How to start a website for your Etsy shop
After running my Etsy shop for several years, it became clear I needed something else to drive traffic. So I decided it was time to start a website and grow traffic to my Etsy shop on autopilot.
Well, not quite autopilot, but it would be much more valuable traffic than what I currently get from Etsy search. This post will look at how easy it is to start a website and ways to get started.
There are many reasons why a website is a brilliant way to send traffic to your Etsy shop. It’s a great way to start a business, and since there are 3.2 billion internet users, well, why wouldn’t you?
The average person spends over 5hrs a day on their mobile phone (yep, sadly me included) – and many shoppers won’t purchase from a shop that doesn’t have a website. So even with a small off-Etsy presence, you are building your resume and brand.
While I won’t go into Search Engine optimization here, each external link you can build to your shop is another layer of confirmation for Google.
So it’s not really – do I need a website, how can I not have one.
If, like many shop owners, Etsy seemed like a bit of a mountain into the unknown and the thought of creating a website frankly puts you on the sofa with a cold cloth – don’t panic.
It is not as difficult as you think.
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- Build a Brand for your business.
- Selling products on your website?
- How many products do I need before I start a website?
- Firstly you will need to purchase hosting for your website.
- Next, you will need to buy a domain name, or what you will call your website.
- And finally, you will need to upload WordPress and a theme.
Why you Need to Start a Website for your Etsy shop.
It would be remiss of me to suggest that every shop owner must have a website, far from it. Many Etsy businesses don’t need or want any presence off Etsy, doing fine on their own and don’t need the hassle. This is perfectly acceptable –
But if starting a website is for you – even a small blog or website – read on.
Most shop owners have some form of presence off Etsy. Usually, you can build traffic to your shop or build relationships with your audience, hoping they eventually become your customer.
I began this website – as I had a reasonably healthy Etsy shop and wanted to share some of my knowledge. I sell prints on Etsy and don’t talk about printmaking or creating prints. But it does ultimately send traffic to my shop. I also have an Instagram account, which sends some more traffic.
Build a Brand for your business.
- You can build a brand off Etsy. Although Etsy is sufficient for just selling, it is also only a shop front that allows limited conversations with potential buyers. Even though you can add more to your shop’s story and information – it is quite limiting and one-sided. There is no conversation happening.
- As business owners, we must have many hats – from managing stock to finances and showing ourselves to our customers. Talking about your work and projects is just another hat to learn and bring to your business.
- A website can open doors your Etsy shop never will. Suppose you sell a product that would work well commercially, well. In that case, it allows other companies to find you off Etsy and begin the conversation.
- I just sold some artwork to a lady in Australia for dog products. Well, she able to find my website and contact me off Etsy. You can build authority with a website for your brand.
- Once you start a website, you might find that your talents are endless. You may also find other things you wish to write about and discover new ideas you would never have drummed up just on Etsy.
- Etsy, of course, can close your shop and, ultimately, your business at any time. If you have a website presence, it will not be difficult to restart online and begin selling again. Win-Win.
- Find a new audience. – Although Etsy is very popular, it isn’t the only platform out there suitable to sell your online products. Some buyers prefer not to shop on Etsy and would instead buy directly from your website. If you write helpful articles, then you will also find a new audience for your products.
Selling products on your website?
No – I started my website to talk to other shop owners and provide helpful information for at-home Mums to start their Etsy journey. But I don’t sell any of my Etsy prints on my website. I sell them on a Shopify platform attached.
How many products do I need before I start a website?
As I said – your website is anything you want it to be. You can write helpful articles your prime customer is interested in and drive traffic to purchase from your shop. Or you could write about something related to your products, but something you are passionate about.
For example – you sell wooden signs in your Etsy shop. You could write about home decor and organization. If you sell printable calendars, you could write about family and work-life balance.
Even though you don’t want to write about your products, your customer is interested in these things too.
Building an online presence from your website can trigger whole new ideas for your business.
What are the benefits of having a website for my Etsy business?
What would it mean to you if you could contact your customers at any time?
Many purchases on Etsy search for their purchases, find a wonderful shop (hopefully yours), make a purchase, and leave a review. After this – they may return to your shop if they favored it, or they may search for a different shop next time.
You have minimal ways of contacting them again after that transaction has taken place.
With a website, you can create a single-page landing page and collect the email address. I have collected over 5000 alone from this one page. Why? Because my buyers want to sample my prints first, and they would like a discount in the shop.
For my part – I have given them something for free in exchange for their email and hopefully encourage a sale with a discount code.
But the best part is now I can build a relationship with them. We can have a conversation at any time. If I wish to contact them when I have a sale, send them a freebie to drive traffic to my shop for the holidays, I can just email them.
The best part is I can build a brand right in my back yard instead of Etsy. Delivering anything I want on any day of the year, without following Etsy rules.
Suppose you have done an excellent job engaging with your audience and built an authority on your website. In that case, you can expand your products to those not on sale on Etsy and grow much more extensive overtime.
What’s not to like about that?
