Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Written by Crochetgal

There have been many questions asked regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is what has worked for me...
1) Use relevant words in your title. for example.. call a bracelet a bracelet. You may refer to it as 'a moment in time' but its a bracelet. I don't search for 'a moment in time'. Titles are searchable!
2) Use the first characters of your description to describe the item, using as many adjectives as you can. Keep the whimsy to later on. The first 140 - 180 characters of the description are the most important!
3) Use your tags effectively. Select tags for your items that describe the item.
4) Use titles on your shop sections that make sense for searching. If you have a section for purses, include the word purse in the section.
5) Make sure your shop title is relevant and relates to what you sell.
6) Use the first few sentences of your shop announcement to accurately describe what your shop is about. Those characters are searchable. So for example, 'welcome to my shop' really doesn't help your shop, but
"Crochetgal carries one of a kind crochet items, hand made soapdishes, and yarns at affordable prices" tells exactly what it is you do.
Thats about it in a nutshell!
For more information, check out Google's SEO Starter Guide
or TechCrafter's notes on SEO Optimization
Part 1: What is SEO?
Part 2: 10 things that will hurt your site
Part 3: Understanding Keywords

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flash Ad how to HTML

Written by beckykazana

I've just learned how to make a quick, professional looking flash ad to run on Project Wonderful and I thought I'd show you how to do it too!

Before getting started, I cropped my photos to 125 pixels square using Flickr's editing program, Picnik, but of course, you could do it in Photoshop too. If you want to add text, do that ahead of time as well. Choose at least two photos you like, and then head to Picasion.

Simply upload the photos from your computer, or import them directly from Flickr. Choose the size of your photos and the speed at which they will scroll. Click "Create Animation" and wait while it creates your customized code. You can save it to your computer or copy and paste the HTML code as you desire. I like to have a copy on my computer for future reference.

Now head on over to Project Wonderful to create an ad and begin bidding. Yet another great way to meet other artists, bloggers and talented folks. If you're curious, here's my completed ad:

If you finish an ad, be sure to post your link in the comments. I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A warning to Etsy Sellers

Written by Anna from TheHouseofMouse

As users of the internet most of us are aware that we should protect our personal information as well as we can. But as there is a new scam happening with increasing instance on Etsy I thought that I should post a little reminder....

The scammer(s) on Etsy are convoing sellers to ask for personal information to apparently pay for items by cheque or bank transfer BEFORE they have actually bought anything from the store. They are asking for Name, Address, phone number, email address and bank details! My advice is to stick to PayPal as your preferred method of payment (which is relatively safe) and if you receive a convo like this then reassert your payment policies and forward the convo to

You should never take part in business transactions you don't feel comfortable with, nor reveal private information to those you don't trust.

I guess because my husband is a computer security expert I am more aware of this stuff than most. For instance did you know that posting your full name, telephone numbers, email addresses, home address and birth date on your Facebook info page is a welcome invite to identity thieves! They will happily use them to create bank accounts and other fraudulent accounts like credit cards and phone bills in your name. Even worse you can hand over your bank details, social security numbers of drivers licence numbers to anyone who feels like going through your trash... Always shred any information like this before throwing it away. Identity theft is ugly when it happens, and as it is increasing all the time so does the chance that it will affect you.

Written by Anna from TheHouseofMouse

Monday, September 14, 2009

Etsy Rearrange Shop Feature

Written by sandrassatchels

I am so excited about the new "Rearrange" feature. In the past, as you know, once an item is listed, it could not be moved -- It was almost like having a store window, that once you place something in the window, you could not change it to accommodate coordinating pieces as they would come into the store.

I have up to 20 different fabrics at any given time, and 7 to 10 items in each fabric. Before the "Rearrange" feature, my customer who wanted a "large double pocket" shoulder bag in the Obsidian fabric, would not see all the accessories in the same fabric on the same page. Especially since I keep adding new items. Now, I have been able to arrange all of my Obsidian in a grouping. This is like showing the fries with the burger. This will promote multiple item sales. Instead of just a handbag, the customer will decide on a coin purse to go inside etc.,

This announcement was emailed on September 3, 2008. Follow this link. This is the simplest update I've ever enjoyed.

Thank you Etsy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Photo Saga

Written by beckykazana

You've heard it over and over again: One of the greatest challenges to selling products on the web is good photography. Despite a few college photography classes (we were probably the last in history to learn on regular SLRs!) I have struggled long and hard with getting good shots, particularly of my pipe cleaner gals. They are a quirky product and I knew that they needed the right kind of photos to showcase their particular little personalities, but I was continually frustrated. I wanted to share my saga with you, because I really do believe that I've finally had a breakthrough.

I'm going to skip my efforts with my pocket sized Cannon. It was a great little camera for travel, but I had no control of the zoom function and images of these small objects were often blurry or focused on the wrong parts.

The shot above was taken sometime in November with my new Nikon D40 . This is a complicated piece of equipment, but the image quality was noticeably better, even with the camera hand held on auto. Christmas is obviously a good time of year for ornaments like these and I wanted to set the mood properly, but a lot of the detail and color is lost.

A later effort where I tried to take advantage of the lovely diffused light that enters our apartment in the late afternoon. Though you can actually see the gal better this way, the details in the background are still distracting.

