Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY - New Curtains

When I was a teenager my mom gave me permission to decorate my room anyway I wanted. She let me paint the walls, pick out the bedspreads and make the curtains. I think that was my first experience creating custom window coverings.

I'm not one to make anything elaborate for my windows but knowing simple curtain construction has come in handy over the years. Recently, as I continue to prepare the back bedroom for our summer guests, I decided to make an additional set of curtains for the large window. Typically I make them from "scratch" by picking out the fabric and completing every part of the construction. Lately though, I've been resorting to finding some inexpensive curtains and altering them. 

Last summer, when we welcomed some friends from Tennessee to stay with us for a week, I quickly hung some pre-made curtains in a freshly painted bedroom and called it a day....even though they were much too long. So, now that I am in the curtain making mode again, I figured it was time to shorten them.  I didn't do anything fancy. I simply cut off the extra fabric and put in a new hem. All the other work was done for me.

So when it came to making this new set of curtains I went through my usual routine. I checked out the pre-made curtains at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond but I wasn't impressed with their selection. Before considering making the curtains from scratch I thought I'd try the Cost Plus World Market near us. As I walked into the store I passed by a section of fun colored curtains and started pondering which ones might work. Then it occurred to me that they weren't window curtains. They were fabric shower curtains. I walked around the corner and found the curtain display but was disappointed again at what they had to offer.

So here I was, looking at the curtain selection and wondering what I should do. Then I started contemplating the differences between the window curtains and the fabric shower curtains. The window curtains were 29" wide and cost $29 per panel. With a 100" window I would need at least 4 panels. The fabric shower curtains were 72" wide and cost $29 each. You guessed it......I bought a couple of shower curtains and I opted for the white ones.

Converting them to window curtains was a breeze. Instead of changing them from the hem end, I cut them down from the top edge and created a new casing for a curtain rod. They are perfect for the window width and you'd never know they were original made as a shower accessory. I love thinking outside the box like that!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let's Get Found!

It's pretty exciting to me when I get a new item completed and it actually looks like what I had in my head.....and sometimes even better! Such is the case with a crossbody bag that I just listed in my shop!!

Usually, when I list a new item in my shop, I can use much of what I have set up already as titles, descriptions and tag words. With this new bag it occurred to me that I needed to do some research before I set up the listing. First I used the Google keywords tool to identify some "golden words". I didn't have much luck there but did see what the most popular search words were for this kind of bag. Going back to Etsy I used these keyword phrases in the search box to see how they ranked.

Let me be more specific for you so you can understand my thought process.

Because the crossbody bag was something a customer asked me to create and referred to it as a hipster bag, I used this term for my first keyword search. I outlined how this search tool works in another Etsy Science post.

Hipster bag has medium competition but doesn't rank very high as a search term. So.....I scrolled down the list to see what words/phrases ARE popular. Some of the highest ranking phrases are crossbody bag, shoulder bag, sling bag and crossbody handbag. After taking note of these words I went back to  Etsy and started searching these terms.

First I started with hipster bag and saw that there were 6000 listed. Then I went down the list and took note of alternative phrases that popped up when I started typing or that are at the bottom of the page. This is what I found....

Crossbody bag - 10,600
Shoulder bag - 55,000
Crossbody handbag - 3,500
Hipster purse - 6,300
Sling bag - 5,400
Satchel bag - 11,600

Another great way to find search terms is to look at the items listed on the first page of each search. Check out what words they are using in their titles and tags. I get lots of ideas by doing that!!

So here is basically what I came up with for the title of my new crossbody bag....
crossbody bag, personalized hipster purse, sling bag crossbody

And here is the list of my tags...
Bags and Purses (category), Hip Bag (sub-category), crossbody bag, hipster bag, crossbody purse, hipster purse, satchel bag, small messenger bag, personalized gift, teen girl gift, best friend gift, sling bag crossbody, blue and white

When choosing your tags you want to repeat terms used in the Category descriptions. In this instance I have used hipster bag and hipster purse.

Next you want to repeat words that you have used in your title. You don't want to use run-on descriptions like "blue white purse". This is an etsy no-no. But you can put "blue and white" or "blue satchel". I try to use phrases instead of single words because they can rank me higher in search results.

Most people will search with phrases rather than single words. If they search for "bag" they will find over 720,000 items. If they narrow it down to a particular style, which most people do, they won't have to sort through the multitude of bags to find what they want. If the phrase they type into the search box is exactly what you have used in your title and tags, your item will most likely pop up toward the top!

To test the relevancy of my titles and tags I like to search for my own items to see if I appear somewhere on the first 3 pages. So let's search for this new bag and find out where it lands. 
Search phrase and page it appears:

Crossbody bag - page 3 of 250
Personalized hipster bag - page 1 of 2
Hipster bag - page 9 of 159
Sling bag - page 2 of 137
Sling bag crossbody - page 1 of 35

So imagine you have 6 crossbody bags in your shop. To increase your chances of getting found by a potential customer, you want to use varying words and phrases in your titles and tags. Perhaps you can use the same words from another title but mix up the order. Remember, the first 3 words in the title are the most important and increase your relevancy.

This is where the list of other crossbody bag descriptions/terms come into play for me. As I list more of this item in my shop I will use different words to describe it. I also know that when I increased the number of items to my shop and varied the titles and tags I saw a huge increase in views and orders!

As I mentioned earlier this week, to keep your etsy shop thriving is a lot of work but once you begin to understand the science of it, things start to get a little easier. I don't have it all figured out by any means but I hope that gaining a bit more knowledge about getting found on etsy from what I've shared today has encouraged and inspired you!