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How To Start Selling Art Online
Starting an art business or any business, for that matter, is a challenge when you do not know what involved with operating a business.
Whether you are a self-taught artist or you majored in art in school, operating a business is different from painting beautiful paintings.
This post will cover all of the basics you will need to know about selling art online.
How To Be Successful Selling Art Online
I have been asked many times, “What does it take to be successful at selling art online?“
Every successful artist starts at the same place, They have a dream and a vision of selling their original artwork.
If their desire is strong enough, they will continue to work towards their goals until they reach the finish line.
Successful artists believe in themselves and their ability to learn and overcome obstacles.
We all start at the same place, knowing nothing about selling art.
The will to learn and try new ideas will separate someone who sells art online and who struggles to sell art online.
Sell Art Online CheckList – What You Need To Succeed
Let’s go over everything you will need to know about selling art online and building a thriving online art business.
There is much information in this post.
Take each section step by step and do not move forward until you have completed each section.
Use this post as a sell art online checklist.
Write Your Art Business Objectives
Before you can start selling your artwork online, you need a vision and a plan, this is why writing goals is on top of the “sell art online checklist.”
Take some time to write what you would like to accomplish with your art business.
- Where would you like to be five years from now?
- Where would you like to be a year from now?
- Where would you like to be six months from now?
- How much money do you want to make selling art online?
- Are you going to sell your art in galleries, local art shows, or online?
- Are you going to sell original art?
- Are you going to sell giclee prints?
- Are you going to sell merchandise with your artwork on it?
- How much original art will you have to create to reach your yearly goals?
- How long will it take you to create the original?
- How are you going to market your artwork?
Here is a workbook to help you write and keep track of your business goals, How To Write Goals You Can Achieve.
Write Your Business Plan
It might seem overwhelming to develop an art marketing plan because you do not know where to start, but it more straightforward than you might think.
- Know your goals and financial projections – You have already written your goal and economic forecast in the previous section.
- Identify your target audience – These are the people who are interested in your artwork.
- Study Your Competition – Discover what is working for your competitors.
- Learn about the different digital marketing options -Digital marketing tools include blogging, social media platforms, and newsletters.
- Write down the steps you will need to take to reach your business goals.
Do not be too concerned about writing the perfect plan.
To be honest, there is no such thing as the perfect business plan.
Every artist will have a different target audience, and the marketing strategy will have to be adjusted accordingly.
Start With Small Goals
Develop a plan to achieve a small milestone.
For example, if your goal is to sell fifty paintings in a year. Start by focusing on selling one painting or drawing.
Pick your favorite piece, start promoting it on all of your social media platforms, send it in a newsletter, and create a blog post.
Analyze what was working and what was not working.
If a strategy work, continue to use that strategy.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
If a plan didn’t work, try revising the plan or discard it altogether.
Keep in mind that your plan will be changing as your business grows.
Online Art Gallery
You will need an online portfolio for selling art online.
Your portfolio should showcase your art as well as have a way for a potential buyer to make a purchase.
There are a couple of options available and I am going to talk about all of your options.
The easiest way to get started is by having your art displayed on an Etsy Shop.
Etsy was created for artists to be able to sell their original art online.
When Etsy first started, they only allowed original art and crafts to be published, now Etsy allows artists to sell prints of their original artwork along with other digital items.
Etsy is an excellent way for you to get started if you are not familiar will online sales or digital marketing.
Etsy’s listing fees are inexpensive, and it is free to open an Etsy Shop.
While you are becoming familiar with Etsy’s platform and how to market your art, you will want to learn how to build your artist website.
How To Sell On Etsy Successfully Resource:
- How To Open An Etsy Store Step By Step
- Selling Art On Etsy: What You Need To Know
- How To Sell Art On Etsy And Make Money
- How To Sell Art On Etsy – Online Art Marketing
- How To Sell Art Prints On Etsy With Printful
If you are planning on starting with Etsy, I have created a step-by-step video tutorial on how to open an Etsy Shop. By the end of the tutorial, you will have your shop live and items available for people to purchase.
Buid A WordPress Website
Another option is to build a WordPress website.
The benefits of building a website are that you will own the site, and you will have total control of your site's look and feel.
