Stretching Myself Too Thin Online – Something Has Got to Go!

by Janine.
(Holliston, Massachusetts, USA)

I am going to put it all out there:

I have a website powered by Vistaprint, an Etsy page, an Artfire page and a Facebook page.

I an not consistent with any of them.

Jewelry by Janine Gerade

I have been talking to business owners who develop whole advertising plans and market well.

I would like to do that, but I fear I cannot commit that much time (I have a 4-year-old daughter, 2 part time jobs, and volunteering at her school).

SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GO!

My websites, Etsy, Artfire, etc. are all suffering because I can’t keep up! My computer is slow, very slow. I have an older Mac.

Jewelry by Janine Gerade

I need to get rid of at least 1 website. I am grandfathered in at the $5.95 price on Artfire which I think may be the first to go (only 1 sale there, and the same on Etsy).

To transfer all that stuff is going to be a pain but I need a push and I can’t figure which direction to go.

I have not had sales on my main vistaprint website unless I directed someone there to pick something out.

I put a lot of time onto the vistaprint website and it costs me $17 a month. I don’t like the fact that I can only upload 1 picture for each item there.

UGH!

What do I do??

Facebook is the easiest and cheapest and I update that easily from my phone and often but I do not have a shopping cart feature like on my other sites where you can but directly from a post (do they have that feature?).

I really appreciate your advice in advance!!

Janine
janinedesign
Mom Bracelets

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Comments

  1. Janine, I have heard of folks successfully using FB’s new Shopify:

    facebook.com/shopify

    It’s supposed to be really easy…

  2. Thanks! I looked up shopify. It’s definitely an option. I would have to get rid of my website, art fire and etsy to justify the cost. I like the idea of the $50 advertising credit on Facebook. Just not sure I want to give up my main website and domain names! Ugh I wish I was rich!!

  3. Etsy has a huge number of shoppers, and is known all over the world. I’ve used Etsy and Ebay and they can run about equal. Sounds like the Vistaprint site is the most expensive and has not brought business. You need lots of lookers so consider where you are getting the most hits.

  4. What about switching to a free website (I know it’s a pain to switch, but maybe better than not having one). I’m setting a Yola one up, you could check them out.

  5. Janine,
    I completely understand your dilemma. I have my own website, which I maintain for informational purposes only. And my annual fees are far less than yours with your provider. I also have a Live Journal Blog, an ETSY shop, a Facebook Business Page, and a presence on some other social networking sites, like Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Even though I now make jewelry full-time, I also feel stretched too thin. I spend at least as much time online as I do making, and I still cannot keep up with all the sites regularly.
    So, ETSY gets my main focus. I work with it daily. The other sites get my attention only once each week and sometimes only twice each month. It is my feeling that everyone out there has to limit how much time they spend on the web. And as a consumer, myself, I feel overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to read from all the pages I like. So, I’ve hidden from all my feeds anyone who posts more than once a week, particularly if they are other vendors hawking their wares.
    I do think you should pick one venue that is your main focus. But also be aware that when selling anywhere it takes a long time (read years here) to build up a regular clientele. I opened my ETSY shop in August 2008. I avoided getting involved with any other marketplaces, knowing that I’d be too overwhelmed trying to keep track of which inventory went on which site. I made 0 sales in 2008. I made only 10 sales in 2009, but in 2010 my sales tripled, and in 2011 things began to really take off, in 2012 I actually made a profit, and this year I was able to quit my day job. But this only happened because I focused on ETSY as my main site, while keeping the others as simple networking tools that I only visit once a week.
    Lady M

  6. Karen F says:

    I definitely feel your pain! I too had the exact same problem…one artfire, one etsy and my own website. My website took so much work with no success, closed it. Then had Artfire and Etsy….. 5 sales on Artfile and 10 on Etsy, so I closed Artfire and now I dedicate all my time to Etsy. You really have to have a good site, good photography and good descriptions and search words to get it going. I totally agree with Lady Mockingbird’s comments about it taking a while for it to take off. My first year, nothing, 2nd year 4 items sold and now I have over 30 followers and am doing quite well. We just have to have patience and a bit of diligence to get it going. Once thats all done its smooth sailing after that. Good Luck! 🙂

