Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have a very fun and safe Halloween. I will be back tomorrow to talk more about Christmas plans for your Etsy shop. In the meantime, enjoy some of my picks for some great Halloween items on Etsy...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Save On Packing Supplies

The Christmas season usually means more sales for your shop. More sales means a lot more packing material. Taking the time to search for the best packing materials can save you tons of money. I use a 7x9 bubble mailer for a lot of my items. I looked all over for a place locally to buy them. Walmart had them 5 for $2.97 and the Dollar Tree had them 2 for $1.00 I realized I was going through these about 5 to 10 a week so I started looking online and the best deal I found was on eBay. I found someone with high feedback selling 250 of them for $35.00 and free shipping.

Here are a few tips to help you save money on boxes, tape and more.

1. Paper or Plastic? Pick up a paper shredder at a thrift store. Get the one that does not cross cut the paper. Recycle newspaper and junk mail by shredding it and putting it in grocery store plastic bags. This works for a viable replacement to bubble wrap. If the bags do not look professional enough for you, use zip-lock bags and put a label on the bag stating you are using recycled material for packing to help save the environment.

2. It's a sticky situation. If you are using Priority Mail a lot, don't use your regular packing tape on the boxes. Order the tape from the USPS website. What you pay in postage includes your packing box and tape.

3. Boxy lady. Again if you are shipping Priority you can order all kinds of boxes from the USPS website. Why pay for a box if the post office supplies it to you free of charge. It isn't really free it is more included in the price.

4. Boxy lady, too. If you need boxes don't pay big bucks for new ones. Go to your grocery store, liqueur store, convenience store and ask them for their boxes. Recycle and help the environment. If you don't like the look of the box, most have a seam and can be taken apart and turned inside out.

That is all for now. I will be back again next week with more information, tips, tricks and maybe even a funny story. Tell your friends about the blog. If you have questions please share them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Are You Doing For Your Etsy Shop For Christmas

Again I am swamped with some orders and really have to get them out. So I thought today we would get your input. The question for today is "What are you doing for your Etsy shop for Christmas?"

Are you going to have a killer Black Friday Event?

Are you going to have a Cyber Monday Sale?

Are you going to add some additional advertising?

I really would like to know what you plan to do to put your shop on top for this Christmas. Let the commenting begin!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christmas Tips for Etsy Shops

Christmas banners for Etsy shops

We have been talking about getting your Etsy shop ready for Christmas. One of the things you can do is change your banner to reflect a little more Christmas feel. There are several people out there that offer this service if you don't have the time or know how to do it yourself. I certainly fall into the "don't have time" category.

Curious Crow Creative does all of my graphic design work including all the graphics for my blog. She is reasonable and has an attention to detail that just cannot be beat. So, if your graphics need a makeover she's the one to do it for you.

In addition to changing your banner, you may want to update your Shop Announcement to reflect the coming holidays. I even know a few people that have started a countdown to Christmas on their Shop Announcement. In the very least you may want to put something like "The Holidays will be here before you know it."

That is all for today. Have suggestions or comments or questions? Let me know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Your Shop Ready For Christmas

It is no lie that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. That honor falls to Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, my chainmail does not lend itself well to Thanksgiving decorations, although, I do keep threatening to make a chainmail cornucopia complete with chainmail fruits and vegetables. Maybe one day, but today I am getting my shop ready for Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, etc.

Halloween is pretty much over when it comes to mail order. Anything you would ship out right now would be hard pressed to get to someone by the weekend. So, it is time to start changing some of your items out for the Christmas holiday season. I set up a section just for holiday items. That helps me to organize them along with making it easier for people to find them in my shop.

Etsy frowns on people using certain tags during the holiday season. They do not like for you to tag your items "Christmas Gift" or "Stocking Stuffer" even if they are perfect for that. So, one way to get around this is to put those terms in your title and most certainly in your description. No, Etsy does not look at your description but Google most certainly does. You know who else looks at your descriptions? Your customers.

