Want to Know a Secret About My Website?
It’s a template!
Yep! Last year I invested in a template for my Showit website and I’ve found it to be one of the best options for portfolio website designs! (Skip to the end if you already love Tonic and need a discount code for your new website template!)
But first – why do you even need a website for your portfolio of work as an artist? While it certainly is possible to put your work out into the world on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, having your own space on the internet allows you full control over how your work is shared, gives you a place to send your audience to view a beautiful portfolio of artwork, share opt-ins to grow your email list, offer affiliate information and links and allows you to generate traffic via a blog and consistent content on your own platform. All this content can then be shared on social media, Pinterest, and in your weekly emails. It takes a little work to set up a website and online portfolio and it is an investment, but it’s so valuable.
When you’re first starting out, the options for website hosting and building are overwhelming. I spent months researching and agonizing over the decision. Which platform is best for a portfolio website and all the other aspects of the business I want to grow? Can I cut corners at the beginning or do I need to invest in the best? So many questions!! I started out on WordPress because all of my research led me to believe that it was the most robust option for a website. And I think that may be correct, BUT – if you are trying to do it yourself (and if you’re like me and don’t have a tech background at all), it won’t be easy. My WordPress website always felt clunky and never looked good, even after hours of work and three or four revisions. It was painful!
Want to see the before? Yes, you do:
That Website Pain Led Me to Showit
If you haven’t heard of Showit, let me tell you about it because I love it so much and wish I had known about it from the beginning! Showit is a beautiful, easy-to-customize platform that began as a place for photographers to showcase their work. It has since expanded and many successful entrepreneurs now use it! And it is a beautiful way to showcase your artwork and your portfolio. If you are familiar with Showit, you have likely heard of Tonic. Tonic offers some of the best templates for Showit and the best portfolio website designs that I have ever seen!
As a designer-but, not a graphic designer – I love having the ability to change and update my business website by myself. However – I don’t have the tech background necessary to make a platform like WordPress pretty by myself. I know because I tried. (If you want to see proof, send me an email and I’ll share screenshots of my first attempt at a website on WordPress. Yikes!)
Showit feels much more familiar in a similar-to-Illustrator way and allows me to quickly make any changes and updates I need to without re-learning how to find a link every time I open the platform. And because I love working on it so much, I make changes quite often! New product launch? Update the website. New brand photos (coming soon!!) – update the website. New affiliate launch? Update the website!
One of the downsides of Showit is that the cost is a bit higher than other platforms. That disadvantage is offset by the ability to do the customization and updating myself! Doing this makes it way more cost-effective than having a fully custom website built! However- all the designing of a new website can quickly become overwhelming if you try to do it entirely yourself. The good news is, you don’t have to do it entirely yourself. You can use a great website template!
The Best Templates?
And not just any template – Tonic Templates!
Before I switched to Showit, I was introduced to the Tonic Site Shop brand and was so impressed by their templates that I bookmarked their page to revisit as I daydreamed about building out my own portfolio website. I think I scrolled through their templates monthly, looking at new designs and feeling inspired. I even hopped on a Zoom call to learn more from them about website design and have been on their email list for years. (Side note – if you aren’t on the #longandweird email list from Tonic, I highly recommend it if you are in business of any type, or just enjoy interesting stories about ostriches, travel mishaps, and marketing tips from door-to-door salesmen. I’m not kidding.) However – when I first saw the price of a Tonic website template (on top of the Showit platform fees) I thought ‘Absolutely no way can I do this – I can and will find a less expensive option’, which is exactly what I did. I purchased a very nice, but fairly simple website template and designed an ok website It was better than my WordPress website to be sure…
But… not even a year later, I realized that that ‘less expensive’ template felt nothing like the brand I was trying to build and I was still trying to piece together extra pages to add the extra information I needed and create a design portfolio that I could confidently pitch to the companies I wanted to work with. After struggling this way for months, I broke down and bought a Tonic template. I wish I had done this in the first place!
