Starting an art blog is daunting. There are so many questions at the beginning, not only how to start an art blog, but what do you say and how do art blogs make money?
Start an art blog with a domain name, cheap hosting, and a fast website theme. It will cost about $100 per year to get started with WordPress. Make money with your art blog by selling prints, digital downloads, adverts, affiliate links, and teaching.
In this article, I’ll explain how to set up a website, and the different ways that art bloggers use to make money. Additionally, I’ll also tell you how to get traffic, what to blog about, and how long it will take to see some results.
OK, let’s start right at the beginning.
(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)
How to Start an Art Blog
If you have never set up your own website before these are the steps you need to follow.
- Name Your Blog
- Buy a Domain
- Buy a Hosting Plan
- Buy a Premium Theme
- Customize Your Theme
- Start Publishing Content
For artists who don’t yet have a blog, starting one is not so hard. To create a blog, follow these steps:
Choosing the Right Name for Your Blog
If you are not sure what kind of name to choose search for your own name, if it’s available, use that. You can always add ‘art’ as a suffix.
Using your own name reinforces your brand but there is one important caveat. If you build a successful blog and decide to sell it, having your name in the title will diminish its value.
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 realized that my branding should be my name and I went back to buy it again, but it was gone.
I made another error. I chose a keyword that was too narrow.
I’m a wildlife artist, so I called my site wildlifeartstore.com because I was selling my wildlife art. It makes sense right? I had a specific topic and thought I knew my target audience, well yeah I did, except that now I want to expand on my content beyond wildlife.
I’ve boxed myself in. I should’ve been less specific.
I thought that I could change the title later, but you know what? it ain’t that easy. When your site gains some traffic and starts to get picked up by Google, your domain name is very important.
If you change it, and you can with a redirect, your rankings will crash and they may never return.
The longer you leave it, the harder it is to backtrack. Starting again at the outset is a pain, starting again after publishing dozens of blog posts is a roll of the dice.
This is what you should do.
- Choose a generic title
- Make the name as short as possible
- No crazy spellings or characters, (no hyphens or numbers)
- Include relevant keywords, (keep them broad)
- Buy a .com domain (instant authority)
There are fewer choices available but the public trusts .com sites 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 and ignore it. The USA is the biggest, most profitable market, so think about it.
Buy a Domain Name
I can tell you now that all the best names are almost certainly taken. If they are available, they will cost a lot of money. Believe it or not, people buy and sell domain names for a living, it’s big business.
To check if the domain name is available for purchase. You can check this on any domain provider’s website.
These are sites you might have heard of with domain generators:
There are plenty more
Domains vary in price from one domain provider to another, but they start as low as $7 for a year, sometimes lower with a promotion.
Before you start looking right away, please note that some web hosts provide a free domain as part of their hosting plans.
Buy a Hosting Plan
Finding a good web host isn’t easy. There’s too much choice, but the good news is there is fierce competition and that’s to your benefit.
Hosting plans also vary in price and are paid on a monthly or yearly basis. A basic plan with shared hosting will do. I advise paying annually. It’s cheaper and there are introductory offers to entice you.
Blu-Host is a popular option and promoted by many sites, and so too are GoDaddy and Hostgator. I’ve tried all three and they are OK. They are promoted heavily because their affiliate commissions are generous.
Until recently Siteground was a firm favorite but they have repositioned themselves as a mid-priced option. They have a good reputation if your budget is slightly higher.
After trying out different hosts, (it’s easy to switch) 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 was needed, and no threats to leave on my part, they just switched to a lower price.
I have to do this every year before the renewal. It’s my only gripe.
Purchasing a Premium Theme
WordPress is a free blogging platform and has a variety of free themes on offer. I advise you against using a free WordPress theme. You need a lightning-fast premium theme with support readily to hand.
There are a variety of premium themes that look fantastic and are designed by professionals to be lightweight and quick.
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)
You will find plenty of Youtube videos to help with the Kadence, Astra, and Elementor themes. Fewer for Generatepress, which is my theme, but they do have good support.
All these themes have a free plan should you wish to start your WordPress blog that way, and if you are happy, you can upgrade later.
Customizing Your WordPress Theme
Theme customization on a free platform like WordPress is pretty straightforward, but for beginners, it can be challenging.
I’ve figured out most of my problems by hopping on a Youtube channel.
I have a few favorite Youtube channels:
If designing a logo is out of your comfort zone, try 99designs, they are good but a bit pricey. The alternative is to look for a cheap offer on Fiverr. You should probably check them first. You’ll get one for $10-$20.
