Tips & Talk 12 – All Website Platforms are NOT Created Equal

All Website Platforms Aren't Equal“What website platform should I use to create my website?”

If this is your question, I suggest you ask a different one because all website platforms are not the same. In this episode I break down the three platform categories to help you narrow in on which one is right for you based on the results you’re after.

Yes – I know your goal on a website is to get sales. But here too, there are different types of sales to go after – doesn’t make sense? Listen in – it will!

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Transcript
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Hi there.

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I see that you made it over to the new tips

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and talk portion of the podcast.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade,

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small business.

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All websites are not created equal.

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If you're at a point where you're looking at starting your

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website or revising your website,

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then this session is going to be for you.

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A website is not a website is not a website.

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They don't all equally each other.

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In my Facebook group,

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gift biz breeze on Thursdays,

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we do a Q and a session.

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And the hot topic lately has been website reviews.

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So people will submit their website and I go through and

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review them and talk them through,

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give ideas for adjustments.

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And we get community reaction to if you're interested in joining

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our group and you're a gift or baker craft or maker.

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So you're a handmade product creator.

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Join us in gift biz breeze.

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This has been where this whole question comes up and the

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question is always,

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I want to start my website.

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What platform do I use?

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And I'm going to suggest to you that that's not the

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right first question,

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because every single website is not created equal.

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I'm going to go through now the three different categories of

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websites for you to then narrow in and consider what you

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should be starting with.

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Now, having said that you could also have multiple websites because

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different websites attract different audiences are there for different purposes and

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accomplish different things.

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Also different websites require different levels of work,

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different levels of experience and expertise,

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getting them started,

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et cetera,

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et cetera.

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So this is why that question of what platform should I

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go on?

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All websites aren't created equal.

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So you need to first think of what is the purpose

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for your website?

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What are you trying to accomplish?

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And then take it from there.

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Let me start with the basic question,

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which is,

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do you need to have a website at all?

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I've heard a lot of people talking lately that maybe you

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don't even need a website,

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just so on.

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Social, just sell through Facebook or Instagram,

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which can be fine.

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And it's going to lead to my first category,

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but that's not a long-term solution.

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Social media changes pretty much every day.

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And what if your account were to get shut down?

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Okay. The three categories of websites,

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the first one would be,

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this is going to kind of sound a little bit different

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from what I was just talking about,

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but a Facebook shop on a Facebook business page.

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Now, again,

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this isn't your do all end all.

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If you're just starting your business,

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you're making hand beaded jewelry,

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and you want to get product validation,

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you to see if there's interest in your product.

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You want to get a feel for if this whole business

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thing is something that you'd want to be doing in the

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first place.

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Then Facebook shops could be a good starting point for you.

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The reason that I say that is it doesn't cost really

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anything to set up.

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You're not paying into the system unless you actually sell a

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product, which is different from all the other platforms.

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It's a start to finish system.

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If you're interested in knowing more about this,

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I have a mini course it's called set up and sell

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in Facebook shops.

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But virtually with Facebook shops,

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you upload your product.

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They can provide shipping labels for you.

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You can sell your product right on Facebook and then have

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a link right in your post that goes directly to your

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product, where they can buy and check out.

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It's just very streamlined.

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So it's perfect.

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You also don't have to have your business registered.

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So again,

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if you're just starting out,

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everything is done for you.

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The second one,

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the category I'm calling,

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selling platform websites by that,

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I mean,

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platforms that are already established.

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You're going to know some of these platforms like at sea,

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Amazon handmade eBay sites that have some type of a turnkey

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system in place.

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I'm sure a lot of you already have an Etsy site,

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which is great.

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There's nothing wrong with Etsy at all.

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In fact,

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it's also another good place to start.

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As you're establishing,

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it's a step up from having a Facebook shop.

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When you sign up with Etsy,

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however, there are certain rules and costs that you have to

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follow when you have an Etsy shop.

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The other thing with what I'm calling the selling platform websites

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is that when people are looking for your product,

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they're searching product specific.

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They're not coming in.

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And just looking for you as a business,

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they're going and looking for lemon,

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scented candles or glass beaded jewelry.

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The search is more by keyword and product.

