Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Renew or Not to Renew?

When a listing expires, do you wonder whether or not you should renew it? I do! Here are some guidelines I follow to help decide:
  1. Is it a seasonal item? The best time to initially list seasonal items is months before. That way they're available for early shoppers and expire right after the holiday. If the item can double up for other holidays or seasons, then renew away! If not, keep it expired until the next year.
  2. Is it an inexpensive item? Twenty cents may seem small, but if you keep renewing a low-cost item that doesn't sell, you'll lose money on it, even if it eventually sells. Instead, try pairing it with another item or increasing the quantity (and thus price) of the item.
  3. Has it been renewed 2 times already? Every listing stays active for four months, so after 2 renewals, it's been up for a year. If it hasn't sold in a year, then leave it out and try selling it somewhere else or using it as a gift or for a giveaway.
  4. Has it already sold? If an item sells, usually renewing it (if applicable) is a great idea! However, if it's been one of those items that has been around forever and then finally sold, be happy it's gone and move on to listing something new (or at least improved).
I hope this helps! Share any other tips you have.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Google Shopping Policies

A highlighted thread in the Site Help forum reads:
On Oct 17, Google replaced Google Product Search with Google Shopping, and -- at the same time -- replaced free syndication of listings with all paid ads, called Google Product Listing Ads. We announced the change in this blog post.

Knowing how important referrals directly to listings are during the holiday season, Etsy made the decision to purchase ads on Google Shopping on behalf of sellers through the end of the year. Our goals were to maintain traffic from the Google marketplace through the holiday season, and to better understand ad performance when we evaluate whether we should use these ads in the future. We’ve been working closely with Google, and we’re excited to see how this progresses. Most of all, we are committed to understanding the value these ads provide to sellers.
An Etsy seller commented on the importance of following Google Shopping Policies in order to be included. The most common mistakes sellers make are in their titles and descriptions. Google's policies are as follows (read their policy site for further explanations, examples, and exceptions):

Google Shopping doesn't allow product listings with titles or descriptions that use excessive or gimmicky capitalization. These guidelines also apply to promotional messages.

Punctuations and Symbols
Google Shopping doesn't allow product listings that uses gimmicky or unnecessary punctuation or symbols in title or description, including promotional messages, like the following:
  • Exclamation mark in the product listing title
  • More than one exclamation mark in the product listing text
  • Repeated punctuation or symbols
  • Symbols, numbers, and letters that don't adhere to their true meaning
  • Bullet points
Google Shopping doesn't allow text that uses gimmicky repetition of words or phrases.

Google Shopping doesn't allow text that contains inappropriate spacing between words or punctuation, like the following:
  • Extra spaces that make the text difficult to read
  • Extra spaces between letters when used in a gimmicky fashion, like "G r e e n R u n n e r s"
  • Missing spaces between words or punctuation, like "TheEnd" or "GreenRunners"
Grammar and Spelling
Google Shopping doesn't allow product listings with incorrect grammar or misspellings in title or description. These guidelines also apply to promotional message. Examples include:
  • Wrong words
  • Wrong verb tense
  • Incorrect subject-verb agreement
  • Misspellings
We do allow certain exceptions, for example:
  • Common misspellings that the majority of users would understand (like "nite" instead of "night")
  • Abbreviations that the majority of users would understand (like "info" instead of "information")
  • Commonly used informal words or phrases (like "lovin it" instead of "loving it"
  • Misspellings used as puns (like "grate savings on kitchen utensils")
Relevance, Clarity, and Accuracy
Product listings must be relevant, clear, accurate, and descriptive of the products offered. Requirements:
  • Product listings must directly relate to the content on your landing page. When users see your product listing, they should be able to understand what kind of product they'll find on your site.
  • Product listings shouldn't include additional details about free shipping, billing information, promotions, stock information or your store's policies.
  • Product listings shouldn’t contain any promotional text, boilerplate text or simulate email inbox notifications.
  • Product listings can't use call-to-action phrases such as "click here" or "click +1" that could apply to any product listing, regardless of content. This includes phrases in the third line of your product listing that lead into your display URL, such as "See this site."

Review these policies and make any necessary changes to ensure your listings appear in searches in preparation for the holiday season!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Featured Seller: Tammy from Honey Suckle Cabin

This week's featured seller is Tammy from Honey Suckle Cabin. Here's her crafting history:

I learned to sew from my mom and 4-H leaders.  I've had an interest in crafts since I was very small. My mom taught the "Firelight" girls in Primary and was teaching them to knit. I was 6 years old and watched the whole process, and to my mom's surprise, taught myself to knit. I made knitted slippers for myself and for the rest of my family too! I learned to crochet after that, and I spent my time making stuffed animals, mainly turtles. When I was in 5th and 6th grade, I made most of my own wardrobe. What a dork I must have been!

Santa brought me a Bernina sewing machine when I was 14. I have been a sewing fool ever since. I made dancing costumes for my Jr. Drill team! When I was 16, I had a YW leader who was in the local quilt guild. She helped me make a trip-around-the-world quilt, which I gave to my auntie for her 50th birthday. Next I made a double wedding ring quilt for my older sister's wedding and an Irish chain quilt for my brother's wedding.

After I married and had a child, I started sewing quilt tops for Mormon Handicraft. I stuck with that for a lot of years. When my oldest daughter got married, I made her a quilt but didn't have time to hand quilt it, so I paid someone to machine quilt it. After that, I was hooked and bought my own quilting machine.  My old Bernina started having troubles, and the company told me it was on its last leg. I purchased the latest and greatest embroidery machine from them, the 180. (My old Bernina still works great and I do most of my straight stitches on her still!)

