I hear from artists that work in many different mediums that they just want to work at their art and go to shows. They absolutely do not want to get involved in the time consuming job of a website. I smile at them because I used to be one of them.
I neither wanted to take the time to do a website or felt I had the need to. After all, I loved doing shows of all types and so did my husband, who goes with me a lot of the time. What more did I need? After all, I picked up some pretty loyal customers from those shows!
My really good friend, Joy from CJ Beadstore, convinced me that I really needed to get my name out there using the Web. Every time I saw her, she asked me if I started yet, and would continue to admonish me till I had to leave the store.
You see, in my not too distant past I had my own marketing business where we (I had employees) did websites of all sorts for small businesses. Not only did we do that, but we performed many other Internet marketing functions for businesses, as well. (i.e. website placement on search engines, keyword search, website hosting, etc. etc.) I was tired of poking my keyboard, while surrounding myself with books that fed me the information I needed to perform certain programming tasks when my memory failed me. I lived it, ate it, and slept with it. I had no choice. My office was in my home. I considered myself a "burnout" and fought the idea of getting back into it tooth and nail. Even though I loved what I did, thinking back on those days even now makes my blood pressure go up...
Anyway, I broke down last June and started doing research on getting a website. I had to have a domain name, my www. I went to my favorite guys at 123ehost, where I did business for years. There are many places to get your domain, like domain.com, godaddy. com, and yahoo, to name just a few. I go to 123ehost because I had used them before.
Ok, I purchased about $100 worth of domains....couldn't make up my mind at first...and called my boys, who said that Wordpress now offered websites you could sell from. Having used Wordpress in the past, that seemed logical to me, and the website, ggchambers.com was born. That is not to say that Wordpress e-commerce is the end all of website software out there. There are a ton of others that other artists use, like Storenvy or GoDaddy. You really need to do the research and see what suits you and your level of talent the best. (There are a ton of places to start a store out there, and just cause I listed these, doesn't mean I've used them, unless I stated I did.)
As far as the cons go, having a website is tedious at times, until you get a system down. If you've been making your product for a while, you are already used to taking photos of your stuff. (We will reserve that lesson for another time.) You need photos ( I recommend at least two of each product), a title for each, detailed descriptions of each product, pricing info, and shipping info. That is the minimum. There are other things you can add, like variations, your store policy for returns, etc. We can touch on that later, as well.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, and in the beginning it is. But let me tell you, it will be well worth it. You can list your website on your business cards, on your Facebook page, and people will go to it. It doesn't have to be fancy. And actually, you don't have to sell from your site if you don't want to, although I highly recommend you do.
Some website programs allow you to download your store from one site to another. I am on Etsy, too, and started and Artfire store. Artfire allowed me to download all my info from Etsy with just a few keystrokes. It saved me a ton of time!!
More pro's to all of this chaos??? I have gotten great customers off of every site I am on. I have been in the jewelry design business for one short year, but have managed to develop a relationship with people from all over the world via my websites. I spend about two hours a day checking or tweaking my websites and checking all my social media sites. I do it over my morning coffee. If I need to take photos and work on descriptions, I reserve one day a week for that. I have developed spreadsheets to house my titles, descriptions, and prices and I just copy and paste. I work on all three sites at one time that way, and it's done.
And as soon as I can figure out how to get the spreadsheets downloadable, I will have them available for you. They won't be protected, so you can tweak them to satisfy your business, or you can message me and I can help you with that.
The moral of this story...the Internet is a tool, just like your favorite pair of pliers. The use of it can cost very little in relationship to the return. You can market to just a few via shows, or you can market to the world. It is definitely your choice.
Any questions or comments are welcome, and I hope you Stay Wired Up!!