The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy

The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy

Selling on Etsy Doesn’t Have to be Hard

When you’re in the process of setting up your business on Etsy, it seems like it should be easy to sell lots of product. However, as days one, two, and three go by without any sales, it starts to feel like no one wants your product.

A couple of years ago, I worked with my wife to set up an Etsy business, and we had to wait over a month for our first sale. This sale came long after we’d received countless item and shop favorites. One item was even selected as an Etsy Editor’s Pick, and it received hundreds upon hundreds of views and tons of favorites too.

But it still didn’t sell.

However, once we finally did get our first sale, another came along a few weeks after that, and then another, and another, and another. Fast forward a little ways and we had finally worked up a small but thriving business with products sold in two retail locations in addition to our Etsy shop.

For information on how we got the ball rolling on Etsy as well as some strategic tactics we use for clients every day here at FeedbackWrench, read on.

Etsy Search Optimization

Believe it or not, smart Etsy sellers are optimizing their items to appear in Etsy’s search results. These sellers are well aware of the fact that most of their sales will come through the search feature, and they’re not willing to miss out on a single one. When you type in “knitted hat” the results that appear first are not there by accident. Etsy does not randomly select 50 products out of the 134,000 they could show. Instead, they’ve put an algorithm in place that makes an educated guess to determine what the best 50 products are.

The Ultimate Guide to Selling on EtsyIn many ways, Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very similar to the better-known version of SEO, which is all about optimizing websites for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines to find. This is what we do for clients every day here at FeedbackWrench, and we’ve found that many principles from what we practice are relevant to Etsy as well.

Of course, there are some unique traits that set Etsy apart, and we’ve learned that making simple modifications to your shop can pay dividends. Here are some of the easiest ways to optimize your Etsy page so that your items appear in search results.


Item Title Optimization: Check out the first page results from any popular search, and you’ll find that almost every single item contains the exact phrase you searched for within its title.

If you’re selling knitted hats, make sure that you include the phrase “knitted hat” within the title of your item. Otherwise, you’ll find that your item entitled “Small Cap” doesn’t appear anywhere in the results for “knitted hat”.

On Etsy, it’s actually a common practice to use long-form titles that capture a variety of potential search queries. Rather than calling an item “knitted hat” many Etsy sellers use titles like “Knitted Hat for Newborns, Hand Knit Hat, Baby Winter Hat, Newborn Baby Clothes”. Seriously! And believe it or not, your shop could benefit greatly from enacting this strategy.

Item Tag Optimization: On Etsy, you can use up to 13 tags per item. Make sure you use every single one as another way to help ensure that your item appears in search results. To find the right keywords to use for each item, try using a tool called EtsyRank will help you to determine how many people are searching for each keyword that you use. As a newer shop, you will want to try to compete for keywords that have an easy to medium difficulty. Larger shops with more sales will ultimately dominate the more difficult search keywords.

Shop “About” Optimization: This one’s really simple. Make sure that you fill in all of the information that you can about yourself and your shop. Fill in information about your shop members, upload photos or video, and do anything else you can to fill out your page with as much information as possible. Be sure to include terms that link your shop back to your products. If you make knitted caps, it would definitely be smart to include a snippet about that in your about section.

Get Reviews: This is one of the most important things you can do to improve your shop. On Etsy, buyers trust shops that have lots of positive reviews. As you start to get your first sales, figure out a way that you can gently ask your customers for product reviews. You might want to include a postcard with the product that you ship out, or you may want to send a message via Etsy after a few days have gone by.

Reviews are so important that I’d even encourage you to practically give away products to family and friends in exchange for an Etsy review–at least when you’re starting out. Tell them that they can buy your product for the absolute minimum allowed by Etsy if they’ll leave you a review. In the long run, this will help your shop generate way more sales than the one that you “missed”.

Post in Groups: Posting in groups is something that I really underestimated as my wife and I worked to make her shop grow. I only posted in a couple, and after failing to see many results, I gave up. However, months down the road, these postings proved to be extremely beneficial. A boutique that now stocks 14 of my wife’s wall hangings found her through a group that we joined for Minnesota makers.

Make sure that you join relevant groups and keep up with them. The results will speak for themselves over time.


These tips should help you to get rolling on Etsy, but remember, results take time. On Etsy, it’s a slow build, but once you get going, you have the potential for a major snowball effect. Keep posting lots of new items, and make sure to stay on top of every message that you get. In no time, your shop will be growing faster than ever.

About Rob Satrom

Entrepreneur, father, personal finance expert, husband, and founder of and Nuance Financial Tax & Accounting. I love helping small businesses

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