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Etsy Shop

Etsy Shop Critique – our newest kit!!!

One of the biggest things I wish I had when I started Zenned Out was a pair of expert eyes on my Etsy shop and someone telling me I was doing a good job. After figuring out all of the ins and outs on my own I went on to have a hugely successful Etsy shop.

I want to help you avoid all of the trial and error, and loads of your valuable time! To help you, I created an Etsy Shop Critique and asked Kerry to come in and add some self-care love to the process.

If you feel like there’s endless advice about running your Etsy shop but don’t know where to start, this is your kit! By focusing on some key topics we can help you narrow down what areas you need the most help with.

This critique will help you target the areas you’re already amazing at, areas that may need some love, and give you insight about what you need to focus on to take your shop to the next level.

You are not in this alone! We will be with you every step of the way asking you to check in with yourself and make sure you’re are taking care of yourself as much as you are trying to take care of your shop.

We’ve broken this critique down into 11 sections that all need some attention in order to have a well oiled Etsy shop. You can tackle them all at once, or skip around to sections you know you might need more help with, or slowly work through each topic.

Here are the sections we cover in the kit: 

  • Branding
  • Photography
  • Listings
  • Pricing
  • Getting Found
  • Stats & Analytics
  • Shipping & Packaging
  • Retaining Customers
  • Social Media
  • Self Care

Each section is a mix of yes or no questions, open-ended questions that require a bit more reflection, and a notes area to jot down ideas, inspirations, and todos. Plus, each section ends with a check-in so you can touch in with how you feel about each topic.

As with all of our kits, this kit also includes some beautiful affirmation cards for you to print out to help get you in the right frame of mind.

Click here to grab your downloadable Etsy Shop Critique Kit!

Looking for some individualized guidance? We also offer a personalized Etsy Shop Critique that includes the downloadable kit and a one page review by Cassie of your Etsy shop.

Click here to check out the personalized Etsy Shop Critique.


Start Before You’re Ready // Building Your Own Website

Looking to build your own website in addition to your Easy shop for your handmade business? This blog post will help you get it done!So, you’ve put countless hours into your Etsy shop, right? And the thought of putting even more time into creating your own website might be enough to make you want to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Creating your own website might seem like willingly jumping into a rabbit hole. Yes, if you’re talking building a robust ecommerce site, it can be an in depth, timely, and expensive process. Fortunately that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today. Today, we’re just talking about getting your website started.

Your mental chatter might sound something like this, “Isn’t creating my own website a huge time commitment?”, “Is it even worth my time to create my own website?”, and “I’ve barely got Etsy figured out, how could I figure out creating my own website?”.

Let me clear up one of those concerns right now. Yes, creating your own website IS worth it.

Here are a few reasons why…

I love Etsy and my business wouldn’t be where it is today without Etsy, but Etsy does have it’s downfalls. Etsy is an unstable marketplace that you do not have complete control over. Etsy features can happen one week causing an unmanageable influx of orders, get pulled 2 weeks later causing a dry spell when you just hired extra help, they change their SEO and format constantly, and their traffic can change with no warning or explanation. Zenned Out has been subject to each of these uncontrollables, with mixed results.

Need some more reasons?

  • A website is a more powerful extension of your brand
  • Customers and retail buyers (especially) will take you more seriously
  • You can have a blog (more on why you’ll want this later!)
  • You can capture customer emails with proper opt-ins (more on why you’ll want to be doing this later!)
  • You have COMPLETE control over everything. No one can change your website or suddenly change your traffic without your permission.
  • Oh, also, those pesky Etsy fees, you won’t have to pay those anymore! Side note, building a website might cost you some $ eventually, but in the long run you’ll be saving, why not start now?

Are there any downsides to building your own website?

The short answer, no, there’s no downside to creating your own website.

Creating your own website can be costly, depending on how robust you want it to be. Creating a website is also a time commitment. Downsides, maybe? I like to think of it as an investment.

Still not sold? I’m going to map out how to start before you’re ready with your website so you can ease yourself into it with confidence.

r handmade or creative business. Tips, tools, and more!How to start before you’re ready building your own website

Here are all of the things you DON’T have to have starting out: a shop, a checkout cart, an expensive graphic designer, a blog, an SEO expert, terms and conditions, an about page.

Let me take the fear out of starting your own website right now. Getting started all you need is a landing page, which consists of the following:

  • 1 product image or modeled shot of a product
  • 1 logo
  • An opt-in box of any kind to start collecting your ideal clients email addresses. This will require a email newsletter program, which I’ll go into more detail about on later blog. Starting out on MailChimp, is free and easy.
  • A “Shop” tab that links to your Etsy shop

That’s it! Even better, you could create this for free in an afternoon.

Boom, website started.

