a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

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July 20, 2020

Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Etsy Shop Today

I was recently asked on Instagram to consider writing a post on small things people can do to improve their Etsy shop. It was a great idea and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I didn’t want to list the obvious here. You don’t need me to tell you to use all your SEO tags or take good pictures.  Plus, redoing tags and taking new photos can take forever. I’ve literally spent 8 hours on one listing’s keywords. Thank goodness I do keywords differently now. (I’ll have to discuss that another time.)

And there’s a lot of little things people obsess over. They start to look at other people’s shops and get discouraged. They feel disempowered. Sometimes, we need time for things to grow. In those moments of doubt, I know that isn’t the answer I want. Instead, I say “yes, but what can I do right now before bed?”. Well, here’s a few things I’ve done that are simple to do and won’t take you long to accomplish.

1. Ask Recent Buyers To Review Their Purchase

Make sure they are happy with you first. If you’re afraid to ask for a review, you can make the request casually. I recommend writing a template message to use.

By the way- template messages you save for later are often called swipe files. I plan to write a blog post all about them and it may even include a downloadable set for sellers to use. Just having these swipe files can help improve your Etsy shop because you have a go-to message that saves you time, gives you a neutral place to communicate with a difficult customer, and brings you more business by helping you give good customer service.

For now, here’s a simple template to start with:

Hey there [customer’s name]!

Just making sure you got the [product ordered] in good condition and you’re happy with it. I know deliveries can be rough sometimes. If there’s any problems, please let me know.

If you’re happy with everything, consider leaving a review. It helps my shop a lot with the Etsy algorithm and lets other shoppers know I’m a reputable shop!

Thanks again,


There’s nothing spammy or annoying about this message. A lot of the time, it may go ignored, but they probably would’ve ignored you anyway. However, the other people who don’t ignore you will likely leave you that review. Reviews are so important to your shop’s health and standing with Etsy. Etsy does actually look at your reviews to see the ratings, how recent they are, and how often you’re being reviewed. This is a part of how Etsy determines what listings to show in a search.

Make this a 5-minute chore you add to your weekly routine. If you use the template above or your own swipe file, you’ll just need to swap in the product and name, then click send.

2. Add a Graphic with your Positive Reviews to your Listings

Part of your work as a business owner is gaining your customer’s trust. Earning their trust is what creates repeat buyers who turn into fans. So it is important to take advantage of opportunities where you can give the potential customer a reason to trust you.

DISCLOSURE: The following paragraph in this post contains affiliate links to products and services. This means that if you click on my link to make a purchase then I will get a small commission at no extra expense to you. You can read my Disclaimer and Privacy Policy for more details.

A good way to do that is to take a few screenshots of your favorite reviews and compose them together into one collage-style graphic. You can do this with whatever photo editing software you use. You can easily do this with Canva as well or if you want to get fancy, you could use Adobe Photoshop..

Here are a couple of examples. One is branded, the other isn’t and, albeit, messy.

But the message is the same to the buyer. Learn from them both to create an even better graphic that is readable (even in the Etsy app).

Remember the point of adding your graphic to the listing. It’s about showing potential buyers that your store has a history of happy customers. You get extra brownie points if you highlight a review with a photo. The second image includes the customer’s photos. The photos add more reason to trust the seller: it shows the reviewers loved their purchases enough to show the product in their own hands.

The first example focuses on the number of reviews the shop has. The shop has an average of 5-star rating. Figure out the best way to display your chosen reviews and start from there.

Making the graphic shouldn’t take long at all. You’re simply placing the review screenshots and arranging it on a graphic. Then you can go to Etsy and start adding it to your listings.

3. Review your Returns, FAQ, and Shop Policies

It will never hurt you to stop every one and a while to review your policies. You never know what you may have missed or what has changed since you wrote it last. Chances are, you wrote it when you first started or clicked on Etsy’s default policies and thought “good enough”. This is the boring part of your store.

They may be. Etsy’s default policies are fine but make sure you are familiar with them. The worst thing is to be called out on breaking your own policy by a customer or screw yourself over having to follow it. Both are not the end of the world and can be looked at as lessons to learn.

However, you could skip the lesson and be proactive now. Improve your Etsy shop with strong policies that support you when you may need them.

Plus, you may have a different perspective now from when you first opened. You may see room for improvements or even minor tweaks is needed. Only you can know exactly what your policies need to be. Just make double-sure they are what you need them to be.

What small think can you accomplish today to improve your etsy shop? Pictured is a closeup of the mug on the cute desk.

4. Swap Out any | Symbols for Commas in Title Tags

This may be more time-intensive but you’d be surprised how worthwhile it is to make this switch. Etsy sellers, particularly those who rely on Etsy search or newer sellers, have a tendency to keyword stuff their titles. There is a reason for this. Etsy sellers who have an older established shop with its own customer base and strong reputation can often get by without having to do this. Other shops may rely on Etsy advertising or off-site traffic so they are not as obsessed about SEO.

The rest of us need to use all the space allotted for our titles. Do your best to make them relevant, readable, and clear. Don’t just write “Cute Pink Rose Keychain, Keychain for Women, Cute Keychain, Keychain Gift for Women, Stocking Stuffer Keychain…” and so on. In fact, there’s a nifty trick in writing these titles I want to share with you all soon. (Stay tuned for that!)

The problem with the | symbol is that while it looks nice, it takes up more valuable space in your title. That’s valuable space where you could probably add another keyword or two. That could mean more people finding you which hopefully leads to more sales.

So my advice is to obsess just a little bit about this and swap out | for commas. Get some more keywords in and see if it makes any differences in your stats and the searches you are found for.

5. Make a Shop Update

So Etsy has been wishy-washy in telling sellers how important the shop updates are. Most guests are beneficial, but maybe not as much in the grand scheme, but it is something you can use, and it only takes a moment to do. Plus, it is nice to have a way to “show” you are actually active. Anything to build that trust, right? Sometimes I go into a shop that hasn’t made sales in a while, their last reviews are a year old and their last update was made 10 months ago. It doesn’t give me a sense this is a trustworthy, busy shop.

Envision a brick and mortar store. It’s “open” and “closed” sign is out. The door opens, maybe? It may be slightly jammed and needs a push. Some merchandise is clearly misplaced. There’s light in the building and you may have spotted a store attendant walk past in the back like a ghost.

Don’t be that store. In any way, you can show you’re not only alive but warmly inviting them to come in. That’s what Etsy shop updates are for in my book. It’s still unclear how much Etsy looks at these- may be next to nothing. I argued my case for using the feature anyway since it’s a way to show a lively, passionate, and active shop.

I am a lazy-bones, though. I set my phone to remind myself to make an update once a week. I usually have some photos from social media or product shots I could use. Sometimes I have a workspace or packaging photo I can use. Don’t sweat it. Just write a sentence or two about the photo or what you’re doing lately, such as, “Sewing more face masks in a brand new color. I can’t wait to show it to you all”. Build a little hype while you’re at it. Brag about a product or even brag about that yummy cup of coffee you had (maybe in a mug you sell)?

Conclusion of Quick Steps to Improve Your Etsy Shop

Sometimes the small tasks are what keeps us motivated and feeling like we are making progress. This isn’t just a feeling, though- you are making progress! Every moment you spend on yourself and your shop is progress, even the mistakes, since you’ll learn from them and improve.

I hope these aren’t the obvious tasks you may have heard time and again before. My hope for you is that this is a fresh reminder to reach out to customers, review your policies and titles, or enrich your shop with an update or a listing with a trust-boosting graphic. And more than anything, I hope they help you to improve your Etsy shop and see more success!

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