How to start a blog for your Etsy shop

If blogging is one of those terms that makes you break out in hives at the mere mention of the word, then today’s post is for you :)

You’ve probably heard everyone and their dog say that you should be blogging, but it’s hard to commit to-- I totally get that! You’re a busy seller and you have product to create-- the idea of having to create content on-top of everything else can be a bit overwhelming.

But it doesn't have to be. If you think you need to be creating pin-worthy content 5x/week to succeed at blogging for your Etsy shop, then read on my friend-- because your content marketing strategy is about to get a whole lot easier ;)

 

Blogging: The Perfect Introvert Marketing Strategy

Raise your hand if you’re an introvert.

Now raise your hand if being an introvert means you’re scared to death of marketing your Etsy shop.

I know quite a few introverted sellers on Etsy (hey, I’m one of them if we’re being completely honest…) and marketing has always been a four-letter word to us—it’s not something we are necessarily born knowing how to do, and it's certainly not always the most comfortable of experiences.  

But that’s because marketing has this weird connotation about being IN YOUR FACE ALL THE TIME AND TELL YOU TO BUY ALL THE THINGS (thank you, cliched sleazy salesmen).

Ugh—if that’s your perception of marketing, no wonder you don’t like it!!

Blogging (or “content marketing” <-- see, there’s that “m” word again…) is a way for you to actively promote your shop by providing value to your audience behind-the-scenes. As in-- you can be 100% introverted and still be a successful blogger.

And by providing value, your audience is going to become warmer and warmer in regards to buying your product. And you’re gonna feel a whole lot less sleazy because you’re not just pushing your product all day, everyday. In fact if you’re consistently offering your audience value, you may not even have to ask for the sale!!

So how does one get started with blogging? Let’s take a look at a basic step-by-step set-up of your blog, shall we?

Step 1 | Choosing the right platform

Welcome to the part where the majority of Etsy sellers quit-- the technical part of setting up a blog. Most of us creatives aren’t tech-savvy (heck, I’ve run this morgannield.com biz for about 6 months now and I’m still cursing Leadpages every time I have to set up an opt-in form!), so setting up a blog can be daunting, to say the least :)

Well, welcome to 2017, my friend, where it’s (literally) never been easier to set up a website!

As easy at it is to set up a website, however, doesn’t help with the fact that there are SO many freakin’ options out there to choose from. Where’s a newbie to start?!?!

If you’re new to the blogging world and haven’t even given a thought to what platform to choose, figuring out which one is the right option can be downright terrifying. It can also cause you to put the whole blogging thing on hold, which is something we definitely DON’T want you to do ;) So let’s move you past that with a quick breakdown of the 3 best options out there:

Option #1 (Recommended!) | Squarespace

The one that I know and love, love, love! I’m a recent convert (I used to use Wordpress but in all honesty, I never officially got over the learning curve, ha ha!) and the drag-and-drop ease of designing a website can—literally—be learned in an afternoon. You can customimze to your heart's content + they have a lot of really great modern templates out there to choose from, in case you’re going for a specific feel.

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One thing that’s great about Squarespace is that even though it’s a blogging platform, it has easy-to-use e-commerce integrations built in. So if/when you’ve graduated from Etsy, it will be a seamless transition to turn your blog into a shop.

Cost: $12 - $18/month; FREE 14-day trial for new users

Option #2 | Wix

Wix used to be exclusively flash-based (meaning that it couldn't be ranked by SEO), so I’ve avoided this one in the past, however, it’s converted over to HTML and the reviews for this platform are awesome. This is another drag-and-drop template that's fairly intuitive to use-- and very newbie-friendly.

While I use and love Squarespace, if I switched over to any other platform, Wix would be it :)

Cost: $10 - $25/month, depending on the level of customization you are looking for

Option #3 | Wordpress

Hello, learning curve. This is one of the industry-standards in platforms and it’s also one of the trickiest to learn. That being said, once you get the hang of it, you can do just about ANYTHING with this platform. It’s ridiculously customizable, and designed with serious bloggers in mind. If you're the go big or go home type, this is the platform for you :)

Cost: Anywhere from $3 - $25/month, depending on the level of customization you are looking for.

