9 Tips for Selling on Etsy: Avoid Common Seller Mistakes

Selling on Etsy: Avoid Common Mistakes

I spend a lot of time educating Etsy shop sellers what to do and how to start successful shops on Etsy. Here I will list the top ten seller mistakes I've seen. I hope that it will give others some helpful pointers on what to do to increase sales and commerce to their Etsy shop!

Bracelet from Treasure Trunk Designs.
Bracelet from Treasure Trunk Designs.

1. Jumping In Without Research

Many people open up a shop on Etsy and and wonder why their items aren't selling. It's almost certain that they haven't properly educated themselves.

Get one step ahead of the game and make it a point to spend a day learning the ins and outs of this ever-growing community. Do your homework and read up on the Etsy policies, the how-to's, and helpful strategic advice from other sellers if you so wish to be successful.

Below, you'll find a great list of links to help you!

Little frozen Charlotte Dolls at RetroChalett on Etsy.
Little frozen Charlotte Dolls at RetroChalett on Etsy. | Source

2. Posting Grainy or Fuzzy Photos Is a Huge No-No

This is a huge problem. Maybe you are in a hurry, or don't have enough time. The light may not be on your side today or your cell battery won't allow you to take pictures with a flash. Perhaps your camera is giving you grief—a viable excuse. But whatever the problem, please know that a picture really is worth a thousand words.

It's simple: Do not post ugly photos, or no one will want to buy what you're selling.

Etsy allows you to have five photos per item, which really lets you show every angle of your item. Upload as many great photos as you can. These photos should be clear, creative, and close-up!

Don't post a photo just to post it.  Make every photo count!
Don't post a photo just to post it. Make every photo count! | Source

3. Titles, Titles, Titles!

The first five words of the Etsy title of your item are very important, as chances are these are the first five words that will show up in a search or in the HTML address of the item.

For instance, let's say you have a vintage porcelain glove mold you are trying to sell. It would be ridiculous to call it "Great Shabby Antique Vintage White Porcelain Glove Mold" as the keywords would not make it in the HTML address. Put the most precise and descriptive words first.

Think of your titles very carefully.

4. Descriptions: Use Them

Some sellers write a one-line description and leave out the good stuff. The trick is figuring out what needs to be said about the item and saying it shortly and sweetly. In other words, don't digress and don't write a book! Your description should be as descriptive as possible. Think of how you would want to learn about something. If it's a necklace, what stone is it and how long is it? What kind of clasp does it have? If it's a blanket, what are the dimensions and materials and colors? If it's vintage, what condition is it in and what kinds of defects may it have? Always be descriptive yet concise. A story is nice, but not a ten page essay.

Some people tend to link their shop's other sections in the bottom of each description, which is helpful to get people to check out other items in your shop. Tip: Do not link to a specific item, only a shop section. Why? Items will expire and links will go "dead."

Free Shop Banners

Everyone needs a little help. This site offers free Etsy shop banners!
Everyone needs a little help. This site offers free Etsy shop banners! | Source

5. Keywords (Tags)

Keywords on Etsy are very important and will help get your item found. Many people don't take full advantage of them and this is a major mistake. Use them all.

If you can't think of descriptive words for your item, do a think-outside-the-box exercise. Let's say you have a blue vintage radio and it's made by Crosley. You have used the tags: radio, blue, crosley, vintage, but now what?

  • Is it plastic , melamine, melmac, bakelite, orcelluloid?
  • Is from the mid century modern period or art deco?
  • Is it an electronicitem?
  • Could it be searched by the words AM, FM, or shortwave?
  • Is it table-top or transistor?
  • Perhaps you should be describing the color of the item even more than generic hue of blue. Is it more of a turquoise blue or navy blue? Also you may wish to throw in the word music,because that's what it plays.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but sooner or later you will be thinking outside the box.

6. Shop Announcement Hello: Use It

The reason you have this feature is to make announcements, so use it wisely. Keep it fresh and update it often. if you have just added new earrings, say so! If you have a coupon code for the upcoming holiday, post it there. Believe it or not, the first few lines show in Google and so you should think of good words in the first sentence or so. SEO is always vital!

7. About: Use It or Lose It

The "About" section is really your public profile and should tell a story. This is where people love to read and see what makes you tick. This little part of your shop may be where shoppers go to get a sense of who you are, what your style is, and if they should buy from you. The artist's persona is part of their brand, so tell a great story.

8. Social Media

Social media is essential when you have an Etsy shop. In fact, Etsy now gives you easy access to connect your Facebook and Twitter to your shop so you can keep your fans in the loop! There are also share tools like a pin-it buttons for Pinterest users to quickly pin your items to their pinboards.

This is the most important thing I have learned about Etsy. Case in point, with million of items on the site and thousands of storefronts, Etsy has become the most popular place to sell for the home business. The site allows the mom and pops to make a living selling handmade, vintage, or art supplies affordably, with a list fee of only twenty cents.

So the only major barrier left between you and sales is visibility and getting people to focus on your items among all the other items for sale. Etsy gives you the storefront, but you must do your own marketing, and social media is the way to do this.

