Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Never put all of your eggs in one basket …

This is an old saying, and it makes a lot of sense. Especially to a businessperson …

As members of the JET Team, we all have one thing in common. If nothing else … Etsy is important to our business. We all have stores on the site, and Etsy is the place where we connect – with customers and with each other. Our Team has its base on Etsy, and it is where we interact every day on the JET Team discussion boards.

Many JET members have stores on other venues. Quite a few members have Artfire Studios. Some may do business on eBay, Amazon or other hosted selling venues.

I’m writing this sort of as a discussion; comments and questions are encouraged and will be addressed in future posts. I’m going to write a series of articles here dealing with other venues and the importance of creating a true brand for yourself with a separate identity and location – your own website.

I've been doing this for a long time. Old time JETs know I run a fairly busy web business off Etsy; Jetlings may not be familiar with me. I have a lot of experience when it comes to selling jewelry online.

I learned a while ago that having your own website is important. We began selling online in 1998 – on eBay. I really liked it. But in the following two years, the rules began to get very restrictive. Even one year later - in 1999 - their policies weren’t in line with what I wanted and we started a website. Why? Simple … because I wanted to do business on MY terms. And I have learned a lot in the last 10 - 12 years ...

Now most of the business we do is through our website. I started the Etsy store as a second store in 2007 to sell only handmade items; I wanted a different location and the atmosphere reminded me of eBay in the early years. Then I found the JETs and now Etsy is almost like home.

The point is … you control everything on your own site. You truly set store policy and you are really the boss. You don't have to worry about others selling jewelry just like your jewelry, copying your photos, making their shop look just like yours, competing for shoppers the way they are on Etsy or eBay.

Of course, there is one advantage a site like Etsy has … a ready pool of customers.

With your own site, you’ll have to rely on search engine traffic. You’ll need to promote in as many ways as you can, some free, some not. It will cost SOME money to advertise, which is similar to paying listing fees.

Some of the JETs already have websites; this series of articles will be helpful to those members as well. Cost effective promotion can help make a site that does nothing into a thriving business with some work. We'll go into the best ways to get the word out for the least amount of money!

Over time, your site will grow in traffic and importance; and you’ll gain a steady stream of sales. It never hurts to have more than one business location!

We’re going to start at the beginning of the process – finding a web host, registering a URL, building a site and different ways to get your site online. So post your thoughts and questions below. Your comments and questions will help move the discussion to cover areas that most interest you. In later installments I want to cover promotion, linking, setting up a shopping cart, payment choices – and a lot more. Let’s get started!

Bob Edwards is a proud member of the Jewelry on Etsy Team - JET. He is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade, specializing in handmade gemstone pendants and birthstone rings. This article may be reproduced provided it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2011 Robert Edwards

18 comments :

Your Daily Jewels said...

Oh Bob
Thank you so much for this. I am just starting this process and now I can look forward to guidance from you, someone who does it right! I am looking forward to the next installment.
Thanks again,
Norah

LittleBrownBird (Mary) said...

Fantastic article! I look forward to the whole series!

marciejanedesigns said...

Good article Bob, anything that will be discussed here will be good info for me. Thanks!

jemsbyjb said...

thanks Bob for sharing your many years of experience with the team. I am sure we will all learn something extremely helpful to us as we follow your articles.

Putting thinking cap on for questions, etc....

SatinDollCo said...

Bob, great blog post. As a owner of my own website I look forwarded to your future articles.

SendingLoveGallery said...

thanks Bob! I have a website that points to my etsy & artfire shops, but would like to do more with it. Looking forward to your great advice~

Ribasus said...

Fantastic article. I have been looking forward to this for a long time, and you are the resident expert with a proven track record. I already have a new domain name and am looking forward to moving from my one-page-wonder into something more substancial. But, I definitely need guidance. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to know that you are leading the way!
Auntie Ribasus♥

Amiable Moray said...

Great post! Lots to think about...

Deb Jeffries said...

Hey Bob..I have a sticky question. An old friend started a website for me a few years ago. He is mac based, I am Pc. because of this, I had to send all my updates to him via email. after a few months..this just didn't work out. He is also hard to get hold of and now...I have lost I think my URL... what to do?>

check it out www.debrasdivinedesigns.com but the thing is...i want this URL badly!!! How can I get it back when he doesn't respond to my emails?

Beadsme said...

Great article Bob.

Erika Price said...

Amazing article, Bob, and very timely as I'm in the process of revamping my website! Thank you so much for sharing all this valuable info, looking forward to the next installment already :) Erika Price Designs

SilverSmack said...

Great info,Bob!

Made By Tammy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Made By Tammy said...

Wow, Bob! I'm so excited. This is just what I need...feel like I've lost ground with all the search engine changes lately. Can't wait to read more! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. I appreciate it.
MadeByTammy

looksgoodonya said...

Great read and can't wait for the next post. Do you blog?

Meghann LittleStudio said...

Can't wait to read the rest of your posts. I love learning from people who've blazed the trail before me - I feel like i might avoid some costly mistakes. Thank you!

Brooke said...

Very interesting topic Bob, thank you. I look forward to the future installments.

cooljewelrydesign said...

Bob...this is awesome incentive to anyone who's on the line of should I or not? You brought up a very salient point = music to my ears...the shop fees we pay (esp with multiple shops) could be turned into a much longer term investment with a website. This is great...can you post the Bob Chronicles on a private team page, so all installments are together? TY!!