Thursday, August 30, 2012


I've been doing a lot of soul searching and trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to improve my shop and my Etsy experience in general.  In that process, I've been reading what I can find on the beaten-to-death subject of tweaking everything til blood shoots out your eyes or your head explodes.

Fortunately, I did learn a couple of new things.  We all knew that tweaking and getting good keywords to use in titles and tags, does makes a huge difference.  We all knew this.  The new thing I learned is they should exactly match to get the best results.  Whatever two-word keywords you use in your title, should be repeated exactly in your tags.  I also learned that shop activity helps.  Even if it's just freshening up your profile or shop policies.  Regular activity seems to help keep you from sinking to the bottom of the "I don't exist on Etsy" pit. 

I was gone for two weeks and not very active upon my immediate return from my trip.  My views tanked.  The past week or so, I've been very busy in my shop.  Listed a couple of items.  Rearranged my listings so that my first page looks more fitting for autumn.  Making treasuries and I even joined another team and became more active in another one I already belonged to.

My views immediately started going back up.  Then I had some little feature, I still haven't been able to find out where, that boosted my views even more for a couple of days. 


Another thing I noticed on one of the other teams I belong to is the nature of their discussions and team participation.  Relatively speaking, we have a very active discussion forum which is a huge asset for our team.  Fortunately, our team allows members to start threads.  Some teams do not allow this.  Only the team leader can post new discussions.  I understand the need for some control, but I think this is very limiting.  I love that we can all start threads.  It encourages, rather than inhibits member participation.  But I would love to see more members joining in.  I don't know how to do that.

We have some great promotional threads going.  Those are important to every team and to all members.  We need those.  The next level is to have discussions that engage members in conversations that are a little more helpful.  I've done that with a couple of posts about suggesting a new item to the shop above you and the tag game where we suggest tags to each other.  Kind of like brainstorming.  Some of the best ideas come out of brainstorm sessions and I've always known that two heads are better than one.

But it all comes back to activity.  The more activity, the more visible you are. 

So don't be afraid to jump in or suggest to someone you know on the team to come join the discussions.  The better our discussion threads are the more people participate.  The more people who participate, the better the quality of our discussions.  More ideas from more sources.  All for the good of the individual which then leads to the good of the team.  Or is it the other way around?

Doesn't matter.  Moving forward is what matters.  Moving forward, being active and remembering that there is always room for improvement. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

MONDAY CHALLENGE: Tweak, Tweak, Tweak

Let's All Dance
While We Sing (to the tune of "Shake Your Booty"):

Tweak Your Ti-tles
Tweak Your Ta-ags
Tweak, Tweak, Tweak
Tweak, Tweak, Tweak
Tweak Your Ti-tles
Tweak Your Ta-ags....

Etsy search is a joke challenge, to say the least. And as Sylvie has indicated, it can make your head explode trying to figure it out. But if you have been in our forum this past week, you may have read the informative posts about how to tag and title for relevancy in search. Because of the importance of this subject, I am repeating here, in part, the shared tips and experience of some of our members:

Stephanie of SquishyCouture:  I've tweaked my tags in the past few weeks and my views have drastically improved. Quite a few of my items are now in the first or second page for multiple searches. Plus I made two sales this week. This is exactly what I did: I threw all the rules out the window. Ok, not entirely true, but I just can't remember all the rules at the same time.

I just experimented. And really, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Once you do the first few and test to see that it works, the rest come much easier. Pick one listing. Do a search for it the way YOU would search. Then try it the way you think SHOPPERS will search. You can use to make this process MUCH faster. It tells you what page a specific listing shows up on for a specified search. (Just make sure statsy searching by relevancy, since that's Etsy's default.) One of my items didn't even show up in the first 25 pages so I changed my title, description and tags to have my specific search phrase. Update, wait a few minutes and voila! I jumped to the first page. BUT, I tried doing another listing with extremely similar title, description and keyword, and while it did bump me up several pages, it's still probably 4 or 5 pages in. Try optimizing similar items for different searches. You also need to be mindful of how saturated that search is. "Newborn photo prop" brings up thousands of listings, so no matter what I've tried, I can't get to the front of that. So I optimize for slightly more specific phrases like "newborn girl photo prop." First page.

