Starting a blog is the best long-term marketing solution for your Etsy business…but it’s ‘a bit’ more complex than just writing a quick article, linking your handmade items, and hoping for traffic to flood in.
This epic blog post checklist (specifically for Etsy sellers) will be your best friend when coupled with a solid blog foundation.
If you are just now thinking about starting a blog DO NOT PASS GO.
Once you have created a successful blogging foundation on WordPress, get the MAXIMUM amount of traffic both to your Etsy shop AND your blog for consistent income with the blogging tips below.
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Please note that I use Divi by Elegant Themes. Some of my screenshots may look different than yours, but the same basic information is applicable to all WordPress themes.
Blog Post Checklist Category #1:
Behind the Scenes
Don’t forget to hit ‘Save Draft’ in the upper righthand corner after modifiying each of these elements!
What is Your Purpose?
Before even beginning to write your blog post, you need to figure out your PURPOSE. Otherwise, your writing can go ALLLLL over the place and you’ll lose your reader.
- Are you trying to get more email subscribers?
- Are you highlighting a new product in your Etsy shop and how to use it?
- Are you trying to sell an affiliate’s product or service?
Whatever it is, make sure you write it down to keep you focused. Everything you write in this post should somehow support this main goal.
For this post example, my purpose is going to be: To get readers to sign up for my email list so I can help them increase their sales on Etsy.
Focus Key Phrase
Your focus key phrase, also known as your long-tail keyword, is essential to know from the very beginning. It is going to go MANY places in your blog post to get your article found.
Read more about finding your focus keyword.
The purpose of my (pretend) article is to get readers to sign up for my email list, and I am going to do that by teaching them how to use a keyword in a certain place in their Etsy store to increase their sales.
For this post example, my focus key phrase is: Amazing Keyword Here (please note that this phrase is not researched and is for simple explanation uses only).
The title of your blog post should include your focus key phrase, include a power word, and give your readers a reason to click on your post instead of another of the same topic.
The most ‘clickable’ blog posts have a promise of transformation and a time limit included. Instead of saying, “Use an Amazing Keyword Here on Your Etsy Page”, give your readers a reason to use the keyword there…
For this post example, my title is: How Putting an Amazing Keyword ‘Here’ Skyrocketed my Etsy Sales in Two Weeks
The meta description is the little summary that comes up under an article on Google when you search for a topic.
The whole goal of the meta description is to give your reader a bit more information than is in your blog post title and so that they click on your post.
If you don’t include your own meta description, Google will choose a portion of your post to display for you, and it doesn’t always highlight the main point that YOU are intending to get across. NOT a small detail!!!
Note that you do NOT have to fill up the whole box, but it is recommended that you add the three little dots to intice your reader to click through to read your post.
On the right side of the screen, there is a dropdown titled ‘Excerpt’. This is the area that you will write a quick description of your blog post that shows up on your own website underneath the featured image of your post.
This is entirely optional, as some themes allow you to not show an excerpt at all (or you can add CSS to remove it yourself).
Note that this is different than what shows up on a Google search (that is the meta description…see above).
Even if you have a long post title, you will want to keep your URL slug (the last part of the URL after your main website name) short, sweet, and include your focus key phrase.
You can use this to add in a bit more detail, but remove any stop words (a, to, with, and…) and use hyphens between words (if you use spaces instead of hyphens, characters will be filled in for you in your url, such as & and %…which can be offputting and unclickable to some readers).
For example, if my focus key phrase is Amazing Keyword Here, and my title is How Putting an Amazing Keyword Here Skyrocketed my Etsy Sales in Two Weeks, and my url slug may be amazing-keyword-here-etsy-sales which would then make my permalink https://www.diyskincaremompreneur.com/amazing-keyword-here-etsy-sales.
Your featured image is what is ‘linked’ to your blog post and will show up wherever your post is shared. Depending on your settings, this image will show up at the top of your post itself, on any featured blog pages on your website, and on social media channels when you share a link to your post.
The images below are all featured images for different posts of my on my main blog web page. They link directly to the blog post when clicked on.
