Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Using Facebook Fan Page To Increase Business

Yesterday I talked about how to create a Facebook Fan Page. Today I am discussing ways to use your Fan Page to bring more traffic to your shop. I am sure that you have all read or heard that the way to get more fans is to be engaging. But what does that really mean. I will tell you what it does not mean.

If you bombard your fans with links to your shop over and over again day after day eventually you will be advertising to the crickets. No one likes to see someone post 10 new items right in a row. Your fans will either drop you completely or "hide" you from their view. Another thing that fans hate is having links constantly posted on their wall. You know who else hates this? Facebook. They will take action against your account and not allow you the privilege to post for a few days or they will completely delete your account for you.

Being engaging means being human. Share parts of your life with your fans. They like to see the human side to you. Mention what project you are working on today and ask your fans what they are doing. I rarely post links to my shop on my status. On occasion when I write a fun blog I will put a link to it. Sometimes when I am featured in a treasury I will link to it. But mostly I try to be just your average Joe talking about the weather.

I do have a Etsy "tab" that contains my entire shop. You can get this from going to the Facebook link under your Promote section on your account page and following the directions. I really don't think it has done much for me but it is there. My fans know I have a shop on Etsy and that is quite good enough.

Most of my Etsy traffic from Facebook comes from me posting photo albums. When I start a new line or just once a week I will put up a new photo album with 5 to 10 pictures in it. In the description of each photo I put a link to the item. I am never pushy about it, I just say "Available at: Link" and it seems to be just enough. In other words don't force it. Let the traffic come naturally.

Getting more fans is the part most people struggle with. The first milestone is the first 25 fans. Here is where you ask your friends and family and post on your teams and blog about it and Tweet about it. After your first 25 fans you can claim a custom username that shortens your address(see yesterday's blog post about this) After you have your custom username it is time to get more fans. The more fans you can get the better chance that you'll get a customer out of it.

Here are a few ways to get more fans.
1. Be useful - Offer something useful to your fans such as all Facebook Fans will receive 10% off this month.
2. Offer a giveaway - Don't have a contest, Facebook is pretty specific on how you have a contest. Offer a giveaway at x amount of fans.
3. Advertise on Facebook - This can get expensive very quickly so be cautious. I am sure you've seen the "create an advert" box on the side of your screen. If you are not sure you can convert the fans to sales it might not be a good option.
4. Be friendly - Don't talk about religion, politics or controversial topics. Save that for your profile page. If you offend someone they will drop you like a hot potato and never think twice.
5. Keep it Rated G to Rated PG - This means your language and your pictures. Need I say more?
6. Post your Link - Many of the pages I Like allow a thread once a week to post my shop link. Try to refrain from posting your link just out of the blue on random pages. This could get you in trouble.
7. Like Pages - If you are logged in as a page, you can like other people's Fan Pages. Like pages that are within your industry. Follow the rules above though, if you like a controversial page or a page that is not PG then you can lose fans.
8. Engage others - be part of conversations. Like other people's comments. Share your experiences.
9. Timing is Everything - Try and figure out when your fans are most active and make your posts then. If you post at 3am many people will never see your post.
10. Be consistent - But don't be a robot. Post around the same time each day. Post every day if you can. But don't post the same stuff all the time. Mix it up.

I hope this helps some. I did not get to everything I had planned to talk about today so, I will continue my Facebook series tomorrow. In the meantime let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Facebook Fan Pages For Your Shop

Facebook Page Creation
If you do not have a Facebook fan page you might be missing out on hundreds or thousands of potential customers. You may already have a Facebook profile page which is different than a fan page. Profiles have some limitation such as you are only able to have 5,000 friends. A fan page can have millions of fans. Let's say for now that you already have a Facebook profile.

