11 Best Reasons Why Artists Need a Website in 2023

Do Artists Need a Website? Yes - 11 Best Reasons Why

Starting a website from scratch sounds like a hassle, especially for those who are not tech-savvy. It begs the question “Do artists need a website?” and can you live without it? This post answers your most important questions.

Artists need their own website to showcase their best artwork, build a brand, look professional, build an email list, answer queries, create content, attract potential buyers, and monetize their art effectively.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can benefit from having your own art website.

(I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)

Why an Artist Needs a Professional-Looking Website

You’ll note that I said professional looking, that’s because there is no need to employ a professional website builder in this day and age. The whole process is straightforward and simple enough for anyone to do it for themselves.

I managed to make my own website without knowing a thing about websites beforehand. 

The whole thing will take you a few hours to set up if you follow some step-by-step instructions. I found a guy on Youtube and did it that way.

Try this course on Udemy. If you are a new customer it will be discounted and super cheap

Having your own website is essential for establishing your online presence and connecting with potential clients. It provides a platform to showcase your work, demonstrate your authority and professionalism, and build a credible brand.

With an art website, you can effectively market your art, integrate with social media platforms, build an email list, sell digital downloads, and sell your artwork directly via an online store.

It’s an essential element of your art business.

Your Website Gives You Complete Control Over Your Content

Having your own website as an artist grants you complete control over your online presence, enabling you to tailor every aspect to your liking. Unlike other platforms, a personal website offers unparalleled flexibility and freedom.

Here are several key advantages of having your own website:

  1. Design Customization: With a website, you have full control over the design and layout. You can choose from various templates or create a unique design that reflects your artistic style and brand identity. This level of customization is often limited on other platforms.
  2. Content Ownership: Your website serves as a centralized hub for all your content, including your portfolio, blog posts, and updates. Unlike social media platforms where algorithms and terms of service can impact your visibility or even ownership of your content, a website allows you to retain complete control and ownership over your artistic work.
  3. Brand Consistency: A personal website ensures consistent branding elements throughout your online presence. You can showcase your logo, color scheme, fonts, and other visual elements to establish a cohesive and recognizable brand identity across all web pages.
  4. E-commerce Integration: Having your own website facilitates the creation of an online store, allowing you to sell your artwork directly to customers. You have control over pricing, product descriptions, and payment methods, empowering you to create a seamless and personalized shopping experience.
  5. Data Analytics: Unlike most social media platforms, a website provides access to comprehensive analytics and insights. You can track visitor behavior, identify popular content, and gain a deeper understanding of your audience, which can inform your marketing strategies and help you refine your artistic approach.
  6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): With a website, you can optimize your content for search engines, improving your visibility in search results. By utilizing relevant keywords and creating well-structured content, you can increase organic traffic and reach a broader audience.

Having your own website as an artist offers unparalleled control and freedom. It’s as good as you can get online.

Your Website Gives You Authority and Expertise

Having a website as an artist provides a platform that enhances your authority and professional expertise in the art world.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Showcasing Your Work: A website allows you to display your artwork in a professional and curated manner, demonstrating your skill, creativity, and talent as an artist.
  2. Artist Statement and Biography: Your website provides space to include an artist statement and write about yourself, your artistic vision, inspirations, and the creative process.
  3. Professionalism: A well-designed and functional website signals credibility, it showcases your commitment to high standards.
  4. Centralized Hub for Information: Your website serves as a hub where interested parties can find comprehensive and accurate information about you and your art. It makes it easier for potential clients, galleries, and collaborators to find and engage with your work.
  5. Blogging and Thought Leadership: An integrated blog section on your website allows you to share your insights, and perspectives on art-related topics, positioning you as an authority in your field.

Your own website elevates your status, attracts opportunities, and solidifies your reputation as a professional artist.

Use this guide: How to Write an Artist About Me Page in 4 Easy Steps

Your Website Builds Your Brand Identity

Building a brand is crucial for any business, including the art business, as it helps create a unique identity and distinguishes you from the rest.

