If you want to sell products online you’ll need to set up shop somewhere. Etsy is one option, but having your own website is important if you want to build your own brand and spend less on fees.
I’ve written articles about WordPress and Shopify, which were the most-mentioned sites when I asked the members of my EShop Success program where they have their websites, but there were also other ones that people used.
Table of Contents
- Square for websites and payment processing.
- Homestead and GoDaddy.
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Square for websites and payment processing.
“My website is through Square. I chose Square because I also attend in-person art & craft fairs and they are my credit card payment processor. I like having everything in one place so they handle my website, email marketing, and credit card processing all in one dashboard.
“Square offers four levels from a free basic version where Square is part of the website URL and they have Square branding on each page up to a professional level for a flat fee every month. You select the plan that fits your business need and you can always upgrade as your business grows and you want additional functionality. I’m currently using the $12/month plan which includes my custom URL, no square ads or branding and more customization than the free plan.
Pros of Square:
– The website builder is an easy to use drag & drop tool with lots of templates and themes to choose from. This means that you don’t need any coding knowledge to get started.
– You can have a live preview of what your website will look like on both desktop and mobile which is important to know how your site will look.
– If you are on Etsy, there is Square integration of your catalog. This means that your inventory is synced, which is a big benefit to shops with many OOAK items.
Cons of Square:
– Because of the nature of the templates, there are times that I’d like more control over my customization, whether that be more color choices for fonts or better image placement in sections.
– If you are on Etsy, there is Square integration of your catalog. This means that there is a 20-cent fee charged by Etsy for each sale off of their platform. That is more of an Etsy con but it may be worth it for higher volumes or if you don’t want to download/upload and maintain 2 separate catalogs.
Tip: This applies to any website, having royalty-free non-attribution required stock images, such as Freepix or Pixabay, available to enhance your website with supporting graphics.
Homestead and GoDaddy.
Homestead and GoDaddy seem to have a lot in common, at least as far as the following review goes.
Megan owns Crow Bar D’Signs, and has her website on Homestead.
She said “I use Homestead. It’s a bit clunky and I probably have many of the same issues that you do with GoDaddy. It’s all pretty basic and when I switched templates I lost everything and it was like starting over. I’ve been with them since 2011 or 2013 (I forget), it seems like a really long time.
“They have great phone support but only Mon.-Friday, and not enough help videos for their website builder. If I was to totally start again, I would probably go with Shopify, but I can stubbornly hold on to something even if it doesn’t benefit me sometimes.
“I couldn’t use Mailchimp with them because of one underscore in their coding. Yes, one underscore. It took me a week to get that figured out. So I use Constant Contact instead. There’s also something weird with integrating Pinterest or pinning right from an image. I’m no longer trying to figure that one out.
“Also, I think when they update stuff it messes with the templates, so I am constantly checking to see if things are in place on the website. Honestly, I like them, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Homestead makes me really appreciate Etsy.”
The reason that Megan mentioned GoDaddy is that I have my website there, and I’m constantly telling people not to use it. It has enough drawbacks that someone who doesn’t have a lot of website experience will have trouble using it.
I’ve had my website on GoDaddy for years, so at this point, the thought of moving it and redoing all of my listings is what keeps me there.
But if I had to start over it would probably be with Shopify just for the convenience of being on a platform that’s designed specifically for e-commerce.
The thing about GoDaddy is that it’s really a domain registrar, and they have these other services that they’ve added on as time went by.
My feeling with most of these services is that you should stick to the thing they’re really meant to be doing and avoid the extras. If a site is supposed to be for websites use it for that, but if they start offering other services don’t be so quick to use those.
They’re usually not done as well as the core product, so stick with domains for GoDaddy and you’ll do fine.
Speaking of another service that branched out to a service they didn’t start with, you can read my opinion of Etsy’s Pattern website service here: Should you have a website if you have an Etsy shop?