To create a fan page, make sure you are logged in and go to You should see the image above. Note that there are several categories to choose from. If you plan to one day open a Brick and Mortar business you may want to choose "Local Business or place" but most of you will just want to maintain an online shop so I would go with "Company, organization or institution." By clicking on the image a drop-down list shows up. More than likely you'll want to select "Retail and consumer merchandise." Type in the name of your business after selecting the category and sub category, then check the box saying you have read the Facebook Page terms. Of course, I strongly recommend that you read this now because you have some important Do's and Don'ts that will make your life easier in the long run if you understand. Then click "Get Started"

Now the fun begins. The first step is to upload a picture. This is what everyone will see when you comment on a post, write something on your wall, etc. I strongly suggest using the same picture as the one that you use for your Etsy or ArtFire avatar. This will help to build brand awareness and will help your shoppers to recognize you. After uploading, click "Continue."

In this step you'll be able to send an invite to all of your friends on your personal profile page. When you click the "Invite friends" button a list of all your friends will pop up. There is a check box by each friend. Clicking the check box will send an invite to them. If there are those that you do not wish to invite, just leave the check box blank. You can also pick contacts out of your email to send an invite. You also have two check boxes that you can click if you want to post a link on the wall of your profile and to "Like" the page from your profile. Remember if you "Like" the page it will be shown on your wall too. Once you are done, click "Continue."

The next step is pretty self explanatory. You are entering in the basic information of your company. Write as much or as little as you wish. I would suggest writing as much info as you can. You want to include website addresses, email, history, mission, etc. The more information the better. People like to know who they are buying from. After you get done with the setup, you are ready for the next step: Getting your first 25 fans so that you can get a custom username instead of the long string of numbers you page has at the beginning.

So, if you have a blog it is time to write a new blog post about your new fan page. If you have a Twitter account it is time to tweet about your new fan page. Be sure to add a link in your email signature. I would hold off on putting anything into print such as business cards until you have your custom URL in place. If you are on a forum and can put links in your signature, that is another good place to get started. If you are on Teams on Etsy there is more than likely a thread devoted to sharing your fan pages. Be sure to post in all of the teams that it is appropriate to do so. Some teams do not allow this so be sure you know the rules.

Tomorrow I will be discussing how to set up your custom username and ways to market your shop through your Facebook fan page. If you have any questions about how to start your fan page please leave a comment and I will answer if I can. If you know someone who would benefit from my blog feel free to share it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Understanding Stats Part 1: Direct, Referral, and Organic.

Before I delve into this week's articles on Facebook fan pages and Twitter I need to explain a few concepts. These concepts are repeated over and over again from Etsy Stats to Google Analytics. These are Direct traffic, Referring Sites and Organic Searches. We'll use Google's definitions as a base.

Direct traffic is defined as having no referring site, meaning there is no way to track where that traffic came from. Someone might be going to your page through a bookmark or favorite set within their browser. They may also have typed the address into their address bar in their browser. They could have also clicked on a link from their email that did not have a reference tag set in it. Or it could be a link from a PDF or Word Document. Basically it means that for one reason or another there is not a way to track where that person came from.

A referring site is when someone clicks on a link from a website. If you were to put a link to your Etsy shop on your Facebook page and someone clicked on it that would show up as Facebook being a referral. The same thing applies when someone clicks on a Twitter link or a link in a blog. If it can be traced to a site it will fall under a referring site. These are generally static links and are sometimes called backlinks. They really help with your SEO and Google Ranking.

Organic is when someone finds you without an ad or a link to your site from another site. Most of the time it is when someone finds you by typing words into a search engine and your site comes up as one of the results. This is the best kind of traffic to have. It means that someone was looking for something you have and they found you. The more relevant your site or shop or page is the better chance you will be found through organic means.

Having your Facebook fan page and Twitter handle found through organic means is one of the best things you can have. It is quite difficult to be found this way because so few people utilize the search features in Facebook and Twitter. Most all of your fans and followers will be ones who were referred to you. For the next few articles I will go into more detail about how to get more fans to your Facebook page and what kinds of fans are the best to have. If you have questions you'd like answered please leave them in the comments so I can address them. (If you are reading this in your email rather than on the blog please feel free to email me your questions at )

Friday, August 26, 2011

How To Build Your Brand

If you want to move from a hobby to a business you'll need to build your brand. A brand helps to set you and your shop apart from everyone else. Branding your shop is far easier to do from the very beginning than in the middle of the game. It is never too late to start building your brand.

