Make it look professional
This is not Craigslist or your yard sale. You’re not selling your old and unwanted items. This is for vintage wares and handcrafted items. It's your shop. Make sure what you are selling won’t end up on Regretsy <- This is Not Work Safe.
Make an Etsy Banner
Seriously, Google “How to make an Etsy banner.” There are so many tutorials and tips on how to make a beautiful and professional banner. It can be done for free with a little effort or you could buy a banner from Etsy.
These are examples of clean and professional banners. These are both something you could make using a free photo editing site like Picnik. Both of these shops were featured on the front page of Etsy. That's prime real estate.
This might be what makes Etsy.. well Etsy. The beautiful photos. They are necessary to have a successful shop.
Even if you are not a photographer, maybe someone you know is. Ask them if they would like to help, offer a percentage of your sales. That way you aren’t spending money until you make money.
If all else fails hire a photographer. It may just be worth the money.
Figure out when your selling times are
This is a biggie. Over the month, I figured out that the bulk of my sales were made between 7pm-1am Eastern Time. This makes complete sense, figuring most people are just getting into their nighttime routines (which usually includes some internet shopping) at these times and factoring in all the times zones.
The only way I could find this out was by keeping track of the email notifications I received when I sold an item. Etsy does not have any reports that are broken down by time and neither does PayPal. They have dates listed, but not specific times.
Now, this is why it is important. These are the times you either want to add your product or if it is already added, renew it. This makes your items come up first when customers do their searches. Shoppers do have the ability to change the settings for searches such as ‘lowest price’ or ‘relevancy’, but ‘most recent’ is the pre-set function.
Buyers will only search through so many pages. Short attention spans. Blame it on whatever, it’s just a fact.
It does cost $.20 to add or renew an item, but just think of it as advertising costs. That’s how people know your shop even exists. In the grand scheme of advertising costs, trust me, this is minimal.
Use your tag words nicely
Tag words are how people find your item when they do their searches. This will be your most helpful tool.
After you select your categories, you usually get 13 tags. Use them well.
Use synonyms, if you are selling a purse you can also use handbag as a tag
Use specific colors. It’s not just blue. Periwinkle, navy, baby, robin’s egg, you get the idea.
Use the plural form. Instead of bead, beads.
Use who, what, where.
Who will be using it? Moms, men, children, students.
What is it? A sweater, notebook. I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it would be to forget to add this.
What style is it? Vintage, modern, eclectic.
Where can you use it? The kitchen, outdoors or bedroom.
Don’t forget about your material tags too.
Make an effort to get repeat customers
Freebies is the name of this game.
Don't just give a business card. Give something creative, but useful. A fridge magnet, pencils, a note card with your shop name. Even if this is an online business, word of mouth is still your friend.
Give a discount.
I sent 10% coupons codes to everyone who bought an item this month, to try and see how many repeat customers or referrals I had. It was a simple way to say thank you and track repeat/referral business. Here's a link on how to make an Etsy coupon code for your shop.
Get your shop out there with:
A Facebook profile
A Twitter account
Start a blog
Submit your items on submission sites like Craftgawker and We ♥ it
Here are some other great resources to help increase sales, traffic, and production.
My Etsy Handbook at I go by katie
Everything Etsy has many tutorials and ideas
Handmadeology has a whole section of Etsy tips