I constantly get emails asking about our website or how to make a business more professional. Most people think that you need an extensive knowledge of HTML/CSS, though this is helpful, it is not necessary to make your business more professional.
There are little things that you can do that can make a big impact on the look of your business.If you cannot "hire" someone to do your site for you or are on a limited budget, the following are some things that you can do yourself to very inexpensively "upgrade" the business.
1.PURCHASE A DOMAIN
This is the one thing that I feel is necessary, even if you don't do anything else. When you have a domain you can then forward all of your shops , whether its your etsy, artfire, ebay, blog or other site to it. There are several important reasons to get your own domain:
- The ".COM" instantly makes your business look more professional , especially on the business card.
- The domain protects your business name. If you have a sucessful online( etsy, artfire, etc) business and then someone else has your business name in a domain you could be loosing business.
Yahoo is another good place for domain purchases. They also offer the $2/yr for new users or there rate normally is $9.95/yr. One thing to note with the "First Time Rates" that both of these have, if you only purchase a year at a time, then after the first year the price goes up to what every is the company going rate. But if you purchase several years when you first sign up, you can get all of the years for the same intro rate. This is especially the case with Yahoo, just make sure to read all the policies and restrictions before purchasing.
TIPS: If your domain name is already gone and the service you purchased from doesn't automatically give you alternates for your name, then try Nameboy. This site lets you put in your domain name and it comes up with a list of alternatives that you might be happy with.
2.GET A WEBSITE...SORTA
A website is something that everyone wants but doesn't think they can afford or have. There are several cheap place to get a website, especially easy for the "First Timer". The following offer "drag and drop" interfaces, that allow you to just point and click to change things.We suggest you try out services for free before you upgrade and pay the low fees...just to see if they work for you.
- FAVORS ME offers a simple one page site, that lets you add 4 data sources for free. Anymore links than that you have to pay the low price of $20/per year. The great thing is that they can easily link to 20 different popular sites, like your blogger, wordpress, twitter, facebook, flikr, picasa and a whole lot more. Take a look at there directory to see what others have done using this site.
- SOOPSEE literally turns your Etsy Site into a website. The good thing is this site is FREE and if you already have your own domain name you can easily use this site as well. For examples of how other Etsy members are using this site just go to there Gallery. Another good thing about this site is that it offers a more "user friendly" site analytic for those who are totally overwhelmed or confused by Google Analytics ( though you can easily use Google Analytics with this program)
- WEEBLY is a free "Drag and Drop" website that lets you either buy the domain from them or you can easily integrate your own with the site. This beta site lets you easily change things, have unlimited pages and incorporate your blog or they even offer you the option of haveing your own "Weebly " Blog if you don't want to sign up for Blogger, Wordpress or etc. They do have a variety of templates that you can choose from and easily customize ( color , layout and etc) They also interface with alot of sites, like paypal, flikr and etc.
- WEBS is another site similiar to Weebly. It has the same "drag and drop" system, but I think that they dont have as many templates to choose from as Weebly.
3.SIGN UP FOR AN ONLINE PHOTO SHARING ACCOUNT
Having a photo sharing account is good for several reasons. If you have a blog, the photo sharing account lets you upload large size images to use on your blog, essentially eliminating file restrictions since they are on a separate site. Also these sites gives you another outlet to get your product out there...basically free advertising (as long as you mark the photos "public").
There are several sites that offer this service and the following are the more popular ones that work with a large variety of sites easily:
TIP: just remember that though these are free to use, the free accounts have limited storage, so if you find that you need more then you will have to pay the low storage fees..usually not more than $20/yr.
Just remember that you don't have to do everything at once, try them out and then decide if you want to commit(as well as pay the fees associated ).
Now that you have all of that together you can start to customize your company with certain Business Tools. We have several post and links that can be used for your website (from above) or if you are not ready to take the website plunge, they are great for your blog or general business.The following are links of interest that may help:
Etsy Business Tools You May Not Have Known
Business Tool To help your Company
Customizing Paypal for your business
Company Gift Certificates Made Easy
Basic HTML Codes