7 Steps to Success

Welcome to ArtFire! Are you ready to thrive in our community?

Launching a new business can feel overwhelming.  Make the process more manageable by completing the following steps.  This help guide will cover elements that are important to all ArtFire shops and that could easily ensure the success of your shop.

Fine Art Print - Lead Climb - 8x10

Photo by ObeyMyBrain

You will need…

  • Banner and Avatar image files
    • Banner: Min. Dimensions: 1000px (wide) X 750px (high).
    • Avatar: Min. Dimensions: 140 x 140px (square image)
  • Estimated shipping rates for domestic/international shipping
  • A Payment Processor: PayPal Express Business Account (no payment necessary)
  • Information about your businesses tax status, specifically as it relates to state and local sales tax
  • Initial Item Descriptions (these are not expected to remain constant)
Don’t worry if you don’t have some of the above items, or aren’t sure where to get them, we’ll cover each one as part of this guide.

This guide is broken down into the seven steps that need to be completed before listing items for sale.

  1. Upload a Studio Banner, Avatar and Bio Pic

  2. Writing a Welcome Message and Bio Description

  3. Shop Sections

  4. Shipping Profiles & Taxes

  5. Payment Processor (PayPal Express)

  6. Google & Shop SEO

  7. Social Media Profiles & Widgets (sharing – rapid cart – Kiosk)

Shop Design

A good place to start with your fresh new shop customization is by changing the default designs and images.

Photo by beforedecades

Banners & Avatars

Shop banners are optional and can be turned off & on, but they are encouraged as they play a large part in shop design and consequently in the identifiability of your online business.  Original banner designs look great but if you don’t have a banner you can read our “Simple Banner Guide” and create a banner from the dozens of free default patterns available in the Banner editing page.

JJwoodworks on ArtFire

If you don’t have an avatar you can use any square image (with a file size smaller than 2mb) for now.  Popular avatars include photos of yourself, your pets, your work space, or one of your products.  HOT TIP: Establishing your shop’s design before listing products will ensure that no customer sees your shop with the default themes or graphics, making it look unfinished or worse, abandoned.  So go ahead!  Play around with the colors, patterns and text in a de facto “preview” mode, your shop is only accessible to someone who knows it by name until you start listing products.

Accessing Studio Design Options

This icon takes your to your Dashboard

This icon takes your to your Dashboard

The MyArtFire Dashboard serves as a notification hub for sales and messages, as well as a launch pad to managing your account.  You can get to your main shop page by clicking on the Store Front icon in the upper right hand portion of any ArtFire page you’re on.

The Store Front icon a.k.a. ArtFire Studio Tab is your main design tool for customizing the look of your shop.  Via the Store Front icon you’ll pick and save color, text, layout choices for your banner and avatar, and much more!  You can preview color and text changes as they will appear in your shop’s banner, set up your avatar, arrange shop sections, as well as set up your Bio information.  Each Section shows you a preview of the changes you are making and lets you save your settings when ready.


STEP 1: Upload Your Avatar, Banner and Bio Pic

Your ArtFire Shop has a minimum room of 1000 x 750px (5mb) for banners, 140 x 140px (2mb) for avatars and 235 × 235 for bio pics.


Avatars help brand your business, they’re the first thing shoppers see when they land on an item page.  Not having an Avatar picture signals the shopper that this might not be a reliable merchant.  Plus, this image shows up in a number of places!  Avatars show up on the merchant description block on your Shop’s Home, on item pages, and on Favorites.

Example courtesy of dbvictoria

Example courtesy of dbvictoria

Upload your avatar by going to the My Avatar tab under the Studio Tab on your Store Front Dashboard.  Remember: You must save your avatar in order for it to appear on your shop.

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Banner Colors, Image, Text, and Patterns

The Banner itself is your main design portion of the shop.  It is the first thing a buyer sees and provides the look and feel of your shop.  Because of the amount of design work you can do here, we have set up a separate guide just to cover this awesome feature.  You can find all the information you need for your banner in the Simple Banner Guide.


Banners are displayed at the top of your shop’s main page, as well as in category pages and blog page.  Upload your Studio Banner by going to the Banner tab under the Studio Tab on your Dashboard.  Once you’re on the Banner Settings you will have the option to change colors, upload a custom image, choose a pattern and change the text.  If you have a banner and avatar ready to go, you may want to upload them first and pick colors that match or contrast nicely with your graphics.

