Whether you want to sell your artwork online or produce a craft or even supply something – opening an Etsy shop is the first step.
Opening an Etsy shop is relatively simple and easy to do. I’m going to walk you through it in a few simple steps.
In this post, you will learn how to open an Etsy shop and list your first item using keywords and polishing your description. If you already have an Etsy shop – you can read these posts on how to improve your shop and get ahead.
Why sell on Etsy?
Well, Etsy has a lot of business, which requires a lot of customers – and they do it well. They may have the odd lousy press catch all written about them. They may change things up often, so you are pulling your hair from your head. But lots of companies do this to keep their shareholders happy, and this is no great shakes as they are ultimately helping you.
Etsy’s annual revenue rose to just over 600million – or 39 million buyers. So they know a thing or two.
What that means for a shop owner is the buyers are already browsing and buying from Etsy. Which means you don’t have to go out and find buyers. They are already walking down the Etsy high street.
What this post will not help you with
- branding your Etsy shop – that comes later and requires it’s own place in my blog
- creating a business plan for your shop – I will share mine with you soon
- SEO – although we do touch on this for tags
- What makes a good listing. I’m working on this post for you.
- what you need to run your Etsy shop efficiently – again a post is coming along soon
Getting started on opening your Etsy shop
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more) Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Where to begin
If you would like 40 free
Once you are logged into Etsy and have the main screen – in the top right corner there is an icon for opening your shop called sell on Etsy.
You now need to tell Etsy a little more information about your shop. Your shop’s language, shop country and currency.
If you are selling digital items – your shop country shouldn’t matter as there is nothing to place in the post. If you are selling something which you need to post to the customer – this will mean you will show up on local search. Read more about Etsy local search.
I select US dollars for my shop – even though I live in Hong Kong. I know most of my customers are in the US and I don’t want any confusion. If this is you – Etsy will also charge you a currency conversion fee before they place the money into your bank account.
Enter your shop name
Shop names can be a little bit tricker. You want something which means something to you – of course, but it also had to be memorable. Etsy buyers might see your shop name and if it is ‘sticky’ (by this I mean memorable) then when they see it again – they will be drawn more to you.
Buyers need to see the same thing an average of seven times before deciding to purchase.
If you need more help – I wrote a whole post on shop names here.
Unfortunately, once you have gone past this screen and opened your Etsy shop – you may only change your shop name once more. If you need to change it once again after this – you need to apply to Etsy. The reason for this is once a name has been used once – it can not be used again by anyone.
So – do you have a great name?
Is it available? – Yes. Perfect. Let’s move on.
Adding items to your shop
So even though you want to open an Etsy shop – you now need a least one item to get started. Etsy would like you to add ten items, to begin with – but one is ok for now.
Right, so let’s add that first listing.
The first thing we need to do is add some images to your listing.
Don’t worry about being perfect if this too much right now – yes, images are crucial for your shop and making sales. But for now – you need to get started.
You can come back later and refine your style and imagery. (and I promise you will, we all play with our photos a lot)
The first listing image is the one which will show up in the preview on search – so this one has to be top quality.
- landscape – ideally the first image only, the others can be any orientation
- at least 2000px wide
- the product is in the centre of the image as Etsy crops from the centre of the image.
- at least five images for each listing
- check the thumbnail image is correctly placed to show your item off to its best
We have all seen beautiful, inspiring photos on Etsy – and we have seen a fair amount of dark, poorly lit and fuzzy photos as well.
Great images start with –
- Light and bright
- Clear with details
- light backgrounds do best, but not always
- images taken from many angles
- focused images on the best parts
Etsy does try to help you with this by giving you ideas on their image previews.
If you would like to read what I use in my images – I explained in detail in this post.
Below – you can see I have chosen to use a stock photo for my Wedding Invites. I wish the background was a little brighter. I purchased this stock photo on Etsy
Don’t worry if your images look fuzzy on the preview – this often happens. Just ensure you upload the correct size in Pixals. 2000px wide at least.
Once you are happy with your listing photos – then save and move to the next part of the listing.
Now you will need to decide on your title. Using keywords here is imperative to being found in the Etsy search. This line can make or break your listings ability to be found within Etsy.
So how do you write a listing title?
In basic terms, you are describing your item in such a way that a buyer knows what it is. Your title should be written in a natural langue but contain keywords about your product and shops items.
The main thing to do is
Place your priority keywords at the beginning. So if you are selling hat pins, this should be at the front of the title and not the end. I see lots of titles with only two or three words in them. Fine if your shop is well established and you have hundreds of items. But we are new, so ensure you use all of your title and make it readable and natural – with your best keywords at the beginning.
ok – easier said than done right?
Look at your item and start brainstorming keywords
- what it is for
- who is if for
- how will you use it
- what exactly is it
- what colour is it
- how big is it
- how will the buyer receive it
- what can the buyer do with it
If you are starting – keep a notebook or a document where you can keep all of your keywords together and highlight which ones you are using and which do well.
When I first started, I copied my titles onto all of my listings, the same title over and over again. Wrong. If you are curious what I also did incorrectly when I opened my first Etsy shop – hop over to this post where I show you my biggest Etsy shop mistakes.