  7. I also feel overwhelmed with multiple medias and with the balance of not making profit and not having a job to support my passion, one of the things I did was to set up my web site on Google sites, it is free and super user friendly and has a gadget for PayPal for your store. I am not currently using it because I am trying to sell through only one source at this moment, Etsy but I may give it a try soon. Best

  8. It’s sounds as though several are in the same boat, including me. I would venture to say that the core issue, which is common among creative people, is focus. One place to sell your wares (website, Etsy, Artfire) one place to talk about your wares (blog, website, facebook) one place to promote your wares (facebook, blog) There are lots ways to do this with very little cost, but the real issue is to take inventory as to what feels right to you. If you narrow down keep in mind that some of these platforms talk to each other and eliminates time in posting. You can easily connect your Etsy is automatically connected to Pinterest and Facebook and twitter and I believe there is an Etsy app that can be connected with your page (I’ve not tried it so others are more in tune). I would encourage you to define first what it is you are wanting to do, find that focus and then focus on staying focused. It’s not as easy but it’s necessary. Too many irons in the fire is a sure creativity killer. you apparently are not alone, hope you are able to find your way.

  9. Kendall says:

    I use Webs for my jewelry business. I find it very easy to use! You can chose the type of website plan you would want which go anywhere from $3.75/mo to $17/mo. You can make a great looking website with it! They look very professional. I’m in the process of mine now!

  10. I have a shop on Artfire at the $5.95 per month rate. I’m quite happy with that and would keep it for that cost if I were you. Etsy is too big for me and I’d feel lost, plus I don’t like the insertion fees. The $17.95 for the Vistaprint is expensive. I have a free Weebly website which is awesome! I find Facebook frustrating and use it only to post my creations on the business page and general stuff on my other page. Perhaps if you gave up at least 2 of your sites, you might be able to devote some time to the ones that might have potential. Just a thought 🙂

  11. It’s difficult to drive traffic to a website of your own. Have you considered taking your domain name and transferring that to a blog? That way your business still has its very own web presence and you can use it for many things you need for business (artists statement page, contact page, links to wherever you are selling on-line, traditional blog page, gallery, etc). Blogger gives you something like 20 free pages now to use any way you like so you can design it to look like a traditional website for free.

  12. I know exactly what you mean! I am in agreement with most of the others about getting rid of the Vistaprint website. I recently closed my website and it was the best business move I have made so far. Now I stick with Etsy and Ebay since they have the traffic that requires no extra work. Then I do use social media to bring in more shoppers. Best of luck in your decision.

  13. coranation says:

    I wish you well, Janine.
    How to Focus: “Oh, I want to do that!…Maybe I’ll try this…Hmmm, that sounds interesting” I not only have Janine’s problem with online focus, but with focusing in general. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking about at least 7 other things to do. I need a psychiatrist…

  14. Kathy Spiers says:

    Wow, I don’t have a website yet and all of the above is why!! It is so overwhelming to even think about so I admire all of you who are out there trying! I’ve done lots of investigating and am leaning toward a FREE Square website. They do charge each time you use their charge device but it is a small percentage of your sale and seems fair. Anyone have any experience with a Square site? I think one website and maybe Facebook is all I can handle at this point. Kathy

  15. Tina - CreatedWithFire Studios says:

    ( Wow Square has a website, love their little credit card machine BRILLIANT giving it away for free, how many of you ditched your merchant account after you tried their system ! )

