Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shape up for 2011

We're just days away from a lot of messages about diet, exercise, and resolutions for the new year, but this won't have you thinking about crunches and salads to get over any excesses in 2010. Rather, it's a few friendly reminders about getting an Etsy shop in tip-top shape for the start of a successful year of selling!

#1 - Don't welcome me to your shop.
Really, don't, at least not right away. Not because you don't want me and other buyers to show up, and to feel welcomed, but because starting with that friendly "Welcome to my shop" is such a waste of the key first characters in your valuable Shop Announcement space!

Don't take my word for it - read this ever-so-helpful Etsy excerpt about Shop Announcements, from the Help section on SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
"The first 160 characters of your Shop Announcement are used to create the meta description for your shop page. The meta description is the text shown under your page title on a search engine results page.
TIPS: Describe your shop and the kinds of items you sell. Use welcoming language that will entice someone to explore your shop further. Use keywords that you think shoppers will search to find your items."
And when was the last time someone searched for "Welcome to my shop!"?

Read the article, here. It's a much-shortened version of the big 25-page SEO Guide. You'll also learn about how to make the shop title, item titles, shop sections and item descriptions work harder for you.

Images from SurrenderDorothy and justmars, thanks!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finding Team Member Shops

We've all seen it. Someone comes in to Chat and asks if anyone makes custom stickers, or sells beads or baby clothes, sculpture or soap. Or maybe you remember chatting with a Vintage or Supplies seller, but their shop name hasn't lodged in your brain.

Now that our Team members can also be found through the Team page on Etsy, it seems like a good time to transition the list of members on this blog to one that's a little more functional when it comes to finding members by what they sell.

So, there's a simple Google Docs form live now, that all Team members can use to designate their top three categories (based on how Etsy's top-level categories are shown). Please go to the link and choose your top three, and they'll be compiled and listed here on the blog, as well as at the discussion forums on our Etsy Team page.

Judith / jswrites

Images from RetrospectPhoto and fattybird, thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

EtsyChatters are live on Twitter!

One of the first threads started on the new Chat Team Forum was called For Twitter Addicts by mentalembellisher, inviting Team members to post their Twitter links to be able to follow each other.

Adding to the businesslike fun, Team member EmilyWiserJewelry suggested that we have a "team twitter that retweets fellow team members' tweets!" Of course she got the task, and has been busy keeping those little messages flowing since last week. 

To add your Twitter URL, just make a Forum post here, then follow back so Emily can retweet your tweets. Our Team Twitter:  EtsyChatters.

Images from mentalembellisher and EmilyWiserJewelry, thanks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crafty Kids

Children in Chat?! Well, no (Community features are just for adults), but we're happy to see some of the cool crafty work of young folks in shops supervised by their parents. Here are just two examples showing the talents of the 12 year olds of Chat regulars AllForJasmine and dreamweaver19.

Are there crafty kids in your family? Were you creating handmade things or precociously collecting vintage yourself? Tell us all about it, and share your links in the Comments!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five Questions for ... TopazTurtle

We had a virtual sit-down with one of our international Chat regulars, Topaz Turtle, to ask her a quintet of questions about creativity, community, and business here on Etsy:

Q.  What are your inspirations? Do trends, themes and seasons (such as those outlined in the monthly Etsy Merchandising Desk blog posts) influence you at all?
A.  Any kind of stimulus can inspire a piece – a line from a song, the colour of scarf spied on a train trip, vegetables and fruits that are in season (my latest muse is the pomegranate so expect to see a lot of rich red ruby hues). I do read the Etsy Merchandising Desk blog posts and it does influence me at some level. There is a very broad range of themes and trends outlined in the blog and I often find a few or more listings that fit into the themes.

The seasonal trends outlined in the blog can be a bit difficult to fit into as the seasons are all the other way round in the southern hemisphere but there are still some happy coincidences.

Q.  Are there any arts or crafts you'd like to learn, or materials and techniques you'd like to try? What appeals to you about them?
A.  I strive to improve my skills with resin and polymer clay and I’m always finding new ways to work with these. My next goal is to earn enough money to buy myself a degasser which removes or reduces bubbles in resin.

A new material called Friendly Plastic caught my attention recently and I’m itching to incorporate these into my resin pieces too.

I also have been doing a lot more work with seed beads in peyote type stitch to create some very satisfying tubular beads. I’m looking forward to creating more of these.