When you originally set up your blog, you most likely created categories for different posts you planned to create. While creating categories can help with SEO, it’s also a way to organize your posts for your audience to have a better searchability experience on your site.
The categories can be found on the righthand side of the ‘Edit’ page that we are currently using, and you just checkmark the categories your blog post belongs under.
See in the picture below that if you choose more than one category, you will have to select the PRIMARY category it would fall in.
Blog Post Checklist Category #2:
Copy, Readability, Clickables
A lot of the points below can be automated for you or included in a post template – but it is still important to double-check before publishing so that you get the most traffic out of each article you write.
Make it EASY for your readers to share your content. If they have to search for a way to share it, they probably won’t!
I currently use Grow by Mediavine, formerly Social Pug, but there are TONS of plug-ins that you can use for social sharing. (The screenshots below are from Monarch, which is the plugin I used before making some updates.)
The circle buttons on the left side of the screen are always in view (on desktop) and the rectangle ones always sit at the bottom of my post. Having them in more than one place is ideal. Always do your best to make it EASY for your reader to say YES.
Pin It Buttons
Pin It buttons appear over the top of images in your blog posts when you hover over them. When your reader clicks the ‘Pin’ icon, it will automatically bring up their Pinterest account and they choose which board they want to save it on.
This is great for Etsy sellers, as you will most likely have photos of your products in your post – so many possibilities for ‘free’ advertising if you have created shareable photos!
If your reader made it to the bottom of your post, they love what you have to say! Keep them on your site (which increases your SEO, reduces bounce rate, etc.) by showing them other posts they may enjoy.
There are so many WordPress plug-ins for ‘Related Posts’ that range from free to a slight fee. It just depends on what look you want for your site.
If you don’t want to add another plug-in to your account, you can always insert a header that says, ‘Related Posts’ and post your featured images (with links to posts) on your own.
If you are serious enough about your Etsy business that you are building a blog to complement it, you most likely have specific branding elements for your shop.
By this I mean fonts, color palette, the voice/writing style you use in your product descriptions, etc.
Make sure you use all of these same branding choices in your blog for consistency. When your reader bounces from blog post to Etsy shop, they should be able to tell that BOTH are yours and not feel like they have landed on a different seller’s site.
Desktop vs. Mobile vs. Tablet Formatting
In of May 2019, the following stats came in:
- Desktop: 48.65%
- Mobile: 47.5%
- Tablet: 3.85%
It is hard to remember to switch back and forth and check formatting for mobile and tablet when the majority of blog posts are written on desktop, but only HALF of your audience is viewing it the way you are when you put it together.
A necessary detail to check before you publish! I have spent hours before on formatting via desktop only to find that half of it was cut off on a mobile view. I am now constantly checking the formatting for all three views as I write.
It’s super easy to toggle back and forth between views on the Divi theme by clicking on these icons in the bottom left corner as you edit on the Divi Builder:
- If you want your blog post found anytime this year, you should be sharing your content on Pinterest.
- If you want others to share your content on Pinterest, you need to be creating Pinnable images that link to your post.
- If you want to actually drive traffic to your blog and Etsy shop, you need to be designing these images with bold colors, power words, and outstanding photography.
Even though fantastic pin images can drive traffic to your shop, these pins still actually have to show up to the individuals that search for the topic you’re writing about.
Writing a pin description that contains relevant (and researched) keywords and hashtags is crucial to being found on Pinterest (and in turn, your future audience).
Pinterest is going to be VITAL to your Etsy + Blogging marketing strategy, and you need to understand how this all works together to bring you traffic > followers > sales.
Link to Etsy Shop
If your main goal is to drive traffic back to your Etsy shop, you need to make it EASY for your readers to get there directly with a provided link.
Easy to overlook when dealing with 500 other blogging details? Absolutely.
Remember that is doesn’t have to be as obvious as ‘Visit my Etsy Shop Here‘.
It can be linked to naturally when providing education or suggestions to your reader, such as, “Customer service is one of the biggest driving factors for having such a high repeat customer rate to my natural skin care products line, and today I’m going to share the 5 things I do to…”
Link to Related Products
Again, if your goal is to increase the traffic to your Etsy shop, you need to make it easy for your reader. The majority of individuals aren’t going to take the time to look you up, even if they LOVE what you have to say in your blog.
