Best Website & Online Store for Artists To Sell Their Work | By Kerwin Blog

Best Website & Online Store for Artists To Sell Their Work

UK artist and e-commerce entrepreneur Kerwin Blackburn helps aspiring artists identify the best online platform for their art

In the ever-evolving landscape of the art world, the significance of establishing a digital presence cannot be overstated. As artists, we yearn to share our creations with the world, and the online realm provides a canvas where our work can be showcased to a global audience.

In this era of e-commerce, choosing the right platform for your online art store is an important decision that can significantly impact your reach, sales, and overall artistic journey.

The best online platform for artists depends on individual needs. BigCartel offers simplicity, Shopify provides versatility, WordPress/WooCommerce blends content and commerce, and Etsy fosters community engagement. Choose based on your artistic goals and preferences.

As a UK artist and e-commerce entrepreneur, in this article, I’ll discuss and compare a few of the key platforms that are popular among artists. I’ll help you identify the pros and cons of each, and hopefully provide some clarity to get you started on your online art business journey.

Why Should I Have My Own Website as an Artist?

Before we dive into the comparisons of various platforms, let’s address a fundamental question: Why should artists have their own websites? In a world dominated by social media and online marketplaces, having a dedicated space that reflects your unique brand and artistic identity is crucial. Here are three key reasons:

1. Branding and Customisation

Your art is an extension of yourself, and your online presence should reflect that. With your own website, you have the creative freedom to design a space that resonates with your artistic vision. From the layout to the colour scheme, every element contributes to building your brand.

2. Control Over Content

Having your own website means you control the narrative. No algorithms or external policies dictate how your art is presented. You decide the story you want to tell, creating a more authentic connection with your audience.

3. Direct Connection with Your Audience

Social media platforms are valuable for exposure, but they also come with distractions and limitations. A personal website provides a direct line of communication with your audience. It’s a space where fans can engage with your art without the noise of unrelated content. As we embark on a journey to find the best online platform for your art, I’ll explore options such as BigCartel, WordPress/WooCommerce, Etsy, and Shopify. Each platform has its unique offerings, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

Pop! Goes The Easel Norwich Exhibition
By Kerwin paintings on display

The best online platform for artists depends on individual needs. BigCartel offers simplicity, Shopify provides versatility, WordPress/WooCommerce blends content and commerce, and Etsy fosters community engagement. Choose based on your artistic goals and preferences.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of available platforms – but these are the ones I’m familiar with and qualified to talk about. Specifically, I’ve used BigCartel and WordPress/WooCommerce for my own art store, – after weighing these up against the options of Etsy and Shopify.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just starting your creative venture, choosing the right platform is a critical step toward reaching a wider audience and turning your passion into a sustainable business. Let’s dive into the art of online selling and discover which platform aligns best with your unique artistic aspirations.

online shop logos square

Exploring BigCartel As A Platform for Artists

Overview of BigCartel

In the realm of online platforms tailored for artists, BigCartel stands out as a beacon of simplicity and ease of use. For those who prefer a straightforward approach to selling art without the complexities of a full-scale e-commerce platform, BigCartel has become a popular choice.

Introduction to BigCartel: Streamlined Simplicity

Founded with independent artists in mind, BigCartel offers a user-friendly interface and minimalistic design. The platform is known for its simplicity, making it an attractive option for artists who want to set up shop quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re a painter, illustrator, or photographer, BigCartel aims to provide a hassle-free way to sell your creations.

I used BigCartel for my own art website and online store,, for the first three years of my business, and it never let me down. (I later migrated to WordPress/WooCommerce to expand my Google reach – more on this later.)

Features Tailored for Artists

One of BigCartel’s strengths lies in its focus on essential features for artists. The platform understands the specific needs of the creative community, offering:

1. Easy Product Management: Adding and managing your art listings is a breeze with BigCartel. The platform streamlines the process, allowing you to spend more time creating and less time navigating complex settings.

2. Customisable Storefronts: While simplicity is a cornerstone, BigCartel also enables a degree of customisation. Artists can personalise their storefronts to align with their brand, ensuring a unique and visually appealing online space.

3. Pricing Structure: BigCartel offers a straightforward pricing structure, which is particularly beneficial for artists just starting. With a free plan for a limited number of products (5) and a reasonably priced paid plan for expanding your catalogue, the platform caters to varying budget constraints. The first paid package is $9.99/month to list 50 products; the next up is $19.99/month to list 500.