    I understand the need to have a website, almost everyone I do business with ask “do you have a website?” I have a packaged deal with PowWeb for the last 10 years & it runs under a hundred a year. Have I made sales from it, I do have to point people to it, but I find it better then pointing them to Etsy or Artfire and having them go off looking at someones pretties. I sure know I get distracted when I go on those sites. I will always have a website.
    ( with that said, it is down to have new products and look uploaded.. NOW that is what takes way to much time, but that is a whole different rant about how hubby only has to take pictures and I will do the rest……)

    I find that having a website leans some form of “permanence” for people, I can tell them I have been in business for 10 years … yadayada ya.. they feel more comfortable allowing me to take large credit card payment from them. A lot of my customers are returning customers that come to shop every holiday and I like making them feel comfortable that I will still be here to make repairs etc. BUT I digress …

    I too wondered about the Etsy vs Artfire saga… I am too grandfathered in at the low start up price, I use my Artfire for a clearing house for books and destashed items.

    I don’t like sending people to E/A because they are like me and get sidetracked… okay after my long winded “advise”
    1) keep the website, find something cheaper if you are going to use it as a “front page” for your business and put up links to either ArtFire or Etsy. I was off work and found I did well when I was in Etsy social media but I no longer have time for that, so I personally have cut my Etsy page, will put all my efforts into promoting my website ( FB etc ) and put my destashed on ArtFire.

    Lord, did I even answer your questions…. must be being sick for 4 days and not talking to anyone makes one wander ….

    Good luck and great sales !

    Would someone post the URLS for Square and Google, could not find them… thanks !

    Tina

  16. As an answer to the Square question. Square, squareup.com, in addition to having the Square Register App which, with a nifty little dongle, will turn your tablet or smartphone into a credit card swipe device, also lets you put your inventory up for sale in your own little “shop.”

    I’ve toyed with the idea of moving there, but I’ve got momentum with ETSY, so I’m going to stick with it.
    Lady M

  17. I’d like to thank Lady Mockingbird for the advice she has given I also have an Etsy Shop and have been getting pretty discouraged with the lack of sales but thank-you I was beginning to think I was the only one who hadn’t had any sales in months or ever actually.Its encouraging!Thank-you very much.Marilyn

  18. I have friends who are still involved with Etsy but I haven’t used my account in ages, only for referring people to my website which is hosted by Weebly.com. I love the ease of Weebly & it’s cheap (thank you, Zoraida, for suggesting it to me last year!). I also use a Facebook business page & Twitter for social media, but have found that doing local shows is working out the best. Now about focusing…..oh my, I’m still (and probably will be forever) working on that piece of the pie! Good luck to each of you! ^_^

  19. Hello Janine,

    I can fully empathise with you, having not even started off fully and already being stretched too thin.
    On asking around, I found platforms like Odesk, Elance etc, where you can hire content writers, and all sorts of small odd jobs helping hands. Since you have spent so much time and money on website and other social platforms, why don’t you try and delegate somethings, especially when these helping hands come for a very reasonable costs.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Suneeta

  20. Hi Janine, I apologize for such a long reply, but I’d like to suggest streamlining all your “storefronts” into a single one and then put all your focus into that one to maximize sales. I’m recommending to go with Etsy and will share what I’ve learned/experienced in the one year that I’ve had a shop there. You may find some suggestions that could help.

    For my Heart of One Creations jewelry business, I too, have Etsy, a website, and a Facebook page. I do not process sales on the website or FB. But they both drive traffic to my Etsy shop, where I do the selling. I’d suggest perhaps closing the website shop to save hosting fees (as well as closing Artfire), or keep your website only to funnel people to the single storefront of Etsy. (If you did keep the site, maybe use it more to tell your jewelry background story, which is what I do. I have a few large strategically placed SHOP NOW buttons and text links that go to Etsy.)

    I’m only promoting Etsy because that’s all I know! But I feel it is more well-known than Artfire, and certainly more known than our business-name domain sites! So it is a good choice for a storefront.

