How to Start an Etsy Shop? – the Ultimate Guide

How to Start an Etsy Shop? – the Ultimate Guide

Etsy is one of the primary marketplaces for online commerce – especially for handmade, crafted, and vintage items. With over 89 million active buyers, Etsy’s 5.3 million sellers have more than enough traffic to produce gross merchandise sales of roughly $3.3 billion in Q2 2022.

Although setting up a shop in the online marketplace is user-friendly, several factors need attention when starting an Etsy shop, such as understanding fees, adding products, and ranking well with Search Engine Optimization.

This step-by-step guide will not only explain how to start an Etsy shop in seven steps but provide you with information on crucial preliminary steps to take before creating your shop. These include researching the market, finding products to sell, and making them stand out in the marketplace and search engines. 

In addition, you will gain valuable tips from an expert with a solid record as an Etsy seller.

In this Article

What to do Before Opening an Etsy Shop

Expert’s Tip

Anyone learning how to start an Etsy shop should do lots of research before creating products and launching their store. They should understand their ideal customer and validate that there is demand for their products by doing trend and keyword research.

Also, there is so much content available online through Youtube videos, blogs, podcasts, and webinars that provide detailed information on how to start an Etsy shop — they should be sure to take advantage of those resources. 

Taking time to learn from experts each step of the way will help new sellers avoid common mistakes as they begin their business.

Megan Doleweerd

Megan Doleweerd

Etsy Expert

Before building your shop, we list some fundamental prep work for developing a successful business with Etsy. 

Most sellers learning how to start an Etsy business take these steps only after they’ve already built their stores and end up having to redo a lot of their previous work, losing time and money.

This includes researching the market, planning your products, taking pictures, and adjusting their descriptions according to the best SEO practices. We’ll guide you through these fundamental preliminary steps.

Preliminary Step 1: Research the Market

How to Start an Etsy Shop - Reasearch the Market

Before opening an Etsy shop, get a clear idea of the competition and your target market.

Research the market to understand the chances of success for items similar to the products you intend to sell. Identify your main competitors and what products they sell. Understand which products give the most return. Find out if there are untapped spaces you can fill or if you will have to compete directly with products that already have guaranteed positions.

If you have to compete with existing products, how can you beat them? What will your Etsy store offer better than the competition?

Use keyword research tools (discussed below) related to your product. Type the most searched keywords in the Etsy bar and look for results with many reviews that do not have the “Etsy add” tag. These are the results from organic searches.

Look also for products often favorited. 

Carefully read user reviews to understand what features potential customers are looking for, what can be improved, and what is missing. Look for common comments indicating why many people favor the products. 

However, don’t limit yourself to merely copying the competition’s design. Offer more value based on what new customers are looking for and your unique sales proposition (USP).

Preliminary Step 2: Decide What to Sell on Etsy

With the data from your market research, decide what exact products to produce and how you will do it.

Look for seasonal trends in Google search and bestseller lists in other markets. The best place to get product ideas is Etsy itself. Etsy has its own market and a search engine tuned to its audience. Enter terms like “trending” and “popular” in the Etsy search. The engine will show related searches in addition to the products themselves.

Search for terms related to your niche:

There are three main ways to create your products: 

  • Own production – you manufacture products from scratch. Etsy is ideal for artisanal and handmade items. Otherwise, this implies huge costs and initial investment in human resources and facilities. 
  • Wholesale – acquire products in large amounts from third parties and resell them. It allows some customization but requires spending on human resources, storage, and fulfillment. 
  • Dropshipping and Print-on-Demand – Your shop is an intermediary between producers and the final customers. The product is manufactured by print providers only when ordered and can be customized. This method allows focusing on the creative process and selling items with no initial investments and doesn’t require managing facilities or inventory. 

Once you decide on the merchandise to sell on your new Etsy shop, you can customize blank print-on-demand products and start selling immediately. 

Printify offers an expanding catalog of more than 750 quality products ready for customization and fully integrates with Etsy. Take the opportunity to partner with Printify and open your Etsy shop today.

Make It Happen Today!

Preliminary Step 3: Create High-Quality Images

90% of Etsy shoppers find product photos decisive when making a purchase. Product images are the customer’s primary way of interacting with the merchandise in an online store. The product photos must convince potential customers that your product is worth buying, without touching and feeling it as in a brick-and-mortar shop.