BigCartel logo black

Pros and Cons of BigCartel


1. Simplicity: BigCartel’s straightforward interface is a boon for artists who prefer a no-frills approach. Setting up your store is quick and doesn’t require extensive technical or coding knowledge (although further customisation with coding is available if you wish).

2. Artist-Centric Features: From customisable storefronts to easy product management, BigCartel understands the unique needs of artists, offering tools that enhance the selling experience.

3. Affordability: The platform provides a free plan for artists with a limited number of products, making it an accessible option for those on a tight budget. The paid plans are reasonably priced, especially for the features offered. Importantly, there are no further listing fees or commissions taken by BigCartel on your sales. This is a huge benefit (especially compared to popular platforms such as Etsy).


1. Limited Scalability: While perfect for artists starting, BigCartel may have limitations as your business grows. The platform is ideal for a small catalogue but may lack advanced features needed for larger inventories. It also has limited reach online from an SEO standpoint, due to its inability to create blank pages. (This was the reason I migrated to WordPress/WooCommerce; to start my blog which has provided much greater organic reach.)

2. Customisation Constraints: While there is room for customisation, BigCartel may not offer the same level of flexibility as more robust platforms. This could be a consideration for artists with specific design preferences.

In the next sections, we’ll explore how BigCartel compares to other prominent platforms like WordPress/WooCommerce, Shopify, and Etsy. Whether BigCartel is the right fit for your art business depends on factors such as your preferences, budget, and long-term goals.

Is BigCartel or Shopify the Better Choice for Artists?

As we navigate the landscape of online platforms for artists, the choice between BigCartel and Shopify often emerges as a pivotal decision. Both platforms cater to the creative community but approach e-commerce from different perspectives. Let’s delve into the strengths and considerations of each, helping you make an informed decision based on your unique needs as an artist.

Introduction to Shopify: Power and Versatility

An alternative option to BigCartel is Shopify, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms on the market. Instead of BigCartel’s simplicity, Shopify is more complex with more component parts, but with these comes greater flexibility and reach.

Advantages of Shopify:

1. Versatility: Shopify is a powerhouse in the e-commerce realm, catering not only to artists but to businesses of all sizes. Its versatility allows for extensive customisation, making it suitable for artists with unique branding and design requirements.

2. Scalability: Whether you’re a budding artist or an established creative professional, Shopify scales with your business. The platform offers advanced features and tools that can accommodate a growing catalogue and increasing sales volume.

3. App Ecosystem: Shopify’s extensive app ecosystem provides additional functionalities and integrations. From marketing tools to analytics, artists can enhance their online store with a diverse range of applications, tailoring their digital space to meet specific needs.

Shopify Logo

Considerations with Shopify:

1. Learning Curve: The robust nature of Shopify comes with a steeper learning curve compared to platforms like BigCartel. Artists who prefer a quick and straightforward setup might find the initial process more involved.

2. Cost Considerations: While Shopify offers powerful features, it comes at a cost. Pricing plans are tiered, and while there’s a basic plan, artists should be mindful of potential additional expenses, such as transaction fees and app subscriptions.

Making the Choice: BigCartel or Shopify?

The decision between BigCartel and Shopify hinges on your priorities as an artist. If simplicity and affordability are at the forefront, BigCartel may be the ideal starting point. However, if you envision a robust, scalable online store with extensive customisation options, Shopify might be the platform to explore.

In the subsequent sections, we’ll continue our exploration, comparing BigCartel to other prominent platforms such as WordPress/WooCommerce and Etsy. Each platform brings its own set of features and considerations, and finding the best fit depends on your artistic goals and preferences.

In the next section, we’ll delve into the realm of WordPress and WooCommerce, exploring their synergy and suitability for artists.

Should Artists Use WordPress? (And the Link Between WordPress and WooCommerce)

WordPress: Empowering Artistic Expression

Introduction to WordPress

In the vast landscape of website building, WordPress stands as a giant, empowering millions of websites across diverse niches. For artists seeking a comprehensive online presence that goes beyond a simple store (such as myself!), WordPress offers a holistic solution. Let’s explore why artists might consider harnessing the power of WordPress for their online ventures.

Benefits of Using WordPress:

1. Content Flexibility: WordPress is renowned for its content management capabilities. Artists can seamlessly integrate their portfolio, blog, and online store within a single platform. This versatility allows for a rich, multimedia experience that goes beyond mere product listings. (The blog posting feature was the key driver for me moving over from BigCartel.)

2. SEO-Friendly: Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a crucial aspect of gaining online visibility. WordPress is inherently SEO-friendly, providing artists with the tools to optimise their content for search engines and attract a broader audience.

