Saturday, September 28, 2013

Update to my Google Hummingbird Post

Well yesterdays post sure got some people going judging by my emails. (I always wonder why they don't just comment here?)

Again I am not trying to make light of peoples concerns. But the Google Hummingbird update has nothing to do with your views and sales. Like most Google updates this one is to exclude Black Hat SEO, junk/spam websites and to enable Google to give people searching the best results especially when they type in a question. I am usually always in a hurry when I post so if I come off as cold, that is not my intent. I am just rushing as usual.

I found this article on Forbes that says the same thing I have been saying. If you always use good SEO and have good content; you are fine! And Google is now fessing up that this update was done several months ago not just one month ago. Remember they only ANNOUNCED it yesterday. Its been going for months.

Like I said in the comments, any time Etsy or Ebay make major site changes views and sales drop for about a week. I suspect that when they make major site changes; search engines have to re index them. But I am just guessing.

Aug 2013 was my biggest month EVER on Etsy. Sept has been slower. I suspect and hope for another big month in October. Now before someone says "she only sells supplies" thats not true. I sell handmade on all of my Etsy shops. Now for the figures above I am only using my Kay's Crochet shop for an example. And yes I sell handmade on that one. But I will say I sold out of most of my handmade at a craft show this month.

I am worried about the government shut down. This will for sure slow sales as it scares people and they stop spending money. If you have friends or family that work for the government you know what a big deal this is. 

To stay relevant you do need to be listing new items on Etsy or Ebay. It works way better than re newing. So if you see a slow down on views, think about making some new listings to get things going again.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Google Hummingbird Update What Does it Mean For Etsy and Ebay?

People are on the Etsy forums are looking for something to blame for their low views and sales. Some found the Google Hummingbird update so automatically assume that is the issue. I am not trying to downplay peoples fears but the Hummingbird update is not effecting views and sales. The Hummingbird update was for Google search to be able to answer complex questions typed in search. Think Siri or Ask Jeeves. It really is not going to impact shopping sites in a negative way.

Its easy for people to put the blame on Google, Etsy the economy etc. What is not easy is to put the work in to making your shop/website/ebay store the best it can be. Many just don't want to put the work in. Its easier to complain than re take pictures or put in better SEO.

Competition increases online every single day. Doesn't matter if its Ebay, Etsy or your own website. You must put the time into making your shop the best. I still go back and tweak old listings or rewrite newer ones that are not getting views. Every single week. Is it fun? No. Does it work? Yes.

This morning I looked at a couple of the shops yelling the loudest. And I found their SEO was really poor, some had horrible pictures and others had terrible titles and descriptions. I did take the time to try to help them but I can tell that most won't take the advice.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

My Newest Bernat Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern The Evelyn Baby Blanket!

Yeah! Its back from the crochet testers and they all loved it! My new Bernat Baby Blanket yarn pattern is called the Evelyn Baby Blanket named for my soon to be great niece.

This one is so fun to crochet and super easy. It is a bit of a yarn eater but that is what makes it so fluffy and 3 dimensional.

I made this crochet pattern with Bernat Little Cosmos and Little Pentunias but of course you can use any color you like!

I also have this for sale as a crochet kit that includes the pattern, yarn and the N crochet hook.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Google Changes and What It Means to Your Etsy/Ebay Shop

I see so many people getting upset on the Etsy and Ebay forums about Google changes. There really is no need for this as most will not be effected by the changes.

The 2013 Google Panda updates were mostly aimed at Black Hat SEO. I have written about this before on this blog. Never never use Black Hat SEO!! Its never worth it. Black hat is SEO that misleads people into clicking links that really have nothing to do with that website. For example have you ever Searched in Google and clicked on a link for lets say a pink dress and it takes you to a spam website? Thats Black Hat SEO. Or paying for back links. Huge no no. DO NOT pay for back links! I don't care what the person promises you it won't be worth it.

The newest update is that Google is not going to always share keywords used to get to a website. Again this will not effect most of us. Its a very small percentage that will be hidden. The bigger picture is at some point Google is going to make money off those reports instead of letting us all have them for free. But for now I would not waste one minute worrying about it.

Another important change in my opinion is Google is going to start using its "Google Local Business" listings in a much bigger way. They are going to start using that to put weight for relevancy etc on websites and searches etc. So be sure you have your business listed in Google Local Business. And make sure your listing is up to date. Yesterday I went and tweaked my listing and added hubby's business. Click the link above to add yours or update it.

