Learn How to Sell Art Online and Make Money in 2024

Being an artist is a challenging and rewarding experience, but it can be difficult to make money from your work. That’s why figuring out how to sell art online is so important.

After all, if you sell your artwork online, your creative talents can reach a global audience and turn your passion into a sustainable business.

One of the most promising ways to achieve this is by building a membership website to sell your artwork.

This approach may not be as common as a traditional online store, but it offers unique benefits that can make your art business more engaging and profitable.

The online art market has grown rapidly in recent years. Sales reached $10.8 billion in 2022, an increase of $0.6 billion from the previous year.

This growth signifies the increasing demand for art print, making it the perfect time to start a membership-based art business as art lovers.

When you compare traditional eCommerce with a membership website, you’ll find they each have their own set of advantages.

Traditional eCommerce allows artists to sell individual pieces to customers, but it can be challenging to establish long-term relationships and build a loyal fan base.

Membership sites encourage ongoing engagement with customers and offer recurring revenue. It also helps create a community of like-minded individuals who appreciate your work.

So today, let’s explore what it takes to start selling artwork on a membership site, including figuring out your niche, setting pricing, building a website, and more.

Deciding what to sell your art and how to sell it

Before we dive into the world of membership sites, it’s essential to determine the focus of your art business.

Identifying your niche, target audience, product offerings like custom art or print on demand, and pricing strategy are crucial steps in setting up a successful membership website.

Identifying your niche and target audience

To create a thriving membership site, you need to start by defining your art style and unique selling points to sell your art online. This will help you stand out in the competitive online art market and attract your ideal customers.

Defining your art style and unique selling points

Consider the specific art mediums, techniques, themes, or subjects you excel in. Identify what makes your art unique and desirable to a specific group of people. Are you a master of watercolor landscapes, or do you specialize in bold, abstract digital art?

Take the website showcasing Wenting Li’s work as an example:

Wenting Li art website

Here, you see the illustrator’s work carries a similar style across all featured pieces – even if they are vastly different items like T-shirts or isometric graphics.

Knowing your strengths and the elements that make your work distinctive is essential in setting yourself apart from the competition.

Understanding your ideal customer

Knowing who your target audience is will help you tailor your offerings and marketing efforts to attract the right people if you want to sell your art.

Think about their demographics, interests, and preferences.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do they value in art?
  • What type of art are they looking for?
  • What are their expectations and desires when joining a membership site?

For example, if your art appeals to younger, eco-conscious individuals, you may want to focus on using sustainable materials.

Determining your product offerings

Once you’ve identified your niche and target audience, it’s time to decide on the products and services you’ll offer on your membership site.

Types of art and design products

There are various ways to sell your art, but before that, you should know the types of art and which one you should pick first.

You can sell a variety of art products, such as prints, originals, digital downloads, and even merchandise featuring your artwork.

For instance, visual artist and illustrator Michelle Carlos has a website that showcases multiple product types, including books, prints, puzzles, and more.

Michelle Carlos' website

Consider what your target audience is most likely to be interested in and make sure your offerings align with your unique selling points.

For instance, if your audience appreciates limited edition prints, you could offer a small run of exclusive, signed prints to your members each month.

Offering art-related services

In addition to selling art, you can also offer services like workshops, tutorials, or consultations.

This can help you create a more immersive experience for your members, fostering deeper engagement and building long-term relationships.

As an example, you could offer monthly live painting sessions where members can watch you work and ask questions in real-time.

Pricing strategies for your art and design products

Setting the right prices for your art and services is crucial to the success of your membership site. Let’s explore how to do this now.

Factors to consider when setting prices

Take into account the cost of materials, production, shipping, platform fees, and your time when pricing your products.

Also, consider the perceived value of your art and the prices that similar artists who sell in your niche are charging.

Keep in mind that offering various price tiers within your membership site can cater to different budgets and encourage more people to join.

