Newbies: Get more exposure for your listings, and making more sales

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Original Post

Hi everyone,

The most common questions that I'm asked in our Newbie Chat sessions in the Virtual Labs are about how to get more views, and make more (or any) sales. Here are my best tips:


1. List more items in your shop! Your items are the most likely way that a potential buyer will find your shop. Think of each listing as an ad that may bring buyers to your shop. They may not buy the specific item but something else from your shop instead. The more listings that you have, the more opportunities to be found! Relist sold items that you can make again.

2. Your Search Terms (tags and titles):

a. Use all 14 tags with good search terms that buyers might use. Use especially important words in the title.

b. This article will help you brainstorm words that might be helpful:

You can also use this article and add any accurate terms:

c. Use the Search Suggestions feature to come up with search terms. Start typing what you sell in the search box (with Handmade, Vintage, or Commercial Supplies selected) to see the suggestions. These are based on recent buyer search terms. You can use any that are accurate.

d. Your tags determine what sub and sub-subcategories your item is in. Your item can be in multiple subs and sub-subs. Click any words that are accurate for your item while listing, or go look in the category where you've listed to see what's available, and add any that are accurate, exactly as written, as a tag.

e. If your items fit in multiple categories, try listing some in one, and some in the other, for exposure across categories.

f. To help your items be found in Google, use good keywords in the title (while still keeping the titles attractive and in line with the image in your shop)

g. Use your shop stats to see what's working- what search terms are getting views for you? To set up the shop stats, go to Your Etsy > Web Analytics. Here's a link if you need to troubleshoot:

Set it up so it will tell you what search terms are working for you on Etsy. Follow #2 here to set this up:

h. You'll hear a lot in the forums about SEO (search engine optimization). This is a fancy term for helping google and other search engines find you. This can be a very complex topic, made all the more challenging because Google is continually changing their algorithm. Here is the short version of SEO:

i. Have a title that describes what the item is (try to put more relevant words near the beginning).
ii. In the description, describe the item as if you are speaking to someone who can't see it.
iii. Use a variety of keywords throughout the shop. Don't title every item nearly exactly the same! This will help you diversify where you item appears. Think of every keyword, and the potential combination of words as ads for your item. Using the same words over and over is like placing lots of ads all in the same magazine! Instead, you'd place ads in lots of magazines- do the equivalent of this by varying your titles. Use the Etsy and Google search suggestions to come up with alternate words that buyers might search. Try adding different types of words to the titles, such as the size, etc and watch the effects in Google Analytics.

3. Your Photos:

A good, clickable photo will get more hits for your item.

a. Try searching for your item, and see the other items that are listed around it. Does your photo make you want to click? Which ones do? What can you learn and apply from this?

b. Check out some tips here for an appealing photo:

4. Ship Internationally:

I read a while back that 30% of transactions involved a buyer and seller from different countries. Since buyers can choose to show only sellers who ship to them, having international shipping will increase your exposure. Here's a good tutorial for US sellers:

If you're not in the US, you might search the forums or start a new thread asking for help from sellers from your country.


1. Perhaps the buyer has questions that are not answered in the listing. Between the photos and the descriptions, the buyer should know everything they need to to make the purchase decision. If you get a convo with a question, consider that there may have been more buyers with the question, but they didn't want to ask! There are so many things I could list here; here's a sample of some things I've seen:

- Of what is shown in the photo, what will I actually receive if I make the purchase?
- What size/how big is it? Measurements?
- If a bag or clothes - how will it look on?
- art: what will the actual piece of paper that the artwork is on look like?
- if listing requires knowing the buyer's size: give a size chart, ring sizing info, etc. If the buyer has to look for a measuring tape or figure out her ring size, that takes her away from the listing! Most people can figure out their size when presented with a size chart.

If you find that you're getting views but no sales, post in the Critiques forum or come to one of the Critique sessions in the Virtual Labs so others can take a look and give you some feedback.

2. Shop policies that are blocking the sale: for example, saying that you're not responsible if the item doesn't arrive will turn the buyer away. If you're using PayPal for the transaction, it may be against their policies and they will side with the buyer if the item doesn't arrive.

3. "Convo me before purchasing": do everything you can to set the listing up so the buyer can just purchase it.

4. Add more items to the shop. Buyers like selection!

5. Prices are unusually low or high (I rarely see prices that are "too high"- almost not worth mentioning). Very low prices are more common, and may make the buyer question the quality of the item, and whether it's actually handmade.

6. Shipping is unusually high: you can use this article to help figure out your shipping prices:

Double check your shipping prices with similar items from sellers from your country to make sure you're in the ballpark.


This in itself could be a book, and there is a ton of fabulous info in the forums and in the Seller Handbook.

Here are a few easy ideas that you can do with your listings to get more sales:

1. Encourage custom orders. Put a line in your listing that says something like, "Would you like this in another color? Please let me know, as I can most likely get any color you'd like." Create a color/fabric/yarn chart with available options so buyers can choose.

2. Upsell! Would this necklace look great with another in your shop? Would this art print look great as a set with some others in your shop? Take a photo of them together to encourage the buyer to get both. Provide a link to the other listings and be clear about what's for sale with this listing.

3. Put a link to your shop or one of your shop sections in the listing and encourage the buyer to check them out.

4. If it doesn't cost you any extra to ship multiple items together, have free shipping with additional item to encourage the customer to see what else they might like to buy from your shop.

5. Show additional uses in the photos to show the buyer how useful and necessary the item is! Would the brooch look cute pinned on a bag? In the hair? Hem of a short dress? As a scarf pin? Draping a loose garment? With a bunch of other brooches from your shop? Would the scarf look good as a belt, tied as a bow around the neck? Etc etc.

Anyway, just a few pointers! I hope this is helpful!

Here are some great links that you may want to check out:

Oh! And we'd love to have you in the Virtual Labs! Please see our schedule here (in your local time):

Posted at 6:09pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT


Hoooorible grammer in the title! Sorry about that!

Posted at 6:10pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

Bless you Michelle - that was a post and a half :)

Posted at 6:10pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT helpful!

5. Show additional uses in the photos to show the buyer how useful and necessary the item is! Would the brooch look cute pinned on a bag? In the hair? Hem of a short dress? As a scarf pin? Draping a loose garment? With a bunch of other brooches from your shop? Would the scarf look good as a belt, tied as a bow around the neck? Etc etc.

My doll clothes fit other dolls besides AG....did it ever occur to me to show that in my pics? DUH, NO!

Even 'not newbies" can get some good ideas in here!

Posted at 6:12pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

Yeah really! I learned a lot! Time to keep digging within those articles. :) Thanks!

Posted at 6:14pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

Wow! Thanks so much :)

Posted at 6:15pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

Thanks Michelle - marking to study later

Posted at 6:17pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

JemmDee says

This is also helpful for those of us who are not as newbie anymore.
Thank you!

Posted at 6:18pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT

dottyral says

Nice little checklist even for us oldies. Thanks Michelle.

By the way, I'd be careful with linking to shop sections. If you change your sections you have a lot of editing to do.

I link to my shop and sometimes I'll do a search within my shop and link to that in some listings. I'll never have to edit it that way(hopefully).

Posted at 6:18pm Jul 28, 2010 EDT