How to Become Successful on Etsy in 2017

How to Become Successful on Etsy in 2017

Becoming successful on Etsy is no easy task, believe me. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to owning and operating an Etsy shop, especially when you’re just starting out by yourself.  Many new sellers don’t realize how munch work is involved such as working on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), marketing your shop, networking yourself, and having excellent product photography. Whew, it gets me tired just thinking about it.

I’ve owned my Etsy shop since 2014 and things have definitely taken off. I can actually say that I do own a successful Etsy shop.  But, my definition of success and your definition may be completely different.  Success is what you make it.  Here are my top tips that will help you become successful on Etsy in 2017.

 

Set Achievable Goals

If you really want to become successful on Etsy in 2017 then the first step that I would suggest is to set achievable goals for yourself and your shop.  Write goals down in a notebook or on a note taking app on your phone. Your goals can be as simple as having X amount of products in your shop by the end of the year, or starting a new product line by July 2017. But, whatever you do, make sure that the goals are achievable.  If you set unrealistic goals then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Give yourself some wiggle room for when you have vacation time or if you ever get sick.  My problem is that I set so many different goals up for different things. Don’t be like me. Create 2 to 3 realistic goals and stick to them!

 

Improve the SEO in your Etsy Shop

One of the most important factors of obtaining sales on Etsy is by improving your SEO.  While there’s no set strategy, I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to improve the SEO for your Etsy shop.  These tips include finding the right keywords to use, filling out your shop title and announcement. I would also suggest starting a blog for your Etsy shop.

 

Ship Your Orders on Time

Etsy recently held a conference and at that conference they announced that your processing time will affect your ranking in search.  When you receive an order you are given a “ship by” date which is calculated based on the processing time that you set up when you initially set up your listing.  You must ship by this date in order to avoid being penalized by Etsy.

How can I avoid shipping orders later than expected?

As you can see, you should avoid shipping orders later than expected because it can hurt your ranking in search. To avoid shipping orders late, always make sure that you have a good amount of inventory of supplies.  Keep track of your inventory and keep extra in stock if you can.

Also, if you feel as if you’re falling behind on orders don’t be afraid to put your shop on vacation mode.  Putting your shop on vacation mode does not penalize you at all, despite what others say.

If you’re absolutely stuck and you must ship your order out later than the set date then you must notify the buyer first and explain the situation.  Ask them if it’s okay to ship the item out later, and if so give an updated date.  If this is okay with the buyer make sure you reschedule the shipping date. To reschedule the shipping date, locate the order and click “update” next to the scheduled shipping day.

If you sell custom items and require information from the customer that they did not provide then I would suggest contacting them as much as possible to get the information. If you don’t hear from the customer by the ship date then cancel the order.

 

Invest in Promoted Listings

Another way to become more successful on Etsy in 2017 is to invest in promoted listings. Keep in mind that promoted listings may not work for everyones shop, so it’s best to experiment by spending just a few dollars a day. Do this for about 10 days and then review the progress by checking your stats page.  If you’re making more money than you’re spending on the ads then continue using them.

 

Market Your Shop

Another tip to become successful on Etsy is to market your shop. You can market your shop in so many ways, and social media is a must.  I would highly recommend marketing on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Here are a few great articles that involve marketing your Etsy shop:

 

Network Yourself and Your Shop

Although your Etsy shop is an online based business, you should also focus on networking offline as well.  Join local crafting groups or your local SCORE.  You can find different events to attend via Eventbrite.com.  Attend some of those events and introduce yourself.  You can meet a lot of great people (and, also some very annoying sales people)  along the way. Don’t forget to bring your business cards!

 

Participate in Online Communities

Many shop owners are not aware of the many fabulous online communities.  Participating in the forums on Etsy is an excellent way to gain more knowledge from experienced sellers.  I also highly recommend joining Facebook groups.  There are tons of Facebook groups related to selling on Etsy such as The Joyful Entrepreneur, which has over 33,000 members!  Follow and participate in some of the great discussions. Even though I’m an experienced seller I learn something new from these groups very often!

 

Have Excellent Product Photography

I know that this is mentioned time and time again throughout my blog, but your product photography can make or break your Etsy shop. Consider investing in a lightbox or learn how to make one yourself.  Don’t photograph your items in dark places, and especially not on the floor!  Check out my other article which includes 10 Etsy Product Photography Tips.

 

Use Great Packaging

Let’s face it, we all judge books by their covers. This is why you should use great packaging to ship your items. Stuffing a t-shirt into a poly mailer gets the job done, but wrapping the t-shirt in colored tissue paper and tying it with twine and a business card can make a great first impression.  Some people really appreciate the time that goes into great packaging. It can be really worth the effort to step your game up in the packaging department.