Choose your name carefully. Pick something easy to remember and easy to spell. Cute variations of a word or a made up word can really make it difficult to find. Be sure to check the availability not only for your Etsy Shop or your ArtFire Studio. Check to see if the Gmail name is available, check for the Twitter username, check Facebook and by all means check to see if the website name is available. You may also want to check for Blogger as well.

Even if you are not ready to move forward with Twitter or a website, register all of them anyway. It is a lot easier to put up a "Coming Soon" sign than it is to try and buy the domain from someone else. The amount of consistency between the different places you will potentially be found will help to build a solid brand. Register as many other social media networks that you can all at once. Including Flickr and even MySpace if you think it will get the word out.

Try to tie in your logo and/or banner with everything that you do. If you have trouble with graphic arts there are plenty of people around that can help out like Curious Crow Creative. She made all of my banners and avatars for my Shop on Etsy and my Studio on ArtFire. She has both pre-made sets and she does custom work. You want a visitor to recognize that they are on one of your pages by the look and feel. Make sure you use the same color schemes and fonts on all sites that allow for customization.

Even if you do not think that you are going to become a full time business it is still important and profitable to have consistency throughout all your sites and pages. You never know when you will change your mind to become full time. Social media changes a lot too so when a new, potentially useful social media starts, go register your username there, even if you end up never using it, no one will be able to have your username and pretend to be you.

Starting your branding in the middle of the game isn't impossible but you may have to be creative. If your username is already taken or the web address is taken or any of the places you want to brand do not have your name available you can try adding words or using initials. Say for instance if MarketMyShop wasn't available for Twitter I could have used EricMMS or MMShop or the like. I would still maintain consistency to a degree. Fortunately I did a lot of research before I chose my name and made the final choice based on the availability on all platforms I chose to use.

One final note, some search engines are now adding parsed web addresses to their search algorithm. Meaning that if someone were to search "How to market my shop" I would have a slight advantage in any web address "marketmyshop" in it. Parsing is the computers ability to read words without there being spaces in them. Be sure when picking a name that it is easy to figure out by looking at the words without spacing. Make sure that they do not spell multiple words as it will be difficult for a computer to parse. I tend to try and make it even easier for people as well, by always writing it out with capitalization on multiwords like this: or That is just one more way to make your sites easier to be found by both computers and users alike.

Questions or comments or suggestions? Please leave them in the comments below and be sure to check out all of my other articles.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

SEO The Ongoing Battle

One thing about Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is that it is an ever changing ongoing battle. What works one month may not work the next month. As more and more people optimize their titles and tags on Etsy the more you will have to modify yours to stay on top. I wish there was a solid onetime fix to keep you in the top of the search but there is not.

One way you can stay on top is marketing for the different holidays and trends. If you add holiday related tags and changes to your titles you may just get that extra boost that translates into sales. For example, right now the current trends on Etsy have moved away from Summer and Back To School and have headed over to Fall, Autumn and Halloween.

Keeping an eye on what is hot will keep your shop fresh and hot. Every morning I look at the current trending tags in the Treasury section. This give me an idea of what is trending daily and over the long run. Also, it is a good idea to subscribe to as many of the Etsy newsletters as you can. They all have valuable trending information in them.

Got questions? Comments? I want to hear them all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

10 Ways To Get More Sales

We've all seen the this graphic on or stats page. Some even obsess over it. There are things that you can do to help increase the potential of more sales. Today I will give you my top 10 ways.

1.   SEO - Make sure your items have relevant Titles, Descriptions and Tags. You can see my earlier articles for information on all of these. Remember to try and think like a buyer when coming up with the keywords you want to optimize for. Ask your friends and family how they would search for your items,

2.   Photos - A fuzzy photo is worse than not having a photo at all. See my article on light boxes and save up for a good camera. For less than $500 you can get a professional quality camera that will make your photos pop. The camera used to take all of my photos is a Cannon Rebel Digital SLR.

