Etsy or Indiemade? And what about WordPress?

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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.

Thanks… Sandy

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.

 

14 Responses
  • Gari Anne
    September 17, 2013

    Great information and perspective, Staci! For years I have been trying to get away from Ebay… and now today I am still there and also on Etsy, but I have a shopping cart on my website! I sell on thos two because they both have so much more traffic, but I am beginning to think I should focus more on my website and the blogging so maybe I can back off of the other two!

    • Staci Ann
      September 18, 2013

      Gari Anne, I totally agree with that… and while I think having a presence in as many places as possible is a good thing, you definitely won’t have to keep putting SO MUCH into things like eBay and Etsy once you’re getting tons of your OWN traffic. Thanks Gari Anne! :)

      • Teena Stewart
        January 12, 2014

        This is helpful to me. I have two etsy stores and have done well with my gifts for pet lovers and have some some from my other shop but my jewelry is not getting found because there are just too many people on Etsy selling jewelry. I just change my website into a wordpress blog hoping that will bring in traffic and I am wondering if joining Indie Made might help me improve SEO for my jewelry so that I can start selling that as well. Do you think selling on Indiemade might help me me in that area if I get some really targeted keywords?

        • Staci Ann
          January 14, 2014

          Teena, I have found Indiemade to be really good in the SEO department, and I’ve seen my products from that shop show up pretty high in search results. So yes, I do think Indiemade could be a help for selling your jewelry. If anything, it would be another doorway for people to find your products, and that’s always a good thing.

          With that being said, I think the change you made turning your site into a WordPress blog will be an even bigger help to you in the long run. Writing posts that are meant to attract the kinds of people you think would be interested in your jewelry, will bring you lots of exposure and open lots of those doorways for more people to find you. (And you can use your targeted keyword ideas in your posts too.) :)

    • Ray
      February 5, 2016

      If you were already using WordPress, why din’t you use the highly popular WooCommerce shopping cart plugin instead of a separate site (such as IndieMade) for a shopping cart? Also, what made you choose Ecwid? I’ve seen mixed reviews at best about that shopping cart plugin. I really appreciate your experience and insight!

  • Tana
    September 29, 2013

    Just remember that having your own web site is a LOT of work! Been there, done that, as the saying goes. Maybe I just started too early, but my site went live in May 1997 and it was online for more than 10 years. Excluding a wholesale contact I made via my web site, in ALL of that time I didn’t sell as much as I did LAST YEAR ALONE on Etsy. And already this year I’ve doubled my 2012 Etsy sales and expect to come close to tripling them before this year is over!

    I also tried the “as many places as possible” angle. At one point, I had shops on ArtFire and Zibbet, as well as Etsy. I also had a PictureTrail account (used for selling by many antique dealers and primitive artists), and a selling blog. I tried pretty hard with ArtFire but it never amounted to anything. I didn’t put as much effort into Zibbet but it showed much less promise to begin with. Both of those shops are now in my rear view mirror. I still have the PictureTrail and selling blog, though the blog directs shoppers to my Etsy shop and I don’t keep the PictureTrail site up as well as I should.
    `

    • Staci Ann
      September 29, 2013

      Tana, congrats on the Etsy stats…that’s awesome!

      Having your own site definitely involves some work. It’s a LOT easier now though then it was in the 90′s! I built my first website in 2006, and I wrote it entirely in HTML, in Notepad! haha what a pain!

      It’s way easier now (especially with WordPress). But my thing about having a website is about more than just having its presence. Having a shop in a marketplace like Etsy will definitely bring more sales than a website that’s just sitting there, because the marketplace has… well, a market. haha

      But…if you can build your OWN market around your website… that’s when that website will really start to do something for you. In my case for example, people find me through my blog, and are constantly strolling through it, interacting with me, visiting my shop, joining my email list, etc. And so, I look at my site as my own little marketplace.

      (It’s also a great way to build up relationships with my visitors/customers.)

