There are TONS of posts out there that argue WordPress vs. SquareSpace vs. Wix vs. Pattern vs. Shopify. However, If you are interested in growing your home-based business in ways you never dreamed, save this one.
Over the last ten years, I have tried ALL of the platforms above and can tell you with certainty that the WordPress and Etsy combo is the answer for any serious ecommerce seller.
In this post, I am going to cover WHY you need a site that is separate from Etsy (if you want to see major income growth) and FOUR reasons that WordPress is the best tool to scale your online business.
ECOMMERCE VS. BLOGGING
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Why You Need a Website in Addition To Etsy
If you are already selling your handmade treasures on Etsy, you are aware that it takes time and dedication to get your ecommerce store found even with high quality photos and near-perfect SEO practices.
But newsflash: Adjusting how individuals find information online is not specific to Etsy.
While it is incredibly important to understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how it works on all of the different platforms you use, it is not the only factor in the book. SEO, when done correctly, can take anywhere from 2-9 months to take off.
This means YOU have to drive your OWN traffic to your website.
While many Etsy shop owners are familiar with needing to market their items on social media, that is a very short-term and limited answer (though still entirely necessary!).
If you are wanting a full-time job and consistent, GROWING income with your ecommerce shop, creating a blog that supports your Etsy site is the best long-term answer that will generate traffic for YEARS down the road.
My Mistake with Squarespace
A few years ago, my own Etsy shop was doing so well that I was able to quit my ‘regular’ full-time job and stay at home with my two daughters while making my natural skin care products.
And then…I invested in a course that ended up being the worst decision in my entire ecommerce career.
Squarespace is a BEAUTIFUL platform. It is easy to use and incredibly appealing for visual people, which makes sense why Etsy sellers would be drawn to it. I get it. It is a great option for businesses that are JUST selling their items or using their website as a billboard.
However, if you are interested in generating income from MULTIPLE avenues (and with far more support), Squarespace is not the answer.
It doesn’t matter how gorgeous a platform is if it doesn’t actually work FOR you and GROW your business the way we’ll discuss below.
I started my blogging journey with WordPress, switched to Squarespace due to the direction of the aforementioned course, and am now HAPPILY back on WordPress for the LONG HAUL. It has generated passive income for my family while simultaneously sending more traffic to my Etsy site.
That is a smart business model.
The four reasons below that discuss how WordPress and Etsy are going to skyrocket your home-based income are hard lessons learned. I am thrilled to share my experiences so that YOU can create your empire in FAR less time and by spending MUCH less money than I did.
4 Reasons WordPress and Etsy Will Skyrocket Your Income
WordPress and Etsy Win #1:
Etsy is a FANTASTIC place to begin an online career, as the payout is practically immediate after landing a sale.
Since branching out and growing my Etsy store into my family’s empire, I have taken several (upon several) online courses.
Since a GREAT MAJORITY of course makers out there are currently using WordPress, their step-by-step instructions are IN WORDPRESS. And as they should be, as the majority of online creators are also on WordPress.
I honestly thought I was doing something up-and-coming by starting my blog on Squarespace, so I stuck with it and tried to get help in the associated FAQs and supplementary Facebook Groups.
None of the course creators could help me, and a *very* small fraction of the Facebook online community could help me.
Luckily, many online courses are self-paced and their included Facebook Groups guarantee lifetime membership. After I switched back to WordPress to ‘begin again’, I was able to backtrack and find the answers to my questions easily.
The Top 3 Converting Courses
I am in LOVE with online courses and continue to be amazed how much you can learn without having to attend an actual class in person.
The following three courses are the TOP ones I recommend for turning your Etsy shop into a full-fledged business:
From deciding on your blog name all the way to publishing your first post, Suzi holds your hand every step of the way and introduces great tools for your journey.
If you’re not ready to invest in a course yet, Suzi has an amazing free version of the course called The Blog Plan and it will get you started in your overall understanding. This is a ‘no fluff’ course and is packed full of value even though it doesn’t cost a penny.
Angie Gensler, the course instructor, covers how Pinterest works, how to make great pin designs that create engagement, how to automate your marketing system, and more.
The Facebook Group that comes along with this course is worth the price of the bundle alone. An AMAZING group of people that are all in it together. Take a look at Angie’s free Pinterest webinar to get a bit of background on how it can work for your Etsy business and blog.
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WordPress and Etsy Win #2:
If you are just now starting to research ways to market your Etsy business outside of Etsy itself, you may be a little confused as to how a blog can help make you more income. There are actually four different ways this works:
1. Simply driving traffic back to your shop.
Let’s just say you sell natural skin care products like I do. You can write blog posts about summer skin care, winter skin care, best natural skin care products, how to use XYZ products, etc. You then link to products that you make and sell. Easy peasy.
2. Allow ads on your blog posts.
If you get a heavy amount of traffic to your blog, other advertisers are willing to pay to get their own products and services in front of the eyes of your audience. So they basically buy real estate on your page(s). This can take a long time to build up to (a lot of companies only pay pennies per 10k views/month), but this is a legit source of income for high traffic blogs.
3. Selling digital items outside of Etsy.
While Etsy has recently allowed the sale of printable/digital items, some things are not possible through that platform, such as eCourses, subscriptions, or subscriber access to a library of your resources.
Creating and selling your own printable or educational digital resources through your blog is a major source of future income possibility.
4. Affiliate Marketing.
If you are familiar with blog posts, you are aware that the majority link to products you can purchase. For example, if you decide as an Etsy seller to write a post about how to make organic lip balm, you would link to where you can buy all of the ingredients and supplies for the recipe. If you set up affiliate marketing, you can actually get paid a small commission from the companies that you link to if you have an agreement already in place.