Start Publishing Content
Once your theme is customized and set up, it’s time to write your first blog post and hit publish.
Publishing content is what your blog is all about and it’s a never-ending process. Now you are a blogger, you’ll have to choose the blog topics with the type of content your readers will want to read. More of that in a minute
To add to your confusion, there’s 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 search engine optimization (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, then crafting a working blog title, followed by writing an introductory sentence about what the article will cover.
You need a hook. This opening sentence or two, written in the first person, should introduce a problem and describe the reader’s pain point. Use it to prepare the reader for the next paragraph.
The 2nd paragraph is the answer snippet. Answer the question or statement you made in the headline in 2-3 sentences. Use formal English. Be as clear and concise as possible and edit out the fluff.
If you’re confused, the first thing you do is Google the search query and read the winning snippet. Copy the format and try to out-perform your competitor.
If the winner is a list and not a paragraph, you probably need to make a better list.
Lists are often the H2 headings but not always. Sometimes they are bullet points with a leading sentence.
The snippet is important because winning the featured snippet will leapfrog your post to the top of the page and hence it’ll get more readers.
The next step is to write a sentence (segue) introducing the first sub-heading with a clear instruction to carry on reading.
A simple answer post should be about 1200 -1500 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)
Ideally, your blog should be at least 1200 words long to have enough keywords to give it 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.
Write in very short paragraphs, only 2 or 3 sentences. I try to limit my paragraphs to 3 lines only. A large body of text will discourage readers. You must take into account that most readers are on their mobiles and easily distracted. It’s your job to keep them on your site.
Include one or two outbound links to other authority sites to show Google that you have researched the subject and include relevant internal links to other related content,
Finish the post with a call to action. That can mean a request to sign up to your email list or grab an offer related to your content. If nothing else use an internal link to another blog post.
The idea is to tell them what to do next. The longer they stay on your site the better it is for you.
What Do Artists Blog About?
Artists and art bloggers have a variety of topics they can write about, depending on their specific art niche. For instance, artists can write on topics such as career advice, art marketing, or painting and drawing tips.
It can simply be things you’ve learned from personal experience. There are so many angles to choose from.
Art topics can include any of the following:
- How you learned your craft
- What motivates you
- Your personal journey
- What you’re currently working on
- How you create your art
- Types of tools and materials you use
- How to use software
- How to mix colors
- Product comparisons
- Essential resources, like books, or courses
The list is endless when you put your mind to it.
Now here’s the conundrum. If your blog is addressing others artists, your art sales will suffer. Artists do not buy art as a rule. If you want to sell your art, your blogs must target art buyers who are interested in different things.
Most buyers will be women, they are looking for gifts or home decor. Some will be collectors and any art that covers a collector’s hobby will attract customers.
That leaves you with two options. You either sell your art on your own blog and craft a series of articles aimed specifically at art buyers or separate your art altogether and post them on different platforms.
There is a case for keeping everything in-house and serving both artists and potential buyers, mainly for your convenience and you don’t have to pay Etsy commissions, etc.
On the other hand, dividing a website and trying to serve two separate audiences can backfire. Ideally, a website should focus on one subject, with one targeted audience in mind. A website trying to please everyone can end up pleasing no one at all.
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 the things people are actually searching for.
If, on the other hand, you are reaching out to your owm fans via email they will want something more personal.
When you have developed a strong email list, your newsletter will drive traffic to your blogs and help them to rank.
The next step is to publish and promote it on social media or any other marketing channels you have access to.
This will give you a head start – Social Media For Artists: The Best 13 Platforms for Creatives
How to Drive Traffic Your Art Blog
The best ways to promote your art blog include:
- Facebook groups
Paid adverts via social media sites and search engines is an option, but only if you know how to target your audience and get them to click through to your offer, otherwise it’s a way of losing a lot of money.
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.
This takes a great deal of time and effort. It’s hard work, especially when you have a new art blog and small list. It works best when you have something tangible to offer your hosts audience.
For instance, you could offer a course and in return for the chance to reach a wider audience, you can split the profits with your host. The audience get something, so do you, and the host. That’s how these things work.
As a newbie will probably benefit more from networking on forums with links back to your site. Do it naturally and be helpful. Don’t spam, it doesn’t work.
Start an Email List For Your Art Blog
Creating an email list is essential for content creators for various reasons. An email list is an easy way to build a fanbase. It’s personal and allows for one-on-one interaction. Creating an email list is essential for content creators for various reasons.
