How To Sell Art Online – Make Money From Your Passion

Last updated on February 2, 2018

sell art online

“It’s the question that bothers all artists: how can you sell your art online to make money?”

Well, this guide is here to help you do exactly that.

Let me guess: you’re probably more comfortable in your studio than on a computer. You might even think it’s too technical to sell art online.

Figuring out where to start can leave you chucking your paint brushes out the box in frustration.

How do you ship your art? What about payment options?

Don’t panic.

If you’re looking to sell your art online, I’ve got good news for you:

Creating an online gallery and selling your work has never been easier.

You can display and sell art online using website builders. These are easy-to-use tools that let you to create a store without knowing how to code! You can promote exhibitions and attract customers – all without leaving your home.

I love art and spend a lot of my free time in galleries, so I know how much time and effort you’ve put in to create your work.

In this guide I’ll walk you through all the information you need to sell art online, including:

  • Picking the best website builder to create your online art store
  • Uploading your artwork and adding effective descriptions and images
  • Pricing your art and setting up payments
  • Getting insurance for your artwork and beating copycats
  • Marketing your art store and being found in search engines, so that you attract customers

Whatever art you make, you’re in the right place. By the end of this guide you’ll be ready to sell your art online.

Sound good?

Let’s dive in.

The Easiest Way To Sell Your Art Online

“Site builders are the easiest way to make your own personal online gallery. They can also help you sell your art online without worrying about technical maintenance, such as making sure your site doesn’t crash.” 

We’ve tested a lot of builders to find the best around. Our top three to sell art online are:

Each of the above builders can help you to sell your art online as they all offer ecommerce (or ‘online store’) plans. Ecommerce plans let you accept payments and deliver orders, not just show off your work. 

If you’re selling a small volume of art, an ecommerce plan with any of our three builders will cater to your needs. We’ll run through the key differences between each builder shortly.

These builders help you put your visuals front and centre. They’re flexible to use. As an artist (and future online art seller), I’m guessing these things are important to you?

They all offer a free plan or free trial period, so you can test them out before committing any money.

You might worry it takes too long or is too technically difficult to get your art online.

That’s where store builders come in.

Think of your website as your own personal online gallery. Website builders let you build and customize your gallery without any coding. You can control the layout, color scheme, fonts, pricing and information. This is because they come with drag-and-drop editors.

Drag and drop means what it says on the tin. You can change elements of your online gallery by clicking the mouse and dragging them to where you want.

“It’s like being given stencils and lots of different spray paints. You get a basic structure to guide you, but you’re free to experiment with different looks.”

Two big benefits you get using a store builder are:

They’re cheap and grow with you

With a website builder, you won’t need to hire an expensive designer to create your site. Builders give you the power to do this yourself. Your builder will also host your site for free – give it somewhere to live on the internet. Something you’d otherwise have to sort out and pay for yourself.

To sell art online, you will need to sign up for a paid ecommerce plan. Plans start from $8 a month – less than two large Starbucks coffees! They’re great value for money and work out far cheaper than paying for all the separate bits yourself.

For a small monthly fee, you get everything you need to sell your art online. It’s also very convenient. You can manage your only gallery from one place. It’s like joining a gym when you’re trying to get fit. You get access to all the machines you need and personal trainers are on hand to answer any of your questions. Think of it as an investment in your career as an artist.

Paid plans (we’ll explain in just a moment why you need one), give you terrific storage and bandwidth. This means you can upload lots of high-quality images of your artwork and keep your site fresh. Bandwidth is all about how much data your website takes to run. Think of it like fuel in your car! The more bandwidth you have, the more visitors your site can take.

Website builders also take care of your site security by providing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates. This protects your data from hackers. It also adds a little green lock in your URL bar, which builds credibility with your customers. The safer they feel on your site, the more likely they are to buy your art!

Result!

They’re easy to use

Website builders’ drag-and-drop editors make it very simple for you to make changes to your online gallery.

 

You can’t underestimate how important this is.

It means that your time won’t be taken up making changes to your site. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on what matters: your art.

We’ll dig deeper into choosing and customizing templates later on in the guide.

