Recommended Resources

Richard Recommends

Each week I get asked about which are the best tools and companies to use for domains, hosting, website creation, SEO, and more, so I decide to put a list together of all the best options.  These are companies that I either currently use or have used with success in the past.    

Disclosure: While a lot of the resources are free, some of the products and services listed are affiliate links which means if you purchase them I will get a commission. Rest assured that I will only mention products and services that I truly believe are the best out there and any small commissions will go to maintaining this site.  Thanks for your support.

Marketplaces and Venues – A list of all the places where you can sell your handmade items online

Want to sell locally? – No problem, Here’s how to find Craft Shows and Fairs in Your Area

Domains

Godaddy – The first step to getting your own website is to purchase a domain name, ex: yourname.com. I recommend choosing the .com version. I think Godaddy has the best prices and is the easiest site to use for buying domains, that’s why I personally use them. You can check them out here.

Hosting

Hostgator or Bluehost – After you get your domain name, you’ll need a place to host your website. While your domain runs about $9 per year, hosting is a monthly fee. The host is where your actual site along with all your photos are stored. Bluehost and Hostgator are both the best hosts out there and you cannot go wrong with either one. For this site I use Hostgator, but it was a toss up between them and Bluehost.  Check out Bluehost or Take a look at Hostgator

Keyword Research

Google Keyword Tool – Everyone knows the importance of choosing the right keywords or keyword phrases for your site or item listings. This is a Free tool by Google that shows you how many searches are done each month for a certain keyword and can help you pick other keywords that you may not have though of. It really is an important tool. Take a look at it here

Website Building – Full Service, Hosting Included

BigCommerce – I have an online shop powered by Bigcommerce and highly recommend them for a turn-key solution. Their platform is the most full featured that you will find. Their interface is great and everything is set up with SEO in mind, which is extremely important. One of their best features is their video tutorials. Not only do they walk you through setting up your site, but you can also learn everything you wanted to know about marketing and SEO. Check them out here: BigCommerce

Weebly – Weebly is another option for having your own personal website. It is nice because you can start off for free and even if you choose their pro package it is still only a few dollars per month. They have a great drag and drop interface and also make it easy to do SEO. You can also easily add Paypal buy buttons so you can sell your handmade items through your site. As with Bigcommerce, hosting is Included. Have a look at Weebly

Build Your Own Website to sell Your Handmade Items

Woo Commerce – One of the easiest ways to start a website from scratch is to start off with WordPress, linked to in the Start a Blog section below, and then go to Woo Themes to turn it into an ecommerce site.  Woo Commerce is a plug-in you install into your WordPress site.  Once you install the plug-in you can choose a theme to make your site look like a store.  I am a big fan of WordPress and try to use them any time I can.  It is the most versatile platform out there.  Using this plug-in means you can have a blog and shop both powered by WordPress.  Check out the features of Woo Commerce here

Start a Mailing List

Aweber – The best way to keep your customers updated on your new items and sales is by email. In order to create a mailing list you need to use a service like Aweber. If you receive my Newsletter, and I hope that you do, then you probably noticed that I use Aweber. They provide the sign-up boxes for your website so people can join your mailing list and allow you to send thousand of emails with the click of a button. The reason you use a service to manage your mailing list is because you are severely limited with the number of emails you can send out through your personal email and you will never know if your customers are actually receiving them. Take a look at Aweber and see if they will work for you as well

Taking Payments

Paypal – Paypal is still my processor of choice when it comes to taking payments online. If you do custom orders you can email requests for deposits to your customers. You can also use them and their buy buttons so people can make purchases directly from your site. Weebly integrates with Paypal so you can turn your site into an ecommerce website. Believe it or not, their customer service is extremely good. When you log-in to your Paypal account and need help with a transaction there is actually a number you can call and they pick up very quickly. Paypal is free to sign up and they charge fees per transaction. Have a look at them here

Square Card Reader – The square card reader allows you to accept credit cards in person with your smart phone. It is great if you sell at shows. It is free to sign up and they send you a little card reader that plugs into your phone. Your customers can sign on the screen and the money gets deposited into your bank account. See what they offer here

Analytics

Google Analytics – If you have a website you need to use this. It shows you all the important stats for your site like number of hits, what people searched for, bounce rate, where people came from, etc, etc. It is also free. You can find it here

Start a Blog

WordPress – This is the number one blog platform out there. I use it and highly recommend them. It is free, extremely customizable, and there are a lot of tutorials that will help you get things set up. Take a look at what they have to offer

WordPress Themes by Woo Themes – WordPress comes with a selection of free themes, but if you want something that looks custom, Woo Themes is a great option. They offer premium themes that not only look much more professional, but are also cheaper than having one designed and built from scratch. Take a look at Woo Themes Here

Get Some Business Cards

Vistaprint – I use Vistaprint for my business cards. You can either use their templates or design your own like I did and upload it to their site. They show you exactly what your cards will look like before you place an order and they got the spacing perfect on the printed cards. They are always offering deals for discounts or free shipping so their prices are hard to beat. You can sign up for their emails and take advantage of the offers when they come around. Their standard shipping was surprising quick as well. Check them out if you need some cards for your business

Start a Facebook Page

Facebook Pages – They are a great way to market your handmade items and build up a following of potential customers. They are different than your personal Facebook Profile and you do not have to link between the two. Facebook pages are also free. Get yours here

 

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