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What is the best way to sell your crafts online

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  • What is the best way to sell your crafts online

    Hi
    I wrote a thread awhile ago on how many visitors come to your website.
    As a cafter and nowadays more of an internet techie I was thinking if individual websites are the way to sell your crafts online.
    I have to admit that I think individual websites are plain useless if you are serious about selling crafts but I will stand corrected if evidence to the contary is forthcoming.

    In my experience in building a lot of websites for many of my crafter friends I see huge effort but little reward in visitor numbers and yes I know all about SEO,keywords,meta tags, viral marketing,blogging as well as social media.

    How many people have websites that they use for selling crafts and are successful and what do you think successful is, in terms of sales.

  • #2
    I think you'll find a number of members here are successful with their own websites and would definitely dispute your claim that individual sites are 'plain useless'. The benefit is that if someone visits your website then they'll be looking at a number of items that are all being sold by you whereas on a marketplace website your items are mixed in with a number of other handmade items so there's far more competition.

    As for definition of successful, I know many crafters (including myself) are selling enough from their websites to give up their 'day job' and make their craft a full time occupation.
    Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies

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    • #3
      i really dont know what to think, i had no idea how hard it wa going to be when i started, i got money from the government to help me, but i am now realising how hard it is to sell my jewellery online

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with Natty Netty, I now find that a large proportion of our income comes from our website sales, which is growing year on year, and I do know of many others where there only income is via the web.

        It is what you do about having a website and your marketing that makes the difference.

        Many of the large shops, Next for example, report that their web sales have increased dramatically over the last year, whilst their High St shops are down by 19%.


        Jane
        Last edited by greannancrafts; 24-08-2011, 06:11 AM.
        www.just-soaps.com
        Twitter JUSTSOAPS
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        Natural Handmade Olive Oil Soaps and Skincare free from SLS, Parabens, and other Nasties

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        • #5
          Totally agree with Jane and NattyNetty - you certainly cannot say that individual websites are 'plain useless'. If you create a website, sit back and wait for the ££££s to come in then you are going to be disappointed - you may as well be dropping a raindrop in the ocean and hoping to see it rise - the Internet is too big to expect that.

          Creating a site is a very small part of the job (perhaps actually the smallest part!) and you need to be spending a lot of time, money and hard work marketing a website at fairs, online etc. and building on its success rather than expecting to rely on website sales only. SEO, keywords, meta tags, etc are a part of it but you need to build a customer base by doing some good old fashioned selling first - I doubt there are many crafters who have built a business on a website alone.
          Ali x

          Etsy Shop: aliscraftstudio.etsy.com
          Facebook: AlisCraftStudio
          Follow me on Twitter:
          @AlisCraftStudio

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          • #6
            Hi there, I have just started selling on my website with some success. In 3 months I have received quite a few orders, some small and some large. I have never done anything like this before. Going into business and selling is a completely new challenge to me but I do realise that it will take time, hard work and some luck to get customers to buy online in this time of economic uncertainty.

            I am a positive person and will do what it takes to make my online shop sucessful. I am passionate about what I do, believe I have great products and whilst its a steep learning curve, I will be successful.

            My target is to be profitable by end of year 1 and still enjoy doing it.
            Debs
            On line shop www.lootybag.co.uk
            Become a a fan on facebook for latest offfers, like me on www.facebook.com/lootybag
            My Blog http://www.lootybag.co.uk/blog/
            Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/Lootybag

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AliCat View Post
              If you create a website, sit back and wait for the ££££s to come in then you are going to be disappointed - you may as well be dropping a raindrop in the ocean and hoping to see it rise - the Internet is too big to expect that.
              Spot on! Without all those extra things Ali mentioned (SEO, marketing etc) t's a bit like opening a shop in a back street in a small town with no shop front or signage - you're hoping people will stumble upon it even though they have no idea it's there.
              Visit Natty Netty for a huge selection of Iris Folding supplies

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              • #8
                With Annie the Pedlar, which is my day job, I do lots of the networking thing but by chatting with real people in the real world, and selling at fairs, but that only takes up 5? weeks out of my year. I carry on chatting to some of them on forums, I have my website for those who remember my name and ..........I'm on portals.
                Sites that are portals.....so not like Etsy amd Misi who are shoving stuff to buy in your face from the get go but quiet gentle places where you can look up what you want. The makers and traders, are categorised on a time line, and by what they do.
                So if you want to play in Sherwood Forest you can look up Medieval or wood turning and up will pop Robin Wood to make you a Robin Hood lookalikee bowl to eat your venison in.
                If I'm dressing a customer but say, they want a sword, which I don't make, I send them there; and people are finding me from these portal sites. (I have to say that years ago they were magazines with little adverts about us in them.)