You don’t have to break the bank to make great photos. Do it with knowledge on product photography, creativity, and a few resources like natural lighting and smartphones. 

Instead of spending on a professional video camera or the latest flagship from Apple or Samsung, you can buy an older refurbished smartphone with a good camera and use it exclusively for taking product photos. 

Look for professional reviews of hundreds of cameras, including smartphones’, at DpReview.

We make taking great product photos for Etsy easier for you in our blog with advanced and pro tips.

Preliminary Step 4: Build an Effective SEO Marketing Strategy

Expert’s Tip

Merchants should use tools such as eRank or Marmalead to complete keyword research. It’s important that they select for their listings keywords that have a high search volume and low competition. 

Sellers should be sure to include keywords in their titles, descriptions, and tags. Variety is also important when it comes to Etsy SEO — merchants should avoid using the same keyword too many times.

Megan Doleweerd

Megan Doleweerd

Etsy Expert

Etsy search works through two processes requiring specific optimization: query matching and ranking. Optimizing your store to both will be based on keyword research and SEO. 

Keywords are terms that people type into search engines when looking for something.

Whenever a shopper types a word into Etsy search, the platform gathers all listings containing that keyword and ranks them.  

To be visible on Etsy, your shop and listings need to contain the keywords people are looking for. 

Start by using Etsy search. Look for other sellers and Etsy shops similar to yours, and take note of their shop names, product titles, descriptions, tags, and which words they use the most. Then, look for the most representative keywords and do your own research.

Due to seasonality and trends, you should constantly research keywords related to your target market.

The soft spot is finding keywords with high search volume but low competition. 

Many tools can give you insights into which keywords people are looking for often. Depending on the tool, you can get results directly connected to Etsy, related terms and searches, or demographics associated with specific keywords. 

Google – Google offers many free tools for keyword monitoring, research, and SEO. To research and plan your keywords use Google Trends

Trends quickly researches any keyword worldwide, including related searches. It is free and user-friendly – it doesn’t require connecting and verifying domains or setting ad campaigns (as required by Google Analytics and Keyword Planner). Just type the keywords, choose a region, and observe the data and related queries.

General Top-tier SEO Tools – SEMRush and Ahrefs are industry standards for SEO, keyword research, tracking, and analysis. Both include competitor analysis:

  • SEMRush – the free plan allows tracking ten keywords, ten analytic reports per day, and managing one project. Paid plans start from $119.85 per month (paid monthly). 
  • Ahrefs – Offers several free tools with limitations, including a Free Keyword Generator, Website authority, and Backlink checkers. Paid plans start from $99 per month (paid monthly). 

Tools for Etsy-integrated SEO and Keyword ResearchThe following tools offer integration with Etsy, providing insights on SEO, keyword research and monitoring, market prices, or competitor’s analysis:

  • eRank – Freemium. Plans start from $5.99 per month (paid monthly). 
  • Seller-Way – Freemium. Plans from $8.33 to $19.99 per month (paid annually).
  • Marmalead – Plans from $19 per month (paid monthly)
  • Sale Samurai – 3-day free trial. Payments of $9.99 (monthly plan) or $99.9 (yearly plan).

Etsy SEO for query matchingEtsy compares buyer search terms to keywords in the listing’s titles, tags, descriptions, and categories.

When planning products, create spreadsheets with detailed product descriptions, phrased naturally but including the keywords you researched.

Product listings cost $0.20. Avoid losing those cents – they will add up as you add more products – by having the products already planned and optimized when publishing multiple listings. 

Etsy SEO for rankingEtsy ranks listings according to “Context Specific Ranking” (CSR), an algorithm displaying listings that are more probable to be purchased according to the user’s history and habits. 

In short, Etsy will boost listings that sell better. That, in return, will make those listings sell even more, giving the marketplace a better return in fees. 