To get started, you will have to purchase a domain name for your site.
A domain name is an address that people use to access your website.
For example, my domain name is www.nevuefineartmarketing.com.
Here is an article to help you pick the perfect domain name for your art business.
You will also have to purchase hosting for your WordPress site.
A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers. (Source: Website.com)
You can purchase your domain name, hosting, and have your site launched with just a couple clicks of a button with BlueHost.
BlueHost's hosting costs start at 3.95/month, and the domain name is free for the first year.
Here is a video that will show you how to launch a WordPress site on BlueHost.
After you have launched your WordPress site and picked a theme for your website, you will want to upload WooCommerce.
Themes are changeable templates that define the appearance and display of a WordPress site.
There are thousands of free and premium themes available, and each theme will offer different design options.
I am using StudioPress Thems for this site.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to showcase and sell tangible and digital products.
Here are some articles to get you started with WooCommerce:
- How To Install WooCommerce On A WordPress Artist Website
- How To Add And Manage Products In WooCommerce
- How To Add WooCommerce WordPress Categories
The last option is to use a website building platform.
Website builders are tools that allow the construction of websites without manual code editing. (Source: Wikipedia)
The main differences between WordPress and website builders:
- WordPress is a CMS (content management system), a website builder is a program made for building a website.
- WordPress is more flexible and can be modified as your art business grows.
- Most website builders have a drag and drop editor, which makes it easier to use.
- You have to pay a yearly fee for hosting and a domain name for WordPress.
- Website builders charge a monthly fee.
- WordPress plugins allow you to add a variety of functions and features to the site.
- The options available for modifying a website builder are limited.
Popular WordPress Builders
Here is a list of some of the most popular website builders.
Review your goals and decide what the best option is for your art business.
Next on the "sell art online checklist" is about creating a digital image of your artwork to upload the image to your online art gallery.
To sell art online, you need to take high-quality images of your artwork.
When you are uploading your art, make sure your image accurately represents your artwork, and it is not grainy or blurry.
People decide to purchase your art based on the image you are showcasing on your website and other marketing platforms.
They are not there in person to look at the different angles and touch it.
Spend some time practicing how to take high-quality images of your paintings.
Practice taking photographs with natural sunlight, outdoors, indoors, and with staged lighting.
After trying all of your options, pick the best, and use it for your photographing strategy.
Here are some helpful articles to help you learn more about photographing your art.
- How to Photograph Art to Sell Online
- 7 Tips Photographing Artwork to Sell
- Best Digital Cameras For Photographing Artwork
- How To Share Your Drawings Online
Do you sell drawings online?
Creating digital images of your drawing will be different than photographing paintings.
It is challenging to capture all of the smooth value changes with graphite in a photograph.
I have discovered that scanning my drawings is the best option.
Here are a couple of articles that talk about scanning drawings:
After you have photographed or scanned your art, you will need to crop and edit your digital image before uploading them on your artist website.
I use and recommend Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editor used by professional photographers, artists, and graphic designers.
You will be able to crop and edit your images to represent your artwork with Photoshop accurately.
Photoshop is a powerful software with a lot of different editing options.
The good news is that there are a lot of Photoshop tutorials available online that will help you learn how to edit your images.
Here are a couple of videos to help get you started.
Now that you have an online art gallery filled with high-quality images of your art, you will need to start driving traffic to your site.
Content marketing is the most effective marketing strategy for businesses of all types and something you will want to learn more about.
If you are selling your art on Etsy, you can start a free blog with Blogger.
Blogger is free and easy to use.
You can upload images of your art, text, and videos and provide a link so someone could purchase if they wish.
If you are familiar with Facebook, you will have no problem learning Blogger.
Blogger might be an excellent place for you to start learning about blogging, but you will soon realize you will be limited in what you can do.
You will not be able to match the look of your blog to your online art gallery.
This is important for building brand awareness.
Your blog will also be separated from your art website.
Combining your blog and gallery is a powerful SEO strategy you will not want to overlook.
If you start a blog using WordPress, you will have everything you need to build a professional artist website and incorporate a blog in one place.
What is the best way to start?
Everyone has a different level of knowledge about digital marketing.
I recommend to people who are not familiar with WordPress or blogging to start with Blogger.
