Sep 032008
 

If you’re like me, when you first joined Etsy you probably asked other, more experienced Etsians how to promote your shop. One of the suggestions you may have heard is that you should consider blogging.

“I don’t get it,” you might have responded. “What’s the connection?”

If a blog is done appropriately, it provides either direct or indirect visibility about the products you sell by exposing a slice of your life, your personality, your interests. One of the reasons that buyers are drawn to Etsy rather than another online shopping site or even a brick-and-mortar business is the personal touch that many sellers make a part of the buying experience. Your blog reinforces that personal connection, especially if your shop announcement and your blog cross-reference each other by providing a Web address.

“But what am I supposed to write about?”

The answer to that question is as different as we all are from each other. There’s no right or wrong way to blog, but in terms of drawing visitors to your shop, there are some factors that will impact the size of your readership, and whether folks will be inclined to “check you out” further (and possibly your shop). Here are a few guidelines to consider when posting to your blog:

Audience. Are you writing for yourself, or for other people? Maybe a little bit of both? Ask yourself whether you would be interested in reading this post if someone else wrote it. If not, ask yourself what would interest you. That’s the real you, and that’s the person potential readers/buyers want to meet. In other words, be yourself; let your personality shine through your blog!

Joon of joonbeam, for example, blogs about her love of old treasures in “Finding Neverland.”

Visuals. Think about why you visit a shop on Etsy. What attracts you first? Likely it’s an image you see in a treasury, The Storque, a link to a photo, or a front page feature. Make sure your blog contains visual elements that are interesting, eye-catching, possibly thought-provoking, maybe even humorous. (But remember that humor is a subjective thing and that you also don’t want to offend.) Look at other blogs to see how they are laid out visually, and adapt what appeals to you. Consider adding an Etsy Mini to your blog, which is a graphical representation of products in your shop. Clicking on an image in the Etsy Mini takes blog readers to that product in your shop. (This is one of the “extras” you’ll find on the left side of the page when you click on Your Etsy in your shop.)

Dayna of Scottie Acres has a visual feature called Wordless Wednesday that pulls you into her blog every week.

Content. For many people, what to write about is the Big Dilemma that prevents them from blogging. Think about the magazines you read. What kinds of articles draw you in? Maybe you like how-to information, product reviews, editorials, the shopping section, contests or questionnaires. Your blog can contain the same kind of information. If you make jewelry, provide how-to tips or links to useful information. Review a new tool or a book about your craft. Take your readers on a shopping trip to Etsy shops you admire, or feature a specific Etsy seller. Ask readers to visit your shop and name their favorite item; offer an item in your shop as a prize. Invite your readers to participate in your blog by completing an opinion poll. Think about what inspires your passion, and introduce your readers to that passion. Make sure your blog content is interesting, relevant to your audience and/or useful.

Alysa of Alysa Merle Handcrafts provides tips about her craft, most recently about the use of plarn.

Frequency. Try to post regularly to your blog. Regularly, of course, will mean different things to different people! But keep in mind that the adage, “Out of sight, out of mind” is relevant to how often you should post to your blog. Have you ever thought about why stores where you infrequently shop continue to mail coupons, fliers and advertisements to your home? Without those regular reminders, these businesses would likely not be the first ones that come to mind when you are ready to shop. Likewise, you want to remind your readers that you have a presence not only on the Web, but especially in your shop. A word of caution, however—a light touch is probably more appropriate when it comes to advertising your Etsy shop and its wares. A blog that exists simply to point visitors to the items in a seller’s shop is not likely to retain an audience.

Myfanwy of Sassa Lynne at Etsy blogs regularly about Etsy items that appeal to her, often those of Boomers.

“So, how do I get started with my first blog post?

Before you start blogging, explore several different platforms to decide what appeals to you, and what appears to be most user-friendly. Frequently used blogging platforms are found at Blogger, TypePad and WordPress. Browse other blogs, and examine several different layouts. Sketch out on paper how you would like your blog to look. Make a list of ideas for future blog content. Ask for help in the Forums, especially from fellow Boomers. You may also wish to read “Team Tip: Is Blogging Important?” that appeared recently in Etsy’s newsletter, The Storque. Above all, don’t be afraid to take the plunge!

© 2008 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at http://boomersandbeyond.blogspot.com.

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