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Is Your Creative Business Making These Critical Mistakes?

It happened again.

You woke up this morning and jumped out of bed just knowing things were going to be different today! You grabbed your coffee, stumbled into your office, turned on your laptop, opened your email and… nothing.

Etsy? No sales.

Facebook page? Crickets.

So, there you sat… deflated, depressed and frustrated. You started thinking about all the times you’ve sat in that same chair, feeling the same way. And you thought to yourself, “WHAT am I going to do?” while watching your business spiraling downward. Tears started rolling down your cheeks and this feeling of hopelessness began to suffocate you…. again.

Then the negative committee that meets inside your head started on the usual rant… “Maybe I’m not smart enough. Maybe my work just isn’t good enough. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. But I’ve tried everything I can think of… sales, auctions, contests, giveaways, social media… and I’m still barely getting any sales. Guess I was crazy to think I could make a living doing what I love. Guess I’m just not cut out for this.”

STOP IT!! Stop it right now!

The internet is a wonderful opportunity for artisans and other creative entrepreneurs. It puts customers worldwide within your reach and allows you to get your work into the hands of adoring fans across the globe… IF you learn how to use it properly. And therein lies the problem because, at least initially, most artisans don’t.

It pains me to hear the struggles and frustrations of such amazingly talented people lost in a sea of shops on marketplace sites; not sure how to get their items seen or grow their business; floundering in their attempts to succeed online no matter what they do. And the worst part is that it’s avoidable if, instead of being thrown into the deep end of the pool, sink or swim, you were given the proper information and tools to succeed.

But time and again I find creative entrepreneurs flying by the seat of their pants and making the same deadly mistakes in their businesses. So today we’re going to look at two of the biggest, and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1 – You don’t understand or take advantage of the fundamental way the internet works.

I believe this is the largest across the board reason why most creative businesses fail. I didn’t start my business because of a lifelong passion to do so and, because of how it happened, I came at it strictly from a business perspective. The very first thing I did was learn how the internet works, what that would mean for me as a business owner and what I had to do for people to find me online.

Right from the get-go most creatives are set up to fail. You have something you’ve been doing as a hobby and your family and friends encourage you to sell your work. So you hesitantly dip your toe into business by opening an Etsy shop.

In order to succeed online, you need to understand and take advantage of the fundamental way the internet works. You don’t. So you’re frustrated. You don’t understand what you’re doing wrong or why you’re not making sales. And you have no idea how to improve your results.

Let’s Fix It

First of all, you need to understand PEOPLE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR YOU, they’re looking for SOLUTIONS. So you need to know what problems your target market is trying to solve and position yourself as the solution. Then you need to understand how they go about looking for these solutions.

Most of the time people search online for what they need. They go to Google, type something in the search box, and instantly have pages upon pages of results served up to them.

Your goal, ideally, is to be seen on the first page of those results. You accomplish this by applying principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make your site rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs) so your ideal customers can find you. SEO isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” thing; it’s an ongoing process.

A large part of it revolves around keywords, those words your potential customers are typing into the aforementioned search box. They may type in words related to the problem they need to solve or the solution. Keywords can be single words, word combos, phrases or even complete questions. To come up with keywords, think like your customer. What would they type into a search engine to find what you have to offer? Keep in mind that they may not refer to things the same way people in your industry do, so be sure to use the words they would use, not the ones you would use. Then optimize your site and pages for these keywords (tags on Etsy and ArtFire) so that, when they enter them into the search box, your site comes up in the results.

There’s a lot to learn about SEO, but the time you spend on it will be one of the best investments you make in your online business because your website lives… or dies… by traffic from search engines. Here are some resources.

We creative types are very visual so I started putting together a Pinterest board of infographics related to SEO.

Search Engine Land has a great, easy to understand, free SEO Guide on their website. It’s split into 10 chapters with articles included for extra reading if you want to learn more.