                That's working for 'us' but our customers want something special and out of the ordinary and these portals quickly cut through the ......morass you can get with google and the like......to point you to the person you want.
                AnnieAnna
                www.anniethepedlar.com

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                • #9
                  Hi all,

                  Me and my fiancee both try to sell our crafts online (very different items, Holly sells floral paintings and I produce cartoons / caricatures) and we have faced the same dilema of whether to set up shop on an online marketplace or to set up our own website, we haven't considered not setting up some form of website but we both go to craft fairs and hand out business cards, etc.

                  Holly set up her own website to begin with, and did have some success. Martin I know you mentioned SEO, and we did make sure that Holly's site text was 'SEO'd' but found that the most business that Holly got was from people that she had handed out business cards to, not from people who stumbled across her website on google or any other search engine. Holly's site is artbyhollybanks @webs.com, so feel free to have a look.

                  I went down the alternative route, and chose to sell my items on an online craft market place. The obvious ones like etsy and folksy were my first thoughts, but I've chosen a relitively new website called ToSouk. It's sells any art, handmade, vintage products and collectables and it is a craft marketplace and social network. The site is really smart and you can sell your stuff securely through PayPal and you can chat with people about your products and share ideas. Think Amazon meets Facebook but for buying and selling crafts. It is completely free as well which is an added bonus.

                  The reason I chose ToSouk.com was that you get your own 'shop' or as it's called on there 'Souk', which is like your own personal space on there where you have alot of control over how it looks, etc. I also liked that they mention in thier T&C's that they may (or may not) change some key words and phrases on your page to help the internal search engine and external search engines such as Google find your shop. They say that you can change your text back, but I thought that sounded quite proactive.

                  Anyway I have had some success on there (my Souk is ToonMugShots if you want to have a look) and my fiancee has decided to set up a shop on there too (her Souk can be found under the name artbyhollybanks). It's early days but i'll keep you all posted on it's success!

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                  • #10
                    In my honest opinion, people don't put enough effort into SEO. I'm not an expert by any means. I've done a little reading myself and had a play with a handful of sites. There is far more to it than just the on page SEO factors.

                    Please can any SEO's correct me if I am wrong with my suggestions.

                    Id say it starts with keyword research. Google keyword tools is your friend.

                    Take keyword "handmade jewellery" (just as an example - I have no knowledge of that niche) 12,100 searches a month in the UK according to the Google data.

                    Imagine if you were number one on Google for that. I can't post URLS yet, but a recent article I read suggests sites in first position in SERPS have a conversion rate of 36%. So, thats 4353 visitors a month to your site.

                    Working on a 2% conversion rate once those visitors have reached your site; thats 87 sales a month.
                    Say a conservative average basket value of £5. Thats a potential of £435 a month.

                    As I've said, I'm by no means an expert. But I fail to see how anyone can dispute the value of eCommerce!

                    Oh in case you were interested, domain name handmadejewelry.org.uk is available from your favourite domain seller. Have a little search on Google for the value of exact match domain names. (I know org.uk isn't quite as good as the .co.uk)

                    I don't sell SEO service BTW. I've just mucked around with affiliate sites in the past.

                    It can take a lot of work to get a site onto the first page of Google (depending on the competition you are against). One of my sites took nearly six months to hit the first page. Be prepared for knock downs along the way.
                    Last edited by atomicbath; 25-09-2011, 10:23 AM.
                    My personal Bath Bombs blog page.

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                    • #11
                      I fully believe that what works for one person/business/product won't necessarily work for another.