As I posted on the Etsy forum; you are much better off to tweak your listings and descriptions, get better pictures etc than you are worrying about Google changes right now. I am always tweaking something on my Etsy/Ebay shop. Today I tweaked my shop announcement as I didn't realize that some of it no longer fit. Remember that shop announcement is hugely important for your SEO and getting found in Google!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Best Selling Crafts Scarves Scarves Scarves

Scarves seem to be the new must have accessory which is great for crafters. My crochet scarves are now outselling my blankets. I love them as they take less time to make and you can get so creative with them. And it doesn't matter whether you knit, crochet, sew etc.

Another great thing about crafting scarves is they apply to almost all ages. From little girls to teens to adult women everyone is wearing scarves all year round.

Like any handcrafted item color plays a huge part. Black and white are always popular as are fall colors. For teens neon is huge. You also have to know your customer. Adult women tend to like chunky bulky scarves, teens and little girls like a more fine less bulky scarf.

If I had more time I would open an Etsy shop just for scarves. This way you could tailor your SEO to just scarves.

Heres one of my newest scarves I am making for Thornville Backwoods Fest (which is next week omg I will never be ready lol) I love this scarf as you can wear it so many different ways

 This cowl is made from reflective yarn so it lights up when hit by light or a flash

So theres my top selling craft tip for the day. Get busy and make something beautiful!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kay's Crochet Is Now a Bernat Yarn Distributor! Little Cosmos, Little Sand Castle, Little Petunias

Woohoo I am so excited. Most of my crochet friends know that I am a huge fan of Bernat Baby Blanket yarn. I have designed many crochet patterns using this yarn as it is my favorite for making baby blankets. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find and purchase. Especially the new colors.

So I called Bernat and asked if I could buy direct from them. And they said yes! I ordered 1200 skeins of Bernat Baby blanket yarn and they just arrived yesterday. The poor UPS guy was exhausted when he got done unloading 25 boxes of yarn. I was jumping up and down like a little kid.

I now have Little Petunias, Little Sand Castle, Sand Baby, Baby Rose and Little Cosmos all in stock and ready to ship. And I am working on 2 new crochet patterns for this yarn. I will be adding many more colors in the coming weeks but I wanted to start with the hardest ones to find. If you are looking for a certain color just email me.

If you would like to order a large quantity email me for discounted shipping prices to ship in bulk.

 Bernat Sand Baby

 Bernat Baby Rose

Optimizing your Etsy/Ebay LIstings for Mobile Phones/Devices

Personally I cannot stand to shop via Iphone or Ipad but I guess most of the world does. According to Ebay and Etsy mobile device sales are going to keep increasing at a huge rate. I am trying now to get all of my sales listing up to snuff to look good on cell phones and ipads before the holiday rush.

Etsy Listings

For Etsy be sure you do not have a book long description for your items. First of all no one reads those anyway and secondly they look terrible on a mobile device. Make sure that your best keywords are in that first sentence of your listing description. This is what most mobile device users are going to actually read (and what gets you found in search) Anything after that is fluff.

Now I list a lot of yarn so I do have to put the details as this is important to knitters and crocheters. But most items just need to say what they are with your top keywords.

Adding a link to another item in your Etsy shop is good but don't get carried away. I have seen some that list 10 or more links to other items in their Etsy shop. That is overkill and it will hurt you in Google and makes it hard to read on a mobile device. Remember many times less is more especially for mobile device users.

For both Ebay and Etsy listings be sure your pictures are tight. That means no huge white/empty space around your pictures. Take a good up close picture of your item and make sure it adheres to the Etsy or Ebay picture requirements. On a cell phone pictures that are surrounded by a lot of empty space are very hard to see. Or pictures surrounded by a busy background. I know we all hate boring white but it really is the best background.

Ebay Listings

In my opinion Buy It Now is much better for people purchasing from a mobile device as they don't have to jump all over the place from screen to screen.

Get rid of the fancy backgrounds. Ebay is also telling people to stop using them. This will really hurt your listings on Ebay mobile.

Get rid of javascripts. I still have an old javascript program on some of my old listings. I am working now to remove all of them.

