Your website is your storefront for the entire world. While many businesses have chosen to stick to social media to promote their services, they could be doing so much more with their own website.
This series will show how easy it is to create your own website tailored to your business, whether you’re a hairdresser, a restaurant, a consulting firm, a photographer, or anything. With our recommendations, you can have your own website up and running quickly, easily, and ready to get customers in.
Today, we’re focusing on crafters and makers — people who make wonderful things and want to sell them and show them online.
Before you start to build your website, think about what you want to put on it. Do you want to sell your items online? Or maybe patterns or tutorials? Do you want to blog about your progress? Or do you just want a nice place to show off your work?
Your website can be all of these things, and once you know exactly how you want your website to work, it’s easy to set it up and get it running.
Because this is for a single site, we recommend buying a good basic package, either our Essential hosting package or our Basic Managed WordPress package. Both of which will give you the space and performance you need without costing too much. If you choose Essential, you’ll need to install WordPress on your package, and if you choose Basic, WordPress will be installed automatically.
Sell your work
If you’ve sold your work online through Etsy or another platform, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to set up your own e-commerce site. While there are fees for payment processors, web hosting, and other add-ons, it often works out much cheaper per product than going through a third-party vendor.
The most popular and best-known e-commerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce has so many options that you’ll be able to find the right combination to work for your business. Sell your products, patterns, e-books, and more with this powerhouse of a platform. The initial plugin is free, but extensions, such as payment integration, will have additional pricing.
If you’re only selling digital items, such as photos, patterns, e-books, or art collections, Easy Digital Downloads might be the right option for you. It makes it easy to sell and release online content, with a wide variety of extensions for even more customisation. The main plugin is free, but extensions have additional pricing, and there are also tiered payment options for adding more features to the main plugin.
If, on the other hand, you’re more focused on selling tutorials and courses showing people how to make things, a learning management system (or LMS) might be a better solution. Masteriyo gives you the ability to create detailed courses within a drag-and-drop interface, including unlimited students, unlimited lessons, and quizzes. The basic version is free and comes with PayPal integration, but if you upgrade to their starter version, you can also get Stripe integration and the ability for your students to download materials directly from the platform.
Show off your talent
You want to showcase your work on your website. And large beautiful photos in a gallery are a great way for people to see your products before they purchase them. These plugins are built to create great galleries.
Envira not only gives you a lovely gallery on your website, but is easy to set up, easy to use, and gives you search engine optimisation, social media linking buttons, video embeds, and the ability to watermark. The basic version is $26 annually, giving you a convenient gallery at a low price.
Album is a free plugin that gives you the ability to have multiple galleries in one convenient block on your home page, great for anyone who wants to show off multiple types of products. The free version loads quickly and is easy to work with, with four set styles, and for $24.99, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which has eight more styles as well as a custom tag filter.
This plugin gives you great-looking carousels for galleries as well as text blocks, great for special offers, important blog posts, and more. It’s also easy to customise, including how fast it rotates and how it looks. You can pay $39 annually, or $139 for a lifetime purchase, which includes all updates and support.
Integrating Social Media
Along with selling your products, you need to get the word out about the work you do. Integrating your social media feeds makes it easy for existing and potential customers to share your work with all their connections.
Smash Balloon has individual plugins for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, giving you an easy way to integrate your specific social media accounts into your site. Each plugin costs $49 annually and gives you a smooth integration from your website to your personal feed.
Instagram is a fantastic way to show off your skills, but it’s also a locked-in system, making it difficult for anyone without an Instagram account to see your work. Spotlight lets you put your Instagram feed on your WordPress site, giving you an easy way to show off your work as well as gain new followers. The essential version is $39 annually, and gives you unlimited Instagram accounts and feeds.
If you don’t mind doing a bit of work and want to show off all your social feeds across your site, Feed Them Social not only lets you put in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube feeds, but you can also purchase the Combined Streams version and join them all together. The premium version is $50 annually, but there is a free version with plenty of features.
Adding the Finishing Touches
Once you have your website all set up, you want to make it look good. A good theme can really make a difference to a website, and choosing the right one is important. Here are a few themes that’ll showcase your work and expertise.
Built for anyone who wants to include blogging in their craft website, Crafty Blog is bold and beautiful, with plenty of lovely features in the free version, including attractive fonts, social media links, and a lot more. The Pro version comes with even more features, such as a built-in Instagram slider, a gallery block, and featured posts. The Pro version is $57 annually and includes access to a stock photo database as well as a featured image builder.
If you just want your visitors to go straight to your products, Startup Shop is built to integrate WooCommerce smoothly in a fast and responsive theme. With a bright colour scheme, easy-to-use grids, and convenient layout options, Startup Shop is available for free from WordPress Themes, or, for $30, you can purchase the Pro version, which gives you even more options.
So there are a few options for your website. Whether you’re a knitter, clothing designer, woodworker, potter, or digital artist, having a well-built website is a great way to sell to your existing customers, find new customers, and show off your talents.
If you ever have any questions about how a website can help your business, get in touch with us! We’re happy to help!