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Etsy Vs Your Own Website. Why Owning Your Traffic Is Important

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Etsy has become the go-to ecommerce site for all things handmade. With the wave of consumers now supporting shopping small instead of shopping at the big box stores nearby, Etsy’s average user count per year has more than doubled since just 2019.

Considering Etsy has over 4.5 million active sellers on its website right now, you can’t deny the amount of competition that will be sitting directly to your left and right when you use their platform.

Even if you’re doing well, Etsy frequently changes its algorithms, putting some shops farther down the search results when it comes to views. And for sellers who rely solely on Etsy for their incomes, this can be financially devastating.

That’s why when it comes to learning more about Etsy vs your own website, there are pros and cons of both sides. With a website, not only are you further away from your competition, but being able to customize your web pages, listings, and keywords can help increase your brand awareness and skyrocket your profits!

Is Selling on Etsy Worth It?

If your product is a common or a popular type of good, you have to ask yourself, “is it worth selling on Etsy?”

The short answer; not really.

While Etsy can be a great platform to be on, it’s often hard for newer shops to take off due to the fact that your competition is sitting directly to the left and right of your listing. When your shop only has a few sales and your competitors right next to you have over 500, your audience might choose them instead.

graph of Etsy's active sellers

graph of Etsy's GMS

graph of active etsy listing

As you can see from the charts above, competition on Etsy is becoming more common. Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, many people were forced to leave their careers or take up a second job to help support their families, which was reflected in Etsy’s sharp increase in seller account openings over 2020 and 2021.

With more and more artists creating Etsy listings to sell their goods, making a living strictly off the platform is becoming less achievable.

Pros and Cons of Selling on Etsy

We’re not saying Etsy is a terrible platform for makers because it’s certainly not! Some brands, such as Three Bird Nest, make over $60,000 per month on the platform; and the average annual income of a full-time Etsy seller is $44,380.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some negatives to those positives.

Pros of selling on Etsy:

  • Short setup time with limited setup fees: Unless you pay a professional to set up your shop, take professional images, and optimize your account...setting up on Etsy is relatively inexpensive and fast.

  • Potential for greater exposure: You don’t have to research where to find your audience because everyone uses Etsy! Whether you sell mittens or pottery, everyone searches on Etsy for handmade goods.

  • Community of Artists/Makers: Etsy has incredible communities and groups across the internet on platforms like Reddit, Facebook, or their own website. It’s easy to get feedback or support from like-minded individuals.

  • Instant customer trust: Etsy is one of the most trusted shopping platforms on the internet, so trust is almost “built-in” to opening a store on the platform.

Cons of selling on Etsy:

  • Selling fees: Etsy takes 5% of your total when an item sells (including the shipping and gift wrapping price), plus a 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee. This does not include the fees Etsy charges for on-site and off-site advertising.

  • Highly competitive: Etsy is essentially a search engine for handmade products - and just like with any search engine, everyone is competing to rank at the top. SEO on Etsy today now takes almost as much effort as SEO on your own website for ranking in Google, due to how competitive it is.

  • Limited brand awareness: Starting on Etsy can be difficult due to the sea of competitors constantly surrounding you. Your marketing and brand awareness efforts almost have to start off with their website.

  • Your traffic isn’t yours: You don’t own any of the traffic coming through your Etsy store, meaning creating off-site advertisements using your insights to draw in traffic can be difficult. If you have your own website, you can do many things to drive traffic to your shop – optimize your website to rank highly in Google organic search results, run Google and Social Media ads, or create a landing page with an offer.

  • Lack of design and marketing control: Design potential is completely different when it comes to Etsy vs your own website. With Etsy, there is very little design control and all shops end up looking almost identical.

Pros and Cons of Your Own Website

We might be a web design agency, but we’re not blind to the fact that Etsy can be an excellent platform for some sellers!

But is it the best for you?

While setting up your Etsy shop can be quicker and easier than setting up a website, the customization features are almost none. And if you’re trying to grow your email list, Etsy will not support those types of landing pages, pop-ups, or CTAs.

We recommend your own website for a multitude of other reasons such as…

Pros of building a website:

  • More control: Owning your own traffic and creating a website specifically for you and your brand gives you more control over things like SEO, design, marketing, and content. You can publish content like blogs or videos, to help your SEO, while those features are not available on Etsy.

  • Further away from competitors: As we’ve stated before, one of the biggest downfalls of Etsy is that your listing is directly next to your competitors. It’s very easy for someone to click off your listing and go to the one next door.

  • Built-in professionalism: Let’s face it, having a website just makes you feel important! Owning your own web domain can immediately make you and your business appear more professional versus just an Etsy listing.

  • Easier to grow your email lists: We went into this briefly above, but owning your own website is the best way to increase your email and grow your contact list. Etsy currently does not offer the ability for email signups directly from your shop, while your website can have multiple ways for your audience to sign up.

  • Completely customizable design: There are hundreds of thousands of ways to customize your website including the number of pages, the colors, how it loads, the fonts and styles, the sizes of your listings, and more. Your website can be completely customized from top to bottom to fit your ideal target audience, while Etsy has minimal opportunities for customization.

  • Better insights: When it comes to insights into your traffic, Etsy has nothing on your own website! Platforms such as WiX, Hotjar, or Google Analytics, offer insights such as demographic breakdowns, heatmaps, bounce rate, and more. If you need a complete analysis of your traffic, Etsy just doesn’t provide the information you need.

Cons of building a website:

  • More difficult to set up and manage: Setting up your website and making changes can be difficult, especially if you’re needing a completely customized site.

  • SEO can be costly: One necessary element you can’t create a website without is SEO. Search engines need to be able to crawl and index your website, and sometimes an extra step is needed. Not only that, but SEO trends are constantly evolving, and your website has to be changed occasionally to keep up.

  • Requires more hands-on marketing strategies: You’ll need a comprehensive marketing plan to get the word out about your website, especially if you’re a new brand. This might include social media, blogs, flyers, advertisements, and touring at trade or craft shows. While marketing is also an important activity for Etsy store owners, it’s even more important when you’re on your own.

  • Can be difficult to get started: Unlike Etsy, there is no “built-in” opportunity to be found by your target audience. SEO works but takes time, and traffic can be slow to grow.

Key Takeaways

One of the main reasons people choose Etsy vs their own website is the simplicity of setting up and the built-in audience that comes with the platform. But these points alone aren't worth the headache it can cause when trying to build your email list or grow your online presence.

Having a website gives you the in-depth analytics into your audience that you need to provide a better customer experience, better offerings, and a better community! We actually recommend having both an Etsy store and a website if possible.

If you need help creating your own website, give us a call! We offer free meetings to discuss your goals, budgets, and timelines and figure out the best website for you and your brand.


Kellyann Doyle is a Content Marketing Writer at Zoek, an SEO, Web Design, and Digital Marketing Agency that assists small and medium-sized businesses with their online footprint. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2013 from the University of Houston with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Marketing and has been working in the Digital Marketing world ever since. When not working, you can find Kellyann trying new recipes, enjoying a good nap, or watching Friends for the 500th time.


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