Art blogs, like other blogs, have to make money at some point. Besides getting artistic content in front of more eyes for marketing reasons, artists can also directly make money from their blogs in various ways.
Art blogs make money through selling advertising space, affiliate partnerships with brands, and selling digital products and prints. They can also make money by providing services like mentorship programs, consultancy, and even teaching their skills.
In this article, I’ll explain the different ways that art blogs use to make money and how long it takes to do so. Additionally, I’ll also list the necessary steps in starting an art blog, how to get traffic, and what to blog about.
Selling Digital Products And Prints On Your Artist Website
As an artist, the most obvious way of making money is by selling art prints. An artist can sell their art in two forms: digital or physical prints. The digital route is more passive since the artist doesn’t have to be involved beyond the initial setup.
The user can buy, then download the digital art, and do the printing by themselves.
Another option is to integrate your e-commerce section with a Print-on-Demand company. Printful has a good reputation and sells products of every description, including fine art prints.
The artist sets the price, and Printful does all of the printing for them and ships it directly to buyers. The profits are small but again once it’s all set up, it’s a passive income.
There is one major drawback with POD. You can’t sell limited edition prints directly to the customer. For many artists, limited editions are a major source of income, but if you are happy to sell open edition prints it’s a viable option.
Physical prints are also a good possibility: The buyer can order one through the artist’s e-commerce store or via links to 3rd party platforms such as Etsy.
The artist ships the prints directly to the buyers. These prints have a far higher profit margin but there’s more work for the artist upfront.
Further Reading: Limited Edition Prints: All You Need to Know
An artist has to ship the piece to the customer directly after the order, create the print themselves or contract out the work to a printing company. Then there is storage, packaging, and finding a reliable postal service. It’s time-consuming and ties you down.
Running Ads On Your Art Blog
Once the blog has consistent, substantial traffic, an artist can join ad-selling programs. Unfortunately, many bloggers choose to run ads before they have any significant traffic using Google AdSense. This isn’t necessarily a good idea.
Google AdSense allows blog owners to show ads on their sites in return for a cut of the money paid by brands to advertise on Google, but they pay peanuts.
You will need a decent amount of traffic before you earn a commission worth having. Once you reach 10,000 monthly visitors you can apply to companies offering higher rates. Ezoic is a popular choice although some say it slows their site down.
The dream is to reach 50,000+ monthly visitors and join Mediavine. They pay top rates if most of the traffic comes from the States. If you see a site running Mediavine ads you know they are doing very well.
If you are on Mediavine, you’ve made it. Everything is possible with that amount of traffic.
Affiliate Programs For Your Art Blog
Art blogs also make money through affiliate marketing programs. The idea is simple enough, when a user purchases the recommended product, or service, through their “affiliate link,” the blogger gets a cut of the sale.
Further Reading: This Is How Artists Make Passive Income
There are many kinds of affiliate marketing programs and strategies. Links can be sent in emails to your list, you can review products, add links in your blog content, promote online courses, create a resource page with links and advertise physical products.
Affiliate marketing is lucrative for artists who don’t have their products or services for sale.
For years bloggers could make a good income by setting up an affiliate program with Amazon, but wouldn’t you know it, after dominating the space for years, Amazon decided to screw their Amazon affiliates and slashed their rates overnight. That’s a monopoly for you.
Plus companies have their own programs. The click-through rates will improve if you direct customers directly to the manufacturer.
The bottom line is that for a blog to be successful it needs traffic. You can’t expect to make money without bringing people in first.
Teaching And Art Tutorials On Your Website
Expert art bloggers can also offer training courses to upcoming artists who wish to hone their skills. Creating an online course can be challenging, but if done well, the fruits are worth it.
Live online classes can also be offered instead of just pre-recorded ones to provide one-on-one interaction with aspiring artists. Skills like painting, drawing, and photography can be a lucrative way to teach online, once an artist has a substantial following.
Further Reading: Can Anyone Learn to Draw?
It’s more profitable to sell and offer your courses on your own website but if that sounds too daunting there are platforms that offer this service for you and you can promote the links.
For instance, Skillshare is a platform that allows artists to teach their skills from anywhere they please and set up custom classes around different topics. It offers a free plan and a premium plan for $99/year.
Udemy is another very well-known site for selling online classes. They offer plenty of categories, including painting and drawing courses. It’s free to create a course but Udemy has its limitations. The competition is fierce, their algorithm favors cheap discounted offers, and they keep your customers to themselves.
Some people do very well but most do not.
Teachable is an online course builder with fantastic resources and customer support. Unlike Udemy and Skillshare, you retain full control of your site. You keep the profits but in return, you pay a monthly fee. There are 3 plans, basic, pro, and business.
Youtube is another option. If you can teach your art online it opens up a world of opportunities with paid memberships to view private content and links to Patreon where they can ‘donate’ to your site for greater access to your material.