Where to find more keywords to use on Etsy
Other places you can find keyword ideas are on the menu from Etsy. Using the drop-down function in search – you can see other ideas of what buyers search for to find your item.
This is a quick and simple way to come up with keywords for your items. Make a few notes and try to avoid using the same long tail keyword over and over again. Mix it up. You can change the title of your items any time after they are on sale. So don’t stress about this too much for now.
Where can I find keywords outside of Etsy?
Marmalead – gives great keyword ideas for anyone. It is known well throughout the Etsy community as the place to go.
Erank – also gives great keyword ideas – but also provides more stats than marmalead – and is slightly cheaper.
Many sellers use both in tandem
Where can I find Keywords for free?
If you have a Pinterest account – there is a way to also search for potential keywords on there. It doesn’t work for every item, but it can be a good place for ideas.
Go to Pinterest and search for an item which you are selling. Let’s say you are selling jeans on Etsy which you have upgraded to make your own.
Search for jeans DIY. Click on an image which speaks to you. Now scroll down the feed of jeans. Pinterest has kindly introduced a nifty way to select more ideas under Ideas you might also love – Guess what they also suggest.
- denim DIY
- embroidered jeans
- upcycle clothes
- Diy sewing
- DIY shirt
- DIY projects
If we click onto embroidered jeans – since this is closest to what you are selling, you can now see the boxes underneath that search. These also give you ideas.
This tactic might not work for everyone, but I have found some good ideas to try out on Etsy with this action.
Filling in the category for your item
Use the helpful prompts to decide on your category. I’ve noticed that these can change, so it’s worth revisiting every few months to ensure you are still in the correct one.
You can also fill in the next few prompts appropriately with colour and occasion, holiday etc.
All of my items are set as auto-renew as I’m selling digital – if you are selling physical items, you may only have one of each so set this to manual.
How to write a good Etsy item description
This is a whole post in itself – and you might want to look at a few of your competitors to see how they have written it – please only use this as a guide. Shops owners get cross if you copy their descriptions and it does happen. I don’t recommend this. But research is research.
The first paragraph should be conversational and contain some long tail keywords throughout. Preferably those you have also used in your title. Sound natural and make it easy to read. Don’t be tempted to keyword stuff – it looks awful, and Google can read these lines so be mindful of this.
Fill in your description with useful and pertinent information about your item. The size, texture, what will a buyer want to know before they decide to purchase.
You can also add persuasive copy – set the scene and create a need. Mention what problems your item solves, what you can use it for. How will the buyer feel after they have purchased?
Later when you have a few more listing – come back to your descriptions and add a link to other listings right in your description. This will help buyers find more of your items and move around your shop.
For now – you can also add a link to your category or use a keyword – e.g. find other blue items or matching items or even just back to your main shop page.
Adding Etsy tags to your listing
Tags are how you will be found in search and run in conjunction with your title. If the keyword is in the title and the tags, then this is better.
What I do is copy my title into my tags box and press return. The tags will be added where there is a comma in the listing title. This does two things, – it ensures that you have made no spelling mistakes in your tags and also that your tags and title match where possible.
I then change the tags or split them up to fit in the 20 character limit until I have used all 13 tags.
My title might read.
Printable Peony flower poster wall art, Digital dorm decor print, Pink floral gallery wall art.
Then my tags would read
Printable peony, peony flower, flower poster, peony poster, peony wall art, flower wall art, digital print, dorm decor, printable art, pink gallery, wall art, Australian native, Australian art
Finishing your first Etsy listing
So now you can fill in any other information – such as materials.
SKU – I use this for my prints. I write the file name of where the print and the scan of my original work is kept. This way if there is a problem with the print or a mark – I can quickly find it. But you can use this for anything you want. The SKU is never revealed to your buyer, so you can use this any way you wish.
About shop sections
These help the buyer navigate around your shop. You can use these any way you think best benefits the buyer. I sell digital prints and have mine set into categories of botanical, minimalist etc.
You might want to keep your shop sections based on gender, season, or even colour. You can change this later when you have lots of items.
Getting Paid on Etsy
Ok so now you have saved that first listing or others if you have more ready to go. Let’s move on to finally opening the shop on Etsy.
To go further than this you will need your bank card and details ready.
Don’t have them?
Ok, I’ll wait.
Fill in your bank details in Etsy.
Remember you may change banks in the future, but you may not change bank countries. Let me say that again – if you move to another country your shop’s bank account where you get paid will remain in your original abode.
If you want to get paid in your new country – you will have to delete your shop and start again.
Something to think about.
Verify your identity
Etsy will also ask you to verify your identity. Just follow the prompts as they give them to you.
On the final page, Etsy will ask you for a credit card and billing address.
Finally – Open your shop
If you are not ready to open your shop – don’t open it. You can log out and come back later – as long as you don’t open your shop – it’s ok to get more items ready first.
There you have it – you now have a full-fledged business on Etsy. Congratulations.
Read more interesting posts about selling on Etsy right here
I’ll be writing a series on how to make your shop look fabulous soon. So please visit me again. If you enjoyed this post – please take the time to pin it, as it helps my little blog grow.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions – I’m happy to help.