Q.  What has been the most effective promotion strategy for you? The least effective?
A.  Most of my customers find my shop using Etsy Search, so having really good tags, product descriptions and product names is very important. I try to think of what terms people might use to find my items and make sure that they are incorporated into them.

I also find Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Etsy Forums and Chats to be a good way of generating interest in my shop.

I have tried a few advertisements but so far I haven’t had anyone tell me that they found my shop because they saw an ad somewhere. It’s doesn’t seem to be a very effective way of promoting my shop and I think I might be a bit more circumspect about this.

Q.  What have you learned about having an online business here on Etsy? Anything you wish you'd known earlier?
A.  I guess the biggest lesson I learned was that I can’t sit back and wait for customers. You have to get out there and promote.

The other lesson that I have just learned and wish I had known earlier was that your shop’s Google search results ranking is based on the ‘importance‘ of your shop page and you increase the importance of your shop page when other sites link to your page. So the more websites that you have linking back to your shop, the higher up in the search results you appear.
Q.  If you could choose anything sold on Etsy - price no object - what would it be?
A.  This is probably the most difficult question to answer as my most desired item keeps changing. I recently saw a wooden sun lounge chair on Etsy Finds that looked gorgeous. Trying to find the link to it but I deleted the email!

So if anyone still has that Etsy Finds email, let me know.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ready for the Holidays?

Chat Team members and Chat regulars are ready for the busy sales months ahead, and all those shopping events and occasions lined up between now and the start of 2011.

The Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp is underway to help supercharge everyone's efforts for the season, and it's packed with tips and homework to make this the best selling season ever.

What are you doing this year? New items? Different ways to promote? A seasonal twist to your photographs? Updating tags to help reach a holiday shopping audience?
Images from hdawnparratt, 2kutekards and staceyyacula, thanks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Reaching Collectors?

Collectors don't just accumulate old (or old-ish) stuff. There are collectors of newer ACEOs, pottery, photography and jewellery. And aren't those stashes of yarn and fabric, ties and handbags and sweaters all collections too?

What does it take to reach collectors? All the usual Etsy requirements are there of course: great photos, appropriate tags, titles and descriptions, being in the right category, and effective promotion. In addition, some facts may be especially important to potential buyers. Exact size (with all dimensions, shown in both metric and imperial), provenance, close-up photo of any maker's marks on the piece, as well as a record of any damage, however slight.

20 Questions Your Buyers Are Asking is a handy checklist to be sure you're making that buying decision easier for your potential buyers, whether or not they're collectors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meet Chat Regular jannio

One of our Chat regulars, the team that makes up jannio, visits the Etsy rooms from France, and their creative hats, scarves and bags are always a joy to see when they stop by.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why do we chat?

A relatively new Etsy seller said in Chat the other day that she hadn't sold anything at all on the site until she started hanging out in the chat rooms. Are hoped-for sales what bring us to Chat? Are they what keep bringing us back?
Certainly, there's no guarantee that being a chatter will lead to sales, but it does happen. And surely regular chatters don't come in every day just to pimp their shops (although having others meet new shops is a nice fringe benefit). We all have a pretty good idea that flying in just to spam announcements and shop promos doesn't work anyway; it's more about being part of the community, or is it?

So, why do we chat? Specifically on Etsy, but also in other communities?

Image from a sculpture by redclaysculptress, thanks!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Five Questions for ... cdosehn

Anyone who visits Chat early in the morning (Eastern Time) will have met regular cdosehn, a friendly and welcoming presence in our talkative midst! This month is her four-year Etsyversary, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get her answers to a handful of questions:

Q.  How has Etsy changed in the four years you've been selling here? What's your favourite feature?
A.  I think the biggest change has being able to rearrange your shop!
Q.  What do you do for fun when you're not chatting or running your Etsy shop?
A.  I love to be out in the woods or fishing with my hubby. Being with my grown children is wonderful as well.
Q.  What tool or piece of crafting equipment would you like to have if money were no object?
A.  Oh I would love a bigger embroidery machine with more designs and space to embroider on. Or my own designing software.
Q.  Knowing what you do now, is there anything you would have done differently when you first opened your shop?
A.  The only thing I would have changed is taking better pictures of my items and posting more tags on my items.
Q.  What has been your most successful way to promote your Etsy shop? The least effective?
A.  The most successful way I have found to promote my items in my shop is going in the chats. Once there, always be friendly. I have met through Etsy some wonderful people that I can call my dear friends from all over the world.
The least effective I guess would be the forums in the promotion section - a lot of post and runs, and no one really looks in each others' shops. First thing besides saying Hello in the chats when I enter is go to everyone's shop and have a look around and post a item from their shop.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do you trade?