The description should convey the many uses of your item. Using it as a stocking stuffer is something that perhaps your customer had not thought of and that might be what puts them into the buying mode. When writing your description be sure to use action words and phrases. "Put this in your loved ones stocking this Christmas." has much more weight than "Makes a great stocking stuffer." It calls the customer to the action of putting it in the stocking. It is subtle but it works.

For the next couple of weeks I will be talking about ways to increase your holiday traffic and ways to convert that that traffic into sales. If you have suggestions please feel free to share them. If you have questions ask! Let's make this holiday season the best that it can be.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wholesale Part 5: Important Tips

Wholesale is not for everyone. It is difficult to do if you only create one of a kind items. If you do decide to pursue selling your items to shops make sure you can afford to do it and still make money. So far in this series we have talked about the differences between wholesale and consignment, how to do research on the shops, and creating a checklist for your initial meeting. In the last installment I want to briefly hit on a few things that are a must when you are selling wholesale.

1. Make sure that you have a tag on your item and that part of the wholesale agreement is that the tag stays on the item. Have at least your shop name and a web address on your tag. This helps in branding and can also help you to sell more items after the person buys the item from the shop you sold to.

2. Make sure when you set up the wholesale account that the shop is not allowed to sell your item for below your retail price. There is nothing more frustrating than some shop competing with you with your own items.

3. make sure the shop knows that they may not be the exclusive retailer for your goods. If they want to be exclusive you need to let them know that they will have to have minimum monthly orders from you. Make sure you set you minimum monthly requirements to what you might lose if you are not selling to other shops in the area.

If you have done your research on the shop you should do very well. Remember when selling wholesale you want the shop to make money so that they order from you again. An ongoing wholesale account can become one of your greatest income flows.

That concludes the series on wholesale. If you have any questions let me know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wholesale Series Postponed Until Next Week

Hi everyone. I got a pretty big rush order and have to continue working on it through the weekend and I just do not have the time to write up what was planned for today. Check back on Monday for the continuation on the Wholesale series. In the meantime check out the archives. You may wanrt to check out my article on ArtFire: it has some good information about a great place to sell your items. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wholesale Part 4: Email Contact

Most people do not realize that there is a "First Contact" email etiquette to follow. It starts by asking the retailer if is is okay to send information to them. Unsolicited email is one thing that is hated by most people and businesses a like. Spam is spam no matter how you slice it. The less like actual spam that your initial contact email is the more likely hood that you'll get a positive response.

If you do not know the name of the person you are writing do not address it to "Dear Owner" or "Dear Purchasing Agent" it is best to leave no greeting than to provide a generic one. Just introduce yourself and ask them if you can send them some more information. This is not your sales pitch. Well, it is a sales pitch for you, not your product.

The initial contact letter should be very short and to the point. Here is an example:

"Hello. My name is Jane Doe and I have been making handmade jewelry for xx years. After looking at your shop I feel that my product would be an asset to your store. With your permission I would like to send you a little bit of information about me and the jewelry I create. If you would like to know more, simply reply to this email and I will get the information to you. If you are not interested in receiving more information, don't worry, this is a one time mailing and you won't receive anything else from me.

Thank you,
Jane Doe, Owner
ABC Jewelry company"

Of course, your message can be different but it should not be much longer than this.  Make it simple. Put the ball in their court. If they are interested, they may go to your website or your Etsy shop since you put the information in. They may or may not ask for more information. If they do, reply with a thank you and list the info in the email and attach a PDF of the same info for them to print. You might add a couple of pictures to the PDF but make the email simple.

After you send them the information wait to hear back from them. If you hear nothing in one week, send them a short note saying something like:

"Hi again. Last week I sent you some information about my company and my products for possible inclusion in your shop. I was wondering if you had time to look over it. I would like to know what you thought. I am looking forward to hearing back from you.

Thank You,
Jane Doe"

If they do not email you back after that, they are not interested. File them away and don't contact them again. Move on to the next one. In my experience, if I send out 100 initial contact letters 10 to 12 shops reply for more information. Of those one or two will be interested in carrying my items and the others will not. So, I have about a 1% turn around on seeking out new shops for wholesale.

