Studio Musings

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: How to Make Money Using Etsy

I ran across How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam a while back and decided to check it out.  I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting, and when it arrived, I flipped through it and set it aside as a 'someday' read.  The interior's black & white and reminded  me of a little too much of a programing textbook.  Glancing at the table of contents and first few pages, the contents seemed pretty simplistic, too.

Earlier this week, I took it with me to read on my commute.  I quickly became absorbed to the point that I kept stopping to jot down notes on action items to improve both my website and my Etsy shop and almost missed my stop. 

Listing title becomes page URL
First line of text grabbed by search engines
Need to rework to include my key words 'freeform peyote'

Timothy's book goes far beyond the simple mechanics of working with Etsy, focusing heavily on SEO (search engine optimization), both inside and outside of Etsy, and leveraging your social networking using blogging, Facebook and Twitter to build name awareness and bolster sales potential.

Here are two simple tips I picked up regarding SEO from the section on listing your first item with Etsy.

1) Timothy recommends including your most important keywords in your listing title - and most specifically in the first 40 characters of your title - because this becomes the title of your listing page, which can improve your Google search rankings.  Checking my Etsy shop, I was pleased to see that I'd done that, mostly. 

2) Include your key words again in the first sentence of your description text.  That first line of text becomes the meta-description for your page and is the line of text that shows up in Google searches below the URL.  I'm not so good there, I discovered as you can see at right.  I tend to include my key works in the second paragraph, rather than the first.  Something I will need to work on in future postings.

Using Etsy includes a comprehensive section on blogging - from setting up your first blog (using Blogger) to topics, strategies and ideas for keeping your established blog fresh.  Following some of his own suggestions, he also includes several interviews with established bloggers from some of the top Etsy stores.  Again, while I was familiar with much of the material, I found a number of real gems within each of these sections.

Timothy also pays considerable attention to tracking the performance and reach of your various efforts using everything from the various sites' in-house statistics to Feedburner and Google Analytics.  I hadn't realized I could set up Google Analytics for my Etsy store; turns out it's under "Options".  And it reminded me to go look at my Feedburner stats for the first time since I set it up. 

All in all, I found the book easy to read, with gems of information for anyone considering setting up their first Etsy store.  But even if you don't have an Etsy store, or if you're simply looking to improve the reach of your blog or Facebook page I think you'll find considerable information of worth.  I know I did.  My burgeoning to-do list attests to that!


  1. Thanks, Karen for a timely review! As someone who is just contemplating opening an Etsy shop, I so appreciate your passing on this information. I am looking for insight wherever I can find it! Timothy's book just went on my must-read list.

  2. I'm slowly feeling my way into the Etsy marketplace, figuring out if and how I can make it work for me. Which is why this book caught my eye. What kept me reading was its focus on your overall web presence as well as specific suggestions for improving search rankings. The book tries to be a little of everything to everyone, do there are definitely sections you'd skim, but I definitely found it interesting.