My next brainwave was an outdoor photo shoot with the incredible blooming rosemary bushes dotting our apartment complex serving as a backdrop. I thought it might give that garden fairy ambiance I was looking for. Instead, the direct light cast harsh shadows and gave an amateurish backyard feel that I hated.

I had tried using a light box with mixed success while we were in China. Eric helped me rig up a rickety approximation and we clamped the lights directly to the sides, which had the same effect as the outdoor lighting; garish shadows and washed out color.

This time he constructed me something really marvelous. He cut out panels in an ordinary cardboard box, hot glued white fabric to these windows to diffuse the light, bought some halogen work lights (oi! Do those suckers get hot!) and also invested in a tripod for my fancy new Nikkon. (Thanks for all that hard work Mister!)

These shots are an improvement, but I was still disappointed with the contrast and detail. I had to start playing with the settings and reading the darn manual- a recipe for a big headache, but also the key to success. It is important to me not to have to fiddle with photo-shopping my Etsy listing images- to do that with five images for every single listing at the volume I have in my inventory makes me absolutely cringe. I just can't do it. So I wanted to get good shots on the first try. My next thought was to switch to a colored backdrop, adjust the f-stop and exposure time.

After reading this post, I decided to take the plunge and bought a few sheets of colored Canson paper at vile Michael's, adjusted my light meter and went through lots of trial and error, but I think I've finally arrived at a winner here. There is no distracting background, good contrast without any fiddling around in Photoshop, bright vibrant color that sets the playful tone and looks great in thumbnails. I'm a very happy camper. I know I still have a lot to learn about my new camera and photographing for the internet, but the flush of success feels good after all this time!

Here are a few of the other new shots just for fun. It's made a great difference in the look and feel of my shop. Any suggestions out there from others doing product photography? I'm all ears!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You’ve Got Your First SALE! Now What?

Written by Kim from UnemployedDesigner

I see a lot of elated new sellers come to the Etsy forums looking for the answer to this question right after they’ve gotten their first sale, and just as many who simply want to know what to do so they’re prepared ahead of time, so I thought I’d put my personal step-by-step process together here in hopes that it would help!

1) First and foremost, do the happy dance!

2) Make sure you’ve gotten paid. Go to your sold (orders) page and look at the status box in the right-hand column. If payment was made with PayPal, the received payment box will already be checked, but I still advise that you log into your PayPal account to verify that funds have been received (JUST in case there was a glitch!).

If sufficient time has passed and you don’t yet have Payment from PayPal, or if you accept other forms of payment, such as checks or money order, you will need to contact your buyer to arrange payment. But wait until you check on a couple of other things first…

3) Compare the mailing addresses on both Etsy and PayPal, if that’s how you accept Payment. If they match, great! If not, I suggest clarifying with the buyer which one is correct before sending. (Note: PayPal only offers seller protection if shipping to the address on record with PayPal, though you may elect to forfeit this coverage by shipping to the Etsy address.) But before you do that, check one more thing:

4) Check the message from the buyer section of your receipt page – there may be a request or other special information that you need to pay attention to in that section as well.

5) Now is when I contact my buyer to acknowledge the order and thank the customer.

If everything is all good with steps 2 through 4, I also let them know when I expect to ship their item and how to reach me if they have any questions in the meantime. (When I happen to be able to ship the same day or within 24 hours, I generally combine this “acknowledgment/thank you” and the “your order has shipped/tracking” info all together into one contact.)

If there were any issues (Not paid yet? Address discrepancy? Need clarification on that note to seller) I first address those issues and follow up with shipping info once settled.

6) Package your items. Include any thank you notes, business cards, coupons or other literature that might go with the order. I suggest also including an itemized packing slip. You can print these automatically via PayPal, and they can be set up with a personalized message to your buyers. It’s a nice opportunity to give the customer important information, such as how to reach you if they have a concern about their order, maybe reiterating your return policy, and just thanking them for their order again – look at the packing slips you get from big retailers for ideas of the type of information to include.

7) Optional happy dance.

8) Arrange shipping with delivery confirmation to protect yourself against claims of non-delivery, and insurance, if the cost of the item is higher than you’re willing to take a loss on in case the package is lost. If PayPal is used to print shipping labels, then delivery confirmation will be added automatically.

9) If you didn’t provide this information when you first acknowledged the order, follow up with the customer to confirm shipping and to provide carrier and tracking information, if available. If you’ve printed your shipping label via PayPal, then an email with the tracking information will automatically be sent to the buyer. There’s also a spot where you can personalize a message to the buyer in this email as well (I use it to – guess what? – thank the buyer for their order and let them know how to reach me. It’s repetitive, I know, but you never can tell which of these communications get read by the customer, or which they will have handy if they do decide to contact you).

11) Try to remember to go back to your sold items page and check off the “shipped” box in the right-hand column.

12) Do one last happy dance.

13) Try to calm down.

14) Okay, one more happy dance won’t hurt anybody.

Okay, did I leave anything out? Please feel free to comment below with any questions or additional advice for handling first time sales!

[About the Author: Kim from is a mother and wife, freelance apparel designer, fashion illustrator and teacher living in NYC, and an avid crafter since childhood. She and her husband share, among other things, many years of retail experience between them, in addition to her extensive internet shopping habit.]