So, you’ve put countless hours into your Etsy shop, right? And the thought of putting even more time into creating your own website might be enough to make you want to crawl in a hole and never come out.
Creating your own website might seem like willingly jumping into a rabbit hole. Yes, if you’re talking building a robust ecommerce site, it can be an in depth, timely, and expensive process. Fortunately that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today. Today, we’re just talking about getting your website started.
Your mental chatter might sound something like this, “Isn’t creating my own website a huge time commitment?”, “Is it even worth my time to create my own website?”, and “I’ve barely got Etsy figured out, how could I figure out creating my own website?”.
Let me clear up one of those concerns right now. Yes, creating your own website IS worth it.
Here are a few reasons why…
I love Etsy and my business wouldn’t be where it is today without Etsy, but Etsy does have it’s downfalls. Etsy is an unstable marketplace that you do not have complete control over. Etsy features can happen one week causing an unmanageable influx of orders, get pulled 2 weeks later causing a dry spell when you just hired extra help, they change their SEO and format constantly, and their traffic can change with no warning or explanation. Zenned Out has been subject to each of these uncontrollables, with mixed results.
Need some more reasons?
- A website is a more powerful extension of your brand
- Customers and retail buyers (especially) will take you more seriously
- You can have a blog (more on why you’ll want this later!)
- You can capture customer emails with proper opt-ins (more on why you’ll want to be doing this later!)
- You have COMPLETE control over everything. No one can change your website or suddenly change your traffic without your permission.
- Oh, also, those pesky Etsy fees, you won’t have to pay those anymore! Side note, building a website might cost you some $ eventually, but in the long run you’ll be saving, why not start now?
Are there any downsides to building your own website?
The short answer, no, there’s no downside to creating your own website.
Creating your own website can be costly, depending on how robust you want it to be. Creating a website is also a time commitment. Downsides, maybe? I like to think of it as an investment.
Still not sold? I’m going to map out how to start before you’re ready with your website so you can ease yourself into it with confidence.
How to start before you’re ready building your own website
Here are all of the things you DON’T have to have starting out: a shop, a checkout cart, an expensive graphic designer, a blog, an SEO expert, terms and conditions, an about page.
Let me take the fear out of starting your own website right now. Getting started all you need is a landing page, which consists of the following:
- 1 product image or modeled shot of a product
- 1 logo
- An opt-in box of any kind to start collecting your ideal clients email addresses. This will require a email newsletter program, which I’ll go into more detail about on later blog. Starting out on MailChimp, is free and easy.
- A “Shop” tab that links to your Etsy shop
That’s it! Even better, you could create this for free in an afternoon.
Boom, website started.
Let’s dig a little deeper. You might be wondering what platforms are best to start out on. I’ve broken them down into a few categories for you here:
Free and easy
If you’re planning to stick with a simple landing page for a while and want to start with a free option, these are your best starting points:
Affordable and moderate work
If you’re hoping to build off of your landing page pretty quickly with a shop or a blog, or you want more control over your page layout here are some good and affordable starting points:
- Squarespace.com (This is where I started)
- Weebly.com (paid version)
Investment with lots of work
If you know that you’re going to hit the ground running and will want a robust website sooner rather than later here are some good starting points. These option may require outside help from a web designer and web developer:
With the basics of your website started you can plan accordingly for building onto it. This process could take anywhere from a few months to a few years, it’s totally up to you. For Zenned Out, our site spent time as a simple landing page collecting emails, to adding a blog a year later, and eventually to where it is now as a robust e-commerce site. Our website evolution, overall, has taken about 4 years. Your process may look similar or very different, both are fine as long as you’re moving forward!
Here are some suggestions for how to continue the growth of your new website:
- Create your landing page (outlined above).
- Create an about page on your new website. Hopefully you already have this completed on your Etsy shop so you can copy and past away!
- Add a blog (though you could hold off on this step until later if you wanted).
- Create a “Terms and Conditions” page. Similar to your Etsy shop policies.
- Add a shop and shopping cart to your website.
Yes, getting all the way to the end of this list will require time, effort and money. But, we’re not talking about finishing this list today, all we’re talking about is getting started.
No more excuses, it’s time to take your website fears by the hand and jump into starting your own website!
Have questions or tips about getting started on your first website for your handmade biz? Leave them in the comments below!