I don't remember how I heard about Etsy, but when my youngest daughter started first grade, I knew I needed to keep myself busy and contribute to the family fund, so I joined Etsy in 2008. I didn't list anything because right after that I applied for a job at the school and have worked there ever since. My oldest daughter has 2 girls that I sew a ton for, and she suggested last summer that I do Etsy. I told her I already had a shop! Since it was summer and I wasn't working, I decided it was a good time to start again. I took pictures with my phone and uploaded them and suddenly I had orders!

Everything I do has gospel influences. Through Etsy, I feel I share the gospel with each baptism towel I make. I thrill in my God-given talent and feel that it is a blessing given to me. I feel that the little quilts and blankets bless the homes they go to. I particularly enjoy making traditional scrap quilts, because they share my pioneer heritage with others!
Check out Honey Suckle Cabin for more pretty items!

Friday, October 12, 2012

God Is in the Details of Our Lives

Wasn't General Conference wonderful? I really enjoyed it. I especially love this quote from President Monson.

"God is in the details of our lives."

I have found this to be so true. Our loving Father in Heaven truly does care about the big things and the small things in our lives.

This summer I went on a trip to Utah with my Mom. One night, we decided to explore the new mall built close to Temple Square. As we browsed through Macy's, I found a dress that I wanted to try on. It was kind of just randomly placed in the store--there weren't any other dresses like it I could find. Because it wasn't where it was supposed to be, I didn't know if it was on sale or not. I decided to try it on anyway and it fit really nicely. However, when the cashier checked the price for us, it was nearly $100 dollars. Don't get me wrong, it was cute, but that price was a little bit out our budget. I hung it back up and decided I'd check my local Macy's Outlet store later on in the season to see if one turned up on clearance.

When I was returned home later in the week, I found myself running to the mall to pick up a blouse for a family portrait. I ended up looking in the Macy's Outlet store. I felt strangely prompted to look at the dresses. It was weird, since I was there for a blouse, but I went anyway. As I glanced through the racks, to my surprise  the exact same cut and color of dress I had tried on in Salt Lake practically fell into my hands. I checked the size, and it was perfect. I was stunned. I hadn't expected it to be in the clearance center so soon, let alone to find the exact same color and size! I looked at the price tag and it was 75 percent off the price it had been in Utah. I know that God was looking out for me. He knew that finding that dress would mean a lot to me. Amidst the billions of things He had to do that day, he took a moment to let me know that I was special to Him.

I know this is sort of an odd example and some of you might think this was just a random coincidence. However, I know that this was a tender mercy of the Lord. He truly is "in the details of our lives." He loves us and He knows our hearts. When we make the effort to build a relationship with Him, God will bless us in ways innumerable.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Featured Seller: Holly from Hollyberry's Dolls

This week's featured seller is Holly from Hollyberry's Dolls, a cute shop selling clothes and accessories for girls and their American Girls dolls. Here's how she got started:

I first learned to sew in high school in my home ec class. It wasn't until I was married and had four daughters that I really tried my hand at sewing again. My daughters loved American Girl dolls, so after watching them play with their dolls for a while, I decided that it might be fun to make clothes for their dolls. I remember my mom making clothing for my sister's Barbie dolls. Once I started I found that I really loved to sew and create different outfits. I started with doll clothes and quickly moved on to matching outfits. I loved seeing the excitement on my daughters' faces when they would see the new outfits. 

I first started selling on Etsy after a friend saw my clothing and told me I should try to sell on Etsy. I was a little skeptical at first but decided to give it a try. I soon found what a wonderful place it is for handmade items. I love it!

When starting our family many years ago, my husband and I wanted me to be able to stay at home with our children. Having my shop on Etsy allows me to be able to do just that. I am able to work from home and be here to take care of my children. When making my doll clothes I try to keep all of my designs modest. I want the doll clothing to reflect how my daughters dress. It starts at a young age. If they grow up with certain standards it will be much easier to keep those standards as they get older. 

Check out Hollyberry's Dolls for more cute items!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Come Listen to Living Prophets

Come listen to living prophets

I absolutely love this time of year, especially General Conference. In preperation for the meetings tomorrow, here are some tips from President Uchtdorf on getting more out of General Conference.

1. "Members of the Church are entitled to personal revelation as they listen to and study the inspired words spoken at general conference."
"As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing."
I know it's been said many times, but I hope we will all try to go to General Conference with a question in our minds and prayerful hearts. I know that when we do, we will find answers.
2. "Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar."
Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. Let me reassure you: this is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain foundational principles of great eternal importance that must be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things."
3. "The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months."
"Our merciful and loving Heavenly Father has not forsaken and will not forsake His children. Today, as well as in times past, He has appointed apostles and prophets. He continues to reveal His word to them.
What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants."
General Conference truly is such a blessing. I hope that as we listen this weekend and study the messages throughout the coming months, we will be blessed.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Taste Test

I just discovered Taste Test through my shop stats. It's a little test you take on Etsy to find things that match your taste. I took the test twice. The first resulted in mostly baby items, the second in bridal accessories. Okay, so maybe it isn't all that accurate (in fact, there was hardly anything I liked), but it's fun! Try it out for yourself: http://www.etsy.com/tastetest