How To Transition From Etsy To Your Own Website, Pain Free.
A quick reminder of the benefits of having your own site.
Etsy is a great way to sell your handmade products, but it also has limitations. Having your own site will help you:
– gain autonomy and control over your business. You will not be depending solely on Etsy;
– craft consistent, effective branding which, in turn, helps you stand out from the crowd;
– be able to set fees as low as possible;
– turn your customers into returning visitors and fans;
– promote your products, sales, and special offers;
– work on your PR and get the media to talk about you;
– start a blog to drive traffic to your site, gain a higher ranking in search engines, and engage with your customers and followers.
Having your own website can take your handmade business to a whole new level. But it can also be overwhelming.
So let’s break it down into small, achievable steps. Let’s simplify.
Breaking it down: what will you need?
As you are only getting started, focus on the big picture. There is an abundance of features you can have on your website, but the point here is to not get ahead of ourselves. It is easy to fall into the Google search trap and wonder about what apps and extensions to get, but you’re not there yet. So, let’s take it a step at a time.
What will you need on your website to start off? The basics are:
– A way to introduce yourself and your story to your visitors (= an about page or a mini-bio;)
– A way for them to contact you (= a contact form);
– A way for them to stay in touch with you (= a simple email marketing system);
– A few information pages (such as a Media Kit page or a page for Wholesale);
– A blog;
– And of course, an online shop to sell your products to the world.
Step-by-step plan to transition to your own website:
This plan exists so you can make constant progress toward having your own online store. Rather than trying to do everything at once in a disorganized way, start small. The hardest part of building your own website or online store is getting started.
Getting started is all it takes. This simple plan will get you DOING. Most of the time, building a store turns into such a big project that the rest of the business is left aside. It shouldn’t be that way.
With this simple plan, you can work on your site one step at a time and go back to business in between; while still having a professional website to refer people to.
Step 1: Start with a one-page website. No more.
It will get you started and motivated without taking too long. You won’t have to spend time gathering and writing content. You won’t have to come up with a complex design. It will be simple 🙂
It also means that even if you don’t have a full online store yet, you will have a domain that is yours. Print it on your business cards, your invoices, share it at craft fairs or to retail shops.
There you have it: www.mylittleshop.com! And it looks a billion times more professional than your Etsy shop url.
What should it include?
– A mini-bio + picture of you to introduce the maker;
– An ‘about’ section to introduce your store and products;
– A few pictures of your products;
– A “where to find” the products section. You can share your Etsy link, craft fair and markets dates, and shops you might be selling in ;
– A contact form. Simple and to the point;
– Links to your social media accounts.
Where to start?
To start with, set a date in your calendar you want to have this done by. Then, decide on the platform you will use to build your site. Don’t overthink it – Shopify, Woocommerce, and Squarespace are all great options. The 3 of them will most likely have all the features you’ll ever need. Go with the platform you feel most comfortable with. They all have tutorials and templates to help you get started too, so don’t fear not being able to code and design – you won’t need to.
The most important thing is, once you’ve made up your mind, stick to it. Then, move on to writing your content for the page. It shouldn’t take long as it is only a one-page site. Next, gather the links you will need on the page (etsy shop + social accounts). And finally, your images: a picture of yourself, a few of your products, your logo.
You’re ready to start building your one-page site! Once you’re done, feel free to continue with step 2; or leave it for now and come back to it whenever you have time. Mission accomplished! You now have a standalone website for your handmade biz!
Step 2: Add a simple email marketing system
The next thing you want to build is an email list. It is the most important thing you could ever want for your business. It is a determining factor in turning your side-hustle into a profitable shop. Again, this is a small step – which makes it achievable. No excuses 😉
The step up from your one-page shop is a website that allows you to engage with your visitors and followers.
Where to start?
Sign up with Mailchimp (it’s Free), and add a “subscribe to the newsletter” form to your site. Mailchimp has great tutorials to help you do just that. You will be able to simply copy and paste a code snippet to your website and it will be done!
Step 3: Add your remaining basics pages
Now is the time to turn your simple one-page site into a full website. Don’t panic, I said “website”, not “store”. Once again, a small step towards your end goal, rather than a big scary overwhelming move.
What could it include?
– An about page -> turn your about paragraph from step 1 into a page of it’s own;
– A contact page -> put your contact form into a page of it’s own;
– A blog – now is a great time to start a blog page
– A Media Kit page
– A Wholesale page if you sell wholesale to retailers
– Any other page you think you might need (ex.: a page with a contact form for Custom Orders, etc.)
Where to start?
For this step you will want to first write down the pages you want on your site. Each handmade business is different, so think about what is important for yours. Take time to think strategically about the pages you need and decide what content/elements will be on these pages. Doing so rather than rushing into creating them will save you time, I promise. When you’re ready to create the pages, do one at a time. You’ve already built a page, so you’ve got this!
Step 4: Connect with Etsy to make it look like a real online shop without actually having to build one
At this stage, you already have a killer website. Congratulations! Apart from actually allowing visitors to shop on the site, your website is complete! It’s professional, looks amazing, helps you connect with potential customers, retailers, the press, etc.
So what’s next? Well, you have a choice here. You can skip directly to step 5 if you wish; or you can give yourself a bit more time while still allowing people to shop your products from your site.
This step is about creating a shop on your website, without having to actually create a shop on your website. Awesome right?
What we are doing here is creating a new page (like you did for step 1 and 3 – you’ve so got this by now!) and integrating our Etsy shop onto it.
It’s simple, Etsy gives you the possibility to grab your product listings from your Etsy shop and to “copy and paste” them onto your site. It takes 5 minutes. Maybe even less. It’s called Etsy Mini and it’s free. Go and check it out!
Your site visitors can then browse your products from your own website. When they click on one, they are taken to your Etsy shop.
Step 5: Only then, turn your site into an online store
You already have a full website to showcase your talents and engage with potential customers. They can even browse your products on it, all your pages are built, you have a mailing list set up. Great work!
You have done 85% of the work!
I won’t get into too many details here as this article is already pretty long.
But here is what I can tell you. This last step is going to feel so easy now that you are used to playing with your site. It also shouldn’t take long at all. You already have your Etsy shop, meaning you already have your pictures, your descriptions, your prices, your categories. You have played with your website enough by now that you probably feel comfortable using the back-end of it, you’re ready to rock and roll!
By breaking down the process of launching your own online store, you have more time to put each step in place. And ultimately, it’s much less overwhelming. You don’t need a full-blown ecommerce store from the get-go. You don’t need to spend hours today or tomorrow lost in the Google results vortex. Consider your options. Start with a one-page website, then build upon it. Slowly, but surely.
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