In relation to what Robin said regarding repeating doesn't really work when you are optimizing a similar item for the same search. Etsy has some sort of formula for "spreading the wealth." I don't think it always works the way they intended because I often see one shop with a few listings per search page. I don't fight it, I just optimize similar items for different search phrases. (That's where backlinks are important!)

Also, Etsy search and Google search work differently. Google search DOES pull from the description, and it really dislikes repetition. So while you may bump your ranking in Google search, it might not make much of a difference on Etsy (though it shouldn't hurt either.) Optimizing for Google makes my brain hurt so I've focused on optimizing for Etsy.

Also, ADD BACKLINKS! That's where you include a link in your description back to your shop, or a specific section, or another item. This has helped me a lot! Look at it this way, you jumped the biggest hurdle of getting your item in front of them. Maybe they like your style, but it's not exactly what they want. Give them an easy way to find similar things. Or send them right to your shop so they can see everything you have to offer. People clicking on these links also helps your google standing. Supposedly it helps with relevancy too (along with hearts and treasuries) but to what extent, I don't know.

Sorry for the book, but that's the simplest way I can think to explain what I've done. By no means am I the hottest thing around, and there is much more to consider but I have seen a gigantic difference in my shop visibility. I figure I should start with the basics instead of not starting at all because I don't understand the rules. For those of you that have hundreds of listings...I know it's got to be ridiculously time consuming, but you can use (free) to batch edit your listings. Makes it much quicker.

Sylvie of AlbinaRose: I have also thought that item descriptions had something to do with relevancy, but they really don't.

... titles and tags matching is the big difference to being relevant or not...

Two word tags are SO important. And if you have those two word tags in your title it will make all the difference in the world in relevancy.

But they also have to be words that would be searched by buyers. Keep that in mind when selecting your keywords.

It's great if you use certain key words in your titles and tags and then search for those specific keywords. You definitely will be relevant in that search. But are those words that shoppers will use to find the kind of item you sell? That's what really matters in relevancy. Not whether we are relevant in our own searches when using our specific key words. Rather if we're relevant in buyers' searches when they punch in the words searching for an item. Views and stats will tell you if you are being found by shoppers.

Regular activity in your shop helps too. So listing, tweaking titles and tags, freshening up your policies, your profile, renewing...all help to keep you relevant.

Robin of WolfiesBindery:  Search engines weight the first two words in a title more heavily. This is universal, the Google search works the same way.I don't know if repeating the same two words in a title and tag will get you anywhere. Example: I can list 2 journals, use the exact same title, and tags and one will wind up on the first page of the relevant search the 2nd not anywhere to be found. Etsy's search engine is not capable of searching the entire listing... 

...If you use RED SQUIRREL in your tile you need to repeat RED SQUIRREL as one of your tags... experiment.

I went through some of my listings and simplified the Titles. Then I repeated combinations of words from the title, in the tags.


Title: Journal Lined Paper Large

Tags: Journal, Journal Lined, Journal Large, Large Journal, Lined Journal etc.

1-2 word tags seem to work best

Sounds too stupidly simple, but it seems to have worked. I went from "where is my stuff" to listings in first 15 pages.

There's no magic bullet, but this might help.

Sheri of SheriBeryl:  ...your tags need to mirror all of the keyword phrases in your titles...

Joy of thecraftfrog:  ...a couple of people suggested that Etsy takes the first 3 words of your title. If your title is Crochet Blue Dog Purse, then the relevant part of that is Crochet Blue Dog. When someone is looking for a purse, they are less likely to be looking for something crocheted specifically, and purse doesn't even register- which means that this is probably not going to be anywhere close to the top of the search. If, instead, you went with Blue Dog Purse Crochet, or Blue Purse Dog Crochet, or something else like that... You're going to be more likely to show up near the top as "relevant."

Also, I think this has been discussed here before, the Etsy's tags don't deal with partial terms for search. So if someone puts in "Ballet slippers" and you have "Ballet Slipper," they're not going to come up with your result. This may or may not bring up a "no results found, so we searched for this close thing instead," I spent some time playing around with it and the results were pretty mixed.

