Ever feel overwhelmed with the thought of finally getting your art up for sale online? Websites, social media, newsletters, marketing, photography, eCommerce, branding…. oh my goodness! It’s enough to put you off from the idea completely. And I know artists, maybe even some of you, who have done just that – decided the world wide web just isn’t for you.
Well, today I’m going to tell you how little you actually need to get started online. I bet it’s less than you ever thought. And anything else you want to do can be implemented slowly. These basics are the foundation you need to just get started already!
1. Website. It’s your hub where customers can go when they’re ready to buy or want to know more about you. It only needs to be 3 pages: a homepage, an about page, and a shop page. Simple is key, just write out some honest, descriptive text and put up lots of photos of your work. The shop page needs eCommerce capabilities, but that’s easier than you think.
Action Step: Get a website. I recommend buying a domain through Dynadot, hosting through BlueHost, and installing WordPress.org to make it super easy to create your site all by yourself. For eCommerce, I use and like the free version of WooCommerce, but there are lots of options out there at various price points.
2. Social Media. You only need to start with one. And if you don’t want to, you never have to move beyond that one. But having a social network you can connect with customers on makes a big difference in your online marketing. It drives traffic to your website and builds camaraderie with your customers that keeps them coming back for more. This is also a crucial step if you have nothing up for sale yet. You’re building relationships that will reward you in the future when you do have something for sale.
Action Step: Pick between the most popular sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Click over to the .com and sign up for an account, using your full artist name if you can. Fill out the profile and then take a look around or put a date on the calendar when you will learn the platform and start posting.
3. Email List. Technically, this is really the same as a newsletter. But that word sounds so scary and daunting that I prefer “email list”. You just need to have somewhere you collect the emails of people who are interested in your art. You don’t need to send them anything yet, but you want to have the option if you need to get in touch with customers for any reason.
Action Step: Sign up for an account with an email marketing provider (I use and adore MadMimi). Ask friends and family if they would like to be on your list. Contact previous customers and ask if they would like to hear from you when you’re having a sale or a gallery show. Always ask before adding an email to your list. Also, add an “opt-in form” to your website that will collect email addresses from interested potential customers without you lifting another finger.
4. Photos. You need high-quality photographs of your art – assuming you aren’t a photographer… of course, then this one is taken care of!
Action Step: Do your homework. Read up on how to take good photographs of artwork with regards to things like lighting, staging, and editing. Then take four or five great photos of at least ten of your pieces and put them up for sale on your new website.
5. Celebrate. Rejoice in the little accomplishments. They are actually really big and scary and daunting. And you’ve conquered them! Whenever you take another leap forward, reward yourself. I prefer chocolate, but feel free to pick your own vice.