If you’ve been follow me a while, you know that I am passionate on this subject: handmade brands need their own websites. I think all handmade brands should consider having a marketplace experience, and optimize it to the max. But I think having your own standalone site is imperative.
You are probably thinking that this is a huge task and you can’t afford it or spend the time on it. None of that is true. You can afford it, and you have the time.
It’s easier than ever to make your own website and it’s incredibly affordable. I always suggest Shopify which offers plans as low as $14 a month. There is even a widget option which can connect to a Square Space or other platform site and give you the functionality of buy buttons – $9 a month for that. See? Affordable.
This will take some time to create of course no matter which platform you choose, but it’s time that you will not ever regret spending.
On your own website, you can brand everything your way – the language, the images, everything. This gives you….
This is the difference between “I got this on Etsy” and “I got this from merriweather council!” This is essential.
Post what you want, when you want to. There is freedom in design, navigation, visuals…. everything. So much freedom. That’s why you got into this in the first place, isn’t it?
Are there any marketplace sites that allow videos? None that I know of. Video content gets shared and viewed a TON, organically.
You’ll pay much less on your own site than you will on a marketplace
On my Shopify site, customers can automatically opt in to my mailing list without any additional steps on their part OR mine. It’s easy. Many standalone sites have the ability to have a custom opt in bar added or coded in as well. Such is obviously not the case on most marketplace sites.
Looks more professional
You have complete freedom of design with your own site and having your own self hosted .com looks way more professional.
There aren’t a zillion links that lead away from your work or your site.
Did you know there are more than 50 links that lead outside of your shop and away from your work on any etsy page of your etsy shop? True story (I counted once.) Such is not the case when you have your own website.
Your links are better, longer
If you leave links about the internet that all lead back to a marketplace site, and forwahtever reason your marketplace site gets shut down, or you move on from it, those links are useless to you and cannot forward to wherever you currently are. On your site, even if you have an expired link, the link still goes to you, your domain, somewhere. And people will find you.
There are no norms to confine to
On your own site you can style your photos, size your images, and make your content as you ultimately want it. You don’t have to blend in with or stand out from anyone else.
You can have your shop and blog together in one place, awesome. Even if they aren’t, they will sync up better when linked together and look more cohesive.
You control what people see
All your past orders and even the dates those orders took place on is available on Etsy. Maybe you don’t want that to be visible? Not a problem. On your site, you decide what people see and how much if it they see.
Feedback isn’t obligatory
Your customers on Etsy will leave you feedback and most of the time it will be fine and dandy. But that one crazy who leaves you a completely unwarranted review? That’s such a huge downer. On your own site, how you manage and allow feedback is totally up to you.
Need I say more? If someone get’s ha;f way through the buying process, you can follow up with them about it, automatically via an app or manually if you’d like! There are lots of clever ways to recover a cart and this is functionality that is missing on all marketplace sites I know of.
Lots of times you’ll need to invoice a client for something additional, or an add on, or some other thing. You can’t really do that without a third party application on a site like Etsy. If someone needs to pay for upgraded shipping after they have purchase a listing on etsy, what do you do? You either have to send the an invoice through paypal or your have to create another listing… just annoying.
Have I convinced you? It’s not only essential to the life of your brand, but it’s actually fun! And you’ll feel so confident in sending people to your very own website.
There are lots of options out there for platforms on which to build your site, as I said, my suggestion is Shopify because it is easy to use and allows for a ton of customization. Check out my review of Shopify here, and get my free training videos which will get you started with a big boost!