As my favorite handmade marketplace, Etsy is a topic I love learning about! I read blog posts and articles about how people run their shops and what they’re working on. I also spend a fair amount of time browsing the site and seeing what’s available, finding inspiration for my own projects, and making purchases, of course! And I even sometimes check out Etsy books at the library. I’m not sure if I will ever have a shop of my own, but I’m interested all the same. :)
You may have noticed that my reviews and giveaways (with the exception of book reviews and THIS giveaway) are Etsy products – I love promoting the amazing people behind the shops and sharing their creations!
This week, I’ve been reading a book called Etsy Excellence and I’m finding that it’s not only a great resource for new shop owners, but also for bloggers. Perhaps I just see everything from a blogger’s perspective, but I have found many similarities between running a successful Etsy shop and writing a successful blog.
For example, in the book’s list of the top 10 mistakes shop owners make, a good nine out of ten matched the blogging world! I want you to read it (Etsy Excellence) so I won’t spill the beans too much, but check this out and see why I think having an Etsy shop and blogging are pretty similar:
In the book, they talk about how shop owners sometimes make the mistake of not participating in the community. On Etsy, there are forums where questions are asked and ideas are shared. Apparently, it’s a good idea to join in because it increases your chances of being featured on the site, being on curated lists, etc.
Well, as you probably know, there’s a blogging community, too! Most blog readers are also blog writers, so if you don’t join in the conversations on others blogs, you are definitely hurting yourself! When you like and comment (please don’t only like!) on someone else’s post, not only does the blog’s author see it, but his or her readers do as well. You are forfeiting all that visibility when you stay on your own blog. Use your WordPress reader or use a blog directory to find blogs to read.
Tags are extremely important, both on Etsy and on WordPress. On Etsy, if you choose the wrong tags, you may be found by potential buyers but they leave your shop without buying because your products don’t turn out to be what they thought, or people don’t even find your products because your tags aren’t matching their search terms.
On a blog, you want to use tags that are specific but not so unique as to prevent anyone from finding it by searching or browsing. So, this post right now should be tagged things like “Etsy” and “Blogging,” not “Similarities of Etsy and Blogging,” because who would type that in as a topic to follow?
I don’t pretend to understand much about search engine optimization, but I do know that it’s important in basically all online business. Using the right words in your products’ titles and descriptions or your blog posts’ titles, text body, and images can make all the difference in whether your work shows up on Google or not. Ignoring SEO is definitely a mistake if you’re trying to grow your shop or blog.
Great images are obviously really important when selling an item, but they also carry a lot of weight on blog posts as well; for a memorable experience, readers usually need a good photo. If you’re not a photographer, you have a few options. To capture the perfect shots of your products on Etsy, learn from the countless tutorials online or hire someone skilled in capturing great shots of items. For blogging, use a free (and attribution-free) site like Pixabay to find photos to use in your posts.
This one is a little bit harder to see as a potential blogging mistake but I think it could, perhaps, apply to the text of a post. People sometimes end up with unprofessional content because they are in a hurry to get their work out into the world. Maybe they fail to proofread, or they wrap up a post when they could have expounded on the topic a little more. Or, they skip getting just the right photo(s). It’s better to be patient and thorough than to rush.
On Etsy, product descriptions need to be clear and to the point, without leaving the potential buyer to wonder about things like dimensions or angle variations, but also not so long as to scare them off with an origins novel.
Okay, this one stumped me. There’s not any way for me to see an Etsy/blog connection here. Ha! But by all means, tell me if you can!
Just like a small business owner, a blogger can do without an efficient production operation but it could result in a slower pace of growth and more time and energy unnecessarily being spent. Streamlining your tasks and organizing your product (or blog post) production, from start to finish, can increase your success and your joy in doing the process. The best place to start is by finding ways of doing the boring things faster.
For example, shop owners certainly benefit from having their packaging down to a science, and their shipping process (labels/pickup, etc) coordinated to a daily/weekly/monthly routine. Bloggers can save time and creative energy by using blog post templates (called “copy a post” on WordPress) for posts that are part of a series or ongoing category, such as my Thoughts & Happenings and Weekly Meal Plans posts – I don’t type those out every time I write one, nor do I upload the featured image or add all new tags! All I have to do is write my current thoughts or meal plans and upload additional photos to my template, if desired. It saves so much time and makes those posts a pleasure to write!
While bloggers may not have customers, we do have readers, and most of them are wanting two-way communication when they comment on a post. I think good customer service in the blogging world means responding to your audience as well as paying attention to your tone in your responses.
On Etsy, there are many ways to offer great customer service. In my experience, it means:
- responding to messages/requests promptly and as accommodating as possible
- offering incentives and/or discounts on a regular basis
- shipping item(s) in promised timeframe
- offering professional and well thought out packaging (nice wrapping, a special note, and/or care instructions are a big plus in my book!)
- being understanding and helpful in the case of returns, refunds, or issues
This means that your products have “a unified look and feel.” It means more sales because people think of YOU as their source for that kind of product when they need/want one. It can also mean having a specific theme to your posts. What’s your blog’s niche? You don’t have to choose a narrow category to write posts about, but it should all “go.”
It pretty much goes without saying that you’re going to lose future sales if you sell items that aren’t high quality or great craftsmanship. A blogger’s writing is no different. If you produce low quality posts, you aren’t likely to be very successful. Creativity, consistency, and quality are key to running a great blog…or Etsy shop. :)
And now, I am excited to announce that I am hosting my very first Amazon *Giveaway*! I chose and paid for the prizes and amazon does everything else!
TWO of my lucky readers will win an eBook (Kindle) copy of Etsy Excellence: The Simple Guide to Creating a Thriving Etsy Business, delivered wirelessly by Amazon.
If you don’t have a Kindle, not to worry! You can get the free Kindle app and read on one of your portable devices or get Kindle for PC (also free) and read it right on your computer. :)
If you’re new to Amazon giveaways (as was I before this weekend), here are the details:
Just follow my giveaway link (below) to Amazon, log in to your account and then enter the giveaway by answering a one question survey that I created (about Etsy). Then watch your inbox! If you win, amazon will notify you by email. You will have 24 hours to claim your prize. That’s it!
This giveaway will run between now and next Friday, March 17, 2017. You must at least 18 years old, a resident of the United States, and have an amazon.com account to enter.
See Official Rules here.
Want to run your own giveaway through amazon? Click here.