Artist and Author Tina ClarkeHow artists can create their own websites

"Do you like being creative? Making a website is an extension of that passion no matter what genre you work in."


Why should an artist make a website?

I like drawing, I like showing my art to anyone that comes to the house, either they really like it or they are indifferent. I like to discuss my art and art in general with those that really like it, makes me feel appreciated and when someone wants my artwork I like to know it's going to a good home.

If you feel that way to, then you really need to make a website. Why? Well, art, any art, is about sharing what we create with others, we can do that best through the medium of communication, and the best method for that is the Internet, so THAT'S why you need to make a site.

If your new to using a computer, or are not very savvy with one, then you need to pick the easiest method to accomplish that. I can tell you now Microsoft FrontPage will meet those needs, and I can tell you how to go about it without too much fuss and bother whatsmore I can tell you how to do yourself.

This article is just a small part of the help and advice you can find to craft pages in FrontPage and is designed as starter to get your first site made and published.

What does an artist need to make a website?

FrontPage 2003

(Or if you have an older version that will do - this article is aimed towards FrontPage 2003, however you can find more help for FrontPage 2002, FrontPage 2000, FrontPage 98 and FrontPage Express.

Make a web

Go the File menu and click New, this will bring up a Task Pane where you can click 'One page Web site'. A dialog box will appear called 'Web Site Templates' and where it says 'Specify the location of the web site'  the path to the new web will appear at the end of this  you need to name the web. When making a new site I recommend this method.

In FrontPage you have to make a web first before making any pages, your pages must be within the FrontPage web. Using the FrontPage Web Template one page website lets you make a web quickly and easily. The one page created will be the homepage within FrontPage it will contain a little house on the icon denoting the homepage. FrontPage will probably name the homepage index.html, your host however might require the homepage be named one of the following.

Or anything else they may think up.

If they require a different named file and extension you have to change your homepage file name to their instructions about this. Find out what they require therefore and change the homepage file name.

To do this you select the file in Folder View and right click, choose Rename from the pop up menu and then type in the new file name. Click away and FrontPage will proceed to change the name for you, it might give a warning that the file might not work but ignore this.

How to make a template

Layout and navigation: - Before you make a template you need to plan your layout and navigation. The layout is like the structure of the page which is defined by an outline pattern and this lets you position and arrange photos and text to get the look you want and can be done in a couple of different ways.

You can use

Divs are part of Styles and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) (see CSS Editor TopStyle  in the Other Tools section below) I have more information about this subject in a two part article on my FrontPage Blog.

Tables with cells can easily be made in FrontPage. Click on the Table menu at the top of FrontPage and click Insert | Table a box will pop up and in there you can configure the dimensions of the table. There are some Table Tips and other table articles available, however the best place to learn is in the FrontPage Help, just type in what you want to know and the help feature will bring up a selection of searches based on those keywords.

Fluid tables are the best way to go this means you set the table size to 100% (not pixels) and you don't insert graphics wider than 780pixels wide, the smallest resolution we design for  nowadays is 800x600 pixels, so that when viewers who have 15in monitors see your site, the page fits perfectly and the bigger the size of the monitor, your site will expand to fit the screen because you have used a setting of 100%.

Doctypes: - FrontPage has a basic blank page template which you bring up by clicking File | New | Blank Page.

Click on the Code View tab at the bottom of FrontPage and you will see the html code of your page - now you are looking under the hood - You need to insert a doctype at the very top of the page

I use the following doctype.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
""><html lang="en-gb">

If you live in the USA you will want to use us instead of gb at the end of the doctype. You can find out more about doctypes

What pages and elements should always be included in a site?

Elements: - Copyright Notice and Contact details should be on every page, the best place for these is in the footer area. You should have a logo that brands your site and your product, preferably with a by-line that makes a statement, this visitors expect to find in the header area usually in the top left corner.

I recommend signing up with Yahoo groups for a free group and have a update ezine about your site and products, this lets people join that want to know about your latest sales, new products and any news about your particular product area.

Hosting for FrontPage websites

Many people recommend 1and1 for their FrontPage hosting needs. I myself use a reseller account at Matrixreseller as I have more than three sites that I maintain and this is much more cost effective and I also have a lot more control over my server, I only use the host for my own sites I don't resell.

To learn more about what criteria is needed and any special needs  when choosing hosting see the section on Hosting in this FrontPage article.

How to choose a domain name

Domain name - Reflecting you (branding)

Buying your domain name is a very personal experience, you want the name to reflect you and your art, at the same time, your selling your art, this is when all is said and done your business, in some cases how you make your day to day living, so therefore the first point of contact on the net is your domain name and it has to represent you. It also has to bring in those visitors to buy your art.