Here’s why brand building is important for artists:

  1. Differentiation: In a competitive art market, a strong brand sets you apart from other artists. It showcases your signature style, medium, and genre, which become the recognizable elements associated with your work.
  2. Consistency: It establishes a cohesive visual and conceptual framework that aligns with your artwork. This consistency helps create recognition and recall, making it easier for your target audience to identify your work among others.
  3. Perceived Value: A well-crafted brand enhances the perceived value of your art. It demonstrates professionalism, dedication, and commitment. As your brand gains recognition and trust, it becomes associated with quality.
  4. Connection with Audience: A strong brand enables you to connect with your audience on a deeper level. It helps to build a loyal following of art enthusiasts who resonate with your artistic style and vision.
  5. Business Growth: A strong brand paves the way for business growth opportunities. It opens doors to collaborations, exhibitions, and partnerships. A recognizable brand helps galleries, collectors, and curators identify your work and consider you for various opportunities.

A strong brand sets the stage for artists to leave a lasting impression, expand their reach, and thrive in the competitive art world.

You Need a Website to Market Your Art Effectively

The term ‘Art Marketing’ refers to the strategies and activities undertaken to promote and sell artwork. It encompasses various strategies aimed at increasing a site’s visibility, reach, and sales.

These methods include utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) to improve online visibility in search results, leveraging social media platforms, and implementing effective email marketing campaigns. It also includes advertising.

Art marketing is a combination of online and offline promotional efforts to build awareness, attract potential customers, and establish a strong presence in the art market.

Use SEO to Rank High in Search Results

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process that helps search engines like Google find and understand the content on your website.

Imagine the internet as a massive library, and your art website is a book. SEO is the system that helps the librarian (the search engine) put your book (website) in the right place so that people (potential customers) can find it easily.

Now, why is it essential? Well, think about how you use Google. You type in a term, and you mostly click on one of the first few results, right? That’s what everyone does.

The higher your website ranks, the more likely people are to click on it. This is a great way to attract potential buyers to your art, increase your online presence, and ultimately, sell more art. It’s one of the best ways to grow your art business.

These guys have insanely popular courses on Udemy. If you need an extra helping hand beyond the basics, this course will help you immensely

Use Email Marketing to Boost Your Profits

Email marketing is about sending newsletters and updates to people who have given you their email addresses. It’s a great way to keep in touch with your potential customers and let them know about your new work, special offers, or upcoming events.

Why is it essential? Well, it’s all about building relationships. When someone gives you their email address, they’re inviting you into their inbox. This is a personal space, and it’s a big deal. It means they’re interested in your art business and want to hear more from you.

Most beginners start their email marketing using Mailchimp because of the free starter plan

Email marketing allows you can keep your artwork at the forefront of their minds, so when they’re ready to buy, they think of you first.

It’s a powerful tool for driving website traffic and boosting sales. Plus, it’s a good idea to have a direct line of communication with your customer base that doesn’t rely on search engines or social media platforms.

Be warned: Updates and changes in an algorithm can kill your business overnight.

Use Direct Social Media Links to Your Art Website

Linking your social media accounts with your website points traffic toward your store. When you link your website to your social media profiles, you’re creating pathways for people to find your art.

Why is this essential? Well, social media platforms are like giant virtual hangouts where potential buyers spend a lot of their time. By linking your website, you’re making it easy for them you, and your art.

Having a strong online presence on multiple social media sites can enhance your art business’s credibility and direct backlinks (Google loves them) back to your site, giving it a boost in the search engines.

The Importance of Showcasing Your Best Art

Showcasing your best artwork on your own artist website is the equivalent of putting your top-selling products in a shop window. It’s the first thing potential buyers see, and it’s what draws them in to explore.

Your art website is your personal online gallery, and it’s often the first impression people have of your art. By displaying your best pieces, you’re showing the world what you can do, and what to expect.

Regularly updating your website with your latest work keeps your audience engaged, improves your website traffic, and enhances your visibility on search engines. It’s a crucial part of running a successful art business.

Here are some popular gallery plugins for WordPress:

  1. NextGEN Gallery: This is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins. It offers a range of gallery styles including slideshow, thumbnail, and compact among others.
  2. Envira Gallery: This is a responsive WordPress gallery plugin that allows you to create beautiful, mobile-friendly image galleries in minutes.
  3. FooGallery: This is a user-friendly plugin that offers a variety of gallery templates. It’s responsive, meaning your galleries will look good on all devices.
  4. Modula Image Gallery: This plugin allows you to create lightbox galleries, custom grid galleries, and more. It’s easy to use and offers a lot of customization options.
  5. Photo Gallery by 10Web: This plugin offers a lot of features including slideshow, image browser, masonry, and filmstrip galleries. It also supports video and allows you to add social sharing buttons to your images.