Offer Art Coaching Services
Instead of offering courses on different artistry skills, art bloggers can also provide consultations to companies and individuals. You could be someone’s personal coach and teach them how to do their own artwork, for example, but you can also coach organizations who need help with creativity as part of your gig.
Typically, consultancy can be provided upon appointment and charged per hour or through online workshops, like paid webinars and paid video tutorials.
Coaching can be a great way to earn a wage but it’s hard to scale. Coaching tends to be one on one, or to a very small number of clients at any one time. Even if your books are full, there are only so many hours in the day. There is a limit to what you can earn.
Link To Patreon
Some bloggers make extra money through donations. It’s easy to set up a blog to receive cash via offerings using digital payment services, like PayPal. This method works best with those who have a large loyal following that are willing to offer support.
Patreon is a better way is to encourage your fans to support you.
Patreon works by giving your fans a way to support you in exchange for exclusive content. Successful channels give back to their patrons in the form of rewards.
Rewards can be things such as:
- A blog post from the artist
- Art lessons and Workshops
- First access to early releases
It is similar to the crowdfunding model of Kickstarter and Indiegogo where people donate cash at various levels but with Patreon, they are donating monthly payments and they can cancel at any time.
Patreon can be hard to manage but it’s a great way to make sure your loyal followers are supporting you. A campaign can be set up with just a few clicks on the site and then money will start coming in every month from people choosing to support your work.
Some artists do very well. They redirect their traffic to their Patreon channel using social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest or send them via Youtube.
Some artists are able to make their Patreon channel their full-time job.
What Do Artists Blog About?
Artists and art bloggers have a variety of topics to write about, depending on their specific niche. For instance, individual photographers can write on topics ranging from career advice to personal career experiences.
Topics can include any of the following:
- How they learned their craft
- What motivates them
- Their personal journey
- What they are currently working on
- How they create their art
- Types of tools and materials
- Essential resources, like books, or courses
The list is endless when you put your mind to it.
Your blog serves a different purpose depending on who you are targeting. If you are trying to find new organic traffic and rank on Google your blogs must be about things people are searching for, if on the other hand, you are reaching out to your fans they will want something more personal.
If you have developed a strong email list, your newsletter will drive traffic to your blogs and help them to rank.
How Do I Start An Art Blog?
For artists who don’t yet have a blog, starting one is not so hard. To create a blog, follow these steps:
Pick a Blog Name
Picking a name for the blog should be the first step. It’s essential to check if the blog name, which will be the domain name, is available for purchase. You can check this on any domain provider’s website. A simple Google search can help, and you can also consider GoDaddy or Namecheap to do that.
If you are not sure what kind of name to choose search your own, if it’s available use that. You can always add ‘art’ as a suffix.
I made a mistake setting up my site. Originally I used my name but let it expire because it contained no keywords and I thought that was important. Later I realised that my branding should be my name and I went back to buy it again but it was gone.
So I made another error. I chose a keyword that was too narrow. I’m a wildlife artist so I called my site wildlifeartstore.com, but now I want to expand on my content. I should’ve been less specific.
Choose a general title, short if possible, with no crazy spelling or characters. Buy a .com domain. There are fewer choices but the public trust them more.
If your audience is international avoid country-specific domains. If your domain ends in .co.uk for example, Americans are less likely to view it as relevant to them.
Buy a Domain Name
Once you’ve settled on a blog name, buy a domain name from a domain provider of your choice. Domain name price varies from one domain provider to another but they start as low as $7 for a year.
Buy a Hosting Plan
Hosting plans also vary in price and are paid for on a monthly or yearly plan. A basic hosting package will do at the beginning. I advise paying for an annual plan, it’s often cheaper and there are introductory offers to entice you.
Blu-host is promoted by many sites, so too are GoDaddy and Hostgator. I’ve tried all three and wouldn’t rave about them. They are promoted because their affiliate fees are high.
Until recently Siteground was a firm favorite but they have repositioned themselves as a mid-priced option.
I use Greengeeks.com not because they are the absolute best, I don’t know if they are the best or not, but because they promote themselves as carbon neutral, and that matters to me.
Over and above their care for the environment, their customer service is fantastic and as a non-techy, I really appreciate it. Their servers run quickly and they have attractive tariffs.
Like all these companies they attract you with cheap starter plans to sign up for a year, or more, and those plans revert to the standard fees when the initial term expires.
Greengeeks (as they all do) did auto-renew my subscription and I was shocked at the price difference. I contacted them and they immediately slashed my tariff as a ‘loyalty bonus. No haggling needed, no threats to leave on my part, they just switched to a lower price. Happy bunny.
Purchase a Premium Theme
WordPress has a variety of free templates to use, however, I advise purchasing a premium template. There are a variety of premium themes that look fantastic and have been designed by professional web designers to be lightweight and fast.
