The first week was about setting goals, and to do that we needed to critique our own shops - much easier to work out what you need to do after you've taken a good hard look to see what needs improving or changing.
I actually found the critiquing bit fairly straight forward. Possibly this is because my shop is pretty new and I'm still working out how to do things, so there were already bits I'd been thinking I needed to improve anyway.
Etsy provided a worksheet with some key questions to help us with our critiques, and it certainly made life easier! I think I'd have spent a lot longer trying to do this, and getting a lot more wound up worrying that I was missing important things if I hadn't had the worksheet.
Etsy suggest that you use 5 photos for every listing, trying to show scale and size. So far, I'm not sure I've used 5 photos for any of my listings... so that's definitely a no to point 1! I'll have to work something out - I already have a few ideas in my head, so we'll see where we end up after Photography week!
Size and scale... well I normally mention sizes in my descriptions - things like 'comes on an 18" chain', or 'this pouch is approx. 6" x 6" when laid flat', but I suppose this might be one of those 'a picture tells a thousand words' moments, and including a shot with something readily identifiable for scale would probably be a good plan. (It would also count as one of my 5 photos per item, hurrah!)
I am however happy with my backgrounds - or rather, happy with the most recent layout, which has so far only been applied to one listing... Lots of replacement photography to be getting on with this week. I've started paying more attention to the cropping for the main images too, so ok there.
The next part of the worksheet was not so good...
I think I started off on the wrong foot with my titles and tags - I'm not getting enough keywords into my titles, and I regularly fail to use all 13 possible tags.
I also started off using 1 word tags - which are essentially far too generic so don't really help at all. Tagging a green pouch as 'green' and as a 'pouch' my be correct, but it'll also make it come up if someone searches for anything green at all, and presumably if they're looking for a 'blue pouch' too. So, much work needed on tags!
Asking yourself what keywords you would use is one of those 'well duh' ideas that seems to have flown past without me noticing up until now. Whoops. I also apparently should be testing my keyword ideas by typing them into Etsy's search bar to see if they come up - which would suggest they're popular terms - and also to see what other products have those keywords - are they similar to my own? So yes, lots of work to do here.
The next section covered 'Cohesive Branding'. I found this bit a little tricky. 'Do I have a range of products at varying price points?' ...well I think so... but how much of a range counts? You could have 5 items, costing £1 - £5 at £1 increments, and that would be a range wouldn't it? I figure I have a variety of different types of jewellery (earrings, pendants, bracelets) as well as the leather pouches, and most of the jewellery items are of differing designs. That sounds reasonably varied. My pricing ranges from £17 to £40 - which again seems like a fair range, so I reckon maybe I'm ok there for the moment.
One question that threw me a bit was this one: "Are the items telling a story and communicating a style?" Erm...I....uh...dunno? I suppose I could say my work is telling the story that I like twisty bits of wire? Or is that a definition of my style? How do the leather bags fit in to that? Do they just label me as being somewhat confused? Or can I say they show me to be more than just a 1 trick pony, as it were? Still not sure about that one.
"Are your shop policies filled out..." Yes. "...Do they instil trust in a buyer?" Um, I hope so? How am I supposed to know? I'd guess that the fact they're there is good. Have I written them well though? I confess I haven't really thought to ask anyone to look at them - which is perhaps something I need to do this month, so I can better answer that question.
Well, at least I was fairly happy with the last bits. I'm pretty settled with my pricing system, and I'm fairly happy with postage so far - ok, so I don't list prices for anywhere beyond the UK in the individual listings, but I do say in the policies and on the main shop page that people can contact me for a quote if they want stuff shipped further away.
Overall... I basically need to overhaul all the current listings. Photography, titles, tags and descriptions. I'm actually sort of happy with that though. It's been a good experience to go through the critique, and now I've got some goals in mind for the month.
Retake all listing photos. (I think that's going to be this week's job)
Re-do all listing titles & tags.
Re-do all listing descriptions.
Set a personal profile avatar, so I'm no longer just a mystery face.
Phew. Long blog... although maybe this time I had a good excuse? :D Besides, I did just assign myself what is looking like a ton of work to do this month.