Now that you’ve written your Mission Statement for your business, you need to decide where your home base will be – a site that will be the foundation for all of your other online presences.
The first thing you need before building your website is buying your domain name. It’s not expensive, under $13 per year, at GoDaddy. There are other places to buy a domain as well. If you’re building a static website, often the host will include your domain as part of the entire package price.
The most common websites are “static” websites and blogs.
A “static” website allows you showcase your products and set up ecommerce, where customers can buy directly from your site. You can also set up many other pages as well as links to all of your online presences. I’ve used Homestead for a number of years but there are many hosts available.
- After the site is built it requires little updating, other than adding new products and/or online presences.
- Many website hosts offer blogging options.
- There is a monthly fee, usually nominal, but when you’re first getting started, every penny counts. It also takes some time to build and design your site unless you hire a designer, which will also be a monetary investment.
- Website blogging options do not have all of the bells and whistles of Blogger or WordPress.
Blogs allow you to do the same thing as static websites – showcase your products, ecommerce, and link to all of your sites.
- Blogger is free to use, as is WordPress.
- There are loads of fun and useful ‘plug-ins’ available for blogs that aren’t as easy to include on static sites.
- Blogs, by their very nature, lend themselves to regular updating. You can build a large readership, and potential buyers, by posting consistently.
- While you can certainly use a blog address as a ‘static’ site, as your business grows and expands there will be inherent limitations.
- It takes time to regularly update blogs – writing, editing, photos, photo editing, all require a huge time commitment.
It should be noted that you can monetize both blogs and websites with Adsense, affiliate links and private ads/sponsors. If you opt to have both a blog and a website, you can maximize your monetization pretty easily. Keep in mind, before any kind of monetization you want to have some experience behind you and a fairly large amount of traffic.
So which is better – a static site or a blog? Only you can answer that. Do you need both? Can you manage both? Start by considering how much time you have to devote to marketing your brand. You can always start with one and add the other a few months down the road.
Can you use your Etsy shop as your “home”? Certainly! Many people do, quite successfully. However if you’re goal is to build an online ‘brand’, you have more latitude with blogs and websites. Also, they will potentially attract a new audience of followers and, quite possibly, buyers.
Colleen Jorgensen is a self-taught artist and blogs at Mural Maker & More. She has multiple websites, besides her blog, that need branding. She has given up trying to create 28 hours in a day and is now trying to work smarter, not harder.