The following factors influence Etsy’s CSR:

  • Relevancy – How well the listings’ tags, titles, descriptions, categories, and attributes match the search. 
  • Listing quality score – How well it converts. Etsy will perceive products that sell more as having a higher quality score. 
  • Recency – New Etsy listings receive a temporary boost. If they perform well, they receive a higher quality score. However, Etsy doesn’t recommend renewing or changing the listings every few months to receive this boost but, instead, optimizing other factors, such as tags. 
  • Customer and market experience score – This score increases with good reviews, a shop policy, and an “About” section. Intellectual property infringement lowers the score. 
  • Shipping services – Etsy pushes sellers to offer a US free shipping guarantee and prioritize items with less shipping price. Set in Settings and Shipping profiles, but remember to add shipping costs to the product price when offering free shipping.
  • Translations and language – Use the resources provided by Etsy to translate listing details and tags. Do not add tags in different languages in a listing.
  • Shoppers’ habits – Etsy personalizes search results according to the user, considering customer behavior, history, and favorited listings.

Watch more Insights on Optimizing your Store by our expert.

How to Start an Etsy Shop in 7 Easy Steps

Expert’s Tip

Some people believe that building a successful Etsy POD business is low-effort and extremely passive. This is not true —  if you want to be successful on Etsy, it’s going to take a lot of time and energy. 

You’ll need to do tons of research, publish lots of products, provide a great customer experience, and be consistently active in your shop. Don’t start an Etsy business if you aren’t ready to hustle!”

Megan Doleweerd

Megan Doleweerd

Etsy Expert

Here, we’ll show you how to start selling on Etsy in seven steps.

Step 1: Sign Up on Etsy

Before creating an Etsy Shop, you must create a customer account. Click Sign in at the upper right corner.

Click Register, fill in your email address, name, and password, or connect using your Google, Facebook, or Apple account. 

You can fill in all at once or edit your personal information by clicking i Your account, then Account settings, or do it after you’ve created a seller’s account. 

Etsy will send you a confirmation email. Confirm your email address. Otherwise, you will not be able to continue to create your shop later.

Step 2: Create a Shop

Once you’ve created your Etsy account, go to the Your account menu in the upper right corner. Choose Sell on Etsy

The opening page offers some information on how to start an Etsy shop, like tools, Etsy fees, and FAQ.

You can click Get Started, or scroll down through the sections, finally clicking Open Your Etsy Shop

In the following pages, you’ll be asked to agree with Etsy’s policies and Terms of Use and answer optional questions.

Step 3: Adjust your Etsy Shop Preferences

Under the tab preferences, choose your shop’s default language, country, and shop currency.

Etsy also asks (for internal purposes) if the shop will be a full-time or part-time business.  

State the country where the store is located, and you pay taxes. If your bank account’s currency differs from your shop’s, 2.5% of each sale will be charged as a conversion fee. 

Later you’ll be able to add more languages to your store and fine-tune other shop preferences in the Shop Manager, located in the upper-right corner.

Step 4: Name Your Etsy Store

Your Etsy shop name can have up to 20 characters.

You can choose an abstract or descriptive name, but ideally, it should indicate what the Etsy shop will sell and reflect your brand. 

In addition, the shop title influences its SEO. Etsy recommends that you include a focus keyword if possible. 

Try a shop name generator like namelix. You type a keyword, a relevant attribute of the new business, choose the degree of abstraction, and the AI will return many suggestions. 

Google the name, and see if it is taken. If you intend to upgrade to Etsy’s Pattern or a stand-alone website, check if there is an available domain matching your store name in websites like GoDaddy

Test the name for some time, and see if it resonates with your customer base. Once you’re sure you’ve found the right Etsy shop name, keep in mind that someone can steal it. Trademark your business name to keep your unique brand safe.

Step 5: List your Products

At this point, you have your listing details planned, including pictures. Otherwise, you can add some information and edit them after, or even create a temporary mockup. It is not possible to move on without adding the first listing. 

Create listings anytime in the Shop Manager, Listings section. 

If you integrate your Etsy shop with Printify, products will be created in Printify and synchronized with Etsy, together with pictures, titles, and descriptions. You’ll still have to adjust some parameters directly in Etsy and add more information. 