Here are some popular e-commerce plugins that can be used to showcase and sell your art:

  1. WooCommerce: This is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It’s highly customizable and allows you to sell anything, including physical and digital art. It also integrates well with many payment gateways and shipping methods.
  2. Easy Digital Downloads: If you’re selling digital art, EDD is a great choice. It’s designed specifically for selling digital products and offers features like customer management, discount codes, and data reporting.
  3. BigCommerce: This is another robust e-commerce platform that has a WordPress plugin. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a platform that can scale with your business.
  4. Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart: This is a powerful, easy-to-use shopping cart solution that allows you to sell on your website and on social media platforms. It’s a good option for artists who want to sell across multiple channels.

If you think it’s just about selling your art you are mistaken. There are many more ways to make money as you’ll see shortly.

Self-hosted Website vs Blogging Platforms vs Website Builders

There are so many ways to get online it’s worth explaining what they are and which ones to choose.

Here are the pros and cons of using a self-hosted WordPress site, a general blogging platform, and website builders:

Self-Hosted WordPress.org Website

WordPress.org is free software you download to your own web host.

The advantages of WordPress:

  • Full control over your website’s design, functionality, and content.
  • Thousands of plugins and themes are available for customization.
  • Good for SEO with many plugins available to help optimize your site.
  • Ability to monetize your site in any way you choose.
  • Your own Domain name
  • Great online support

My WordPress site is hosted on GreenGeeks. It’s a carbon-neutral company, has great support, and costs about the same as other leading hosts. Highly recommended.

The disadvantages of WordPress:

  • Requires some technical knowledge to set up and manage.
  • Steep learning curve
  • You’re responsible for site maintenance, including updates and backups.
  • Costs can add up with hosting, premium themes, and plugins.

The vast majority of websites in use today use the open-source WordPress platform. There is a giant industry and infrastructure offering add-ons and support. 

General Blogging Platforms

Popular platforms include:

The advantages of a Blogging Platform:

  • Easy to set up with no technical knowledge required.
  • Free to use with optional paid upgrades.
  • Hosting is taken care of for you.

The disadvantages of a Blogging Platform:

  • Limited control over design and functionality.
  • Monetization options can be limited or restricted.
  • You don’t own your blog.

Your, e-commerce opportunities are severely limited using these free platforms. They are fine for bloggers but difficult to monetize properly for artists.

Read this: How to Start an Art Blog and Make Money for Beginners

Website Builders

These sites are tempting. There is no maintenance and they are up and running in no time. They work perfectly well and they suit some artists who have no time to figure out WordPress. 

Popular platforms include:

The advantages of a Website Builder:

  • Easy to use with drag-and-drop interfaces.
  • Hosting is included
  • Beautiful themes.
  • Built-in features like contact forms and e-commerce functionality.

The disadvantages of a Website Builder:

  • Less control over your site compared to a self-hosted WordPress site.
  • Limited customization options compared to WordPress.
  • More expensive over the long run with monthly fees.

That leads us to ways of making some money.

11 Ways to Monetize an Artist’s Website

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. It’s all about making your art pay its way, right?

Let’s start with the most obvious:

1. Selling Your Original Artwork

Selling your original artwork on your own artist website is the same as having your private art gallery, one that’s open 24/7. You can display your art, set your prices, and manage sales directly. It gives you full control over your art business.

To sell your original art, you’ll need a good online shop setup. This involves having clear images of your work, detailed descriptions, and a secure payment system. You can use the free WooCommerce plugin to make this process easier.

I’ve got many blogs about selling art. These are a few:

The advantage of selling directly is that you get to keep all the profits, unlike selling through traditional art galleries where they take a 50% commission.

It also allows you to build direct relationships with your potential buyers, which leads to repeat sales and referrals.

The big disadvantage is shipping your artwork. It’s hard enough posting your art safely at home, just imagine the problems you can have exporting it abroad. You have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. The size of your originals will determine the practicality.

I go into more detail here: How to Ship Art Prints Safely: The Easy Way

2. Open and Limited Edition Prints

Selling open and limited edition prints on your own artist website is a great way to make your art more accessible to a wider audience.

Open edition prints are reproductions that can be produced in any quantity, while limited editions are always signed and have a set number of prints, making them more exclusive.