Thank you all for sharing!

Our challenge this week is to tweak your titles, tweak your tags.... and...

...shake your booty...

all the way to page one of search!

 Cap'n Kathi

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Self Discipline...

Something we usually need to accomplish goals we set for ourselves.  Something I am sorely lacking in.

I live with two very self-disciplined people.  My hubby and our youngest son (who should be moving out soon!).  Both were serious and accomplished athletes and students.  Both work out on a regular basis, whether they feel like it or not.  Both are very focused individuals.  And then there's me.

Without a structured schedule, I tend to meander through the day, moving from one unfinished task to another.  I still manage to keep my house under control somewhat.  But my studio!!  That's another story all together.

Right now on my desk, crowding me, is a stack of small pieces of fabric, next to two crochet books.  Sitting on top of the crochet books is a stack of felt I fully intend to use to make some hand embroidered cuffs.  On top of the felt is a salad bowl, with delica beads, a crocheted rag cuff and all the embellishments I plan to sew onto the cuff.  And my camera is sitting precariously on top of the felt next to the bowl.  Along with some instructional DVDs I do plan to watch sometime and the TV remote and a book on bead sizes etc, that I KNOW I need to have at hand for quick reference.  I think it has been 6 months since I looked at it.  That's just on my left.

To the right, is a small finger bowl with an assortment of beads, next to that a spool of thread and a stack of papers with the descriptions of the handmade bags from the Ubushobozi Cooperative in Rwanda that I plan to list when I set up their Etsy shop.  Next to that is a little stack of catalogs I keep to go through to keep up with trends and color inspirations.  Somewhere in there are my embroidery scissors, more beads scattered around, some invoices...I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

So this huge 80 inch wide desktop (really a door sitting on top of sawhorse trestle legs) is now narrowed down to 24 usable inches, just enough for my huge monitor and my keyboard. 

I am now at the point where I need to clear off and organize my things.  And the whole process of clutter will start all over again.

Clutter paralyzes me when it comes to work.  So why do I allow it to creep in?  I have no idea.  It's just how I operate.  But if I want to make this little business of mine work, I think I need to work on being more disciplined.  Under pressure or with a deadline, it's easy for me to get things done.  Like cleaning house when company is coming.  I hate housework.  With a passion.  So I do as little as I can to get by.  Then when we're going to have houseguests, I pull out all the stops and get the job done.   But it's a HUGE job at that point.

Same with my business.  No problem getting custom orders out or bulk orders that have a deadline.  But to just get something done to list in my shop...I have so many little unfinished items scattered through my studio, it's ridiculous.

Today, I'm going to do something about that.  Well, maybe tomorrow.  Because right now I have to go vaccuum, dust and mop.  That's right!!!  Company coming tonight...  :) 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Teamie

Today's Tuesday Teamie is someone we all know and love. And although he will probably not be happy to be in the spotlight, he certainly deserves the recognition!

Besides impeccable craftmanship with his beautiful leather work, he is a delight to know, has a great sense of humor, and is a very caring, sincere and honest man. If you know him, you have guessed by now that our Tuesday Teamie is 

From Greg's About Page:

Creating to fill a need and the need to create.

I'm a mason by trade but have many interests which I often feel are impinged on by my real job. The downturn in the economy in recent years brought the construction industry to a virtual halt and my regular job became an irregular job. My foray into the world of Etsy is the result.

My first attempt at working with leather was a number of years ago when I desperately needed a new tool bag for my masonry tools. Masons' tool bags are traditionally made of canvas with a leather bottom. The one I made was all leather with external slide-in pockets for a two foot level and brick spacing rulers. My self taught endeavors in leatherwork expanded as coworkers' requests and my own needs inspired further attempts at designing and constructing a variety of functional leather goods.

I am driven by the need to create and there is nothing more fulfilling than when my creations are desired and appreciated.

Greg Patt
owner, designer, maker
And how could you not desire and appreciate his beautiful work!

