My Favorite Apps For Managing My Etsy Shop

my favorite apps

When I first opened my Etsy Shop, DesignsByCnC, five years ago, I did not fully comprehend how many different aspects were involved in running an online store.  After all, how hard can it be?  You just create the product and list it right?

Many different aspects must come into play to have a successful Etsy Shop.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Great Pictures
  • Good Grammar
  • Social Media
  • Host A Sale Event

In my opinion, the most important thing that you can do for your shop is to learn all you can about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  SEO is the process of getting traffic from search results. Before you can sell your products, customers must be able to find your store.  My favorite SEO app is Marmalead.  Not only is this app great for SEO but it is also a great Etsy research tool.  I am able to pull up search results, keywords and pricing.  Not only has it cut my research time in half but also helped to increase my sales.

Now that your prospective customer has found your store how do you get them to buy your product?  With great pictures!  In an online store, the customer is unable to hold the product in their hands.  Therefore, your photos must be clear, bright and appealing so that your customer will want to purchase  your item.  You have 5 spaces available to show off your product.  Start with your best photo first.  Include some close up shots, angles that show the texture of the item, how the product is used.   For my shop, I use the FotoFuze app.  This a free app that enhances photos and provides a professional background.

In the following example, I used one of my handcrafted birthday cards.  The photo on left shows the card before I edited it using Fotofuze.  Even though I used a white background, it appears to have a gray background and is rather dull.  The photo on the right is how it looks after being edited in Fotofuze.  The photo is now crisp and bright with a brilliant white background that makes the colors pop.

Untitled design

Left: without FotoFuze                                                         Right:  with Fotofuze

One aspect of managing an Etsy Shop that is often overlooked is the importance of good grammar and spelling.  Often times, while I am shopping on Etsy I look at a product that has a poorly written description  with misspelled words and it makes me wonder about the quality of the product.  I came across a handy website Instant Etsy Shop Spell Checker.  All you do is enter the name of your shop and it searches through all your listings for misspelled words.

Promoting your shop on social media is a wonderful way to get the word out about your amazing products.  In my case, I branched out way too far on social media. At one time,  I was actually on ten different sites!  This took up so much of my time that I had no time left to work in my card studio.  I cut my social media sites down to three and begin using the app.  This app allows me to schedule my social media posts a week in advance.  I now spend about 2 hours a week setting up all of my social media posts and it has also increased my social media reach.

In my shop, I conduct a sale several times a year.  A great app that I just have begun using is Etsy On Sale.  This app allows you to manage automated sales events, schedule listing renewals, and edit tags with just a few simple clicks.  I found this to be very convenient and another great time saver.

In conclusion,  I would like to point out that there are many apps available that will help you manage your Etsy Shop.  You just need to find the ones that work the best for you and your product.  To find additional apps, check out the Etsy Seller Apps.

You can find me on social media:






Black Daisy Birthday Card and Gift Card Holder


My latest project is a  birthday card that also doubles as a gift card holder.  I created this unique design in honor of my daughter’s birthday.


  • For the base, cut a piece of black cardstock 5.5 x 8.5 inches, score at 4.25 inches.
  • For the base mat, cut a piece of black cardstock 4 x 5.25 inches and emboss with polka dots.
  • For decorative panel, cut a piece of black and white polka dot designer paper 1.5 x 5.5 inches and cut inverted notch in each end.
  • For floral panel, cut a piece of black daisy designer paper 2.75 x 4 inches.
  • Attach black satin ribbon along left edge of floral panel.
  • For the Happy Birthday banner cut a piece of white cardstock 4 x 1 inches and stamp the greeting in black ink.
  • Embellish with a black daisy pillow sticker and two white rhinestones.


Inside Instructions:

  • Using white cardstock, cut two medallions at 5.25 inches with a Cricut machine.
  • Score the medallions in half and use a circle punch to create a cut out on one medallion.
  • Glue the top side edges of the medallions together leaving room for the gift card to slide in.
  • Glue the bottom halves of the medallions to the greeting card base.
  • For the inside liner cut a piece of white cardstock 4 x 5.25 inches.
  • The inside message and flower are stamped in black ink.

This greeting card and gift card combo is a very versatile design that can be adapted for many other occasions such as weddings, graduation and Christmas.

Setting Up Calculated Shipping In Your Etsy Shop


With the start of the new year, I took a hard look at how I could improve my Etsy Shop, DesignsByCnC.  I began this process by taking inventory of both my supplies and inventory in my shop.

I soon discovered that my overhead was way too high.  With over 300 items for sale in my shop, I began to look for ways to reduce my inventory.  The most obvious solution was to have a large sale.  I decided against this and instead opted to look at my listings to determine why some of them weren’t selling.  Was it the item itself, perhaps change the design in some way?  Maybe it was the photographs, possibly update the older photos to give a fresh new look.  What about titles and tags, certainly could use some work in this area?  Possibly my pricing, are my items under priced or over priced?

Then the thought came to me, How about the cost of shipping?  When I am shopping for an item online,  I always check the price of the item and the shipping cost.  If the shipping cost is too high, then I usually don’t make the purchase.  So I wondered how many of my potential customers were just like me?

I went back through my shop records and discovered that several times, I had to refund part of the shipping cost because I had overcharged my customer.  Also there were times that I undercharged as well.  In addition, trying to figure out the correct cost for international shipping was rather confusing.