It’s possible to edit a listing quickly on the main listing page or customize it extensively by clicking on it. Here are the main options: 

  • Photo – Upload up to ten product photos. Place the best pictures first, and don’t forget to use keywords in the alt-text. Follow the Etsy guidelines for proportions and sizes. 
  • Video – Film a up to 100 Mb video of the product being unpacked or worn, or showcasing the product’s characteristics.
  • Title – Aim for highly informative listing titles containing keywords and describing central product features. Use short titles and place the most relevant keywords first so they are displayed on all search engines. 
  • Category – Use comprehensive categories that represent better what your products are. Categories are added when editing the listing, and Etsy will use that information to add other internal sub-categories to the product. Etsy displays products differently in the search results, according to their categories.
  • Sections are created by the user when adding a listing and are displayed on the Shop’s front page. They are optional but helpful for customers to find the right product and give the store more credibility. To create sections later, click on the gear button on a product on the Listings page, and click on Change section. You can also click on the listing and, on the page allowing deep customization of the product, use the option Section
  • Description – Apply long-tail keywords to highlight the main product features as much as possible, but without overstuffing. Inform precisely about materials and techniques used to create the product and emphasize remarkable features. 
  • Tags – Fill all 13 tags per listing with keywords (preferably long-tail) containing central characteristics of the product. Do not spend tags with translations nor worry about plurals, as Etsy takes care of both cases. Translate all the tags only if you have another language in your store in the designated fields, as native translations will do better than the automatic ones. 

Take the time to familiarize yourself with all of the options to edit listings once you complete your shop’s setup. Give special time to refining shipping settings and processing time for certain countries, as the shipping cost impacts your SEO.

It is also possible to choose the option “digital products” and create digital printables for selling on Etsy.

Step 6: Adjust Payment Options, Billing, and Security

You’ll have to set up a bank account, provide personal documents, and opt for Etsy Payments during the registration process. Follow these steps to the letter to avoid a blocked account or banishments from the marketplace: 

1. Open an Etsy shop as an individual or business seller, and fill in your personal information. You’ll have to register a bank account to get paid. Be sure the account belongs to the shop owner and the registered name/surname in your Etsy account matches with the name written in the bank account.

2. Verify your identity by uploading an ID card, passport, driver’s license, or residence permit. 

3. Turn on the Etsy Payments and set up billing options. 

You may configure additional payment options and billing later in Shop Manager, Finances. At this point, you need to register a credit card for billing. The first listing fees will be charged in the next month. 

The Payment account section contains your Etsy balance, including revenue from sales and costs from listings, Etsy ads, and subscriptions. This section also provides monthly statements, accessed directly in Finances, Monthly statements.

The Payment settings section allows you to enroll in Etsy Payments and add bank account details and cards to deposit your revenue and pay your bills with Etsy. Cards added may be verified through a micro-transaction. This step can take some days and sometimes requires contacting Etsy support. 

The Etsy Payments system allows customers to pay with cards or several gateways, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, IDEAL, and Sofort. 

The Legal and tax information section allows you to fill in business legal information, including address and taxpayer ID. This section also allows uploading additional documents and data, depending on the country.  

These are the fees charged by Etsy: 

  • $0.20 Listing fee
  • 6.5% of Etsy transaction fees. In case of currency conversion, an additional fee of 2.5% will be applied.
  • 4% payment processing fee + approx. $0.25 (varies by country). 
  • VAT in Europe – variable, it is added in Etsy’s payment processing and other fees. 
  • 15% Off site ads fee (12% for any Etsy seller with more than $10,000 annual sales)

The fees are added to the payment account. The amount will be deducted automatically if you have a positive balance from sold items. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay them monthly. 

Listings should be renewed every four months, and the listing fees will be applied again.

These are Etsy’s subscriptions:

  • Pattern – Allows creating a website. From $15 per month, paid monthly. It requires external hosting.  
  • Etsy plus – $10 per month. Offers $5 advertising credits, and 15 listing credits monthly, in addition to expanded shop customization. 

Finally, Etsy offers two-factor authentication. Choose between receiving an SMS, a phone call, or using an authenticator app.

If you opt for the authenticator app, Etsy will provide the link for downloading it for iOS or Android. After installing it on your smartphone, you’ll check a QR code provided by Etsy, and every time you log in at your shop online, you will need to check the authenticator app. 

After the QR code is read, Etsy will provide you with special secure codes that can be used in case you lose access to the authenticator app. Be sure to download them and save them securely, as they will be displayed only once:

Step 7: Review, Customize and Open Your Shop

At this point, it’s time to complete adjustments that couldn’t be done during the setup, customize the shop, and tell more about you and your small business. 

