The Pros and Cons of Getting Your Business Started on Etsy vs. Your Own Website

Robyn Norgan
May 13, 2014

Planning to put your skills to work for you? One place that may come to mind when you're thinking of selling your handmade goods is Etsy. Etsy is a well-known e-commerce website that brings together buyers and sellers of handmade and vintage goods. But is Etsy the right choice for you? Let's examine the pros and cons of using Etsy vs. using your own website to get your handmade business started.


Etsy is a well-known website for people who are looking for handmade items. Since it is already an established website, it already receives a lot of traffic - and it receives traffic from people who are looking for the type items you're providing. Etsy has also done a great job of establishing it's brand, which has created a lot of trust between buyers and sellers on their site. This gives even new sellers a nice leg up because there is already that trust and as you establish yourself, Etsy makes it easy for buyers to rate your shop, so others can see how great you are. It can definitely be a great place to get started because they make it easy to start your store and start selling right away. Plus, they've got a great community of sellers and you can find useful advice from those sellers on Etsy's forums.

Since Etsy is so well-known, it has a lot of sellers, which can mean competition for you. As the site has grown, many sellers have found it more and more difficult to stand out. Etsy itself may be getting a lot of traffic, but that is no guarantee that any of that traffic will reach your shop. Plus, even when potential customers do find you using Etsy's search, your products will be shown right next to your competitor's products. And when you sell your products, Etsy takes a 3.5% cut and they also charge you a listing fee of $0.20 per item. This may not sound like much at first, but if you have a lot of products it can add up and there are no other fee options, so if you're selling a lot, these fees may not be worth it for you.

Your Website

One of the biggest bonuses with having your own website is control. You have total control over every aspect of your website and your products. This means you can shape how you want to brand yourself, choose how you want to display your products, and shop around for the best (and cheapest) e-commerce platform. This even allows you to experiment with different options for your website such as color schemes, layouts, and messages to see what works best for your customers. As you market your site and create traffic to it, you'll know that customers are only seeing your brand and your products - not Etsy's brand and your competitor's products right next to yours! Plus, you'll look like a more legitimate business because you have your own website and aren't relying on a third party's platform.

Of course, creating your own website can take a lot more time and money, especially up front when you're getting started. You will need to find the right web hosting plan and design your website, as well as market your site to start getting traffic and potential customers to it. Basically all this means that set up won't be as quick and easy, but putting in the time, money, and effort early on may be the better choice for you in the long run.

What is the right choice for you?

Well, only you can make that final decision after weighing the pros and cons of each option. It may be easier to get started on Etsy, but it could make more sense to rely on your own website in the long run as you grow. Either way, one thing I do recommend is investing in your own domain name. Obviously, registering your domain name is the first step towards creating your website, but even if you decide to get started on Etsy, owning your own domain name allows you the freedom to grow into your own website later. Plus, you can easily forward your domain name to your Etsy shop, putting it to use (and giving you some traffic to your own domain, which can come in handy later if you decide to start your own site). Another option - if you have the means - is to have a shop on Etsy and your own website. This can be a little bit of a juggling act, but can be done successfully if done right. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best of luck. It can be difficult to get started with your own business, but it's certainly rewarding as well!

Post by Robyn Norgan

1 comment
Graphyshack Peter
Jun 2, 2015 7:20am
I started selling macbook decals on Etsy then on Ebay and after that I made my own website where I sell mac decals and pinback buttons. I love Etsy but sometimes they make unexpected changes and all my sellings go down really quick, Ebay is more reliable but they charge a lot for the listings.