Art Business Tip: Art Business Revenue Streams — Step 2. Artist Website
Introduction to Artist Revenue Streams
In the last part of this series “ Ways Artists Can Create Additional Revenue Streams” we discussed the two types of revenue streams: Sole Effort and Collaborative/Contractual Effort and you were given the homework to write out your base requirements for what you envision your future self to be doing in your art business website. This will be the foundation on which we build what you actually need.
As I mentioned before, this is advice I wish I would’ve gotten YEARs ago, but no one broke it down into actionable steps, all I knew is I wanted a website and prints sounded like a good idea. But in fact, it is a freaking great idea and sooooo much easier nowadays, but before we can start selling prints there is one step more we need to figure out…and that is What Type of Website builder is best for your art business. If you don’t do this step, you will create more work for your future self. And that’s what we are going to discuss in Part II of Creating Additional Revenue Streams by selecting the right type of Website Builder for your Art Business.
So get ready — here we go.
The 1st Revenue Stream Artists Should Create
In this part of the series “ Ways Artists Can Create Additional Revenue Streams” We are tackling the very 1st revenue stream that you should create. The 1st Revenue Stream you need to create is a website that has the ability to sell your artwork and to make that selection based on how you plan to sell art prints.
3 Types of Website Providers for Artists
I categorize the types of online shopping cart provider websites into 3 categories based on what kind of shopping cart provider and whether the type of print-on-demand provider integration they have. The 3 types of Shopping Cart Website Providers for artists are:
- Solely Hosted Website
- Specialized Artist Website Builder
- Marketplace Website
What’s the difference between Solely Hosted Website vs. Specialized Artist Website Builder vs. Marketplace Website
Solely Hosted Website Provider
A solely hosted website is where you create the website using a website development platform like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Shopify.
Think of Solely Hosted like you are building the car of your dreams from scratch. You’ll start with a car frame (a standard website template) and start ordering and customizing the car to meet your style, functionality, and taste.
Solely Hosted Websites have a great deal of flexibility. WordPress is by far the most flexible, it also by far requires the most technical knowledge, you may need a larger budget depending on all the bells and whistles you want to add — like a car, the more bells and whistles you add the more maintenance is needed, which also means time and money. WordPress is not for the faint of heart but for the strong-willed and who doesn’t mind learning technical aspects when needed AND doesn’t mind spending time on tech. Go back to the car analogy, WordPress is where you get a frame, pick a design to build the car, select the engine to run it on (hosting service) and then start adding the interior leather seats, decide on automatic or stick — all the fun things to drive your business website.
If you have long-term aspirations of a single platform with online classes, licensing your artwork, selling prints, selling originals, blogging, online community, Etsy integration then a solely hosted website with WordPress would be a good place to start. Start small to understand the environment, select a pretty theme and build over time. Here is a great article about Hosting your own website by Website Builder Expert. https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/hosting-websites/.
If WordPress sounds like a bit overkill for what you want, then let’s consider the questions I asked before, that hopefully, you did the homework in Part I to define which is more important to you:
- a consistent website look or more time to create?
- maximizing your profit or more time to create?
- getting to know your clients or more time to create?
If you don’t want all the bells and whistles and flexibility of a WordPress site, then more easy-to-use options are available like Wix, Squarespace and so many more. Wix and Squarespace are like buying a car that was designed for the average driver and then you select the upgrades from a pre-defined menu of options.
I’ve included in the show notes some hosted solutions to evaluate based on your personalized requirements:
A special note: there are other platforms you can use that specializes in online communities, online classes if those are the key decision-makers for you moving to WordPress. We’ll discuss those later in an upcoming part of this series.
Specialized Artist Website Provider
If you’d rather own your own website, but use features that allow you to Sell Prints and Products, blog a little then and that was designed for the artist’s needs, then a full package solution like Art Storefronts, FASO, SmugMug, Zenfolio, Shopify may be a good option for you.
If we go back to the car analogy: the Specialized Artist Website Provider is like you have a completed car in front of you that is designed for the artist and you get to choose the upgrades and then you take it for a ride.