An email list is an easy way to build a fanbase. It’s personal and allows for one-on-one interaction. Email lists are central to an effective marketing strategy, and building a large list can be extremely profitable.
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 not yours.
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 taking advantage of social media and their algorithms, but not reliant on them.
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 as your mailing list grows.
How Art Blogs Make Money
You’ve made it this far. Now you know what to blog about, start a blog, and build an email list. Now you need to know how art blogs make money.
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.
These are popular ways to make money:
- Sell Prints
- Run Ads
- Affiliate Links
- Teaching and Art Tutorials
- Art Coaching
- Link to Patreon
Sell Prints From Your Website
The obvious way of making money is by selling art prints. You can sell your art in two forms, as a digital file or as a physical print.
The digital route is more passive since the artist doesn’t have to be involved beyond the initial setup. Selling your own art prints and shipping them yourself is hands-on and anything but passive.
Naturally a passive income has more appeal, in theory the customer can buy the digital art, download it instantly, and do the printing 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.
You set the price, and Printful does all of the printing and shipping for you. The profits are small but again, once it’s all set up, it’s a passive income.
There a 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.
Printful is one of the best POD companies but you are well advised to order some product samples before you start selling them. The image you see on your monitor can be quite different from the finished print you receive. Play safe and check the quality yourself.
Physical prints are also a possibility: The buyer orders one through the artist’s e-commerce store or via links to 3rd party platforms such as Etsy.
Take this Udemy class for a better introduction to print on demand and selling via Etsy
You have three ways to do it.
- You can take the risk of ordering your prints in bulk from a printshop,
- Get Giclee prints made one at a time
- Print from home
If you do this right you can make a great profit. Mass-produced prints cost very little per item and the profit margin is high. I’ve done this for years, but I sell them elsewhere, not just online. The rewards are high but so are the risks.
Most artists will choose to print Giclee limited edition prints and sell fewer prints at a higher price point. The decision they have to make is whether to print them at home or pay a printer to do it.
A home Giclee professional A3 printer with a full set of inks and paper will initially cost about $1200 as I write this post. There is a financial outlay, and don’t forget you still have to scan your work, process it, and format the file for printing.
Then there is storage, packaging, and finding a reliable postal service. It’s time-consuming and ties you down.
There is even more to it than that, and if you want to know the ins and outs you should read my other post.
Read this if you need to know about printing: How to Make Prints of Your Art – Printing Art Explained in Detail
Taking your file to a local printshop does sound a more attractive alternative. The prints cost more but the hassle is far less. You can pass on the additional cost to your buyer.
Run Ads On Your Art Blog
Once your blog has consistent and substantial traffic, you can join an ad platform. Unfortunately, many bloggers choose to run ads before they have any significant traffic using Google AdSense. This isn’t 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.
Ezoic is a popular choice and they recently lowered their barrier of entry, even so, you’ll need to reach about 10,000 monthly visitors before you can earn a small commission worth having.
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 and the higher rates they offer.
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.
Check this out: How Artists Make Passive Income: 9 Great Side Hustles
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 to 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.
Don’t worry there are plenty more sites out there that offer good rates of return. Other companies have their own affiliate programs or use a third-party publisher to act on their behalf.
Notable affiliate marketing platforms include:
- CJ Affiliate (Formally Commission Junction)
- Rakuten Marketing (Formally Linkshare)
You can also try Offer Vault which is a search engine that finds affiliate offers and the platforms that promote them.
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 Selling Art Tutorials
You can always be an art teacher and share your skills. Creating an online course can be challenging, but if done well, it can be very profitable. There are a number of platforms that will host your courses and they act like marketplaces.
You can join and sell your own classes or courses and promote them from your own website.
These are 3 of the best marketplaces:
- Skillshare is a platform that allows artists to teach their skills and specializes in custom classes around different art and craft topics. It’s a yearly membership model. The standard of courses is a bit hit-and-miss, the competition is less, and you can make single classes and still make money.
- Udemy is another very well-known site for selling online classes. They host a huge variety of courses including arts and crafts. This is a pay-as-you-go model. It’s free to create a course but the competition is fierce, their algorithm favors cheap discounted offers, and the quality is hit and miss.
- Domestika is superb. The general standard is very high, the production is professional, and their courses are focused on the arts. The prices are low with continual discounts on offer. This platform is mainly Spanish speaking and is now eagerly promoting English courses. A Pay-as-you-go model.
