How To Improve The Layout Of Your Etsy Shop

Every once in a while, it's good to take a whole new look at your Etsy Shop and refresh just about everything. 

It can be easy to continue to do the same thing every day with your Etsy Shop. But in order to take it to the next level, you have to re-think every aspect. 

Every season - Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, is usually best to do a re-branding of your Etsy Business. Here are things you should consider refreshing for your Etsy Shop: 

  1. Totally redesign your Cover Image
  2. Come up with a better, stronger slogan for your brand
  3. Updated your Shop Announcement with something that will catch your customer's attention
  4. Update your Shop Sections to new names that will make Etsy Customers want to click and view them closer up
  5. Update and improve your Shop Logo/Icon and Shop Owner Image to something more professional
  6. Update your first 4 Featured Listings & 24 Listings to showcase your best sellers from within the last 30 days. 

Making bold and dramatic changes to your Etsy Shop can prove to real Etsy Customers that you are a leading, creative Etsy Shop owner that thinks creatively above other Etsy Shop.

By continually updating these areas every few days, we've seen a bump in Sales and interaction from customers. When you show that you are a real business, as a real individual that likes to be creative, people will want to buy from you. That's why they shop on Etsy in the first place!

2 Big Takeaways From The Etsy CEO's Video Announcement on December 6, 2017

Etsy's CEO, Josh Silverman, put out a video yesterday highlighting the changes Etsy is working on to help Etsy become a better place for people to shop online.

Overall, I am encouraged to hear that Etsy is taking their platform seriously by developing tools and creating changes that are more likely to better compete with companies like Amazon, by encouraging more discounts & promotions, the ability for customers to filter through search results, and get access to high-quality listings that will encourage visitors to keep coming back to Etsy and make more and more purchases.

Below are 2 Big Takeaways that I see will be very important for you to think about and actively work on in light of what Etsy announced on December 6, 2017. 


1. Context Specific Ranking (CSR)
This change is huge, and is surprisingly what I thought was actually happening earlier this year around March of 2017. Etsy's CEO gave an example of a "Laundry Basket" keyword search before and after the CSR changes were implemented. The images below are not the same as the presentation from the video, but roughly similar. Before, if you typed in "Laundry Basket" a lot of the results would have been printable art or printable stickers, or things like that. Now, if you type in "Laundry Basket" today you'll get results that are more likely what you meant, meaning physical products of Laundry Baskets. 

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While this is bad for shops that offer Printable items, it is definitely better for the average visitor's user experience. Most likely, a visitor typing in "Laundry Basket" would have meant that they were searching for a physical product. The way Etsy does this is by likely having a very large list of keywords that they associate with a "Category", such as "Physical" or "Digital." So that instead of a customer typing in "Physical Laundry Basket," which would be strange and redundant, they would only have to type "Laundry Basket" in order to get the result they wanted. 

Because of this change, it's very likely that most Digital Download/Printable Etsy shops have seen a huge drop in their sales, unless they have worked to incorporate more physical products or worked on newer keywords that are more niche and less competitive. And some physical product shops are likely seeing some increases in certain categories, although I am sure physical shops are seeing some hurt from this as well, depending on what you sell. For instance, if you sell "Vintage Laundry Baskets" you were probably also effected as well, because Etsy is going to likely feature new and popular Laundry Baskets, instead of niche categories. This is a huge change that, unfortunately, is going to negatively or positively change your Etsy business is some way.


2. Less Focus On Titles
The Etsy CEO, Josh Silverman, made it clear that lots of changes will be happening to Etsy Search and keywords. He also made it clear that "keyword searches" are still the number one way people shop on Etsy, which makes it incredibly important for you to continue to learn and implement keyword strategies.

Unfortunately, we do not know what changes Etsy plans to make in the future. But we can make educated guesses on how to improve our Etsy Shops right now in order to prepare.

The main announcement that Josh Silverman made regarding search changes is a "Less Focus on Titles." Right now, Etsy's searches rely on a very old search algorithm called "keyword cramming" where you just stuff as many keywords as possible into your Titles and Tags.

I have felt for a lot time that this will eventually change. And Josh Silverman is making it pretty clear that this will definitely change in the near future. It will likely be more sophisticated to what Amazon and Google do with their searches, which is give you the best selling items, allow you to better filter through keyword results based on price, color, category, free shipping, and other important options. 

For instance, take a look at the left-hand side column for "Laundry Basket" Etsy searches in the image below. On the left side, you can see options like "On Sale", Category, Shipping & Lead Times, as well as Color.

Compare this to Amazon, which allows you to also filter by Category, Delivery Day, Amazon Prime/Free Shipping, and Average Customer Review. 