Affiliate Marketing and WordPress
The first three ways above to make money with your blog can be done relatively easily with most platforms (or extensions from them).
I tried my hand at affiliate marketing within the Squarespace platform and it was a ROYAL DISASTER. This is the one thing that I did NOT try through Pattern, Wix, or Shopify, so I cannot personally speak about their compatibilities with this income source.
This is a major deal.
And one of the TOP reasons I moved away from Squarespace.
Learn More About Affiliate Marketing
If you are interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, there are two main resources I recommend:
This course was already mentioned above, but worth another look. Michelle Gardener (the creator of this course) makes over a million dollars a year from her blog, most of which is from affiliate income.
This ebook (though set up in a course format) has a lower price point than the resource above, but it does deal only with Amazon information. The affiliate tips that Carolina provides in this book are incredibly easy to follow and *most* are not mentioned in Michelle’s course.
WordPress and Etsy Win #3:
I have tried my hand at Wix, Pattern, and Squarespace ecommerce stores, and each had their own glitches and cons too great to ignore for my continued use.
However, once I have a bit more time on my hands, I will be transitioning my Etsy store to Woocommerce as fast as I can.
Woocommerce is the ‘ecommerce side’ of WordPress and is simply added on as a plug-in.
1. If you already have an Etsy store, you will be over the moon happy to know that you can import your entire shop into Woocommerce if/when you’re ready. That. Is. Amazing.
2. Woocommerce is built on WordPress, so you can customize it just like you would your blog until it’s exactly as you want it. There is very little formatting that you have control over in Etsy, and that bothers some people.
3. Woocommerce is free. And has no additional transaction fees. That’s pretty sweet. Keep in mind that certain plugins can add up to some pretty legit dough if you choose to customize your website, which could end up equaling to be the same fees that you pay for on Etsy. That’s just a preference call on your behalf.
4. Since Etsy is a third party, there are restrictions on when/how you can contact your customers. By hosting your own shop, you lift these rules and are able to grow your customer relationships as you please (keeping in mind GDPR compliance and whatnot).
5. Subscriptions. As a natural skin care product maker, the whole concept of creating a subscription box for my customers eventually is incredibly appealing. It is quite mind-boggling that Etsy hasn’t implemented a way for their sellers to do this.
6. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can read about the Woocommerce features here. This section is by no means meant to deter you from Etsy – both platforms have their place depending on where you are with your ecommerce business.
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WordPress and Etsy Win #4:
EVERYTHING about WordPress has saved me time.
Three Ways WordPress Has Saved Me Time
1. Divi Theme
The theme that I use on WordPress is called Divi (from Elegant Themes) and it is a visual page builder that was meant for incredibly easy use. It has drag and drop features that allow you to build your website and pages on the front-end (instead of having to switch back and forth to preview mode like you normally had to on WP).
An extra little ‘bonus’ of using Divi is that if you take any of the Start a Mom Blog Courses, Suzi (the course instructor) uses it also so it makes it incredibly easy to follow along. She even has a course available that is all about how to use every aspect of the Divi theme for beautiful blog post creation.
Scroll down just a bit to the ‘Major Time Saving Hack’ section to learn the easiest (and most affordable) way to get Divi on your WP site.
I am currently in over 30 Facebook Groups that all provide a different area of support for my online business, and they all ‘speak WordPress.’
When I was using Squarespace, I would have to research on my own first to know HOW to ask questions because most of my support groups wouldn’t know what I was talking about.
And that was a major time waster.
3. Yoast SEO
WordPress is already incredibly ‘SEO-friendly’ due to the way it is coded. To make it even better, WordPress hosts the world’s most popular plugin, Yoast.
Yoast is a free tool (with optional upgrades) that helps you to get your site and posts found as fast as possible. It will help you to optimize your keywords, get faster indexing, it flags duplicate content, and checks the readability of your writing.
In a nutshell, Yoast helps to ensure your work gets seen in search engines if you follow their suggestions. In the other FOUR website platforms I have tried, nothing comes close to the benefits this tool provides.
***Major Time-Saving HACK***
When I found out that Squarespace was not the right long-term answer for my business, I was at a serious crossroads because I didn’t have the energy to begin yet again.
And then I ‘discovered’ Trevor.
Trevor is the owner of Easy Blog in a Box, which is a pre-built WordPress website using the Divi Theme.
This guy transferred my Squarespace site to a WordPress site in less than a day. Insanity.
Let me tell you why this is genius.
First of all, if you are also a mompreneur or in a similar time-management-Tetris-game, this will save you weeks of setup.
The Blog by Number course mentioned above does walk you through every detail to get started, but it takes some time. (As a side note, the Blog by Number course is still worth the money in my opinion, as it covers much more than just the setup. I used Trevor’s pre-built site in tandem with Suzi’s courses).
Secondly, the theme that Trevor installs for you on your site, Divi, is the best of the best.
It is the most user-friendly and VISUAL theme, which is PERFECT for Etsy shop owners. (If you are at all familiar with Squarespace, it has similar block and drag-and-drop features which are crazy easy to use.)
The kicker is that the cost of Trevor’s services cost less than what the Divi Theme would cost on its own.
Let me say that again. You’re getting Trevor to set up your site for you WITH the Divi Theme included for LESS THAN WHAT DIVI NORMALLY COSTS.
(***Not really sure how that pricing works out for Trevor to be honest, but I call it a MAJOR win for you and me.)
This service also comes with a closed Facebook Group so that if you ever have technical issues or questions, either the other members or Trevor himself jump in quickly to help you out. A phenomenal bonus.
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It took me years to figure out (the hard way) that WordPress and Etsy is the winning combination for your online empire.
It is my sincere hope that the suggestions above will help you to grow your own online business much faster (and cost you far less) than I did!