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Anyone struggling on Etsy?

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Initial post: Feb 17, 2012 3:49:01 AM PST

I don't know about you but I find that individual shops and products get a bit lost on Etsy as there is so much on there.
I'm just working on a new website working in much the same way as Etsy but featuring only a limited number of companies so that their products really get noticed. If anyone fancies finding out more or featuring on it give me a shout.

Posted on Feb 19, 2012 5:54:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2012 5:55:12 AM PST
Saraswati says:
Hello Rosie!

I put my work (kiln-fired clay bead jewelry) on Etsy about 3 years ago and found it much as you have. I didn't sell one piece of work there. Jewelry especially gets lost almost instantly in the deluge of other work being listed constantly. I was told that the only way to get your work noticed on Etsy is to re-list it every day, which can be time-consuming and expensive. I didn't have the time or the extra money to do that, so I gave up on Etsy after 3 months. I'm now on ArtFire and am having better luck, but it still seems that I haven't found my "niche". Selling ceramic jewelry is a bit tricky - do I list it with ceramics and pottery or with jewelry? Years ago I sold my work in galleries and through professional craft organizations, and am very new to online marketing. I would be very interested in learning more about your ideas.

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 12:09:33 AM PST
jannert says:
Interesting to read about your experiences.

I have two friends who sell via Etsy; accordingly, I visit the site fairly often, and I have bought a few things from the sites. However, I am NEVER able to find their products without entering the specific addresses they give me into the search engine. Browsing using their name, or the name of their products into the search does NOT produce results. It's as if they don't exist. I trawl through literally hundreds of products, some similar, some not (!) before giving up.

Imagine if you went to Amazon and put 'book' into the search box, hoping that the book you actually want will eventually turn up.

I really think Etsy needs to re-think its search facility, making it work more like Amazon's or eBay's. If you put the name of a specific artisan and/or a particular product into the Search box, it should appear! How hard can that be?

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 5:06:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2012 8:13:28 AM PST
Saraswati says:
I agree Jannert. Before deciding to sell my work at ArtFire I had done a lot of research comparing ArtFire with Etsy. What I found was many people complaining about Etsy. Most of the complaints had to do with the fact that Etsy has gotten so huge that its become virtually impossible for new artists to get noticed. Other complaints were about the listing process, as well as the fact that a lot of people selling mass-produced items are now listing on Etsy. Based on my own experience and what I've read about that of others, Etsy is quickly losing credibility among professional craftspeople.

I actually just did a test using my own shop on ArtFire and its the same there as on Etsy. No matter how I searched it I found nothing. However, I can search it in Google and it will take me right to my ArtFire shop. ArtFire is also set up so that someone can search for key words in Google that match those in your item descriptions and your shop will come up in the search results. Its not perfect, but ArtFire is always trying to improve it features and accepts suggestions from their artists. I've gotten many more hits in just one month than in the 3 months I was at Etsy where I got zero.
Your reply to Saraswati's post:
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Posted on Apr 18, 2012 5:13:46 PM PDT
Kay says:
If you know SEO basics it makes a huge difference on Etsy. I try to help people whenever I can. I just opened my 3rd shop there. I wrote an ebook on this from the encouragement of people on the Etsy forum but I don't want to get in trouble for posting it.

A few SEO tweaks can make a huge difference in getting seen on Etsy

I will say though that jewelry is a very flooded market. You have to have something really unusual to stand out.


Posted on Apr 20, 2012 2:39:30 AM PDT
Beadgirl says:
I love to shop on Etsy, and have posted jewelry there twice. Good pics, lots of tags so my stuff can be found...but zero sales. Very depressing. I think that Etsy is just so HUGE that it't hard to be found! There are THOUSANDS of jewelry sellers there! THat's tough competition. My theories are this: the people that buy advertising on Etsy get seen more, as do people who are on the "street teams" - groups that promote each other's work. Everything I've read says to post something for sale at least daily, to increase your chances of being seen in the "newly added" display that runs all the time. Also, a book I"m currently reading about Etsy says you pretty much need to use Facebook, TWitter, AND have a jewelry blog to make you visible enough to be found. Um, yeah. For me, jewelry making is a hobby, and I thought I'd sell some stuff to basically justify all the money I spend on beads. :) But there seem to be people making a career out of Etsy, and put in some pretty serious hours to market themselves, and that's not me. ALso, when I found Etsy a few years back, it was all handmade stuff. Now, people sell "vintage" stuff from flea markets, stuff they clearly did NOT make, and stuff that frankly is crap and called "art" (come on- gluing a doll head to a stick? seriously?) that has, in my opinoin, made the sit less legitimate. If I want supplies, I'll go to a supply website. I went to Etsy for the ART. I've been thinking about trying again, but not sure it's worth the time to post stuff. I'm not devoting my life to it, the economy sucks, and it's just depressing when nothing sells. :/