This includes:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Blogging

You want to get your items out into cyberspace, get people to notice your shop and treat it like a real business. Real businesses promote themselves. So you really need to figure out how to go all-out and connect with people and promote your wares. You can figure this out in a variety of ways:

  • Etsy's blog has tons of great tips, hints, and information you'll need to guide you.
  • Search the web for as many tips, articles, and insider information you can find.
  • Join an Etsy team for free and network with others.
  • Ebooks: buy an ebook from an Etsy seller who knows and learn how to do this yourself.
  • Paper books: there are tons of books, online and at the library, to help you.

The bottom line: Etsy gives you a storefront and platform to showcase you wares. It is up to you to do the marketing!

Ebooks and Online Information Will Help

Online ebooks like this one, or even just reading free information on the web, can help you learn more about how to improve your Etsy shop.
Online ebooks like this one, or even just reading free information on the web, can help you learn more about how to improve your Etsy shop. | Source

9. Exposure

Exposure goes hand-in-hand with social media. This means having your item or shop featured and mentioned on sites or platforms other than your own, via various channels such as blogs or websites.

  • Etsy offers something called search ads, where your item is featured on top of a keyword search.
  • Find a blog you love that features items like the ones you sell, and ask them to mention your Etsy shop. You may wish to consider blogs that allow free submissions.
  • You can find blog exchanges and people accepting submission in Etsy teams such as Etsy's Success Team.

Tip: Teams are a great way to network with other like minded Etsians to help you!

Comments, Leave me One with Your Etsy Shop! 24 comments

Lauren 2 years ago

Hi! Thank you so much for all the tips! I just opened my etsy shop (TheGeorgiaPear) and am looking for all the advice I can get my hands on. Thanks!!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

i want to sell my handmade greeting cards at etsy but i don't know how much should i tag my price. Could you help me?

lyn Averous 23 months ago

Thasnks for the great advise.

I want to change the name of my shop now that im selling more and more fine and vintage jewellry.

But im worried that my customers wont find me under a different name.

Is there a way around this problem.



Sara Jane Brown profile image

Sara Jane Brown 16 months ago from Independence, Missouri

I just started selling on Etsy three days ago and so far have had views but no sales. This article is very helpful!

Mekeshia 12 months ago

great article

SM OBrien profile image

SM OBrien 10 months ago

Thank you! Real world advice. I am researching information now and found your article to be very helpful!

thereadysetcraft 10 months ago

Thanks for the advice! I just reopened my shop (The Ready Set Craft) and needed some tips on how to actually make it successful :)

Alexzandra 6 months ago

Good points.. hope you share more tips soon for all of us..! Please check us out :)

Alyssa 6 months ago

Thanks for such a good article... I know what I have to do, but a reminder is nice...

AJ Canvas Prints

Nishi Park 5 months ago

Wow thank you for all the informative information! Will definitely apply some of these tips!

Ashley Kaye 5 months ago

Thank you so much for the tips! I've been trying very hard to get my page up to par, it's been difficult.

Here it is!

chipp 5 months ago

your article is so informative for person like me who just open new store on etsy, now all i have to do is to apply your tips and hope got more traffic.

Emit 4 months ago

These tips are great. I have been on etsy for about 3 years and I had so few sales. I will definetely try some of the advice you gave. Thank you!

mercedes 3 months ago

check it out and tell me what you think!! I need serious help!!

Johnette 3 months ago

Hi, Here are my 2 shops! Are these suggestions still relevant with all the changes made to Etsy? Thanks for the links!


cherteee 3 months ago

I am gaining so much helpful and in-depth advice from reading thoroughly through all the etsy advisers tips , i just opened my shop about a month ago and still have my learners L plates on. Now i feel like i have the right tools at my disposal to refine and polish my shop and start turning it into thesuccesful shop of my handmade soft furnishings ive always wanted . So here goes time to get savvy and busy with my marketing and creating, thank you for your help, and dont forget to visit my new shop at cherteee on etsy

Lynette 3 months ago

Thank you for this information, I've had a Vintage/Antique Jewellery Shop on ETSY for 3 years now ( AntiqueDecoRingsShop) and find that there's always something new to learn and help me be more successful.

I really love to help my customers find the perfect Engagement Ring at the right price it's satisfying.

I have a great time adding more and more Beautiful and Unique Jewellery and actually see my shop as an Artistic and Beautiful Passtime. 2 months ago

Thanks so much....THIS, I will re-read many times!

Jordan 8 weeks ago

I have recently made my first sale on Etsy - Yay! I create brand design - logos, templates, complete brand guides. I thought htis article was great and loved all the tips. Thanks!!

Bridget from Refined Vintage 7 weeks ago

Thanks for the useful tips, so much is common sense and so much to learn too.

MIA 4 weeks ago

Hi, thank you for your tips, I'am really trying to figure it all out, I've just opened a shop

Kathren Miner 3 weeks ago

Wonderful advice and well written! Thank you so much! I just opened on Etsy and love it!

Check me out here:

Lady Pegg 12 hours ago

Great advice, really useful article, I'm going to try and make sure I up my social media use, it's not something I'm very hot on, may have to ask my 6 yr old nephew for help!

Love selling on etsy, it's been a real learning curve, please check out our vintage and antique offerings

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