I personally used Art Storefronts for 2 years before I decided to move to Kajabi because I wanted one platform to house classes, community, and art which their platform couldn’t handle the way I wanted it. BUT I most definitely recommend Art Storefronts! As a former software developer turned manager, I can tell you their support documentation and setup is by far the best I had seen! And their Art Marketing tactics are spot on (and no this is not a sponsored post by them this is truly my opinion — if I didn’t have the desire to help the next generation of artists, I would still be on their platform).
Using a Specialized Artist Website Builder has many perks besides purchase, pick upgrades, and driving. They also often include:
- Art marketing tips and tricks
- Support community forums
- Allows you to own your content
- A lot more guided service
With Specialized Artist Website Builders their features do have, like everything nowadays, different pricing levels — which allows you to grow with your art.
As an FYI — when I financially compare the options between a Solely Hosted Website vs. the Specialized Artist Website, — the monthly budget is about the same; figure about $10-$50 per month. Art Storefronts does charge an initial setup fee for your environment that feels pretty hefty but for what you get, it was worth in my opinion.
It really does come down to what you want your future to look like with your artwork sales.
Marketplace Website Provider
A Marketplace provider is a website that provides all the marketing and print-on-demand aspects on your behalf. You can also sell originals and oftentimes have limited Blogging ability.
When we think about the car analogy: this option is here is a car, now drive. Market place providers are the sites like Etsy, Zazzle, Redbubble, and so on. I’ve included some links below that breakdown comparison for these and others:
For this option, there are quite a few options, and the least expensive, least time-consuming to set up is an Etsy Shop with a Print on Demand Vendor (which will be discussed in an upcoming part of this series). The base Etsy shop costs per item and there are transactional fees.
If you want to do even more, with the Etsy shop you can then customize it with the “ Pattern by Etsy” web page builder. Pattern by Etsy web page builder allows you to create a nice web page with a blog, contact page, event page (to tell about Workshops and Online Events) and integrates with Mailchimp for $15 per month (no transaction fees and no listing fees if listed through Pattern). What’s Mailchimp — we’ll be discussing that in April, you can register for the Zoom meeting here and if you missed it the replay is available to Positive Painter Pro members, join us today and get this and so much more.
If Etsy shop is the way to go for you then, check out my lunch and learn recording on Everything You Need to Know BEFORE you set up an Etsy Shop (again, something I wish someone would’ve told me ;) )
Other Marketplace Website Providers include sites like:
Based on my personal experience I would not recommend Saatchi to sell your originals or create prints because they tried to sell one original 2 times AFTER I closed my account with them. When I contacted them to tell them my account had been closed and provided proof of the emails, they then explained to the buyer, on my behalf, that I decided not to sell it — which I only found out when the buyer found me through Etsy to see if the painting was still available, which it had sold but they decided to order a print…2 times I went through that! I didn’t like them representing me with lies. That ticked me off big-time. But again, research what other artists have to say and make the choice that feels right for your car. :)
Conclusion on Which Website Builder is best for Your Art Business?
As you can see there is a lot to think about in this! But let’s think about that car again and compare it to the list of your requirements: do you want to build the car from scratch, get one that is built but has some features you’d love to have or do you want to just pick a car and drive.
In an upcoming Lunch and Learn we are diving into Website must-haves and considerations. You can register for the FREE online Lunch and Learn scheduled for March of 2021 in the Positive Painters Online Community. In this interactive session Website Designer and Creator, Rachel Harchanko from Social Media 360 will be talking with us about what you need to consider for the website…..to register for that click here.
If you are viewing/reading this part of the series after March of 2021, you can become a Positive Painter Member and gain access to this and so much more.
Your homework for this part of the series Ways Artists Can Create Additional Revenue Stream”s is to review your requirements and see which would category of Website Builder best meet your needs.
Download the chart provided in the downloadable that lists the requirements by Type of Website provider: Solely Hosted, Specialized Artist Website and Marketplace Provider. This will prepare you for the next step.
In the next part of this series we are going to cover the next Sole Effort Revenue Stream: Sell Print on Demand with Hosted Providers.
Originally published at https://www.stephanieweaverartist.com.