“I use Weebly. They have free templates, there was no coding involved in setting it up, and it is pretty user-friendly. It is finicky with Safari, but if I use Chrome, I don’t have issues. Importing listings from Etsy was a chore, as I had to edit the CSV file from Etsy to match Weebly’s format. Even then, there were a few listings that I had to do manually.
“I tried Shopify in the past, but found it difficult to manage my listing variations, personalization, and inventory. Weebly is just much simpler to use!”
“I currently use SmugMug, which I have primarily used for my portrait and sports galleries, and it works great for that. I also have some of my fine art (mountain landscapes etc). It is fairly easy to use and looks professional.
“The only thing is that THEY fulfill the orders with the lab that I choose. That is great for a ‘set it and forget it’ approach, but for many things, I want to fill the prints myself as I use different labs for canvases etc.
(Squarespace isn’t the same as Square, which is the platform that Bill talked about in the first section of this article.)
Sherri says “I just switched from Squarespace to Shopify. I loved my Squarespace site, their templates are beautiful, the site always worked reliably, and it was easy to work with without any technical expertise. I was at Squarespace for 7 years. BUT it had some limitations. I couldn’t offer the kind of discounts I wanted.”
“I use Shopwired in the UK. They have a monthly or yearly charges and no extra fees. There’s a 2-week Free trial, it’s easy to use lots of free template options, and there are lots of apps to choose from.
“Choose any payment method for customers, very quick chat customer service help. The website has a blog, too. I would never swap.”
“I use Spiffy. I like it because it’s affordable & Australian-owned. They are always very helpful in answering my many questions. It has limitations, but at this stage in my business journey I can’t justify Shopify, so I’m grateful to have a flexible website that I can afford and I think the website looks professional.”
She says “The pros of Wix is that it’s a very easy and quick setup, including extra SEO help and checklists (for us technically challenged creators). Product photos can be directly grabbed from cloud storage like google photos and then edited including additional text.
“There is a video and logo maker (Ai powered) included in Wix, but I haven’t tried it to date because I have a logo. It has lots of help screens and quick human support responses.
“Email campaigns, blogs and social ad campaigns are all integrated within the basic Wix setup and it includes analytics. There is the option to use a live chat feature with customers as well.
“Wix does integrate with a 3rd party shipper, Shippo, however, I don’t use Shippo, so I’m waiting for Pirateship to add Wix as a partner.
“I retail and wholesale so I use the Wix quote/invoice option to sell wholesale. It allows a different set of SKUs so it doesn’t affect my retail inventory. The quotes require the customer’s approval, immediately convert to a payable invoice with links to the payment methods, all happening automatically after the quote is created. The ability to run wholesale and retail in one platform for me is the best part of Wix. Quickbooks also integrates with Wix.
“The cons of using Wix are that the editor screens are a bit slow, and I feel the financial reports could be better. Their POS option to use for in-person sales is relatively new and seems higher priced than the other options out there. I’m not ready to jump on that feature because my in-person prices are different than e-commerce prices, but the inventory control would be nice.”
She says “I have been with Big Commerce since 2014. Over the years my business has changed. I had a sales rep that sold throughout New England, and I did lots of business.
“My website has shifted and changed from one-of-a-kind to niche items, and through all the changes I had, the tech support has been amazing.
“They host large businesses and I never felt misplaced calling about some small trivial thing I needed help with.
“There a several levels of monthly plans with lots of features. They have built-in apps to sell on social media. The listing of items is easy to do. You can enhance each listing for google search. Only in the past few years have I understood how to use these tools. I did not understand what they were for things like alt tags.
“So obviously, having knowledge of websites in general is important to use all they offer. I have an eBay store that I had long before I was on Etsy, and for a while, I had eBay and BigCommerce connected. It was really nice, and I believe this option is still available.
“The telephone helpline is the best. I have mostly called at night and there is always someone knowledgeable to help, and wait times are very very short if at all.”
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