Domain names should be chosen with these two concepts in mind, and a lot of thought believe it or not has to go into it, choosing a domain name is not as simple as you may think.

Domain name - Business (keywords)

Domain names from a business point of view should contain keywords that will help in any searches taking place in Search Engines.

The above list gives you an idea of the best way to name your domain.

Let me give you an example for instance, I have a new website for my artwork which brands me, and also contains keywords that will help visitors find my type of art. (this one)

Clarke - this is my last name and this represents myself. Abstract and Art are two keywords which also become a phrase, and they describe my type of art. This will push my site above other domains if everything else they do for search engine optimisation (SEO) matches what I have done.

When choosing a domain name use a dash - instead of a underscore _ this makes for better results, this is because search engine spiders see the underscore the same way as they see two keywords squashed together - as one word, using a dash makes two keywords and also a phrase. Also don't go beyond using more than three keywords or the domain name becomes unwieldy.  If you decide to obtain other similar domains, use your domain host to do a 301 redirect to point those domains to the one your going to use for your business. This way anyone typing in the domains will end up at your business domain, you have them so put them to use.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Choosing your domain name is the first step in SEO and If your serious about your website I highly recommended Cricket's Free Search Engine Optimisation Classes This link includes an overview of the free classes, along with a link to class registration. BOTH the SEO Class and the Marketing Class are required. One must join both BEFORE one's membership will be approved. I HIGHLY recommend these classes and suggest you join you won't regret it.

Protecting your domain name

This is a matter of personal choice so you don't have to go this far, but along with the above domain name I also bought the .net version and the same keywords without the dashes in-between in the .com TLD This is to protect myself against anyone else obtaining these versions and if my site becomes successful competing against me.

What if I already have a domain name?

Having said all this if you already have a domain name and you have some indexing of your site and people know your domain, it's not worth obtaining a new domain. There are cases where you might want to make changes though. As I mentioned above I have a new domain which is where I am going to display my artwork, however I already have an art site called since learning more about my type of art and becoming more interested search engine optimisation I've decided I need a more serious name to brand myself and to give a broader description of my type of art, which I have discovered has many names besides doodles and abstract.

Where can I buy a domain name?

Never, ever ever buy your domain name at the same place you obtain hosting for your site, this is so you have easy access to your domain at all times. I recommend NameCheap the price is good $8.88 and the service I have found is 100% excellent, many other web users I have talked to recommend them also.

To find out more about buying a domain name and avoiding the pitfalls read the domain name section of this article about Publishing with FrontPage

Extra Tools

If you want to learn more and make maintenance of your site easier so you can spend more time on your art these tools will help you do just that.


TopStyle is a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) Editor. There is a Lite and Pro version. FrontPage 2003 CSS interface feature is not that good, TopStyle helps you learn more about CSS in a WYSIWYG environment. The program maker also runs a Helpful forum to deal with understanding TopStyle and CSS. If FrontPage is installed, TopStyle will detect it during installation and configure itself as FrontPage's CSS editor. You can also do this manually in FrontPage by selecting Tools | Options | Configure Editors and adding TopStyle as the editor for CSS files. Once TopStyle is configured as FrontPage's CSS editor, double-clicking on a style sheet in any of FrontPage's views will open it in TopStyle for editing.

Where can an artist find help in making a website and using FrontPage?

Interactive FrontPage Resources  - A listing of forums, lists, Ezines and more all about FrontPage

FrontPage List - A list where everyone is welcome no matter what version you use.

FrontPage Tips - FrontPage Tips to help you craft your site.

FrontPage Addons  - Helpful little addons to FrontPage that help you maintain your site

FrontPage Ezine - Articles, tips and news about FrontPage

Have confidence and believe in yourself

Part of being an artist is self belief, only you can know if a piece of art is 'right'. Others may still like pieces you have rejected though, others may think, what you think are your best pieces are no good. No matter what, trust your own judgement, ask for help, ask for critiques, but have the confidence to have your own style, this goes as much for your art, as it does for your site. Your site is an extension of your personality, when it comes to selling something that has been hand crafted, your site needs to reflect you. Having said all that, there are still certain design guides that need to be followed.


by Tina Clarke Microsoft MVP - FrontPage.

Tina owns several FrontPage related resource sites including - - -

Copyright 2005 Tina Clarke. All rights Reserved. Do not republish this article in full or in part without obtaining permission from the author first.