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Not by you as a business,

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you would treat selling on Etsy different than you would treat

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selling on Amazon,

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handmade different than you'd be treating,

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selling on eBay.

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So even here within this sales platform,

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websites, the way you would approach each is different on Etsy.

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You're being very keyword specific,

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driving into a product and thinking about what a customer's going

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to be searching for when they go on that website.

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And when they're looking for the product,

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then they get to your store and they might see everything

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else that's being offered.

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So product titles,

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keywords, product descriptions are key because that's how your going to

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be found based on someone going into Etsy and searching the

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other thing with Etsy.

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And you'll hear this with some of the other websites too,

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is you don't get customer information.

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So you're not able to your email list.

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You don't really have direct contact with that customer.

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Yes, they can send you a message,

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but you're not having the linkage in terms of email lists.

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Now there are other ways around that kind of,

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but it's something to consider again,

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when you're looking at your website and what your main purpose

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is of putting up a website,

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moving on to Amazon,

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made Amazon handmade is a total.

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What I'm gonna call commodity play.

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People are going in search for product,

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and they're going to buy.

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There is a disconnect between the product and a relationship that

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you can create with a customer on Amazon.

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If you're wanting to go in and just sell your products,

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perfect place to be,

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you want to sell a hundred vanilla candles on Amazon.

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Then you can go on place your product,

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put the descriptions,

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sell your candles.

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You don't get customer information on Amazon handmade either.

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And again,

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I'm not trying to suggest that these aren't good platforms for

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you to be on.

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It's just that you treat these platforms different and you recognize

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that these platforms all serve different purposes.

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eBay. If you have one of a kind items that you're

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going to sell one and done,

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eBay could be one location that you would be on and

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you might be on multiples,

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right? You might be on eBay and you might be on

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Etsy and you might I'd be on Facebook shops,

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all different places,

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bringing revenue into your business.

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What to recognize with the category of selling platform websites is

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that you have less control over anything that happens.

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I know some people have been frustrated with Etsy,

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raising their prices on product postings or other types of things

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though, the limits and the requirements for shipping or what you're

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able to post Amazon handmade in particular has certain things that

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you're allowed to put on and sell.

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And you aren't allowed to put on and sell.

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So you have to go with the requirements and whatever restrictions

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each of these platforms have and when they change yeah,

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to be okay with those changes because you're buying into their

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platforms. The thing that is really great about the selling platform

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websites is the audience is already there.

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Your real goal on these sites is within your product titles,

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your product descriptions,

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any keywords that you're using and the high quality images that

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you're posting,

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that you're going to attract people to you.

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The other good thing is they provide tutorials on how to

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set up and then also best practices for the platform.

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Running ads,

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looking at your numbers,

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all types of things.

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The third platform that I want to talk about is your

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own website.

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And this is the premier.

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This is where you want to get to it's your golden

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nugget. No matter what your end goal is to have a

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website that you own by that.

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I mean,

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you control all the content.

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You control,

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how it looks.

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You control any extensions that you put in.

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You can add blogs to it.

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You virtually it's almost free reign.

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There are different platforms out there that you can use to

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build a website.

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So gone are the days where you've had to hire out

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and have someone custom design a whole website.

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Now we have template type theme driven platforms that make this

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so much easier.

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Think Shopify,

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Wix, Squarespace.

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There are a whole lot of them out there creating a

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website, for example,

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on Shopify,

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which is my preferred platform is different than having a shop

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on Etsy on Etsy,

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your putting your real estate on someone else's platform,

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even though it's your company name in your products.

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But when you go to a platform like Shopify,

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this is your own website and consider this your home base

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for your business.

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So this is where you direct everybody.

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When you're doing anything and talking and directing anybody online,

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you have them come to your headquarters,

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which is your website.

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You have control over the content and the creative you can

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put in opt-ins.

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You can collect email addresses so you can continue communication with

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people who have come onto your website.

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You also have tracking analytics,

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which gives you a lot of information of things that you

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can adjust.

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So you can get to the ultimate goal of your website,

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which of course is the sale.

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Think of having your website on a platform like Shopify versus

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having your website on Etsy,

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as a difference between owning your home or renting an apartment,

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should the website describe what you're selling or more of one

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brand that goes to which platform you're on.