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 11:02:06 AM PDT
E. Shott says:
I think it's hard to compete on etsy with the 'professionals'... not that I'm not, but there are people that seem to be an entire store versus me trying to sell some of my hand knitted items. I work full time, knit for myself and take orders, so I don't have hours and hours to spend 'promoting' myself on there. It is huge and I feel everything gets immediately lost.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 11:48:58 AM PDT
Kay says:
E. Shott if you give the link to your Etsy store I will give you some easy tweaks to do to get more views.


Posted on Jul 5, 2012 12:44:04 AM PDT
Sassy21w says:
Hi this is directed to Kay, can you list one of your sites links or (not sure if you can do that on here as I'm new to this) Can you send me a message. I would like to get some of the info you have on SEO, please.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 1:30:28 PM PDT
K. Jolly says:
Hi Kay,
My name is kimmie, I'm new to the online selling market. I'm getting ready to signup to do selling my wares (jewelry,paintings,ceramics,...etc.)
since I also don't want you to get into trouble for posting anything you shouldn't can you contact me on my yahoo address I use for art related content. Thanks in advance for your help.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 2:15:41 PM PDT
Kay says:
I don't think they will let me list a link. Let me try giving you my email addy and you can email me.

Would be glad to help you!


Posted on Jul 5, 2012 2:23:47 PM PDT
Kay says:
I just want to say to all that think Etsy is too big and you cannot make it on there. You really can! I just opened my third store and have had 51 sales in two months on my second store. The crochet field is very crowded and people told me I would never sell. Well the proof is in the pudding! I just opened yet another store a few days ago and it has 1 sale. It really can be done but you must be passionate about what you do, have good pictures, quality items and great SEO. While I do use social networking (and just started a special page for anyone to promote their items) I do not do it daily. I use Facebook a couple times per week, pinterest about 4 times a month and I have a blog. I never use Twitter. You do not have to sit on the computer all day to be successful on Etsy. I also do not make treasuries and the only team I am on is the SEO team to help other people. I am a big believer in giving back.

If you use good SEO that is 80 percent of the battle to get seen. It really is simple stuff.


Posted on Jul 14, 2012 8:52:28 PM PDT
I've been on Etsy since 2007, I'm in one of those "list something every day" teams and I feel lost, too. Arabesque Arts By Darcy or arabesque dot arts at gmail dot com.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 4:30:52 AM PDT
Kay says:
Hi Darcy

Is it okay if I put a few suggestions here using your Etsy store as an example? That way people can see what I am talking about. But I would like your permission first. Your Etsy store is very typical of what I see when I help people so its a good example to use :)


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 5:52:27 AM PDT
Hi Kay
Can you give me some tips on how to get seen better. My sales have gone way down since Etsy changed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012 4:21:09 PM PDT
Please do give a few suggestions with my store as an example! My shop has been open since 2007 and I've made changes in fits and starts.
I'm discouraged on Etsy (and in this economy). I've been thinking of opening a shop on Goodsmiths dot com just because it's supposed to be all handmade and I'm tired of competing against "charm on a chain" sellers.
I don't know if my problems are just ignorance of SEO or using the wrong website for my handmade products or a mixture of things.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012 6:27:27 PM PDT
Kay says:
Thanks so much Darcy! Please know I am in no way "beating up" on you. Your mistakes are the most common ones I see every day. That is why I wanted to use your store as an example here.

Okay step one is Darcy's store announcement. The first two sentences are very important as they are your "meta description" for search engines to find your shop. The first two sentences should be keywords of what you are making and selling. Darcy made a common mistake by starting hers with information that says nothing about what she makes or sells in her shop.

