I regularly hear from artist clients that they are still paying outrageous maintenance fees for their websites because these sites are too complex to maintain themselves. The result of which is that these artists can only afford to update their websites once or twice a year. This is no good. You should be able to update your website 24/7: when you create a new work, sell it or participate in an exhibition. Here is the good news. You no longer have to be stuck with an eternally outdated site or pull out your hair over your uncommunicative IT support team. These days you can pretty much build your own site and maintain it yourself, at a very reasonable monthly fee (of course this also depends on how computer-savvy you are).
Here are some of the things to keep in mind when you are shopping around for a web host. First, you need to figure out if you like working with the platform. Even if you decide to outsource the maintenance of your site at a later date, you always need to be able to keep it updated yourself, should that be necessary. Luckily most web hosts offer free trial periods. Try it for a couple of weeks and see how you get on: is it easy to upload and manipulate images? Second, does the website have an in-built blog component? This is better than a blog located somewhere else because internal blogs drive traffic to your site and provide a better visitor experience. Third, ask yourself how complex your site really needs to be: can you live with a well-designed template or do you want an entirely customizable site? In my view, a well-designed template suffices for most artists. Fourth, make sure the platform looks good on mobile devices as more people than ever, including collectors and gallery owners, access the web on their phone or iPad.
So where to start? Do your research and when you are ready to move forward with the web host of your choice, make sure you get the log-in details for your domain host from your previous website manager. Your domain name (i.e. katapult-art.com) needs to be linked to your website on your host’s platform. Don’t forget to copy all images and text from your old site and save them somewhere so that you can re-use them for the new site. Finally, at Katapult we work with squarespace.com but we also know artists who love Wix and Wordpress. Do the research and find out which platform suits you best: there are many solutions out there.