For now, here’s why they save you time:

  • They’re pre-populated with content – all you need to do is switch your’s in
  • They’re already designed to be ready for mobile-use

It might be better starting with a blank canvas if you’re painting, but it’s definitely better (and more time-efficient) to use a template when building your website. Your site could be online before your paints have dried!

sell your art online website builders

Using a website builder is the easiest way to sell your art online

These aren’t the only benefits to using a store builder to sell art online…

  • You won’t be competing with other artists’ work. Unlike an online marketplace or brick-and-mortar gallery.
  • You won’t be stung by high commission fees. Unlike a gallery, which can charge 30-40%. You may pay transaction fees (depending on which builder / plan you choose), but these are typically around 2%.

OK, so website builders are great, how do you choose which one to sell your art with?

Let’s find out…

1.Choosing Your Perfect Website Builder

“To sell art online you need to choose the right store builder”.

In this section I’ll run through our three top builders for selling art online (and the key differences).

Remember, they all offer free trials (Wix and Squarespace) or a 30-day money back guarantee (Weebly – effectively a free trial). So don’t feel under any pressure to sign up without experimenting first. Think of it like going on a wine-tasting course and trying all the different bottles before you decide to buy one.

These tools are website builders that let you get online really quickly and painlessly. But they all come with clever ecommerce plans that let you turn your online gallery, into an online store. 

You can compare the top features and sign up to a free trial on our comparison chart:

best website builders for artists

Visit our comparison chart to compare the best store builders for artists and sign up for a free trial

The point is that different galleries and different types of artwork have different needs. When you test your builder, keep in mind the type of art you want to sell.

Wix

Wix is our number one because of its versatility. You can choose from over 510 customizable templates, so whatever art you sell Wix will be able to match your needs. Just find the template you’re happy with and start adding your content.

We find Wix’s editor very easy to master. If you get lost, hover over the question mark icon to get useful tips.

The Wix App Market is very comprehensive. For example, Wix Art Store is an app designed specifically for artists like you looking to sell online.

It comes with a host of specialist features. This includes email notifications, so you can stay on top of orders, and social media integration. This lets customers share your art on Facebook and Pinterest and increase your audience base.

Through the App Market, Wix provides great integration with third-party services, so your customers can print your artwork on things like tee-shirts. They’re a good choice if you’re selling printed merchandise.

If you get stuck, Wix has excellent support available over the phone, email or live chat. It’s like having a dedicated business advisor to help you sell your art online.

All in all, Wix strikes a perfect balance between making it easy to design an online gallery, and helping you sell your products.

Squarespace

Squarespace is the best platform for creating a visually impressive website. They provide a great selection of professionally-designed templates.

So if you’re a painter or photographer, Squarespace might be the best place to sell art online.

Their templates are very neat and the white space makes your artwork pop out on the screen. They’re uncluttered and give your work room to breathe. Squarespace’s editor is not as intuitive as Wix, but you can still learn the ropes quickly and like Wix there’s plenty of customer support available.

Squarespace’s plans are a touch more expensive than Wix, but come with impressive features. This includes unlimited pages, storage and bandwidth. Squarespace’s ecommerce plans are very attractive. Ecommerce functionality is fully integrated. This means you can set up payments and add your artworks to your online gallery without messing around with third-party plug-ins.

Perfect if you’re looking to manage your online gallery all in one place.

One thing to note is that with Squarespace (unlike Wix) you can change templates even after choosing one. This is very handy if you realize a different template suits your art’s needs better.

We particularly like the control you get over product variants, which are different versions of the same product. For example, you might sell a print of the Golden Gate Bridge in red, blue and green. Each color would be a different variant.

This kind of flexibility means you can provide a great experience for customers buying your art. To extend the functionality of your site, Squarespace provide a range of official integrations. It’s more limited in scope than Wix’s offering, but integrations are built into the platform. This is great for ease of use because you can set them up without leaving your Squarespace site.

Squarespace are known for their stunning templates. This example, ‘Wells’, is popular with photographers

Weebly

Weebly is the easiest builder to use in our opinion.

If you’re looking for the simplest route to sell art online, Weebly is worth considering.

Weebly’s templates are solid and clear. They’re easy on the eye, but not as eye-catching as Squarespace’s or Wix’s.

We like Weebly’s simple drag-and-drop editor. Making changes to your site is very smooth and doesn’t take up to much of your time.