BUT, they will click on something if it’s handed to them.
If you’re a serious Etsy seller, it’s no mystery that quality photos are key to sales. Use those awesome product photos again in your blog posts and add a url for easy click-through.
Your email list is your biggest asset as an ecommerce-preneur. It’s a direct invite into your customer’s world and has a much higher conversion rate than any social media post you put out there.
You need to be giving your readers a way to sign up for your list in every single blog post you write.
If you don’t have an email service provider yet, I highly recommend MailerLite for ecommerce shops. They are free for the first 1,000 users, have super easy to use automation features, and great templates for photos and sales type emails.
John Whitford provides an awesome MailerLite tutorial in the List by Number online course. He shows you how to set up MailerLite from start to finish, how to create automations, and even how to test to see which emails are more successful for continued growth.
I’ll say it. Pop-ups are annoying.
They’re also the highest converting type of email opt-in form you can add to your website. The average email opt-in rate is 1.95%, with the top 10% of markets getting a 4.77% opt-in rate. Pop-up forms bring in over half of those subscribers.
So. Push any negative thoughts about pop-ups to the side and embrace the extra customers you’ll get on your list!
Content upgrades (aka freebies, aka opt-ins) are the key to getting email subscribers. While there may be a few people that would subscribe to your list with a quick, “Join my Email List Here”, most people won’t.
But they will provide their email address in exchange for a free ebook, pdf, printable, coupon code, etc.
These freebies can be made FOR free using programs such as Google Slides (my favorite) or Canva. If you need some help understanding how to use or create freebies, Optins ABCs is a fantastic (and economical!) course to get you comfortable.
- Try to keep ‘paragraph’ lengths to 2-3 sentences max.
- Increase spacing between lines (in your overall settings).
- Consider removing ads and the typical blog sidebar.
You want the focus to be on your words and your product photos…make it easy for your reader to stay engaged by removing distractions and giving enough space for the eyes to rest.
You’re going to have different types of blog posts the longer you write: product roundups, tutorials, gift guides, educational, etc.
Even if they have a slightly different layout, the formatting (size of H1, H2, H3 tags, the font colors, how you use images) should be consistent across the board. You want your readers to be able to recognize your style.
Prompt for Comments
Having a prompt for comments at the bottom of your post does multiple things:
- Improves your SEO
- Lets you engage with your readers which will enhance their dedication to your site
- Will provide you with more content to write about (you’ll discover the questions your readers have, which blog posts they’re interested in, etc.).
You already have amazing product photos from your Etsy site. Make sure that the other photos you include in your posts match that quality. Try to use similar lighting and overall aesthetic of your product photos if possible – your blog posts are an extention of your Etsy brand.
- Proofread your post.
- Proofread your post again.
- Then proofread your post again.
It is difficult to see a blogger as an authority if there are misspellings and grammatical errors in their writing.
We’re all human. But seriously. Proofread and have a schedule to review older posts every now and again so that you can catch things with a fresh set of eyes.
As makers, it’s really hard to remember that the general population probably doesn’t understand our industry-specific lingo. What we think is common knowledge most likely is not.
If you are creating a tutorial post for beginners, use layman’s terms and provide definitions if necessary. Meet them where they are. This is imporant to remember when choosing keywords too…how would a ‘regular’ person search for your topic?
(Clearly this will be different if you’re wriitng a post directly to advanced makers in your own industry that are expected to know the terminology.)
Your headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are important. The title is actually the H1 heading and should be the ONLY H1 that you use in your post.
It is up for debate if other headings (H2 and below) are important for SEO, but even if they aren’t, they’re incredibly important to organize your writing and split things up for your audience. I personally treat every header as if they matter for SEO, because every little bit of oomphf can’t hurt!
Blog Post Checklist Category #3:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This post by Stupid Simple SEO goes into much more detail and also has a link to a free 5 day email course if you’re interested in learning more.