If you have an Ebay Store do put one link it to your storefront or to a companion item. I am also working on getting these in. When I first got my Ebay store I didn't know you could use the insert tool to put in links. This makes it easier for all customers (but especially mobile customers) to look at different items you sell.

Do use item specifics! Even if you are selling handmade be sure to fill in as much of them as possible. This is getting more and more important to search on Ebay

Use a 12 pt font or bigger (but not huge) I use 14 pt and I center all of my descriptions and put them in bold black. This looks really good on a cell phone.

For both Ebay and Etsy DO NOT put your policies in your descriptions! Just stop doing that! It really hurts your listings in search and this will become more and more evident as time goes by. Both Etsy and Ebay have specific areas to put your policies (shipping, guarantee, etc) Use only those areas. Your listing description should be just that - a product description!

Wishing you all great sales this holiday season!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Taking Pictures for Ebay and Etsy

I guess I should have titled this taking pictures to sell your crafts online. Anyway, I see a lot of really bad pictures out there. And people say they can't afford to get a great camera or a light box etc etc.

While my pictures are far from perfect they are pretty decent. And luckily I have a daughter that is amazing with photoshop. But I only send them to her to get the yellow off the background. Truly all I do is take a picture on a white piece of posterboard. For taller items I use those poster board display things made by Elmer glue that you get at Walmart for like 5.00 And then I have an all white background for under 10.00!!

I have a iphone 5 that has a better camera than my digital camera so that is what I have been using the last few weeks.

So here is picture number one before I sent it to my daughter. Not bad but I hate that yellow tinge in the background.

Here is the same picture after Katy took out that yellow tinge and brightened up the color. I washed the color out when I tried to take out the yellow in the background. See what a huge difference it makes!

Here is a scarf picture I took with the poster board for taller items

Another scarf picture. It has a little yellow but still not bad.

Selling Handmade/Crafts on Ebay Part Two

Just an fyi that my Ebay tips really work no matter what you sell on Ebay.

Ebay has made a ton of changes in the last 8 months and I think they are all for the better! Many people have not sold on Ebay in years so they don't realize how much has changed.

Do try to make Top Rated Seller. Its fairly easy to do as long as you upload tracking within 24 hours (and ship) and offer a refund policy. This TRS is invaluable. Not only do you get a 20 percent discount on your Ebay bill, you get higher placement in search, discounted shipping labels and the TRS logo on your Ebay name. I will tell you that others sell some of my same supplies/handmade lower than I do; but because I have the TRS logo many still prefer to buy from me. Its a big deal! And now they are doing a grace period for TRS's. If you have a bad week where you don't get all your tracking uploaded you get a grace period before they take away your TRS status.

Ebay now offers the 50 free listings every month. This is great for people that want to try it out. But I do believe having a basic store is the best way to go. Basic stores are around 12.00 per month and you get 150 free listings. And many months we get bonus free listings (this month it was 500 more) The bonus of a basic store is you get categories to divide up your inventory so you get a ton more SEO. Well worth the 12.00 in my opinion. Do check out the Ebay calculator that tells you if a basic store is right for you.

Also Ebay is now testing new store layouts that I have to say look just like Etsy. They are really nice looking so I hope they become available to all of us soon. 

Just like Etsy pictures are a huge deal on Ebay. And they are getting more picky about it by the day. Make sure you have excellent pictures. I hate taking pictures but its a necessary evil. Heres one I just took yesterday of our new parachute cord bracelet making jig. Took me about 50 pictures to get 2 good ones.

I never never sell handmade at auction price. I only sell it Buy it now. I never want anyone to think that my items are anything but high quality handmade items that deserve the price I list them at. Now if you have something you want to close out etc you can try auction listings. But I prefer buy it now. Also be sure to check the little box on your listing that says "require immediate payment" this will greatly reduce the amount of non paying buyers.

Do offer "free shipping" as these get higher placement in search. Just add the price into your  item (that is what everyone does) and check free shipping. Now this isn't always possible on heavy items but anywhere you can offer free shipping do it. It also gets you an automatic 5 stars on shipping.

So in a nutshell these items all get you higher placement in search

Top Rated Seller
Free Shipping
Basic Store

Be sure you put your items in the correct category! I see a lot of handmade that gets listed in the wrong category so pay attention to that too!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gourd Painting Patterns Now Available as Instant Download

I am getting lots of requests for my gourd tole/decorative painting patterns so I finally got them listed on my Etsy store!

