To sell crafts online you should first determine how you want your business to evolve and what are your goals for your website. That way, you'll be more focused and better able to target your audience as you go forward and build your site.
Here are a few possibilities that I can think of. I'm sure you could come up with a few more ideas to adapt your handmade business to an online business.
Online Gallery to Promote a Local Business
Some people don't sell crafts online directly, instead, they use their site as an online gallery to promote their business to potential wholesale customers and gallery owners or to local customers who may be interested in commissioning a piece. Their sites are marketing tools which allow them to refer customers to a place where a lot of their work can be easily viewed.
Do you contract your services to paint murals or do you paint portraits? A website can be an excellent way to promote this kind of local business.
This type of site can also be helpful for entry into some juried craft shows. Some (but not all) craft shows will allow you to simply submit your website (assuming it has great photos of your art) for jury review. If you have a professional looking site that shows off your work to its best advantage, an online gallery can help you to build your business opportunities.
Selling Crafts Online
Instead of (or in addition to) selling crafts online through third party websites, many professional craft artists build their own sites for selling crafts online. With a few simple resources and some time spent building a quality site, you can be on your way to owning your own traffic instead of relying on third party sites for your online sales.
One of my favorite examples of a person who successfully sells handmade items online is Jim Nelson who sells handmade juggling balls on his site. Seriously. Juggling balls. Who would think you could build a viable online business selling handmade juggling balls? Scroll down this page just a bit to find Jim's story.
Maybe your art or craft translates well into the sale of e-goods and you want to sell crafts online digitally. E-goods are digital products that your customers pay to download. You may choose to sell collections of photos or illustrations that people may use on their own websites or in their own craft projects. You might like to develop other craft related resources such as instructions for craft projects that people could buy and download from you.
The real beauty of selling e-goods is that once you develop the products, the sales become automated. There are no items to package and mail and no inventory to keep stocked.
This website is an example of information publishing. You could build an entire craft website around your own specific area of expertise. You provide great, free content to your readers and make an income with a few ads placed throughout the site.
There are plenty of ways sell crafts online or build a craft based business online. It is important to find the right tools for your needs. Once you put those tools in place, and apply your brains and motivation, the possibilities are amazing.
As a customer, what encourages you to buy items online? What makes you decide not to buy something online? Share your online buying and selling tips with craft business owners.