Thanks to all who read and commented on my previous post about my decision to separate from Etsy as my primary selling venue. I've been working on setting up an independent website now for about one month. I'll be sharing some of the things that I've learned and worked on along the way.
Three ways to let the world know that you have something for sale
There are many ways to set up a shopping feature on a website. For simplicity's sake, I boiled the options down to three (there is a fourth option - coding your own site from scratch - but this wasn't a possibility for me).
1). You can rig a blog to accept Paypal payments for your items. (I did this a while back on this blog for my sewing patterns). This option didn't seem like a good one for me because I wanted to have multiple photos of my items. It was also not obvious to me how "searchable" items would be on Google. If you have just a few things that you're interested in selling, this might be a good way to go.
2) There are free eCommerce sites that allow you to set up a page on your blog (or link it onto your blog). I didn't investigate this option very much because many of the free eCommerce sites appear to work with WordPress, and I don't use WordPress. Some examples of free eCommerce sites include BigCommerce and Shopify. Since I don't have a lot of HTML coding experience, I was a little reluctant to go the free route.
3) Pay for a site. This was the route I decided to go. I looked a variety of website providers. GoDaddy, 1and1, and Amazon offer these services. I decided to go with a smaller company, though, IndieMade. I reviewed the features available and found that they offered a lot of what I was looking for -- and all within my budget.
Why I am pleased with IndieMade so far:
* You can export your Etsy listings into your new site. There is a fair amount of editing required, but it is a time-saver.
* It has features on it that I wanted to highlight (a good calendar for events, photo galleries).
* The FAQ page is very thorough.
* It was easy to set up social media sharing links on my pages and individual listings.
* There is a nice variety of page templates (I can change the look of my site without doing too much coding).
* I've only had to contact the help center once and the folks at IndieMade were quick to respond.
* I'm paying $12.95 per month after a free 30 day trial. With my plan I can have up to 100 items in my shop.
I spent quite a few hours investigating the options but I am happy with my new provider so far. And Google Analytics reports are encouraging: I've been getting visitors on a regular basis and they are clicking and staying on the site for a while. It is still too early to tell if the move will have been a prudent one overall, but you have to start somewhere, right?
If you have any specific questions about my "migration," please feel free to let me know. I'm NOT an expert, but I'd be happy to share what I've learned so far with you. I plan to share some of how I've been spreading the word about my new shop site in one of next week's posts.