This Storque Blog article about Trades through We Swap got me thinking about some of the more home-grown trades taking place right here on Etsy. Interest in trades is popular in the Chat rooms of course, and it would be great to hear from some of you who have first-hand experience trading with other Etsy sellers.
Please drop me a convo, or leave a Comment here to help put together a checklist or guide to successful trading. Or add a Comment to let other blog readers know you're interested in trades now, or for the upcoming holiday season!

Chatter FrawgzDezignz has offered a detailed view of Trades on Etsy, based on her own experiences:
  • Communication is key, for both sides
  • Read Feedback before you start
  • Successful trades can lead to future sales
  • Check Feedback Left for others too
  • Some people are difficult to deal with
  • You have a right to turn down any trade
  • Wait to leave Feedback
  • Package and ship well
  • Be honest in all communication

Monday, July 26, 2010

Let's talk about advertising - heartsabustin

This time a busy multiple shop owner is with us to answer a few questions about the effectiveness of off-Etsy paid advertising for both of her shops - heartsabustin and 1mADwoman.

Q.  Where did your ads appear? How long did they run?
A.  I've placed ads at, Craftcult, Craftopolis, and
It's varied - I've run the ad at EtsyStalker for a month, and it's still up right now. Craftcult and Craftopolis, I've run as long as a month. I tried PCDaily for one week, and will probably try them again in the future.

Q.  What did the ad/s cost?
A.  Month-long ads at Craftopolis are $55, and week long are $15; the ads at Craftcult are similar, I believe. The ad at EtsyStalker is $20 a month for a sidebar, and the ad at polymerclaydaily was $15 for one week. With Craftcult, it depends on whether you're running a straight sidebar or doing their combo. Combo ads are sidebar for 4 days and the rotating carousel at the top for 7 days for $28. I find those to be very effective.

Q.  What results did you expect?
A.   I got (and expected) lots of hearts and views off the initial Craftcult and Craftopolis ads. The last few times have been a little slower in the rate of hearts and views, but I've still been getting them. The ads at EtsyStalker and PCDaily have been low, but it's advertisement. I may try one of the more expensive Shadowboxes at EtsyStalker soon. I'm not sure that I've ever gotten a sale directly from an ad I've run, but hey, there's always this week!

Q.  How did you measure your results?
A.   I used Google Analytics to measure where the hits were coming from.

Q.  How did the ads do? Were they effective quickly and/or over time?
A.  They're effective both ways, quickly and over time. Sources say that some people have to see an ad 15 - 20 times before they'll check it out. I try to make my ads beautiful and clickable and simple.

Q.  Would you advertise again?
A.  I will absolutely advertise again!

Q.  What, if anything, would you do differently in future advertising?
A.  I'll try to seek more off-Etsy venues (Craftcult and Craftopolis are awesome, but I'm seeing far fewer views with them than I used to.)
Q.  Anything else you'd like to add?
A.  I design ads, so if anyone is interested, I've got good rates. That's how my other shop - 1mADwoman - started out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's talk about advertising - BigSkyArtworks

Our second interviewee has also given advertising a try off Etsy, and BigSkyArtworks has lots of insights to share with other Chatters about the experience.

Q.  Where did your ad appear? How long did it run?
A.  My ad appeared on Craftopolis. The ad ran for one week.

Q.  What did the ad/s cost?
A.  $15. Not a bad price, I think.

Q.  What results did you expect?
A.  I was, of course, hoping for a flood of sales. I got none. However, I did have massively increased views at the beginning of the week, and I was suddenly placed in five different treasuries. Shop hearts climbed considerably during that time, too.

Q.  How did you measure your results?
A.  I used the counter on Craftopolis, and kept track where my views were coming from through Google Analytics.

Q.  How did the ad do? Was it effective quickly and/or over time?
A.  I would say the ad was fairly effective in increasing the visibility of my store. However, since I did not experience any sales as a result, I'm not sure that increased visibility really matters. It may make a difference in the future, when people are surfing Etsy for holiday ideas.

Q.  Would you advertise again?
A.  Yes, I think so - although I probably would try a month-long package, and make sure it appears during the busy season.