Further Reading: What Are Limited Edition Prints? 12 Things You’ve Got to Know

To sell prints, you’ll need high-quality images of your artwork, a reliable printing service, and a good online shop setup on your website.

You can also consider using print-on-demand services, which handle the printing and shipping for you each time a customer places an order.

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The advantage of selling prints directly is that you have full control over the quality, pricing, and presentation of your work.

Read this for more info: How to Make Prints of Your Art: A Complete Printing Guide (2023)

With print-on-demand, the advantage is convenience and scalability, as you don’t have to manage inventory or shipping. 

Try these:

The disadvantage of printing yourself must be mentioned. It can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, it places the responsibility of inventory management, packaging, and shipping directly on the artist, which can detract from the time available for creating new art.

With print-on-demand, you lose some control over the final product’s quality, and you can’t personally sign or number the prints, preventing you from selling limited editions. Additionally, the profit margins are low. You need to sell a lot of prints to make a good return.

Get it right and selling art prints is a very profitable part of your art business.

3. Selling Digital Downloads

Selling digital downloads from your own artist website is a great way to diversify your art business. This could include printable art and designs, eBooks, planners, coloring books, digital assets like procreate brushes and mockups, and the list goes on.

To sell digital downloads, you’ll need a secure system to deliver the files to your customers after purchase. This can be set up using e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. You upload your files, set your price, and the plugin handles the rest.

Another way is to join Gumroad and place your products within your blog posts. I do that successfully selling my eBook.

Selling printable art and designs allows your potential buyers to print the artwork themselves, either at home or in a local print shop. It offers a convenient and often more affordable option for buyers.

I wrote these posts to help:

Digital products have a very high-profit margin and take advantage of impulse. Immediate gratification is a strong selling point.

4. Art Subscriptions and Memberships

Offering subscriptions and memberships on your own website is like creating a VIP club for your most loyal fans. It’s a great way to generate a steady income and build a close-knit community around your art business.

You can set up a membership program using plugins like WooCommerce Memberships or MemberPress. These allow you to create exclusive areas on your website where members can access special content, discounts, or early access to your new work.

This is similar to the Patreon model, where fans pay a monthly fee to support creators in exchange for exclusive perks. However, having this on your own site gives you full control over the experience and can save you from paying the fees charged by third-party platforms.

5. Selling Online Courses, Classes, and Workshops

Selling online courses and workshops is a great way to share your knowledge and skills while generating additional income at the same time. Whether it’s a course on painting techniques, a workshop, or a tutorial on how to use certain art tools, there’s a wide range of possibilities.

To sell online courses, you’ll need to host your content. This could be via a plugin like LearnDash if you’re using WordPress, or a link to a dedicated platform such as Teachable, Thinkific, or Podia. These platforms allow you to upload videos, text, and other resources, and manage student enrollment and progress.

6. Art Commissions

To facilitate commissions, you’ll need a contact form on your website where clients can reach out to you with their ideas. Plugins like Contact Form 7 or WP Forms will help you set this up on your site.

It’s crucial to have a clear set of terms and conditions on your site. This should cover things like revisions, refunds, and copyright issues. It sets expectations and helps avoid misunderstandings.

There’s more help here:

Before starting the work, it’s a good practice to ask for a deposit to secure the commission. This protects your time and effort in case the client changes their mind and backs out. 

7. Art Licensing

Art licensing is like renting out your artwork for a specific use and timespan. When you license your art, you’re giving a company, or individual, permission to use your artwork on their products or in their marketing.

Your website is a great place to showcase your work for potential licensing opportunities.

You should read this: 15 Ways to Protect Your Artwork From Being Copied

To facilitate licensing, you can have a dedicated page on your website explaining your licensing terms and how interested parties can get in touch with you. It’s a good idea to have a portfolio of work readily available that’s suitable for licensing.

The beauty of art licensing is that it can provide a source of passive income. You create the artwork once, but it can continue to generate income each time it’s licensed. This could be for greeting cards, clothing, home decor, advertising campaigns, and such like.

Setting up a legal contract for art licensing is vital to protect your rights and outline the terms of use for your artwork. You can work with a lawyer to draft a licensing agreement or use online legal services that offer contract templates.

If you need some help with licensing and what it’s all about, this is a popular course by Alison Cole on Domestika

Always ensure the contract covers key points like the scope of the license, duration, compensation, and what happens in case of a breach.

8. Art Merchandise

Selling art merchandise on your own artist website is a fun and creative way to monetize your art. This could include items like t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, or phone cases, all featuring your artwork.