I have never had so much fun working on a new website!
Let me tell you, Tonic has thought of everything you might need for support when you purchase a template! They overdeliver! When you purchase, you are immediately added to an email series of tips that walk you through exactly all you need to know about getting your website up and running smoothly. The template also comes with more features than you realize when you purchase. Which can be overwhelming at first glance – until you realize that those extra pages can be left out until your website needs to grow along with your business.
And then there’s launch camp! Tonic has organized a Launch camp – similar to your favorite summer camp to connect with other website-building friends and learn from some top-notch individuals about all the best tricks for launching your own website. (You don’t have to have a Tonic site or even Showit to benefit from Launch Camp). From photo curation and optimization to SEO tips and tricks – they are some of the most generous folks I’ve met and I have learned so much from their team and experts. With this help, I had my website up and running in a couple of weeks.
Another note about Showit: Showit comes with all the benefits of WordPress for the blogging component. So as it turns out – those months of struggling with WordPress were not a loss! The blog page design is set up in Showit but then the posts are written, optimized, and published in WordPress. I made that sound a lot more complicated than it actually is. I promise it is simple, and with a template, it is even simpler!
Benefits of a Tonic Template:
Let me leave you with a few of my favorite benefits of using a Tonic Template! And why I think they offer some of the best portfolio website designs. If you’re interested in purchasing, be sure to scroll down for a discount code on your template!
#1 Easy to Use and Beautiful!
Tonic has taken the guesswork out of creating a website that is designed to convert. They’ve already thought through how to optimize your site for SEO so you can just add your images and specific copy and you’re good to go! No worrying about H1 vs H2 and hierarchy and how it will impact SEO – it’s already designed into your template!
#2 The Support is Incredible
Between launch camp, an email series to introduce you to each step of the process – and guide you through the best order for the process -they’ve thought of everything. And if you aren’t sure which template suits you and your business? Take their Brand cocktail quiz to help you make that decision. You can also reach out directly to them for recommendations!
#3 Custom-Looking Website at a Fraction of the Cost of Actual Custom
One benefit to a beautiful portfolio website? No one knows if you are new to the business world when they land on your killer website to look through your portfolio. On social media, they may notice your IG following of 150 people and know you’re relatively new. But on your website, if you have a clear message and call to action, beautiful images, and great copy, it doesn’t matter what your current follower count is! And a template can help you achieve all those things!
Now for those lingering questions, I know you’re asking.
How do I Choose a Template That Fits My Brand
While I don’t think you can go wrong with any template from Tonic, my advice is to look at the layout and pages each template includes. Don’t get too distracted by the colors, typography, and images as these are the easiest to customize! Think about the visitor experience you want to create and the journey you want your audience to go on when they visit your website and look at the templates from that perspective, knowing that it’s pretty easy to make minor tweaks and additions because – this is Showit, after all! You can take a look at a few of my favorites here!
I’m an Artist, Not a Photographer, Will Showit Work for Me?
When it comes to creating a portfolio website, Showit is a top choice for photographers, surface designers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs of all kinds. Originally designed for photographers, Showit has expanded to appeal to a wide range of creatives who rely on showcasing their beautiful work. With its user-friendly, drag-and-drop capability and all the templates available, Showit is the perfect platform to showcase your beautiful portfolio and share your creativity.
Plus, the similarity to Adobe (ok, the similarity might be a stretch, but if you can learn Illustrator, you can handle Showit!) makes it ideal for creatives. Drag and drop and you are on your way!
Is it Worth it?
Yes, Tonic websites are an investment, I get it. But if your time is valuable and you rely on your website to keep your business running and share your work – it’s so worth it. If you have any questions at all – reach out to the team at Tonic – they’re super friendly and helpful!
Also, you can use code TobogganAvenue to get 15% off your template! They also have payment plans to help you get up and rolling sooner if you prefer.
And if you have any questions for me that I missed or about my own experience with Tonic – send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m happy to share more!
Find more of my favorite resources for artists here!