The best teachers can make a full-time income selling their art courses. Sign up and take a look at a few of the best teachers, see how they present their classes, and use them as a template to produce your own videos.
If you can’t make your own course, sign up as an affiliate and promote their courses, Skillshare pays the most.
As a footnote, I’ve noticed that Skillshare and Udemy often feature the same top teaching courses.
Check out my full reviews here:
- Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
- Is Skillshare Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
- Is Udemy Worth it? Pros and Cons For Artists and Designers
- Are Online Drawing Courses Worth it? I Chose 5 of The Best For You!
Promoting and selling your courses from your own art blog can be more profitable via teaching platforms.
These are 3 of the most well-known:
Each platform has a wealth of resources to help you get started and they will help with marketing advice and promoting your course.
Many creators have an open and closed system and launch their premium courses periodically, while others offer their courses as evergreen digital downloads or access via paid memberships.
Once you have made your course, the hardest work is done, in that sense selling courses are passive, however, you still have to promote your courses to make them profitable. Nothing is truly passive, that’s an online myth.
Selling via a Youtube Channel
Youtube is another fantastic opportunity. In many ways, it’s the best of the bunch. First of all, it’s free and who doesn’t like free? plus it has the biggest potential for growth.
It works alongside your website. You make the videos and send your viewers back to your blog and sell your products.
You can offer free tutorials, advice, and if you have the personality, entertainment.
Teaching your art online with Youtube opens up a world of possibilities, from paid memberships, affiliate links, and advertising revenue, to promoting your art prints and digital downloads.
The easiest way to get started is to use your best-performing blogs as the basis for your Youtube videos. Use the same keywords, and the same subject matter.
Link your Youtube video to your blog, and embed the video in your blog post. That will boost your post in the Google rankings and leapfrog your video in Google SERPs too! Win-win.
Offer an E-Book
Ever thought about writing about what you do? It doesn’t have to be a teaching course, you can write a guide instead.
There are two ways to approach eBooks. You can sell them as downloadable publications, usually as PDF files, or give them away in return for emails.
If you want to sell your guide, the easiest way to get started is to join Gumroad. They host and deliver your guide and take payments. In return, they take a small percentage.
That’s exactly what I chose to do with my guide.
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 that 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.
A good place to start is by joining Facebook groups and networking, and answering questions on Quora with links back to your site.
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.
How Long Does It Take To Earn Money With An Art Blog?
The time it takes for an art blog to make money depends on the amount of work you put into it. Even with great content, new posts on a new website, take time to get traffic, typically 6-8 months!
Using social media and marketing can speed things up but it takes a long time to get going, with no guarantees.
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.
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. A more realistic target would be 500 visitors a month.
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.
How to Start an Art Blog: Final Thoughts
After all is said and done, is it worth starting an art blog? Yes, it is if you can avoid the mistakes I made.
Get your domain/blog name right, do your research and write about the things people want to know, not what interests you. Choose minor subjects with low competition and high-ish volume.
Here’s a tip. If you can find topics where forums appear on the first page of Google and see articles off target, you can easily get a high ranking.
Check your keywords and phrases on Google Trends and see if any data appears. If you find even partial data it’s worth writing the article. You don’t need keyword tools to get started.
Art blogs require a multi-platform approach. It’s difficult to get the volume of visitors required to earn enough money with a written blog alone. Difficult but not impossible.
You’ll need to market your site, and have links to an Etsy store, and teaching platforms. You should have an email list, make Youtube videos, sell digital downloads and spread the word on Social media.
A successful art blog is a business, and you must treat it that way.
Now after you’ve done that, all you have to do is make fantastic artwork!
If you like the way I draw and want to try things for yourself, this is my basic kit:
- Pentel Mechanical Pencils 0.3mm
- Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils
- Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge Paper
- Jakar Battery Eraser
- Tombo Mono Eraser Pen
- Faber Castell Putty Eraser
- Blu Tack
- French Box Easel
If starting a mini art business appeals to you. This is how I’ve made my living for over 20 years. Take a look.
There are plenty more posts like this, have a look at these:
- Pricing Art For Beginners: Originals, Art Prints, and Formulas
- Naming Your Art Business: Don’t Do What I Did
- Can You Copy Art and Sell a Painting of a Painting? I Found Out
- How to Sell Your Drawings (All You Need to Know)
- How to Sell Landscape Paintings: 13 Ways to Make More Money
- What Size Art Sells Best? Frames and Apertures – FREE Chart
- What Kind of Art Sells Best? All The Secrets Revealed
Plus find an ONLINE COURSE that suits you.
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