                      I think your target market provides the best clues as to the most effective method of selling for you. What I mean by this is that if your craft is creating old-fashioned vintage inspired furniture then the types of people who are most likely to buy your products will be the old-fashioned vintage lovers who are much more likely to be found down at local craft and antiques fairs running their fingers over the feel of the old wood rather than tapping away trawling the internet.

                      I have a Folksy shop that has been online for roughly two months now. I was told not to get my hopes up as it takes an average of six months to make your first sale. I made my first sale two weeks ago when I had been online for only a little over a month. Yes, you do feel like a small fish in a very big ocean on Folksy but putting the time into promoting my shop was key. I set up a Facebook page in conjunction with my shop, which my friends helped to promote too by liking my page on their pages too. Showing interest in others on Folksy helps business too. I look through other people's shops, adding them to my favourites, liking my favourite items of theirs, and they often do the same in return. It's the same with blogging. Commenting on other people's blogs brings traffic over to your blog. It all helps. Contributing to forums and forming aquaintances with others in a similar position with the same goals and ambitions you do is all part of it. Link wherever you go.

                      I would like my own stand-alone website eventually, but for me I feel that building up my customer base and drumming up interest via social networking is essential as a first step. But by no means stick to one avenue. The website mentioned ToSoUK.com is one I've never heard of, but I am definitely going to be looking at selling items over there now. So thanks for mentioning it andy_b.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by martinlynch View Post
                        Hi
                        I have to admit that I think individual websites are plain useless if you are serious about selling crafts but I will stand corrected if evidence to the contary is forthcoming.

                        In my experience in building a lot of websites for many of my crafter friends I see huge effort but little reward in visitor numbers and yes I know all about SEO,keywords,meta tags, viral marketing,blogging as well as social media.

                        How many people have websites that they use for selling crafts and are successful and what do you think successful is, in terms of sales.
                        I'm by no means an expert in SEO, but I would say my website is successful.

                        What is successful? I know it's different things for different people but for me:

                        • I sell at a few fairs but I now rely on my website for sales. My own website brings in more sales than all the other sites I'm on put together (there are a few).


                        • I have regular customers, I bring in visitors from Google via my blog (which is fantastic in terms of SEO and relatively easy to make that way), and I sell at least something on my website almost every day of the year. My sales in November and December go completely mad and I need to take on extra help.


                        • The other advantage my own website has over others is that I get lots of multiple orders: people will often order 5 or 6 things at a time.


                        Quite honestly, I would not have much of a business if it wasn't for my website.
                        digital stamps for cardmakers: http://www.handmadeharbour.co.uk
                        blog: http://handmadeharbour.blogspot.com
                        hand painted personalised plaques, clocks, canvases, etc: http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk
                        blog: http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog

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                        • #13
                          I agree that SEO seems to be key to bringing in customers. I read somewhere that the ratio of sales as a result of search engines:banner/link advertising is 5:1
                          owner of thebeadqueen.co.uk and thebeadqueen.com
                          I make and sell handmade jewellery
                          I specialize in gemstone jewellery and pearl jewellery.
                          I've just started running a blog at http://thebeadqueen.com/blog for updates about craft fairs that I run, beading workshops that I teach and new products added to my online shop!

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                          • #14
                            It's a lot of hard work to get your own site up and running and ranking well. With a template site like etsy or folksy they do all the hard work for you so you get off to a running start.

                            The big problem is what happens if you want to move your shop somewhere else, or the online shop you choose goes under. Spend a year promoting name.folksy and then what happens when you want to move to etsy, someone else claims to own a trademark on your shop name, their t&c changes, their commissions doubles overnight etc. You have to start from scratch again elsewhere, never mind what to do with that box of 1000 business cards that has your old address on and the 3000 you gave out with that address already which is where you told all your existing customers to go.

                            Even if you do decide to go down the route of etsy or folksy it's still probably best to own a domain which you can put the address of everywhere and then have it redirect to the shop location. That way if it moves you can just change where the domain points and not worry about all the work you* put in for SEO/business cards being handed out etc

                            * other places may just link to your folksy/etsy site and there's not much you can do there other than contact them and ask them to change should your site move.
                            Genna Design Jewellery | Genna Design Blog | Genna Design Shop

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                            • #15
                              ToSouk seems lovely. I'm left asking what's the catch? Have you found one yet?

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