Debunking Etsy Myths

One of the key myths about Etsy is that the more items you have listed, the easier it is to be found in search. More listings means more opportunities to be found in search, which means more customers and sales.

I agree, to a point: you have to be found in search before anyone can buy your work.

When I first opened, I wanted to join the Female Photographers of Etsy (f/POE) team. I needed about two dozen images to qualify, got busy, and was on the team in a few weeks. I’m glad I did, too; I’ve met a lot of great friends that way. (Hi, ladies!)

My next goal was to reach 100 listings, then 150. Earlier this month, I hit 152. I must really on my way, right?

Right?

None of it made the slightest difference, so I joined a promotions team. I started making a lot treasuries, got into many, many more, and began playing games to build followers and favorites. And I was successful, too! Except… ninety percent of my followers and faves are from other people on the promotions team, and they aren’t buying.

So for my next step, I’ve decided to really make an effort to learn all about SEO – search engine optimization. SEO has been called a black art consisting of keywords, tags, and mystical, constantly-changing algorithms that only Etsy and Google understand. To sell on Etsy, good SEO is essential, but it takes a lot of time and experimentation to get it right. You make a few changes at a time, see what works, what doesn’t, and make more changes. It takes time to figure out. (The fact that my favorites and followers are cluttered up with people who are required to favorite my items and follow me makes it that much harder.)

It was tIme to make some drastic changes.

First, I’m reducing my team participation to the bare minimum. Once the fake faves and follows drop off, I’ll be able to make a few SEO changes and actually be able to see what works and what doesn’t.

Second, I’m getting back on track, aesthetically speaking. They say that if you do what you love, success will follow. Well, I took a good, long look at my shop this morning. Visually, I was all over the map: black and white, intense color, architecture, landscapes, nature. I couldn’t tell what kind of photography I loved, and I know me!

This had to change immediately.

My first love is black and white photography, followed closely by alternative imagery like pinhole and iPhoneography. So I spent most of the morning deactivating any listings I didn’t love. I’m down to about 100 now, but the shop finally looks like just one person made the images.

Will it make a difference? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. Comments are welcome.

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