      I agree with you though…it’s no walk in the park. It definitely takes some work. :)

  • Teena Stewart
    November 7, 2013

    Very helpful info. I am trying to reconfigure my web presence. Etsy seems more and more competitive and I’ve wrestled with whether to try IndieMade. I have two very different Etsy shops, one is products for pet loves and the other is creative reuse (for the most part) with recycled glass. Do you think having one Indiemade shop is a good idea?

    • Staci Ann
      November 11, 2013

      Hi Teena… well, there are a few things to consider. They are 2 pretty different types of products, and would definitely have 2 different target markets… but with that being said, putting everything into one store just to start out might not necessarily be a bad idea… as long as you make sure that you are marketing these 2 types of products separately. For example, if you were blogging, or using Facebook pages, you would definitely want to have a separate blog for each, and a separate Facebook page for each. You could then just use the Indiemade store as simply the shopping cart for both.

      Other things to think about though, if you do put them together into one shop… do all of your product pictures have an overall cohesive look? You definitely want them to look nice next to each other, even if they are very different. Also, are the prices on a similar scale? If wouldn’t be in your best interest to have some products that are $10 and others that are $100, because they would target two entirely different types of customers. Again, though, if you are making sure to market each type of product separately, to its own ideal customers, you could get away with having it all under one cart.

      I hope that helps a little! :)

  • Rachael
    December 10, 2014

    First of all, thank you so much for existing!! I am so happy I found your blog! I have been kinda floating around in website land for the last few months… deciding between wix (I like the easy drag and drop design but its still not really a fully legit platform when it comes down to it, I checked out store envy, shopify, etsy (still have an etsy but haven’t used it in awhile) I ended up finding indiemade and I’m working on setting up my shop right now! i love it but I do want to make blogging a big part of work… I’ve used blogger for years but I think transitioning to wordpress is a wise idea for multiple reasons. I ended up working SO HARD on a wordpress site.. downloaded it, decorated it so pretty with a theme i loved but the thing I did not do.. was buy hosting or point my domain or anything to it (i just own my domain through go daddy)… then when my computer died one day- it logged me out of wordpress and now I can’t log back in! I’ve tried multiple times and it would not let me get to my site no matter what i did and I may have tried tweaking something to do with “root” in PHPmyadmin which then really shut me down! now it says access denied. I remember downloading MAMP and used php my admin following a youtube video but had no idea what i was doing… :( . I read a lot of forums and nothing is working to get me back in… I feel like I need to just start over but I don’t even know how anymore or maybe there is a way to somehow create a new account with the wordpress I already downloaded? Do you have any tips on maybe starting fresh with wordpress / or should I completely delete all the wordpress info and themes and everything I did off my computer and start over that way (following your directions 😉 ? I know I can remake the theme if I had to- thats not the problem… Do you think this happened because I didn’t set up hosting first? sorry so long… kind of lost hope with wordpress but finding your blog made me inspired and filled me with confidence to try again. thank you, blessings to you & merry christmas – Rachael

  • Mary
    May 12, 2015

    Hi Staci Ann, thanks for all the tips you give us! Just wanted to know if you still have an Indiemade site or if you have everything on WordPress now?

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      May 12, 2015

      Hi Mary…. nope, I am no longer using Indiemade. I did (and still do) love Indiemade, but switched because I started having some issues with items over-selling when I would do a big promotion. I did go ahead and put a cart directly on WordPress. I tried out a few different plugins, and I’m now using Ecwid (since the end of December)…. I’ve been ecstatic with it so far. It’s super easy to use, and so far, I’ve had no issues with over-sold items, or delivery of digital items, or anything else. Like I said, I tried a few different plugins, but each one ended up having some kind of problem that I couldn’t work around. In fact, I even tried going back to Etsy again before I tried out Ecwid.

      Ecwid has a monthly fee (with an annual option to save a little) and what I paid for the whole upcoming year was hundreds less than what I paid in Etsy fees that month. SO worth it! (I was kicking myself for using Etsy at all.)

      Here’s Ecwid’s home page if you’re interested in checking it out: http://www.ecwid.com/

      Oh, and you can install the Ecwid app right onto your Facebook page, too… really easy! :)

      Hope that helps!

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