 

 

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November 2016 Etsy Earnings Report

November 2016 Etsy Earnings Report

Yay! I’m so excited that I’ve had so much blogging motivation that I am now writing my second earnings report.  Although it feels like I have no one reading this blog I hope that someone will read these posts eventually and become inspired.

And, don’t get me wrong – I’m not doing these types of posts to simply brag about my earnings, I’m writing these type of posts so that my readers can follow me on the path to success.  I want to show others that earning a full time income online is absolutely possible.  I loved reading these types of posts when I first started selling on Etsy, so I’d like to pay it forward.

If you’re interested in seeing how much I made last month, check out my October 2016 Earnings Report.

Last month I included my total business income, which included Etsy and Zazzle.  However, I think from now on I’m just going to include my earnings from Etsy until I become more familiar with Zazzle.

 

So, how much money did I earn from Etsy in November?

I earned $9,657.95 during the month of October, before any expenses.

November was an okay month. I was still busy enough during the first half of the month.  I thought that the weekend of Black Friday would be extra busy, so I hosted a 25% off sale. Turns out the sale was a bust.  I barely made enough during Thanksgiving weekend to pay myself, which is very odd and I haven’t had that happen in a while.

But, I guess sales during the holidays really depends on what you sell.  I know a lot of sellers who were busy out of their minds during the Black Friday weekend.  That’s so awesome for them!

 

How did I earn $9,657.95 on Etsy during the month of November?

In case you’re wondering what I actually sell on Etsy and Zazzle, I sell printed invitations for baby showers, bridal showers, holiday parties, etc.  I did not go to school for graphic design, but I’ve been working with the Adobe products for years.  I first started out on Etsy in 2014 by selling digital files of invitations that people could download and take to a print shop for printing. After a long time of busting my butt and saving some serious cash, I became the print shop! Now, I sell invitations that are designed, printed and mailed to the customers doorstep.  My shop has grown from making $7.00 a day to making over $1,000 in one day (but, only some days ūüėČ ).

There are a lot of factors that contribute to being a full time seller on Etsy.  The first and one of the most important factors is having great SEO.  Learn how to improve the SEO in your Etsy shop and rank higher on Etsy.

Another important thing to know is that you gain these earnings over time by becoming an experienced seller.  You will learn from your mistakes (hopefully).

Here are a few more articles that I’ve written that will help you become a better seller:

I will add more to this list as I keep on blogging ūüôā

 

What’s new this month?

Okay, I’ve got some really big news for the month of November! I officially hit 6 figures in sales so far this year!  I still cannot believe this. I remember rocking my daughter in my rocking chair earlier this year as she was sleeping and I whipped out my phone to figure out how much money I would have to make a day (average) to earn $100,000 in one year. That number is $273.97. I thought maybe (hopefully) I would get to that point in 4 or 5 years or so. Y’ALL! I made that by the end of November this year.  I am absolutely stunned and I can’t wait to write about it in an upcoming blog.

 

What are my goals for the month of December?

During the month of December I’d really like to start focusing on creating more products for the upcoming engagement and bridal shower season.  There are a lot of engagements during the month of December which will contribute to an influx of save-the-date carts and engagement party invitations.

Bridal and wedding season (spring/summer) will be here before I know it, so I’d like to add more products in those categories as well.

I also want to work on the photography in my shop. Right now my products are listed with a wooden type of background. I’d really like to have my products showing on a white background so that it looks clean and simple. We’ll see how that goes.

As for personal goals this month I’m still actively working on reorganizing my basement and moving my office to a larger part of my basement.  So, for now that’s going to be my continuing goal.

 

So in closing, since it’s November I’d like to say how grateful I a truly am.  I never thought in a million years that I would have a full time home business.  Being able to provide for my family is such a wonderful feeling!

 

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions for me or if you would like me to touch on a certain topic in an upcoming blog post! Thank you all for reading, I hope you have an amazing holiday!

 

November 2016 Etsy Monthly Earnings Report

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10 Mistakes that Etsy Sellers Make and How to Avoid Them

10 Mistakes Etsy Sellers Make and How to Avoid Them

I’ve got to admit that owning a shop on Etsy is extremely challenging. There is so much to learn! ¬†I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over the past 3 years after making many, many mistakes. And I hope to pass this knowledge onto you with this blog! ¬†Here are the top 10 mistakes that Etsy sellers make and how to avoid them.

 

Copyright Infringement

As a seller who focuses on printed invitations for events such as birthdays, I see a lot of similar sellers selling products with images or phrases that they don’t own. ¬†I will admit when I first started selling online I genuinely had no idea that you weren’t allowed to sell invitations with characters such as the Ninja Turtles. But, I totally get it now, and I preach this to many other sellers making this mistake.