    Etsy has a number of benefits:
    – Millions of eyeballs come there to shop
    – It’s a clean, easy-to-use interface for both sellers and shoppers
    – They offer reduced-price USPS postage, insurance, and delivery confirm. (as opposed to paying at the PO)
    – They streamline shipping, esp. for international, and for printing labels, sending notifications to customers, and you can track delivery right from the site
    – Your listings appear in Google search results (you can check your shop stats to see how many people came from Google)
    – You get FREE Google ads thru them and you don’t need to do anything to run them (again, shop stats will show how many people clicked on a Google ad to get to you)
    – Don’t bother with Etsy’s Search Ads
    – You can link your FB page to your Etsy shop and will be prompted to have all new listings posted automatically on FB (that kills two birds with one stone for FREE)
    – If you want to benefit from getting ALL your Etsy listings posted on FB, since you don’t have that many listings (28), after linking your shop to your FB page, you could inactivate all current listings, copy them to NEW ones, and they’ll all get posted to FB (renewing listings doesn’t provide the “post to FB” option). It would cost $5.60 to re-do all your listings.
    – While you’re re-creating your listings, there is much you can do to optimize them to be found in Etsy Search (where most traffic comes from by far) and Google and to entice people to click through.
    – In the new Etsy interface, shoppers can now see what search keywords you used, and I can see that this could explain why you’ve had one sale. You can do SO MUCH to improve your keywords. (I had to redo all mine, too, but had a lot more listings by the time I got the memo!)
    – Etsy Help and forums have lots of info on how to create good keywords, titles & descriptions–they all go hand in hand. You can also sign up for their selling tips newsletters which always have great articles.
    – Use search to find other items like the ones you make, esp. in quality of materials. Then study their shops and esp. their PRICING. You may find your prices are not in line with what the market will bear. Many times you need to drop prices to be in the same ballpark as your competition, but some sellers have said they were pricing too low and when they raised their prices, their sales went up! Let the marketplace show you the best price points for your pieces. (Again, search Help for advice on pricing.)
    – Also study these shops’ keywords, titles, descriptions, photo quality, shop banner text (yours doesn’t say what your jewelry focus is–play that up).
    – Offer discount coupon codes for repeat customers (Etsy makes it easy), (I stick a business card with the discount code in the package I ship).
    – Study your shop stats for “All Time” to see the most common way people are finding you (Etsy Search should be at the top), what keywords they used to find you, what your most/least viewed or “favorited” items are and focus on doing more of the popular ones. Again if you find people are looking but not buying, you should analyze why: is it price, lack of (good) photos, not enough description, not offering Direct Checkout?
    – Be sure to keep adding new items to your shop–that’s what keeps you ranked higher in search results (and that’s the fun part!).
    – You may want to look into offering Direct Checkout (most of my sales are done that way). Now I know Etsy charges a lot of fees, but I believe DC fees are comparable to Square, PayPal, or any other CC payment processor. Where Etsy gets you is their transaction fee of 3.5%, which you pay no matter how the payment is made.
    – When you do get a sale, be sure to ask your buyer directly for Feedback (it’s now called Reviews). I write a hand-written note on the invoice I include in the shipment and say “thanks in advance for leaving a review!” or “your review of your experience is most appreciated!”

    So, all in all, this isn’t meant as an Etsy ad! But I’d say, try the streamlining down to one storefront approach (your FB page can be a freebie by linking it to Etsy), give that one approach all you’ve got, then after some time, maybe 6 months (and your influx of sales!), compare your shop stats before and after making the all changes (be sure to capture all stats to-date BEFORE you make any changes so you have a benchmark). Give it a solid try and if it doesn’t seem worth it, then at least you can say you tried.

    My shop got off to a slow start (but I started last summer when sales dip for everyone), but as I followed their optimizing suggestions (esp. those keywords!) and added more new items, my sales increased, as did custom orders. And doing this right now is the best time just as holiday shopping begins!