Not to mention it gives an artist like you room to flex your creative muscles…

Weebly’s ecommerce offering is also pretty decent. Even on the Starter plan you can sell up to 10 products and get help with (SEO) search engine optimization. SEO is where your gallery ranks in Google when people search for online content related to your art. The better your ranking, the more chance you’ll pick up traffic (and sales).

Think of it like having an eye-catching sign outside your brick-and-mortar gallery. The better your sign and the more relevant it is to your customers, the more likely people are to go into your gallery.

When testing your chosen builder, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you find it easy to make changes to the look and functionality of the site?
  • Can you add new artworks?
  • Is there enough design variety?
  • Do the templates show your artwork in the best light?
  • Is customer support helpful enough when you hit a block?
squarespace clay template artists

Templates designed for stores help you sell art online in a stylish setting, not just exhibit it. Just take a look at this example from Squarespace!


2.Sign Up To An Ecommerce Plan

“To get the most from your online art store, you’ll need to choose to choose a plan that lets you accept payments online, as well as manage sales and deliveries.”

If you want to sell your art online, you need more than just a website. You need an ecommerce site. Sales in the online art market hit $3.75bn in 2016 – a 15% increase on 2015 (Hiscox).

Without a site that can accept sales, you risk missing out. Big names like Christie’s dominate, but there’s no reason you can’t get a piece of the pie.

Our top-three builders’ prices start from $8 a month. Less than a tub of paint from Walmart!

The most basic plans that support selling art online are:

Let me explain why a paid ecommerce plan is a smart investment.

Without a paid plan, your website will show your builder’s logo and your domain name will be tied to your builder.

For example, on a free plan your domain name would be wixsite.myart.com.

You will need a paid plan to get a personal domain name. This is a name for your website that has no reference to your builder. For example, yournameartwork.com. (We’ve got more on domain names in just a moment).

Paid plans also remove any on-site advertising. On a free plan, your builder’s logo will display on your site.

Having your own domain name and getting rid of adverts means you can create a site with your personality.

The unlimited bandwidth you get on a paid plan is especially useful for artists. Bandwidth is the amount of traffic and data your store can handle. Think of it like the number of cars and lorries a bridge can take before it collapses. Art websites often have a heavy load because they need lots of high-quality images. But with unlimited bandwidth you don’t have to worry about large file sizes slowing down your site.

For the price of a tube of paint each month, you can sell your art in an online gallery you’ve created and you control.

Even on a paid plan, it can sometimes be worth upgrading to a more advanced plan. For example, you can sell art online with Weebly Starter. But you’re limited to 10 products and customers will checkout on a Weebly.com address.

This is like asking a customer in a real-life gallery to cross the road and complete the order in a different building when they want to make purchases.

If you upgrade to Weebly Business, customers checkout on your domain, and you can sell unlimited products (artworks).


Choosing Your Domain Name

“A big part of selling your art online is choosing a domain name. A good domain name gives your online gallery an identity and means fans of your work can find you.”

Think of your domain name as the internet equivalent of your studio’s address. It’s the bit in the URL that identifies your store. For example, if Picasso had a website the URL might be https://www.picassoart.com. I’ve put the domain name in bold.

With any of our recommended builders’ ecommerce plans, you get a free domain name for a year. You can also get a domain name from registrars like GoDaddy, but doing it through your builder makes the process very straightforward.

Not bad eh?

Here are four quick tips you can use to choose a great domain name:

  1. Keep it brief – the longer your domain name, the harder it is to remember. We recommend no longer than four words.
  2. Go local – if you’re an artist that works in a specific area, think about it including it in the domain name. This could also work if your style is associated with a certain area. You might hoover up searches from people looking for art about a specific locale. Keep in mind that if you move your domain name may lose relevance.
  3. Include your name – preferably your last name, or the name you’re known by as an artist. For example, check out artist Brad Albright’s website – alrightillustration.com.
  4. Go niche – to stand out from the crowd, consider adding in a keyword relating to the type of art you create. A keyword is a word that describes the contents of a page. People use them in search engines when they’re trying to find something. For example, clients looking for pictures of Texas might type ‘Texan Paintings’ into Google. Austinartgarage.com are a good example of a site using this method. The more your domain name can reflect a keyword, the better chance you have of appearing high in searches for that keyword.

