Do you want to build an Etsy-like online store using WordPress?
As a WordPress expert with over 15 years of experience, I highly recommend going the WordPress route over using Etsy if you want more control and better profitability for your handmade goods store.
Etsy charges high fees and limits what you can do. WordPress gives you full customization and room to grow at very little cost.
In this detailed guide, you’ll learn:
- Key differences between using Etsy vs having your own WordPress store
- Step-by-step instructions to set up a WordPress website and WooCommerce store
- How to add products and optimize your catalog
- Tips for choosing the best Etsy-style theme
- Top plugins to enhance your store‘s features
- Strategies to market your store and improve SEO
- How to master WordPress skills to grow your business long-term
Let‘s dive in!
- Etsy vs WordPress: Key Differences for Online Stores
- Requirements for Building an Etsy-Like WordPress Store
- Step 1: Get a Domain and Managed WordPress Hosting
- Step 2: Install WordPress and WooCommerce
- Step 3: Set Up and Optimize Your Products
- Step 4: Import Existing Etsy Products (Optional)
- Step 5: Choose an Etsy-Style Theme for Your WordPress Store
- Step 6: Extend Functionality with Key Plugins
- Step 7: Market Your Store and Improve SEO
- Mastering WordPress to Grow Your Ecommerce Business
Etsy vs WordPress: Key Differences for Online Stores
As an expert in WordPress ecommerce, I often get asked how Etsy compares for selling handmade and creative goods online.
While Etsy has some advantages, overall I think WordPress is a much better long-term solution. Here‘s why:
Pros of Using Etsy
Quick and easy setup: Etsy makes it easy to create listings and start selling fast.
Built-in audience: Etsy attracts tons of buyers looking for unique handmade and vintage items.
Handling of payments and shipping: Etsy securely handles transactions, payments, and shipping labels.
Reviews and trust: Etsy has a recognized brand name which builds trust. Seller reviews also establish credibility.
Cons of Using Etsy
High fees eat into profits:
- Listing fee: $0.20 per item for 4 month listing duration
- Transaction fee: 5% of item price + payment processing fees
- Offsite ads fee: Up to 15% of order total
Limited control and customization: You must abide by Etsy‘s rules and can‘t customize store design.
Max inventory capped at 5,000 items: This can limit growth for high-volume sellers.
Brand restrictions: Harder to build your own brand when sellers compete within Etsy‘s platform.
Pros of Using WordPress + WooCommerce
100% free software with no transaction fees
Unlimited customization over store design, features, and layout
Complete control over your brand, domain, images, products, and content
Easy to add blogs, portfolios, and other pages to stand out
Robust SEO and marketing options like XML sitemaps, custom metadata, etc.
Integrates with top shipping carriers to offer live rates at checkout
Unlimited inventory with more advanced catalog management
Cons of Using WordPress + WooCommerce
More technical skill required for initial setup and maintenance
No built-in audience so you must drive your own traffic
Must research payment gateways and arrange shipping logistics
Site security is your responsibility (but easily handled with hosting)
As you can see, WordPress gives you way more flexibility, control, and room for growth. Let‘s look at how to set it up.
Requirements for Building an Etsy-Like WordPress Store
To create your own customizable Etsy-style store with WordPress, you‘ll need:
Domain Name: Your store‘s custom address, like
Managed WordPress Hosting: To host your site‘s files and data
SSL Certificate: Free with most managed WordPress hosts
WordPress: The free open-source ecommerce software
WooCommerce: The free WordPress eCommerce plugin
Etsy Store: If migrating products and reviews to WordPress
Etsy-Style Theme: For the Etsy look and feel
Plugins: To extend features and functionality
Let‘s break down the requirements in more detail:
Step 1: Get a Domain and Managed WordPress Hosting
Your domain name is the first thing you need. I recommend choosing one that matches your store name or keywords.
For example, if you sell handmade journals,
TheRusticJournalShop.com would be ideal.
For hosting, you could go with a cheap shared plan, but I advise choosing managed WordPress hosting instead.
Managed WordPress hosts like WP Engine or Pagely are better for stores because:
Servers are optimized for WordPress sites with caching, CDNs, and auto scaling.
You get expert WordPress support from the host if issues arise.
They handle security, performance, and WordPress core updates.
Most include a free domain name, SSL certificate, and site migration.
For the best managed WordPress hosting options, see our detailed guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting for your website.
Step 2: Install WordPress and WooCommerce
Once you have your domain and hosting, it‘s time to install WordPress.
Most managed hosts make it easy with one-click WordPress installation.
If you need to install WordPress manually, follow our 5-minute step-by-step guide on how to properly install WordPress.
Next, install and activate the free WooCommerce plugin to transform WordPress into an ecommerce platform.
Fun fact: WooCommerce powers over 30% of all online stores, more than any other platform.
Step 3: Set Up and Optimize Your Products
Now it‘s time to add products to your WooCommerce store!
First, make sure your store has all the necessary pages like:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Shopping & Return Policies
- Terms of Service
- Shipping & Delivery
These build credibility and trust with visitors.
Then start adding products under WooCommerce > Products:
- Enter pricing, images, categories, inventory etc.