Alt-text (alternative text) is the words you use to describe an image you put on your website. While the main function of this is to help visually impaired individuals understand what is on your site, your alt-text also impacts your SEO.
Search engines can crawl this text to help index your image and site, which means you should be using your focus keywords in your alt-text whenever you can.
SEO Image Names
Speaking of images, alt-text isn’t the only thing that matters. The actual name of your image on your computer also plays into getting your site/article found.
Have your photos still saved as 5537465_m.jpg? Or maybe IMG_93752.jpg? Perhaps DSC0068723.jpeg?
Change those to keyword-rich image names (with the added benefit of greater organization of your photos!).
Your long-tail keyword is a set of 2-3 words that includes a commonly search for word plus another word or two to make it very specific to your target audience (which makes you more clickable).
This long-tail keyword is also known as your focus keyphrase on WordPress, and should be used in your title, alt-text, image names, headers, body copy, pinterest hashtags, pinterest description, etc. Everywhere.
Once you decide on your long-tail keyword, it is also smart to sprinkle related phrases in your body copy and other ‘crawlable’ sections of your website. People will be searching for your information using a variety of words/phrases. Your job is to let search engines know that your content is related to several phrase possibilities.
Tip: Put your keyword in the search bar on Google and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. They list related search terms for you. One of the easiest SEO hacks in the book.
As a blogger, you want your reader to stay on your site as long as possible. This decreases your bounce rate, which improves your SEO. As you are writing your content, include links to other blog posts you have written or other pages of your site.
Since you will constantly be writing new blog posts, create a schedule for yourself to go back to previously written posts to add more internal links as your blog grows.
Tip: Have internal links open in the same window.
Outgoing links are links that take your reader off of your website. This includes linking to your Etsy shop (even though your shop still ‘belongs’ to you).
It is important to link to authority sites to help build up your own authority in the eyes of search engines. It also provides a better experience for your reader if they need further background on a topic.
Tip: Have external/outgoing links open in a new window so that your reader can easily get back to your site (and to keep your bounce rate low).
Anchor text is the ‘clickable’ phrase that is in a post that takes you to another page. For best SEO practices, this clickable phrase should include your long-tail keyword or related keywords when possible.
If you are trying to link back to one of your products on Etsy, for example, use description-rich text instead of generic text.
Tip: Make your anchor text more than one word so that it’s easier to click on when using mobile.
Reread & Add More Keywords
It’s tricky sometimes to find the balance between sounding natural in your copy while also including long-tail keywords and related keywords. No one (especially Google) likes a keyword-stuffer.
A great practice is to write your entire article in your own voice without thinking (too much) about specific terminology, and then go back and add/replace text with your long-tail and related keywords where it naturally flows.
While we’ve all seen bloggers that are posting one article per day that is 300 words long, it is not recommended if you want to eventually rank on Google.
Google rewards longer posts (2k words or more) with higher rankings because you are seen as an authority on that subject. Yes, they take longer to write. But one quality post is always going to win over ten poorly written and thrown together posts.
You can find your word count on the ‘Edit’ page of your post under Yoast SEO > SEO Analysis > Text Length:
Green on Yoast SEO
One of the TOP reasons I switched to WordPress from Squarespace is the Yoast Plug-in that helps you to improve your SEO. It makes it super clear if you have areas to work on by giving you a red, yellow, or green light (goal: green lights everywhere).
Yoast tells you EXACTLY what you need to change on your site for the best SEO possible. They do have a premium option, but I have found the free Yoast version to be just fine for my needs right now.
Blog Post Checklist Category #4:
Affiliate Marketing Details
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you get paid to refer your audience to someone else’s company, products, or services.
Let’s just say you’re writing a blog post to teach your audience how to make their own herbal infusions. You would link to where they can purchase the supplies, ingredients, and packaging.
If your reader clicks through those links and makes a purchase, you will receive a small credit of that sale from the company you’re referring (at no cost to the customer at all).
Anywhere you use affiliate links (blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, etc.), you must inform your audience that you may receive payment for the referral if they purchase. FTC rules, not mine.
This can be as simple as putting something in the header of your blog post (you just have to make sure it’s stated before you link to any affiliate product/service) that is linked to a full disclosure like this.