You absolutely cannot sell items with Disney characters or other cartoon characters on them. Another example includes college logos. To put it simply, if you did not come up with the design or character that you are putting on your product, you cannot use it because it’s protected by copyright laws. ¬†The original creators of those images could throw a lawsuit your way if you’re making money off of their works without their permission.

The same also goes for phrases and certain words. Phrases can be trademarked by the original creator. ¬†For example, did you know that the word¬†“onesie” is a trademarked word by Gerber? Although it is a common word, you still can’t use it to sell baby clothing. ¬†You can check if a phrase is trademarked by searching the TESS database.

And, always remember that if you recieve multiple warnings from the Etsy Team about copyright infringement, your shop will be shut down permanently.

How Can I Avoid Copyright Infringement on Etsy?

If you’re a designer you must create unique designs, period. Don’t even try to get away with using the phrase “inspired”, such as “Disney inspired” because that will not protect you at all. Also be sure to double check the TESS database before creating anything with a certain phrase.

 

Bad Photography

If you take a look at some of the most successful shops on Etsy you will notice that their photography is on point. ¬†Having excellent photography should be a top priority when listing an item. The customer needs to see a detailed example of what they’re purchasing. ¬†Too often photos are dark, blurry, and just look plain awkward.

How can I improve the photography of my products on Etsy?

Research great photography tips. You can also invest in a lightbox or create one yourself.  Pictures can be taken with cell phones, but if you really want a crisp high resolution photo then you may want to look into a DSLR camera.  There are plenty of photography tips available online, including:

 

Poor SEO

Another common mistake that other Etsy sellers make is having poor SEO.  SEO (search engine optimization) is a list of different strategies that help to improve your overall ranking in search.  There are numerous ways to improve the SEO in your Etsy shop such as researching for the best keywords and using all 13 tags in your listings.  SEO is a constant evolving thing that all Etsy sellers must stay on top of in order to appear higher in search.

How can I improve the SEO for my Etsy shop?

Don’t blow off learning about SEO. Really take the time to research ways to improve the SEO for your Etsy shop. ¬†There are tons of great articles and tutorials available online for free. ¬†Here are a few:

 

Not Providing Enough Details

When selling items online it is extremely important to be extra detailed. ¬†You just can’t list a product with 3 sentences in your description and expect people not to have questions. ¬†And, if people have questions chances are that they won’t reach out to ask you. They will move onto someone who sells something similar that lists all important details. ¬†Here is the structure of all of my listings:

  1. Intro – I include a quick sentence describing what the item is.
  2. Details of what’s included – The size, quantity, and quality of the item.
  3.  Shipping Рhow long processing takes, how the item is shipped and how long shipping takes.

And, although a return policy doesn’t apply too much to my shop, I would suggest that include that information in your listing also.

 

Not Being Optimistic

I often witness a lot of sellers feeling pretty down about their shop because they aren’t getting views, favorites, or sales. ¬†You can’t just sit there and expect sales to come pouring in. The trick is to be optimistic and to really work hard on your shop.

Whatever you do, don’t close your shop!

How can I avoid feeling down about my Etsy shop?

When sales are slow and you start to get down on yourself it’s important to be optimistic. Take the time to research more Etsy shop tips or create new products to sell.

 

Not Having a lot of Products

Some sellers get worried about low sales when they only have 5 items in their shop. ¬†Unfortunately you’re not going to get a lot of sales unless you have a large variety of items in your shop. ¬†Some experienced sellers will say¬†that sales will start to pick up when you have over 100 items in your shop. This is partially true. There is no magic number of items to keep in stock, but if you have more items available for sale then there’s a bigger chance that you’ll sell more items.

How can I add more items to my Etsy shop?

Just keep creating more products. Create, create, create. Don’t stop. If you have a true passion for what you do then ideas should be pouring out of you. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself though, take a break when needed.

There’s no limit on the amount of items that you can have in your shop. I’m almost up to 1000 products and I still have motivation to create.

 

Not Being Unique

A lot of Etsy shop owners are too focused on what’s selling. When selling on Etsy you have to remember that it’s important to create unique items to stand out from the crowd. Don’t just focus on what’s selling.

How can I create unique products on Etsy?

Instead of taking ideas from other sellers on Etsy, focus on what you would want to buy or ask other people for ideas of what they would like to buy.

 

Wrong Pricing

It’s very surprising that many sellers often neglect pricing their items correctly. ¬†I’ve witnessed some sellers pricing their items far too low. ¬†When you sell your items you have to remember that you have to pay yourself for your time and not just the materials used to make the product.

How can I avoid pricing my items wrong on Etsy?

