Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Renewing Conundrum

To renew or not to renew…that is the complicated question. On the one hand, it will get your item boosted up in searches. On the other hand, it will cost you $0.20 for each item you renew.

But let’s start with the basics. What is renewing? To renew a listing is to click the check box next to a listing in your “My Etsy” page and clicking the “Renew” button. The page will remind you that it will cost you $0.20 for each item and give you a total for how much you will be charged if you choose to continue and renew. People renew for two reasons: 1.) To keep the listing active longer (extend it from the standard 4 months), and 2.) To bring their items to the front of searches. The longer an item has been listed, the less likely it will be found in a search. So when you renew an item, the item gets bumped up in the search results. And that, my friends, is a great thing.

There is no “best time” to renew in terms of hours of the day. If you ship internationally, it can 5pm where you are when it’s 5am somewhere else. If you only ship to your country, you may want to consider the most common times people will be online shopping, often after a workday ends. Weekends are also popular for shopping. But if you’re like me and ship anywhere and everywhere, timing isn’t so crucial.

One thing to consider is the cost of the item you are renewing. I have some items that are only $3.00. If I renew it just once, that’s 7% of my item cost right there. For higher priced items you are better off renewing than for lower priced items.

You may want to consider giving yourself a daily, weekly, or monthly budget for renewing. One Etsy seller gives herself $30 a month for renewing fees. Using Excel you can easily keep a digital file of what you’ve renewed and how many times. Or you can just keep a notebook, any way you keep track is fine as long as you are in fact keeping track. This will also help you figure out your profit once your item sells.

If you are not too keen on the idea of renewing all the time and keeping track of it, here are some alternatives from Etsy administrator daniellexo:

“1) Make sure you are using all 14 tags. Your item’s tags are directly related to search. If you aren’t using all 14 you are missing opportunities! (Helpful article:

1a) And make sure those tags relate to your items style, very specific colors, textures, size and themes/motifs. (Helpful article:

1b) Don’t just copy and paste your tags from one listing to another. Varying your tags will get your work seen in many different searches.

1c) Make sure your tags are accurate! If you are tagging a necklace with “earrings” in the hopes of getting more views, I beg you to reconsider this tactic. Shoppers looking for earrings are going to pay no mind to your listing so you’ll only be wasting a tag!

1d) Team Tags don’t need to be added to every single item in your shop. Just use them on a couple of items. Same goes with your shop name. It’s smart to tag a few items in your shop with your business name – just in case someone searches your name in search but forgets to use the drop down menu to choos search sellers.

2) Follow the Etsy blog. There are all kinds of buyers and sellers reading the blog (check out the views each article gets – anywhere from 3,000 to 20,000). If you leave a thoughtful comment on a blog post, you’re bound to get people curious about you and that means they’ll check out your Etsy shop.

3) Set your location. In your profile, make sure your location is set to City, State, Country. That way buyers who are using Geolocator or Shop Local are going to be able to find you. More info:

4) Etsy Karma. Do you know what my favorite way to shop on Etsy is? Browsing favorites. Hearting other items and sellers can help people get to know you on Etsy. And maybe they’ll like your work and heart you back! Don’t just go heart crazy and favorite every single item or seller you see, however. A discerning eye will help people understand your style and design sensibilities when they are browsing your favorites. The Etsy community is pretty savvy, so always be authentic.

5) Get seen off Etsy. The more content you create to float out there in the world wide web the more people are going to bump into you. If the content is interesting (or funny, smart, weird) people will want to know more about you and will find your Etsy shop in the process. Best part? Creating this content is free! What do I mean by content? Anything from a tweet to a Flickr account to just commenting on blogs you love. Just make sure it’s not spammy. Nothing will get ignored faster!

6) Photos. If your photos are bright, crisp and pack a punch you’ll get more views. Your ideal customer might be glossing over your items and it might take the 3rd or 4th time of seeing your item listing until they actually SEE your item. How do you know if your items are standing out from crowd? Go to the Poster Sketch tool ( and plop your newest item in with items from the sellers that inspire you. Does your item stand out?”

You can find this advice at this link:

If you have any insight or comments, feel free to comment!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Better Photos for your Listings

Don’t we all wish our photos were impeccable? Don’t fret, there are some very simple and easy tips to help you take brilliant photos that will display your product well. I went to the Etsy forums to get the best and most common suggestions for better photos.

Perhaps the most important part of a photo is the lighting. Never take for granted the power of good light. And no, good light does not translate into “lots of it.” In fact, too much light can be just as bad as too little. But how do you go about lighting without fancy equipment?

All you really need is some daylight and a camera. That’s it. Editing software (freeware, nothing you have to pay for) is a definite plus, and I have some recommendations, but it is not absolutely necessary.

The basics of lighting:

  • Do not take photos in direct sunlight. This will cause shadows that can distort your item’s look.
  • Afternoon light is the best.
  • Try photographing near a window. This will give you a source of light direction and really add interest to your photos.
  • Never use your flash! This will wash out your pictures, cause glare, and make for a quite unappealing picture.
  • Next we’ll consider composition. This simply means where the item is placed in the photo. In photography and design classes the Rule of Thirds is always taught, but on Etsy you want to focus on the item. Crop, crop, crop! Get as close as possible to your item and capture the greatest detail you can. This can be achieved by using the macro setting on your camera. If you’re like me and don’t have a macro lens for your professional camera, I rely on cropping and zooming quite a bit! Another thing to consider is that Etsy always uses thumbnails. If you have too much background and “atmosphere” in your photo, the automatic square cropping may make your item lost in the thumbnail. This is why I suggest centering on most photos.

    However, keeping good props for your atmosphere around can really make a difference. For instance, the other day I took photos of a gift box topper flower. I actually showed it on a present in use with Christmas trees (small ones) nearby to set the mood. Don’t get carried away though, always make sure your item is the focus. Too many props or unnecessary ones will detract from your item, and that’s a no-no.

    Next, consider your background. Many things do well on white backgrounds, though if your item is light colored you certainly want to opt for a darker option. White gives the greatest contrast to most items, and you want contrast! This will highlight the detail of your product. Stay away from busy backgrounds, especially ones that are close in color to your item! This may seem like common sense but sometimes we have brain farts and forget that basic rule. It happens, we’re human. No worries if you mess up, you can always do it over.

    Next you want to take many angled photos, meaning different shots of your item. Turn it 90 degrees, 180 degrees, for God’s sake rotate it 124 degrees, doesn’t matter, just get an interesting angle. In addition, it is always helpful to show the product in use. Utilize models if you are selling something wearable. Like I mentioned before, I showed my gift topper flower in use to give buyers an idea of what it would look like on their gifts. Consider catalogs and how they photograph their items. Successful use of models and props can make a huge difference in your listing.

    Finally, you get 5 photos on Etsy. Use them all! Don’t be afraid to post five pics of the item at different angles. The more the better. It has been suggested to always have one photo showing your item in use.

    So to sum up, these are the guidelines:

  • Use filtered natural light
  • Don’t clutter your background and consider color
  • Use interesting angles to showcase your item
  • Show your item in use in at least one photo
  • Use all five photo spots
  • Utilize props and models wisely
  • And in the wise words of blackcatsupply, “Make sure your lens is clean.”