Step 2 | Designing Your Blog

Have you picked a platform to use? Awesome! You’ve tackled step one- and that’s the step that most people get stuck on ;)

Depending on the platform you choose and the amount of technical know-how you have, designing your blog/website can take anywhere from an afternoon to a couple of months.

While you’ll definitely want to give your website a customized feel, there are a few things that every single Etsy blog should have:

Blog Page - Obvious, but it has to be mentioned :) The whole purpose of having this blog/website is to host content on your blog, so make sure that your blog page is one of the first things that you create.
 

About Me Page - Your about me page is actually the second most-viewed page on any blog (crazy, right?!), so it’s important that you include some of your best copy writing in this section.

You should use this page to introduce yourself to your potential customers, but stick mostly to sharing your personality and backstory as it's applicable to your brand.  Yes, you may have a super-awesome Disney pin collection (not that I would know anything about that...), but if you're selling earrings? Well, your customers probably aren't going to care to hear about it here (although it could be something fun to randomly mention on social media to give your brand a more "human" aspect!)
 

Opt-in forms - These need to be everywhere. And I’m not talking about the “Sign up for the newsletter” type of opt-in forms-- because NO one signs up for those.

Make your opt-ins enticing and juicy for your audience-- you want them to be so ridiculously compelling and a no-brainer that your potential customers can't help but give you their email. Offering instant downloads, inspirational guides, or PDF tutorials are great incentives to use for opt-in forms (You can easily deliver these using ConvertKit--just upload the incentive download to the site and it automatically sends it for you every time someone wants to download it. Easy peasy.)

Obviously this isn't for my Etsy shop, but it's a great example all the same-- I offer a free 7-day email course for new subscribers that I have packed full of useful tips and tricks on how to start earning consistent sales on Etsy. This juicy offer is my #1 traffic driver and I've taught--literally-- hundreds of Etsy sellers through this course.

Etsy shop link - Obvious, but crucial if missed. If you’re driving hundreds of visitors to your website everyday (hooray if you are!), you are missing out on SERIOUS sales if you aren’t linking to your Etsy shop throughout your site.

Your Etsy shop should have a space on your blog sidebar (if you have one), a tab at the main navigation of your website, and you should also include native links within every single blog post. (<-- yes, every single blog post. We want to make sure to give your audience as many opportunities as possible to view your shop)
 

Social Proof - Social proof is a HUGE driving factor in converting the casual browser into a paying customer. By showcasing photos and/or testimonials from previous happy customers, you're letting new fans know that a) you're the real deal; and b) that hundreds of other people like your stuff, so it must be great.

June & January (below) does a fantastic job of this by having a standing page on their website that showcases photos tagged #juneandjanuary from their Instagram. It also does a great job in showing their items in everyday use-- not just styled photographs-- and can help potential customers picture their child wearing June & January clothing.


Step 3 | Create Content for your Blog

One thing that a lot of Etsy sellers get hung up on is that they hear the word “blog” and immediately think that they’re now going to need to make time in their already-busy schedule to create blog post content every. single. day.

Um, no. You don’t have time for that and I don’t have time for that. So let’s put an end to that myth RIGHT NOW.

So when I mention “blogging” as an INSANELY powerful strategy for your Etsy shop, it might help you to think of it as less of a blog and more of a content storage location.

Basically, you’re going to create useful content for your audience (but not everyday because #overwhelm) and use your “blog” to store that content. The idea being that your audience (or potential audience) will be able to pop over to your blog, see that awesome content you have, and begin the process of “warming up” to you—and, ideally, later becoming a raving fan.

You only need to be creating content for your audience 1x/week

So what kind of content should you be creating for your audience?

