Free Blog Plan + Checklist for Etsy Sellers
Does blogging make you nervous? Do you have no clue where to start? We walk you through each and every step of how to start a blog for your Etsy shop with this checklist!
How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Shop
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If you’re someone who runs at the first mention of blogging, this guide on how to start a blog for Etsy sellers is the perfect corner of the internet for you.
At this point in your career as an Etsy seller, you’ve probably heard countless people say you should get into blogging to scale your Etsy business.
That’s all good, but you’re probably saying something along the lines of, “It’s easier said than done!” in your head – and I totally get that! You’re a busy creator with a mile-long to-do list. The idea of having to create content on-top of everything else can leave you feeling a little overwhelmed.
But you’re in luck, my friend! I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way!
In this complete master guide of setting up, designing, using, promoting, maintaining, and how to start a blog for your Etsy shop, you will learn absolutely everything there is to know, and you’ll walk away with a peace of mind.
Use the table of contents below to jump around to different sections and revisit this guide if you ever need a refresher.
Let’s dive into how to start a blog for your Etsy shop (the easy way)!
- 1 Why Start a Blog for Your Etsy Shop?
- 2 Step 1: Choose the Right Platform
- 3 How to Determine Which Hosting Company to Go With
- 4 Step 2: Purchase Your Domain
- 5 Step 3: Set Up and Purchase SiteGround (Your Hosting)
- 6 Step 4: Install WordPress
- 7 Step 5: Connect Your Domain to SiteGround
- 8 Step 6: Install SSL
- 9 Step 7: Clean Up Your Installation
- 10 Step 8: Install Your Theme
- 11 Step 9: Add Website Content
- 12 Step 10: Next Steps
Before we begin, if you’re more of a list person, I’ve compiled all of the following steps into a checklist for you to follow. I still recommend reading the entire guide to learn how to start a blog for your Etsy shop because we highlight how to complete each step with its own tutorial.
However, if you want a quick refresher that’s easier on the eyes and to keep track of your progress, download the Blog Checklist!
Why Start a Blog for Your Etsy Shop?
At the time of writing this blog post, it was about 6 months ago that I decided to create my Etsy shop to sell planners and templates for creative business owners.
I was doing all of the “right” things: online marketing, creating products, managing my Etsy shop, having stellar customer service, and more! You name it, I was killing it.
And then, I started to realize that people still had no clue who I was or why they should buy my products!
Even though I was doing all of the “right” things, I wasn’t building a brand or a relationship with my customers. I desired to build more of a connection with my audience and realized that blogging was the way to go.
I decided to learn how to start a blog for my Etsy shop and was completely blown away not only by the results, but also how much fun I had creating it!
Blogging is a way for you to promote your shop by providing value to your audience. Adding this value gives your audience a chance to become more comfortable with you and your brand. Therefore, the next time you ask them to purchase something from you, they’re going to be willing to give you their money because they already trust you!
What’s even better is you won’t have to push your product every single day, which makes you come off as genuine and non-sleazy!
So you’re wondering exactly how to start a blog for your Etsy shop? Let’s take a look at the most simple step-by-step set up of a blog!
Related Post: The Benefits of Blogging for Etsy Sellers
Step 1: Choose the Right Platform
There are tons of platforms you can use for blogging, including some free platforms. However, after running two blogs previous to this one and listening to the countless testimonials of friends and family who have set up a website, these platforms (including Squarespace and Wix) come with their own sets of limitations.
WordPress is THE BEST platform for any and all serious bloggers. Period.
Especially if you are considering running a blog for your Etsy shop long-term.
While starting your blog on “beginner” blogging platforms, such as Wix or Squarespace, may save you some time now, after running your blog as a serious business owner long-term can often reach a point where your needs will outgrow these platforms features.
With that being said, once you do want to switch over to a blogging platform that will better cover all of your needs, it can take a lot of time and money to make the transition seamless. And even still, you’re likely to run into some roadblocks that will leave you with a headache.