This is how Google/Yahoo etc see her shop

<meta name="description" content="All my items are designed and handmade by me. Who else would spend the time and effort to design and make these things and try to make a" >

First what items?? What are they? What does this store sell? Second NEVER write something negative especially in your store announcement! (ie who else would spend the time and effort etc) Think of yourself as a customer. If you searched Google and you got the above would you click to see the store?
Probably not.

Instead write something like this:

Beautifully handmade paper bookmarks and hand sculpted fantasy jewelry. etc etc. Im in a rush but you get the point. If you don't believe in your own items why should anyone else?

Okay next is section names. These are your meta keywords for search engines. Again use keywords for section names to get your items found.

Here is how Darcy's looks to search engines right now

<meta name="keywords" content="bead embroidered jewelry, jewelry, bookmarks fantasy, bookmarks nature, bookmarks words, bookmarks other, wall art, custom, special prices" >

Some of these are way too vague. Custom what? What kind of jewelry?. Especially with jewelry you must be very specific because there are so many jewelry listings on Etsy. (for example woodland jewelry, vintage jewelry, steampunk jewelry, fantasy jewelry)

For the bookmark sections you need to write it like someone would put it in a search engine. Instead of "bookmark fantasy" it should be "fantasy bookmark" "nature bookmark" because that makes sense and reads naturally.

Product Titles

Again Darcy made a common mistake that I see a lot. Here is one of her titles.

Carnelian Sunset Bead Embroidered Necklace FREE SHIPPING

Number 1 NEVER EVER put "FREE SHIPPING" in your product titles. This will get you booted from Google Shopping and get you very low rankings. Google is very specific that they do not want "free shipping" in the title or even the product description. It has to go in your shipping/and or policy page. Most of the people that complain they don't show in Google shopping is because they have free shipping in their titles. Google wont tell you they booted you out, they will just boot you. If you keep doing it they will give you a lifetime ban.

Second mistake is using terms the average customer doesn't know in a title. In this example she uses Carnelian. I suspect not many know what that is. Use common terms that average people use. Color is a good keyword to use in a title but I am not sure that people will realize "sunset" equals dark red or maroon. Be specific!

A better title would probably be

Red Beaded Embroidered Necklace Pendant

Lots of nice keywords there. But use the Google Keyword tool to find your best keywords.

Okay I have probably overloaded you so I will let that sink in and do more later.

Thanks so much Darcy!

Next we will go over product descriptions, tags etc.

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 10:22:15 PM PDT
Oh, yikes! I heard about that "free shipping" problem and forgot to search my shop for that, at least in the titles. Deleted that from all titles. It's in the graphic image for each bookmark package, and I doubt Google can search images.
"Free shipping" is a big feature of the bookmark packages. Can I write in the description that Google will penalize the search if I say that shipping is done without money? :) I rephrased it to say that "shipping is on me."
Kay, having "free shipping" only in the shipping/policy page is a huge problem. Can you guess how many buyers check those? You don't control Google, of course. Wish you did!
I guess some of my decisions are based on Etsy policies, Etsy shopper behavior that I have learned about, Etsy search techniques, instead of Google policies. And the Etsy info has changed over the years and I haven't tweaked everything yet.
Great suggestions so far, Kay, and I've meade some changes. I do have a question for a later post.

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 10:41:31 PM PDT
I realize that there are links in my shop links that lead to info about Google SEO and how your page or shop looks in Google, but I just figured I would get to the new stuff later.....and this is certainly later. I could have checked Etsy's own info on SEO earlier!
Google last cached the webpage of my shop (?) July 2, so my changes to the shop announcement, per your suggestions, have not been updated in Google. Looking for info on how to get Google to crawl my shop again soon.
Still need to ask that question... later!

Posted on Jul 17, 2012 9:56:00 AM PDT
Kay says:
Hi Darcy

I have a few items that are free shipping so I just put "Postage is included in the price"

I think many Etsy sellers do not give customers enough credit. Customers can see that the shipping field is showing 0.00 for cost and they know that means free shipping. Most customers always look to see what the shipping fee is right on the listing in the shipping field.

You cannot "make" Google crawl your shop but don't worry they will.

Keep in mind too that all of these tweaks are good for Etsy, Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.

