When I first started selling online, Etsy was the only market I knew about. Several of my friends sold on Etsy, so I thought I'd give it a try. :) I've certainly enjoyed selling on Etsy, and the majority of my sales have come through Etsy. I've even gained some wonderful repeat customers there!
Last summer I was also introduced to Artfire - another selling venue for handmade items. Artfire is much newer than Etsy, but since they offer a free account to get people started, I thought I'd try it out. I set up my account and listed a few items. It wasn't too long after that I received my first Artfire sale - not for one item, not even for two! This sale was for three dresses!! I was SO excited! This was the first time anyone had ever purchased more than one item except custom orders. What made this sale even more fun for me was that my customer had found me through a Google search!
Although I had been learning about SEO and doing my best to apply it in my Etsy shop, none of my Etsy listings ever appeared in a Google search. On Etsy some shops get fed to Google, but some don't - mine is one that doesn't for whatever reason. All of my Etsy sales come from people in the Etsy community who are searching on Etsy. Now to have my dresses and skirts showing up in Google searches was so inspiring!
In October, I decided to take the step and leave my free Basic shop and upgrade to a paid PRO shop! Wow! The PRO tools and perks are wonderful! Not only can you completely customize your shop, create coupons and gift certificates, have your own Artfire blog which can be fed to Handmade News for extra shop exposure, have a gallery to display items you've sold in the past (even items from Etsy or elsewhere), you also have the wonderful time saving Global Editor!!!
The Global Editor alone saves SO much time and frustration. On Etsy if you want to change something on your listings (price, shipping, etc.) you need to go in and edit them one by one. If you only have a dozen or so items this isn't a big deal, but the more items you have in your shop, the harder this becomes and the more time it takes up. With the Global Editor on Artfire, you can go in and change ALL of your listings at once with just a few simple steps. Or you can choose certain items to make changes to. This makes your shop easily customizable. If you want to have a sale, a few clicks of your mouse changes the prices. Do you need to change shipping prices, move items to different studio categories, add a tag to your items, add a special promo tag, or change quantity? The Global Editor can do it all!
These are a few of the things I love about Artfire. Although I haven't had a whole lot of sales yet, I'm getting more and more views now, not only from Google, but also from other search engines and The Find. Not only are my items showing up on these searches, most of the time they're even on the first page of the search thanks to the very helpful SEO advice and help here on Artfire.
If you've ever thought about starting an online shop to sell your handmade items or craft supplies, or if you're like me and want to expand your shop and reach another set of shoppers besides the ones on Etsy, now is a great time to open an Artfire shop! Artfire has just recently started a referral program. Anyone who signs up for an Artfire PRO account using a referral link will get their third month free (the one who's link you use will also get a free month :))!
A PRO shop on Artfire costs $9.95 a month, but there are NO listing fees and NO selling fees! You can list as many items as you want and sell as much as you can and the price stays the same!! Plus if you sign up using this link, you'll get your third month FREE which gives you three months for $20 which would give you a good start on Artfire.
Not only will you get your third month free by signing up with this link, now through March 15th, anyone who signs up using a referral link will be automatically entered into a drawing for a Canon Rebel DSLR Camera!! One new member and the member who referred them will win a new camera! How's that for incentive. :) If you want a chance to win a brand new fancy camera, and if you were already thinking about opening an Artfire shop, now is the time to do it! :)