a hobby. We all start somewhere and there are a variety of resources online for websites that are leased such as Wix and more. Utilizing build in templates and drag and drop you can upload your work and publish your pages. Different levels of service and options come with these packages and you will need to explore which one’s work best for you. These options can be great starting places for a new business or one that does not require ongoing marketing work.
With all the web options it really comes down to what you need, your goals, budget, requirements and how much you will rely on your website for online marketing, selling, client attraction, social media and more. If you work with a professional website designer all of your business strategy, brand, design, messaging, online marketing, web development and support will be provided. In addition you’ll have a professional team that is invested in your success.