Many artists and makers begin selling what they make online on Etsy. It’s easy to set up a shop there, and because Etsy has millions of shoppers, you’re more likely to start seeing sales pretty quickly. But at some point you begin to realize that Etsy is not the be all, end all, and that in order to sell more of what you make, you’ll need to create your own website, with a blog and shop. It may seem like an overwhelming task as first, but I truly believe it will be worth it for you, in the long run. So today I’m going to teach you how to start a blog to sell your art or handmade products.
(Just so you know, this article contains affiliate links. Not sure what that means? You can click here and a new tab will open with a full explanation.)
But first, let’s talk about why you would want to create your own website and blog.
First and foremost, owning your own domain and website will set you up for optimum success. You will look way more professional and therefore be taken seriously as a creative business owner.
You’ll also have much more control over your business. When you’re only selling on Etsy (or even print on demand sites), they ultimately have control over your business. If you make a mistake? They can shut down your shop forever, if they want to!
You can also start building your own email list. Nathan Barry of ConvertKit said in The Complete Guide to Email Marketing (which you can get free by clicking here – don’t worry, it will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place here!):
Not everyone who enters their email address will end up purchasing your product, but with a good product and marketing, it’s safe to assume one in ten will purchase. That means you can figure out if there is demand for your product based on the number of subscribers you get.
One in ten?! I’ll take those numbers any day of the week. Plus using your email list to bring your readers back to your blog is genius.
You can also write blog posts that will attract your target customer, bringing them right to your site and shop.
One more reason to blog? You can also add additional streams of income into your business. With a blog you can use affiliate marketing, ads, and sponsored blog posts as additional streams of passive income. (You can’t do that on Etsy!)
So let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Start a Blog to Sell Your Art or Handmade Products (and more!)
There are tons of different platforms out there, but I recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress website with BlueHost. I like BlueHost because they make it so easy and affordable to start your blog. They charge as little $2.75 per month and your domain name is free with that hosting.
If you’re brand new to websites like this you can think of your new website as a house: BlueHost is the land on which you build your house, WordPress is the house itself, and your domain is the address everyone will find you at. (Hopefully that makes sense, because I’m going to keep using this analogy throughout this post! 😂)
So the first thing you’ll need to do is choose a domain name. Most artists will use their own name (or a version thereof), a business name (possibly the same name as your Etsy shop, if you have one), or you can come up with a brand new name for your business blog. Check here to see if your domain name is available:
If your first choice domain is available, I suggest you purchase it right away! Domains go fast these days – I recently looked up a domain, didn’t buy it and 2 days later it was sold. HUGE bummer. 😭 But if your top choice is not available, no worries! You can brainstorm ideas and check to see if your favorites are available. Remember that when you pay for at least 1 year of hosting, your domain name is free from BlueHost.
Yes, there are free places to blog, but honestly, if you’re planning on making money with your blog, the best way to go is starting with a self-hosted (which really means BlueHost hosted) WordPress site. I used to recommend SiteGround for hosting, but I have found that BlueHost is more user- (and even beginner-) friendly. Plus they have excellent tech support, in case you run into any issues.
Once you’ve picked out a domain name (you have your address!), you’ll choose a plan:
BlueHost recommends their “prime” plan, but if you’re just getting started, the Basic plan is really all you need (and you can always upgrade later, if you want too.) Of course, the prices of the Prime plan are really good right now, so if you want to take advantage of that, go for it! The lowest prices mentioned are for when you buy 36 months of hosting upfront. The Basic plan is $3.95 a month if you sign up for 24 months, and $4.95 a month if you sign up for 12 months.
Once you have your plan all picked out and paid for (you have your “land”), you can finally start the process of “building your house”! And that begins with installing WordPress. Luckily, BlueHost makes that SUPER easy! BlueHost will send you a welcome email, when you get that:
- Log into your “cPanel” and find (and click on) the image that says “One Click Install”.
- On the next page you’ll see the WordPress icon under “blogs”, click on that.
- Then click the “Start” button and your WordPress Installation will automatically begin.
- From there, choose the domain you just grabbed in the drop-down menu. This is where WordPress will be installed.
- In the Advanced Options you’ll choose a username and password. Be sure to make these something memorable and unique (I write mine down for safe keeping!) Using default names like “admin” may make it easier for people to hack into your website, which is why I recommend using something unique.
- Finally, click “Install now”.
Guess what?! You now have a WordPress blog! Woo hoo! Pop the champagne! 🥂 You’ll get an email with additional information about how to log into your new WordPress blog, so make sure to save that email. I also added a bookmark to my WordPress login page to my bookmarks bar, so I can easily log in and post new blog posts, make aesthetic and other changes to my website, etc.
Now that your “house” is built, you’ll want to decorate it, right? You start by choosing a WordPress theme. There are tons of free WordPress themes available online, and that’s perfectly reasonable to use them. I, however, like to use fancier themes, because I want my website to be as visually appealing as possible. So I tend to find themes at Creative Market, like these:
When choosing any WordPress theme (free or paid), you’ll want to make sure it’s:
- Created for wordpress.org websites, NOT wordpress.com (that’s a whole different type of site, and themes are NOT interchangeable between the two.)
- Fully responsive, which means it will displays beautifully across desktop, mobile and all devices.
Once you’ve chosen and installed your theme (which will come with directions of its own), you can start “decorating” further: by adding your logo, and about page, your social media links, etc. I personally like to have my home page as a “static” page and my blog on a different page, but you can have your homepage be your blog, if you prefer it. All the themes I’ve seen give you that option under “Appearance: Customize” when you’re logging into your WordPress dashboard.
Some other “next steps” might include:
- Setting up an email newsletter. I use (and highly recommend) ConvertKit. You’ll want to start getting your website visitor’s emails from day one, because I promise you: there is money in your email list!
- Before you “go live” have at least 3-8 blog posts written and published. Not sure what to write about? Check out this list of 52 Blog Post Ideas for Artists.
- Also, before you “go live” have a friend of business buddy go over your site, looking for things like typos, broken links, etc.
- Set up a Shopify Shop to sell your art, products you design, or products you make. Not sure how to do that? Read How To Sell Your Art Online 100% Passively.
There you go: now you know how to start a blog to sell your art or handmade products (and more!) If you have any troubles, feel free to contact me for help. Once you’ve set up you new website, tell us all about it in the comments below! I’ll be happy to share it on my social media.