3.   Teams - Join active teams on Etsy. Find ones that can help you with your SEO, treasuries and critiques. It is sometimes difficult to keep up with all your teams but I scan mine over morning coffee and try to answer as many questions as I can in the time I allot myself for teams.

4.   Forums - No matter how small your niche there is more than likely multiple online forums that you can join. If allowed, put your shop link in your signature. Be part of the forum and don't spam your shop. Just engage the members of the forum and let them come to you.

5.   Blogging - If you don't have a blog you are missing out on great opportunities. If you can't blog five times a week, blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Try to post your blog around the same time every day. If you find some spare time write several blog posts and schedule them to post at a later date.

6.   Facebook - Fan pages are great. If you do no have one get one as soon as you can and start telling people about it. I will be doing a tutorial on Facebook fan pages next week so stay tuned.

7.   Twitter - Twitter can suck you in. You can also fall into the trap of just promoting yourself. Be yourself. Answer people's tweets. Tweet funny stuff. Tweet quotes. Retweet others. Again, I will be writing up a full tutorial very soon on this.

8.   Email Signature - Put your shop link in the signature of your email. If you have multiple emails put it in all of them. You never know who will click on a link.

9.   Business Cards - Business cards are an amazing way to spread the word about your shop. You have no idea how many times someone has asked me what I do for a living. I hand them a card and tell them a little about it then tell them to visit the website for more information. Many sales have come my way over the years because of that.

10. Local Shows - Unless you live under a rock or somewhere way out in the country there are probably small local arts and crafts shows. Or at the very least a Farmer's Market. Find out how to set up a table. You may not think your items would do well at the shows but you never know until you try. I have been set up several times at shows that were country arts and crafts and sold a lot of chainmail jewelry.

There is my top 10. If you have any advice please leave a comment. Let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them. If this is your first time to my blog, be sure to check out the archived articles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Creating Treasuries and Collections

A Front Page Treasury on Etsy
Creating Treasuries on Etsy or collections on ArtFire can be fun. Not only can they be fun but they can help you and all the featured artists to gain more exposure. And if your treasury or a treasury you're in makes it to the front page, well, it can mean a lot of views and potential business.

There are trends on the Etsy front page treasuries that you may want to consider when creating your treasuries. First off and most important are good photos. Photos must not be blurry or out of focus. Solid backgrounds help. Tagging the treasuries is also very important. You want to think about tagging the treasuries in the same way you tag your items. Relevant tags make it easier to be found. Titles are not as important but you do want to try and give it a catchy name.

A Front Page Collection On ArtFire
ArtFire is a different animal in a lot of ways. Creating a collection is similar to a treasury on Etsy but you get the option to have your collection considered for the front page. Artfire is much smaller than Etsy but it is growing and maybe one day will be as big as Etsy. The ArtFire collections also have a rating system where users can rate if they like the collection or not. The same thing about photos applies here, as do the tags. 

One thing I like to do when I create treasuries is write to all of the featured artists letting them know that they have been featured. ArtFire has an option to send everyone a message. Sometimes a treasury does not make it to the feed and the featured artists may never know that they were featured. Here is a sample note:

"Hi there. I am writing to let you know that I have featured one of your items in my latest treasury: "Title of Treasury Here" <Link to treasury>

There is no need to reply but please feel free to share with your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Blog readers, etc. Be sure to "Favorite" the treasury so that everyone in your circle will see.

Thank You,
Blah from Blah"

The treasuries that I create receive anywhere from 50 to 300 views without being on the front page. Many times the people that I feature return the favor and feature me in one of their treasuries or collections. Remember by helping your fellow artist out it helps you out in the long run. If you have any questions let me know.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Better Time Management With Lists

There is so much to do every day when you are an online shop owner. Sometimes it can just seem overwhelming. By setting small goals and routines your time can be much more productive. If you just said to yourself "I AM productive with my time" perhaps you can do better. For some it is really east to get distracted. Creating a list of things to do and sticking to it no matter what will give you more freedom in the long run.

For me, time management is always a struggle. I have an Etsy Shop, an Artfire Studio, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and a blog. And all of that is just for Tangled Metal. I also have personal Facebook, twitter, blog, website and more. I actually have to have a schedule to make it all happen.