The most beneficial thing you could do for your business is by thinking long-term (in other words – a little more work now…a LOT less work later).
The cool thing about self-hosted WordPress is that it’s an open source and you can literally do anything you can think of. There are seriously no limitations!
You can set up as many email opt-ins as you want, you can customize your blog posts to look different from one another, you can set up multiple payment gateways, the sky’s the limit.
WordPress also comes with these amazing little pieces of software called plugins. If you thought you could be versatile with just WordPress, the world of plugins will blow your mind. If you can think of any feature or functionality that you want your website to have, I guarantee that someone has already created a plugin for it!
This, my friend, is what makes WordPress so versatile and great for business owners who are serious about creating a website for their business.
What Is a Self-Hosted WordPress?
WordPress has two versions. One version is self-hosted and the other is not self-hosted.
The version that is not self-hosted comes from WordPress.com. Anyone who has the desire to create a website can go to WordPress.com and create one for free. WordPress hosts this site for the individual and they are essentially borrowing WordPress’ platform to create pages and posts. However, the individual does not own this website. You know a website is not self-hosted when their URL looks like this: www.mywebsite.wordpress.com.
The downside to not having a self-hosted website is that you are limited to using only the few features from WordPress and the software.
With a self-hosted WordPress, as the term suggest, you own your entire blog/website. Basically, you purchase hosting with a company where you then install WordPress. And because you own this website, all of the pieces of the software is available to you.
If you’re a serious blogger, it’s best that you start your blogging journey in your own platform — which is the self-hosted WordPress platform.
How to Determine Which Hosting Company to Go With
Being self-hosted means you will need to purchase hosting space. Now, there are a lot of hosting companies, so how do you know which hosting company to go with? That’s where you will need to do some research.
Some things you should look for in a hosting company includes:
- Has the company been around for a while?
- Does the company offer SSL (Security Socket Layer)
- Does the company have tight security in place to prevent you from being hacked?
- Does the company take measure to increase load time and improvements to website speeds
- Does the company have good and reliable customer service (because you will need to contact them at some moment in your time owning your website…trust me.)
After you have done your research, make a calculated decision as to which of these companies will be best for you.
As a beginner, I’d suggest you stick with something easy to use, set up, and manage, that’s also not very expensive. And with these things in mind, I suggest going with my favorite hosting company that caters to beginner WordPress bloggers: SiteGround.
In the web development community, SiteGround is known as the cheap/shared hosting provider that comes with unlimited bandwidth and includes SSL (Let’s Encrypt) and CDN (CloudFlare).
They have 3 shared plans, StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek, with GoGeek being a semi-dedicated hosting plan. GoGeek is great for those who want a fast speed performance with higher server resources but don’t have the money to pay for cloud hosting.
GrowBig + GoGeek come with priority support and you can host unlimited sites. Cloud hosting is quite the price jump at $80/month but comes with 2CPU + 4GB RAM and is faster than GoGeek.
You can see this on the features page:
Here some of the reasons why I LOVE Siteground:
- They’re recommended by WordPress
- They use HTTP/2 servers
- Their speed technology page clearly lists what they use
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL (EIG companies charge for this)
- Average load time is 1.3s, giving most people instant speed improvements
- Consistently #1 in Facebook polls/conversations
- Their semi-dedicated plan is affordable yet much faster than shared hosting
- They have 1-click Cloudflare activation in the cPanel
- Designated WordPress support (tickets usually answered in <10 min)
- SG Optimizer plugin keeps your PHP updated with latest version
- Automatic daily backups, WordPress updates, and security updates
- Great eCommerce hosting
- Weekly security email notifications
- I can call them 24/7 and they’re happy to answer questions (1.800.828.9231)
- They will migrate you for free with a 30-day money back guarantee
If I’m not enough of an expert for you to believe me when I say SiteGround is the best web hosting service out there, see what others have to say when asked which web host they recommend and swear by!
