The Compact Guide to Etsy, written by Victoria Sol, a successful Etsy handmade seller.

Victoria is the founder of Destai.

Destai Designs, has been on Etsy since 2013 selling handmade chainmaille, alternative jewellery and accessories .



  1. -Setting up your shop

Don’t rush into it. Choose a name you’re comfortable using for years ahead. You can only change your shop name once, ever, so it’s better to take a few days to think about it than to sign up right away.

All payment methods on Etsy are now integrated, and they will be paid out to your bank account. You will need to give them your bank details to be paid; unfortunately you can’t be paid through PayPal anymore (although you can still use it to purchase other people’s stuff).

Make sure you fill out your Policies. It’s a simple tick box exercise, but it covers your …bum quite nicely if something should pop up that you need to deal with.
(Note from Nicola: If you aren’t sure what you need to include in your Terms and Conditions, click here for a helpful article

Put something in your About Me section. A lot of people don’t think this is important, but it is. Loads of buyers will want to know about the creator before they take the plunge and spend money. It doesn’t have to be “War & Peace”, but a few paragraphs about you and how you create your products can never go wrong. Try to make the title and first paragraph SEO* friendly as well. There is also a space for up to 5 pictures – do make use of these to show your workbench or area (fake it if you must), custom items, maybe a nice picture of yourself and a video of your process.

2. – Listings

First of all you need good pictures. There are a million theories on how to make good pictures happen, but if all else fails then use a lightbox. You can buy these or make them yourself; there are a lot of DIY instructions out there on the web.

The title needs to be humanly readable but still full of keywords – use “longtail keywords”, i.e. key phrases as much as possible. Instead of saying “Red Sparkly Long Sleeveless Dress”, try saying “Red Dress, Sparkly Dress, Sleeveless Dress, Floor length Dress” etc. You have a lot of characters to play with in the title field so try to get some good descriptions in.

There are several theories on how to write the main description of your product as well, but this is how I do it, with some success.

Your first paragraph is the main SEO* source for outside search engines like Google. This is where you put in as many of the longtail keywords from the title and tags as you can. You also want to make it enticing so people will keep reading – a tall order to fit all this in but try to grab people’s attention.

The second paragraph of the description should be technical specs and the like. You can do this as a continuous paragraph or as bullet points – there’s no evidence to show that one performs better than the other. Adjust it to your style. This is where you tell people the measurements of that dress, the exact shade of red, the fabric you’ve used etc.

The third paragraph is somewhat optional. This is where you “tell a story”. If something in particular inspired you to make this item then tell people about it here. Perhaps something interested happened while making it. That kind of thing.

I also recommend having a closing paragraph where you tell people things like how it will be packaged up, any warranties you have, invite people to contact you etc. This bit of text can be a simple copy/paste job, or you can customise it to each item.

Tags. Use them! You have 13 to play with, each with 20 characters. You want to use as much of that as possible. Use longtail keywords again, and try to find phrases that people will search for. Also match them up with the title as much as possible, as this will get you higher in the Etsy search. One handy tip is to start typing your keyphrase into the Etsy search bar and see what comes up. Everything that automatically comes up is a common search phrase. Get in on that. But also be as specific as you can, so in addition to using “red dress” you also want “crimson dress” or “crimson fashion clothing” or, I don’t know, whatever the kids use to describe red dresses these days.

There are also a lot of other boxes you can fill in on the new listing page. Try to use as many of them as you can (apart from the variations, which you only use if you need to). The more you have in your listings, like primary colour, materials, etc, the more professional it looks and the more likely people will look at it and go “Hmm, yes, I think I trust this person and will buy their products”.

*SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the teachings of how to be seen by search engines like Etsy’s own search, Google, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, etc. It’s a massive field but you only need to know the basics to get your Etsy listings up there.

3.- Etsy Teams

I do recommend joining a team or four, but steer away from the “game” style teams. There is some evidence to show that if you play the “post one, heart 10” type of games you get put lower in search. The reason for this is that your views aren’t “organic”. Organic views are when someone sees your listing after doing a search, or after seeing it in their feed or a friend’s feed, or maybe even clicking a link from social media. But the “games” are inorganic, so Etsy discounts the hearts and views you get from them.

Teams can be a great help, however, and if you find a local one then you’re in for a treat. Some local teams have meet-ups, craft markets, craft parties etc so there is a big social element in addition to everything you can learn from people who have been doing it longer.

4. – Seller’s Handbook

You can find the Etsy Seller’s Handbook at
This page has EVERYTHING. There is a lot to read through, but you will become an expert if you do. If anything has not been covered in this compact guide, go to the handbook and you’ll be guaranteed to find it. It’s worth reading an article a day or so until you’ve gone through it all.

Note from Nicola:   Brilliant advice from Victoria!   I just want to add an extra one!

5. – Don’t rely on Etsy doing all the marketing work for you

Etsy does have a lot of people searching and looking for what you make, which is why it is a great place for you to sell your handmade products but you are competing with all the other Etsy sellers for space in the search results.  If you are lucky/clever/put hours of time into testing and tweaking your titles, tags and descriptions, you may manage to make the Etsy algorithms work for you, and that is fantastic! However Etsy can change the algorithms at any time, undoing all that hard work!

So my advice is to not rely on soles Etsy for marketing.  Yes manage and take time to perfect your tags and titles but also start marketing yourself.   Etsy is a trusted platform your customers which gives you a great starting point!  Have your own Facebook page, join Instagram, and start sharing your own images to Pinterest to build up your own audience and fans, and tell everyone they can buy from you via Etsy.

If you only had time to read 5 craft business building articles I recommend:

1. Everything you need to know about marketing your handmade business

2. A handmade product pricing formula that works!

3. Top 5 handmade product photography mistakes

4. My top creative business tools

5. Do you sneak at peak at your crafty competitors?  It isn’t good for you, and here is why!

and also, I’d recommend subscribing for my weekly email so you stay up to date with all the changes which happen in the online world.


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