If there is one thing that Etsy does extremely well in the e-commerce space, it’s breaking down the barrier to entry. Getting started couldn’t be easier. Just set up your account, add products, and wait. Sure there is a little more nuance to it than that, but for all intents and purposes, it really is that straight forward. Etsy has spent years building tools, customer-base, and reputation which all help even the newest shops get traction. With such a large built-in customer base and suite of tools, why would anyone ever want to build their own website? Let’s look at a few good reasons.
You can absolutely grow on Etsy alone, there are plenty of examples of shops doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue every year, so that is certainly an option, but having your own website gives you a different kind of growth opportunity since you are in full control of every part of your shop. This gives you the chance to grow as a marketer, grow as a designer, grow as a salesperson and so on. So, when we say growth, even though your business will likely grow with it e-commerce site, what really will see growth is your experience in all these aspects of running a business, which in turn will enrich your business.
Steer Your Own Ship
Like any platform on the web, with Etsy, you are at the mercy of their rules, limitations, layout choices, and so on. When you build and run your own website, you are in total control of every aspect of that site. At first this can be daunting, and may not be for everyone, but you are really only limited by your imagination when it comes to what you can do with your own website.
Expand Your Offerings
In addition to selling your products, there are other ways to make money. Perhaps you offer some sort of service that is related to your products or maybe you sell online courses related to your product? having a website will allow you to dedicate a page to all the service and content offerings you may have to supplement your products.
Do you have a story to tell about your product or business? Maybe you want to create a detailed post about how your products are made? With your own website, you could choose to add a blog to your brand and use that as a platform to communicate with your customers and potential customers.
Easily Start A Mailing List
Having a growing mailing list is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and market to them when appropriate. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to capture and create an email marketing list with the Etsy platform, but with a website of your own, you can easily integrate a pop-up or form that will allow users to sign up for your mailing list. Gathering emails isn’t always an easy task, but having your own website offers the first step to creating that connection with your customer base.
Create A Brand Experience
Aside from some small branding flexibility, and your product mix, Etsy shops all look very similar. For that reason, it isn’t entirely easy to fully immerse your buyers and potential buyers in your brand. With your own website, you can build up your brand identity any way you want, this allows you to be the star of the show.
Another benefit of having your own website in regard to branding is the ability to have your own web domain. This means you will be able to get .com web address for your website that you can implement into your marketing materials to help drive traffic.
Options For Building a Website
If you decided that having your own website will benefit your business, then the next step will be to decide on how you want to make your website. There are a few options ranging from fully involved all the way to turnkey. How you go about this process will depend on your budget and available time. If you want complete flexibility, then perhaps building your website from the ground up is the best route, but this will require hiring a web developer unless you have the experience to do that yourself.
If your time and budget are limited, going with a site building service like Shopify will be your best bet. With services like Shopify, the underlying technology for a fully functional e-commerce site are built right into the product, allow you to focus on the design and ultimately, selling your products. Of course, Shopify isn’t the only offering out there, but it is probably one of the more recognizable names in the e-Commerce website builder market.
Some Things To Consider
At this point, this website thing sounds pretty good right? Better branding options, control of your store’s look, mailing lists, you’re probably asking “where do I sign up?” but like with most things, there are some things to consider.
The first, and probably most important thing to consider is how will you drive traffic? With platforms like Etsy, you have a built-in audience and the tools to access them at your fingertips. With your own website, you will need to build that audience through marketing and ad campaigns, unfortunately that doesn’t happen overnight, so patience will be key. Good things take time!
Another thing to keep in mind is the work involved with building and maintaining a website, and while a lot of the work is done up front with products like Shopify, there is still plenty of work to do to get your website to its best.
Lastly, when you have your own website, you will need to take into account handling sales tax for any region you sell to. On Etsy, sales tax is remitted to the appropriate tax authorities on your behalf, where with most website platforms, you are responsible for handling this.
Should You Launch Your Own Website?
At the end of the day, this is going to have to be a decision that you decide is the right move for your brand. As we mentioned, stand alone websites have there share of both hurdles, and clear advantages. The real decision is going to be based on whether, you have the bandwidth to take on the additional work needed to be successful with this move and are willing to make an additional financial investment to make it happen.