Example courtesy of Julia Wine

Example courtesy of Julia Wine

Bio Pictures

Bio Pics, like Avatars, show up in more than one place, places that could prove critical to the success of your shop if they’re not there.  Bio Pictures will show up in your Bio Page, Profile Page and at the bottom of every page in your shop.  The picture at the bottom of every page is set up link to your Profile Page.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.46.47 AM   Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.47.18 AM   Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.46.24 AM Upload your Bio Pic by going to the Bio Tab on your Dashboard, it should be the first page you see when you click on the Store Front icon.  Scroll down and you’ll find the Your Bio Picture block.   

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Remember: When you upload a banner, avatar or bio pic, the changes that are saved are immediately live in your shop.  Other changes that you make to your colors or text are a preview seen only by you until you click the “Save” button.  If you’ve made changes to your shop’s design that you want to keep, make sure you press the ‘Save’ button before navigating away from the page.

Step 2: Welcome Message & Bio Description

Welcome messages are optional but they help shoppers get briefly acquainted with you and your shop.  It is one of the first things shoppers read when they land on your ArtFire shop.  The welcome message helps you provide important information about your shop, right off the bat, for example if you’re on vacation or if you’re experiencing a long delivery time because of all the orders that have been placed. AFEdit

Bio Descriptions go hand in hand with the welcome message because they showcase something about you, the merchant, that shoppers would want to know.  Like, where you’re from, how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing, how you do it and why people should buy from you.  If someone wants to take the time to read more about you, why greet them with an empty description?  They’ll just go somewhere else.

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Step 3: Shop Sections

Your ArtFire Shop can have up to 99 custom shop sections (if you’re not going to use sections, you can skip this portion).  When you have sections set to show in your shop they show in a Catalog link in the upper left hand side of your shop and gives your customers the ability to view meaningful segments of your products.  If you plan to separate your shop’s inventory into different sections, its best to create some or all of those sections before you start listing items.  Putting an item into a particular section is an option you’ll have when you list products; however, you have to create your sections first.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.40.03 AM When you make sections, think about the most meaningful distinctions between the types of items you plan to sell.  Don’t worry about setting anything in stone; you can come back and update or edit your sections in the future.  Your Edit options include adding, editing, showing or removing a section; these options are not seen by your customers.  If you do not see your sections, you may need to visit the Studio tab under Sections to set your sections to “Show.”

Creating Shop Sections

To create a new section, press the “Add New +” link.  This opens a text field for you to type in your sections’ name. Once you’ve finished typing in the name, press the green check mark to save the new section.

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Editing and Deleting Sections

Once a section is created you’ll see a small pencil icon next to it.  Clicking this icon allows you to edit the section name and save the change using the green check mark or you can delete the section using the X icon.  The order that you create your sections in is the default order they will appear; to change that order simply click and drag a section to the desired position.  Once you’ve created sections you can add items to them either during the listing process.

Step 4: Shipping Profiles & Taxes

Shipping Profiles

You can manually enter shipping rates for each item you list (that option is available on the listing page); however, if you want to speed-up the listing process, you don’t want to skip this step! 

If you can come up with a few sets of reasonable shipping rates (Shipping Profiles) that will apply to the majority of your products, you’ll save yourself time and reduce the chances of making an error.  Before we get started, if you aren’t familiar with how shipping works on ArtFire you may want to go over the Shipping FAQ.

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Shipping Profiles are sets of primary and secondary shipping rates that are given a name (Profile Name) and saved for later use.  The number of profiles you need will depend on how you handle shipping.  If you have one uniform size/shape/weight for all your products you may need only one profile, but if you make lots of different sized products you may want a profile for each major type.

Prices for shipping can vary a lot depending on what you’re shipping and where you’re shipping it to.  If you’ve never shipped packages to other parts of the country (or world) you may need to look into the posted rates for the carriers you plan to use or ask for advice from our community of sellers.


Photo via stacysdesigns88

Once you have an idea of what shipping will generally cost, you can decide exactly how you’ll handle shipping:
  • Setting a modestly high primary and secondary shipping rate with explicit policies and notes that any excess shipping over the actual cost will be refunded.  This comes close to ensuring that you’ll never take a loss on shipping but may turn off some buyers once they see the total cost of an order.
  • “Free” shipping, or without the marketing spin: “shipping included” pricing.  Free shipping is a very enticing marketing message, buyers often appreciate the transparency in pricing and the matching totals between the cart’s “item sub total” and the ending “order total” during checkout.
  • Setting a high primary shipping rate with a very low or free secondary rate to encourage multiple item orders.  If your inventory is the type that sells multiple items in each order, you can encourage buyers to “save on shipping” by making additional items ship for free or nearly free.

