Today’s blog is focusing on the original set up of my site
Lets start from the beginning. I originally started selling my products on local “online carboot” sites on Facebook. This was a huge success to begin with, and I started also selling on eBay. We received many orders on this platform, locally, nationally, and even internationally gettting orders from as far away as Florida, and Australia. However the orders eventually started to dry up after the Facebook Marketplace revamp, and someone recommended advertising my products on Etsy as they were much more “handmade” focused than eBay.
My Etsy page ran with moderate success, and continues to do so. However, I started to become a bit disheartened with Etsy when they changed their policy to promoting those listings which had guaranteed free postage to the USA. This was not something I could feasibly sign up to, considering some of my products would be £20 - £30 to ship to America, so I had 2 options. Option One would be to incorporate this postage cost into my listing, and the offer “free” US postage. This I felt would be a totally unfair cost addition to my domestic customers and so that left me with Option Two; to carry on with my current prices, not to offer free shipping to USA and let my items inevitably slip further down the Etsy search listings.
I had been promoting my Etsy page on Twitter for quite some time, and slowly building up my twitter followers by joining in the various “chat hours”. This is where I came across Rebecca of rebeccasreviews.com (@RReviews_blog) a small business blogger, who posts fantastic advise and tips for small business and also regularly promotes other small business. Rebecca had recently helped me to run a Twitter competition where I have away one of my small heart candles. This gained me over 200 new followers in just a few days, so you can see the influence she has. I then saw a Tweet where she was promoting a new web designer who was offering the chance for someone to have a website set up for them, just for getting in touch.
I contacted Neil (@NesharWebDesign) of nesharwebdesign.co.uk straight away. I explained my dilemma with Etsy, and the fact that I didn’t even know where to start with creating a site. He listened to my needs, and explained that neither he, nor the web hosting company he recommends would charge any commission on my sales (Etsy can charge up to a combined total of around 20% on sales and postage). This opened up Option Three; creating my own website.
’I had been wanting my own site for quite some time but never took the leap, due to being a bit of a technophobe. Neil fully took this on board, and we agreed for him to go ahead and start designing my new site. The following day he messaged me to say he had got the initial site set up, and was about to start adding my listings. Around an hour later, he contacted me to say he’d finished, and sent me a link to check out the work he had done.
I was astonished firstly by the design, and secondly by the speed at which he had achieved what he had, it was exactly what I was wanting. Over the next few days we exchanged messages detailing a few minor changes I wanted (mostly simple things like product prices as I could now sell cheaper due to not having to incorporate Etsy seller fees) any changes I wanted, Neil did straight away without any questions.
The next stage was where it got technical. This would be where our site went live, and had to be uploaded to the hosting provider. Now as I have previously mentioned I am a total technophobe, so Neil contacted me via FaceTime so that he could walk me through what to do with my laptop in front of me. Neil patiently explained what to do, and we waited overnight for the site to go live. The next morning the site still had not gone live, so we had to figure out what had gone wrong. As it turned out I had made a mistake in copying one of the codes over, but we soon managed to sort this out (with a little more coaching from Neil) and here we are, Goodman’sHandmade was live on the Internet!
Neil talked me through how to manage my products, postage, site details, and basic changes to the site, and then transferred ownership of the site to me. We agreed for Neil to stay on as a contributor to the site, so any changes I needed or any additions he would (and still does) happily do for me.
And so that’s my story. Thanks to a lot of networking on Twitter, Rebecca of rebecasreviews.com and Neil of nesharwebdesign.co.uk I now have my own functioning website that I can showcase and sell all my products on, without being told what to charge to ship to different countries, and all the profits go directly to me.
Neil is now specialising in web design for crafters and small business owners, and could not come recommend highly enough from me! I Hope you have all enjoyed my bit of background of how this all came to be, and I’ll see you soon for my next blog.