I have products that are in a very small niche. That makes it a little easier for me to target shops that are within my niche. You may want to consider targeting a smaller number of shops with a small number of products as well. It is up to you. That is all for today. Feel free to share your experiences. There will be more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wholesale Part 3: The Checklist

Yesterday we talked about doing some research on the stores you want to wholesale to. That included visiting the store or researching them online. Before you set up a meeting you need to have some things in order. Build a checklist so that you don't forget anything.

The first thing you need is a list of all the products that you plan to wholesale. You need to have pictures, descriptions, retail and wholesale pricing. If contacting a store over the Internet creating a PDF should work just fine. If you are going to the store, you may carry the items instead of the picture, but it is a good idea to have pictures with the items as a leave behind.

Next, you need the product in sufficient quantities to make a sale. Nothing is more embarrassing than a store owner saying I'll take ten when you only have three. I am not suggesting that you have 50 of each item but keep a respectable amount of the item on hand. This goes for every item you have available for wholesale. Go to your meeting expecting to sell your product and be able to deliver. You do not have to take all the items in with you, you could just leave them in the car.

Another thing you need is a clearly spelled out sheet with your terms. Terms include minimum order amounts both in dollar and unit price. They also include how you get paid. Getting paid up front is ideal. If you are willing to do Net 30 let them know your terms on that. Include lead times if you are low on stock. Try to answer every potential question about what you expect from the store.

Lastly, dress nice if you are going to a meeting. Dress like you are a professional. Even if you know the shop owner is going to be wearing jeans and a tshirt, look nice. If your meeting is virtual be sure to spell everything correctly, use proper grammar and be polite.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will be discussing the "First Contact" for those of you who are contacting shops over the Internet. In the meantime, I would like to hear your experiences on wholesale. Give me your success stories and your failures and nightmares if you have them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wholesale Part 2: Research The Store

Yesterday we talked a little bit about wholesale. Generally shops want to pay you around 50% of your retail price. They also want to pay you Net 30, which means they have 30 days to pay you after they get your items. Both of these is pretty standard practice. However, you are in no way required to do either. Ultimately you set your terms.

I do not offer Net 30 to any business at first. It has caused me to not get a few accounts but overall it has not hurt my business. After a shop has made a couple of orders I send them a Net 30 account application. I ask for general information and at least three business references whom they have done business with for at least a year. I call the references and make sure they are in good standing. I do this will all of the businesses I wholesale to.

Doing a little research can save you a lot of time, energy and money. If you are thinking about contacting a shop in your area you should do a little recon first. Go to the shop a couple of times and see how they operate. Do they have several works from local artists? Make note of the names of the artists you know and ask them about the shop. Check out the shop online. See if they have a lot of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

It is much easier to do business with smaller locally owned shops. However, smaller shops usually do not have the money to buy outright and will usually offer you consignment. While checking out the shop you might want to ask the manager(a lot of time this is also the owner) if they buy wholesale or just do consignment. Ask if they are buying and if so, when would a good time to come by to show them your product. Never do this with a shop full of people or if they are busy in any way. It is always best to talk to them when they are not busy.

Find out as much as you can about the business. If you think it is a good match, set up an appointment to show your items. Go to that meeting prepared to sell. Tomorrow I will be talking about how to be prepared for your initial meeting. I will go over what to bring and what questions you need to ask the store before agreeing to sell to them wholesale.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wholesale Your Product

Wholesale isn't for everyone. You do not make as much money per item, in fact in most cases you make half as much money. As it gets closer to Christmas, retailers are looking to expand their product line and make some extra money. If you can sale your product at wholesale pricing it is a great time to start looking for some accounts.

First off, wholesale is not consignment. If you consign an item or items, you give over your product and only get paid when the item is sold. Most places charge a consignment fee of up to 40% I personally will not do business with someone who charges more than 30% commission. If they have a higher commission I can just offer my items at wholesale and get all of my money at once rather than waiting for it to sell to the consumer.