3. Community and Support: Being one of the most widely used content management systems, WordPress boasts a vibrant community. Artists can tap into a vast pool of resources, plugins, and themes, ensuring that their website remains dynamic and up-to-date.

The Link Between WordPress and WooCommerce:

While WordPress excels in content management, its integration with WooCommerce transforms it into a robust e-commerce platform. WooCommerce is a powerful plugin that seamlessly adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site. This dynamic duo combines the strengths of a content-rich website with a feature-packed online store.

Is WooCommerce or BigCartel Better for Artists?

WooCommerce: The E-Commerce Extension for WordPress

WooCommerce is WordPress’s own dedicated e-commerce platform that can be easily activated within your WordPress site. Here are some key WooCommerce features:

1. Scalability: Like Shopify, WooCommerce is designed to scale with your business. Artists can start with a few products and expand their catalogue as their portfolio grows. The pages, or blog posting, function is a key benefit that has unlimited SEO reach potential.

2. Customisation: The integration with WordPress means artists have unparalleled customisation options. From the overall design to individual product pages, you have the creative freedom to craft a unique and immersive online space.

3. Extensive Plugin Ecosystem: WooCommerce benefits from the vast WordPress plugin ecosystem. Artists can enhance their online store with additional features, whether it’s advanced analytics, marketing tools, or integrations with third-party services.

Considerations with WooCommerce:

1. Learning Curve: While WordPress itself is user-friendly, integrating and fully leveraging WooCommerce may require a bit of a learning curve. Artists should be prepared to invest time in understanding the platform’s nuances.

2. Hosting Requirements: WordPress and WooCommerce are self-hosted, meaning you need to choose a hosting provider. While this provides control, it also adds an additional layer of responsibility, including regular updates and security considerations.

Making the Decision: BigCartel, Shopify, or WordPress/WooCommerce?

The choice between BigCartel, Shopify, and WordPress/WooCommerce ultimately boils down to your artistic vision and business goals. If you value a seamless blend of content and commerce, with extensive customisation options, WordPress/WooCommerce could be the ideal synergy for your online art presence.

I began my online art journey on BigCartel before moving over to WordPress/WooCommerce. If you don’t already have decent technical website understanding I’d also recommend beginning on BigCartel, and moving over to WordPress/WooCommerce once you are more skilled.

In the following section, we’ll explore Etsy, a renowned marketplace catering to handmade and vintage items. How does it compare to independent platforms like BigCartel and WordPress/WooCommerce? Let’s find out.

wordpress logo
I use WordPress for my own art website and online shop,

Etsy for Artists: A Marketplace with a Personal Touch

Etsy Overview

In the vast ecosystem of online marketplaces, Etsy has established itself as a go-to platform for artists and artisans seeking a dedicated space to showcase and sell their creations. Originally known for handmade and vintage items, Etsy has expanded its offerings while maintaining a unique charm that resonates with both creators and art enthusiasts.

Unique Features of Etsy:

1. Handmade Emphasis: Etsy’s foundation is built on celebrating the handmade. For artists crafting one-of-a-kind pieces, Etsy provides a marketplace that appreciates the personal touch and individuality of each creation.

2. Global Community: Etsy connects artists with a global audience. With millions of buyers visiting the platform, artists have the opportunity to reach customers from various corners of the world.

3. Ease of Use: Setting up a shop on Etsy is relatively straightforward. Artists can leverage Etsy’s existing infrastructure, focusing on listing their products rather than building an entire website from scratch.

Etsy vs Independent Platforms: Pros and Cons

Advantages of Etsy:

1. Built-In Audience: Etsy’s established user base provides a built-in audience for artists. Leveraging the platform’s popularity can result in quicker visibility and potential sales.

2. Simplified Setup: Artists can quickly set up a shop on Etsy without the need for extensive technical knowledge. This is advantageous for those who prefer a hassle-free entry into the online selling space.

3. Community Engagement: Etsy fosters a sense of community among its users. Artists can connect with buyers, receive feedback, and build a following within the platform.

Considerations with Etsy:

1. Fees and Commissions: While Etsy provides a platform, it comes with fees and commissions. Artists should carefully consider the cost implications, including listing fees, transaction fees, and a percentage of each sale.

2. Limited Branding: Etsy shops operate within the framework of the Etsy brand. While customisation options exist, artists may find limitations in establishing a fully branded and unique online presence.