If you want to go even further, Moz has a terrific ebook called The Beginners Guide to SEO.

Google has a reference area for Webmasters that includes tools, education and a help center. And, of course, they have their own Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

Mistake #2 – You rely on 3rd parties like Etsy and Facebook for your traffic instead of owning your own.

As you just learned, you work hard to drive traffic to wherever you sell online. Wouldn’t you rather put that work into a site that you own? When you put all that effort into another site, you’re building their business and their future. I think it’s time you start building yours.

I’m NOT suggesting that you stop using 3rd party sites like Etsy and Facebook. They’re legitimately useful tools and absolutely have a place in your business… as tools, not the whole toolbox.

What I DO want is for you to not put all your eggs in the Etsy and/or Facebook basket because it creates a volatile situation for your business. In fact, I’d argue that if you’re only using 3rd party sites, you don’t really have a business at all because you have no control.

The Problems With 3rd Party Venues

Though each site has their quirks, the overall issues with using any 3rd party site as your sole source of income are the same.

  • You’re at their mercy and have no control over changes.
  • They could shut down your shop or shut down completely.
  • You don’t own your traffic, so there’s no equity in your shop; it’s not a website you could sell.
  • Some venues won’t even let you link to your website.
  • You get lost in a sea of sameness; to what degree depends on the venue.
  • Maintaining multiple venues takes time, so there’s a dilution of effort and traffic.

Another huge problem with these venues is that your branding can become secondary at best and, at worst, non-existent. If a customer buys something from your Etsy shop and someone asks her where she bought it, her most likely answer will be “on Etsy.” This presents a two-fold problem. First, it takes an average of 7 “touches” with your brand before someone will be comfortable enough to buy from you. In order for them to count, your brand (not Etsy’s!) needs to be recognized. Second, you’ll often lose out on referral sales, the second easiest and cheapest to make, because the odds of that person getting on Etsy and finding you are slim.

Let’s Fix It

You can have the benefits of a hosted e-commerce site for a very reasonable monthly fee and by doing that,

  • You don’t need to pay to renew items
  • You don’t pay a percentage of each sale to a venue
  • You make the rules
  • You build it up over time adding value and creating an asset
  • All your work to drive traffic goes to a site YOU own and control
  • Your SEO efforts benefit YOU
  • Your traffic increases
  • You eliminate many of the problems faced at 3rd party venues

Are there downsides to owning your site? Of course. There are downsides to everything.

  • You need to take control of your business
  • You need to drive traffic to your site
  • You need to learn SEO
  • You need to build back-links

Oh yeah, that’s right… you need to do that yourself NO MATTER WHERE YOU SELL!

Whether you have your own website or an Etsy Shop, you still need to promote and market your business and drive traffic to it YOURSELF. There are many successful shops on Etsy, but every single one of them drives their own traffic. They bring people to their shop. Anyone with a shop who doesn’t do anything to promote their business and drive people to it is not going to be successful on Etsy or anywhere else.

If you’re serious about having an online business, the most important thing you need to do is own your traffic. If you don’t, you’re risking your entire “business” on another company’s every change and whim. That is not someplace I want you to be. So let’s look at some possibilities to get you out of that precarious situation.

Many creatives think it’s not possible to have a website. I’m going to prove you wrong. I’m going to show you that it’s really just all about choices.

Owning your own website should be your goal, but I understand you may not be ready or able to do it right now so I have options for you. They may not be ideal, but I want you to have a way to at least mitigate risk to yourself and your business. You can grow into better solutions over time.

Either way, it does take time to build up your traffic so you’re going to want to keep a presence on sites like Etsy and ArtFire in addition to your website at least for a while, maybe even permanently. If you have your own website, you can keep your 3rd part venues minimally stocked with a reasonable representative sampling of your work so you maintain a presence there.