While there’s no perfect formula for pricing your items, the first thing that you should do is set an hourly wage for yourself and factor that wage into your pricing. ¬†Here are a few excellent articles and tools about pricing your handmade items on Etsy:

 

Not Marketing

This is the mistake that I myself am most guilty of. ¬†Sometimes I’m so busy with orders or creating new products that I totally forget about marketing my products. ¬†There are many ways to promote your handmade products such as being active on social media, blogging, or simply by networking!

How can I market my Etsy shop?

If you want to bring in some serious sales then you should start marketing.  Mark a specific time of day to focus on nothing but marketing.  Read up on pinning on Pinterest or posting on Instagram.  Learn everything that you can about marketing. I promise that it will pay off!

 

Not Doing Enough Research

Finally, one of the top mistakes that I notice is that a lot of Etsy sellers fail to do their research on owning a shop. ¬†There’s a lot more to selling on Etsy than just listing items for sale and waiting for sales to roll in. ¬†You have to learn about marketing, SEO, and many other things.

Where can I get information about owning a shop on Etsy?

There are so many websites that offer loads of information about owning a shop on Etsy.  My blog is one of them. Here are the top websites that I personally refer to:

 

Hopefully this blog has helped you pin point any mistakes that you’re making with your Etsy shop. Let me know in the comments if these tips helped to improve your shop!

 

10 Mistakes Etsy Sellers Make and How to Avoid Them

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7 Tips for Starting an Etsy Shop While Working Full Time

7 Tips for Starting an Etsy Shop While Working Full Time

Looking to earn extra income online by starting an Etsy shop while working full time? Well, there’s a few things to consider before opening your shop. ¬†Balancing an Etsy shop while working full time can be challenging, and if you have kids to devote time to then it can sometimes be a nightmare!

But have no fear, I started an Etsy shop while working full time and it has since turned into a 6 figure earning business. I’m so grateful that I have been able to quit my full time job to become a full time seller. ¬†It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve opened up my shop and I’ve learned so much along the way. There’s many things I wish I would have considered before opening my shop. With that in mind, here are my 7¬†tips for starting an Etsy shop while working full time.

Find the Time

Before you even open an Etsy shop or list your first product you should figure out if owning an Etsy shop is right for you. ¬†Prior to opening my Etsy shop, I had no idea how much time that I had to invest in my shop. ¬†There’s a lot of factors such as creating products, photographing them and writing descriptions. ¬†On top of that you have to spend time learning other things that apply to your shop such as improving the SEO in your Etsy shop. ¬†Looking back I really had no idea how I juggled a full time job, school, being pregnant, and owning a busy Etsy shop. ¬†Actually, I did have some help from my husband ūüôā

Set Goals

Why do you want to open a shop on Etsy? Do you want to earn extra side income? Do you dream of quitting your full time job to become a full time shop owner? Remember this reason for starting your shop. ¬†Write it down. ¬†Don’t ever give up hope and believe that¬†you won’t reach your goal one day. ¬†Having a future goal will help keep you focused when you’re busy out of your mind between your full time job and your Etsy shop. ¬†And, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve a successful online business!

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself

Another important thing to remember while starting an Etsy shop while working full time is that you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself. It’s great to have over 100 products in your shop, but don’t pressure yourself to create that many products if you don’t have the time to do so. ¬†Setting unrealistic goals can set yourself up for failure. ¬†Instead, slowly build your shop up. Owning a shop on Etsy is a big learning process, so it might be better to slowly build up to see what works and what doesn’t work for your shop.

Enlist Help

Like I stated earlier, my husband helped me out a lot while I was working full time and running my Etsy shop. ¬†If you have a few people that you can lean on when things get touch, you’ll be golden. ¬†Ask for help from a spouse or your children. ¬†Teaching business skills to your children is a great learning experience for them!

Take a Break

If all of your resources are tied and you’re feeling a bit too overwhelmed with your shop, don’t be afraid to take a break. ¬†Put your shop on vacation mode. ¬†Vacation mode is where you can shut down your shop temporarily. Your listings will become unavailable and you can still communicate with your customers. You will not be penalized for putting your shop on vacation mode just as long as you are still fulfilling orders on time and communicating with your customers.

Research, Research, Research

There are a lot of Etsy sellers out there that run their shop blindly. ¬†There are so many resources available online that will help you grow your business. ¬†Find some spare time to devote to learning different things about owning an Etsy shop such as improving your product photography. ¬†Pinterest is an excellent resource for a lot of tips for selling on Etsy. I’ve set up a board filled with all Etsy Seller Tips.

Invest Back Into Your Etsy Shop

Finally, if you’re still working full time and you own a shop for extra income, I would really suggest investing some of that income back into your business. ¬†You could start purchasing supplies in bulk, or sign up for an online course that involves selling on Etsy. You could also invest in different machinery to help improve your workflow. ¬†The more that you can invest in your shop now will pay off in the long run.