Pop! Goes The Easel exhibition by Kerwin Blackburn at the Crypt Gallery, Norwich | Music pop art paintings and prints
By Kerwin paintings

Choosing Between Etsy and Independent Platforms

The decision to sell on Etsy versus an independent platform like BigCartel, Shopify, or WordPress/WooCommerce depends on your artistic goals and business strategy.

Consider Etsy if:

1. You prefer a simplified setup process.

2. Building a standalone website seems daunting.

3. You appreciate the built-in audience and community engagement.

Consider Independent Platforms if:

1. Branding and customisation are critical for your artistic identity.

2. You aim for greater control over your online presence.

3. Long-term scalability and flexibility are essential considerations.

In the concluding sections, we’ll recap our exploration, summarising the key points and providing guidance for artists on choosing the best platform for their unique needs. Whether you lean towards the simplicity of Etsy or the versatility of independent platforms, the goal is to create a digital space that not only showcases your art but also aligns with your vision as an artist.

Kerwin Blackburn exhibits his By Kerwin pop art music paintings at the Barbican Centre Conservatory in London, July 2021

Choosing the Best Online Platform for Your Art: A Recap and Guidance

As we’ve navigated through the diverse landscape of online platforms, each option has revealed its unique strengths and considerations. Whether you’re drawn to the simplicity of BigCartel, the versatility of Shopify, the synergy of WordPress/WooCommerce, or the community engagement of Etsy, the choice ultimately depends on your artistic vision and business goals.

Recap of Key Points

1. Simplicity vs. Versatility: BigCartel offers a streamlined and user-friendly experience, ideal for artists seeking a quick and straightforward setup. Shopify stands out for its versatility, scalability, and extensive feature set, catering to artists with diverse needs and aspirations.

2. Content Richness vs. E-Commerce Power: WordPress/WooCommerce provides a comprehensive solution for artists who value content richness, combining a dynamic website with a robust online store. Etsy excels in simplicity and community engagement, offering a built-in audience and ease of use for artists who prefer focusing on their craft.

Guidance for Choosing the Best Platform

1. Define Your Priorities: Consider your priorities as an artist. Are you looking for a seamless blend of content and commerce, or do you prefer a straightforward and easy-to-manage platform?

2. Budget and Fees: Evaluate the cost implications of each platform. Consider not only the initial setup costs but also ongoing fees, commissions, and potential additional expenses.

3. Long-Term Vision: Reflect on your long-term vision. Do you anticipate growing your catalogue and expanding your online presence? Choose a platform that aligns with your scalability goals.

4. Branding and Customisation: If branding and customisation are crucial for your artistic identity, explore platforms that offer a high degree of creative freedom.

5. Community Engagement: If community engagement and a built-in audience are important, platforms like Etsy might provide the exposure you seek.

6. Test and Iterate: Consider starting with a smaller catalogue or a free plan to test the waters. As your business evolves, be open to iterating and adapting your chosen platform.

Pop! Goes The Easel exhibition by Kerwin Blackburn at the Crypt Gallery, Norwich | Music pop art paintings and prints
By Kerwin artwork at an exhibition

Final Thoughts

The world of online selling is dynamic, and the best platform for your art today might evolve as your career progresses. Whether you choose BigCartel, Shopify, WordPress/WooCommerce, or Etsy, the key is to create a digital space that not only showcases your art but also resonates with your artistic vision.

Some final tips to empower you on your artistic journey towards establishing a successful online presence are below:

Empowering Your Artistic Journey

1. Continuous Exploration: The digital landscape evolves, and new tools and platforms emerge. Stay curious and open to exploring new possibilities that align with your evolving artistic goals.

2. Engage with Your Audience: Regardless of the platform, actively engage with your audience. Respond to comments, gather feedback, and build a community around your art. Your audience is not just customers but also supporters of your creative vision.

3. Quality Over Quantity: Whether you’re curating a product catalogue or crafting content for your website, prioritise quality over quantity. Each piece should resonate with your artistic identity and contribute to a cohesive online presence.

Your art is a unique expression of yourself, and your online presence should amplify that individuality. As you embark on this digital adventure, be patient with the learning process, embrace the opportunities for growth, and, most importantly, enjoy the journey of sharing your art with the world. I wish you a vibrant and successful online artistic journey!

What is the most useful piece of information in this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these different platforms – and any other questions you may have

Read my other blog posts about my e-commerce journey and the Business of Art in my blog section here. You can explore my full range of paintings and prints in my online shop at

My full range of Jackson Pollock-inspired acrylic paintings can be viewed at – the originals and prints of these are available to purchase, with worldwide delivery. You can follow my art progress on Instagram and Facebook.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
    Scroll to Top