Competitive pricing and value perception

Pricing your art competitively can help you attract more members, but it’s important not to undervalue your work.

Research the market and strike a balance between affordability and the perceived value of your art.

You want your members to feel that they’re receiving a great deal, while still earning a fair income for your efforts.

For example, you could offer early access to new releases or exclusive discounts for your top-tier members to justify a higher subscription price.

Online marketplaces like Saatchi Art can give you insights into competitive pricing for your fine art. Start selling a variety of art types that align with your unique style and offer print-on-demand services to make your art business more versatile and accessible.

Essential steps to set up a membership site

Setting up a membership site involves choosing the right online platform and tools to host the site.

Then you have to design a visually appealing and user-friendly website and organize your content and products effectively.

Choosing the right platform and tools

Finding the best platform and tools for your membership site is crucial for its success.

While you could sell memberships through a specialized platform, often setting up a WordPress site is your best bet for providing total control over your content and branding.

A few popular WordPress plugins include:

Considerations for choosing the best option

When choosing a platform, consider the following factors:

  • Ease-of-use and user experience: How easy is it to set up and use the platform? Does it have intuitive features and good customer support?
  • Security: How secure is the platform, and does it offer protection against data breaches, payment fraud, and so on?
  • Flexibility: Does the platform give you full control over your content and branding? Can it handle different membership levels?
  • Scalability: Does the platform offer enough bandwidth for when your membership site grows? Can it handle large numbers of transactions without disruption?
  • Pricing: What is the cost of the platform, and what benefits does it offer for that price?

Ultimately, you’ll need to think about the specific requirements of your art business and how well a platform aligns with your goals.

Why SureMembers is the best choice

SureMembers is a premium membership platform designed to help you create, manage, and grow your business online.

SureMembers Homepage

With SureMembers, you can easily set up a membership site with intuitive features, secure payment processing, and advanced customization options.

More on that in a moment.

Let’s first turn our attention to how to actually set up a website — then add membership features to it.

Setting up your membership site is just the beginning. To make your art business thrive, you need to actively engage with your audience and keep them interested.

Marketplaces like Fine art America can provide valuable insights into what works best in the competitive world of online art sales.

By leveraging these insights, you can ensure your site is not only visually appealing but also a powerful tool for selling digital and original art pieces.

How to create a visually appealing website

We like to use the Astra WordPress theme for building an art-focused WordPress site.

It’s fast, easy to use, and comes with a range of readymade website templates.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting started:

Step 1: Secure web hosting and a domain name

Choose a reliable web hosting provider and register a domain name for your website. Some popular web hosting providers include SiteGround, Bluehost, and WP Engine.

Step 2: Install WordPress

After securing web hosting and a domain name, install WordPress on your server. Most web hosting providers offer easy one-click installations.

Step 3: Install the Astra theme

The Astra WordPress theme is highly versatile and easy to use for creating a variety of site types.

Astra WordPress theme

To install it, go to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Appearance > Themes > Add New.

Search for “Astra,” then click Install and Activate.

Step 4: Install Starter Templates plugin

To access pre-built templates you can use with Astra, you’ll need to install the Starter Templates plugin.

starter templates

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New then search for “Starter Templates.”

Click Install then Activate.

Painter Artist Starter Template

The Painter Artist template would be a good choice for your purposes here. It includes eCommerce support as well as attractive portfolio options, which could be adapted for your membership site.

Step 5: Customize your Astra theme and Starter Template

Use the Customizer to modify your site’s appearance, including colors, fonts, and layout settings. Include any company branding you’d like to use at this time.

Step 6: Sign up for a SureMembers account

SureMembers pricing

Visit the SureMembers website and sign up for an account that suits your needs. There are currently three plans available including:

  • Pro: Priced at $69/year for use on 1 site
  • Business: Priced at $99/year for use on up to 5 sites
  • Agency: Priced at $149/year for use on up to 10 sites

Step 7: Install the SureMembers plugin

Once you’ve purchased the SureMembers plan that makes the most sense for you, login into your account and download the plugin directly from the website.