A unique domain name adds the personal touch and makes your gallery look professional.

wix template cinematographers


Picking A Template

“Picking a template is where you choose what your online art store looks like. You can let your creative juices flow”.

Templates are pre-designed styles that decide the look of your online art store. Builders like Wix and Squarespace come with a great variety of professionally-designed templates. Pre-populated content makes it easy to swap in your own and sell art online really quickly.

Think of templates as a set of clothes. If you don’t like how one set looks or feels, you can try another one on.

Choose a theme that shows off your art. Large images and lots of white space will make sure your artwork is properly exhibited.

Experiment with different templates from your builder and make sure it has the features and functionality your gallery needs. For example, Squarespace’s Flatiron template supports multimedia, which makes it popular with directors and illustrators.

squarespace flatiron template artists

Stunning templates like Flatiron are perfect for artists looking to showcase and sell work online

Choosing a template can feel a bit overwhelming. Wix has over 510 to choose from, so we know how you feel!

The Urban Art Store, for instance, is aimed at street artists working in print. It comes with an ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ page and lets you add artworks to a ‘Shop’ section.

wix urban art store template artists

Wix templates like Urban Art Store set you up with a shop and ‘about’ and ‘contact’ pages. All you need to do is add the artwork and the information!

Still feeling a bit lost?

You can filter templates by different categories, which helps narrow down your choice.

Don’t be limited to just the templates in your category. Because you can customize templates (more on this below), you can pick from a wide range.

Some templates may seem expensive, but think of it as a long term investment in your site. If it helps you sell art online, it will soon pay off!

All of our recommended builders’ templates are mobile-friendly. This is a massive plus because more and more people are using different devices to browse and shop online. In fact, mobile ecommerce will make up 45% of the US ecommerce market by 2020, according to Business Insider.

You want a piece of that pie right?


Customizing Your Template

“Picking a template to sell your art online is just the beginning. Next up is customizing your template to create an online gallery with your personality.”

Website builders let you add new pages and features like ‘Shop Now’ buttons until you’ve created the site you’re happy with.

The best thing to do is get started.

Here are some jumping off points for inspiration:

  • Add your logo and branding to the homepage to stamp your mark on your new site.
  • Create an ‘About’ page and add content that describes your story as an artist
  • Upload a piece of art you’re looking to sell and give it a title
  • Add a contact form so visitors can get in touch with you

If you’re thinking of hiring a designer, it may end up costing more than you think.

Designers are expensive and there’s no guarantee they will produce work you’re happy with. This is because they’re interpreting your ideas. Even after multiple edits they may not produce what you want. Invest a bit of time in your builder and you’ll be able to create a site that meets your needs.


Your Artwork

“The online art market now has an 8.4% share of the overall art market – up from 7.4% in 2015,” (Hiscox)

Selling art online is getting more important for artists.

In this section I’ll explain you how to:

  • Find the perfect image to showcase your artwork
  • Write enticing artwork descriptions that turn gallery visitors intobuyers.
  • How to price your art properly
  • What to do about payment options
  • How to set up shipping rules for your artwork

How To Showcase Your Art

Here’s the rub: your artwork is only going to be as effective as the picture you use on your store.

Selling art online with sub-par photographs would be like submitting a résumé without your best work achievements. What you’ve done may be great. But you’re underselling yourself when it really counts.

If you’re serious about selling your art online, consider hiring a professional photographer. Or at least invest in a good digital camera (10 megapixels or higher).

Wix, Squarespace and Weebly all let you showcase your art in the highest image quality. It’s best to make sure all the images you upload are the same size. This saves space and maintains quality.

You can highlight key features of your work. Clients can also look at close-up details and textures, and see the work from different angles.

Wix artists photographer template

Using store builders you can upload high-quality images to sell your art. This example from Wix shows off the photographer’s range and quality.

When uploading your artwork, make sure you add alt tags and meta descriptions.

Alt tags make sure your images contribute to Google’s understanding of your site as a whole. The better Google understands your site, the better your rankings. The better your rankings, the more clients you will attract. Think of alt tags like a library classification system. They help Google organize and can bring the right images to users’ attention when searching online.

Meta descriptions signify what your website is about. They also help give your site a boost in Google’s rankings. They’re like the cards underneath works in a museum.