If you want to read about even more of the benefits and I why I recommend SiteGround for an Etsy seller blog, head on over to this blog post.
You can never go wrong with SiteGround! You get a peace of mind knowing you are hosted on the latest speed technologies, amazingly fast customer support for those uh-uh moments, zero downtime, and top-notch security for your website.
Even if you’re a beginner when it comes to learning how to start a blog for your Etsy shop, using SiteGround will be a small investment you won’t regret in the future!
Related Post: Why I Recommend SiteGround
Step 2: Purchase Your Domain
The first step in creating and setting up your Etsy seller blog is to purchase a domain and hosting (more on this below).
Of course, you can have both the domain and hosting from the same company, but if you’re like me, and are just a little paranoid about site security, you’ll choose to buy your domain and your hosting from two separate companies.
From personal experience, I get all of my domains from NameCheap, who have awesome customer service and FREE WhoisGuard domain privacy for life!
If you choose to go with SiteGround as your web host, they charge $15.95/year for domains and another $12 for your first year of privacy protection with $24 a year being the regular price. In other words, you’ll be paying $39.95 a year for a single .com domain.
If you decide to go with NameCheap, on the other hand, they only charge around $13 a year for domains and privacy protection combine.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for whatever domain you choose:
- Go with a .com domain since that is what most Internet users are used to (I don’t recommend using .net or any of the other variations).
- Choose a name that is simple and doesn’t look confusing when typed without spaces.
- Be unique! If someone already has the name you wanted, don’t simply change a few things about it so you can keep it, you want your brand to be unique from other businesses
Once you have set up your domain name, set it aside and remember it because we’ll be coming back to it later!
Step 3: Set Up and Purchase SiteGround (Your Hosting)
1. Go to SiteGround and scroll down until you see the different hosting plans, and choose the first one — “Web Hosting”.
I strongly recommend choosing the GrowBig plan over the StartUp plan because it comes with a couple great premium features:
- Free Backup Restore (in case something goes wrong during a plugin update, you can restore your site to a previous version with a click, completely free of charge)
- SuperCacher — which boosts your site speed considerably
So, unless you’re really tight with your budget, the GrowBig plan is the way to go.
3. Add Your Billing Information
Enter your desired login information in the “Account Information” section as well as your billing name and address in the “Client Information” section.
You can only pay by card on this page, so enter your credit or debit card information if you’d like to use it to pay for your hosting order.
You’ll need to contact the host’s sales department to use PayPal.
4. Review Your Order
Here is where you can change the plan you’re purchasing, if you wish, choose how many years of hosting you’d like to pay for, and purchase additional services.
I recommend choosing the 12-month period so you can ensure your blog and SiteGround themselves are a match without making too big of a commitment.
Lastly, choose a data center that’s closer to where you plan on targeting users.
Chicago, London, Amsterdam and Singapore are available.
As for the additional services, the SG Site Scanner, SiteGround’s own security scanner, is selected by default.
It’s a good product, but it costs $19.80/year. If you don’t have the budget to include this in your hosting plan, unselect this option. You can install a third-party solution on your site free of charge once it’s up and running.
Once you agree to SiteGround’s terms and conditions and decide whether or not you’d like to receive marketing emails from them, click “Pay Now” to complete your order.
Step 4: Install WordPress
Once you’ve successfully completed your order, click the Proceed to Customer Area button.
You’ll then be redirected to SiteGround’s setup wizard, which will help you install WordPress on your new site.
Select “Start a New Website” under the “Set Up Your Website” section, choose “WordPress” and enter your desired login details for WordPress.
Click “Confirm” when you’re done.
SiteGround encourages you to purchase SG Site Scanner before completing the setup process. Once again, this isn’t necessary as there are many free solutions you can use in the meantime, such as Wordfence.
Leave it unselected if you don’t wish to purchase it, and click “Confirm” instead.
Click “Complete Setup” after that.