Wholesale is when you discount your items by 50% When dealing with a store you want to make sure that your terms are very clear. If you have a minimum number of items required for a sale or a minimum dollar amount that you need to get make sure you inform the store up front. If you want to be paid before or at delivery make sure that is clear as most retailers want to pay NET 30 which means they have 30 days to try and sell the product and make the money before they pay you.

Before you jump into selling wholesale you should evaluate your prices. Make sure that you are making a substantial enough profit if you sold your item for half of your retail. If you can, great! If you can't than wholesale isn't for you unless you want to raise your retail price. You should make a list of all the items you have available for wholesale and take a printable picture of it. By printable I mean a high resolution (hi-res) and have it ready to print or email. You will also need a short, one paragraph, description of the product. This is not your Etsy or ArtFire description. This is a boring to the point list of the details of the product. Do this for all your products.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will be discussing your initial store contact and how to get your message across. Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Five Tools

There are dozens if not hundreds of Twitter tools out there designed to make your life easier. It is just a matter of finding out what tools are best for you. Do a Google search for Twitter Tools and see what you come up with. I personally no longer use anything but the Twitter website but that is just a personal preference.

I have heard that Hootsuite is an all in one that will help you schedule tweets, manage multiple Twitter accounts, set up automatic welcome messages and more. There is a free version but the paid version isn't too much. You need to figure out what you want and look for a program that will do what you want it too.

Many of the tools out there are either free or at least have a trial version to see if the tool is right for you. For the last couple of years I used Social Oomph, they used to be called Tweet Later and have a wide range of tools.

I am going to cut it short today because I have been following my own advice and it has lead me to some new accounts. These are wholesale accounts and I will be talking about wholesale next week. I am off to make a lot of chainmail. Let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. You do realize I provide all of this information for free, right? At some point I will more than likely offer some expanded lessons and information for download for a small fee. I would really be interested in knowing what type of information you'd be interested in. Shoot me an email at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Four Tips and Tricks

This week we have been talking about Twitter. By now you should have an account set up, your profile pic and brief profile up. Hopefully you put in a link to your website or shop in the website section of your profile. Now it is just a matter of gaining more followers and converting them to buyers.

There are a couple of things that you can do to help increase your followers. Be an expert and be personable. If you are a jewelry designer, talk about your techniques. If you sell vintage items, talk about the thrift store or yard sale tactics you employ. When someone asks a question and you know the answer feel free to answer. Got nothing to say? Post an inspirational quote.

Be sure to follow the 10 to 1 rule, sometimes 15 to 1 rule. For every business tweet, post 10 to 15 non-business tweets. Don't overwhelm your followers. Tweeting is like blogging, if you are inconsistent people will just get bored and ignore you. Tweet at least once a day, no, seriously, it will help. It is best to tweet when people are around. You may be awake at 3am but the majority of your audience is probably still sleeping. Tweet to them when they are awake.

Following these tactics you will start to gain a following of people who respect and like you. People will ask you questions and answer questions when you ask them. Try to treat Twitter as more of a social networking platform than as a business advertisement and you will find people will enjoy reading what you have to say. They will be compelled to click your link in your profile and visit your shop. And if you weren't the pushy salesperson they will be more inclined to support you.

Here are a few tips that will help you with your Twitter account:
1. Ask questions and opinions.
2. Answer people when they ask questions even if they did not ask you specifically.
3. Talk about what you do.
4. Don't bombard your followers with links to your shop.
5. Tweet consistently.
6. Tweet when your audience is awake and at their computers.
7. Always be friendly.
8. Never get into a public argument.
9. Retweet people when they have something of value to say.
10. Suggest followers for people.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Three Followers

Yesterday we talked about how to set up a Twitter account. Hopefully you had some time to explore your account and get some of your profile updated and a profile pic uploaded. You may have even started to follow a few people. Today I would like to discuss how to gain more followers. The first place to start will be Twitter Search.
This is a pretty basic search. Type in some words and hit the Search button. The results will be shown as a listing of tweets with your keywords highlighted in bold. Remember the more vague your key words the more vague your results will be. Searching for "jewelry" or "vintage" will give you a list of tweets that may not be very helpful. Try to target your market here. Searching for "looking for handmade jewelry" or "I want a vintage vase" are better searches. Of course, there is an easier way to do that. Go advanced. Just click on the advanced search link under the area where you input your search.