Then, go to your WordPress dashboard and click Plugins > Add New.

Click Choose file and select the plugin’s .zip file from your computer.

Click Install Now then Activate.

Next, you’ll need to go back to your SureMembers account and copy the license key for the plugin.

SureMembers license and File

Then back in WordPress, go to SureMembers and click Unlicensed at the top of the screen.

SureMembers unlicensed

Paste in your license key, then click Activate License.

insert suremembers license

Step 8: Configure SureMembers settings

Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your membership levels, payment gateways, and other features.

This will integrate your SureMembers account with your website, allowing you to manage your membership site directly from your WordPress dashboard.

Be sure to watch our Quick-start video to learn how to create access groups, restrict content, and set up drip content for making a more automated membership process.

This step is crucial as your membership site grows, ensuring it can handle large numbers of transactions without disruption.

Additionally, you can sell original art, sell online, and market your art more effectively with the right tools in place.

Importance of branding and design

A strong and consistent brand identity is crucial for establishing trust, credibility, and recognition among your audience.

Here’s how you can create a powerful brand for your membership site:

  • Develop a unique value proposition: Identify what sets your art and design apart from others in your niche. This unique selling point will help you stand out and attract your target audience.
  • Create a memorable logo: Design a logo that represents your brand identity and resonates with your audience. A professional, memorable logo will help reinforce your brand image and improve recognition.
  • Establish a consistent color scheme: Choose a color palette that reflects your art style and brand personality. Consistency in color usage across your website and marketing materials will create a cohesive visual identity.
  • Select appropriate typography: Choose fonts that align with your brand’s personality and are easy to read. Consistency in typography contributes to a unified brand image and improved user experience.
  • Use high-quality visuals: Showcase your artwork using high-quality images and visuals to emphasize the value of your offerings. Use consistent image styles and formats to maintain a cohesive look and feel.
  • Implement a responsive design: Ensure your website is mobile-responsive so it looks great and functions well on different devices. This will create a seamless user experience for your audience, regardless of the device they’re using.

Just look at consistency in color palette, design, and style on the website for travel photographer Carmen Huter’s work. It has a point of view and brand and sticks to it.

Carmen Huter

Keeping these tips in mind when setting up your site’s design and branding will help you create a powerful visual identity for your membership site.

Organizing your content and products

Organizing your content and products effectively is crucial for maintaining a well-structured membership site.

Structuring your membership site for easy access

Having a clear and logical content structure helps users find what they’re looking for with ease.

Here are some tips for organizing your content:

  • Create content categories: Group content into distinct categories based on the type of art, design, or service you offer. This will make it easier for members to find content related to their interests.
  • Use tags: Apply relevant tags to content to help users find related pieces easily. Tags can also improve the search functionality on your site.
  • Organize content into modules or courses: If you offer educational content like workshops or tutorials, consider organizing them into modules or courses. This creates a natural progression for members to follow and makes it easier for them to track their progress. Using the drip content feature in SureMembers can streamline this process.
  • Implement a user dashboard: Provide members with a personalized dashboard that displays their membership level, recently accessed content, and any progress they’ve made in courses or workshops.

Creating a content release schedule

Regularly releasing new content not only keeps your members engaged but also encourages them to stay subscribed to your site.

Here are some tips for creating an effective content release schedule:

  • Plan your content in advance: Develop a content calendar that outlines what you’ll be releasing and when. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re consistently adding fresh content to your site.
  • Vary your content: Offer a mix of different types of content to keep members engaged and cater to different user preferences.
  • Drip-feed content: Release content in a staggered manner to maintain a sense of anticipation and excitement. Drip-feeding content can also help prevent users from consuming all the content at once and then canceling their membership.
  • Communicate with your members: Inform members about upcoming content releases through email newsletters, social media posts, or announcements on your site. This keeps your audience engaged and aware of what’s coming next.

