The bottom line is YES! You can sell on both Etsy and your own website.
No, it’s not against Etsy’s terms.
Yes, you can even sell the exact same items at both places.
The Benefits of Etsy
Etsy gets traffic and a lot of it. With millions of visitors a month, you have the option of getting your product in front of people who would normally never know you existed. Plus, Etsy is a great way to build a following.
Etsy is a trusted website. They’ve been around since 2005 and have become a trusted place to purchase all kinds of items.
The Downside of Etsy
It’s hard to argue against traffic, but traffic aside, here are some of the things you’ll also need to consider when having a shop on Etsy.
The Fees. Etsy will charge you $0.20 to list an item and when your item sells, they’ll charge you 5% of the total cost of the item including shipping. On top of this, you also have to pay transaction fees of 3% of the cost of the item (including shipping), plus $0.25.
Find out more about Etsy’s fees.
Location. All of your listings are in one location and you should never have all of your eggs in one basket. Always have a back-up plan or three.
The Benefits of Your Own Website
Fees. At it’s bare-bones, the only fees you have to worry about when selling on your own site are the transaction fees. This is going to be true no matter how or where you sell online. There will always be a transaction fee. This is the fee that you pay to PayPal (as one example) for transacting the sale for you.
PayPal charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction within the US. So, not a lot of difference between what PayPal charges and what Etsy charges for a transaction fee.
If we sell a $5.00 item, Etsy’s transaction fee will cost $0.40. This same $5.00 item will cost $0.45 using your own website. Granted, this is just one example using PayPal. Other services may cost more or less depending upon who you go with.
To be fair, there are other costs that go into owning your own site.
A domain name. You’ll need to register a domain name (the www.yourcompany.com) so that people know where to go to buy your products. This costs anywhere from $8-$35 or more per year.
Website Hosting. You need a place online to put all of your stuff and this is where hosting comes into play. This can be as little as $3.95/month to upwards of $30+/month depending upon what bells and whistles you want or need for your site.
You’ll need a way to communicate with your site visitors and the best way to do this is to get their email address. The way to do this is to sign up with a service that will capture emails for you and let people sign up on your website.
Many places let you start using their services for free up to a certain number of subscribers but after you hit that number, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee.
A shopping cart. Some are free, the most popular free one is WooCommerce for WordPress websites but others will charge you for their services. One well-known service that charges you a monthly fee is Shopify which can run at $29.95/month.
Places like Shopify though also host your website for you. So you won’t have to worry about separate hosting. You will however, need to be sure you have your own domain name.
I don’t want to get too off topic and detailed here but there are plenty of pros and cons to each platform. I’ll reiterate though, that it is important that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket.
Is Your Own Website Worth It?
Personally, I say yes, even if it costs a little more to start it up.
Ask yourself what you would do if Etsy were to shut down today. Where would that leave you? If Etsy found that you were in violation of their policies, they can also disable your shop, what would you do then?
If you had your own website and you had started to build a following, which will take some work for sure, you wouldn’t be left high and dry without any income.
Ironically, the hardest part of building your own website isn’t creating it, but getting traffic to it. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for sure but you will always have something that you can call your own and that you are in complete control of.