    Good luck on a successful streamlining!
    Linda

  21. Wow! These responses are wonderful! So far I think I am definitely keeping etsy and reducing my main web page to point to my etsy shop. I will have to work on the etsy shop and I will investigate more. I have a blog on WordPress too. I rarely update but of I close that can I transfer and info from there? Can I transfer any of these sites?

  22. And Linda! Wowwww thank you! Thank you! I’m using your response as my homework guide on how to shape up my etsy page! So wonderful you are willing to share:)

  23. I’ve been following this feed of responses and Linda Tenney you are very generous with your experience. I couldn’t agree with you more. have learned so much from everyone here.

  24. You’re very welcome! I’m just glad I can pay it forward! Regarding your WordPress blog, it looks like it’s the free version right? (maybe you pay for an upgrade for no ads–I do for my “free” WP blog) And it’s got all your background story already on it! Why not stick with the free site and close down your paid website? And just start updating the blog. Blogs are excellent ways to generate followers (offer email subscription right at the top). Also add PROMINENT links in the sidebar to your Etsy shop and Facebook (or see if there’s a FB widget you can add to make it fancier!)

    As far as transferring info, if you keep the blog and you want anything copied from your paid site, you’ll need to that manually yourself. You can have 2 browser windows open, WP blog in one, website in the other. Create a new post or page on WP and copy & paste text manually from one window to the other. Not sure if photos will copy over; you may have to upload them to WP media library from your computer. But since you won’t be setting the blog up for selling, you may not need all the content from your site.

    If you decide to scrap the blog and keep the site, you may still have to copy manually. You’ll need to ask your host provider if they provide copy/transfer service to sites they host. But if you keep the site, remember to have those PROMINENT links to your Etsy shop!

  25. Wow, awesome, awesome, awesome.
    My Etsy is moving along as far as sales goes. People use my website to check in on me and see what I am doing and contact me. I also use it as a portfolio for applying to shows and stuff. It has my artists statement etc. I sell 3 to 4 days a week at a local outdoor market which is what takes up the bulk of my time. I am focussing on selling mainly beads on Etsy as that’s what I think people may want to come back for more on. I use Facebook, pinterest etc with links to Etsy. I also offer a discount to those who buy directly from me on Facebook to save on fees. Linda, thank you I will take all you say to heart.

  26. Hi guys! I once had Etsy and a website site that I was paying for. I have always been a simple person and I like to chat about what I am passionate about, so I create a free blog with paypal. Keep in mind that I create my jewelry for the love of art. I keep all of my work under their own name and under a collection name. I give the description with very detailed photos and the price. If one falls in love with a piece, a simple email to me and I’ll send you a PayPal invoice. I include a bio, a disclaimer and a home page. All of my post are under current month and are linked to my G+ account. I have the social gadgets added to my site too. Word of mouth is absolutely the best for me in my city. I live in Nashville and word travels fast about someone new. But to get noticed, you have to do trunks shows and set up in shops. Take some of your work with you. You can purchase a note pad and have a slide show too. I offer Square when out selling. I accept no cash or checks at all. Keeps theft down. All of this that I have just said and taking great pride in your work, will get you far:)

  27. I am also overwhelmed by demands of website, FB, pinterest, etc. And I’m not even trying to sell on etsy or artfire at this time! For me a big problem is that I don’t have the computer skills I need. I have worked with someone to try and learn how to add links, improve SEO, etc. but by the time I get home and try it again – sometimes works sometimes does not. It is frustrating.
    There is a lot of good information shared here. I’m going to try to use some of these for my jewelry website.

  28. Wow! Thanks for bringing up the question! There are so many good points of view, tips and advice out there! I am looking at the possibilities of expanding my “hobiest” Etsy store. Social media was very daunting for me. I found myself wanting two types of sites.

    The first is a site to sell. Currently, I use Etsy to sell. However I do not like the fact that Etsy does require a user to have an account prior to making a purchase. Because of this, I would like to create my own web-page. I was going to use Vista but after reading this, Vista may not be the best option.