But since Google shopping is a fairly big deal I do talk about their specific rules. In general they are good rules for everyone because they keep product listings looking classy and professional. They also do not allow unnecessary punctuation, symbols (&*(!) etc.

Product descriptions should always be written in full sentences with punctuation and correct grammar. Always leave spaces between paragraphs so they are easier to read. It helps to restate the title but into a full sentence. Sentences need to make sense. Many try to game the system and keyword stuff and write sentences that make no sense because they are so over keyword stuffed.

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 7:30:34 AM PDT
Laura Jean says:
I have tried selling on Etsy but with so much stuff on there I don't think any of my items got noticed. I didn't sell one thing. I also tried selling on Yardsellr and eBay and nothing sold there either. I make plastic canvas projects. I just wish there were certain sites where certain crafters can go and sell their items. Or have one site that allows you to look for certain projects. If Etsy would revamp their site to have categories, I think alot of people would be able to sell their items...the categories they have right now are no good, hardly any.

Posted on Jul 25, 2012 4:05:23 AM PDT
Care to take on another shop crit?

thanks in advance and no worries if you can't just thought i'd ask.
I'm not sure I have a handle eon SEO!

jes/ mosey handmade

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2012 4:51:01 AM PDT
Kay says:
Hi Jes

Beautiful shop! Love your stuff.

Here is how search engines see your store announcement

<meta name="description" content="Mosey Handmade is an eco- freindly company that specializes in Waldorf Inspired Birthday crowns, party favors and Wooden Toys. We work with all natural"

First off notice the spelling error? And the extra space? I would tweak this and get these first two sentences more tailored to what you make and sell and put the rest further down. For example:

Specializing in Waldorf children's birthday crowns, personalized buntings/banners, children's birthday party favors, wooden signs (etc etc)

I would get rid of all the cute hearts and other symbols you use in your product descriptions. Those are against Google Shopping Rules.

Also remember to use write with proper sentence structure in your descriptions. Capitalize the first letter of a sentence etc.

Customers rarely read listings as long as yours. Make those first two sentences of a description count!

For example this:

Introducing our NEW & Improved Cherry Blossom Crown!
We've updated our ribbon to a much softer and thicker woven ribbon.

To this:

New & improved cherry blossom pink personalized waldorf children's birthday crown! Now made with softer and thicker ribbon.

See how I make it more descriptive with more keywords?

Your tags needs some tweaking. Pretend is probably a waste of a tag. "personalized crown" "waldorf crown" "girls crown" "tea party crown"

Try to make some of your tags match words in the title.

On your titles put your best keywords first.

From this:

Waldorf birthday crown - boys birthday - magical castle

To this:

Boys Castle Waldorf Birthday Crown

Now I had no idea what "Waldorf" means or that it was a crown. My gut feeling is probably most of your customers would not use Waldorf. But since you are using it a lot I have to assume you researched it and this is what people search for?? If you haven't already use the Google Keyword tool and see if that is really a good keyword.

Sometimes we all over think things. Sometimes simple is best. Try to think like a customer and what they would put in search to find your items. I am thinking a lot will put "kids birthday crown" or "personalized birthday crown" but I have not researched this.

Posted on Jul 25, 2012 5:02:59 AM PDT
thank you SO much for taking the time, this is all a real eye opener.
Waldorf is a type of nature based education and many people use wool flet birthday crowns, but i wonder if it limits us to waldorf parents rather than opening the birthday crowns up to all kinds of families?...
Thanks again for all the thoughtful tips!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2012 6:19:30 AM PDT
Kay says:
You are so welcome Jes!

Now see I had no idea that was what Waldorf meant :) I thought it was a type of crown.

Be sure and run it thru that Google Tool and see if it is a good keyword to use.

Your items are just lovely!

Oh also one more thing. With all the recent changes to Etsy search I now also recommend that everyone pay attention to what Etsy now "recommends" when you start typing in search. Hard to explain in type but notice how now when you type in Etsy search it fills it in for you. That is because those are the biggest search terms people are using which is a great clue to what keywords people should use.

And because of all the recent changes there are lots of bugs right now. Be sure to put your shop name on at least a few listings as a tag so people can find you. This was also recommended by Etsy admin because of the current shop bugs.

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Initial post:  Feb 17, 2012
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