Start with a simple list of everything you need to do:
Etsy Teams
Artfire Forum

Next lists tasks and assign an amount of time that you need to spend on each:
Facebook: Post pics to new album daily, comment on 5 posts not on your own wall, comment on all your wall posts. 15 minutes twice a day
Twitter: retweet 5 people, post 5 non business tweets, engage 5 people in a non business way, make one business post. 5 minutes 3 times a day
Blog: Write a blog post on M-W-F or more if you have the time. 30 minutes a day.
Etsy Teams: Post on 5 threads, try to answer or ask a question. 15 minutes twice a day.
Artfire Forum: Same as Etsy Team.

I used myself as an example in the above list. As you can see, the amount of time adds up pretty quickly. Your list may include the million other things you do in during the day. If you need to go to the post office, be sure to add a spot for it. Prioritize your list. Stick to your list.

If you can write up a routine and stick to it you can be more productive overall. Sometimes I will write several blog posts in one day and schedule them to post. I take the extra time used and spread it out over my schedule for the next few days when I do that.

Everyone is different. I had to set my alarm an extra hour earlier so that I could fit everything into the day. I would like to hear what tips or tricks you use to be more productive. Add a comment and share with everyone.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tag Relevancy And Bounce Rate

I have been talking about better relevancy through picking keywords that shoppers use to find you. Today I would like to talk a little bit about "Bounce Rate" and how to lower it for you. Bounce Rate is a term that means simply if the searcher found what they were looking for by following your link or not. If they did find what they were looking for you had relevant terms that accurately described your product. If they didn't find what they were looking for and they left quickly, then your tags, title and description probably didn't accurately describe your product.

The lower the bounce rate there better off you are. Now there are factors that are unavoidable. Sometimes people are looking at a whole lot of things and your product just isn't what they are looking for. Sometimes a "bot" opens a page for indexing and leaves quickly enough and it gets counted as a bounce. There are some other factors that make it nearly impossible to have less than 10% bounce rate.

You want to make your tags, title, description and photos as relevant as possible. Not just to be seen and to increase views but to have a lower bounce rate. You can have 5000 views and no sales because you have optimized for a popular search term that doesn't quite match your item. Or you can have 100 views and 5 sales because you market exactly what you have to exactly who would buy it.

I strive for a bounce rate around 35% because I figure that means 65% of the people who find me will be ones looking for what I have to offer. Of course, my bounce rate fluctuates a lot. That is because I am always striving to do a better job at showing what I have in the best way I can. This is not an overnight process either. It can take a few weeks to see any noticeable differences. I check my Google Analytics stats about once a week.

Don't put too much weight on bounce rate, it is just a simple look at how well your SEO relevancy campaign is doing. A better way to judge that would be through sales. Lowering your bounce rate should increase your sales but it is not a guarantee. I will be talking more about Google Analtics next week. If you have any questions on Bounce Rate please leave me a comment and I will try to answer.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Business Cards And QR Codes Are Important

Some say that Business cards have gone the way of the dinosaur. I disagree. Much of my business comes from handing out business cards when I am at a show, the post office and just about anywhere. Places like Vista Print and offer free business cards. But in all honesty, they are not really all that expensive. Spending $30 can make you hundreds in return.

The information you put on your cards is vital. You need your Company Name, your name, an email address and at least a website address. An address is not as vital as it once was but you can add that as well. Another thing that can be added to your business card is a QR code. It is a Quick Response code or 2d Bar Code. When scanned it acts like clicking a link on a web page.

QR codes can link to any website. Any cell phone with the app for reading QR codes can be taken directly to the link. It is a great thing for your business cards and thank you notes. I suggest creating one for your next set of business cards. Google's URL Shortening service makes it really easy to make one. Just go to and put in the URL you want the link to go to. After you create the shortened URL copy it and paste it into your address bar and add ".qr" to the end of the address and hit enter. Use your snipping tool or save the image as a .png or .jpg and you are done.

