I certainly don't want to sit here and beat a dead horse. But Etsy sure is on this downward spiral lately and I have to have a Plan B. Plan B in this case, was a kick in the pants to get my own domain name and website. Done. and Done!
If you haven't heard what's going on with Etsy, I'm not going to get into a lot of details here... I don't know if the Etsy Gestapo are watching me like Big Brother. They may be!! Ya just never know. But the bottom line is, Etsy has changed quite a bit since I started selling there in 2007. They feature non-handmade artisans on the front page while the real artists are busting their asses on their handmade items and promoting their own shops on their own. They shut down Etsy shops when a shop announcement insinuates that the seller may need to find a plan B. These things alone are crazy and outlandish- I can only imagine what else is happening behind the scenes that I don't even know about.
I still love Etsy- I love that I can find my most favorite bead artisans there, and I will continue to do so. I have been struggling though about what to do about my jewelry business. I have never been so wishy washy in all my life really. I normally make quick and easy decisions about things. But for some reason, in this case, I am torn. Do I close up shop and sell jewelry elsewhere as a sort of rebellion against Etsy? Because let's face it, that protest I signed up for on May 10th isn't going to make that much of a difference in the big sceme of things.
Or, do I just continue on doing what I'm doing- taking note that if it ain't broke, don't fix it?
Or, do I just share the love, and have a little bit in different places for a while til I decide the direction I'd like to go in?
One thing is for sure. I am completely overwhelmed by all the options out there for ecommerce. We'll get there in a minute.
So I set up my new website using Squarespace. It was super easy, user friendly and the domain name/host was included. I am quite happy with their customer service as well. I asked many questions during the process and got responses usually within a 2 hour period. That's pretty darn good in my book.
Initially the site was expensive, only because I dished out the cash to pay all up front for 1 year. Note to self, be sure to put a reminder somewhere to save cash for the renewal next year.
My idea was to have everything all in one place. Blog, shop, website, image galleries, news, ebooks/courses, book info. But then I start to panic that blog readers won't want to go to a new space to keep reading. Blog readers may like the blog reader set up automatically for updates. So at this point, I just linked to the blogger blog from the site.
Most everything else was easy to set up. Links to the book. A purchase page for the eBook. A contact and About page. Now I have to decide what to do about ecommerce.
I've looked into quite a few options. Shopify. Seems expensive but when I think about what I am paying Etsy- kind of comparable.
Also checked out adding Paypal buttons. This seems like a reasonable option. I can add a button to items posted on the site- add to cart or buy it now.
I looked into SupaDupa. Even went as far as listing 2 items. It looks nice. The free option doesn't give you a lot of options- only 1 listing image but has good things about it too- Paypal payment options., lots of shop options. Seamless shop integration from Etsy. Coupon codes and discount codes. Social media for each listing! Read more here...
I looked into Mals E-Commerce. Says it's totally free. Seemed a bit confusing when I was signing up - to figure out the shipping costs. But otherwise, it's a solid option.
I guess I have my work cut out for me. I wonder- what is it that causes people to go from having their own website to opening shop on Etsy? I've seen that happen. Could be the lack of traffic. This is a real legitimate fear for me. And even though my business has never really been BOOMING on etsy, it's been steady and pretty consistent. If someone decides they are going to try to find some handmade earrings online, ten to one they are going to Etsy first to find something there. Which is a pretty compelling reason to keep a shop set up.
Another thing I am contemplating is keeping Etsy open- offering repeated designs there and keep more one of a kind designs for sale on my website. Then I get the best of both worlds? Right?
See?? totally wishy washy.
Thanks for hanging in there til the end of this post. I know it was a wordy one today. My head is swimming with so many questions.