Step 5: Connect Your Domain to SiteGround
* Skip this section if you registered your domain with SiteGround *
Once you’re in the main Customer Area of SiteGround, head to the “My Accounts” tab, and open the “Information & Settings” section.
There, you’ll find your nameservers here, labeled “Account DNS.” You’ll need these to point your domain to your SiteGround server.
Every domain registrar handles this differently, so these may not be the exact instructions to connect your domain.
If you purchased your domain name with Namecheap, all you need to do is click the “Manage” button associated with your domain, select “Custom DNS” under Nameservers, copy and paste the nameservers here, and click the little blue checkmark.
Once you do that, enter your domain in your address bar to visit your site to see if the connection is complete.
NameCheap states it may take 48 hours, but it’s usually only a couple of minutes!
To access the backend of your site (where all the magic happens), head to yourdomain.com/wp-admin to access the login page for your WordPress site.
Step 6: Install SSL
If you read this blog post, which explains why I love SiteGround, you’ll know that SiteGround offers FREE SSL certificate for all of their shared hosting plans and it’s super simple to install.
After logging on to SiteGround, go to My Account > Go to cPanel, then locate the “Security” panel, and click on “Let’s Encrypt”.
In the next page, scroll down to where it says “Install new Let’s Encrypt Certificate”. Choose the correct domain from the drop-down (if you have multiple domains), and then choose either “Let’s Encrypt SSL”, or “Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL”.
If you have or plan to have multiple WordPress installations on multiple sub domains, then you’ll want to choose the Wildcard SSL, otherwise, the standard Let’s Encrypt SSL will suffice.
Click on “Install”, and wait until it finishes the installation (image 6). When it’s done, you should see a success message!
And that’s it! You’ve just learned how to start a blog for your Etsy shop.
But we’re not quite done yet! In fact, we’re just getting started.
Step 7: Clean Up Your Installation
Every time you create a website with WordPress, there are always a few unnecessary plugins that are pre-installed. It won’t hurt if you keep them there, but it may be best if you clean everything up so you can start with a fresh page, and later add the plugins that you want.
Go to Dashboard > Plugins and then deactivate and uninstall ALL of the plugins that came pre-installed.
Some plugins you may see are:
- Hello Dolly
And a few others.
They are completely unnecessary. Get rid of them all.
The only useful among these is Akismet — it’s a spam comment filtering plugin. Personally, I like to use a different plugin for that (listed below), so I’d suggest getting rid of it anyway.
Step 8: Install Your Theme
Here’s where things start to get fun!
It’s time to install a WordPress theme, which determines how your website looks and performs. It’s really important that you choose a theme that is well coded and from a reputable theme-foundry with a support team.
Avoid Free Themes
First things first, in my personal opinion, if you want what’s best for your business you should avoid free themes (even when you’re just starting out). The bottom line is…you get what you pay for and if you pay for nothing you won’t be getting much in return.
To explain, free themes just don’t have the same features and capabilities that paid themes do. Instead of purchasing a theme and getting straight to work because the functionality is already built into it, you’ll be spending more time trying to customize it to your liking.
In addition to this, free themes more times than not will not have frequent updates. This can become problematic if a feature of the theme doesn’t work properly because it’ll take some time (if at all) to get a developer to roll out an update that will fix it.
All in all, free themes in theory work, but lack functionality and are not the best options for businesses who are looking to establish a good impression from the beginning.
Theme Features to Look For
Now that you understand the importance of getting a paid theme, now is the time to find one that works best for you.
This wouldn’t be such as problem if there weren’t thousands-yes thousands– of themes to choose from.
So, how do you pick the one that’s right for your blog?
When you’re shopping for your website theme, look for the following features:
- Flexibility – Some themes are pre-designed, meaning they can’t be changed, while some have movable elements that you can completely customize the look and feel of your entire website (like the theme that I use). Which option do you think would work best for you?
- SEO – Does the theme allow you to code things like post titles and descriptions that will draw search engines to your site?
