Etsy vs. Shopify: When to Build Your Own Website

The way we approach websites and SEO is simple: Your website is a piece of internet real estate that you own. Your Etsy shop is a rental property. There are pros and cons to each.

Pros to Selling on Etsy

Etsy is simple, cheap, and a trusted place to shop for handmade goods.

Easy to Use

You can open an Etsy shop with very little investment and time. The learning curve to selling on Etsy is relatively small compared to building your own website, so you can get up and selling quickly. There are plenty of resources and a community of like-minded creative sellers to support you.

Built in Audience

Etsy is a marketplace of handmade goods with millions of shoppers looking to buy unique and creative goods. Etsy is actively attracting buyers to its marketplace, and you can use keywords and product tags to rank within Etsy’s search results.

Pros to Having a Shopify Store

If you’re planning to grow your business, investing in an online store should be part of your plan.

Owning Your Site Traffic

When you own your online store, you can submit your URL to Google Analytics and Search Console to better understand keyword queries, ranking, and traffic. You can create specific reports and track conversions. If you are investing in advertising, having your own store is ideal so you can run retargeting ads using your pixel.

Controlling Customer Experience

When you have your own website, you control the look and feel of your brand. You can collect customer emails whether they purchase products or not and use email marketing to increase sales. Shopify has a variety of tools including the ability to run promotions and discounts, and push your products to other sales channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Pros to Having Both Etsy and an Online Store

Etsy is a valuable platform of prequalified shoppers that provides an affordable way for new people to discover your brand. If you’re selling handmade goods, we recommend you maintain an Etsy store for brand discovery purposes and limit your listings to your best selling items. Your goal should be to transition your Etsy shoppers into loyal customers who shop the full collection on your website.

How Do I Decide When to Build My Own Website?

Before paying a monthly fee or for a site building service, consider your goals for your website. If you are putting the effort into social media and outbound sales strategies, having a website should be part of your plan as soon as possible. Without any advertising, it may take 6 months to establish organic SEO with your domain. Even if you don’t have traffic yet, getting a site built is a good idea if you plan to take your store to the next level within the next year.

At a certain point, it will be economically better to sell on your website than Etsy. Determining the point at which Etsy is more expensive than your own site depends on your average cost of goods sold, sales per month, number of listings, and average sale price. You can download our Etsy vs. Shopify calculator below to see how your numbers look.