Options for Owning Your Business

Option #1 – Your Domain Pointed to a 3rd Party Venue

You can do this with any online venue. You buy your domain (www.YOURSHOPNAME.com) and have it re-directed to your shop on Etsy, ArtFire, Storenvy or whatever platform it’s on. This doesn’t help your SEO. It just keeps your customers going to the same URL no matter where you decide to have your online shop. This may be helpful while you’re finding your way around online and making decisions, but it’s the least beneficial option we’re going to look at. I included it because it’s something quick and easy you can do right away today.

Option #2 – Hybrid

CraftLaunch would be an example of this. You create a website with them, then link your CraftLaunch account and your Etsy account. When buyers click the buy button, they’re taken to the Etsy cart to checkout.

Option #3 – Self-Made Hybrid

You can make your own hybrid solution if you don’t want to deal with shopping carts to start off. There are a number of ways to do it and it works with any combination of web host and 3rd party venue. You purchase your domain, build a website and make a “Shop” link in your navigation that brings customers to your Etsy (or other) shop to do their shopping using that site’s shopping cart.

Option #4 – Hosted eCommerce with a Free Site URL Option

This is probably the fastest and easiest way to start with your own website. These are hosted e-commerce solutions that give you the option to use either their free site URL (YOURSHOPNAME.theirsitename.com) or your own domain name. They offer storefront templates, a content management system, hosting, a shopping cart and possibly a variety of other options like a blog, gallery, calendar, guest book, reporting, analytics, etc. Some examples of this are Shopify, Big Cartel, IndieMade and Artisan’s Accomplice.

Another one of these is SupaDupa. It’s a ready-made, SAAS (software as a service), boutique e-commerce platform. In addition to being able to use their free site URL (YOURSHOPNAME.mysupadupa.com) or point your own domain name, there are 2 important benefits to SupaDupa. First, in your cart, you’re able to give customers the option to sign up to your mailing list. Second, if you have your own (non-commerce) website and you want to add a shop component, you can make your SupaDupa Boutique a sub-domain of your site (Ex: shop.YOURDOMAINNAME.com) which then helps your site’s traffic, SEO, etc.

Storenvy; also offers the sub-domain option and inclusion in their social marketplace. When you list something in your store it’s automatically added to the marketplace where shoppers can find and buy without visiting your store.

Option #5 – Hosted eCommerce

This is a hosting platform and content management system where you set up a shop at your domain that’s hosted by them. They normally have shop templates you can buy and a shopping cart option built-in, among other things. There are tons of these services available. Some of these include Pappashop, Create A Shoppe Plus, Shoppe Pro, 3dcart (one of few that can be used with ProPay without the great additional expense of programming their API), Marketecture (another option to consider if you use ProPay), and Volusion.

Option #6 – Your Own Site with PayPal Buy Buttons OR Shopping Cart Added Onto a Website

If you have a website that doesn’t have e-commerce hosting built in and you want to sell from your site, you can do this by either using buy buttons or add a shopping cart to add e-commerce functionality if you don’t want to use any of the other options mentioned.

PayPal and ProPay both offer the ability to create Buy buttons for your site.

Mal’s eCommerce; is a very popular shopping cart with both a free and a very inexpensive paid version. As a matter of fact, many of the hosted e-commerce platforms like Pappashop use it for your stores. And ProPay CartLite is one of very few that can be used with ProPay without the great additional expense of programming their API.

Option #7 – WordPress Site with eCommerce Plug-In

This would be the same scenario as we just discussed, except that the website itself is a WordPress site. Just so you understand, WordPress is a platform in itself and I’m talking about the self-hosted WordPress.org software (not WordPress.com). WordPress uses themes (not templates) and plug-ins, which are essentially modules that add some kind of functionality.

So to create the same effect we discussed above for a WordPress site, you would need a hosting account, the WordPress.org software and an e-commerce Plug-In. Some options include a combination of a WooThemes theme and WooCommerce plug-in, StoreFront Themes and WPOnlineStore, a free open source plug-in for WordPress based on the osCommerce shopping cart that’s been around for years and supposedly works with most themes.