'We Treasure WoodBoneandStone'

Our Tuesday Teamie

Deerskin leather e-reader sleeve. - WoodBoneAndStone
Little mahogany calfskin wallet. - WoodBoneAndStone
Steer horn braided over with red and brown leather. - WoodBoneAndStone
Leather bib necklace inlaid with tigereye stone beads. - WoodBoneAndStone
Black leather cap. - WoodBoneAndStone
Leather hammer holster with security strap. - WoodBoneAndStone
Tan calfskin clutch wallet. - WoodBoneAndStone
Brown suede lined leather smartphone case with belt loop. - WoodBoneAndStone
Jade green croc embossed leather clutch purse. - WoodBoneAndStone
Leather belt with edge braiding and center applique braiding. - WoodBoneAndStone
Leather laptop computer case / sleeve. - WoodBoneAndStone
Dark brown leather messenger bag. - WoodBoneAndStone

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Challenge: The What Is It

Getting buyers into our shops is our number one priority. But as each Etsy category becomes overly saturated, it becomes more difficult to be found. It is a given that good photos entice buyers, but that is not enough. Good products and product photos abound - the competition is tough - so how do we get buyers into OUR shops as opposed to the competition's?

1) Every shop needs a What Is It

What IS a What Is It? When I first opened shop, getting views was difficult. After all, buyers had seen it all before; there were sooooo many shops filled with the same type items. And of course, the more items in a shop, the more views. At the time, I had about 10 items and was getting no views.  So, I added a What Is It, and the views started coming. They were curiosity views, but they accomplished their mission. Buyers were seeing my shop. And as a matter of fact, the first thing I sold was my What Is It? (thank you, Michele)

Here is my What Is It, in all its sad little glory:

My listing read:

What Is It?
In a nutshell, its a nutshell! These are black walnut shell halves. If you're not familiar with the walnut, it is almost impossible to crack the shell without running over the nuts with a car! But the squirrels crack them into perfect halves, remove the nut, and discard the shells. Look closely and you will see they have a perfect little heart shape in the middle. They also look like little owl faces to me. My son thinks they look like nostrils!!!
I pick these up from under the walnut trees and have used them for glass vase fillers, and have also put them in terrariums. I have about a dozen left.

Anyhoot, If you have some creative idea on how to use them, they are yours! This is probably the last of the walnuts until Fall.

And.... I will relist these again in the Fall!

So, I'm challenging you to create (or pick up out of the yard) a What Is It and list it in your shop. It should be something unique. Something that will arouse the buyer's interest and make them do a doubletake. Something that will get buyers into YOUR shop and not the competition's! While there, they will see the beautiful handmades you carry.

2) Cross Over Into Another Category

You make bags. All your listings go into the Bags category. So, only buyers searching for Bags will see your bags. Imagine if you could get all the buyers searching for jewelry to also see your Bags? And the buyers searching for bath items, baby goods, art? Because even though they are NOT specifically searching for bags doesn't mean they wouldn't buy a bag. Right?

So how do you do this?  Your interest and expertise lies in making bags - you don't do bath, baby, jewelry or art.  Ahhhh..... but maybe you do!  You could create a bath-related bag, a baby bag, an artsy bag, a jewelry bag. Then you have the benefit of listing in a different category. And all the buyers searching for bath, baby, jewelry and art WILL see your bags. By crossing over into another category, you increase your chances for views and finding new customers!

3) Be On-Trend

I don't know about you, but I am not one to follow trends. I don't care if something is trendy or not and trendiness does not influence my buying habits. But, a lot of people are trend-followers. And trend-followers spend a lot of money shopping. They have to  - to keep up with the latest got-to-have-it!

As much as it would pain some of us (me) to create something just because it is trendy, it could have a positive effect on shop views. We do not have to fill our shops with trendy items. We don't even have to sell the trendy item we create. But having a trendy item listed might bring in customers who would not otherwise shop with us.  Then, they would be introduced to our made-with-love items!

So, if you haven't already, add a chevron or feather (if these are still trendy) to your next bag. Next necklace. To your glass art or woodwork. Who knows? The trend-following crowd may bombard your shop with sales.

No offense meant to any trend-setter or trend-follower:)

Summing it up, our challenge for the week is to experiment with ways to increase shop views. I have presented you with my ideas, let's hear yours! Comments and discussion in this thread.

 Cap'n Kathi