Writing Irresistible Descriptions

“79% of customers want more background information about the artist and the object.” (Hiscox)

So what should you do?

Take the time to write in-depth descriptions for your artwork, of course.

Split your descriptions into two sections. I call these: the facts and the story.

The facts include:

  • Dimensions – centimeters and inches. To sell art online, you need to make sure customers know the artwork is going to fit where they plan to display it.
  • Materials – what you made the artwork out of. Acrylic paint or plaster, for example. Also worth including the canvas type.
  • Price – how much the work costs.
  • Delivery – your courier and shipping options.
  • Packaging – do you bubble wrap works? Can the customer get the artwork rolled and stretched?

Revisit the artwork regularly to check this information is up-to-date.

…And the story:

Customers like stories. Don’t be afraid to explain why you created the artwork, and how.

Think of your work as similar to an autobiography in a major bookstore. People are much more likely to buy the book if the blurb explains the backstory.

In each artwork description, explain:

  • Why you used any special techniques or materials to create the work
  • Who or what inspired you
  • What it means personally to you as an artist
  • How it relates to your whole body of work

To top it off, make sure your artworks’ descriptions are keyword rich.

For example, if you’ve painted a scenic landscape of the Texan countryside, your description might read:

“Stunning painting of the Texan countryside in watercolor by a local artist”.

The words in the bold are keywords.

What’s the importance of this?

Art buyers (your potential customers) searching Google will be more likely to find you. So in this example you might attract a buyer looking for a watercolor painting of the Texan countryside.

Using keywords is a no-brainer.

Lastly, go back over your description and check for spelling or grammar mistakes.

Spelling and grammar errors are the easiest way to make your gallery look sloppy. You might have a beautiful piece of art, but if the description is slapdash you will struggle to sell it. Clients won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, they certainly won’t buy from you.

weebly art store about us

Creating an ‘About Us’ page and telling your visitors about your artistic journey is easy using the best store builders

Pricing Your Products Properly

Picture this: you’ve written an engaging description and used a stunning image. Your artwork is ready to be sold.

Before you start counting the dollars, hang on a second.

You need to get the pricing right – and not just charge what you think your artwork is worth.

Pricing art is a delicate science and needs to take into account several different factors. It has more to do with the market for art than you as an artist. Do your research to get a benchmark for price.

Take into account:

  • Your career history / résumé
  • Previous sales history
  • Your particular niche of the market

Think of it like real estate prices. House prices are based on what other properties have sold for in the neighbourhood. A 10-bedroom mansion in Beverly Hills will be priced very differently to the exact same property in the Nevada desert.

In the art world, substitute neighbourhood for context. Your art might be similar to other art that’s being sold in:

  • Style
  • Materials
  • Length of time it takes to create
  • Audience
  • Date made

Once you’ve benchmarked your artwork with the rest of the market, it’s time to price it. To sell art online, this is a key step.

Read on for a few techniques you can use to find a fair price when selling your art online.

squarespace pricing artwork

Adding products with prices is simple on a store builder’s ecommerce plan. Be careful not to put too many items on sale, though. It will risk cheapening your artwork.

  • Find an artist that’s similar to you and see what they charge. Compare by geographical location, experience and production rate.
  • Price your work based on good old time, labour and materials. Most relevant if you’re just starting out. Use your calculator and work out an hourly wage you’re happy with. Multiply it by the time it took to create your artwork and make sure you cover material costs and shipping.

One thing to remember: make sure your prices are consistent. Your customers will lose trust in you if they find out you’ve sold your work cheaper elsewhere.

Where should you display prices?

The two most popular ways to display prices when selling art online are:

  1. On the artwork itself
  2. On a separate pricing page (store builders make creating new pages easy)

Work out who your customers are and choose the one that best suits you. If you don’t want the price to affect your customers’ experience of your art, option 2 is attractive.

Categorizing Your Artwork

Just like any successful ecommerce store, your artwork should be organized properly.

When you walk around a museum, rooms are curated. They’re arranged by theme, artist or period in history. Visitors can walk around the gallery and not get lost.

Why should your online gallery be any different?