If you organize your products and content in a useful way and regularly release new content, you can keep your members interested and motivated to maintain their membership.

By focusing on the price of your art and the value it provides, you can make money online as an artist and ensure your online art marketplace thrives.

This will help you sell artwork online more effectively and attract art buyers who appreciate your unique offerings.

Attracting and retaining members

To build a successful membership site around your artwork, you’ll need to attract new members and keep existing ones engaged and satisfied.

Offering valuable content and resources plays a key role in achieving this.

Developing valuable content and resources

Providing a variety of high-quality content that caters to your audience’s needs and interests is crucial for attracting and retaining members.

Here are some types of content you can offer:

  • Tutorials: Create step-by-step guides or video tutorials that teach your members new techniques or processes for how you create your art.
  • Templates: Offer pre-designed templates for various art and design projects such as social media graphics, web design layouts, or print materials.
  • Exclusive artwork: Give members access to exclusive, limited-edition artwork that isn’t available elsewhere. This adds a sense of exclusivity and value to your membership.
  • Workshops: Host live or recorded workshops that cover specific topics or techniques in-depth. This interactive format allows members to ask questions and get personalized feedback.
  • Resource library: Curate a collection of useful resources, such as reference images, textures, brushes, or color palettes, that members can use in their projects.
  • Community: Establish a members-only community, such as a forum or Facebook group, where members can connect, share their work, and get feedback from you and other members.

These are just a few of the ways you can add value to your membership.

Ensuring high-quality and updated content

To keep your members active, it’s important to maintain the quality of your content and keep it up to date.

Here are some tips for achieving this:

  • Stay informed: Keep up with the latest trends, tools, and techniques, and incorporate them into your content. This ensures your offerings remain relevant and valuable to your members.
  • Solicit feedback: Regularly ask members for feedback on your content and resources. This will help you identify areas for improvement and provide insights into what your audience wants and needs.
  • Update existing content: Revisit your older content periodically and update it to ensure it remains accurate and relevant. This could involve updating screenshots, adding new information, or revising outdated techniques.
  • Maintain a consistent release schedule: As mentioned earlier, having a content release schedule helps keep your members engaged and encourages them to stay active. Stick to your schedule and communicate with your members about upcoming releases.

Artist Benjamin Hardman’s website is consistently updated and always offering new prints for sale, setting a great example for maintaining engagement.

Benjamin Hardman

Offering valuable content and resources, and ensuring their quality and relevance better equips you to attract and retain members for your art membership site.

A well-maintained site can encourage art buyers to stay connected and continuously seek new offerings from you. By focusing on these strategies, you can make sales, build a loyal community, and thrive in the competitive online art world.

Marketing and promotion

Promoting your membership site effectively is crucial for attracting new members and growing your business.

Here are some marketing strategies you can use to reach your target audience, broken up into a few focused categories:

Social media marketing strategies

You can give your membership site a boost on social media by:

  • Showcasing your work: Regularly share your artwork and designs on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to showcase your skills and attract potential members.
  • Engaging with your audience: Respond to comments and messages, participate in relevant groups and forums, and share valuable tips and insights to build rapport with your target audience.
  • Creating shareable content: Develop visually appealing, informative, or entertaining content that your audience is likely to share.
  • Running social media ads: Use targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach a wider audience and promote your membership site.

Collaborations and partnerships

Working with other artists is a great way to raise awareness for your membership site.

To do this, you can:

  • Partner with influencers: Collaborate with influencers in your niche who can help promote your membership site to their followers.
  • Guest post on relevant blogs: Reach out to popular art and design blogs and offer to write guest posts that showcase your expertise and promote your site.
  • Cross-promote with other businesses: Partner with complementary businesses to promote each other’s offerings to your respective audiences.