- Enable product reviews to build social proof
- Use attributes to offer color, size, style options
- Organize inventory with tags and advanced filters
- Include high-quality product images and long, SEO-optimized descriptions
- Categorize products thoroughly and use tags for findability
- Manage inventory levels accurately with stock management
WooCommerce gives you complete control over your product catalog.
Step 4: Import Existing Etsy Products (Optional)
If you have an existing Etsy shop, import your products and reviews to WooCommerce.
The official Etsy to WooCommerce Migration tool makes this easy.
It can migrate:
- Product listings and images
- Inventory quantities
- Order history
- Customer details
Saving you tons of manual work!
Step 5: Choose an Etsy-Style Theme for Your WordPress Store
One of the best parts of using WordPress is customizing your site design.
There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes for WooCommerce stores. Many resemble the clean, handmade aesthetic of Etsy.
Some popular Etsy-like themes are:
I recommend Shopkeeper or Market. Both emulate the Etsy design extremely well.
For more great Etsy-style themes, see our guide on how to choose the best WooCommerce themes.
Step 6: Extend Functionality with Key Plugins
One advantage of WordPress is extending your store‘s features with plugins.
There are over 55,000+ free and premium WordPress plugins available.
Here are some must-have plugins I recommend for every WooCommerce store:
Contact Form Plugin: Lets customers contact you quickly. WPForms is a top choice.
Live Chat Plugin: To provide real-time support. Tidio Chat is great.
Google Analytics: For data on traffic sources, top pages, conversions, etc.
PixelYourSite: To install Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, and other tracking scripts.
SMTP Plugin: To ensure delivery of important emails like invoices and notifications.
Shipping Plugins: Provide live shipping rates from USPS, UPS, FedEx at checkout.
Product Recommendation Engine: Suggest relevant products using algorithms. Increases average order value.
SEO Plugin: Improve site speed, fix SEO issues, and optimize post content. The Yoast SEO plugin is the go-to choice.
Refer to our guide on essential free plugins for WooCommerce stores for more recommendations.
Step 7: Market Your Store and Improve SEO
Now that your Etsy-like WordPress store is ready, it‘s time to drive traffic and sales!
Unlike Etsy, your new site has no built-in buyers. So you need to leverage marketing strategies and SEO best practices to get customers.
Here are some top tips:
Create social media accounts to promote your store and products. Instagram and Pinterest are great for showcasing handmade goods.
Run targeted Facebook and Instagram ads. Display them to users who match your ideal buyer persona.
Start an email list and send promos, deals, and resources to build loyalty. Offer an incentive like a discount code to grow your list.
Write SEO-optimized blog content that ranks for keywords related to your products. Link to relevant products within content.
Improve your store‘s page speed scores. Faster loading stores have higher conversions. Use a caching plugin like WP Rocket.
Create an XML sitemap and submit it to search engines. This helps them crawl your site.
Enhance on-page SEO elements like meta titles and descriptions, header tags, alt text, etc. The Yoast SEO plugin makes optimization easy.
As your WordPress skills grow over time, you‘ll get better at maximizing your store‘s marketing and visibility online.
Mastering WordPress to Grow Your Ecommerce Business
With your Etsy-inspired online store now running on WordPress, it‘s time to master WordPress skills to enhance and grow your business.
The great thing about WordPress is that it’s easy to learn, even without coding expertise.
Here are my top recommendations for becoming a WordPress pro:
Learn WordPress Basics
Take the WordPress 101 video course to learn fundamentals fast.
Use the WPBeginner Learning Center to master basics at your own pace.
Download helpful free WordPress cheat sheets for reference.
Study eCommerce-Specific Skills
Read tutorials on our WooCommerce Resource page.
Watch videos on managing products, coupons, reports, etc in WooCommerce.
Learn how to customize your store‘s design, layout, and user experience.
Optimize Your Site for Speed and Conversions
Audit site speed with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Reduce image sizes, enable caching, minimize plugins to speed up load times.
Use heat mapping software to see how visitors interact with your store and optimize the customer journey.
Enhance Security and Maintenance
Install automatic WordPress updates to patch vulnerabilities quickly.
Limit login attempts, use strong passwords, and add other security layers.
Backup your site daily both on-server and off-server for disaster recovery.
Learn how to migrate your site seamlessly if needed.
Analyze Data to Increase Sales
Dive into Google Analytics reports to identify top-converting pages and traffic sources.
Use analytics to figure out who your best customers are.
A/B test product images, pricing, messaging, page layouts, etc. to boost conversions.
With WPBeginner‘s free resources, you‘ll be well on your way to WordPress mastery and ecommerce success in no time!
I hope this detailed guide covered everything you need to know about moving from Etsy to launching your own customizable online store with WordPress.
The advantages are clear:
- Save money on fees
- Have full control over your brand and site
- Unlimited room to grow and scale
- Robust functionality with plugins
- Greater marketing and SEO capabilities
It does take more effort up front, but owning your site pays off in the long run.
Put these steps into action, learn WordPress best practices, and you’ll be well positioned for ecommerce success!
Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m happy to help advise based on my 15+ years using WordPress.