 

7 Tips for Starting an Etsy Shop While Working Full Time

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10 Tips to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO and Rank Higher in Etsy Search

10 Tips to Improve the SEO for Your Etsy Shop

Improving the SEO for your Etsy shop is absolutely necessary to rank higher in search on Etsy, which will bring more traffic to your shop.  Search Engine Optimization has rapidly increased over the past decade or so.  To put it simply, SEO is a handful of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.  Constantly improving your SEO can help more people discover your shop through search engines, which can ultimately increase your sales.  Many people believe that they have to higher a SEO specialist, or invest hundreds of dollars into a special SEO app, nonsense!  With proper SEO practices, you can improve sales and rank higher in Google searches for FREE!  Here are a few tips for increasing your SEO.

 

Use the Right Keywords

Before jumping into improving your SEO, you will want to pick out the correct keywords to include in your item titles, descriptions, tags, blog posts, etc.  To find what keywords/phrases to use for your products, you can use Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  To do this, search Google for the Google Keyword Tool and select ‚ÄúSearch for new keyword and ad group ideas‚ÄĚ.  Type in your product name, leave the rest of the information blank, then click on ‚ÄúGet Ideas‚ÄĚ.  From there, you can see the types of keyword groups related to your product that are most often used.  You can also narrow your results by location if you are targeting a specific country.  You can also sort the keywords by the competition of the keyword and the average monthly searches.  It‚Äôs best practice to use a mixture of high, medium, and low competition keywords.  This way, all of your keywords do not have a high competition.

Another way to search for keywords is by using the Etsy search bar.  Type in your product into the search bar.  The search bar will automatically update and provide you with popular search terms related to the product you typed in, these phrases are excellent guidance for keywords. You’ll see in the example below, that I created Christmas cards for a pregnancy announcement, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to put in the title. When searching, I see that “Christmas Pregnancy Announcement Cards” is a pretty popular search, so I will use that to start off my product title.

10 Tips to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO and Rank Higher in Etsy Search

Fill Out Your Shop Title and Announcement

Your shop title and shop announcement will help people find you through Google.  Your shop title can be 55 characters, max.  Use your title as a tagline, using a sentence or two with relevant keywords about your products.  The first 160 characters of your shop announcement are used by Google as a meta description of your shop page, so ensure that you are using relevant and popular keywords in this area.

Fill Out Your Public Profile

I have found that many Etsy sellers don‚Äôt have their personal profile filled out on Etsy.  Filling out this area can be very beneficial for SEO purposes.  Fill out your profile with 2 or 3 paragraphs about yourself and your shop.  Include the most important keywords within the first 160 characters of your profile.

Improve Your Shop Sections

If you have section titles in your shop you also want to make sure that you are using them correctly for SEO purposes.  Your shop section titles will also be landing pages on Google, so use keywords, avoid S P A C I N G to look fancy and don‚Äôt use special characters that aren‚Äôt necessary.

Improve the Titles of Your Listings

SEO primarily depends on your listing titles, descriptions, and tags.  Once you have your keywords into play it‚Äôs time to start fixing up those product titles!  The first 60 characters of the item description will be used as the title of a search result in Google, so it‚Äôs important to use the most popular keywords that describe your item first.  Also, don‚Äôt jumble a bunch of keywords into your item titles because this will confuse your customer and it‚Äôs bad practice for SEO.  Separate your short keyword sentences with commas or hyphens (-), this way the title is neat and organized.  You can use punctuation in your listing titles, this won‚Äôt affect your SEO, but try to avoid using many special characters to make your listing appear flashy because when you do this you are wasting valuable space!  One last thing – make sure you are using all (or almost all) 140 characters in your product title to gain maximum exposure!

10 Tips to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO and Rank Higher in Etsy Search

Spruce Up Your Item Descriptions

Just like the item titles, you are going to want to improve the descriptions of your product listings.  The first 160 characters of the item description will be used as the meta data on a Google search result.  The metadata description tag is the 160 characters that appear under the title of the Google search result, so make sure that the first 160 characters of your product description is the most important, descriptive information.

Use Relative Tags

Etsy‚Äôs search engine uses all 13 tags to place your item within a search, so it‚Äôs important to use all 13 tags with great keyword phrases that buyers may be searching for your item.  The order of your tags does not matter.  It is said that using phrases rather than single words is better.  For example, it‚Äôs better to use the whole phrase ‚ÄúBaby Shower Invitation‚ÄĚ as one tag than to use ‚ÄúBaby‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúShower‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúInvitation‚ÄĚ as all separate tags.

Another trick is to use your shop name as one of your keywords.  I say this because Etsy does not provide a search result for shop names.  If you use your shop name as a tag people are more likely to find you when searching Etsy for your shop name.

