When it comes to selling your goods online, you have many different options as far as your medium goes. You can either build your own website to sell your products from, or you can choose from many of the online services that allow you to create storefronts within their websites. Specifically, Etsy is one of these types of services. So, what are the pros and cons to having your own website vs. having an Etsy storefront? Is one as flexible or easy to maintain as the other?
One of the first questions on many minds when it comes to using Etsy to sell your goods is how well it supports SEO practices. Luckily, Etsy outlines their tips for using SEO in your storefront pretty clearly. There are many opportunities for improving your storefront visibility in search engines by using fresh, popular keywords in your storefront title, announcement, item listing pages, and much more. Etsy also recommends selling great products in general to generate interest among your audience. Overall, Etsy offers a lot of user control when it comes to optimizing his/her storefront for search engines. With a website, it is common knowledge that the amount of SEO used on your website is entirely up to you. You essentially have more control with search engine optimization on your own website.
Etsy offers some customization when it comes to spicing up your landing page or storefront. They offer users the opportunity to create their own banner that can line the top of their storefront page for a ‘personalized’ look. With your own website however, customization and design is entirely up to you. Anything you can think of is possible, and there is no limit to how far you can take your website’s design.
Etsy makes it extremely easy to track sales from a mobile phone as well, specifically the iPhone. Their free app also makes it easier for other users to browse and shop your storefront while on the go. If you’re also playing around with the idea of building your own site with mobile capabilities, this is also entirely up to you.
When it comes to Etsy getting their cut for allowing sales to take place on their website, it’s only a mere $0.20 per item that you list. Additionally, once you actually make a sale, Etsy charges a flat 3.5% fee according to the purchase price. This percentage does not factor in tax or shipping, either. Etsy also offers advertising opportunities that vary in price from time to time. Advertising isn’t required of course, but the fees assessed from advertising-related activities often differ from different offers and promos. Overall, Etsy is very non-intrusive when it comes to taking a cut from the sales that you make.
On the other hand, when you build a website, you can essentially reap the benefits of the entire sale if you use a free service to process transactions. Owning your own website gives you the freedom to cut out the middle man so that you don’t have to keep giving up a percentage of each sale. However, many ecommerce and shopping cart services will want a monthly subscription fee or a percentage of each sale. Shop around and research the different options you have for ecommerce solutions.
Something that’s important to think about when trying to decide between using Etsy for selling online or building your own site is what owning and maintaining a website will entail. Sure, having your own site grants you more freedom, but you’ll also be responsible for updating the site so that it can easily adapt to new web customs. You’ll also be expected to integrate your own ecommerce system and manage all transactions and business yourself between your store and the customer. With Etsy, this is all essentially taken care of.
The route you take to sell your products online is essentially up to you. Your experience and independence online with web design, construction and Joomla Hosting will more than likely play a strong role in deciding whether or not you’ll go with a service like Etsy opposed to building your own site.
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Juliana is an Online Community Manager for businesses based in Los Angeles and is known on Twitter @JulianaPayson and google plus for her community engagement and Web Hosting advice for people’s website needs. She Promotes InMotion Hosting, well known for their Joomla Business hosting.