12 tips on how to your sell art online and make money


1. Focus on getting traffic

You need people to visit your site to know about you, to fall in love with your art, and buy your art. Numbers matter! It’s like buying a lottery ticket. The more lottery tickets you have, the more chances you win.

How to get traffic to your website?

It depends on what you are good at. You can attract people through SEO (we wrote an in-depth article about this). You need to create original, high-quality content that attracts collectors. You can become an online sensation by posting on social media. Your fans on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube will visit your site via the links in the description. If you are not good at copywriting or social media, you can pay for ads, such as search engine ads or social media ads. Paying for ads is not as sustainable in the long run, but it’s effective.

or get to know one platform

You can also apply strategies to rank higher within a marketplace like Etsy, eBay, or Saatchi Art. Yet, each platform has its own rules and algorithms. I would not recommend investing too much energy in one platform. Because the knowledge you gain will not be very transferable to another platform.

2. Secure your content

You may say: ‘What? My website doesn’t look fishy!’ The other day, I visited the website of one of the most famous new media art events – ISEA International. I saw a security warning sign “this site is not safe to visit.” Although I knew it was an expired SSL certificate, I clicked away. No one would risk their cyber security for some online art sales.

There are many reasons why your customers have doubts about your online store. Your site:

  • doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate,
  • the design doesn’t feel right,
  • the copywriting looks odd.

You need to check both the “tech” (e.g., SSL certificate) and the “touch” (e.g., showing a personal photo and your studio location). Leave people with an excellent first impression!

3. Engage your audience

Unlikely, someone would go to your website and immediately buy an original artwork worth thousands of dollars. They would likely take their time to follow you for a while. One day they’d like to buy an artwork as Valentine’s gift. And they thought of your artwork but forgot your name or domain name. A newsletter would bring them back to you. That’s why you must have a way to get in touch with your potential customers. And a way for them to connect with you.

4. Get reviews

Word of mouth is essential even on the Internet. There are so many artists online now that it’s hard to know who to trust. If other collectors are happy with their purchase, it gives you a competitive edge.

If you have a physical studio, ask people in your network to give you a review on Google Map. Don’t have a studio? Ask people to rate you on Facebook or Trustpilot. Or write their reviews in an email so you can list them as testimonials. Then you can then list the reviews on your website.

5. Show more than one picture

Are you only showing one photo of your art? It doesn’t give people a good idea of how your art looks and feels. Likely your artwork is not flat. You want to show not only the front but also the sides and the back. Take photos of it sitting on a desk or hanging on a wall in the living room. If you don’t have a space to take pictures, you can always generate some mockups using templates and Apps. Take photos of you holding your artwork. Now you have more than six photos of each artwork.

6. Show the packaging

One of the top concerns of online shipping would be – shipping. Will this artwork arrive at my home intact? How well is it protected? Show the container in which you will ship your art. May it be a wood box, bubble wraps, strong cardboard envelopes, or tubes. Take a photo of the packaged art and give your customers peace of mind.

7. Show the framing

If your customers are in the same country where you ship your art, I recommend shipping it framed and ready to hang. Take a photo of the frame, and state the materials and the hardware that comes with it. Those details could help your customers save time and trouble.

If you can’t ship your art framed or use a print-on-demand service, you could indicate what kind of frames are recommended (color, size, material, Passepartout or without, etc.). No one is better than you for giving them that advice as an artist.

8. Be clear on the series number

If you’re selling limited edition prints, you need to state the numbers in total and which edition number (e.g., 1/10).
Some collectors prefer a specific number because it has a special meaning. You can either:
– List each edition number as an individual product.
– Give the range of available numbers (e.g., 1-5 are still available out of 10).

9. Allow multiple payment systems

You might say: “Of course, I have a payment system; otherwise, how could I sell online?” Well, I mean, no easy and secure payment system. Choose a payment processor that can handle all types of bank cards, credit cards, and online banks. Your customers might be living in different parts of the world, using other currencies and payment methods. You don’t want the payment hassle to stop anyone from placing their order.

10. Make the shipping fast and or cheap

Some customers want faster shipping, and some want cheaper shipping. I would not purchase an artwork that costs more to ship than itself. Everyone has different needs and preferences. Give your customers two or three other options to choose from. If you’re selling art prints, consider print-on-demand providers so that you’re shipping from the nearest center to your customer to cut the shipping costs.

11. Write a clear contract

Every online sale is a contract between you and your customer. Make sure you have the agreement written for both parties to understand. When your customer places an order by ticking the ‘I agree’ box, the Terms and Conditions become a binding contract.

Does reading T&C give you a headache? Are you not feeling confident writing the fine prints by yourself? You can use online contract generators that are available online for free.

12. Make a certificate of authenticity

If you’re selling limited edition prints or original works of art, ensure you give authenticity certificates. It not only shows that you are professional, but also it offers an added layer of assurance. You might become an influential artist someday, and your certified works will gain value.
Moreover, issuing a certificate will not incur any extra costs. You could even write it on a small piece of paper by hand. Even if you don’t ship the works from your studio (e.g., using a POD), you could still attach a digital certificate via email.


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