While you are learning the basics about blogging, I recommend you to learn more about WordPress.
WordPress is a tool you will want to consider using if you are serious about selling art online.
Here are some helpful articles to get you started with content marketing:
- Digital Content Marketing – What Artists Need to Know
- Best Content Marketing Strategy for Visual Artists
- How Content Marketing Can Benefit Your Art Business - Infographic
- How to Write a Content Marketing Plan That Increases Art Sales
- 6 Blogging Benefits You Can't Ignore
Now that you are starting to drive traffic to your site, you will need a payment gateway to collect your buyer's money.
You might already be familiar with PayPal.
They are secure, reputable, easy to use and allow buyers to use most credit cards.
Here is a video on how to set up a Business PayPal account in less than 4 minutes.
Other payment gateway options:
Selling your art online is different from selling your artwork in person.
You can quickly tell your story to potential buyers verbally while looking at your art in person, and you will be there to answer any questions they might have to encourage a sale.
If you are selling your art online, you have to get your message across using text and hope that the potential buyer trusts what you say.
Storytelling can be a challenging assignment for many people.
The good news is that storytelling is a skill you can learn.
Like everything else, the more you do something, the better you will become.
I struggled with writing in the beginning.
I had a tough time getting my views and thoughts across using text as a way to communicate.
I knew that if I want to be successful in selling my art online, I needed to learn how to write more effectively.
I stumbled across this book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley, and it has been my go-to book ever since.
Here are some articles that will show you how to write blog posts that will drive traffic to your site:
- Best Art Blog Traffic Tips That Work
- 7 Effective Steps For Writing Art Blog Posts That Generate Traffic
- How Pillar Content Generates Traffic
- 5 Types Of Art Blog Posts That Drive Traffic
Here is an article too help you write better art descriptions:
Your email list will be the most significant asset for your art business.
You will want to have a way to collect email addresses from your art website and art blog.
It will be a guaranteed way for you to contact people who are interested in your work.
Opt-in email is a term used when someone is not initially added to an emailing list and is instead given the option to join the mailing list. (Source: Wikipedia)
Here are some articles to help you get your email opt-in up and running:
- How to Build an Email List from Scratch Fast
- Ultimate Email Marketing Guide for Selling Art Online
- 4 Email Opt-in Plugins for WordPress
- Best Places to Add an Email Opt-in on Your WordPress Blog
Email Marketing Services
Once you have people signed up for your newsletter, you will need to send the newsletters in bulk.
An email service is a company that provides businesses with tools to send bulk emails and implement email marketing. (Source: Sendpulse)
Here is a post that covers everything you need to know about writing and sending newsletters that people will open and take action:
SEO (search engine optimization) is a way to organize your artist website, art blog, and text so that search engines will refer people to your sites.
Learning more about SEO is something you will want to spend some time on.
It does not matter how good your art is or how good a writer you are if your site is not optimized for the search engines; no one will find you online.
Here are some articles to help you learn more about SEO:
- SEO Basics - What Artists Need to Know
- WordPress SEO: Optimize Your Artist Website for Search Engines
- SEO Checklist for Artists Selling Art Online
- The Ultimate SEO Guide For Artists
The last thing you will want to do is sign up for a free Google Analytics account.
Google Analytics is sophisticated software that provides detailed information on how your website is performing.
Google Analytics shows you how many visitors your site is receiving, the top-performing pages your website has, detailed information about your audience, and more.
Google wants you to be successful.
They are providing all of the information you will need to write a more effective digital marketing plan.
Here is an article to get you started on Google Analytics:
Final Thoughts On The Sell Art Online Checklist
Learning how to sell art online can seem overwhelming at first.
This sell art online checklist will be a great way for you to start building a solid foundation for your art business.
Once you have the basics down you will soon realize it is not as difficult as you thought.
Building an online art business is affordable but you can not sell art online free.
There will be fees associated with operating an online gallery and premium services you might consider using.
You might also be interested in:
- Art That Sells - What Artists Need to Know
- Revise Your Top Blog Pages for More Traffic
- 5 Effective Tips for Describing Art
- 7 Essential Tips on How to Sell Paintings Online
- How to Be More Productive Marketing Art Online
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