Alright. Everyone and their 6-year old kid is telling you that you need a website for your Etsy shop. You’ve literally heard it a gazillion times and it seems like you should listen. I mean if the Internet tells you to do something, you have to obey, don’t you?
Among the many brilliant advances the internet has blessed us with, consistently good advice definitely isn’t one of them.
So I’m here to tell you: You don’t need a website for your Etsy shop.
Actually, let me rephrase that. A website is a mother*cking waste of your time right now. And you definitely have way less shitty options that will make you way more money (faster!).
Before you boo and hiss, let me ask you this:
Raise your hand if you’ve been hacked. Or phished. Or had your identity stolen, even if it was just for a hot minute.
If you didn’t raise your hand, your pants are about to catch fire.
We live in a ridiculously scary Internet age where scam sites look better than the real thing, phishing schemes trick actual hackers, and we’ve all bought something that never showed up (after which the seller promptly disappeared).
And that’s why people don’t trust standalone websites anymore.
Unless your company is well-known, a small business website is doomed. Because your small business website has no relationship with your customer. How do they know if they can trust you? Oh, because you sell on Etsy? Well I’d rather just buy from you there! I trust Etsy!
To make it worse: Did you know that the AVERAGE number of sales on a shopify site is about 3 PER MONTH? I reached out to a handful of other 6-figure Etsy sellers like myself, and we all averaged about the same thing. And it looks like this:
That does not a salary make. In fact, it doesn’t even pay off the fees shopify charges you to launch a website.
WHY STANDALONE WEBSITES DON’T WORK
When you sign up for Etsy, there’s a built-in audience. There are 25 million buyers (at the time of writing) on Etsy. As soon as you post your product, every single last one of those people could see it. And those people keep coming back for more (because who doesn’t love Etsy?), so if they didn’t see your product the first time around, they still have lots of chances to find it.
To make Etsy work, there are only a few steps: Take kick-ass pictures, get your SEO on point, and create a collection of products people want to buy. Then you just sprinkle in some stylish branding, a few social media accounts, promote yourself as much as you can, and POOF, you’ve got a business on your hands.
When you create a website, you’re standing alone in the middle of the desert. No one knows you’re there, and unless you have 8 hours a day to devote to SEO, marketing, outreach, paid ads, social strategy, product development and branding (all dedicated JUST to your website)… it’s not going to become a hot spot anytime soon.
But to make it worse, if people DO actually come across your website, they’re not very likely to trust it.
Think about it. You’re walking down the street, and some random person walks straight up to you. They start the conversation by asking for your phone number, “hey you, give me your phone number!”
How do you respond? You probably get out of there as fast as f*cking possible. That shit is creepy. And we’re genetically programmed to avoid creepy (cause occasionally it sticks us in a hole and lowers lotion down in a bucket).
We don’t trust websites anymore because scam sites look just as good as real ones. I’ve come across some really awesome fake websites lately. And it’s absolutely impossible for the average person to distinguish a legit site from a scam one.
This is why purchases from small business websites are on the decline. (Meanwhile, Amazon and big online retailers continue to kill it with sales.)
So how do you make your customers trust your website and buy from you somewhere OTHER than Etsy?
START A BLOG!
I’m going to tell you a secret.
My website doesn’t get that much traffic. I’m a ex-web developer literally filled to the brim with SEO tricks. But it’s true. My website is just not a top priority for me, because it’s a 20x more effort than any other part of my business.
MY BLOG, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A DIFFERENT STORY.
I started blogging to fill my gaps in income. Any product-based business has them: some seasons bring a dip in sales.
But then I realized something: blogging was so much bigger than just ‘filling the gaps’. I love blogging, and adding new content to my blog means I get more traffic with way less work.
Blogging is, I kid you not, easier than maintaining a website. It’s about a zillion times more fun, too.
Want to boost your sales one week? Post an article about how you created your latest item. Send an email to all your subscribers.
Want to see if an item will sell? Ask your blog readers! Get feedback before you spend a minute of time on it!
When you create a blog, you’re building TRUST. You’re creating an active community surrounding your products.
People buy from you without hesitation when they’ve been happily following your blog for months and months.
PLUS you can use your blog to sell things you wouldn’t normally sell on Etsy. Are you an amazing painter? Why not sell online art workshops? Or create mini-lessons, videos and e-books? You’re not only creating customers for life, you’re growing your income however you see fit. Not within the confines of Etsy’s seller handbook. Your business belongs to you when you’ve got a blog.
Best part: publishing regular content on a blog means it will always be easier for you to get traffic (because google prefers content that’s new and updated frequently).
In fact, I use Pinterest to drive constant traffic to my blog. All I have to do is set it up once a month, then I just sit back and watch the traffic roll in.
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