Email marketing and list building

Email lists are one of the most effective ways to reach and engage your audience.

Here are some tips for growing your email list:

  • Build an email list: Offer a free resource, such as a downloadable guide or tutorial, in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. This will help you build a list of potential members who are interested in your content.
  • Send regular newsletters: Keep your subscribers engaged by sending them regular updates, promotional offers, and valuable content related to your artwork or process.
  • Create targeted email campaigns: Develop email campaigns that target specific segments of your list, such as those who have shown interest in a particular type of art or design, to increase conversion rates.

Offering excellent customer support

Providing exceptional customer support can help you build trust with your members, improve retention rates, and generate positive word-of-mouth.

You can accomplish this by:

  • Responding quickly: Aim to respond to customer inquiries and issues as soon as possible. Prompt responses show your members that you value their time and are committed to helping them.
  • Being professional: Maintain a professional tone in all customer interactions, even when dealing with challenging situations. This demonstrates your commitment to providing a high-quality experience for your members.
  • Going the extra mile: Offer assistance beyond what’s expected to exceed your members’ expectations and create a memorable experience.

Of course, it can be difficult to manage every aspect of a membership site on your own. Using third-party tools can be helpful in this regard.


A few tool types that might be of interest to you include:

  • Helpdesk software: Use helpdesk software, such as Zendesk or Freshdesk, to manage and track customer inquiries and streamline your support process.
  • Knowledge base: Create a knowledge base or FAQ section on your site to provide members with answers to common questions and issues.
  • Chatbots: Add chatbot software on your site to handle routine inquiries and offer instant support, freeing up time for you to handle more complex issues.

Offer excellent customer support and implement effective marketing strategies wherever you can. This can help you attract and retain members for your art and design membership site.

By focusing on building a strong online portfolio and working with galleries to sell your art, you can create a best way to sell your unique creations.

This approach ensures that you can sell directly to your audience and start selling your art efficiently.

Analyzing and optimizing your art membership site & online store

Regularly tracking and analyzing the performance of your art membership site is crucial for identifying areas of improvement and ensuring sustainable growth.

Let’s now take a look at the most important metrics to track and what to do with the data once it’s been collected.

Essential metrics to track

The key metrics you should be tracking for your art membership site include:

  • Membership growth: Monitor the number of new members joining your site and compare it to your churn rate (the number of members leaving). This will help you understand the overall health of your site.
  • Engagement: Track how often members interact with your site and consume your content. This can include metrics like page views, video plays, and downloads.
  • Conversion rates: Analyze the percentage of visitors who become members, as well as the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns in driving new sign-ups.
  • Revenue: Keep track of your membership site’s overall revenue and compare it to your expenses to understand your profitability.
  • Customer satisfaction: Use surveys and feedback forms to gather insights on member satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.

You can use tools like Google Analytics or Mixpanel to measure and track these metrics.


Making data-driven decisions

After collecting all the data mentioned earlier, you can use it to make better decisions about how to improve your art membership website.

For example, if you see that engagement is low and membership growth is stagnant, you can take action.

Examine the content and features to determine what’s not working and make improvements, such as adding more interactive elements or providing additional resources.

A few concrete actions you can take include:

  • Identifying patterns and trends: Analyze your data to spot patterns or trends that may indicate areas where you can make improvements or capitalize on opportunities.
  • Testing and iterating: Regularly test different strategies and tactics, such as pricing changes, content offerings, or marketing campaigns, to see what works best for your audience. Use the data from these tests to inform future decisions.
  • Focusing on high-impact changes: Prioritize changes that are likely to have the biggest impact on performance, such as improving member retention or increasing conversion rates.
  • Monitoring the results: After implementing changes, continue to track your metrics to see if the changes are producing the desired results. If not, adjust your approach and test again.