Let’s dig a little deeper. You might be wondering what platforms are best to start out on. I’ve broken them down into a few categories for you here:

Free and easy

If you’re planning to stick with a simple landing page for a while and want to start with a free option, these are your best starting points:

  • Wix.com
  • Weebly.com

Affordable and moderate work

If you’re hoping to build off of your landing page pretty quickly with a shop or a blog, or you want more control over your page layout here are some good and affordable starting points:

  • Squarespace.com (This is where I started)
  • Weebly.com (paid version)

Investment with lots of work

If you know that you’re going to hit the ground running and will want a robust website sooner rather than later here are some good starting points. These option may require outside help from a web designer and web developer:

  • Shopify.com
  • Woocommerce.com
  • Bigcommerce.com

Next steps…

With the basics of your website started you can plan accordingly for building onto it. This process could take anywhere from a few months to a few years, it’s totally up to you. For Zenned Out, our site spent time as a simple landing page collecting emails, to adding a blog a year later, and eventually to where it is now as a robust e-commerce site. Our website evolution, overall, has taken about 4 years. Your process may look similar or very different, both are fine as long as you’re moving forward!

Here are some suggestions for how to continue the growth of your new website:

  1. Create your landing page (outlined above).
  2. Create an about page on your new website. Hopefully you already have this completed on your Etsy shop so you can copy and past away!
  3. Add a blog (though you could hold off on this step until later if you wanted).
  4. Create a “Terms and Conditions” page. Similar to your Etsy shop policies.
  5. Add a shop and shopping cart to your website.

Yes, getting all the way to the end of this list will require time, effort and money. But, we’re not talking about finishing this list today, all we’re talking about is getting started.

No more excuses, it’s time to take your website fears by the hand and jump into starting your own website!

Have questions or tips about getting started on your first website for your handmade biz? Leave them in the comments below!

Build you own website for your creative business. Learn about landing pages, gathering emails, and more

Improve Your Handmade Product Descriptions in Minutes

Got a few extra minutes of time to devote to your handmade biz? Spruce up your handmade product descriptions with these quick and simple tips!

Wrench Charms
Wrench Charms from Qutie Supplies

Handmade sellers have many “plates” to spin: product design, copywriting, product photography, marketing, customer service, etc. You’re busy.

Extra pockets of un-scheduled time are few and far between, but when they do come along, I have an idea for you: use that time to make some improvements to your product descriptions.

The following tasks take just a few minutes of time but can have a lasting impact on your customers (and your bottom line).

Add Testimonials or Positive Feedback (10 minutes)

Handmade artisans who sell their products online already know the importance of social proof.  A great way to include social proof in your online shop is to include testimonials or positive feedback in your product descriptions. If you sell similar items, gather testimonials or feedback you’ve received about those items, and include them in the product description. Customers love to read about others’ experiences with your products, and some won’t make a purchase if they can’t find any positive reviews.

If you sell on Etsy, you have access to your customer feedback in your account, but you’ll need some sort of system for tracking and/or gathering your product testimonials.

Testimonials often arrive in the form of:

  • Comments on your business Facebook page
  • Emails from customers
  • Convos from customers on Etsy

Create a document called “Customer Testimonials.” Copy and paste testimonial wording into the document (along with the name of the customer, if desired), and keep it handy for including in your product descriptions.

Answer some FAQs about the Product (10-15 minutes)

If you’ve ever received an email or an Etsy convo with a question about the product, consider including that question (and your answer) in the product description! If one person had a question, it’s likely that others will too!

Creating a section in the product description called “FAQs” draws the potential customer’s eye to that section. If the product details are buried deep within the description, the customer might skim right over them. Pull out the important details in an FAQ section.

Add Upselling Links (5-10 minutes)

I’ve talked about upselling here and here on my blog, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, upselling is linking customers to other products you sell that are similar or complementary to the product you are currently featuring.

There are two ways to include upselling in your product description:

  1. Add links to coordinating items (think matching pieces).
    1. If you sell necklaces, add links to matching bracelets and/or earrings.
    2. If you sell pillow covers, add links to the pillow inserts that go inside the covers.
    3. If you sell tablecloths, add links to the matching napkins.
  2. Add links to items from the same category/section in your shop.
    1. Use wording such as, “Click here to view the other ___ in my shop.”

Remember that on Etsy, links to other Etsy listings or shop sections become clickable, making it easy for customers to click over and view your additional products. Your goal should be to keep customers in your shop as long as possible.

Organize Your Product Description Layout (10-15 minutes)

Customers can easily become overwhelmed by a lengthy product description. In fact, if your description is long, they might just skim over it or not read it at all! Yikes!

