Prim Mart is dedicated to helping artisans grow their business by offering a variety of services including advertising, website & blog design, graphic design, online craft shows and boutique hosting. In addition to our advertising options, we want to share with you business resources you can use to set up, manage, and grow your business.
Every business, big or small needs a website. It should be hosted by a web hosting company that you pay for and not a free site with a web address like webhost.yourshop. com. When you use free hosting without your own domain name, it reflects on your reputation. Even if you sell on Etsy, I still recommend you have a website with the ability to blog so you always have the main place to send to customers. Relying on a free website or just Etsy (or Facebook groups) is risky and you’ll lose customers.
-Domain Name Providers-
Your first step is to purchase a domain name. While many web host companies may include a domain, some prefer buying the domain separately. Then if you later decide to move to another hosting company, you still have complete access to your domain without having to deal with your past host.
A web host is a company who hosts your website on a server. The web host includes software used to setup up your website and/or ecommerce/online store. There are several web hosting companies that serve small to large retail business like yours. It’s smart to shop around to see what features each one offers. Look at other websites hosted by them. You can also check great web hosting options on https://howshost.com
Make a list of what features you need or desire. Such as can you create and manage coupons? Does the hosting include a blog? Does is enable people to share on social media? Can you sell downloadable products like e-patterns? Do they offer SSL for your website?
A note about SSL: this is a certificate that shows your website is secure against customer information being stolen. Instead of having http:// your website will have a https://. Google has labels any website without https:// as “unsecure” and will/may be penalized in search engine searches. You used not need SSL if you used another shopping cart like PayPal, but now it’s good to have it for your website even if it’s not an online store.
Here are several hosting companies that specialize in eCommerce/storefront website hosting:
Restored 316– Premium WordPress Themes for Female Entrepreneurs
Angie Makes – Beautiful WordPress Themes
Etsy – A proven way to promote and build your business. Sign-up is free. They charge 20 cents per listing and a commission after an item sells. There are tons of resources on how to successfully market your business with an Etsy shop.
Buffer – Schedule Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They have a free version. Also, there’s a bookmark app that allows you to share webpages while you browse the internet. For example say you find a tutorial you want to share from a blog, you can click on the bookmark app you install on your browser and schedule to post the share to Facebook, Twitter, Etc.
Hootsuite – Schedule your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ posts, up to 30 posts at a time for the free version. You can monitor all your social media (mentions, shares, messages, etc.) all in one place.
Tailwind – Schedule your Pinterest pins out across different boards you have or group boards you’ve joined. Has tools where you can schedule pins while browsing on Pinterest, also.
Creative Live – They have several courses to help handmade artisans learn how to market their business. They even occasionally offer free live online classes. Taught by experienced, successful business owners. Everything from running an Etsy shop to marketing on Instagram.
Email List Management-
One of the key parts of marketing is building your email list. Turn past customers and potential customers into loyal fans. Here are some companies that help you manage your mailing list:
Mad Mimi – by far this one is my favorite. Of all the popular email list management sites, I’ve found this one to be the easiest to use and the most reasonably priced (especially after you have more than 2000 followers).
Mail Chimp – is another favorite of mine. It is a more complicated to learn how to set up and use. However they have tutorials for you. Plus, they allow you to have up to 2000 subscribers on your email list with the free membership.
Printing Services, Labels, and Packaging-
Vista Print – From business cards to banners Vista can create for you many promotional items for your business.
PSPrint – offers online sustainable printing services for business cards, posters, stickers, flyers, brochures, invitations, newsletters, postcards, and more. Additionally, graphic design services are offered for those interested in customized designs.