To sell merchandise, you can use print-on-demand services like Printful or Printify and integrate them into your Woocommerce store. These services print your artwork on their products and ship them to your customers on your behalf.

This means you don’t have to worry about inventory, printing, or shipping, making it a convenient option.

I follow Ryan Hogue on Youtube. He is a great communicator and knows his subject very well.

The advantage of selling art merchandise is that it allows you to reach a new audience. Not everyone is interested in original art or art prints, but they might love to have your art on a t-shirt or mug. Plus, every piece of merchandise out there is a walking advertisement for your art!

9. Affiliate Links

An affiliate link is a special URL that tracks the traffic you send to another company’s website. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. It’s a great way to earn passive income.

For artists, affiliate opportunities include art supplies, online art courses, or art-related books. You could write reviews or create tutorials using these products, and include your affiliate links.

To set up affiliate links, you’ll need to join an affiliate program.

Get to grips with affiliate marketing with this Udemy course for beginners

Some companies do this in-house, while others outsource to a broker:

  1. Amazon Associates: Amazon’s affiliate program allows you to earn a commission on a huge range of products. Given Amazon’s vast product selection and market position, it’s a popular choice for many affiliate marketers. 
  2. CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction): CJ Affiliate is one of the oldest and largest affiliate networks. They work with a wide variety of companies, making it easy to find products that align with your audience. Horrible interface.
  3. ShareASale: ShareASale is another large affiliate network with a wide range of merchants. They offer a user-friendly interface and a variety of tools for affiliates.
  4. Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare): Rakuten is a global affiliate marketing network and offers a lot of flexibility for affiliates with features like rotating ads and direct linking to products. Another clumsy interface. 
  5. Skimlinks: Skimlinks is another significant player. It’s a bit different from traditional affiliate networks. Instead of having to manually apply to individual affiliate programs and generate specific affiliate links. This platform is perfect for new sites that do not meet the minimum requirements for acceptance to other programs. 

N.B. It’s essential to publish a disclaimer and to only recommend products you genuinely believe in. This maintains trust with your audience and ensures your recommendations are valuable. 

10. Advertising

Companies pay to display their ads on your website, and you earn money based on how many people see or click on these ads.

To set up advertisements, you can use ad networks like AdSense, Ezoic, or Mediavine. These networks act as middlemen, connecting advertisers with website owners like you. They handle the ad placement and payment, making the process easier.

AdSense is Google’s ad network and is relatively easy to join. Ezoic is an ad network that uses artificial intelligence to optimize ad placements and revenue. It’s also easy to join. 

Mediavine requires a higher level of website traffic (minimum 50,000 monthly impressions) but is known for offering excellent support and high ad revenue.

Adverts spoil the user experience, we all know that, but they do generate passive income. It’s not worth joining a program until you reach about 10,000 monthly impressions. 

11. Sponsored Posts

Sponsorship is partnering with a brand that aligns with your art and audience. The brand pays you to promote their product or service on your website, or through your content. This could be in the form of sponsored blog posts or banner ads.

To attract sponsors, you’ll need a strong online presence and a dedicated audience that aligns with the brand’s target market. It’s a good idea to create a media kit that highlights your website’s stats, your audience demographics, and the sponsorship opportunities you offer.

Sponsorship can be a lucrative income stream, but it’s important to only partner with brands that you genuinely like and trust, and that resonate with your audience.

Do Artists Need a Website? Final Thoughts

In the digital era, having your own artist website is a must. No credible business can operate properly without one. It’s your online gallery, your professional portfolio, and your digital storefront, all rolled into one. 

It’s your opportunity to showcase your best work in the best way possible. Websites level the field. You can present yourself to the world in the way you wish to be seen.

Having your own website connects you directly with your fans and potential buyers, totally bypassing the middlemen and their fat commissions. What’s not to like?

Don’t be put off by the hassle and time involved, it’s no longer true, in fact, it’s never been easier to set up a professional-looking website for a very modest outlay in no time at all. 

The sooner you get started, the better.

This is how I made a living for over 20 years. You can too, simply copy what I did – No hidden secrets

If You Want to Sell Your Art

Check this out!

Psst…it’s only $12.99!

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Get to Grips with your Art business with Katy on Domestika

The artist and Author Kevin Hayler

Hi, my name’s Kevin and I’m a real person!
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy