Etsy is one of the best and biggest communities where you can sell your own creations. It takes all the burden of creating and managing the technical side of the commerce. You almost just have to create your products and put them on sale.
One of the reasons Etsy is the biggest marketplace is because it is made for people who don’t want to have to figure out how to create their website, selling system, customer management system, etc. Plus, Etsy takes care of showing your product in its homepage, therefore it’s also doing some marketing for you.
Of course, you’re paying a commission, but is not that expensive and they’re providing you real value, so it’s worth it.
But, it’s not enough
It’s not enough just having an Etsy store, without doing any kind of marketing or without having any customer acquisition strategy in place. Etsy is bringing you customers, but not enough to make a living out of it.
Soon, you’ll start to look around for tutorials about “how to sell more”. So, you’ll begin to learn to optimise your presence on Etsy. Shooting better photos, writing better descriptions, writing more search optimised titles, and so on.
At the end, you will become a complete business woman/men, because you’re not just creating your products. You’re starting to become an expert of all the things that are needed to make a successful business online.
The problem is that all these strategies reach a certain limit in the number of new customers. So, you’ll need to start doing marketing outside of Etsy to bring people into your shop. Usually you start blogging, create an email list and do Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest marketing. Eventually your sales will keep growing.
But you’ve now learned that they could keep growing if you just had a website where you can sell independently.
Why opening your website is a good idea
Of course, we’re not talking about closing your Etsy shop or moving all the business on your new shiny website. We’re looking to create a website where where you’re going to apply all the things that you’ve already learned for your Etsy store.
Plus, having the two selling platforms in parallel is going to benefit both. The people who come to your website, but are Etsy users, can go to Etsy and buy, without having to register and give the credit card informations to another website. For them it’s easier and faster going to Etsy.
On the other hand, the majority of people who arrive to your Etsy shop, will start to read your About page, your story and look for informations about you. This is because people who buy on Etsy are really interested in your story, why each product is born and why it came out that way.
So, having a website allows you to explain better, without technical constraints, your story.
And this is just the beginning. There are many additional reasons.
1. You can customise your website and experiment
You can truly express your style in the graphics, integrate it easily with your blog, with your socials, and so on.
2. Story, story and story
Here you can create an About page with text, photos, videos and links. So, you can really spend time thinking about how you can tell in the best possible way who you are and why you’ve created these products.
3. Bigger results from SEO
In Etsy you’ve learned how to write effective titles and descriptions. That’s called SEO and it works well on Google (generally if you have a niche or you’ve something unique). So, just continuing to do what you’ve already done, you’ll get more people discovering your creations, from Google.
4. Lower costs for higher volumes
Sure, you have an higher starting cost, and higher fixed costs (server and domain) than Etsy, but you’ll not have a fee for every listing and for every sales. So, if you have a large volume of sales, these costs will be more spread across multiple sales, lowering the total costs.
5. More press opportunities
If there’s a magazine or important blog that want to talk about your products, they will look for informations about you. If they just find your Etsy shop, they will understand that your business it’s something small, because it usually is.
If they find also a website, the perception is that you have a real company. It’s something more organised, that can handle the traffic of customers that they’re going to send you. This serves their magazine to a higher regard by the perception of quality.
6. Email list
It’s easier to create a mailing list where you can update the people who already have bought from you on a weekly basis. You can show new products and incentivise them to buy again. This is something particularly effective because these kinds of customers buy from a seller for his style and story, not just for the single product. So it’s easy to transform them in recurring customers.
Wooooo, that’s great! What solution could I use?
Well, there are tons of possible solutions. There are semi-automatic services, like Shopify, that are a mix between a website and an Etsy account. It allows you to completely customise it and have also integrate a blog.
Other sellers that are using it are creating really cool shops, like these.
Instead, if you have more technical abilities or a budget to hire a technical person, you can have your real website. Luckily, it’s not that you have to create everything from the ground up.
You can buy a domain and hosting space, install WordPress (the famous blogging platform), or install the plugin Jigoshop that will transform your WordPress into a real shop. Lastly, you’ll just need a cool theme that reflects your style.
As I said, there are tons of choices, explore a bit and see what is the one that satisfies your needs.
When a website is not a good idea?
When you’re just starting, opening and setting up your own website is an investment. This kind of investment should be done just if you have proof that a lot of people want your products.
I really discourage you from starting to open your website before having sold for several months on an easier marketplace. Test how well your products sell on Etsy, understand if you really like this activity long term. Learn how to promote and optimise your shop there and then open your website to increase business.
There’s another reason why I really discourage you to open your own website: if you don’t like technology. Sure, you will pay someone else to create the website, but every week you’ll want to experiment something new or change something in the graphics.
It’s not that hard using WordPress and similar sites, but you should be able to do Google researches and figure out how to do these changes and experiments by yourself. Asking to the external person is just too slow and expensive.
So, you’re going to experiment yourself, or just skip all this website thing.
Now you have a complete overview of why, why not and how open your website. Of course if it’s something you are determined to do, you’ll have to start a deeper research, but keep in mind one last thing.
The website is a place to expand your business from its Etsy origins, not a place to replace it entirely. If you’re at the point where you’re thinking of “expanding” your business and not “starting” it, Etsy has done his job.