Etsy can be a great venue for beginner and veteran creatives alike to sell their work online for a lot of good reasons. Setting up a shop is fast and easy, listing and selling fees are reasonable, and for lovers of handmade items it’s the go-to website for artist made work.
As great as Etsy is, it also has its drawbacks. For one thing, all Etsy stores pretty much look alike. It can be difficult to completely express your brand on Etsy, even if you have a strong one. And having a strong brand is a necessity on Etsy, because it’s a pretty crowded venue. It’s very easy for a creative business to be lost among the thousands of other artists on Etsy.
Last year, Etsy made a big step towards tackling those drawbacks with the introduction its website building service, newest service, Pattern.
If you’re an artist or creative that loves the ease of running your online store through Etsy, but also longs for more design flexibility and ability to stand out more, Pattern might be a game-changer for you.
What is Pattern?
Pattern is Etsy’s website building service that enables you to create a standalone website that’s powered and managed by your existing Etsy store. Using current listings and store information, you can set up a Pattern website with a customized theme, colors, and branding within minutes. And all without any extra technical expertise.
Pattern has ten distinct themes that you can apply to your standalone website. You can preview what each theme will look like on a full sized computer screen or on a mobile device using listings from your existing Etsy store.
Once you choose a theme, you can customize it in the “Style” section. In the Style section you can choose fonts for your headlines and body copy, set the background color for your website, and select a color for buttons and various accents within your theme.
The branding section has options for displaying your brand elements on your Pattern website. You can choose to display your store icon, your store name and your icon, or simply display your store name.
Next you can select how you want your Pattern shopping cart is displayed. It can slide out from the side of the screen, appear as a dropdown display from the top of the screen, or be displayed in the middle of the screen as an overlay.
There are also two styles to choose from for your store listings. The first style is a photo gallery that visitors can scroll through photos of your listings one by one. In the second style, your listings are displayed as a vertically stacked column that visitors can view by scrolling down the page.
In the Content section, you can customize your website name, your About Page headline, and the text on your Story Page.
Unlike your normal Etsy store, there aren’t any links to other stores on your Pattern website other than a small link to Etsy on the very bottom of the page.
Custom Domain Names In Pattern
All Pattern websites come with a default website address:
You can further brand your Pattern website by using your own domain name instead of the default Pattern address.
Don’t have a domain name already? You can purchase one directly through the Pattern website for $13 per year. You can create your own domain name and see if it’s available or can use one of the suggested available domain names. If you purchase a domain name through Pattern, it’s yours to keep even if you stop using Pattern in the future. You can also use that domain name to create a custom email address for your Pattern website.
If you already have your own domain name you can connect it to your Pattern site, though it will take a bit of fiddling with your domain name settings. Pattern has a guide to help walk you through the changes. If you’re nervous about doing this by yourself, you can have your domain registrar support team help you out.
Marketing Your Pattern Website
In the Marketing section, you’ll find a couple of tools to help you market your Pattern website. If you have a custom domain name, here’s where you can set up a custom email address.
You also have the option of setting up an announcement banner for your website. Similar to the Store Announcement feature on your Etsy store, you can use the banner to feature sales, offer promotions or to simply welcome people to your website.
When it comes to the typical Etsy store, one of my biggest pet peeves is the lack of email list building support. Since building an email list of interested buyers is an important part of building a customer base, this is a really big deal. That issue has been solved with Pattern’s integration with Mailchimp. All you need to start building and email list on your Pattern website is an account with Mailchimp (which is free up to your first 2,000 subscribers). Once you have that, you’ll be stepped through that process of connecting your Mailchimp account to your website. Don’t have a Mailchimp account? You can sign up for a free account here.
(Full disclosure, I am a happy user and affiliate of Mailchimp!)
You can also verify your Pattern website with Pinterest so that you’re able to track pins and other Pinterest statistics from your Pattern website. You can learn more about the ins and outs of verifying your website with Pinterest here.
Blogging With Pattern
If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toe into the world of blogging, you can do so with Pattern’s fully integrated blog.
Once activated you can write and publish blog posts on your website. Visitors can leave comments on your blog posts, which are powered by Disqus.
Statistics on views for individual blog posts and overall traffic to your blog is included in Pattern’s website statistics feature.
Pattern Works Alongside Your Etsy Store
Once you’re all set up, Pattern will run in conjunction with your Etsy store. So in actuality you’ll have two websites that work side by side. Whenever you add a new listing to your Etsy store it will automatically appear on your Pattern website as well. There are no additional fees for your Pattern listings and all of your store data automatically syncs between your Pattern website and Etsy store. Etsy features like Guest Checkout will also work with your Pattern website.
You will still use your Etsy store to manage orders and shipping. Plus your Pattern website will have it’s own set of statistics to help you track traffic to your Pattern website.
Excited about Pattern yet? There are good reasons you should be:
1. Greater customization– If you’ve been itching to customize your Etsy store, Pattern will be just the ticket for you. With the option of ten themes, customized fonts and colors, and a customized shopping cart, you can make your Pattern website look pretty much the way you want it.
2. Ease of use– Setting up your Pattern website will be just as easy as it was to set up your Etsy store. No technical expertise required.
3. Email list building– If you’ve frustrated with not being able to contact your buyers after a sale or not being able to contact potential buyers at all, Pattern’s integration with Mailchimp will be just the answer for you.
4. No branding competition from Etsy– There’s a lot of competition on Etsy, both from other artists and from Etsy itself. With Pattern, the focus is all on you. Combined with a custom domain, it looks just like a regular website.
5. All of your store data is located in one place– Because Pattern is powered by your Etsy store, you have one single place to manage your listings, your orders, and your shipping.
6. Multiple locations without all the work– If you’ve been thinking about building a separate website in addition to your Etsy store, then Pattern may be a no brainer for you. You’ll have the benefit of another website presence without all the work of duplicating your listings or maintaining two websites.
A great as Pattern is, there are a few caveats to consider:
1. Customization options still somewhat limited– While Pattern gives you a wider range of design options, it’s still quite limited compared to using a service like Squarespace, WordPress, or Shopify. You’re also not able to customize which listings appear on your Pattern website. If a listing is on your Etsy store it will also appear on your Pattern website. If you’re hoping to put some listings on Etsy and some just on your Pattern store, it doesn’t look like there’s any support for that as of yet.
2. Additional cost– A Pattern website will add an additional $15 per month to your Etsy bill along with your normal listing and transaction fees. While the cost is fairly reasonable when compared to the technical aspects of hosting your own website or using a service like Shopify, you do need to budget the additional costs before you consider signing up.
3. No integration for an existing blog– Pattern’s blogging feature is great for artists who haven’t yet started a blog and wants to see what the fuss is about. It’s not so great if you already have an existing blog. At this time, there doesn’t seem to be a way to import your existing blog to your Pattern website, nor is there an easy way to link directly to it in your Pattern store navigation. The store announcement banner does allow one link, so that seems to be the easiest workaround at this time.
If Etsy is already a good fit for you but you want greater control over how your store looks, then adding a Pattern website may be a good choice for your creative business. You can test drive Pattern before you commit by signing up for the free 30-day trial here.
So what do you think? Have you tried Pattern yet? Do you have a site built with Pattern? If so, how has it been working for you? Share your thoughts and your Pattern website by adding a comment below.