Q.  What, if anything, would you do differently in future advertising?
A.  I would like to find a venue that, unlike CraftCult or Craftopolis, doesn't cater exclusively to crafters and sellers. Although many of my buyers have also been sellers, there is a limited buyer pool if you are focusing only on people who sell on Etsy. On the other hand, the Craftopolis ad was pretty affordable - just over $2 a day. It was a good way to get my feet wet in the advertising department.

Q.  Anything else you'd like to add?
A.  I know from years in the newspaper business that advertising takes time. It isn't a magic bullet; it simply keeps your store out in front of the customer, so that when she IS ready to make a purchase, she'll think of you. I will continue to find ways to promote my business, and I'll probably buy more advertising - but I really prefer promotions that don't cost money. I'd love ideas about how to get people to blog about my store, for instance. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about advertising. :)

Next time we'll talk about advertising with heartsabustin!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's talk about advertising - erinf115

Last week in Chat we were talking about paid-for advertising, and how effective (or not) it is for Etsy sellers. A few of the chatters in the room mentioned that they had experience with ads, and I've asked them each to answer a few questions about what they learned. Here's the first reply, from member Erin of erinf115:

Q.  Where did your ad/s appear?
A.  I ran a two week ad on Craftopolis in May and just a few days ago gave Facebook ads a try, and ran an ad for 3 days.

Q.  How long the ad/s run?
A.  With Facebook you can tailor to run as little or as long as you like, and set a daily budget so you won't exceed how much you like to spend. You can cast a wide net, or a tiny one, by targeting your audience.
It's a very interesting tool and I'm just starting to noodle around with it in the past couple of days. I recommend to everyone to take a peek and see what it has to offer!
Craftopolis ads run by the week.

Q.  What did the ad/s cost?
A.  With Facebook, you set how much you'd like to spend, and you choose if you'd like to pay per "impression" (how many times they put the ad on "out there") or per click (if someone actually clicks your ad and gets taken to your shop or Facebook fan page) I chose a very small amount of $4.00 per day (something like $.60 a click) just to get my feet wet and see what the results would be.
With Craftopolis, a two week ad ran for $22.00.

Q.  What results did you expect? (views? clicks? hearts? convos? sales?)
A.  With both Craftopolis and Facebook, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. I chose to do them as a "test" - and expected views to go up and perhaps some sales.

Q.  How did you measure your results? (Google Analytics? Other tools/sites? Observation?) How did the ads do? Were they effective quickly and/or over time?
A.  For Craftopolis, I did this a few months ago before I had Google Analytics set up. I went to Craftopolis and Craftcult to check my views and hearts. My views skyrocketed, as did my hearts.  Before the ad ran, I averaged about 2 new shop hearts a day.
When the ad ran, I jumped to about 7-9 hearts. My views skyrocketed as well (this was pre-Google Analytics for me though, so I don't have the history anymore) The thing is, though - you are advertising to other Etsy sellers, not necessarily your market - so I assumed that that's pretty much where it would end, with more hearts and views, but it was a bit more exciting than that. I suddenly noticed a big influx in treasuries that I was included in, which turned into more hearts and views. And then, two weeks after the ad ran, with much more exposure and many more hearts, I had the best month of sales since I started selling in February of 2010.

Q.  Would you advertise again?
A.  Oh yes!

Q.  What, if anything, would you do differently in future advertising?
A.  I am not sure that advertising on Facebook is helpful. I did read an interesting thing in the forums recently, that linking a Facebook ad to your Etsy fan page on Facebook will help get more fans, but linking folks to your shop doesn't seem to work for most.
I noticed a slight bump in views on my Google Analytics over the three days that I ran my Facebook ad, but nothing like the huge influx when I ran my Craftopolis.

Q.  Anything else you'd like to add?
A.  I would like to add my Twitter success story too. Now, Twitter isn't necessarily advertising, but when I first signed up for twitter I began searching for people twittering about The Tudors, (Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth the Ist, etc) and then I 'followed' them and sent them messages with links to my Tudor and Elizabethan line of product. This was a pretty bold-ish move, as it can be seen as "spammy" but I found a woman who runs and amazing historical blog called The Anne Boleyn Files and she fell in love with my Tudor sachets of the Six Wives of Henry VIII's Royal Badges and bought all 6, and then asked me to make a larger Anne Boleyn Royal Badge framed wall hanging

When I sent them to her she brought them to an event she was running called the Anne Boleyn Experience which was an event at Anne Boleyn's childhood home, Hever Castle, in Kent, England. For me, this was as if I was starring on Broadway. It was such an honor, she displayed them there, and explained each of the wives Royal Badges and their meanings in a pre-dinner talk, and told me the people who were there fell in love with them too! I just sold another full set of all Six Wives to an attendee of that conference, and a week later she bought an Elizabethan piece as well. Twitter has led me to my largest sales and shouldn't be ignored as a wonderful advertising tool (and it is free!)