So what could I do about this?  I began to research Etsy’s calculated shipping and came across this great tutorial put together by Melissa Kaiserman of ATime4Everything:

This two part tutorial explained step-by-step how to set up the calculated shipping, which turned out to be rather easy, but time consuming.  Every item has to be packed up, (just the same way that you would send it to your customer) weighed and measured so that you could enter this information into the calculated shipping system.  In my case, with so many items in my shop, this took nearly an entire day.  My greeting cards were fairly easy to do since they all weigh about the same amount.  However, my rubber stamps vary greatly in both weight and size.

After I finished getting calculated shipping set up, I noticed a huge difference in my shipping charges.  I was really overcharging on the shipping costs for my rubber stamps, both domestically and internationally.  The shipping costs for my greeting cards were correct domestically but not internationally.

Calculated shipping has been in place for a month now and I am very glad that I made the effort to set it up.  I have found it to be a great time saver because it tells me exactly what type of packaging to use so that I can get my orders processed quickly.  More importantly, my shipping charges are accurate and I can pass this savings on to my customers.  And yes, I have noticed a slight increase in my number of orders during the past month.




The Importance of SEO For Your Etsy Shop

lifeblood-clipart-dblog_seoI have taken some time off from my blog to just focus on improving my Etsy shop, Designs By CnC.  This past spring, I was brainstorming ways to make improvements to the offerings in my shop.  I had already improved my photographs and gradually been increasing the number of listings.  However, I just felt that this was simply not enough.  My shop was just not being found amongst all of the other Etsy shops.

I began reading articles on how to improve SEO.  Just what is SEO?  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.  While reading different posts from my teammates on the Helping Etsians Promote Team,  I kept seeing the name of  a shop that offers SEO writing services, The Write Assistant

I noticed many recommendations about the quality of services from this shop, so I contacted Kateland Kelly of The Write Assistant.  She reworked three of my listings, completely rewriting the titles, tags and descriptions, all of which greatly improved the SEO.  Based on what I learned from this experience, I completely reworked all of the listings in my shop.  All 300 of them, which only took all summer long!  My shop has certainly experienced an increase in views up from 5,633 for August – September 2014, to 8,195 for August – September 2015.

My suggestions for improving your SEO are:

  1.  Try it on your own first.  Do your research by reading up on SEO, there are a lot of great articles out there.  If you find it rather confusing like I did, then consider consulting or hiring someone to help.
  2. If you do decide to hire a writing service, get references.  Talk to former clients to see if they are pleased with the results they received.
  3. Look over the website or shop of the writing service.  How well is their website put together, is it well written and professional?
  4. Ask to see samples of their work.  Does their writing style match the image of your Etsy shop?

My Etsy Shop, A Year In Review 2014

Purple Polka Dots Designs by CnC


One of my goals for 2014 was to really focus on my Etsy Shop – Designs by CnC, by improving my SEO and photographs.  So I began the past year by researching many different articles, some of which I shared with you on my blog.  Referring back to my blog article, Etsy Shop Improvements, which I posted back on May 7, I am now able to take some time to review my stats for 2014.



Titles, Tags and Descriptions

One of the first changes that I made was to change my titles.  I researched other Etsy Shops that sold the same products as my store to see what tags were being used.  As I entered different search terms on Etsy, I noticed suggestions in the drop down menu.  These showed the most popular search terms used by visitors on Etsy.  So I made a note of these and included them into my tags.  I discovered that I was not using “handmade” in either my titles or tags.  An example of one of my new titles is “Handmade Greeting Card, Birthday, Lilac Geisha, Embossed Scroll”.  I repeated the title in both the description and also the tags.  For my particular situation, using “handmade”, “homemade” and “handcrafted” in my tags has really made a huge difference.


Yet another change I made was in the quality and quantity of my photographs.  I wanted to brighten up my photos and also show more detail.  After all, when selling online, the customer is not actually able to hold my item in their hands so my photographs need to be clear and bright to get them to purchase the items.  So I did research and read several different articles about photography.  One of the most important things that I actually read was my owners manual for my camera.  I just began to experiment with different settings until I achieved the look I was after.  When selling on Etsy, you are allowed 5 spaces for photos.  On some of my listings, especially my oldest ones, I was not using all of them.  I was missing out on additional opportunities to win over my customers.  So I added some shots with close ups and with different angles.

Adding More Shop Listings

A big change for me this year was doubling the amount of listings in my shop.  I expanded my supply listings, adding about 30 listings for rubber stamps.  When I reached about 125 listings, I began to notice a rise in sales.  Having more items gives my customers additional variety from which to choose.  Customers are also now purchasing multiple items at a time.

Shop Arrangement

For the Christmas Season, I completely reorganized the arrangement of my shop.  With my colorful Christmas banner at the top of the page, I moved all of my Christmas merchandise to the first few pages of my shop.  It set a whole festive mood and looked just like you were walking into a Christmas Open House.  I received many compliments about the appearance of my shop, but most importantly, I was selling merchandise!


So the question is, Did all of my research and hard work pay off?  The answer is yes.  I was able to triple my sales.  For 2013 – views 11,502; favorites 1,611; orders 47.  For 2014 – views 27,763; favorites 3,207; orders 125.  I made so many changes at the same time, I was not able to tell which one had the most impact.  My advice would be to perhaps make changes more gradually so you can better gauge the effectiveness of each change.  The more time and effort you devote to your Etsy Shop, the more you will get out of it.  I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve both my shop and my talents as a greeting card designer.