Artfire, with its usual interest in all that we do, is running a blogging contest, so this is my entry (I'm trying to wind the $500 gift voucher). The contest requires us to say what we like about Artfire and that will probably vary from person to person and it will be hard to narrow it down to five, but here goes!
Firstly, The Artfire Studio. I like Artfire because it gives me great value for my money - my Artfire studio is an inexpensive way to get a professional studio format where I can list all of the things I like to make and sell. It love that it allows me to separate those things into categories of my choice as well. There are so many features in the studio apart from the items you are selling, that can make it of interest to a potential buyer - there are places to tell about yourself, how you create, a blog, a gallery of past works, collections that you have made, etc. Artfire was the first studio on the net that I set up and I still feel that it is the best, especially because there are no strings attached - you have the copyright and sole control over what you are selling - Artfire does not use your items to make money like some other sites (no names mentioned) or sell your personal information. I have no hesitation in recommending it.
Secondly, the Artfire Help Menus. Being computer illiterate I love the way Artfire has fantastic help menus that cover everything you could possibly want to know and if you can't figure it out they have excellent online support services. One of its great help features is the Global Editior function, which is a really useful tool because it allows you to change information on a number of items all at once e.g. if you need to change a keyword or a postage rate, etc. - it saves a lot, lot, lot of time!. I was both excited and terrified when I got my first sales notification but Artfire's sales set up made it all smooth sailing for me (all that "eek now what do I do?!" stress was all for nothing). I can highly recommend Artfire to anyone thinking of selling their art and handicrafts online, especially if you don't have a strong computing background (and if you do have a strong computing background you will be able to do even more fantastic stuff with those darned widget thingys).
Thirdly, Artfire Kiosk - Thanks to Artfire (and encouragement from other Artfire members too) I now have a Facebook business page and items I sell can also be easily accessed via the additional Artfire Kiosk on Facebook and also via the Facebook widget (not sure if that's the right name) button thing on our studio page. This gives me an even larger group of potential buyers.
Fourth, Marketing Tools & Widget Thingys - I love that Artfire allows me great marketing tools, for instance it allows me to have links to my other internet locations e.g. my Website, My Blogger, Facebook, and even to other selling sites like Zibbet. These links are provided through the Market Hub tool, which is something I use all the time. The Market Hub tool lets you have buttons buyers can click on in your studio, which will take them to all your other locations. I always have trouble remembering the addresses of these links, all of which are on the Market Hub set up page. As all my links are listed there, I frequently zip into that page and quickly copy the links - so convenient that one (thanks Artfire). They have promotional widgets promoting Artfire which can be placed at your other locations too, they are an excellent tool (once you've figured out what the heck a widget is and what you do with them). Artfire is so well set up that it gives you a huge amount of global customer viewing potential and lets you see how people are searching for you too.
Fifth, Community. I love the way Artfire has made it possible for me to make so many contacts with other Artists. Artfire offers membership to a wide variety of guilds and also has the community hub where everybody can communicate with each other. So basically, you can communicate via the guilds, the community, facebook sites, and the messaging system (which you can direct to your email if you wish). In fact one of the ways I have made friends on Artfire is because of the Artfire Collections - viewing other peoples collections and then making a collection of your own is fun and a great way to get feedback from other Artfire members. Being featured in a collection gives you even more exposure and you usually end up helping each other and doing collections of each other's work. I am in two Artfire Guilds, one of which has (in addition to its guild site) a location on facebook, where we all get together to help exchange news, info and to help each other in a variety of ways, all thanks to Artfire. It is terrific to communicate with people you have never met who are often on the other side of the planet - I just love it. My only regret is that I do not have enough time to spend taking full advantage of all the ways Artfire allows me to communicate and share ideas with other Artfire friends.
There are lots of other things about Artfire that I like, but I have already reached my required five, so I will just provide some links here and leave it at that. Artfire also rewards you if you refer other people to them, so I have included my referral link here (just in case you are thinking of joining).
If you would like to view my Artfire Studio this is the link to it:
Cheers from Down Under (yep, there are quite a few of us Aussies on Artfire!)