Saturday, November 26, 2011

Choosing a Hosting Platform or Venue

Sometimes I can be a real idiot and forget the most obvious and basic things. When I decided to get serious about this I wrote up a very detailed project plan that covered the first two years of operation in terms of what I had to do to have a fully functioning business by the winter of 2012. So far I'm right on track - I've set up shops on Etsy and Zibbet, started a blog here and a facebook page, learned all about SEO and how to use google analytics to analyze performance stats, had someone do a professional logo, banner and business cards for me and sold enough online and locally to end my first year with more than twice as much cash as I started with plus all of my inventory. I knew that I wouldn't ever be able to afford models so my pictures still stink but I'll figure something out. What I didn't do was research venues carefully or even make a list of what I should evaluate before making a platform choice. Instead I just jumped into Etsy assuming that it was the best place to start. This was not very bright because making a list of questions and issues should have been my first step. Chances are that if I had bothered to check Etsy's target demographics and sales data I would have never considered setting up there. When the target is women under 30 that spend about $10-$20 per purchase I'm obviously in the wrong place. When combined with the perception that Etsy is a mistagged joke when it comes to plus sizes it's clear that I blew it with this decision and that Etsy's market standing is of no use to me at all. I've been turned down by 2 blogs already that have shopping lists of resources because they won't link to Etsy for anything that has to do with plus sizes. They don't want to risk their reputations by endorsing a site that allows the kind of misleading tagging that E does even though everything in my shop is ready to ship at the stated prices.

So, it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm not going to change anything until the end of sweater season but I'm going to start making a list of all of the issues that I need to consider and questions that I need to answer before choosing a hosting platform for my own .com. If there's one thing that I do know how to do it's to evaluate software and technical infrastructure options so that I don't choose something with no track record of stability or very limited abilities to control my SEO.

Today is for finishing an alpaca sweater though. I've been dragging it out because I love touching the yarn so much but I can be done in an hour if I stop dithering around.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

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