Additional Benefit

Another huge benefit to owning your own domain, even if it’s pointed somewhere else for now, is that you can have a professional email address. Having an @YOURSHOPNAME.com email will increase the trust factor with your customers. It’s much more professional than using a Gmail, Hotmail or other generic address and makes a big difference in your customer’s perception of your business.

Over To You

What do you think of this business advice? What’s your solution going to be? How are you going to ensure that you maintain ownership of your business and build an asset for yourself?

About Debi Auger

Debi Auger is the President and CEO of Makana Mai Akua, Inc. She's an Eskie Mom, New England Patriots fan, philanthropist and multi-passionate entrepreneur. She's the designer behind Designs by Debi, specializing in personalized jewelry, memorial jewelry, one-of-a-kind pieces and the tropical-themed Aloha Collection. She also puts her 30 years of teaching, coaching and mentoring experience to work as a Lifestyle Business Coach for Artisans and Creatives.

42 comments

    1. Hi Chris,
      You’re welcome! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time. Glad it was worth it for you. I’d love to hear how it goes for you and what choices you make! Best wishes 🙂

  1. Debi – thank you so much for the valuable information. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to each comment too. I recently decided to go online with my jewelry business and instead of Etsy I am trying a new venue called MyCinsay.com. It’s a video, e-commerce site that actually provides you a video where you can sell your items and links a website with it. We are still working on all the pieces and I hope to have it up and running this next week. I am going to use all of your tips and hope to get things going this year. Thanks again for all the info and resources!

    1. Hi Jonna,
      Thank YOU for taking the time to read and leave a comment! I’m glad you found the info helpful. I’ve never heard of MyCinsay before. I’ll have to go have a peek. Let me know how it goes. I wish you all the best and would love to see your shop.

  2. THANK YOU!!!!
    I woke up this morning thinking ‘how am I going to make this work?’ and there you were! I’m going to follow your lead and get back with you on my progress. I can’t wait to get started!

    Cyndi

    1. Hi Cyndi,
      How wonderful to hear that… totally touched my heart! How are you making out with everything? Do catch up and let me know. I’m all around online 😉 And yes, you CAN do it!

    1. Hi Jenny,
      You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to give your feedback. Happy to know that this article is helping. Best wishes!

  3. I set up my website last year with my mum’s help. It has been a slow learning process, with lots of false starts, but no sale so far. I have recently activated my Etsy shop after 3 years absence, this is with a view to driving some traffic to my website and possibly sales on both etsy and my website

    I used Weebly to set up my website and bought my own domain name and use Mal’s e-commerce payment gate way, this took some getting used to, but like you have said it’s a great tool, just waiting for the sale to test it.

    Thank you for this post we or should I say my mum is constantly searching for options to improve and drive traffic to our site.

    1. Hi Charline,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. I took a look at your site. Very nicely set up and branded. Clean, crisp look and easy to navigate. I hope you start to get sales soon. You’re very talented and do beautiful work!

  4. Hi! I have had my own website now for a few years but what I need to know is how to generate more traffic to it. I am on facebook and Etsy and several groups where they highly promote their artists. But none of it has really helped.

    1. Hi Jan,
      Thank you for reading and commenting! You will probably also find lots of relevant, helpful info in the responses I wrote to Marlene and Nathalie just above your comment. Those steps are critical. Let me know how it goes.
      Best wishes for much success!

  5. Debi,
    I’m a visual artist (acrylic on canvas) and have my website with Fine Art Studio Online. I see that many people look but few buy (Analytics). There are millions of us out there, literally, and every painting is (or should be) unique. Hard to look for ‘solutions’ to resolve for prospective buyers, right? Any advice? Some days I think I’m just wasting the $30 per month and other days I am grateful I can direct people to a collection of my artwork. What should I do differently?
    Marlene

    1. Hi Marlene!
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I took a look around your website. Here are some recommendations.