As you can see you have a lot more parameters for your search now. This should help you to narrow down your search. After you have a list of tweets and or people. Follow the ones that seem like they could be a customer. They may be talking about your product or may be interested in the type of things you do. There is one exception. If you see a little padlock next to their name, do not try and follow them. They have set their tweets to private and most have done that so as not to get spam.

Another handy thing you can do with searches is find your competition. Once you have found them you can follow them or not but you can certainly follow their friends. Let you competition do the work. Ever wonder why you see a Burger King right across the street from McDonald's?  Burger King figured out a long time ago that if McDonald's has a store somewhere they had done a lot of research and they did not have to spend the money doing it.

After following several people, start looking in on their conversations and tweets. Start answering questions if they put them out there. Start talking to them. Start building relationships with them. Even if they are not following you, it is a great idea to start conversing with them. This will cause them to follow you back thus building your list of followers.

Don't be afraid to tell your followers what you do but do not spam them. The rule of thumb for commercial spammy tweets is ONE for ever TEN to FIFTEEN conversational tweets. No one wants to be bombarded by tweet after tweet inviting them to your shop. They want to get to know you.

That is all for today. Tomorrow I will talk about some advanced techniques for building more followers and share some tips that will help you on your way to building a Twitter marketing campaign. As always let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Two Setup

Welcome back to the blog. Today we are going to go through the steps on setting up a Twitter account. 

Step one: Go to You should see something like the above image. Put in your Name, Email and a password. Please note that you should have a different password for any and all different accounts that you have. In other words this should not be your email password or Facebook password. Use a combination of upper and lowercase and numbers for a strong password.

After you fill out the info, click sign up.

If all goes well, you should see a screen like above. Here you will enter your desired username. Usernames have to be 15 characters or less.  Remember your branding and try to come up with a username that is the same as your shop name or at least close.

If the username you want is unavailable it will show and you'll have to enter a different username. You may want to break up words by using capital letters like this: MarketMyShop Though the usernames are not case sensitive it helps for people to read your username easier. It can also help search engines to parse the words easier.

I suggest reading the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy because you are agreeing to certain things when you click Create my account. After that, you can go to your account and add a profile pic, write a brief bio, set up themes and much more. You will get an email from Twitter that you have to use to confirm your account.

Explore all of the things that you can do. Fill out as much information as you can. Don't start tweeting yet, because no one is following you yet. Tomorrow we will go into how to get people to follow you. In the meantime just explore. Twitter will probably give you a list of celebrities to follow. Follow whoever you like.

That is it for today. See you all back here tomorrow!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part One Introduction

Last week was all about relevancy. This week we will be exploring Twitter. Some of you may already be using Twitter so feel free to chime in with your tips whenever you like. Some of you do not have a Twitter account. Tomorrow we will go through the steps to get your Twitter account set up.

Twitter can be a valuable tool or a complete waste of time. What it is for you will be completely up to you. Twitter is a social network based on 140 character posts. It is much like a text message. As with any other social network you build up friends, or in this case followers, and engage them with useful information, fun stuff, quotes, links to your shop and more.

Twitter has potentially millions of customers for you. You just need to figure out how to reach them. There are plenty of tools out there to make it easier to keep up with your Twitter account. From connecting  it to Facebook or your blog to setting up automatic tweeting, there is surely a Twitter tool out there designed to make you life easier.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Recap

This week we have discussed how to build the foundation of your shop item listing by picking key word phrases that answer questions about your product. I showed you how to use those keyword phrases in your title and your descriptions. I shared a few more tips with you to make it all come together.

