Do I need a website when Etsy will do? A common question among handmade crafters and digital designers can often lead to headaches. Stop worrying, and learn how you can benefit from both.
Do I Need a Website When Etsy Will Do?
Your handmade craft business is important to you! You have heard the stories about how you shouldn’t be on Etsy and yet the thought of building your own shopping cart terrifies you. Do I need a website when Etsy will do?
Selling on Etsy
I’ve been selling on Etsy for years. I have learned a lot along the way and helping you understand the pros and cons of selling on Etsy is something I can gladly do for you.
With Etsy, or with any third party site like Shopify, Society6, etc. you’re going to have fees to pay that you wouldn’t with your own e-commerce site. For example, if someone purchases your product on Etsy and pays with PayPal, you aren’t only paying the PayPal fees that you would on your own e-commerce site, but you have to pay to list your items plus a percentage of the sale to Etsy.
The upside of Etsy is that you don’t have to have any tech skills to worry about managing a website or shopping cart. If you know nothing about how to build or manage an e-commerce website, then those fees could be a wash compared to hiring a web developer.
I also like Etsy for startups, side gigs, and just trying to build a business. For me, it took some time to get the exposure I wanted. My conversion rate is really good, averaging about 10%. I get exposure there and I like it considering my life is pretty busy with lots of projects.
Selling on Your Own Site
Long before I was selling on Etsy I was managing e-commerce sites using Zen Cart, X Cart and WooCommerce for WordPress.
I know just enough coding to get me in trouble, so I’m not really afraid to run a website.
That being said, I do have an online shop on my website, hollypixels.com using WooCommerce for WordPress. It’s pretty easy to setup and maintain. However, for me to properly setup my product listings for SEO I am finding it’s more time consuming than with Etsy.
I have a lot of SVG files, and I was doing my best to upload to both before moving onto my next product listing. Call me lazy, but I have put more priority into loading my designs to Etsy.
So the complexity of listing properly can be cumbersome. I know a lot of people that list a product but don’t do it so that people can find the in search engines. You must take the time to understand this process and carefully list each product to your advantage.
E-commerce sites on your own can be simple to complex as well as relatively inexpensive to super expensive. With WooCommerce for WordPress it’s free. But there are extensions like using your credit card provider and shipping profiles that could end up being an investment you would have to make.
What I Do
I run both an Etsy shop and my own shop using WooCommerce on WordPress. The plan is that once I list an SVG file on Etsy, I also list it on my website and properly describe it for the best search engine optimization.
As I said before, it’s time consuming, but I believe that by having my brand on my own website gives me security if something were to abruptly end at Etsy.
How do I get people flowing through my website? Easy! With proper SEO using a plugin called Yoast, I can make sure my product listings are going to rank and be found by shoppers looking on Google.
I also collect emails! I promise my visitors a free SVG file every Friday when they sign up with me. I use one of my image spots on Etsy to invite them to go to my website and get on the list! This is a huge win because if Etsy were ever to shut me down I have a large mailing list to email right away and let them know where they can find me.
Now, this is what I do. For me, it works. It may not work for your type of product. And, I suggest that you try different options and go with what works best after some time testing.
What You Should Do
What you decide to do should be explored based on the product you are selling. But in my experience, I believe that you should have your own website with at least a landing page that allows people to sign up for emails with you.
You can continue to sell on Etsy as you’re building your new business. But start sending your visitors to your site and promise them something in return for giving you their email address.
Your landing page could be your logo, a welcome introduction, and your sign-up form to get on your list. The cost can be very minimal if you use something like SiteGround*. They make it easy to run a script to install WordPress with a click of a button. And, you can collect emails with an easy form to embed using Mailerlite*. Mailerlite gives you a $20 credit when you click that link! P.S. Those are affiliate links (read my disclaimer below this post).
- Start Your Etsy Shop
- Come Up With a Lead Magnet Idea (a quiz is a super fun way to engage new visitors)
- Build a Landing Page with Email Signup
- Build an Email Funnel to Automate Your Subscribers
- Promote Your Shop and Your Lead Magnet
Once you grow your business and have a large following, then I would consider adding a shopping cart on your website and possibly blogging to help drive more traffic to you. Don’t try and do it all at once. You’ll be overwhelmed and miss an important step. Download my free Lead Magnet Ideas for Creative Businesses List!