Once you really get the hang of promoting your Etsy shop, you’ll want to start developing a blog content strategy that “primes” buyers to purchase from you (We'll be talking more about that in Mastermind Your Marketing). But if you’re just starting out, let’s get your feet wet before throwing you into the deep end of marketing ;)

The main purpose of the content you'll create is to position yourself as a resource for your audience, so consider blogging about topics like:

  • Behind the scenes of your product creation strategy
  • Sneak peeks of an upcoming product launch
  • Tutorials on how to creatively use your product
  • FAQ Blog post addressing the most common questions you receive about your products
  • Freebie downloads that lead into your actual product

It can seem overwhelming to start creating content-- especially while you're trying to create product. But if you can batch your blog content and take care of it 1x/month, I think you'll find it really manageable :)

Step 4 | Promote Your Blog

So once you’ve created your content, it’s time to promote the heck out of it! We want people to actually be able to find this awesome content that you’ve poured your heart into creating-- so it’s now time to come up with a content promotion strategy.

There are many different ways that you can go about promoting your Etsy blog (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, to name a few), but the important thing is that you will be promoting it consistently. 

Do NOT go into blogging with the idea that if you upload your blog post to Instagram once that it will automatically go viral and you’ll never need to promote it again.

Yes, that would be nice, but sadly, it doesn’t work that way.

You need to be promoting your content every. single. day. Multiple times. On multiple platforms.

Seriously.

If you’re worried that your audience is going to get sick of you really fast, then take a moment to ask yourself something: do you catch every single post from your favorite brand across all of social media?

Of course not. You’re not on social media all day (because you’re busy creating product, you awesome Etsy seller!), so you’re probably only seeing 1-2 of their posts/day.

Chances are that your audience is exactly the same :) You can be promoting your blog multiple times a day across multiple platforms and only certain portions of your audience will see certain posts. 

If the thought of promoting your blog multiple times every day stresses you out, there's a simple solution: it's called automating. Invest in a few low-cost or free automation tools to schedule out your content and save yourself some major headache in the future. It's worth it, promise :)

Some of my favorite automating tools:

For Instagram: Later

  • This is the scheduler I use for Instagram and I love it. I'm not awesome at taking photos + writing captions everyday, so this program allows me to schedule out months in advance (if I ever find myself that dedicated, ha ha!) and integrates directly with your Instagram account so that you can just copy + paste it into Instagram when you've scheduled your post. Easy peasy.

For Pinterest: BoardBooster

  • This is my all-time favorite pinning tool thanks to a useful little feature known as "looping," which basically takes my old pins and repins them on autopilot so even when I'm not actively pinning, it's still pinning for me. It's insanely awesome. It also has the traditional pin scheduler feature as well as detailed analytics to help you figure out the best time to post to your Pinterest.

For Email: ConvertKit

  • This email management program basically works day and night for me, sending automated email sequences (like my free email course!), sharing welcome emails with every new subscriber, and delivering content upgrades (freebies) to my audience with a few simple clicks. It's my favorite program to use for email delivery and saves me so much time with it's automation features. 
     

How often should you be promoting your blog?

I'll be talking waaaaaaay more in-depth about the most efficient ways to promote your Etsy shop and blog in my upcoming course, Mastermind Your Marketing, but here's a quick frame of reference if you're new to promotion:

Instagram -  Share your own content 2x/week. This should include at least 1 new post + a throw-back to an old post from your archives

Pinterest - Pin at least 50 pins/day with about 10 of those pins being your own content.

Email - You need to be emailing your audience at least 2x/month, but preferably every week. While it may seem pointless in the beginning when you're emailing your tiny list of 20 people (been there!), it's worth it. I promise. It's so, so important to build up a relationship with your audience via email because this is where the majority of your sales will come from.

That's right-- forget everything you've heard about social media to drive 100% of your sales; your list is filled with the "warmest" audience members who are primed and ready to buy your product-- and if you've taken the time to form a relationship with them (via weekly emails), they are going to be more than happy to hand over their dollars when you launch your next product. Oh, and email marketing? 100% delivery rate. No "pay to play" like Facebook-- every single email subscriber gets your emails. 


So now what? Well, take a minute and grab the freebie download below if you haven't already ;), and don't waste another minute-- get your blog up and running!