Backlink

Backlinks are links posted around the internet that link back to your Etsy shop.  The more quality back links you have to your shop, the better your SEO will be.  When I say quality, what I mean is that it‚Äôs important to not have the link alone on some spammy website.  You want to include your link with meaningful content such as a blog post on a website or on social media posts.  Don‚Äôt waste your time and money by paying other people to provide you with backlinks.  In fact, this may hurt your shop in the end.  Google is constantly adjusting it‚Äôs search algorithm to avoid spammy content and websites.

Start Blogging

Another way to increase SEO is by starting a blog for your Etsy shop.  Having a blog is especially helpful when you want to increase your ranking on Google.  By having a blog and updating it at least once weekly you will significantly increase your SEO.  You can also use your blog to back link to your Etsy shop, so it‚Äôs like killing 2 birds with one stone.  

Review Your Stats

Go through your shop stats on a weekly or monthly basis.  Find out what keywords are bringing traffic to your shop and where the traffic is coming from.  Also figure out what keywords are not bringing traffic to your shop.  Replace the low traffic keywords with keywords and phrases that are similar to the ones that are bringing traffic.

 

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How to Plan Content for Your Etsy Shop Blog

Hello and welcome back to my mini tutorial series titled How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Business. This is part 3 of the series which I will cover how to plan content for your blog.  If you’re just jumping into this series hopefully you already have a website set up and WordPress installed but if not, start by learning how to create a blog for your Etsy business.

Interested in following along for the entire series?  Be sure to bookmark this page and check back every Tuesday and Thursday for an update to the series. Here is the curriculum:

Part 1 – How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Business
Part 2 Р5 Things You Should Do Before You Start Blogging
Part 3 – How to Plan Content for Your Blog (coming soon)

How to Create Content for Your Etsy Shop Blog

Brainstorming and planning content for your blog can be quite challenging sometimes.  After all, you do want to create content that will keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.  But, what happens when your mind draws a complete blank?  If you find yourself stuck in this situation you can refer to my 8 tips below!

Create an Editorial Calendar

First things first when it comes to any type of work, the best thing to do is to map it out. ¬†Sit down and create a schedule for your blog, and a realistic one. ¬†Figure out which days of the week work best for you to publish blog posts. Make sure you work your blogging schedule around your work and/or life schedule, and don’t try to overwhelm yourself. ¬†Start out with a goal of posting 3 times a week and adjust the schedule as needed. Space the publishing days apart. For example, I post twice a week¬†–¬†once on Tuesdays and on Thursdays. I do this so I’m not scrambling on Monday morning to proofread and publish the post, I give myself the whole day on Monday to edit and revise. Then, I publish the post promptly on Tuesday morning.

Once you’ve got a set schedule down, you should start to create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is basically a calendar filled in with posts that you would like to publish on certain dates. ¬†I’ve found that having an editorial calendar helps keep me focused and motivated to post new content. There is a nifty plugin for WordPress called WordPress Editorial Calendar, which I installed for my blog and use it as a guide.

 How to Plan Content for Your Blog

Create Ideas from Previous Blog Posts

If you’re stumped on finding new ideas for your blog you can always read through your previous blog posts to gather ideas. Linking to other content within your blog will help boost your SEO (search engine optimization). So, if you decide to create a new blog post make sure to link the new blog post in any previous blog posts that apply. ¬†For example, in an older blog post I’ve written about using light boxes for product photography. ¬†I can then create a blog post about making a DIY light box and link it to the older blog post. This tactic helps me in 2 different ways. I was able to come up with a new blog topic and it will boost my SEO.

 

Do Weekly or Monthly Posts

Another good idea for a blog post is to do a weekly or monthly post that’s the same topic. For example, you could do a “monthly favorites” blog which you talk about all of your favorite new items for that month. Or you could also do a monthly goals post where you write out what your goals are for the month. I lay out my monthly earnings and goals¬†in my monthly¬†earning reports.

 

Publish Seasonal Posts

Seasonal posts are great when planning out your blogging schedule.  Examples of seasonal posts include a recipe for Christmas sugar cookies, or a blog about how you decorate for the holidays.  Seasonal posts do very well when it comes to getting traffic to your blog!  Make sure you fill in all of your seasonal posts on your editorial calendar before your regular content.

Browse Pinterest for Ideas

Pinterest is an excellent resource for finding inspiring content to blog about. ¬†Do a quick search on Pinterest for a topic that’s interesting and see what comes up! ¬†But, remember not to copy other bloggers work. Make sure that your blogs are 100% original.

