HOW TO OPEN AN ETSY SHOP AND BE SUCCESSFUL-PART 3- Photography and setting up my shop

Welcome back! So glad I have not scared you away! 

Now that you have the structure of your shop set up it is time to learn about filling in the blanks, and photographing your items properly so people want to buy your fabulous items! I REALLY like exclamation points..and caps locks. …It makes life so much more exciting when writing! ! !. Ok, enough now, Erin.

Let’s talk about your shop announcement and your about page. I must say I find the title “Announcement” a bit misleading. I am sure you are thinking ” Oh, an announcement of a sale, new product, etc, right?” A big, fat NO! According to Etsy ,the first 160 characters of your Shop Announcement are used to create the meta description for your shop page. The meta description is the text shown under your page title on a search engine results page. I cannot prove this as a fact, but from all my tireless research, I believe it to be true, and it draws mucho traffic to my shop, as opposed to past methods.

” Um, Erin, I don’t GET IT!!!!!Calm! I am here to save and explain:

If your announcement is blank, the search engines must guess what you sell based on your shop sections and product descriptions, so the will create a description based off of whatever keywords they are able to find on your site. So. Not. Good. SOOOOO, your shop announcement is super important Use that first 160 characters to give the performance of your life! About your shop of course. 160 characters is roughly about a sentence and a half, so use them well!  Beyond that do not get TOO wordy with your announcement Offer a sentence or 2 about yourself, then use the remainder of the announcement window to offer any pertinent information you would like your customers to see like: Reading your shop policies, other shops you may have, social media sites they can find you on, customer testimonials,etc. Here is a fun little site that will tell you how many characters you are using when letter counting : http://www.lettercount.com/

I know, it is overwhelming, but SO worth it in the end. You are on your way to having your very own Etsy shop! WOO! 

Now, one other important bit of information we need to discuss: Shop Title.Not to be confused with the shop name, a shop title is the short grey blurb about your store that sits right under the shop name. The shop title is crucial to Etsy SEO, as it helps shoppers find you in Google search. Unlike your shop name, you can change the title and shop announcement as often as you like, but I recommend not changing it too much. Find something that fits and stick with it. You can always re-brand later on down the road.

Shop sections also help boost SEO rankings. You are allowed 10 sections in your shop, and you can change them as often as needed, but again for aesthetic purposes and professionalism, try to stick with  the sections you make part of your shop.It is always good to  not overload your shop with TOO many items. Stay committed to what you DO make, and sell the vision! 

Now let’s discuss photography!

Now DON’T freak out! You do NOT have to be a professional photographer to list your items on Etsy, however, it helps to know your way around a camera. My husband has an UBER nice Nikon, but I still do not know everything it does. It is like a magical entity, constantly surprising me with something new. While I have been taught to use the settings, I taught myself how to take good photos. It is important to have good photos because a photo is all a customer has to base your product off of. It is not crucial that you have a camera as nice as a nikon, as many cameras out there will work just as well. Here are some tips to make your photography stand out :

* If you do not have a “professional setting” use a white backdrop. You do not want anything  like your cat, dog, sister, kids, hanging out in the background, it looks unprofessional, and is obstructing the view you are trying to represent : YOUR PRODUCT!  Also, I have had success shooting in an outdoor setting. Perhaps you live near a nice field, wooded area with good light; these are great spots to photograph things like clothing, as long as there are not other people in the background! Well lit photos are crucial, so natural light is great if you can find it. 

* If you sell clothing, or acessories like gloves, hats, etc, I highly recommend using a model. As a consumer, we want to SEE someone in the product we are getting ready to purchase. And for gosh golly sakes, please do not only use “model types”. While I respect there are naturally thin women out there, there are also naturally curvy women. Cater to all sizes when showcasing your items. Also, be cognitive of what your model is wearing. If you are photographing arm warmers, it is probably best if your model is not wearing her boyfriends dirty corona t-shirt. Chooses shirts with no labels, and something that represents and goes well with the product you are selling. You want your customer to look at and want to BE the person they see in the photo! Ok, well not LITERALLY but you want to sell it, right? Ok then!

* I am a fan of props when it fits the theme. It does not always HAVE to be plain, white and naked. If you have props that you feel would fit the theme of what you are photographing, then go for it.

*You do not need photo shop to edit photos. If you DO have it, and know how to use it…well, dangit I am jealous! But for us nomads without the money for such a hefty purchase, I think the free substitutions work. Personally, I use picasa, it does not offer a LOT in the way of editing, but if works for me. There are also other free programs such as gimp, which is nice, but is going to take up some of your time to learn, and to edit. For me, a one woman shop, I do not have days on end to edit my photos. And, picasa does a wonderful job for the professional look I end up with.

Here are some things NOT to do in reference to photographing your items :

*Do not let anything obtrusive end up in your photo! Examples: Your pet hedgehog, your kids photo-bombing,a random person, a building not intended to be there, etc. Anything that makes you scream ” OH MY GOSH, WHAT IS THAT?!”

*Do not allow your photos to go live if they are fuzzy! If you are squinting at your product, then your customer is squinting at your product.

* Take clear photos of your PRODUCT. Not just literally clear, but as a customer I hope to see a clear, showcased product of your item. Make me want to buy it!

There are many free photography courses online,not just ones on HOW to use your camera, but courses on how to take photos. I recommend taking the time to do this, after all it could mean a sale of YOUR product!

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Well, like old stale cheese, it is time for me to go….ahaha…cricket. But seriously, you have lots of information to keep you going until our next lesson, #4, in which we will discuss SEO more, tags,and listing your products. WAHOO! You’re doing great, so pat yourself on the back, and we will see you next time!

xoxo, Dramatique Designs

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