A good shipping strategy can become a powerful marketing message; fair, free, and/or flat shipping rates can be used promotionally and can help reduce some of the uncertainty that buyers have regarding online purchasing.

The information you need  to have on-hand in order to make your shipping profiles is the primary and secondary shipping rates for each country you’ll ship to.  One popular method for handling international shipping rates is to set rates for some countries specifically like the United States, Canada, the U.K., and to set another single (probably higher) rate for “all other countries.”

Important Information:  When you use a shipping profile to list a product, you’re applying the shipping rates saved in your profile to that product.  If you change or update the rates in one of your shipping profiles, this does not automatically affect your item’s shipping rates.  To update the shipping rates on an item you must edit the item individually.

Sales Tax

For U.S.-based sellers: You may be required to collect and remit sales tax to your state and/or local government for online sales if you and your customer are located in the same state.  The laws governing who has to collect taxes and how to collect them change from region to region; ArtFire cannot help you determine if you need to collect taxes or not.

If you’re not sure if you need to collect taxes you can research applicable sales tax laws or speak with a qualified attorney about your situation.

If you would like to turn off tax calculations for your entire shop for any reason, you can do so via the "My Tax Settings" page under the "Items" tab in your My ArtFire Control Panel.

If you would like to turn off tax calculations for your entire shop for any reason, you can do so via the “My Tax Settings” page under the “Items” tab in your My ArtFire Control Panel.

For transactions between U.S.-based members: When a buyer and seller are in the same state, the ArtFire cart will attempt to apply the applicable taxes (if any) to an order.  Tax rates are updated quarterly and conditioned to apply to the proper parts of an order, which changes from state to state.  ArtFire strives to make our tax calculations as accurate as possible; however, please understand that the tax code across the 50 states is not set in stone.

Changes made in any particular state may not be immediately reflected in the calculations the cart makes during checkout.  If you would prefer to let PayPal calculate applicable taxes, you can turn off tax calculations in your shop.

By default, every item you list is taxable.  If you’re selling items that are exempt from taxes in your state, please mark the item as tax exempt during your listing; this option is found once the “Settings” section on the listing page is expanded.  NOTE: PayPal can still charge applicable taxes for items even if they are marked as exempt on ArtFire or if calculations are turned off for an entire shop.

Step 5: Payment Processor

PayPal Express

PayPal is the most widely used and accepted payment processor (both on ArtFire and on the web as a whole).  If you have a verified PayPal Business or Premier account, you’re ready to accept payments for your ArtFire orders.  Just press the “Enable PayPal Express” button on your Payment Methods page.  You’ll be taken to a PayPal authorization page where you’ll need to authorize ArtFire to use PayPal Express in your shop.  Once you’ve completed this step you’ll be sent back to ArtFire and your Shop will be ready to accept PayPal payments.

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Step 6: Google & Shop SEO


Lord Google is your friend, make sure you treat it right and feed it what it wants so that you can get your results.  If you want to invest a little extra money on your shop, we recommend Google Boost.  

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Shop SEO

A custom shop title and meta-description helps to increase your traffic from search engines and improves the quality of auto-generated text when your shop is shared on sites like Facebook.  Learn how to improve your SEO on ArtFire.

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Step 7: Social Media Profiles & Shop Widgets

Social Media Profiles

Linking all your available social media pages onto your bio, item pages and images increase the chances of your shop being found online.  But don’t forget that this also has a lot to do with your keywords and SEO, like discussed previously.  Link your social profiles by going to the bottom of your My Bio Page under the Studio Tab and Copy / Pasting the appropriate lists.  You can add up to four pages, we suggest using your most popular, you can also include your personal website and / or blog.

Linking all your available social media pages onto your bio, item pages and images increase the chances of your shop being found online.

Linking all your available social media pages onto your bio, item pages and images increase the chances of your shop being found online.

Links to your Social Media channels will appear on your Bio Page.  By default all listed items will have a Pin Button on the top left corner, allowing shopper and you to share it.  Item pages will also have a social media sharing bar that lets you share an item via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and email.

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Shop Widgets

Rapid Cart can be added to any blog or website.  This is a useful widget for merchants who already have a following on other sites such as WordPress or Blogspot because you can present these potential shoppers to your ArtFire merchandize without them having to leave your site! Pretty cool huh?  Learn more about Rapid Cart in our Help Guide.

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Kiosk is an App available just on Facebook and allow shoppers to buy straight from your Facebook page!  Read through the ArtFire Facebook Kiosk Help Guide to set it up on your Fan Page!

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Are you an experienced merchant?  Share your best tips for new shop owners in the comments.

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