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What Are People Using For A Web Site/presence For Sales?

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You are so right Charles.

 

Pottery straggled so far behind all other crafts in understanding that we are selling a product and competing for the consumers dollars.

 

I hear people rail against the "Mart" stores but they are NOT our competition. People who value handmade and will pay a fair price for it are not wandering those aisles. They are in Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn paying big bucks for imported pottery. Pottery that is exactly like their friends so they can all sit around and feel safe. Image is one thing those stores understand. The safety of an easy purchase that won't be "wrong".

 

People who buy our pots are a little less risk averse but they still want approval. That is why I think home shows work so well. They see people just like them who were smart enough to attend and buy from the artist. The more people buy, the more others buy. Good craft shows are like that too but there are so few good ones around and the competition is fierce.

 

A potter who markets excellently from her website is Ayumi Horie. Take a peek.

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My website is hosted by GoDaddy and they offer a simple way to produce sites called Website Tonight. It is very easy to make changes with. My site is really just a catalog, I use Etsy for online sales. There is a link there and on my Facebook Page to the Etsy Page if people want to buy. If that is the way you are going to use your website, you could also do a blog site like Wordpress. You just buy your URL or move it over there and hosting is free. If you want lots of pages or e-commerce on your site, then you need a full blown website.

 

I do an open studio in my home twice a year. It is very well attended. I bring in 6 select artists to sell as well. When I select the artists, I choose those that are well connected with social media so they help draw people in. I also make sure that we have a wide selection of art with a variety of pricing.

 

My home is also on a tour for cruise ship passengers two to three times a week during the fall and winter they come through our house and I also sell art to them, mostly the shell vessels I do as they make perfect souvenirs and are a special memory of the islands. I get paid for the tours to come to my house and double dip when people buy too. There is sort of a feeding frenzy that goes on when people start buying them, I think it is relative to what Chris said above. They want a bit of approval.

I love ETSY, but keeping my store full is difficult, especially this time of year with shows and galleries needing inventory. I have over 4,000 friends on Facebook, so when I post a new item I get lots of action. Our island also has an ETSY Team and we do lots of cross promoting. biggrin.gif

 

I agree with you Chris, the Mart stores are not our competition. While stores like Pier One and Pottery Barn set style trends, most of us have something very unique that we can share with our customers. Also having REALLY unique art sets you apart. I often have people ask me if my shells are done with molds, which is really funny because if you look at a display it is so easy to see that each one is VERY different in shape, but people cannot imagine making them any other way. So educating the consumer is important. Chris using her colored clays are another example, people have not got a clue how the colors get there, they think they are "painted" on sometimes. I also have to educate people about the glazes and various uses (other than stand alone art) for my work.

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I seen a site the other day that I really liked. I have a few websites (not pottery related) and I hate having to log in and make changes, I find it time consuming and it seems like it always takes more time than it should. So the other day I was researching something pottery related and I ended up at someone website. It was laid out really nice and when you clicked on his items for sale it took you to his Etsy site. It got me thinking that at least for me that would be the way to do it, thought it was interesting.

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I sell on Etsy and have been very successful with it. I do agree it takes work and you will need to log in frequently. I log in every day and check my emails and if I have any orders. I also spend a lot of time working on my listing descriptions, titles and tags, as that's how you can be found there. If you don't do your homework, it's easy to get lost in the giant soup. Once you get the hang of it, it's really not difficult at all. I'll tell you that nice pictures matter a lot, as does a great description. I do much better with a description that tells people why the work is special (one of a kind, heirloom quality) , rather than just a boring list of it's attributes (size, material, etc)

 

No, you can't just list it and sit back. I neglected my shop in the early months of the year and sold only a few pieces. I was laid off in July and ramped up my Etsy presence and my item sales have gone up four fold. The best thing is, I've refocused my items on higher priced work that makes me more money in each sale. I hope by the time my unemployment runs out (!) I'll be able to use my clay sales to support me for at least half my income so I just need a part time job, if that.

 

My stand alone website is done through Weebly, and although it's easy and cheap, I'm horrible at what to do for web design and probably need a professional. I do use it to link to my Etsy site. Until that time, I'm banking on Etsy for my web presence.

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Guest JBaymore

Many potters think there is only one type of customer and they want a cheap mug.

But there is a market for a $40, $75 and even a $150 mug ... Heck, call it a yunomi and the sky is the limit.

 

I admit, I don't know if there is a market for fine crafts on etsy ...

I suspect that if there is you will have to work hard to get it.