I created this one that takes you directly to my Facebook fan page. It took me less than two minutes to create. So, create one for your next set of business cards. But don't stop there, put it on your thank  you notes and your web pages, in your shop, even on a bumper sticker. You never know when someone might scan it.

If you have questions please let me know. I am also open to suggestions for new topics. Just leave a comment and I will reply as soon as I have a moment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Etsy Search Getting On Top With Descriptions

Etsy Search
I have talked about Keywords, Tags, Titles, and Photos now I would like to try and pull it all together with the addition of the Description. When a customer/shopper does an Etsy search, the first thing the Etsy Search Engine does is look to find exact keyword phrase matches in the title, tags and description. So trying to guess what the searcher is going to search is the name of the game. See the article on How People Search written earlier here.

You learned that placing your chosen keyword phrases into your Tags and Title help to be found. But you also learned that Tag stuffing and Title stuffing does not do any good. Etsy also says not to use generic terms in your tags such as "Stocking Stuffer" because it might be misleading. HOWEVER it is 100% okay to optimize your description for keyword phrases that are not allowed in the Tags section.

You can say your item is perfect for a Christmas Stocking Stuffer in your description. The Etsy search will look for exact keyword phrases in your description, so if you ran out of tags this is the perfect place to put them in. Just make sure that your description sounds conversational. Use your keywords you are trying to optimize for close to the beginning of the description and put things like exact measurements after all of that. It is rare that someone searches for a pendant that is 7/8 inch long. They will more than like be looking for a silver pendant or a steampunk pendant.

I hope this helps to clear a few things up for you. If not please feel free to ask a question and I will be happy to clarify for you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photography For Your Handmade Or Vintage Shop

Chainmail Star Pendant by Tangled Metal
If a picture is worth a thousand words, you have an extra few thousand words you can add to your listing in your online shop. Whether you are selling handmade goods or vintage items or supplies your pictures are a very important part of your shop. I talked about keywords and titles earlier and that is how you get your listings found in the searches. Photos are how you get the person to click through to your items.

Since people cannot touch your product you must make sure to have good photos. When you are taking photos try to imagine yourself looking over an object. What do you look at when you are trying to decide if you want to buy something or not? If it has a clasp is it strong enough, if it is a vintage items does it have a makers mark, if it is a supply what size is it in reference to a coin? You have to answer these questions in a photo.

Mini Studio In A Box $83.32
It all starts with a light box, camera and a tripod- or at least for smaller items it should. Light boxes range in price from the homemade free to the professional ones that cost several thousand dollars. Personally I use one that I made from a cardboard box and an old white sheet. I am working on a tutorial on how to make your own light box and will have that up soon.

The photo box to the left is very affordable since it comes with lights and a tripod. I have actually seen this one in person and it is a good economical choice. It is great because it folds up so it can be stored when not in use.

In my home made light box I use four lights to make sure to wash out as many shadows as possible. I like a stark white background, so does the Etsy front page. *hint, hint* Some people are really good at using props to tell a story. Be cautious not to pull the story away from your item.

Some tips for you:

1.) If your photo is blurry you are better off without a photo at all. If you can't focus on it with your camera, research the settings available and try again. Or buy a better camera.

2.) If you have a busy background that detracts from your item it is as bad as having a blurry photo. Props are great but don't go overboard. Remember the focus is your item not your props.

3.) If your item is something like earrings or a bathing suit you may not want to show it on a model. I know that sounds weird but a lot of people have issues with wearing something that has come into contact with certain parts of the body.

That is it for today. Be sure to share this info with everyone you know that might benefit from it. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Relevant Searching The Title Says It All

I have been discussing how tags and keywords are the foundation for "Relevant Searches" both on Google and on Etsy. Today I would like to talk briefly on how to use the keywords that you found while doing keyword research. The first place that Etsy looks for relevancy is in your title.

I am once again going to use myself as an example. I make chainmail jewelry. One of my hottest item for the last 15 years is the above pictured chainmail anklet. I did some research on the word anklet and found that many people do not use that term when searching. Many people use the term "ankle bracelet" when searching.