      About Page – Connect more with your audience by talking about why you’re an artist, what you enjoy about it and your objectives when you paint… what you want your customer to feel about that work.

      Social Media – Do you use social media? You should. I don’t see any links to a Facebook page or anything on your website.

      Blog – Blogging helps with traffic because search engines like new content. Put a link to your blog in the navigation at the top of your page. The short article list on the right isn’t enough. Also, when you click on one, it brings you to that one article with no flow into another. You should blog more often (I only see 2 posts over a year in between) and make the posts longer than the elephant one. Your objective again is to be helpful and connect with your audience.

      Descriptions – There are no descriptions for your artwork. Size and price are not enough 😉 Use these to help with SEO and get keywords picked up search engines. Think about what words a buyer would choose when looking for a painting like that and work them into your description.

      Newsletter – The money is in your list if you use it correctly (see this article I wrote – http://awaehqndreams.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-money-is-in-your-list-if-you-use-it.html), but you have to actively build your list. Putting your newsletter opt-in at top of right column so it’s above the fold of the page may get better conversions. Also consider adding an opt-in freebie that would help your target audience. For example, a quick guide to ?? (selecting artwork, types of artwork, arranging artwork on their walls, etc.)

      I would recommend engaging your audience in your process. Have a look at The Art of Lynne Hurd Bryant’s Faebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ArtofLynneHurdBryant). The way she goes through progressions of her paintings is an excellent engagement tool. You can do something like this on Facebook and/or on your blog if you prefer. But don’t just pop up an image, talk about it, interact with the reader.

      And, as far as not being a “solution,” EVERYthing is a solution to something. As artists/artisans, we need to think outside the box to get this, but it’s well worth it. And, as sellers of non-essentials, it’s something crucially important for us to do. For every piece you paint, think about why someone would be buying it. What would they do with it? Where would they put it? What purpose does it serve?

      Also, you need to determine what your customer is really getting when buying from you; much more than just the product itself. Think more about feelings. People buy based on emotion and then justify their decision with facts and info, not the other way around. So the best thing you can do as a seller is make an EMOTIONAL connection with prospects. Do this in your descriptions especially.

      Let’s take your elephant painting for example. It’s a beautiful and intriguing work. Naming your work makes a big difference in sales. Seeing a painting is the first connection with a customer. The name of the piece is your second opportunity to make a connection, and one that shouldn’t be missed. “Painted Jaipur Elephant” is ok. But you could be more descriptive of the feeling evoked by the work and name it something like “Window Into a Jaipur Elephant’s Soul” or “Lost in the Eye of a Jaipur Elephant.” They create feelings in the customer.

      Your next opportunity to make that all important emotional connection with the customer is with your description. Expand on the title. Why were you affected enough by this to paint it? What were you trying to accomplish/show with the painting? And, as far as that painting as a solution, give some recommendations. This painting would be meaningful not only to people who like elephants, but to elephant conservationists and people who have gone on a safari or, in your case, visited India. This would be a way to commemorate those experiences and hang a memory on the wall of their home. Speak to those emotions in your description.

      As far as the $30/month, there are other less expensive options for sure. But the bottom line no matter where you sell, is that you must market your work to make sales. That is what will determine your success or failure. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling on a marketplace site or your own website and it doesn’t matter what platform you use; if you don’t promote your work, it won’t sell.

      I hope those things are helpful. Let me know how you make out. Best wishes for much success!

    2. Hi Marlene,

      I help my friend promote his paintings online and you’re right, people who buy art are not looking for solutions per say unless the solution is buying something they like to look at/feel an emotional connection with or satisfying one of their motivator to buy art.

      I found that generally understanding who buys art, when and why is key.