As your membership site grows and evolves, it’s essential to adapt what you offer to keep your members engaged and satisfied. This involves the following:

Responding to member feedback

Regularly gathering feedback from your members can help you identify areas for improvement and opportunities to better meet their needs.

You can respond to member feedback by:

  • Being proactive: Encourage members to provide feedback through surveys, polls, and feedback forms.
  • Listening and analyzing: Carefully consider the feedback you receive and identify any common themes or issues that need to be addressed.
  • Taking action: Implement changes based on feedback and communicate those changes to your members to show that their input is valued.

If you don’t regularly receive feedback from members or your community, you can always solicit it through surveys or other engagement opportunities.

Tools like Typeform and SurveyMonkey can help you create surveys quickly and easily.


By responding to feedback and making data-driven decisions, you can start selling art effectively and keep your members engaged.

This process will help you upload your art, license to sell your work, and ultimately make a purchase from your online store.

Exploring new product or service ideas to start selling

Continuously updating and expanding your offerings keeps your membership site fresh and engaging.

You can explore new ideas by:

  • Monitoring trends: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and popular topics to ensure your offerings remain relevant and appealing to your audience.
  • Testing new content types: Experiment with new types of content or services, such as live workshops, exclusive collaborations, or limited edition products.
  • Partnering with other artists or experts: Collaborate with other artists or experts in your niche to create unique, value-added offerings for your members.

Scaling and expanding your online art business

As your art membership site gains traction, you may want to consider scaling and expanding your business.

This can involve strategies for growth and diversification, as well as exploring opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.

Strategies for growth and diversification to sell online

You can pursue a variety of strategies to grow and diversify your business, such as:

  • Expand your product offerings: Consider introducing new products or services, such as art-related courses, workshops, or merchandise, to diversify your income streams.
  • Target new markets: Explore opportunities to reach new audiences such as international markets or different demographic segments.
  • Invest in marketing and advertising: Increase your marketing and advertising efforts to attract more members and grow your brand awareness.
  • Improve member retention: Focus on providing exceptional value and support to retain existing members and reduce churn.

By exploring new product ideas and scaling your business, you can keep your art membership site dynamic and attractive to members.

Consider offering ways to sell your original artwork, like limited edition prints, or implementing new strategies to sell prints of your work directly into your online store.

This not only enhances the value of your membership but also caters to the varied preferences of your audience, ensuring they remain engaged and loyal.

For those selling art online for beginners, setting up your online store and providing a clear value proposition can make the process smoother and more successful.

Opportunities for collaboration and partnerships

Collaborating with other artists, experts, or organizations can help you expand your reach and create new opportunities for your art membership site.

You can do this through:

  • Joint ventures: Partner with other artists or experts to co-create products, services, or events that benefit both of your audiences.
  • Affiliate partnerships: Establish affiliate relationships with complementary businesses to promote each other’s products or services and share revenue.
  • Sponsorships: Seek out sponsorships from brands or organizations that align with your values and audience to gain exposure and financial support.

These strategies will help you build a thriving online art business that can bring in a steady stream of income.

Learn how to sell art online and turn your passion into a thriving business

Learning how to sell art online through a membership site is an exciting and potentially lucrative opportunity for artists and designers.

By carefully considering your niche, product offerings, and pricing strategies — and by setting up a visually appealing and well-organized website — you can create a thriving online art business.

Focus on attracting and retaining members by offering valuable content and resources, marketing effectively, and providing excellent customer support.

Do these things and the other strategies outlined here and you can’t go wrong.

There’s no better time than the present to turn your passion for art into a successful online membership business, reaching a global audience and sharing your creativity with the world.

By leveraging online and physical galleries, you can sell art online FAQs to help your audience understand the process better.

Ensure that your commission if you make sales through these galleries is clear and fair. Create an online portfolio to showcase your specific pieces of art and make it easier for artists to sell their work.

Online galleries for selling artwork are among the best places to sell art and reach a wider audience, making your business more successful and sustainable.

Good luck!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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