So far I have the ghost gourd for Halloween and the Snowwoman Gourd listed. I am hoping to get a few more done in the next few weeks.

Selling Handmade on Ebay

Okay so everyone says handmade doesn't sell on Ebay. The secret it is does sell on Ebay. Ebay is so similar to selling on Etsy but I do admit the learning curve is bigger.

So just like Etsy (and probably even more important) is you have to have great SEO on your titles and descriptions. Just do the same as I have written here for Etsy listings. Ebay just updated its search (Cassini) and is going to keep updating all through the next year. So watch for updates but until then here are some tips.

Use every part of the information part of the listing that you can. These are so important on Ebay. This is the part that asks color, size, material, brand, country etc. Fill out as much as you possibly can. I have found that most handmade people completely skip that. Don't skip it!! Ebay search puts heavy weight on those lines of text.

Do not have spelling errors, text speak etc. Ebay will bury your listings if it knows you have numerous errors in your listing. My daughter in law is really bad about this. But she still manages to sell a ton of baby blankets on there.

If at all possible use the 1 business day to ship and upload tracking. With custom orders you cannot do this but this is a great way to get your listings to the top of search and to get top rated seller status. Always check the 100 percent guarantee. Don't be scared of that!! in almost 2 years I have only had it come into play twice. But it makes customers feel better and again it gets your listings higher in search. If you can click same day shipping and use Fast and Free becasuse again Ebay gives those listings preference.

Group things together. Lets say you sell soap. Make all different listings with different groups. Lets say one listing of 3 soaps, one listing of 6 soaps, one listing of a dozen. By the way this also works great on Etsy. People love to buy a group of items.

Okay this part is not meant to offend anyone but if you are a US seller put it in the listings!! Be proud. There are buyers on there that specifically look for Handmade in the USA. I often put it in the title and the description. Remember Ebay is a little less stuffy than Etsy so you can have some fun with your listings.

Ship internationally!! This opens a huge market for your items. Always check "ships worldwide" This is so easy on Ebay since they have a shipping calculator. Just put the weight in and let Ebay figure it out for you. However do NOT use Global Shipping. Buyers hate it! It charges buyers big fees so they tend to get pissed once they purchase and see the big shipping fees. Just ship yourself. I have sold way more international handmade on Ebay than Etsy. I do believe this is due to their shipping calculator. On Etsy I have to guess and guess high and I think that is a turn off to international buyers.

This is getting really long so I will do a part two in a couple days

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stay in the Positive! Etsy Feedback Changes

I have been on a much needed vacation and just returned yesterday. Took a look at the Etsy forums and what a meltdown over the new feedback.

All I can think reading all these posts is what a huge waste of time. People are being muted, banned, losing sleep and spending all of their time posting on the Etsy forums.

I know I keep saying this but its worth repeating. You will never be able to control what Etsy does. You can only control your reaction to what Etsy does. Instead of demanding Etsy change feedback to the old system (which is never going to happen) spend your time tweaking your Etsy shop or promoting your Etsy shop.

Negativity is like a cancer that just spreads and spreads and damages everything in its path. Do not let yourself get sucked in.

Spend your valuable time promoting your shop, stocking up on shipping supplies for holiday sales and creating new beautiful things to sell.

Etsy feedback is not going to make the huge difference people are predicting. I have always said no feedback is the best feedback and that is on Ebay or Etsy. I see people posting in the Etsy forum that they are sending letters with each package begging for feedback or telling buyers how to leave feedback. I for one hate when I make a purchase and get a letter begging for feedback. Don't do it! When you send letters like this you are actually making it easier for them to leave negative feedback. Because now you have forced them to really think about their feedback and what they are going to put. You have put the negativity in their head even though you didn't mean too. I got one of these letters with my last Ebay purchase. Because it begged so much I had to think it meant they must have a lot of poor feedback. So curiousity got the best of me and I went and looked. Yep they had some not so great feedback. Now if I had not got the begging feedback letter I would have never thought twice about it and never checked their feedback. 

Time is too precious to waste being negative. Stay in the positive and get back to work!

Kay's Crochet Mystery Boxes/Bags Update

We have been getting a lot of questions on our Mystery boxes so here you go! First some have asked why we are now shipping in bags. USPS...