      Then you need to establish who likes your art and who has bought it (what do they look like, what do they like doing,….). You read this blog so you’ve probably seen the articles about customer profiles: http://mirasee.com/blog/multi-passionate-customer-profiles/

      I think one difficulty for artists is reconciling being in the studio and spending time promoting their work. Yet in many ways a presence on Internet has opened doors: if you can’t find an audience (your fans) locally, there’s likely to be one somewhere in the world. The difficulties are where is it and how can it find you.

      Owning your own site, or some kind of hybrid as mentioned by Debi, plus being active on social media are like using sophisticated tools. These require time and efforts to reap the rewards of unearthing your fans.

      Debi made some very important points and offers great options to help you do so. Which of these options can you implement?

      Peter Sandeen’s recent article is also helpful https://mirasee.com/blog/internet-marketing-advice/

      It’s the end of year and for us, it’s time to review what has worked and what can be improved. Debi and Peter’s articles provide timely information that will guide us.

      I wish you all the best,

      Nathalie

      1. Thanks Nathalie! Excellent points. Another HUGE mistake artists and artisans make is not getting out of their workshop (or studio) enough. It’s a tough reality that you can’t spend 100% of your time doing your art if you want to generate revenue. As a matter of fact, initially you’ll be lucky to spend 20% of your time actually creating. The rest of the time needs to be spent on marketing (and doing other business-related tasks).

        Over time, that will change and more time can be spent actually doing the work you enjoy. Word of mouth and referral business will start to come. Content marketing, social engagement and SEO will start to reap rewards in traffic.

        But a marketing plan is a must. You need to know the unique value you bring to the marketplace. And you absolutely must determine who your ideal customers is. You need to have both a demographic and psychographic profile of your ideal customer. And then figure out where they are and put yourself in front of them.

        Marlene… if you haven’t completed any of this work for your business, you may want to get on the notification list for when I launch the next session of my Create Your Artisan Business Success Plan program after the holidays (http://createyourartisanbusinesssuccessplan.com/).

  6. Wonderful post! Well it seems like i’ve made few mistakes in my beginning journey of online business. But it has been improved as I focused on the quality work. All the mentioned tips are really helpful.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Vicky! The key is to remember that mistakes are part of the process… we ALL make them… and they’re beneficial as long as you learn from them. My own process has certainly not been without lots of trial and error. And now I want to help save others the trouble by sharing what I’ve learned. Glad you found the article helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  7. Wow! What a great resource for customers and friends of mine who are artisans and who also currently sell on Etsy but want to take their business to the next level. It can be quite intimidating to simply get a website going. This article offers options, steps, and valuable resources. Thank you for this tool. By the way, killer line that’s a Tweetable: “They’re [Etshy & Facebook] legitimately useful tools and absolutely have a place in your business… as tools, not the whole toolbox.” Thanks again.

    1. Hi Raquel! Thank you very much. And, with Etsy’s new guidelines for 2014, it’s even more critical. I just launched an initiative to make the decisions those marketplaces make for their own businesses irrelevant to the future business success of artisans who choose a better way forward. It only started yesterday so there’s lots to be done.

  8. Hi Debi, thank you for this thorough post. I have a couple of friends who are into arts and crafts and sells them online. Every time I ask them how they’re doing, they tell me about how inconsistent earning money is. I will share this post with them and hopefully, they can figure out what they’re doing wrong and how to correct it.

    Your post is awesome and very informative Debi. You sure did talk about identifying mistakes and concrete solutions. This will help a lot. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Azalea! You’re welcome! I appreciate your feedback. Glad you found it helpful and I hope it helps your friends with their businesses, too 🙂

  9. Wow Debi this is a really informative piece with plentiful resources, fantastic advice, and creative solutions. I’m going to save the post so I can refer back to it to ensure I’ve got it all. Thanks!

  10. A very informative piece for me as a beginner. Haven’t truly digested it all yet but saved some of your references for later use. Thank you so much for sharing and by the way your first link isn’t working ( Pinterest board of infographics related to SEO.)