Now you would think that I would try and optimize for "chainmail" but the competition on that term is far too great for me to break into the top 3 pages on Google. So, I opted to try and optimize for "ankle bracelet" and "anklet" because they are searched less I have a better chance of being found.

Currently if you type "anklet bracelet" into Etsy's search, my chainmail ankle bracelet comes up on page one slot two of the search results. Why? Because the search term "ankle bracelet" is at the beginning of the TITLE, beginning of the DESCRIPTION and in my TAGS. The combination of your keywords in all three places makes your item  very relevant. It shows that you are an expert on this item.

The broader the term, the harder it is to rank high for relevancy. That is why I talked about keyword research and how to use your keyword phrases as tags. Using the keywords that you found doing research in your title helps to optimize for those keywords. Using a secondary keyword in your title helps to optimize for a second keyword or phrase. When you search for "anklet" on Etsy I am currently on page two slot 25 of the search.

I only have three ankle bracelet designs in my shop. Being able to be on page one or two in a search for the top two ways people look for anklets is great for me. Now here are the hard stats: there are 3,373 items for the term "ankle bracelet" and 17,184 items when you search "anklet" on Etsy. I optimized for the lower number of searches first and the higher number second. I did this because lower searches are easier to optimize for than higher searches. I chose my niche. Of course being in the first two pages for both when there are 20,000+ items is very good.

It may be a little harder when it comes to items on Etsy that are in the 100,000 range like 327,198 for "crochet" but if you optimize for "crochet hat" there are only 94,830. It is all about optimizing for something that is doable. Smaller numbers are easier to get on top with. I hope that helps a little. If you have questions please post them in comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Importance Of Tags And Keywords For Relevant Searches

Recently Etsy went to "Relevancy" as their default search. When they did this it made tags, titles and descriptions even more important than they already were. Now Etsy sellers do not have to rely on renewing their items many times a week to be seen. It has leveled the playing field, so to speak.

The biggest impact is the need to rework your listings to be found. Your shop needs a makeover. Today I want to discuss the first step- Tags. Tags have a lot of weight in Etsy search but they are the not the most important. However, because they are the foundation in which you build your entire listing from, they are very important in the long run.

Why are tags so important? Because in Etsy's Relevancy search if someone types one of your keyword phrases exactly like you have it in your tags, you have a good chance of being found. If you have the words "red crochet hat" as one of your keyword phrases and someone types "red crochet hat" into the search, Etsy's search algorithm says that you have exactly what they are looking for and puts you in the list of results with everyone else who has used that exact phrase in their shop.

Before they went to relevancy search default, Etsy encouraged you to use single word tags with few exceptions. They have rewritten their policy on this. They now encourage you to use multiple word phrases as long as they describe your work and are not keyword stuffing. Basically if your phrase makes a statement as to what it is, who made it, what is it made from or who it's made for then it is fine to use. If you just use multiple words stuffed together that do not relate to each other it called tag stuffing and it is not okay.

Here is an example. If you have a rainbow colored crochet hat for sale you could tag it as "rainbow colored hat" but not "red orange yellow" and "green blue indigo" because you are just listing colors. Do not confuse this with common color word combinations like "black and white" which could be used to describe a photograph accurately.

I always do my tags first, then my title and then my description. This way I can pick the words that I want to be found with. I am fortunate to be in a pretty small niche so it is a little easier for me to come up with keywords that are used to find items similar to what I make. I do however try to do as much keyword research as I can. In fact I recently found that one of my items, a chainmail and bead handflower, was searched for as a slave bracelet 60 times more often than a handflower. So I adjusted my tags, titles and descriptions to put more weight on slave bracelet.

How do you do keyword research? Start by coming up with a list of 20 keywords or keyword phrases you would use to find your product. Next sign up for a Google AdWords account. You do not have to actually start an advertising campaign to use their tools. Type your keywords into their keyword tool and see how they do. You want to try to concentrate on words and phrases that have less competition and fewer monthly searches. Look for the ones that have 1000 to 10,000 monthly hits. Ignore ones that have over 25,000 hits for now. I will go into all of this in greater detail very soon.

