3 of my biggest etsy mistakes - and how you can avoid them

Way back in 2009, I started my very first Etsy shop, letterhappy, with ZERO knowledge of how the platform worked, how to be a business owner, or how to present my products in an online market. I definitely didn’t know what the best SEO practices were, and let’s be honest, I probably didn’t even know what SEO stood for. (It’s Search Engine Optimization if you’re new at this, too.)

So, if 2018 You is in the same boat as 2009 Christen, keep reading, because I’m giving you an inside look at 3 of the biggest Etsy mistakes I made and how you can avoid them!


Hey!! Okay, so before you continue, I just wanted to let you know that my comprehensive course, Etsy Empire: The Foundation, is OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT - but only until Tuesday, July 24th at 9pm CST!

>>> CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND ENROLL TODAY!

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post!


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Mistake #1 - Making my titles cute instead of searchable.

You’re probably tired of hearing me tell you to use up all of the space in your titles and tags, but it’s way too important for me to shut up about. #sorrynotsorry

My very first sold listing had the title “i love you . valentine card”.

2009 Christen wanted to keep things simple and cute. 2009 Christen also needed a swift kick in the ass. Does this title tell you ANYTHING about the card I’m selling? Does it tell you that it’s got red and green flowers on it, or that it could also be used as a mother’s day card, an anniversary card, a birthday card, or a gift enclosure for someone who likes to garden?

(The answer is no. No it does not.)

Make sure you’re including every single attribute of your item (what it is, who it’s for, how it can be used, etc.) in your tags and titles to get found in as many different search results as possible.

Mistake #2 - Using only one photo slot.

I was TERRIBLE at taking pictures back in the day, so when I would finally get a halfway decent one, I would call it a day, post it, and not look back.

Picture this.. it’s about 8pm. All of the natural light is gone, so I’m crouched down on the floor with a point and shoot camera in one hand, my mom’s nightstand lamp in the other, and I’ve got this greeting card standing up in a makeshift cardboard “light box” trying to get the perfect shot. Yeah, that didn’t go so well. This was the best one out of about a hundred tries, so you can just imagine what the other 99 looked like..

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When buyers are making the decision to purchase something, they want to see a clear photograph that very obviously displays what is for sale. Bonus points if you can show it from all angles, with unobtrusive props for size reference, and on a human model if applicable. Photos are just as (if not more!) important than great titles, tags, and descriptions, so take the guesswork out of your customers’ minds by giving them more than enough visual aids to look through.

Mistake #3 - Making it too hard for my customers to buy more things.

Actual line from my description: “need more? check out my other listing for a set of six or convo me and i’ll set up a reserved listing just for you!”

This doesn’t sound too terrible on the surface, but let’s break it down from the customer’s point of view.

“need more? check out my other listing for a set of six…”

Customer: Okay, but where? How do I get back to your shop? And how do I find it? Do I have to search through 5 pages of listings?

“... or convo me and i’ll set up a reserved listing just for you!”

Customer: But I need to go ahead and order this now! How do I “convo” you? What the heck even is a “convo”? How long will it take you to respond? By the time you get back to me, I may have changed my mind.

Online shoppers are not necessarily as internet savvy as you are. You need to make it as EASY as possible for them to complete their purchase, and you need to give them the path of least resistance to get to what they really need.

Here’s what I should have done: “You can find lots of awesome cards just like this one inside my shop (give link back to your shopfront). Oh, and if you need a larger quantity, you can find a discounted set of six right here! (give link straight to the set of six)”

Now, if a customer wants to see the rest of your listings, they can click straight back into your shop without having to look around for a way to get there or navigating off the page and not knowing how to get back. Additionally, you’ve given them a link straight to a larger quantity without making them figure out how to send you a message or figure out what a “convo” is. They may not have even come in thinking they needed 6, but honestly, who can turn down a discounted deal like that? (Pro tip: I always suggest setting your quantities above 1 whenever possible so your customers can use the quantity drop down as well, but if you have a price break threshold where you’re willing to give a discount, like the 6 cards in my example, you can create a new listing specifically for that! More listings = more chances to be found!)

Phew! That's just one listing, y'all. I still can't believe somebody bought it, but thank goodness for that sweet angel. Shout out to you, Lucy! I love to go back and critique my old listings as real life examples of what NOT to do, and it definitely gives me perspective when I compare where I was then to where I am now.

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade my trial-and-error path for anything, because it’s made me a better biz babe, and I have a deep knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of Etsy, which in turn helps me make YOU a better biz babe. And speaking of making you a better biz babe, have you checked out my new freebie yet? We're talking about some of the next steps to success, including how successful sellers get and KEEP their listings at the top of search pages. You can grab it right here. It'll be delivered to your inbox immediately so you can get started right away!

Here's to being the best biz babes we can be! Oh, and if you're looking for a place to hang out with a bunch of fellow Etsy biz babes, come join my FREE Facebook Group, the shophappy society! See you there!

xo, Christen