Setting up a craft business can be hard, overwhelming and just a whole heap of work. It’s tempting, at least in the beginning, to keep things as simple as possible, just be present on one site (perhaps Etsy or Facebook) and see how it goes.
And while this is a great strategy in the beginning (I like to call it getting proof of concept) at some point you might start thinking about whether you should have your own website.
I’m a great believer in having your own space online that you own and I recommend that everyone does it if they are really serious about selling their crafts. There are pros and cons to it though, as with everything, so let’s take a look at them:
- Looks way more professional
- You are not subject to the whims of sites when they change rules, algorithms and looks
- You can have your own domain name
- It can look just the way you want it to
- You can add blogs in which can give your business an added dimension
- It’s your space and you own it.
- It can be a steep learning curve getting your website looking great on your own.
- It’s an extra expense to buy your domain name and web site hosting
- Getting people to visit your new website might prove trickier than getting them on social media or Etsy.
Creating a website
So what are your options for creating your own website? Let’s take a look:
(please note some of these links are affiliate links and I may get a commission if you decide to purchase)
I really liked this company when I did a test set up of a store last year. It’s UK based and really reasonable and it looks really professional really quickly. You can see the blog about it here.
This is where I always get my domain names (see below) but they also have hosting options (if you go for a wordpress site) or you can create a store there as well. I’ve had some great feedback from people using GoDaddy stores.
I have a Shopify store for an unrelated e-commerce business and I absolutely love it. It’s professional looking from day one, they have a tonne of useful advice and forums, and it’s still fairly reasonable for an e-commerce store.
This is a new kid on the block. Etsy has only just released this and my first impressions aren’t that great to be honest. For the cost ($15 per month) all you really get is a carbon copy of your Etsy store as a stand alone site. You cannot add blogs, new products unless it’s on Etsy and customers have to join Etsy to purchase. My worry is that if you went with this you’re just keeping lots of your eggs in one basket and should Etsy decide they want to shut your store down, you site would go down too.
This is how I have Crafty Mentor and if you wanted to have a store as well you’d need to add in a plugin called WooCommerce. It can be a bit of a learning curve, but I find it a cheap option for a site. It costs me £40 a year for hosting and another £8 or so for the domain name. I get my hosting from here.
I use Selz and embed it on my website because I sell digital downloads and I found it a good option for that. The EU Vat regulations make it a little trickier for us digital sellers! You can set Selz up as a stand alone store as well and it’s not solely for digital items – it’s good for physical items too. They are always improving as well and I love that when I ask them about something, they have great customer service.
Another option that is popular and easy to set up and run.
What about a domain name?
If you decide to have your own shop then getting your own domain name is the next logical thing to do. Sometimes you’ll be able to have a shop name for free or included in your package that will look something like – www.yourshopname.platform.com – not particularly easy to remember or very pretty!
So having your name with a .com or .co.uk or whatever ending you like is going to be a good purchase. Even if you’re not ready to launch the site – get yourself the domain, you never know whether it will be there at a later date. Always a good idea to protect your name straight away.
You can often get a domain name from a company that you use to host your store, but I often find that it isn’t always the most cost effective way. I get mine from GoDaddy because they are super easy to use and reasonable.