 

 

Chris and all,

 

I don't know if/how his work is actually selling via the particular venue, but Kanzaki-san has an Etsy site.

 

http://www.etsy.com/...ref=seller_info

 

So there is some really good work on Etsy. smile.gif

 

I have an Etsy storefront already set up from quite a while ago.... but I have not done anything with it yet. I am trying to really decide if it is a correct effort, or a mistake in overall marketing/positioning strategy.

 

Kanzaki-san's store being there is something that shifts me a tad more toward trying it out....... but then I look at most of the Etsy site and flop back the other way.

 

best,

 

...............john

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I have been considering a web site for the last few years, and wondered what people were doing for their web sites, and what works for them. I am able to work with HTML, and Dreamweaver, but that is not so much the issue. I was wondering if people are using a web administrator to keep up, or using a site like Etsy or designing and putting it out on their own?

 

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I was caught in website hell for a while, but after attending a week long business seminar via Seattle Artist Trust's EDGE program, I looked for alternative options, and have been working with GoDaddy.com Website Tonight for several years. I initially had a very pleasant and competent website designer work up a site for me in about 2007, but his suggestion to carry on with a colleague to update work at regular intervals would have been too expensive over a year. So, I bought into a long term arrangement with GoDaddy. Any mess-ups are mine, and mine only. I design and upload images and create the parameters. We potters want to put up recent images of work on a regular schedule. GoDaddy is user friendly and if you've any queries, an intelligent voice is always available to talk you through an issue. The instructive downloads are excellent. I've never regretted my decision. I've run into a couple of retro-feminists who've been snarky about some of the images used on advertising GoDaddy, but expect they're of the Angela Dworkin ilk: snarky, morbidly obese, and jealous. I used to use Etsy, but I'm not entirely convinced that Etsy's the best way for me to spend my dollars in this economic climate. I think, for instance, buying into your local Farmer's Market -- in the summer and really being positive and rocking this connection -- then taking the time to make items for the venue over winter months is more efficacious. For instance, I've been able this year to buy a Ventakiln for my Skutt, build my own spray booth purchasing the various components; then just today buy a Shimpo SR-30 slab roller -- and don't forget raw materials and clay. I had a gallery connection in Anacortes, WA. close its doors this summer, but this spurred me on to seek Seattle connections. One door closes and another opens. My trip to Japan in September to participate in 2011 ICF Mino in Tajimi City was hugely influential in building my confidence.

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I recently released a pottery website, http://www.twistedterra.com.

 

I've been using GoDaddy for hosting. They're dependable and a decent price.

 

I use Zen Cart for a shopping cart. I've added a various modules to Zen Cart. It's useful but not necessary to know PhP in order to add modules to Zen Cart. The Google Product Search module to allow uploading of the pottery to a Google Merchant account. A USPS module allows for automatic calculations of shipping based on weight. I'll soon add a module to post to Yahoo Shopping. I like how easy Zen Cart makes it to upload descriptions and photos. So far one potter uploaded her work and two others plan to upload their work in the near future.

 

I use PayPal for payments. This way instead of buying a security certificate, PayPal protects the credit card info. The implementation is transparent to customers, since they don't have to have a PayPal account.

 

I use Dreamweaver for building regular webpages and customizing Zen Cart. Dreamweaver is great for those that know how to use it well... but it's not a tool I would suggest to everyone. That said, Dreamweaver allows me complete control, especially of my SEO tagging.

 

I use Photoshop to clean up photos and create site graphics.

 

I use Flickr for photo sharing and website slide shows. Nice to be able to do some social media marketing in tandem with implementing slideshows. I use a Flickr group so that multiple potters can upload their photos for the slideshows.

 

I use AddThis for some social media marketing. Has anyone else found that social media marketing to Digg seems to work rather well? I get more visitors from some of the other social media sites, but they don't stay long. The articles will need more work to further engage social media visitors.

 

I use Google Webmaster Tools for submitting a sitemap to Google.

 

I use Google Analytics to track SEO and social media marketing efforts. The site was really made available two weeks ago. I'm currently getting 10-50 unique visitors a day (averaging around 25), which is still growing at a decent pace. About 20% stay and explore the site, and so far one sale. I suspect more options on the pottery will help increase sales. How many visitors do others usually get? What percentage of sales do others see from the number of unique visitors?

 

Once traffic levels off from organic SEO, I'll activate Google AdWords. Use of Google Analytics campaigns will allow tracking of return on investment for Google AdWords.

 

Thanks,

Chris

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