All of our top three builders let you create categories. For example, you can create a ‘Featured Collection’ of your best work that displays on your homepage. You can also use categories to organize your artwork into a logical structure. Visitors (potential buyers) can jump to the artwork they want. This could be:

  • A type of artwork – such as sculpture or painting
  • A theme – landscape or portraits
  • A period in your career – 2001-2011

Adding a related and recommended artwork section is a great way to upsell.

You can also use filters to make sure customers can sort by different types of work, as well as by price, size, material and delivery option.

A big plus of website builders is that they help you sell a large number of works, with multiple variants. So if you’re selling a print that comes in different colors, you can list those colors as different variants of the same print.

For example, in Squarespace you can add up to 100 variants for each product (artwork) you upload. Customers can choose between different options using a drop-down menu.

artist featured collection

Group your best artwork into a ‘Featured Collection’. You can set the collection to appear on your homepage and give it a fancy title.

It’s a good idea to limit yourself to 40-60 works. Any more and your gallery can become untidy.

Keep a healthy balance between sold and unsold. Too many artworks on sale and you risk cheapening your art.

Add older works into a different category. Bringing newer works to the front gives your online gallery a sense of freshness.

The possibilities for customizing your online gallery are limitless. Play around in your builder and find a structure that reflects your style.

Setting Up Payments (And Collecting Money)

“Now your artwork is sorted into categories, let me guess: you want to start making money? After all, you’re here to sell art online, not just create a gallery right?”

The cool thing is website builders make it easy to accept payments.

Using an ecommerce plan, your visitors will be able to add your artwork to a shopping cart and buy it. Not just look and admire!

You can set up a payment method and let customers buy your art using credit or debit card, or PayPal. It only takes a few minutes in your builder’s admin tool to set up your payment settings.

Here’s how easy it is to set up payments in Wix, for example:

Navigate to the store manager on the left-hand side of your Wix Editor and hit ‘Manage Your Store’. You should find connecting a payment easy from there.

Remember, whichever builder you’re using to sell your art online, you can ask for help.

Each builder comes with excellent customer support, so if you need help just get in touch! You can contact Wix, Squarespace and Weebly online or over the phone.

Shipping And Packaging Your Orders

OK, I know what you’re thinking at this stage.

“How do I make sure the art is delivered safely to the client?”

By making sure your art is packaged properly.

Packaging Your Art

Making sure your products are packaged correctly is very important.

When fulfilling an order, you need to choose a package option from your builder. Choose a package that fits your delivery’s needs. Through your builder you can connect with courier companies like UPS and Fedex to deliver your artwork. These courier companies will support most types of packaging.

You’ll need to select package type, weight and dimensions. Often this will determine the price your client is charged at the checkout page.

Check with your builder’s customer support if you’re unsure what packaging is right for your work.

Imagine what it would be like if packaging was taken care of. You could spend more of your time on your passion: your artwork.

Dream no longer!

Different builders unlock different shipping features through integration with other companies.

Wix Art Store, for example, will handle all shipping, packaging and payment processing for you. By connecting your Squarespace store with ShipStation, you can work with fulfilment services that will pack and warehouse your artwork for you. They will then handle shipment when orders start flowing in!

Let’s unpack some general rules of thumb:

  • For prints and posters, you’re best off with cardboard mailing tubes
  • Smaller prints can be shipped in rigid cardboard mailing envelopes
  • Protect prints inside the packaging with padding or bubble mailer.

Top Tip: To reduce cost on shipping paintings, see if you can unstretch the canvas, roll it into a tube and then ship it. This can lower freight costs for customers. The customer can then have the canvas restretched locally.

Wix artwork upload product page

Uploading your artwork in builders like Wix is very straightforward. You can give them titles and price tags.

Setting Up Shipping

The next step after sorting out packaging is to set up your shipping settings.

To do this you need to navigate to the ‘shipping’ section of your builder’s dashboard.
The key is to find the shipping settings that suit your art store. You can partner with top courier companies like Fedex and UPS and integrate with third-party services to expand your shipping options.

To start shipping your art, you need to enter a package size and an origin address. An origin address is especially important if you ship your art from an address that’s not your studio, office or home. This makes sure all your taxes and shipping rates are correct.

You need a shipping origin address to print labels and get quotes.

Builders like Wix and Squarespace can make setting up effective shipping very easy. You have a lot of options at your fingertips when deciding how to ship your artwork to customers, and how to charge them.