 

Participate in Facebook Groups

Joining Facebook groups that are related to what your business is or what you blog about is a great idea for planning content for your blog.  Participate in some of the discussions and gather ideas from what people are talking about.  Also check the group rules to see if the admins allow posting blog posts to the group because that would be an excellent way to gain traffic to your blog!

 

Engage With Your Readers

At the end of the day we all have to remember that we are writing blogs for our readers. Sometimes the best blog writing ideas can come from your readers. Ask your readers to leave comments on your blogs or allow them to reach out to you for any questions.  This way you could spark some ideas for new blog topics.

Outline Your Blog Post Idea

Once you’ve found the perfect topic to write about, start by creating an outline for that blog. ¬†I always start out by writing my key points that I want to focus on,¬†then I write down ideas directly below that key point. ¬†I save the introduction and the ending paragraph for last because they are actually the hardest part for me to write! ¬†Take a look at my sample image below for how I establish my outline.

How to Plan Blogging Content

I hope this post has inspired you to create some awesome content for your own blog! What other ways do you find that helps you come up with ideas for blogs? I’d love to know! Let me know in a comment below ūüôā

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5 Things You Should Do Before You Start Blogging

5 Things You Should Do Before You Start Blogging

Hello and welcome back to my mini tutorial series titled How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Business. This is part 2 of the series which I will cover 5 things to do before you start blogging.  If you’re just jumping into this series hopefully you already have a website set up and WordPress installed. If not, start by learning how to create a blog for your Etsy business.

Setting up a blog can take as little as 10 minutes to do, but there are a few things that you may want to do before you start blogging.  This includes installing a theme, adding pages, and more!

If you’re interested in following along for the entire series, be sure to bookmark this page and check back every Tuesday and Thursday for an update to the series. Here is the curriculum:

Part 1 – How to Start a Blog for Your Etsy Business
Part 2 Р5 Things You Should Do Before You Start Blogging
Part 3 – How to Plan Content for Your Blog (coming soon)

Let’s get started, shall we?

Install a WordPress Theme
A theme on WordPress is basically a template that establishes the design and feel of your blog. The really cool thing about WordPress is that you technically don’t have to hire a fancy website designer. Well, you can if you want something truly custom, but most people can settle for using a free template that is available. You can browse the different available themes that are listed in the WordPress database.  To do this, go to Appearance>Themes.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

Once you‚Äôre on the Themes page select ‚ÄúAdd New‚ÄĚ.

From this screen, you can browse different themes that are available to install for free. You can click on the photo of the theme to view the details and preview the theme to see if you like it. To install the theme, click on the blue ‚ÄúInstall‚ÄĚ button. Once the theme installs click on ‚ÄúActivate‚ÄĚ.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

Sometimes you may not find a theme that you’re happy with through the WordPress database. If you’re looking for a different kind of style you can also search Google for WordPress themes. For example, I searched Google for “Free WordPress Themes” and eventually stumbled upon Olsen Light. ¬†Olsen Light is a modern chic WordPress theme that I like for my blog, and it’s available for free! ¬†To use this theme for my WordPress blog, I¬†click on “Download Now”. Once the files are finished downloading I’m going to upload the .ZIP file to my theme database. How do you do this? Go to Appearance>Themes and then click on “Add New”. ¬†Next, choose “Upload Theme” and you will be prompted to upload the .ZIP file.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

Click on “Install Now” and wait for the files to upload. ¬†Next, click on “Activate Theme”.

 

Customize Your Blog

Once you’ve installed the theme you would like to use, the next part is customizing your blog. To customize your blog go to Appearance>Customize.

You will see the customization menu to your left and a preview of your blog on the right. ¬†Each theme has different customization options, so if you’re using a different theme the menu may appear differently.

How to Customize a WordPress Theme

Go down the list options one by one and customize the site to your liking. You’ll be able to see a preview on the right hand side. ¬†Don’t forget to click “Save” when you’re done!

 

Add Pages

Whew, building a blog is kind of exhausting, isn’t it? We’re almost done! ¬†The next thing that you will want to do is add pages to your blog. ¬†You should create an “About” page at the very least, which should have a paragraph or two about you and your Etsy business. ¬†To add a new page to your blog, go to Pages>Add New.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

Next, enter the title of the page and the page content and click on “Publish”.

 

Edit Your Navigation

Now that you’ve established an About page let’s adjust your blog navigation. ¬†You’ll notice that pages aren’t automatically added to the navigation on your blog. ¬†To adjust the navigation links go to Appearance>Menus and choose to create a new menu.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

You can add links to your menu with the options presented on the left hand side. You can choose to add links from your pages, posts, custom links, or categories. ¬†To add your About page to your navigation choose your About page from the “Pages” option and click on “Add to Menu”. ¬†You will see that the page is now added to the Menu Structure on the right.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

I would also suggest adding a link to your Etsy shop. ¬†To do this, click on the “Custom Links” option and insert the URL of your shop page. ¬†Choose what you want the link text to say (something simple like “Shop Now”).