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As Etsy continues to refine the left-hand sidebar, customers will most likely start to use this frequently. The Etsy CEO make it clear that the new changes regarding shipping/lead time, free shipping, and sales have significantly increased an Etsy Customer's ability to shop and find what they want, just as if they were shopping on Amazon. 


In light of these announcements, here are 4 areas I highly recommend you focus on as you develop your Etsy Shop over the coming weeks:


1. Continue to expand your product line on Etsy into new categories.
As things change, you want to have stability on Etsy by offering items to a wider range of customers. This way, as things on Etsy change, you can be better prepared to adjust. For instance, if you currently sell Digital Downloads only, consider how you can expand into Physical Products as well. If you only sell Vintage items, consider also selling newer or modern items as well.

2. Write quality listing descriptions with good keywords.
Both Google and Amazon pull keywords from an entire product page when indexing the keywords they will use for a search result. In the past, Etsy has only used Keywords from Titles and Tags. But Etsy will not stay that way forever. Etsy has been way behind the times in terms of their SEO search result quality. For future listings, write quality Listing Descriptions that will incorporate more keywords that are highly relevant to what you are actually selling.

3. Use the Category and Attribute options when creating new listings
For instance, the Category, Primary Color, and Holiday/Occassion are all going to be more helpful for people in the future to help them find what they are looking for as Etsy continues to focus on filterable searches.

4. Offer Free Shipping, Shorter Processing Times & Discounts/Promotions
Etsy's CEO made it clear that Etsy shoppers are no different than Amazon shoppers when it comes to shipping and good prices. Etsy customers want their orders to arrive quickly, and without having to pay extra for shipping. Changing your processing time down to 1-2 business days, and building your shipping costs into your item's cost is going to greatly help you increase your sales as Etsy continues to promote the shops who actively offer those kinds of options. This also goes for options like Gift Wrapping or other shipping incentives. 


Over the next few months and years, Etsy is going to change quite a bit. But I think these changes are for the better, especially if you can take advantage of all the changes they are doing. I can tell that Etsy's goal is really to rival and get up to speed with Amazon. Amazon is a place where people can find basics like toilet paper, toothbrushes, cheap dinner plates, and so on. And their Amazon Prime option has made them the most popular tool for online shopping.

But not everyone wants mass-produced, cheap items. Today, Etsy is still the best place to find unique, handmade items that you cannot find anywhere else. Which is why I am excited to continue to grow my own business on Etsy.


5 Things To Work On To Improve Your Etsy Shop

When I speak with Etsy Sellers, I find that many of them tend to focus most of their attention on 1 aspect of their Etsy Shop. It's either a hyper-focus on redoing their keywords, making more products, or worrying about Views & Stats.

Based on my experience selling on Etsy, I personally believe it is not good to focus on just one aspect on your Etsy Shop too much.  Instead, you want to evenly divide your time between all the tasks that are needed to build a good Etsy Shop.

When getting your Etsy Shop off the ground and built up to your first 200 Sales, there are 5 main things you want to equally spread your time on with Etsy each day, with each area using an equal 20% of your daily efforts.

Add these 5 items to your daily Etsy To-Do List:

1. Improve your Keywords (20%)
2. Optimize your Shop's Layout (20%)
3. Improve your Listing Descriptions, Policies & About Sections (20%)
4. Improve your Listing Designs & Photography (20%)
5. Analyze your Stats & Analytics (20%)

If you are neglecting any of these 5 areas, or spending too much time on just one, then you are going to see slow growth in Etsy, and you'll be likely wasting your time. 

  • Do you have more products than you have sales?  If you have 100 Items in your Etsy Shop, but only 20 Sales - slow down!  You are not spending enough time keywords, listing descriptions, quality product design, and analyzing your Stats.
  • Do you have more than 50 items, but no sales?  Spend more time on keywords before making new products. Make sure your listing descriptions are clear and helpful. Make sure your Shop Policies are concise and not to strict. No one wants to buy from a strict Etsy Shop that won't offer refunds if something goes wrong.
  • Are people even viewing your Items or favoriting them?  Make sure your Etsy products are beautiful, inspiring and high quality. Even if your Etsy Listings show up in keyword searches, if your photos and designs are not beautiful, people will not bother to click on them and view your items more closely. 

As you work to get your first 200 Sales on Etsy, keep track of your work, set out daily to do lists, and get in the habit of spending your time wisely.

How Should I Set Up My Etsy Shop Sections & Categories?

Etsy Seller Question:
What is the best way to organize my Etsy Listings? Should it be by color or by style? Or what if you have the same product in multiple colors?

The most important way to figure out how to organize your Sections is by reviewing your Sales. Whenever someone buys 2 or more items together in the same bundle, that tells you that the items likely go together.  So your Shop sections could be set up in several ways, such as color, or style, or something else.