Finally – you will avoid the Etsy fees. Although I believe they are comparative, they sometimes trip up shop owners, especially on low ticket items. So you can also predict and manage your finances better off Etsy.
You can link to your Etsy shop as many times as you wish from your website, and this, in turn, will build traffic for your shop.
What if I’m not ready for a website yet
Well, you can have a single page on your site, which is better than nothing. It can collect email addresses for you and give you a space to share updates and provide a space for you to link to other than Etsy – either on Pinterest or Instagram.
Should I open a Shopify store instead of Starting a Website?
Of course – it depends on what you want to achieve. If you wish to come off Etsy all together, then Shopify is a great option. They allow you to build a beautiful shop in minutes. There are programs to move all of your items off Etsy and upload them to Shopify only with a few buttons.
I also sell copies of my downloadable prints on my Shopify store.
Shopify’s only downside is that even though there is an option to have a Shopify blog, you will need to build your traffic to your shop. This can be difficult if your products are in a highly competitive market.
You will need to spend time learning SEO, and it might take a while to see how successful you will be.
This makes it a good option if you understand your customer demographics and how this translates to search traffic.
It would help if you also were prepared to run both shops simultaneously for a while before closing the door on Etsy.
Still ready to start a website for your Etsy shop?
Ok – great. Read on.
How much does it cost to start a website?
Firstly you will need to purchase hosting for your website.
This is where your website will be on the net.
Next, you will need to buy a domain name, or what you will call your website.
And finally, you will need to upload WordPress and a theme.
Think of WordPress as the car with four wheels and your theme the color, seats, and speed.
A child theme is a theme you overlay on WordPress to give you all the different colors and menus you like.
There are other options out there, such as Squarespace, but I favor WordPress as I like to change themes. So if like me (you want to change things a lot) – there are endless themes that give your website different appearances altogether. This is, of course, a matter of preference. A bit like Mac and Pc 🙂
Start with hosting at Bluehost and the WordPress theme.
I started with Bluehost, and they were fine. Their prices are great and are perfect if you want to just wet your feet for now without the worry of too much extra cost commitment.
Being realistic – it isn’t likely you will need a Porche the first day you take a drive. 🙂
Bluehost also meets the mark for a few other points. 24/7 support as well as great training videos to get you started and easy-to-navigate Cpanel.
There are other alternatives – I use Bigscoots for this website. I do like them – I prefer the platform, and they have served me well. But it is a higher price point. I moved to them because they had a great deal at the time. I wanted a dedicated server for my site and the option to add other websites to my server using all of my purchase bandwidth.
Siteground and Bigscoots are more of a financial commitment. Like many other providers, the initial year looks super attractive, but the price of the renewal at the end of the year could be way more than you had anticipated.
Many full-time bloggers just go for the best they can afford straight off the bat – simply because it can save many headaches later.
BigScoots is my top choice right now – I really appreciate their customer service since they get back to you quickly within a few minutes and don’t mind dealing with website owners who don’t understand anything – aka me.
Both options will do an excellent job for a first-time website. Later on – you can move to a new host once you have more stats and information. But a year should give you enough time to discover your needs.
Bluehost will give you 1yr of hosting and 1yr of your domain name. Both of these are renewable – so you don’t need to commit any longer if you so wish.
Ok – so to get started with Bluehost, sign up for hosting right here, and follow the instructions. Fortunately, they walk you through the whole process and it is easy.
If you prefer, you can watch their helpful video on getting started on YouTube.
Now I feel like I’m leaving you in limbo just with a website, and now what?
You can read all about why not starting a website was one of my Etsy mistakes here.
What can you write about – what should you do now with your website? –
A few ideas to help you with your website if you have no clue where to start.
Firstly you might need some help navigating WordPress. In this case – you can watch the free course on WordPress hosted my ImarkInteractive. It’s merely the easiest way to get started, has helped so many students, and is recommended in most Facebook groups.
You can also look at this Signature course from Start a Mom Blog. Suzi is without a doubt the go-to place for creating a business online and beginning your business journey.
She delivered her courses with great ease and simplicity for beginners. Walking you through starting a blog is easy with Suzi. Honestly, she covers everything in her lessons and is super valuable.
What should I write about on my blog?
Many blog owners start with five posts they can think of, which will help their customers and are related to their shop products. Beyond that, you will need to think of some posts yourself. I recommend this book, which will help you map out at least 100 post ideas.
Final thoughts on How to start a website for my Etsy shop
Having a website for your Etsy shop is by far the best investment for your time in the long run. It may seem like a bit of effort, but it’s these ‘larger’ rocks you overcome, which will ultimately achieve more results. It is straightforward to begin your website and doesn’t have to cost the earth to get started.
With that in mind – I wanted to remind you that even though you have read this post, it is important what you do next. Taking action on your ideas and leaping into the unknown is what every successful business owner does.
You are the driver of your business – and the only thing that decides your success is you.
Are you prepared to take action?
If you would like a full tutorial on how to start with Siteground – no problem. Just let me know in the comments.