    The second type of site is a social media site like Tweeter, Facebook, Instragram, Pintrest, etc. I say etc. because there are way too many social media sites to participate in. I use social media to tell the back story on each piece and to be a bit more casual. I use Instagram (@ppandb) and I find I can repost from Etsy to Pintrest – which makes it easy.

    I don’t know if this helps, at all. But you are definitely not alone! Wouldn’t it be create if you could make one social media posting and blast it out to all of your social media sites? There must be an app for that out there somewhere!

  29. ladies thank you all for sharing. so many great advise. I have been fidgeting with my jewelry for almost a year now. no sale just give away. friends & family are saying, start selling your stuff. So much more than having your site i said to my self. After reading everyone’s comment…..I’m scared. Especially the part of not having a sale for a whole year?

  30. Thank you ALL!
    I feel like Janine, I also have a web site with Weebly, because it offered all the things I needed. It gave me a calculated tax for each province in Canada, which I don’t know. It also gave me all the buttons I needed like shop now and continue shopping and check out which Vista Print does not offer. By the way they also don’t offer the icons to print on your cards (like for saying that the customer can find you on Facebook, tweeter, etc. I really don’t know why, they make their living by advertising someone’s whatever….!)
    I also have a small store on Etsy’s and so far I have not sold a thing for a year almost 2. I don’t know what to do anymore. I have been posting my pictures on Facebook. yes I joined I don’t know how many FB pages for selling, nothing. I just feel very exhausted, because it takes a lot of time. I make hand made polymer clay jewelry. That takes at least a day or to to have a bakable piece. (I have to cure it in an oven, then I have to finish each piece with earrings or pendants and then take pictures. I found that I must finish each batch at a time, otherwise it does not get finished, by the way)
    The point is that I would love to sell some, I am not too giddy at this point and I do know it takes a while. I find that selling in Canada and from Canada is not the same as from the US. for once the post is double expensive, almost prohibited! That is something I have no idea how to get through! I don’t charge the whole amount the post requires here because i will never sell a $25.00 bracelet when shipping is $13.00 CA yep!!! that’s what it cost. I almost don’t want to make them because of the shipping cost! Any ideas are welcome!
    I will try to add more pieces to my Etsy’s store and I will keep my Weebly web site as a front ( my store will expire soon, it was about $250.00 US!!!) Most of this websites I tried, and they don’t offer Canadian services or links to the internet crawling.
    Thank YOU ALL! YOU’VE BEEN VERY HELPFUL!
    HAVE GOOD LUCK AND GOOD BLESS!
    Esther

  31. I am a bit late finding this item, but wanted to offer some suggestions.
    I clicked on Janine’s Designs and found the text very difficult to read–just a note. I also found myself having 4 stores at one time and absolutely was drowning, so I closed Artfire and Bonanza. Not enough sales to justify the time.
    I would like to suggest you apply to Amazon Handmade, which opened last year. You will have to give them a site to see your jewelry because you must get approval before you can open a store there. It is worth the time as Amazon has more traffic than the others combined. I still have my Etsy store and do OK there. I tried Facebook and and a couple of others but decided to focus on the ones that were successful. I am not into all the social media–only making Pinterest boards, which do pay off. Best of luck–Candy

  32. Oh you gals are the BEST!! I’ve read almost all the suggestions but realize I need to print this out & with highlighter in hand, note the things I need most. I have an Etsy shop & just a personal FB page. Didn’t realize they could be connected. Also have a blog page but very infrequently write there. Like most of you, I enjoy the creating, not so much the business. So now I can work smarter, not harder! The response to Janine I call the “Rena” effect! Rena, you are a model of generosity. I am so happy to have found this cozy jewelry home☺️

  33. Janet “Moogie”, thanks so much for your lovely comment on the “Rena” effect! 🙂 I’m delighted that you’ve found a cozy jewelry home here with us. And thrilled that you found so many helpful ideas in this thread!

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