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And then also what your intent is.

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Let's do an example.

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I think this would be really good.

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Let's say you sell candles.

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So your website might have all versions of candles that you

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sell in different sizes,

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different sense.

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You may have a blog that talks about the best way

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to burn a candle,

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to get the most time out of it,

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to get the longest scent duration,

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you know,

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whatever that is.

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It might be health benefits of a candle or what to

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look at.

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So blog article establishing you as a professional in that industry,

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that would be on your own site.

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You might also have an opt-in,

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so you can collect addresses.

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Maybe it's a discount for a first-time customer.

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Maybe it's some type of a freebie having to do with

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how to store candles.

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Something like that side note,

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I am a candle lover.

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And if you went into my basement,

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you would see a full floor to ceiling,

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several racks with all my candles,

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because seasonally,

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I bring them in and out all the time up and

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down. Cause sometimes I haven't down a whole candle yet.

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And so I want to save it because it's pumpkin spice

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and it's may.

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So I don't want to use that yet.

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I'm going to use that again in October.

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Anyway, that was kind of a side rant.

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So your site,

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like the end result,

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the golden nugget,

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your headquarters would be your own site on a platform like

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Shopify. And then you'd put everything there.

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Okay? Cause that's your home base at your headquarters.

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But then when you go over to Etsy,

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maybe you find on Etsy.

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Well, I'm only going to sell a few cents in a

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few sizes because on Etsy,

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you also have to pay for every single listing that you

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put up.

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So maybe you decide of the 30 candles that you have

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on your website.

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You only have 10 candles in your Etsy shop with the

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variations and the color of the sense and all of that.

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Okay. But then maybe on Amazon,

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there's one specific scent.

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That is the one that you can sell all the time.

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It's your best seller.

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Let's call it vanilla.

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So you always have them in stock.

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You've always got them poured.

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They're ready to go.

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You have a good stock of them,

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right? So that could be a good product for Amazon because

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you're going to sell more of them.

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And that's a commodity sale.

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They buy it,

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you send it,

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you get the revenue,

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very little interaction with the customer.

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And then finally the other one,

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we're going backwards.

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Now here on Facebook shops,

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you have a community of people who call you on Facebook.

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They're now over on your Facebook page.

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Some of these folks may be family and friends.

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They might be people in your community and you do live

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shows and you talk about,

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oh, I just finished making all these candles here.

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They are.

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I'm selling them the right in my shop here,

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if you want,

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and you can go grab one right now to see how

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that's very different than what you're doing on at sea versus

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what you're doing on your website.

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Let's wrap this conversation up with a little summary.

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When you're thinking about a website,

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don't just say,

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oh, what platform should I be on?

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I want you to consider the fact that there are three

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different levels of platforms.

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The first being a very starter platform like Facebook shops,

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easy to get on no investment.

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You can get a feel for the platform.

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You can sell through products,

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a beautiful place to start.

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If you haven't even decided really,

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if you want to be in business yet,

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the second level are these what I'm calling,

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selling platform websites.

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So this is Etsy,

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Amazon handmade.

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E-bay all of them are great in their own,

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right? Just understand that you don't have full access to your

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customers through these platforms.

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And then the third platform of course,

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is your very own.

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I like using Shopify.

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You have full control and free reign.

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So when you're thinking of starting a website,

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the first question is going to be,

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what level do you want to enter in on level one,

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two or three.

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And then from there,

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when you're on social media,

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when you're out at networking events,

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and you're telling people where to find you online,

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you want to direct them to the place where your product

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can be purchased.

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If you want to have further conversation about this,

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go join me in gift biz breeze.

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As I said,

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we do website reviews every Thursday in our Q and A's

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right now,

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we're doing website reviews.

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We take other business Q and A's too.

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But right now we're doing website reviews and we can talk

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through, you know,

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which websites attract certain audiences.

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You're looking for.

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What are the strategies for different websites and what are the

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results that you can expect based on the strategies that you

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employ on these different websites?

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Remember a website is not a website is not a website.

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All websites are not created equal.

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That's a wrap.

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I may get to the point kind of girl.

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And this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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session. Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours,

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share your handmade products with us,

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Want them,

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