Next week, I will be talking more about keywords, titles and descriptions. If you have questions, please feel free to post them here and I will be happy to answer them. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How People Search For Things On The Internet

As you probably already know, Google is the largest search engine. Period. End of discussion. They have more traffic than all other search engines and indexes combined- times three. They are so big in fact that the word "search" has almost been completely replaced by the word "Google." You don't "search for it," you "Google it."

How do people find what they are looking for with millions upon millions of pages on the Internet? Even more importantly, how do they find your shop or your product? To answer that you need to understand how people search for things. Knowing how someone is looking for something can tell you exactly how to put your shop or your product in front of them.

When people are doing general research they tend to use single words for their search. For example, let's say someone is doing research on what you would wear to the Renaissance Faire. (It is easier for me to use myself as an example, because I know my product very well.) The first thing they might search for is the word "renaissance." Of course, in my experience it will be misspelled. Fortunately Google is more than likely going to recognize that it is misspelled and offer a search with the correct spelling.

That brings up around 158 million pages. It would take quite some time to weed through all of that. So the person searching decides to narrow their search by adding a word. The search is now for "Renaissance Fair" although most actually spell it "Faire." This brings the number of pages down to around 2.9 million results. They then decide that what they are really looking for is a "Renaissance Fair costume." Using this search term they manage to bring the number of results to 425,000 or so results.

In this list of results there are usually some pictures involved in the search page. These images actually help people to figure out what they are looking for. They see something in the picture that they really like and might even do a completely new search for it. For this example we are going to pretend they saw a picture of chainmail and they decide to look for "Renaissance Fair chainmail." They put it in the search bar and 63,000 results show up. Chainmail is spelled differently depending on who you ask. Chainmail, chain mail, and chainmaille are all accepted spellings of the word.

They happen to see a picture of a woman wearing chainmail jewelry, so they refine their search even more. They type "Renaissance Fair Chainmail Slave Bracelet" and there are only about 3600 results. Of which I happen to have four of the top 10 results on Google.

For me, optimizing my listings or my webpage or even my shop for the word "Renaissance" is just too daunting of a task. For one thing, someone typing in "Renaissance" is probably not looking for my chainmail jewelry. I concentrated on a much smaller niche. One that has far fewer searches but it more specific.

When people are doing research they tend to use one and two word phrases in their search. When people are looking to actually purchase items they tend to be very specific in their search terms. Three to five word searches make what you are looking for very specific. By optimizing your page, shop or product for three and four word searches, you can have a much better chance on getting your item in front of those who are looking for what you have.

Tomorrow, I will delve into the ways to actually optimize your page listing for people who are searching to buy your product. Just remember this is an ongoing process. There may be some quick fixes but much of what you do will take time to show results. Try not to get frustrated.

If you have any questions about how people search, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer your question. If you have more information to add, feel free.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You asked for it and here it is. A blog dedicated to helping you market your online shop through making the technical aspects easy to understand and even easier to implement. Through understanding how SEO works, you can put your online shop on top.

Learning how the different online marketplaces treat Titles, Descriptions and Tags can help you to optimize your shop for maximum exposure. Views equal sales and the more views the more sales. Learning how to increase your views and decrease your bounce rate will dramatically improve your shop's performance.

Whether you crochet baby hats or sell vintage clothing, the basic principles are all the same. If you run an online retail shop it is important for your products to be put in front of the people who want to buy them. With thousands of items being sold online every day, you want to make sure that your items are being seen.

In addition to being seen, you want to make sure that your photos tell the story of what you're selling. Photography sells your item. The better you can capture your item in a photo the better chance of someone buying it. I will have easy to follow, inexpensive tips and tricks to making your photographs help you sell your items.

What I am offering you is to help marketing your online shop. I want to help you get more sales through optimizing your shop to the fullest potential. I am doing this for free. All I ask in return is that you help spread the word about what I am doing and maybe link over to one of my retail shops on your blog.

I want you to feel free to ask questions about the things that you do not understand. The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked. Feel free to comment with your questions and suggestions. If you have an idea for an article, by all means share it with me. If you have written an article that you think would be beneficial I will be happy to add it here. My email address is