I received a question yesterday from Sandy, of Sandra Fox Designs, and I wanted to post this here because I think this is something that just about all of us handmade sellers have wondered about at some point or another. With so many options for selling, and hosting, and blogging, and ugh... how do you know which is the best to choose?
This was her question:
I have two etsy shops www.paintedsilkgifts.etsy.com and www.SandraFoxDesigns.etsy.com. I am thinking of creating a website with Indiemade that will maybe push back to my etsy shop ( haven’t decided yet about that ). The purpose is to combine all the types of artwork that I do into one online presence. My question is – you have an Indiemade website, but a blog on wordpress. Why didn’t you use the blog on Indiemade?
Would you recommend using Indiemade at all? I definitely need a blog to get traffic. My sales on etsy are very low in one shop and non existent in the other.
Alrighty, so here’s what I’ve got to say about this:
I definitely do recommend Indiemade as a shopping cart solution, but that’s all I use it for. I prefer that over Etsy because I don’t have to worry about someone leaving my shop and going all over the rest of Etsy… I like to keep my visitors on my own turf.
Indiemade is great as a shopping cart because you can make it look a little more like a part of your own website than you can an Etsy shop, and it’s just nice and simple and cheap. I save so much money per month by paying their one monthly fee instead of what I’d be paying to Etsy per sale.
With that being said, I do still have a shop on Etsy. And that’s just so that if a shopper who is ALREADY on Etsy happens to find me, they can. But, when someone has found me through my own site, the last thing I want to do is send them to Etsy.
So as far as the blog part… though I do love Indiemade, WordPress is definitely what I recommend as a blogging platform. The number one reason is that if you set up WordPress on your own domain, you own it.
WordPress is also so customizable, and it’s AWESOME for search engine traffic…. you can pretty much do anything with it. There are all kinds of plugins and things you can add to make it do almost anything you want. Indiemade is just not capable of doing all of that.
Another reason I don’t blog on Indiemade is because I treat my blog as the center of my business. It’s like my “hub” (<- I stole that term from Hubspot.com, one of my very favorite places for online marketing advice). And so, not only do I NOT want that to belong to anyone else, I just feel a lot more secure knowing that as the internet changes, I will always have that hub.
I started selling in 2005, and I’ve set up shop on what seems like a million different places… and some of those places aren’t even around anymore. I finally found that my life was so much easier if I didn’t have to worry about any of those different platforms, and I put up my own site to center everything around.
Almost all of my traffic comes through my blog, so if Indiemade disappeared tomorrow (or if any storefront platform that I happened to be using at the moment disappeared), all I would need to do is just set up a different shopping cart somewhere. There would be work involved of course, but it would be doable. All the traffic that my blog brings though, is not replaceable.
I hope that helps! If blogging is your main concern right now (and I totally believe it should be!), then I would definitely consider starting with a blog on your own domain, and installing WordPress to it (the wordpress software is free and it’s super easy to install), and then promoting your Etsy shop on it. Then later, you could always use Indiemade for another shopping cart solution if you wanted to… but I definitely wouldn’t switch to Indiemade purely for the blogging part. Like I said, I am really happy with Indiemade for the cart, but for blogging, WordPress beats out everything else, hands DOWN.
(Little Side Note: I don’t blog on WordPress; I use the WordPress software on my own domain. They are two totally different things. I explain a lot more about all of this, plus how to set it all up, right here: How to build your own website or blog with WordPress.)
I know you said you’ve got low traffic right now, so that’s great that you want to start blogging… I am a HUGE proponent of blogging. I’ve got a few articles right here on this site that go into more detail about exactly how blogging can help Etsy sellers make more sales, if you’re interested in reading those. Etsy is so overcrowded these days, you pretty much need to be bringing in your own traffic in order to stand out from the pack.
If you have any marketing questions that you’d like to ask me, please do! I’m a gigantic geek about this stuff. You can send me your question(s) right HERE.
A Little Note from a Future Staci…
I no longer use Indiemade. I do still like Indiemade very much, but last year I found that it wasn’t meeting my needs any longer. I am now using Ecwid, a shopping cart solution that you can install directly onto your blog.
The fact that I was able to make a switch like that though, pretty easily, without it affecting the overall health of my business, is exactly the point I was trying to make with this blog post. When you build your “hub” on your own domain, then making changes to things like shopping cart platforms, social media pages, etc, is so much easier, and it doesn’t kill your business.