You should have at least a working knowledge of how to make a better listing. Now the fun part comes in. Practice, practice, practice. Change a few listings and see how they work. Did you get more views? What search words are driving traffic to your shop? If what you did worked, do some more. If it didn't work go with another approach.

The point is you may never be happy with the way your shop looks. You may not be happy with how it performs. You have the power to change that. The harder you work the luckier you will get. If you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at Remember, the only dumb question is the one that goes unanswered.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 4 Tips

This week we have been revisiting Relevancy. We talked about tags, titles and descriptions. Today I have some tips to help you out when you are creating a new listing. Of course, the tips should work for revamping a listing as well.

1. Have the item in your reach when you start your listing.
2. Upload your pictures first.
3. Type your tags second.
4. Use your tags to create your Title.
5. Use your title and unused tags to create your description.
6. Try to use two keyword phrases in your title.
7. Use as many of your keyword phrases as possible in your description.
8. If you get stuck on tags, check out what tags your competition is using.
9. Be sure to put a link back to your shop sections in every listing.
10. Use call to action phrases in your description like "When you purchase..."
11. If your item has color, list it in the tags.
12. Looking for names of popular colors? Check out what colors people are doing for treasuries.
13.  Be as accurate as possible with all measurements.
14. Provide both US and Metric measurements so your customer does not have to convert.
15. Optimize your title and tags for Etsy.
16. Optimize your description for Google.
17. Check your stats and see if the tags you used are getting people to your shop.
18. If a keyword phrase (tag) isn't driving traffic to your item change it.
19. Optimize for trends, seasons, holidays and events.
20. Check your stats every day.
21. If you have Google Analytics, check them at least weekly to track your progress.
22. Make sure your photos put the focus on your item not props.
23. Don't give up.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 3 Descriptions

This week we have been revisiting relevancy with a focus on Etsy. We talked about how to come up with good tags that answer questions about your item. We also talked about how to use the tags you come up with to create a relevant title. Today we are going to explore descriptions. Please note that Etsy all but ignores the description in their search algorithm. It pulls from tags and titles with a few other variables.

Artist Bear Wearing Chainmail Armor

Optimizing your description helps with Google and other search engines as well as describes your item for your customer. Today we are going to use my little Teddy Bear Knight Wearing Chainmail as an example. Note the title, it is optimized for several terms. Artist Bear, Teddy Bear being the most prominent, with Knight Wearing Chainmail and Chainmail Costume being used as well. Also note that my bear is photographed with a white background with nothing that could take your eyes away from him. (Be sure to read my article on taking better pictures for your handmade or vintage items)

Though it may be a little hard to see in this snapshot you can see that the first thing I put was "Teddy Bear in Chainmail - Chainmail Home Decor by Tangled Metal" and what that does is give a keyword rich statement of what the item is and who made it. Part of the reason for this is keywords near the beginning of the text is weighed a little heavier than further down in the text and part of it is for the purpose of branding.

I go on to answer questions like, what is it, who is it for, what occasion is it good for, what materials were used, etc. I use keyword phrases where ever I can fit them in without sounding like a list of key word phrases. I try to make it sound as conversational as possible.

Writing copy is not my strong part and I struggle with it every time I list a new item. The one thing I try to do is make it so that it will come up in Google search. Google gives a lot of weight to key word phrases. Using the same keywords throughout the description is fine. How many times is too many times to add a keyword? Read it out loud and see if it sounds awkward, that should help.

Questions? Comments? That is it for today. Come back tomorrow for a list of tips to help make your life a little easier when listing an item.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 2 Titles

Yesterday we discussed more on relevancy. We talked about tags and how to come up with them. Today we are going to talk about Titles. Your Title says a lot about your item, or at least it should. If you read yesterday's post you should have come up with about 10 tags that answered some basic questions about your item. Today let's use at least two of those tags to come up with a title. I am going to use one of my items as an example.