Choose a theme that is well supported and loads at a lightning speed. If you are not sure where to find them try these four first:
- Kadence – Designed to be used with its free Kadence blocks plugin.
- Astra – Lots of youtube tutorials to get you up and running
- Elementor – Designed to be used with their own page builder
- Generatepress – Fast theme with great support (My theme)
Customizing the Theme or Template
Theme customization on platforms, like WordPress, is pretty straightforward, but for beginners, it can be challenging.
There are plenty of tutorials online that help you to figure things out. I follow a few youtube channels:
If you need a logo try 99designs.
Write and publish a blog post once the blog is customized and set up, publishing content is the next big step, a never-ending process. Pick one of the topics mentioned above and craft an article around it.
There is more to blogging than just writing the content, there is the formatting, images, tags, and links that all need to be taken care of, not to mention the SEO. It’s a steep learning curve and can be frustrating if you don’t know where to start.
The first step is deciding on a blog topic and writing an introduction or outline of what the article will cover, this should include: who it’s for; why they’ll care about reading it (their pain point); possibly how long the post will take them to read – either in minutes or number of pages, whichever is more appropriate.
A draft might look like this:
“This article will teach you how to make art prints for your own work or other artists’ and what you need to get started.”
The next step would be writing the first few paragraphs, including an opening paragraph that grabs readers’ attention, a snippet that states what your post is about, and a segue to introduce the first sub-heading.
Ideally, your blog should be 1200 words, or more, to have enough keywords for it to have a chance of ranking.
Write a list of sub-headings and write about 200 words under each one. That way you not only divide the text up into readable blocks, but you also can work on each section separately without straying off-topic or getting overwhelmed.
Finish the post with a call to action. That can mean telling the reader to link to another related post on your site, sign up to your email list, or grab an offer related to your content.
The idea is to tell them what to do next. The longer they stay on your site the better it is for you.
The next step is to publish and promote it on social media or any other marketing channels you have access to.
How Do Artists Get Traffic To Their Art Blogs?
Some ways of promoting an art blog include social media:
- Facebook groups
Paid advertising through social media, search engines is an option but only if you know how to target your audience, otherwise it’s a way of losing money.
Further Reading: 5 Best Social Media For Artists
Guest blogging helps in building a personal brand through exposure to new audiences, the same goes for podcasts and webinars. In other words you reach out to other sites and partner with them.
Why You Need An Email List For Your Art Blog
Creating an email list is essential for art bloggers for various reasons. An email list is one of the easiest ways to build a fanbase. It’s personal and allows for one-on-one interaction. Email lists can also be important in marketing digital products.
Above all, email lists are your own personal resource for communicating with your followers. They give you direct access to your fans without any reliance on other platforms.
You cannot rely on social media platforms to respect your needs, they don’t work that way. They care about their own profits and are willing to destroy any business if it’s in their own interest.
That’s why art bloggers need to take control of their own marketing efforts. You have to be proactive in building a fanbase and earning money by utilizing social media and their algorithms but not being at their mercy.
Mailchimp offers a free starter plan for up to 2000 subscribers. It’s a wise first choice. You can always switch to another provider later on as your mailing list grows.
How Long Does It Take To Earn Money With An Art Blog?
The time it takes for an art blog, like any other blog, depends on the amount of work you put into it. Even with great content, marketing is an essential aspect of every blog.
There’s no fixed amount of time that it takes to start earning money on a blog. Some can do it in months, while it might take at least a year to start earning anything at all.
A fully optimized blog post will take about 6 months to rank on average. This time span can be speeded up if you drive traffic from other platforms but it’s a long, long game with no guarantees.
You will need quite a few blogs in order to make money. Ideally you should aim for about 1000 page views per month per article. That means each post should be at, or near the top, of every page in a search. That’s bloody hard to achieve.
I’ve noticed that successful art blogs tend to have about 200 blogs or more. If the average post is about 2000 words, you do the math. That’s a huge amount of work. It ain’t passive.
You’ve made it this far. Now you know how art blogs make money, and what to blog about, start a blog and build an email list. Art blogs can make money if you dedicate the time.
There is so much to learn and this is just the tip of the iceberg, but the most important thing to do is just make a start. You can learn as you go.
Start by answering a question you know people ask you about your art all the time and get a feel for the process.
Write at least 1200 words and follow this formula:
- Formal answer snippet
- Sub-heading/content (200ish words)
- Sub-heading/content (200ish words)
- Sub-heading/content (200ish words)
- Sub-heading/content (200ish words)
- Sub-heading/content (200ish words)
There are plenty more posts like this, have a look at these:
- How Do You Price Your Art? (And Increase Your Profits)
- Art Commissions – How to Get Them Quickly?
- 3 Alternative Places to Sell Your Art
- How to Sell Your Drawings (All You Need to Know)
- How to Sell Landscape Paintings: 13 Ways to Make More Money