Let me introduce a few of them:

  • Flat-rate shipping rates: all your artwork costs the same to ship. Attractive if you sell high-value art in small packages, such as hand-crafted miniatures. Or if your artwork is all the same size and weight.
  • Carrier Calculated Shipping: your shipping costs are automatically calculated based on Fedex and UPS regulations. You must enter each artwork’s size and weight.
  • Depending on weight: shipping rates vary by weight. This is handy if you sell art with wildly different weights (like bronze sculptures and illustrations).
  • Next day delivery: next day delivery is a big draw. Check if you can afford it!
  • Rates vary by region: you charge clients different amounts depending on what region they’re from.
  • Store or local pickup: I love this option. If you have a local presence, inviting your clients to pick up artwork is a great way of building up a personal relationship.

There are so many different shipping methods, we recommend contacting your builder’s support team if you’re not sure which one is right for your needs.

Top Tip: customers, especially art buyers, love the personal touch. If you have the time, add a note into each delivery thanking them for their order.

Weebly Shipping Checkout Page

Your customers will be able to choose from a range of different shipping options when they get to the checkout page

Insurance! Protect Your Artwork From Disaster

Before you start selling your art online, make sure you’ve got the right insurance.

Selling your art online without the right insurance would be like wearing your best suit in winter but forgetting to take an umbrella. If it rains, your suit is ruined.

Carriers like FedEx and UPS will offer limited insurance on most packages. For example, UPS is liable for damage up to $100 for domestic packages with no declared value. If your artwork exceeds this, you will need to enter the value when you set up the shipment.

Look into the specific coverage costs and limitations of each courier’s insurance cover. The more valuable your art, the better insurance you should have.

Check with your builder if you’re in any doubt.

What To Do About Copycats

When you decide to sell art online, there is a risk of plagiarism.

The internet is far from the Wild West, but it’s not unusual for artists to have work reappropriated.

Hopefully we can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

More often than not there’s an innocent explanation for plagiarism. A visitor to your site might genuinely love your work and want to post it somewhere else.

Make sure your gallery has a ‘Contact Us’ page with your email and phone number. Give fans as much chance to contact you directly. It could lead to free publicity!

That said, you need to be ready to stand up for your rights. Website builders can help you out here.

You can protect your images with a customized watermark. If you add your watermark tastefully, they can really enhance your brand. If someone screenshots your artwork, your watermark and branding will still be visible.

Keeping your image sizes down also helps deter plagiarists. Images with a width of 1500 to 2500 pixels and below 500KB in size are less easy to print. Of course, you need to use high-resolution imagery to show off your art. But try to strike a balance!

When you’ve found someone has lifted your artwork, start by contacting them yourself. Explain you are the original artist and they’re using your work without permission. Send a follow up email before considering legal action.

The bottom line is: you have rights as an artist. If you think you’ve been the victim of plagiarism, you are entitled to contact a copyright lawyer.

Promote Your Art Store (And Attract Clients)

“One of the most difficult challenges to selling your art online is making sure the right people see it”.

Don’t let your lovingly-created artwork be filed away in an ignored corner of the internet.

Part of this is down to SEO (or how well optimized your website is for online visibility). But you can also actively promote your art store.

Our recommended builders help you integrate with different tools to drive your marketing.

Here are some quick techniques you can try:

Email marketing

Connect your online gallery to an email platform like MailChimp.

Sending emails to your clients and fans is a great way of establishing a personal relationship. You can promote sales, advertise pop-up events and share new artwork.

Start by adding a subscribe button to your gallery. You can do this at the click of a button in your builder’s app store.

As your list of subscribers grows, you will collect more information about your customers. This will allow you to send targeted campaigns. For example, if you know a customer is interested in oil paintings, you can send them a special email with your best oil paintings. The customer gets a very personal email. You increase your chance of making a sale.

It’s a win-win.

Head to your builders’ app store to browse the selection of email marketing integrations.

Let me point you in the right direction:

Social media

“Social media is becoming increasingly important for artists. So much so, that 91% of the galleries actively use social media to promote their art, (Hiscox).

Fortunately, store builders make it easy to connect your online gallery with social media platforms.