- Support – How responsive is the support team to help with your customization questions?
- Skill level required – Do you have to know how to code to make minor changes to your site, or does the theme have drag-and-drop features for customizations?
- Visual Appeal – Think of your audience when choosing a theme. Will your readers be able to appreciate your website layout or will it deter them from visiting again?
I know it can get confusing trying to sort through all the themes out there, so I’ll tell you my tried-and-true favorite to help you out.
Personally, I love and recommend the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes!
My WordPress Recommendation
Using Divi is seamless, even with virtually no technical web development experience at all. Use the visual content builder (the Divi Builder), the built-in templates, and access a full library of pre-programmed widgets to give your site a crisp, professional feel without the hassle of coding.
If you love the layout and feel of this website, know that it was built by me in a weekend using nothing but the Divi theme!
Divi is perfect for just about any type of site you’re building – whether it’s e-commerce, a personal blog, or a B2B solutions site, Divi has the templates and tools available for you to craft yourself a stunning website built to perform.
Divi Theme Layout
One of the big reasons why Divi is super easy to use for beginners is because there have hundreds of template layouts already created for you to take advantage of. You just go into the template library and you can immediately utilize pre-made Divi theme layouts with just one click.
Divi Theme Costs
When you purchase Divi, you’re actually purchasing a membership to Elegant Themes. This means that you won’t just have access to the theme, you’ll also have access to many other themes and plugins.
Technically, Elegant Themes is a WordPress marketplace and it’s one of the more popular options out there. Divi Theme price is very competitive compared to other options out there. You can get each of the Elegant Themes plugins and themes for less than $100, pretty much an insane deal!
How to Install Your Theme
To install a theme, go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes, and then click on “Add New”.
You will have to download the entire .zip file onto WordPress for it to install correctly.
Follow the prompts to install the theme of choice, and then click on “Activate”.
Most themes will require you to do some initial setup, and you can do that by following their support documentation (another reason to choose a good theme with good documentation).
And now, setting up your blog is done! It’s a lot more simple than people think it is. The second half of this guide is going to be focusing on adding content to your website!
Step 9: Add Website Content
Now that you’re done setting up your Etsy blog, you can now move on to the content that goes inside of your website and makes it solely unique to you and your business.
This content is what fills in all of the empty spaces of your website, which is currently an empty shell! Website content includes the following:
- Website Pages
- Blog Posts
I’ll walk through each section and how to set your website up for success!
Install and Activate Essential Plugins to Your Website
A plugin is a piece of software that fills in a gap. It literally plugs into an open space giving your site more functionality.
Let’s say your site doesn’t allow you to put in an opt-in form. There’s a plugin for that! What if you need social media icons to appear when someone hovers over your image? They have a plugin for that too!
When you install the plugin on your site, you extend the functionality which allows you to use your website in more ways where you otherwise could not.
It’s a simple concept, and plugins will quickly be your best friend!
To add, look on the left-hand side of the back end of your website. Click on “Plugins” and then “Add New”. You can search for the plugins that you want to add or browse around until you find something that suits you.
I suggest keeping it simple at first with your plugins.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of adding plugins that sound cool or interesting, but this can end up slowing down your website. Only download plugins that you know for sure you’ll use and that will benefit your website.
Here’s a list to get you started:
Anti-Spam – for detecting and filtering spam comments.
WordFence Security – for securing your website from brute-force attacks and malware.
Yoast – for policing SEO
WP Smush – for optimizing and compressing image files.
Sassy Social Share – for sharing blog posts.
Contact Form 7 – for embedding forms.
WP Super Cache – caching plugin to make your site load faster.
Media Cleaner – helps you clean up unlinked media files in your media library.
WP-Optimize – gets rid of unnecessary things such as revisions that are automatically saved, pingbacks, trackbacks, etc. to improve site speed and performance.