Filling in the About section and the Shop Policies increases your Customer and market experience score and, consequently, your ranking and Etsy SEO.

1. To add a personal bio and the Shop story, go to the Shop Manager, then About Your Shop:

  • Members – Allows adding a personal picture, the person’s role in the shop, and a bio. Let the interested audience members know you, building personal resonance with your brand.
  • Story – Use this section to tell the story of your brand, add a headline, a video, up to five photos, and shop links – including a webpage, Pinterest, Facebook, or a blog. Discuss why the store started, how operations are going, why they learned how to set up an Etsy shop, and anything else small business owners would like to include.

Try to apply natural long-tail keywords describing your USP in the shop story.

2. Shop Policies – can be set up in the Shop Manager, Settings, and Policy Settings. They can also be edited in the Shop Manager by clicking on a pencil icon close to Sales channels and then scrolling down till arriving at “Shop policies.”

The Shop policies guarantees that Etsy sellers and buyers are on the same page and develops confidence. Setting them up is mainly automated, as Etsy offers clickable boxes with common options. That includes postage, payment options, returns, exchanges, or cancellations. 

GDPR-compliant will require actual writing, but Etsy also offers a template in the Seller Handbook.

3. Social media – create accounts on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram (requires the Sell on Etsy app), to share your shop. Go to the Shop Manager, Marketing, then Social Media to connect with your networks.

Listings also can be shared as posts directly from the listings section. Pinterest boards and pins are handy marketing tools. The platform resonates with Etsy and is fully integrated with the marketplace, allowing you to market listings and collections to a like-minded public, without spending. 

See also a full marketing strategy for getting the first sale on your Etsy small business in our blog. 

4. Language Preferences

Your Etsy shop has a default language. You should provide keywords and listing titles, tags, and descriptions, in the shop language. 

Keeping consistency in the items’ language interferes with Etsy SEO and ranking. 

Etsy automatically translates the store into several languages according to shoppers’ queries. It is possible to add nine other languages to an Etsy shop. It encourages sellers fluent in other languages to add them to the shop and translate the specific items using their appropriate fields. 

Adding other languages can be done in the Shop Manager, Settings, then Languages and translations. After selecting which language to add, a page will open, with fields to insert translations to listings, info and appearance, shop sections, shop members, and shop policies. 

You can turn off the auto-translation resource in the Shop Manager, Settings, then Options. Scroll down and then disable the option in Automatic Listing Translation.

5. Production Partners

If selling POD products, you should register your providers or partners on Etsy. Missing this step can occasionally lead to temporary blocks of your account. 

Do it in the Shop Manager, Settings, Production Partners, then Add a new production partner

When publishing a listing, you’ll have the option to display or not display your production partners.   

6. Monitor

Etsy Search Analytics is the primary tool for tracking your store’s keywords, traffic, and conversions. Access it at the Shop Manager in the Marketing section.

7. Offer excellent customer service and earn positive reviews. Get more sales with a customer-centric attitude.

FAQ

Starting an Etsy shop is free of charge. Fees are applied when adding listings ($0.20 per listing) and selling products. Etsy charges selling fees of 6.5% and payment processing fees that vary depending on the shop’s home country.

Selling on Etsy is worth it, as the marketplace doesn’t charge subscriptions, is user-friendly to set up, automates complicated steps like payment processing, and gives access to more than 94 million buyers.

That depends on the amount of effort and time put into the store. Engaged hustlers earn around $44,000 annually, while some top sellers make more than that monthly. 

On the other hand, other Etsy sellers consider their shops as a side hustle for passive income and make less than $500 per month.

Final Thoughts

Setting up an Etsy shop is a user-friendly process, but getting it to the next level, getting noticed, and generating steady revenue demands planning and persistent work.

You’ve learned how to start an Etsy shop. Now, take your time and be part of the successful Etsy sellers profiting and prospering.

Disclaimer

Etsy is always evolving and adapting, adding resources and altering the seller handbook. Follow our blog to keep in the loop and learn more on how to start an Etsy shop and make it grow.

Make It Happen Today!

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