Organize the description however you wish, but here are a few sections to include:

  • keyword-rich description of the product
  • product details (dimensions, materials, etc.)
  • FAQs
  • your creative process (if desired)
  • your inspiration (if desired)
  • upselling (links to other products in your shop)

You could even use characters to separate the different sections of your product description. I like how this seller sets off certain parts of her product description with lines above and below the sections:

JillianReneDecor Pillow
Pillow from Jillian Rene Decor

NOTE: Avoid using creative characters in the beginning of your product description. Remember that the Google snippet comes from the first several characters of your product description, and you don’t want to waste that SEO juice with nonsensical characters! Read more information about the Google snippet for your handmade product listings.

Proofread Your Product Description (10-15 minutes)

We talked about proofreading in this post, but just to re-cap, a product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product. Check your product listing for wording errors by using a free online editor such as PaperRater or Hemingway Editor.

—————————————-

I’d recommend that you schedule a regular check of your product listings. Create a monthly calendar and update one listing daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—whatever you have time for!

The next time you have an extra 10-15 minutes to devote to your handmade business, use this list of tasks to improve your product descriptions. You’ll be glad you did!

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

The Reason You Simply Must Proofread Your Handmade Product Listings

Vintage-ErasersVintage Eraser Tops from The Newton Label

Want to know how to make your handmade product listings more attractive, persuasive, and easy-to-understand? Brush up on your proofreading skills.

Before you head for the hills screaming, “Oh no! Not a grammar lesson!” – hear me out.

You already know that a fabulous product description is crucial to selling your product. You’ve spent time thinking of descriptive nouns, persuasive adjectives, and vivid verbs to describe your product. You might have even completed a product descriptions course and used the tips to improve your copywriting.

You’re not finished yet. Your product listing needs one extra layer of tender loving care before you send it out into the world to help sell your product: proofreading.

Want to know why proofreading your product listing is so important? Here’s why:

A product listing with errors could cause potential customers to doubt the quality of your product.

What in the world does a spelling or grammar error have to do with the quality of my product, you ask? I know, I know. It doesn’t seem fair that people would think less of your handmade product because of a wording error, does it? But they might.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a grammar whiz to be a good proofreader. Read on for the areas you should check.

Basic Proofreading for Handmade Sellers:

  • Spelling
    • Remember that spell check doesn’t always catch errors such as their/they’re or its/it’s.
  • Punctuation
  • Grammatical Structure
    • Are you familiar with the Grammar Girl website and/or podcast? She approaches English grammar in a fun, easy-to-understand way.
  • Conciseness
    • Say just what needs to be said; don’t be too wordy.
  • Spacing
    • Look for extra spaces between words, sentences, and paragraphs. Keep it consistent.
  • Jargon
    • Remember that just because your wording is free of grammatical errors doesn’t mean that it is clear to the customer. Do you use jargon (terms that apply to your niche but that your average customer won’t understand)?

Your product description isn’t the only shop wording to proofread. Here are some others:

  • Shop announcement
  • Seller profile
  • Shop categories
  • Tags
  • Message to buyer (automatically sent after customer makes an Etsy purchase)

So what is a non-grammar whiz handmade seller to do? The following reminders will help you improve your proofreading skills:

  • Read your product listing (title, description, tags, etc.) for errors and then leave it for a while.  Come back to it later when you have “fresh eyes” to spot errors.
  • Copy and paste your wording into a text editor of some sort. Fix any errors that you find.
  • If you know someone who is a grammar whiz, beg, plead, or bribe (☺) them to read your wording and point out any errors or unclear wording.
  • Take your time when checking your product wording. Product descriptions that are written hastily are more likely to contain errors.

Okay, confession time. Which of the following proofreading styles best describes you?

(a) I carefully proofread all of my product listings and feel comfortable correcting the errors myself. I’m pretty good at proofreading.
(b) I struggle with proofreading my product listings. Customers sometimes point out mistakes that they find in my wording. I need to work on this skill.
(c) Proofread? I’m supposed to proofread my product listings? ☺

Tell us in the comments, will you?

Juliebio

Julie Corbett – On The Dot Creations

On the Dot Creations features handmade creations and shares biz tips with those who sell them. Check out Julie’s free video series3 Reasons Your Product Photography Might Be Turning Customers Away, or her brand new online workshopDIY Product Photography.

Your February To Do List

IMG_0005What are you working on this month? What do you need to do to get it done by the end of February? We are discussing self-care this month on the blog and part of that is taking the steps you need to hit your goals. I am co-hosting this retreat at the end of the month and have a lot to get done to be prepared for it properly. I printed out one of the new To Do lists (I created the heart ones to match The Etsy Business Planner) I have in my Etsy Shop and have written down everything I need to do for this retreat. It is a long but exciting list!

I want you to grab a to do list or pick up one of mine, choose one goal to dedicate the whole list to (maybe write it at the top) and start writing all of the to dos that need to get done to reach that goal. If you have an accountability partner maybe you can let them know that you are shooting to hit this goal by the end of the month. Any extra accountability or encouragement is helpful!

If you want, share your goal in the comments below and I will follow up with you at the end of the month! Now let’s go be productive!