Up next, we'll talk about advertising with BigSkyArtworks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where are you? Your buyers want to know!

So there you are, searching Etsy for a few gifts, and the shipping deadline is coming up fast! Maybe some luscious soap from Team member Lyn4078? Especially great if you're in Australia!

And who wouldn't love to receive a piece of beautiful jewellery from balanced in Ireland, or one of zeropumpkin's witty critters, direct from Malaysia? 
That Blame the Dog bowl from sseloske in Seattle would be perfect, and if you or your recipient are in the Pacific Northwest, you can certainly get it quickly. 
Etsy buyers are all over, and fortunately so are Etsy sellers. To help ensure that they can find each other, it's so important for shops to include their location - at least the State or Province, and Country - in the Location field of Public Profile.

Without that accurate information, shoppers who search with Shop Local, or who click on Location to see where you are might not get the facts. For example, I checked Geolocator for Paris, without specifying what country, and look at all the choices!

Make it easy on your buyers and yourself by putting your shop on the map. Resources:
   •  How to Sell Local
    Shop Local Tool
    Adding Location to Public Profile

Saturday, July 3, 2010

SEO and your Etsy shop

Search Engine Optimization. It sounds big and complicated and an awful lot of bother when all you really want to do is make and sell your art or jewellery, scarves or toys or cards! But, there is lots of information available on the site to help make SEO work for you.

If you really want to dig into it, there is a substantial (25-page PDF) file Etsy Guide to SEO that you can download.

However, if you want the short course, and some step-by-step practical changes you can make today, head to this article How do I improve my shop's Search Engine Optimization? in the Help section. After making some important points about having a great product, and using your tags to best advantage, it moves on to some of the highlights of SEO. There are rules for how many characters will appear from your Shop Title and Item Titles, and it spells out what elements work for you from your Shop Sections and item descriptions too.

Image from sudlow, thanks!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's Hot For July?

Sometimes it seems that the themes, items and materials featured throughout Etsy somehow just happen, but it's really all part of a plan. Fortunately, it's not a secret plan!

Every month there's a Storque post from the Merchandising Desk that sets out exactly what general themes will be highlighted around activities, trends, special occasions and dates...even colours!

These are the key merchandising elements Etsy will be looking for to feature in emails, the Storque, the Front Page. So if you have the right tags, titles, and descriptions, you're more likely to be found when folks are building merchandising-aware Treasuries or searching for great items.

As you can see here, Team members and Chat regulars are already ahead of the curve with some of the color trends lined up for July:

"Combinations of metallic with neutrals; reds, whites and blues; citruses (lime, lemon, grapefruit, blood orange, tangerine); robin's egg blues, sepia tones and tea stains. Patterns in seersucker, stripes, gingham, and houndstooth will also be trending."

How do you incorporate merchandising plans into what you make or sell, and into your listings?

Images from BOWquet, Vintagefix, dkjewels, snapclicktripod and MissMooseDesign, thanks!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Photography Surprises

I read a blog post the other day by Bakerella, who writes, bakes and takes photographs with equal skill. In Cupcakes and Cameras, she talks about how she takes the pictures, and spells out exactly what cameras and photographic accessories she uses to get such luscious results. Okay, her main camera goes for about $800 US, but for someone who does this for a living, isn't it an appropriate investment when it does the job? Read the post to learn more about her cameras - and pick up a few recipes too!

Among our Chat regulars, there's another inspiring example: KanzashiHime takes those artful photos of kanzashi using a cell phone camera, plus a little help from Photoshop.

Etsy's Storque Blog offers a wealth of information about photography and how to make it work to bring out the best in shop listings. A new favourite shows how some long-time sellers' pictures have evolved and improved over time, in Before and After Photos.

Etsy seller and photographer Jenkiabaphotography contributed reviews and examples of the output from cameras selling for as little as $15, along with advice about must-have features and lighting. Read all about it in The Right Camera.

And from the non-seller in the group, here's a photo taken with my very old Canon A10, with its primitive 1.3 megapixels! If I had a shop I'd probably be looking for something more advanced, but for family snaps and amateur web posting, it still works!