Once you’ve finished editing your navigation click on the blue “Save Menu” button. ¬†Wah-la! Your navigation should now be updated.

 

Install Analytics

The next thing that you’re going to want to do before you start blogging is install Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free program that you can place on your blog to track¬†the traffic coming and going from your blog. ¬†You can view reports and stats such as how many page views you’re getting and even where your readers are located! ¬†To sign up for Google Analytics go to¬†google.com/analytics¬†and choose to sign in with your Google account. ¬†Next, follow the prompts to sign up. The prompts are pretty straight forward.

Once you’ve created your account¬†you’re going to need to copy the tracking ID that was provided to you which usually starts with UA-.

Next, go back into your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins>Add New. ¬†Then search for “Google Analytics” in the search box. ¬†Next, install the Google Analytics plugin AND install¬†Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. ¬†Follow the prompts for the installs and enter your Google Analytics tracking ID when prompted.

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging 5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

When the plugins are installed and activated you can now to go your Dashboard and view the stats of your blog!

5 Things to Do Before You Start Blogging

And that’s it! Those are the 5 things that you should do (at the very least) before you start blogging! ¬†Do you have any questions or any other tips that you would like to add? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below ūüôā

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10 Product Photography Tips for Your Etsy Shop

10 Etsy Product Photography Tips

Having excellent photos for your product listings is probably the most important factor for getting consistent sales.  Since your customers are viewing your items on their computer, it is impossible for them to touch the items, judge their size, weight, etc.  So, it’s important that you capture this information through photographs and your items description.  Here are my top 10 Etsy product photography tips for your shop.

Use Crisp Photos

Taking photos from your smartphone is okay if they are properly edited afterward.  However, if you are using photos that are too small, too blurry, or too pixelated, this may affect your sales.  Avoid cropping your photos from a smartphone or computer (unless it is a very high resolution photo and cropping does not make the photo look pixelated).

Use All 5 Images Slots On Etsy

There’s no doubt that your first photo is very important, but you have to make sure that you have all 5 photo slots filled.  Why?  Because you want to WOW your potential buyers.  To do this you have to capture your item from different angles, how it looks in different lighting, etc.  Photos are the number 1 thing that convince customers to buy the product.

Use The Same Background and Photography Style

Using the same background for all of your images is essential for your brand.  Buyers like to see a uniform look of a sellers items, it shows that the seller is professional and cares about their brand.

Use Natural Light

When it comes to showing off the details of your items, the sun is your friend.  Try to use a natural lighting at all times.  Take your photos outside if possible.  Avoid using flash on your camera at all costs!  However, if you can’t seem to get natural lighting for your pictures, try the next step.

Use a Lightbox

To sum it up, a light box is a portable photography area that you can set up for taking photos of your products.¬† A light box is easy and inexpensive to make.¬† All it requires is a cardboard box, packing tape, some fabric, and portable lamps.¬† Search online for a ‚ÄúDIY light box‚ÄĚ, there are tons of tutorials out there! ¬†You can also purchase a light box on Amazon.com¬†(and remember, that’s a business expense!).

Use a Model

Do you sell jewelry?  Clothing?  Pet Collars?  Use a model (or a mannequin) to showcase how the item looks as it’s worn.  This way, potential customers can see the details of the item very easily, it makes it very easy for someone to judge the size of the item, length of the item, etc.  Using photos with a model display is a lot nicer than photographing the items on the floor.

Don’t Use Dark Backgrounds

Avoid having a dark background for your images, it’s not very appealing to the eye.  The goal is to have light reflect off of your item, and that’s not going to happen if you have a very dark background.  Also avoid using a background that is a similar color to your item.

Don’t Cut Out Backgrounds

Also avoid cutting out your backgrounds with a photo editing software such as Photoshop.  This is instantly noticeable and it’s very tacky looking.  Instead, try to focus on having a more natural background.

Don’t Use Watermarks on Your Images

As a creator or an artist on Etsy, it may seem tempting to watermark your images on Etsy.  After all, there are many people out there who like to copy others work.  However, I would not recommend using watermarks because watermarks get in the way of details of items, and they will also prevent you from being featured in offsite promotion programs such as Google Product Listing Ads.

Don’t Photograph Your Items on the Floor

Please, do not photograph your items as they are on the floor or in an area that may contain germs.  You will be surprised how quickly this will turn away a customer.  Always photograph your items on a flat surface that is clean and clutter free.

Product photography takes time and effort.  You will make mistakes, you might even re-do your photography style over and over until you find a right fit, but it’s important to have a professional photography brand that is unique to your shop in the end.

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