Hanging out your Shingle: Setting up Shop at Etsy, Part 2

Okay, two blogs ago I had begun listing my clueless mistakes, which became my best tips, in the process of starting up an Etsy shop.  You can read the first part of the blog here; now we pick up with Tip #4, which deals with all those crazy pages you have to write stuff on, starting with your “Announcements,” or the front page:

4.  Roll out the welcome mat.

Under your banner is your shop title.  Here I had something rather poetic at first, because I wanted to convey a sort of “feel” with my shop title.  But then I found out (via the forums, of course) that Google uses the shop title to place your shop in a relevant item search.  So the title should be a pithy description of exactly what you sell; something like “Crocheted Hair Accessories” or “Scrabble Tile Pendant Jewelry” would be ideal.  (Unless of course you sell gothic fine art prints, I suppose…)

Under the title is your “welcome/announcements” text.  I had already seen that some people use this as a place to put all their shop policies, shipping rates, turn-ons, turn-offs and the history of their craft in the Western world, but even Newbie I could see that this was a mistake.  However, I still got a little too poetical the first few times and made it too “texty.”  I learned in journalism classes in college that people’s eyes are drawn to the white space *around* blocks of text, not the grey blob of text itself.  So keep the whole of it short (so people can see your items without scrolling) and keep the paragraphs even shorter.

Also important because Google also uses the welcome text to accurately place your item in search results.  Also, your policies page is already provided elsewhere, so keep policies off your shop’s front page (though on my front page, I do encourage people to read the policies page, in case they don’t know it’s there).

The other mistake I made was overlapping information about myself with my “welcome” message–again, Etsy provides a profile page where one can write to one’s heart’s desire about themselves and their craft.  The welcome page is not the place for that, either.  The idea here is to tell the shop visitor exactly what you make and sell.  If you’re having any promotions or sales, you can also mention those on the front page.  I personally put the URLs of my Flickr page, Twitter profile, and this here blog on my welcome page, too, but those can be put in your profile if you prefer.

And yes, you do need to put something there, and more than one sentence.  I have seen a few sellers who only had one or two sentences–or even just a part of a sentence–as their welcome, but that really doesn’t make people feel very “welcome.”  The point is:  Keep it fairly brief, but informative enough that the visitor feels they understand what they’re going to see while visiting your shop.

5.  Leave no page untexted.

Obviously, you’ll want to fill out your policies page.  How to do this effectively is covered in the sellers’ FAQ on Etsy’s Resources pages, as well as in many forum threads.  Some Etsy-specific tips include:  mention how you pack items (and by all means, take pains with packaging–it brings repeat business), as well as your customization/alteration/resizing/repair/exchange policies (have some!).

As for profile, as I said, I initially conflated the profile and the welcome page, but I eventually broke it down into:  The welcome page is about my shop, and the profile page is about me–and that includes how I approach my craft.  And yes, many Etsy buyers really do read the profiles and really do want to know something about you.  That’s part of the reason people buy handmade:  the personal touch.  (But of course, not *too* personal–particularly if you’re desperate for sales; sadly, people really don’t want to know that.  We are all friendly at Etsy, but it’s still best to maintain a professional approach.)

Okay, that’s all for today.  I have one more big, fat, juicy tip, but this blog is already far too gabby for busy folks like you, so I’ll save it for next time.  And yes, it does relate to the current Etsy controversy over those mysterious meta-tag thingies…but I’ll say no more for now.

Post comments below, or send questions, comments, rotten tomatoes, and air-freshener samples to particlesofstone at yahoo dot com.  Until next time, dear readers!

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1 comment so far

  1. songs on repeat on

    Great blog! It got me thinking about my quickly-written, condensed version of a policies page. Finally got around to rewriting it.


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