The drawback that many sellers face when they try to sell online on their own website is that most artisans don't know HTML or have any desire to learn HTML. Also when you create your own website to sell from you will have to set up a shopping cart. This is not an easy task. There are lots of shopping carts out there and some are better than others. Paying someone to create a website for you can be very expensive. Finding a good web page designer to work with at price that you can affort is time consuming.
Because of the above drawbacks Etsy and Artfire where created. Personally I prefer Artfire over Etsy, but not everyone will agree with me.
There are many advantages to selling on Artfire over Etsy. Artfire Pro sellers pay a monthly Pro seller membership fee, which is currently US $11.95 per month. That allows you to sell an unlimited number of products in your Artfire studio. If you have five pairs of fresh water pearl earrings that you are selling on Artfire you do not pay extra to list more than one.
Unlike Etsy, Artfire does not have a final value fee. In addition to the US $0.20 product listing fee, you are charged a 3.5% final value fee by Etsy when your product sells. Etsy charges their sellers a listing fee, which at the time of this writing is US $0.20 per product listing. That fee allows the seller to sell that one product for a low cost but it is only for a four month period. Every four months you have to pay an additonal US $0.20 to continue to sell that product on Etsy. You must pay US $0.20 to Etsy for every product that you list for sale on Etsy.
Unlike Etsy, Artfire does not allow renewing except when your product sells. Many sellers on Etsy have to renew several times per day, every day, at US $0.20 each time they renew in order for their products not to be burried in the Etsy internal search results.
Both Artfire and Etsy allow sellers to accept PayPal. The transaction fee that PayPal charges the seller is an additional expense regardless of the selling venue. Artfire allows their sellers choices for accepting payments. Artfire sellers can accept checks and money orders, PayPal, Amazon Payments, and if they pay a seperate yearly fee directly to ProPay they can also accept payments through ProPay.
The only payment option that Etsy sellers have to offer their buyers is PayPal. Some people don't like PayPal. Artfire has terrific seller tools. The seller tools are unmatched by any other online selling venue. One of the best reasons to sell on Artfire is the terrific customer service that is provided by the Artfire staff. Their customer service is far superior to the customer service on Etsy.
Another advantage to selling on Artfire over Etsy is the potential buyers coming to your Artfire studio do not have to be a member of Artfire or log in before being able to purchase products from Artfire sellers. You must join Etsy and log in before you can make any purchases on Etsy.
Artfire provides all of their sellers with very helpful guides that show Artfire sellers how to perform various tasks as a seller when setting up their Artfire studio. I highly recommend that all Artfire sellers take the time to read the success guides because selling on Artfire is very different than selling on Etsy. Mastering search engine optimization (SEO) is very important in order to sell successfully on Artfire.
Artfire sellers receives about 85% of their traffic and sales directly from the search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Most of the traffic and sales on Etsy are internal sales rather than from the search engines.
Those are some of the advantages and disadvantages of selling online on your own website and on venues such as Artfire and Etsy. I am the author of three ebooks. One of my ebooks is titled SEO for Artfire Artisans. My three ebooks are available in my JimJuris Artfire studio.
Guest blogger,Jim Juris, is well known seller on Artfire. Jim has been selling online since 2002. He has used his knowledge to teach Artfire sellers better ways to sell online.