Experiment on Facebook, Flickr and Pinterest. Create events on Facebook for gallery sales.

Engage with other artists over social media and regularly share your views on art. Become part of the right conversations.

Bear in mind that whilst Facebook and Twitter were the two dominant channels in 2016, Instagram is the growing force. 57% of galleries say they find Instagram the most effective in terms of raising awareness, compared to 42% who say Facebook (Hiscox).

Just like email integration, you can find social media add-ons in your builder’s app store.

Create a blog

“This is the easiest form of marketing. Unless you really don’t have the time to spare, you should be doing this!”

Start blogging by adding a new page to your online gallery. Once you have your blog set up, start writing about your passion.

How will this help you sell your art online?

Telling your story helps you connect with your customers. The more customers feel they can relate to you, the more likely they are to buy from.

Builders provide easy editing systems and tools to promote your blog on social media. Google in particular loves fresh content and will favor your site if it’s updated regularly.

They’re a one-stop-shop for running a successful blog.

squarespace blog page

On your blog you can introduce a new collection and explain the inspiration behind it. This gives you a real connection to your customers.

Offline v Online: Consider A Pop-up Store

Selling art online should NOT replace any offline efforts. If you run a gallery, exhibit at shows or sell art in local coffee shops or restaurants, carry on doing it.

If you don’t, now’s the perfect time to start.

Your offline and online selling should not be separate. Think of them as your left and right hand. They should both be working together to promote your work and find clients.

As this is a guide on selling art online, we won’t go into tons of detail…

But we will touch upon one or two techniques you can start trying straight away:

  • Partner with a gallery – check the gallery’s social media account to get an idea of its size and artistic focus. If what they do aligns with your work, why not pop in and strike up a relationship? Contact them with a professional email, not over social media.
  • Pop-up store – this could be as simple as asking a local arts & crafts store to let you set up shop for a week. You can also ask local coffee shops or diners to hang your work on their walls.
  • Open up your studio to the public – if you work in a studio, throw open your doors and invite people in. Advertise the event in local bars and coffee shops and, of course, on your new online gallery.

One thing to remember: make sure your prices are the same offline as they are on your website. Customers will feel duped if they log onto your online gallery and find prices different to when they saw the art themselves.

Wix artist template homepage

You can announce any real-life exhibitions or pop-up galleries on your new website’s homepage

Conclusion – Time To Start Selling Your Art Online!

“Selling art online is now possible for any artist – no matter how big or small, or how confident with technology”.

You can create an online gallery to showcase your art to the world. Beyond that, you can sell your art online through your gallery.

The easiest way to do this is to use a builder that provides the functionality you need to create an online store.

Make no mistake about it: you need a website if you’re an artist.

“In today’s art market, an artist without a website would be like a boat without a sail. You may float around, but you’re not giving yourself the best chance of moving forward.”

Website builders’ ecommerce functionality mean that your website can also generate revenue.

In this guide, we’ve explained some of the key aspects of selling art online.

By now you’ll know how to add your products, set up payments, sort out shipping and the rest!

This is the part where you put the finishing touches to your gallery and start taking orders!

Just to recap…

Best Way To Sell Art Online

Our top three builders to sell art online are:

  1. Wix
  2. Squarespace
  3. Weebly

Wix is the because it combines great ecommerce functionality with a range of templates. It’s very simple and intuitive to use.

Any of our recommended builders will sort you out because they take care of all the technical aspects of running your store. You don’t need to hire developers or designers, or learn code yourself, to keep your online gallery up and running.

Use the free trials available from each builder to work out which one you find easiest to use.

As Picasso said, “action is the foundational key to all success”.

So why wait, take action and sell your art online today!

Fred Isaac

About Fred Isaac

I’m not a developer or a designer, so I know how daunting computers and the internet can be. Having worked at start-up businesses and websites for many years (and seeing what works and what doesn't), I'm now sharing this experience with you to help you get online safely and successfully.

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Fred Isaac

About Fred Isaac

I’m not a developer or a designer, so I know how daunting computers and the internet can be. Having worked at start-up businesses and websites for many years (and seeing what works and what doesn't), I'm now sharing this experience with you to help you get online safely and successfully.

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One Response to How To Sell Art Online – Make Money From Your Passion

  1. #

    useful post.
    Keep sharing with us.