    1. Hi Brook! You’re welcome and thank you for your feedback. Evernote is my *favorite*!! Don’t know what I would do without it. I use it for everything 😀

  11. Great post!

    I own my domain names and have stepped up my blogging, again. I went through a phase where I was posting twice a week. Then I dropped down to once or twice per month. And now… I’m back to posting twice a week. I also want to test out guest bloggers. I’ve been approached in the past by bloggers, but… I’m very protective of my website. 🙂 I want it to be the best it can be.

    1. Hi Amandah! Kudos to you for having your own site! And you’re absolutely right to be protective of it. Your number one priority is to serve your audience with integrity and give them information you truly feel would be helpful to them.

      And, of course, you want it to be of stellar quality, too. You can easily accomplish these things by having criteria and a submission/approval process for guest posts/articles. Take a look at Danny’s for a great example of how to maintain the quality of your website this way (http://www.firepolemarketing.com/guest-posting/).

      Best wishes for much success!

  12. Debi has a very thoughtful article on what to do if you are an artist on the internet.

    I will be printing out her article and keep it for her contact information for anyone who I know who might be interested in an artisan site.

    It is a challenge and as I start out with my website, I may also ask for her to guest blog once I have enough subscribers. Great to see there is advice out there for artists as I am one as well.

    1. Hi Jane! Thank you SO much. I’m so glad you found this helpful and truly appreciate you spreading the word.

      Artisans and Creatives are my niche… I am one too 😉 I have loads of things in the works to make the poor decisions of the multi-vendor marketplaces (ahem.. Etsy) irrelevant to the future success of your artisan business.

      Congratulations on starting your own website! Wishing you the best of luck and would be happy to guest for you when you’re ready.

  13. Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for a very in depth article that provides solutions to implement right now. I have one question, and please pardon my ignorance. In option one, you mentioned that it doesn’t help your SEO. What about the other options? Is there one that is particularly favorable in regards to SEO as opposed to another one? The only option I was aware of until this article was the WP Online Store. It’s nice to have a variety to consider. Thanks again. : )

    1. Hi Lynn! Believe me I have 30 years of teaching, coaching and mentoring experience… there is NO such thing as a stupid question 😉

      Option 1 doesn’t help your SEO or building traffic for a business you own because the end result is bringing traffic to the venue you’ve forwarded it to and any links you build to your products there will be linked to a URL on their domain.

      Options 5, 6 and 7 are the best ones. Of those 3, it’s really a matter of what you’re more comfortable with, what platform you want to use and which one offers everything you need.

      The best way to decide is to to write out a plan of what you want to include on your site because there are so many options (store, blog, static article pages, forum, membership area, etc) and make sure the one you choose offers what you want to include on your site.

      Of course you still need to put in the time to work on your SEO, and it’s an ongoing process, but you’re doing the work for your business and building an asset for yourself independently.

      Wishing you much success with your business!

      1. DEBI!!! I cannot believe I called you Cheryl…I scrolled up and grabbed Cheryl, the first commenter and typed away! There may be no ignorant question, but getting the author of an excellent post incorrect, is definitely ignorance!

        PLEASE forgive me and rest assured that the payback is everyone who reads this will know that I made an absolute DONKEY out of myself! LOL On a positive note, however, your name is permanently etched in my brain!

        Thank you for such a detailed, kind response despite my mistake! It was very helpful. : )

  14. I have never seen such a comprehensive list for creative/craft/art businesses before Debi. I can’t imagine someone not being able to find at least a starting point on this list!

    I’m an author and work with nonfiction authors and I’m thinking some of these solutions (that don’t tie to Etsy etc>0 may work for those of us who do not rely strictly on Amazon as well.
    Great job & thank you!

    1. Hi Cheryl! You’re very welcome. Thank YOU for taking the time to comment. These solutions can definitely work for authors, and any online entrepreneurs with something to sell. So glad you found it helpful! Much success to you.

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