What I recommend is review all of your recent sales for the last 30 days and see what patterns you find. What we have found for our own Etsy Shop is that it tends to be a certain combination of both Color & Style. Write down every time someone makes an order of 2 or more items, and see how those items are similar to each other. Then, set up your Sections based on that data. 

The final step is to place the bestselling Sections at the Top of your List. Depending on the season and on trends, you will find that your Sections may end up changing every 2-4 weeks. So this is an ongoing process that you should keep up on continually. 

For instance, sometimes our "Mint & Coral" section does extremely well and sells hundreds of items. But right now, it hardly sells at all because we're in Fall. Other colors like Navy, Gold and Beige are somewhat popular year round, but they do change fairly frequently. 

But the most important way to sort your Sections is always by Sales, and how much money you're making, and by trying to encourage customers to order multiple items at the same time. The easier a customer can find things they like that go together, the more likely they will spend more money.

Think of it like someone going to a restaurant. Fast food restaurants make a lot more money when you order Fries & Soda along with a Burger. If you order just the Burger, they make a lot less money. But when you add on items that go along with the main entree, and you pair them together in an easy way, then customers are more likely to make a larger purchase. 

Should I Sell Physical Items & Digital Items In The Same Etsy Shop?

Etsy Seller Question:
Have you found a good way to incorporate printed art listings in with your printable listings? Is it better to have an add-on, separate listings, custom request or a different store all together? I'd like to be able to offer both options but don't want to confuse customers or make it hard to purchase.

I have seen Etsy Shops do it both ways. I've tested this out numerous times on Melinda Wood Designs, and most of the time, you are selling to 2 totally different customer profiles.  Printable Art customers want affordable, DIY options.  And Physical Art customers want to pay extra so that they don't have to do anything except wait for the item in the mail. Physical Art customers also want to have access to higher quality materials instead of figure out how to print something on their own.

My suggestion is to test it out on your Etsy Shop both ways. I have seen some successful Etsy Shops sell a very even mixture of Physical & Printable items all mixed together. Personally, I find mixing the two very confusing unless you make it really obvious from your Photos that this is a "Physical Print" and other items are "Digital Prints." 

For our own shop, mixing in Physical Prints has not worked out that well.  Instead, we have a "Print & Ship Service" listing which has been the most effective. Physical Prints only account for about 5% of our sales, so it's not a huge opportunity for us right now.  The main thing I recommend is to test out both options, and record your results, the move towards the option that seems to make the most money for you.  Every Etsy Shop is different and will have their own results after the test this out. Also, having a single "Print & Ship" option as a Section/Category or as a "Featured Item" is going to be the fastest and easiest way to get this up on your shop, instead of creating a bunch of new individual listings. At the very least, this can help you get started by just having one "Print & Ship" option.

Also, to answer your question about having a 2nd Etsy Shop, I always advise Etsy Sellers to avoid having a 2nd Shop until they are really happy with how much income they are getting out of their first Etsy Shop. If you feel like you have made a ton of money on Etsy and understand everything that goes into running a successful Etsy Shop, with thousands of Sales, then I think it's okay to think about 2 Etsy Shops at that point. But until then, I highly recommend that you focus mastering your skills on a single Etsy Shop first. Otherwise, it's going to be too difficult to figure out everything, and then apply what you have learned to multiple Etsy Shops. Most likely, that's going to be a huge time waster, and only set you back.  I think that only once your Etsy shop hits 5,000 Sales would it be an okay time to start thinking about a 2nd Etsy Shop if you really, really want to do it. 

Should I Renew My Etsy Listings Or Let Them Expire?

I made a big mistake early on when we started to get success on Etsy. Within 12 months of selling on Etsy, we were making $7,000 in revenue per month selling mostly printable artwork. And we had roughly 300 Listings at the time. My thought was that if I just kept making more items, that we would bring in more revenue. So if I made 600 Listings, then maybe I could make $14,000 per month, and so on.

But as I continued to create more and more Listings on Etsy, I would also continue to renew all the expired listings that no one bought within 4 months. Etsy forces Listings that do not sell within 4 months to expire. 

The thing is that if not a single person wants to buy a certain item you make within 4 months, it likely means no one wants to buy it at all. That might not always be the case, but I would say somewhere around 80% of the time, it is best to allow old listings to expire if no one purchases that item within 4 months. 

When you allow items that do not sell to Expire, you can then spend time making brand new items that people actually want to buy. You'll build a reputation for making quality, relevant items, and stay high in Etsy Search results. Because the more and item sells, the more likely it will stay high in search results. 

This is one of the biggest mistakes we made early on, is not allowing bad items to expire. Today, we're having to rebrand and take the shop in a new direction and build items that people want to buy in December 2017 and January 2018.