Friday 18 June 2010

Blogging Tips for Etsy Sellers

Last year I enthusiastically announced I was going to be writing a whole series of "online selling" guides (aimed at people selling their work via Etsy, Folksy, DaWanda, etc). I wrote one blog post about it, then the demands of running my own business took over and I had never found the time to continue it. Not my finest hour...

I'd love to complete a sellers guide eventually (perhaps when scientists discover an 8th day of the week!) but in the meantime I'm going to do some very occasional posts based on the selling tips I did actually manage to get written.

First up: some blogging tips! I first wrote these with Etsy sellers in mind, based on things I've learned from 3 years of blogging and reading other sellers' blogs, but I think they apply to any designers/artists/crafters who blog. Please do add your own tips in the comments!


1) Don’t just write about your shop (or just about Etsy). Yes you want to sell stuff and promote your work and yes Etsy is super awesome and there are a million super products on here to mention… but my gosh it can get dull reading about it over and over!

If all you do is write about “here’s my new necklace” or “here’s a treasury I made on Etsy” or “here are some green things I like on Etsy” the only visitors you’ll get is from Etsy sellers Googling themselves! (And maybe your mum. My mum loves my blog).

2) Share your process – I love reading about peoples works in progress, their new designs, successes, etc but it’s also interesting to see peoples workspaces, new supplies, inspirations (a vintage plate with a great pattern, a walk you took in the local woods) and other snippets from peoples artistic lives. You don’t have to get really personal or give away any secrets, but show the person behind the stuff!

3) Get involved with the blogging community – read other blogs and learn from them, comment on blogs, link to the ones you like, make those connections. You’ll not only become a better blogger in the process, and connect with some amazing creative people, but blogs thrive on links and the internet equivalent of word-of-mouth promotion.

4) Use freebies wisely. I do giveaways on my blog, but I don’t think of them as a way to drive traffic to my blog but as a little gift for my regular readers. If you’re giving away something awesome enough then a giveaway can be a good promotional tool, but you still have to have a way of keeping those visitors on your blog when they click through to try to get something for free. If you don’t have interesting content, you’ll just be giving something away to a stranger and getting nothing in return.

Another popular freebie in the craft world is the tutorial. I love writing tutorials, and I know lots of my readers are crafty and enjoy them. I’ve had some great traffic with tutorials on my blog and gained lots more readers through them, but don’t give away your trade secrets just for the sake of a few extra hits! I normally try to do simple projects or ones which relate to the crafting I do for fun.

5) Blog regularly. You don’t have to become a blogging addict like me, but it’s much better to, blog once a week than three times in one week and then not for a fortnight. Most blogging platforms will allow you to "schedule" posts so if you can only find time to blog once a week you can write several short posts and schedule them to be published throughout the week.

6) Keep it short. Long, wordy blog posts without lots of pictures can be a pain to read and unless you’re posting about something really special most people won’t bother. Break up long paragraphs with white space to make text easier to read, and add as many pictures as possible! I started blogging a lot when I did a “crafting 365” project, making something everyday and taking a picture, and taking regular quick snaps for my blog has really helped improve my photography (which in turn helps my shop). And yes I know this point is very ironic given how long and wordy this particular blog post is! :)

7) Keep it professional. Remember that if you’re blogging, and connecting that blog to your business that your posts may be read by potential customers or stockists or even employers. Ranting about that bitch who stole your idea or your horrible boss etc might not be the best idea, especially living in an age when everyone Googles themselves!

And finally….

8) If you don’t enjoy it, try something else. If you hate blogging you won’t update your blog or give it any love and attention and it will sit gathering dust with no-one reading it… so you might as well use your energy on something that suits you better. Perhaps writing a great monthly newsletter? or joining Twitter or Facebook to promote your work. Or just concentrate on making awesome things to update your shop!


P.S. talking about blogging - I've given my blog a revamp this week thanks to Blogger's lovely new design options... hope you like it!


Tiffany said...

Hey Laura, Thanks for the list of awesome tips.

A Time for Stitching said...

Great advice!! I think I already do many of your points but BIG problem is - I'd love to sell stuff on etsy but don't have the time to make anything!!
I saw the new design button from Blogger but it said most of the options weren't available to me. Does that mean I need to change my general template do you think? Love your blog by the way - think you've got the balance of content just right!

Sian said...

Thank you That has really focussed my mind on how to help my blog/folksy shop get attention!

JO SOWERBY said...

thanx laura for ur g8 tips, it's always good to hear what longterm bloggers have found out about blogging. i will be using some of ur tipps in the future.
Jo xxxx

Ruby Reloved said...

Thanks for the superb tips! Makes me really think about how to write a great blog!


nicedaydesigns said...

Thanks for the tips, I'm off to share this on on our Etsy Ireland facebook page, I know lots of our members have started new blogs recently and would really appreciate this info.

Ps: love the new layout on the blog! I did the same myself this week, and revamped the team one too, it's such a great tool, thanks blogger :)

Helen Smith said...

Love the new wider layout - feels much more spacious. Excellent tips - so this is me putting no. 3 into practice and thinking that I need to work harder at no. 5 ;-)

Gracie said...

Great tips, but I have to disagree with keeping blog posts short. If it is interesting, I think people will read it anyway.

So many bloggers post too many photos, and very little text. How are we supposed to get to know them- their thoughts, opinions, and personality? Of course it depends, and this is just my opinion, but I like to read blogs with a bit of substance. I don't need content to be spoon-fed to me.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks for the comments everyone :)

A Time for Stitching - yup, you just need to change to a newer main template then you'll be able to access all the fancy new options. Good luck trying them out!

nicedaydesigns - ooh, your new blog layout looks fab

Gracie - variety is the spice of life in blogging as in everything else! :)

rüya tabirleri said...

Hey Laura, Thanks for the list of awesome tips.

stashavalanche said...

I took part in Sew Mama Sew's Mayday giveaway which involved going through several hundred blogs, and what I learnt is that there are a hell of a lot of poor quality and poorly laid out blogs out there.

I totally agree with your points but I would also add this - keep the layout simple and uncluttered. Visually cluttered pages are off-putting and distracting to read, as are elements like banners which take up the whole screen (yes, I really found some of these), fonts which are difficult to read (but inevitably look cute or charming), and visually difficult colour combinations (like white text on a black background, or grey or pale pink text on a white background.

It may make a blogger feel boring to create such a seemingly unimaginative layout, but if post isn't easy to read, who's going to come back for more?

Oh and one other thing - spelling! It's not difficult to check, gives credibility to the post and makes a blogger look like they care about what they're saying and how they're saying it.

Unknown said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this!
I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow and see what I can do about my sad blog.

daisyfleur said...

Thanks Laura!
Great tips & thanks for sharing. said...

Ooh these tips are great! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

I genuinely appreciate this post's points. I sell nothing but gleaned much anyway regarding my blog.

milenamb said...

Thanks for these helpful tips!

Elexa said...

Really enjoyed reading this. I hope I can use these tips to get my blog on the right track. You have so many followers! Congrats.

Stephanie Orman said...

Hello Laura,

Thank you for sending me the link to this post. It has given me lots of great tips for my own blog which is now on it's second day of life :-)