Beginner Mistakes I Made with my Etsy Store

It’s not easy finding a constant stride with your Etsy store. Shopping patterns, system updates and new competitors popping up daily make growing your shop hard enough, but when you add these mistakes that beginners tend to make - I know I did. A truthfully, a lot of Etsy is trial and error. There are certain things that you will find just work for you, so whenever trying to implement something new, it’s best to do so in increments. Dip your toe in the pool rather than running and doing a full-blown cannonball. Still, these mistakes are good things to be aware of!

Used repeating keywords

This is one of the biggest ones I see when looking at shops with owners who can’t figure out why they aren’t getting traffic. You should always be using all of your keywords when first starting out on your Etsy store (and in general but some champion shops have been around long enough who don’t use all the keywords options but then again, they’re already dominating with their SEO other ways.) You really need to think outside the box and make sure you aren’t using the same keywords in places you don’t need to. When I first had my temporary tattoos in my shop, I would include the phrase in the title as well as in the keywords, which is unnecessary and repetitive. All I was doing was wasting an opportunity to add a possible search term someone might use to find my product. Read through my quick notes post on Etsy’s Ultimate Guide for a more in-depth look on repeating keywords.

Wrote Descriptions and Titles for the Wrong Audience

This is another thing I see a lot. When you first start a new shop or site, you can get caught up in trying to sound as professional as you think but that is a quick path away from what people are looking for. You might have a lovely description written out that is flourished with a vocabulary only learned at finishing school than Yale, but people aren’t searching for “a piece glimmering impermeable adhesive vinyl depicting the rallying cry of sisterhoods movement.” I get it can be hard to separate yourself from your art, and you want the world to take you as serious as possible when it comes to your craft, but you’re just going to be found more with something simple and concise so your potential customer can see that you’re really selling a “shimmer feminist waterproof sticker.” Sure, it’s not as poetic, but you know what it is a hell of a lot faster.

Ignored external optimization tools to help manage Etsy store

There’s no excuse for this one - I was lazy. I didn’t appreciate how useful sites like EtsyRank and HandmadeHunt were. I thought “I’m just starting, who knows what will happen” which is my way of being lazy and less about not believing in my shop. I just thought it would be easier and I knew everything. Then I didn’t have any sales for 3 months. Not using these third-party sites just kept me from having a better understanding of my listings performance. While some things are trial and error, we at least have ways to help guide us in the right direction like these tools.

Neglected setting up an inventory system from the beginning

I will forever kick myself over this one. Again, I think I can trace it back to laziness, and speaking of external tools have you heard of CraftyBase? I have been using this for inventory because it ties straight to the shop and updates as sales come in and out. It does take a bit of time to set up and has a monthly subscription fee, but if you are dealing with a vast inventory, it will save you a headache and lost time reorganizing down the line.

Wrote feeble policies that didn't protect me

I know writing policies can seem daunting, but since Etsy has updated, they have made it pretty streamline. Still, they don’t cover everything which is why you need to be sure you’re covering as many bases as possible. Even if a customer doesn’t read your policies (which most don't), they are still a barrier of protection for you.

Used bad search terms

This is another thing I see a lot. When you first start a new shop or site, you can get caught up in trying to sound as professional as you think but that is a quick path away from what people are looking for. You might have a lovely description written out that is flourished with a vocabulary only learned at finishing school than Yale, but people aren’t searching for “a piece glimmering impermeable adhesive vinyl depicting the rallying cry of sisterhoods movement.” I get it can be hard to separate yourself from your art, and you want the world to take you as serious as possible when it comes to your craft, but you’re just going to be found more with something simple and concise so your potential customer can see that you’re really selling a “shimmer feminist waterproof sticker.” Sure, it’s not as poetic, but you know what it is a hell of a lot faster.

Bad branding

Good branding can just go such a long way. The initial receiving of a package arriving neat, tidy just adds that extra element of satisfaction for your customer. A well packaged and branded product speaks volumes compared to some stickers you stuck in an envelope with a stamp.

Gave in to intimidating Customers

I am going to risk sounding jaded, but there are just some people out there who want to screw you over. One story I am PARTICULARLY embarrassed about was from my very first store - the headband debacle. I made headbands out of broken vintage necklaces and chains. They were cool but a pain in the ass to run and I made everything by hand. It was my first store, my first time opening myself up to the public of the internet and when my first angry email came in about my product, I caved. I was so embarrassed and frustrated that something I made had failed I never asked for evidence of the failed product. THEN, I issued a refund before receiving the item back. Guess what I never got back. I’m not saying everyone has this issue but if you had a problem with confrontation or maybe you have an audience and an avoidance for criticism then this can be hard. But you also gotta man up. Since then I have had a few people try to pull fast ones on me and get free products, but you just have to stand your ground. They might send you angry emails and think they're the victim but you have to protect yourself, and the easiest way to do that sometimes is just saying no.