Create Your Website Pages
While you’ll definitely want to give your website a customized feel, there are a few pages that every single Etsy blog should have:
- About Me Page – Your about me page is one of your most-viewed pages on your Etsy blog, so it’s important that you use this page to introduce yourself to your potential customers, sharing your personality, and telling your backstory as it’s applicable to your brand.
- Contact Page – You want to be as available as possible for your audience so they can know you’re a reliable source that they can contact at any moment with questions, comments, or concerns. Make sure you create a page with a contact form (like Contact Form 7), or your name, address (if you have a physical location for your shop), and your phone and email address. Don’t forget to add your social media icons to this page so they can know where to find you on social media.
Create Website Content
I’ve noticed that a lot of the time when Etsy sellers hear the word “blog” they immediately think they have to carve time in their already busy schedule to write a blog post every day.
This is not the case whatsoever!
Let me break it down for you:
Your Etsy blog is going to act as a place for you to provide valuable and free content that your audience can read through, engage with, and begin the process of “warming up” to your brand and business.
The point of this is for them to eventually become a loyal follower!
You only need to be creating content for your at most audience 1x/week
Content You Should Create for Your Audience
The main purpose of writing content for your Etsy blog is to position yourself as a major resource for your audience, so consider blogging about topics like:
- Behind the scenes of your product creation strategy
- Sneak peeks of an upcoming product launch
- Tutorials on how to creatively use your product
- FAQ blog post addressing the most common questions you receive about your products
- Freebie downloads that lead into your actual product
Check out this mega-list of blog post ideas for each type of Etsy seller out there!
It may seem overwhelming to start creating content – especially if you’re not comfortable with writing. But if you can batch your Etsy blog content and take care of it once a month, I think you’ll find it really manageable.
Plus, we teach you everything you need to know about writing blog posts in this post so you can simplify the entire process!
Related Post: How to Write a Blog Post
Add Photos to Your Website
Throughout your website, you’ll want to be adding more than just text. Photos are a great way to fill up space, add life to your website, and completely transform your website into something that is unique to your brand and business.
Other Things You Should Add to Your Website
Opt-in Forms – These need to be everywhere. And I mean everywhere!
Make your opt-ins enticing for your audience by offering instant downloads, PDF guides, checklists, tutorials, and more (you can easily deliver these “freebies” using ConvertKit! You just have to upload the file to the site and it automatically sends it every time someone signs up to download it).
Etsy Shop Link – Your Etsy shop should have a space on your blog sidebar (if you have one), a tab at the main navigation of your website, and you should also include native links within blog posts.
Social Proof – Social proof is a huge driving factor in converting a browser into a paying customer. Bottom line, people like to buy from people they know, like, and trust.
By showcasing photos and/or testimonials from previous happy customers, you’re letting new fans know that that hundreds of other people like your stuff, so it must be great and that they can trust your business with their money.
Take a moment and grab this AWESOME Step-by-Step Blog Plan and Checklist to get your blog up and running in literally no time at all! I literally lay it out all for you including some extra tips and strategies to help you along the way.
Grab your copy HERE!
Step 10: Next Steps
New to the Series?
This blog post is apart of a 5-part blog series made up of mini-guides to walk you through the entire process of starting, managing, and growing your blog for your Etsy shop!
We don’t hold anything back in these guides…by the time you’re done reading through them, you’ll know absolutely everything that we know!
Are you still with me? Good!
In this How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Shop guide, we’ve taken care of the technical aspect of setting up your WordPress Etsy blog with SiteGround. But, do keep on mind that setting up the blog is only the first step. There’s more work to do even AFTER you’ve taken care of the technical bits.
There are a whole bunch of things to learn, such as starting and growing an email list, doing SEO, promoting, and maintaining your blog.
Take a moment a let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- Have you ever set up an Etsy blog before, or is this your first time?
- Did this guide on how to start a blog for your Etsy shop put you more at ease or make you even more nervous to start your blog?
- Is starting an Etsy blog easier or harder than you thought?
Until Next Time,