I created these Halloween earrings a couple of weeks ago. Note the title: "Halloween Earrings Orange And Black Chainmail." I am actually using several of my tags as part of my title. "Halloween Earrings" is the tag I am trying to optimize first off. For those people that are looking for a snazzy pair of earrings to wear in October this is them. I am also optimized for Orange and Black. That is another phrase that is searched a lot during the month of October. I am also optimized for "black chainmail" which I found out was a phrase that is searched a lot on Google. I am also optimized for the generic search "chainmail" which is just an added bonus.

I answered a few questions with my title. What are they? What color are they? What are they made from? When would you wear them? So, in this case the title is very relevant to what the item is. Someone looking for Halloween earrings or chainmail earrings or black chainmail or the color combination of orange and black should be able to find me pretty easily.

One other important aspect of your title is that it is also the ALT text in your image tag. That means that if someone is doing an image search, the picture is optimized for the same thing the title is. ALT text is what people would see if they do not have pictures turned on. If their connection is slow the text will show up as the picture is loading. Text readers will also read the text aloud for those who have very poor or no eyesight.

That is all for today. Tomorrow I will revisit descriptions. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Relevancy Revisited

I get asked a lot to go through people's shop and see if their tags, titles and descriptions are relevant.  They also ask me to look to see how I would tag an item or what title I would use or if I like their description.  Unfortunately I do not have the time to go through the multiple requests I get every day. I would have to stop making my art and go into checking people's shops as a living. So, maybe this will clear some things up.

Relevancy is defined as having direct bearing on the subject matter at hand or as being pertinent. In the past, Etsy did not rely heavily on relevancy for search. They relied on people renewing their items to get them near the top of the search. It gave those with a little bit of money the ability to get their items in front of people without having to do all the work of being relevant.

If you did research on Etsy shops that do really well, you would have found that those shops were not only paying money to renew their items they also had great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for their shop and items. If you look at who is successful now, many of those shops are still on top because they were already optimized for the changes.

Take one item in your shop and look at it. Write down 10 things that it is. Does it have color? Does it have a shape? Is it a certain style? Who is it for? What will they do with it? Can it be used as something else? Who created it? What process was used? Is there anything special about it? What is the material? What circumstances will it be used in? Is it easy to use? Is it one of a kind?

All of those questions are relevant to the item and in some form or fashion those answers are your relevant tags. From your relevant tags you will create the title for the object. The title should include no less than two of your tags and those tags should be in the very first part of your title. They should also be in the very first sentence of your description. Also in your description you should use as many of your tags as possible.

That is it for today. I will add more tomorrow. If you have questions or comments let me know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ArtFire Online Marketplace

ArtFire recently had a face lift and went through some changes. The redesign has made it much easier for customers to find their way around the site. I have to say I think it is going to help them to grow. While they may never reach the same prestige as Etsy, they will continue to be a great place to consider as a second selling location.

I have an ArtFire Studio and I make a few sales there every month. There are several things I like about those guys. They do not charge you every time you list an item, nor do they charge you every time you sell an item. They charge you a flat fee every month. It is only $11.95

Artfire also has a great Referral Program. For every person who signs up through you, you get one month free with no limits. The person who signs up through you also gets a free month (their 3rd month). So, you could actually have every month free if you have people sign up through you.

Now, ArtFire is a little different than Etsy in a few ways. They do not have the community traffic that Etsy has. However, every account will have their items added to Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, The Find and many more places on the web where people shop. Artfire also gets your listings into Google Search Engine and other search engines making it easier for people to find you.

Artfire also allows you to link to your Etsy shop, your blog, your Twitter, your Facebook and more. They feel that you should be able to sell wherever you want to sell. The Holiday Season is fast approaching and it might be a good idea to have a secondary site to sell your products. If you do decide to sign up for ArtFire please consider signing up through me, that way we will both enjoy a free month. Sign up for ArtFire Here.

If you sell on other online market places I would like to hear about it. Write a comment about it or send me an email