If you want to be an artist, you’re going to need a website.

evanbaden.com homepage

I’ll say this as simply as I can. Want to be an artist? Get a website. Seriously. Get one. Why? I’m about to tell you.If there’s one thing you can do to start your artistic career (other than actually having good work), it’s to have a website. It’s not impossible to be successful without one, but you will have a much easier time gaining that success if you do.

Why is that? Well, because people can actually see your work. And while it is true that the vastness of the Internet is so unimaginable that very few people will stumble across your work, it is the first step in creating a web presence. You can’t have a “web presence” without actually having somewhere to direct people back to.

Sample spread from my 'magazine style' website

And, it’s also important to have a real website. Not a Facebook page (you can have one of those, too, if you’d like) or a blog (again, this can be an addition) but a real website, with a real URL.

I will give you a little rundown on how things have worked for me. I bought my domain (www.evanbaden.com) right after finishing my undergraduate studies. I made a fairly simple website with what little work I had. The first advantage that this gave me was having somewhere to direct people to if they wanted to see my work. The web address went on business cards and in the signature line of my emails. (Another quick tip: when you buy a domain name, there are usually a number of email addresses that come with your hosting plan. Use them. If you give out an email address that includes your website in the address, it does two things: 1) it makes you look slightly more professional; and 2) it lets people know you have a website without having to tell explicitly say so).

Gradually, I began to try and push my images to photo related blogs that I liked and that I knew were respected in the photo community. Every time one of my images went up on a blog, a link to my website went with it. Eventually, I didn’t need to push things out anymore, and work just started showing up in places. Every post always linked back to my website, though. Then, the showing and publication offers started coming.

Since those early days, I have accomplished a lot, both with publishing my images and showing my images. But all of it, or at least most of it, wouldn’t have been possible if my images didn’t exist somewhere on the web.

So, this is an example of why a website is a necessity for an artist, based on my personal experience. But there are lots more things to consider. Design is important. Usability is important. Do you want Flash or HTML? What kind of hosting plan? When it comes to design, I prefer to just have images with very little on the page (thinking about buttons), but you might want something different. These are all things that you should investigate for yourself. I didn’t go into them in depth, because what is of utmost importance is that your images exist online, somewhere, and that that somewhere be connected to your name and contact info.