“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
Etsy is one of the most successful and profitable websites ever made.
In case you’re not aware, it became so large and successful that the company had an IPO in 2015 and joined the ranks of the few publicly traded internet companies. After an initial drop, the stock price is now doing quite well.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that the marketplace business model has been thoroughly vetted by the market. It’s proven to be an excellent model that you can confidently replicate for your own business.
Now the question remains, how do you make a site like Etsy?
Do you have the resources for this?
You might be surprised to hear this but…
You can create a site like Etsy by simply assembling the right tools. All the tech you need is already available and designed to be used by non-technical users. In other words, you can build a multi-vendor marketplace like Etsy without writing a single line of code.
You don’t need any developers and you don’t need a big budget.
That may seem crazy right now, but you’ll understand soon how this is possible.
How to create a site like Etsy
These are the steps and associated tools you’ll need to create the site:
- Choose a domain name
- Get hosting (Bluehost)
- Install WordPress
- Setup WooCommerce
- Configure Dokan
- Pick a theme
I’ll take you step by step through this so you can get on your way building your new marketplace website.
Get a basic site online
Forget about the marketplace for just a moment.
The first thing you need to do is get a basic website online. You can follow along with this guide here to learn how to do that.
You’re going to learn some tips for picking a domain name (and how to get it for free), how to setup your hosting, and how to install WordPress. It’s a fast process these days and you should have a brand new WP site live in no time
Why use WordPress?
WordPress has been around for over a decade, it’s 100% free, and most importantly, it has a huge community behind it.
The reason why you can create a multivendor marketplace website without hiring a developer or writing code is because there are pre-built solutions already available. This is only possible because there are so many people using WordPress that developers can make these products and find enough customers.
There’s really nothing else like it.
Etsy is first and foremost an eCommerce website. The difference between Etsy and a standard eCommerce site is the fact that Etsy has multiple vendors. Instead of selling their own products, they invite others to sell their products on the site.
I’m clarifying this because eCommerce is the backbone of the website and the most popular eCommerce solution in the world is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that adds all the essential eCommerce features instantly to your site: shopping carts, checkout, payment processing, etc. There are a lot of paid extensions available to add more eCommerce features to your site, but the main plugin itself is free and works great.
With the base eCommerce functionality added, the next step is to allow vendors on the site.
What’s a plugin?
If you’ve never used WordPress, a plugin is simply a way to add new functionality to your site. You can search for plugins and install them straight from your admin dashboard.
While making this site, you’ll need to learn new interfaces, but there really isn’t any code or extremely technical work required.
There is a handful of plugins available for adding the multivendor capability to WordPress, but Dokan stands out as the most advanced and comprehensive solution.
This plugin allows vendors to register for an account, open a store, list their products, and review all their orders. Vendors even get their own dashboard on the front-end.
The free version has all the basic functionality you need, but the premium options include a huge amount of extra options. You can review the full list of features here.
Pick a theme
So far, we’ve covered how to get your site online, add eCommerce functionality, and add support for multiple vendors. That covers all the features you need to recreate Etsy. The last thing you need is a great design.
The best theme for your site will ultimately depend on your taste and the niche you’re targeting. However, I have picked out a few that I think stand out.
The top themes for a site like Etsy
Since Dokan is a pretty popular plugin, there are quite a few premium themes to choose from. You can find 48 Dokan-compatible themes here. The following themes stand out thanks to their design quality, customizability, and rave customer reviews.
Zass has a crafty and minimalist style that is similar to Etsy. It has beautiful product pages and a drag-and-drop page builder for creating entirely custom templates.
Multimarket has a gorgeous modern design that caters to digital marketplaces. You can, of course, use it to sell physical products. This aesthetic will work well for any type of cutting-edge products.
Martfury has a more Amazon-like design than these other themes. However, Amazon is a multivendor marketplace too, they just don’t promote and highlight their vendors the way Etsy does with their creators.
Launch your Etsy-like site
If you’ve never made a site before I understand if this is all a bit overwhelming.
Let’s walk through the steps one more time.
First, you need to create a WordPress site. To do that, you need to find an available domain name and get hosting. Most modern hosts will auto-install WordPress for you.
Lastly, you can pick out a Dokan-compatible WordPress theme. With these steps completed, you’ll have all of the technology sorted out. The final step is to begin advertising your site and getting vendors on board.
I hope this guide has helped clarify how to build a multivendor marketplace. While there is a lot to learn, you don’t need a lot of money or tech experience to build a site like Etsy, and well, that’s just plain awesome.