Nofollow Links, Pictures, and Code
Any time you could possibly get paid for a link you put into your blog post (even links to your Etsy site!), you must add a nofollow tag to the link. This is true whether the link is in text, attached to a picture, or a piece of copied code.
Nofollow links are best explained in this post and are so crucial to blogging success that this is the MAIN reason I switched from Squarespace to WordPress. I just could not easily add nofollow tags where they needed to be on my old Squarespace site.
You can either add nofollow links by using Pretty Links (see next section), by adding ‘nofollow’ into the text side of your WP (see photo below), or by adding a nofollow tag like Amy Lynn Andrews demonstrates in this post.
Reason 5,000 that I switched from Squarespace to WordPress. Pretty Links is a free WP plug-in that:
- Shortens your links so they are much more beautiful (and clickable), such as taking this long Etsy listing (https://www.etsy.com/listing/588240168/sensitive-skin-face-serum-with-essential?ref=shop_home_feat_1&frs=1) to this (https://www.diyskincaremompreneur.com/sensitive-skin-face-serum).
- Allows you to make an affiliate link ‘nofollow’ with a simple checkmark box instead of having to enter the nofollow code discussed above.
- Tracks the number of clicks on that link across your website.
Tip: Not all affiliate programs allow the use of Pretty Links (such as Amazon). Make sure to read your program rules before using their affiliate links on your site.
Double Check to Make Sure Links Work
Obvious again? Yes.
But easy to overlook again? Yes.
It’s possible for links to get broken as you add affiliate references and nofollow attributes. After linking, make sure you preview your post and that all links are clickable and have your referral code included so that you receive proper credit.
Schedule Link Review
Creating a schedule for yourself to review previous posts that you have written is essential. As an affiliate, you won’t always be contacted if a product is no longer made or if a company goes out of business. The links will simply stop working. Or images get removed from your posts altogether without being consulted first.
On a regular basis (I personally check my links every quarter), go through your posts to make sure all links are working properly.
My Favorite Affiliate Marketing Resources
Blog Post Checklist Category #5:
There are SO many ways to share your work these days, and the six below are just the tip of the iceberg. The more you share, the more traffic you get, so add to this list if you have additional resources!
3 Pin Images
If you are serious about your blog and Etsy growth, you should always be testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Creating 3 different images for Pinterest (called pins) for each post you publish is a fantastic way to do that.
Even though you can only have one url per post, you can try out different ways to phrase your keywords on the pin image itself to see what gets more clicks/shares/saves on Pinterest. Change up your pin template, color choices, images, etc.
These three pin images below are all for the same post, 4 Ways WordPress and Etsy Work Together to Skyrocket Your Income:
Tailwind Tribes is a section of the Pinterest scheduler, Tailwind, that content creators join to get more shares out of their publications. There are tons of different tribes you can join based on type of content & interests, some that are open to public and some that you have to apply for.
Most tribes require that every share is reciprocated. “I share a blog post of yours, you share a blog post of mine.” It’s a win-win community that is important to your success on Pinterest.
Already dig Pintrest but haven’t tried a scheduler yet? Try Tailwind for FREE here to see what it can do to boost your traffic.
Pinterest Group Boards
Group boards on Pinterest are similar to Tribes, as they are intentionally built to grow your reach. There isn’t as much accountability as Tailwind Tribes, but they have been around for longer and have the potential to get your content in the hands of a completely different audience.
Rather than seeing Tribes and Group Boards as ‘either or’, they should BOTH be a part of your Pinterest strategy. The best course that I have taken that helped me to finally understand how they work together is the Pinterest Traffic Trifecta.
Facebook Blogging Support Communities
There are about five gazillion Facebook groups out there geared towards bloggers wanting to get more shares out of their content. Each group has its own rules, which are important to understand and follow so you can remain a part of the community.
Not sure what this detail is about? Check out a few I have listed below…click around a little to get a taste for how people share, what the group vibe is like, and if this could be useful for your marketing strategy:
Social Media Posts
Make sure you share links to your post in as many ways as you can. You know where your particular audience is…offer little pieces of your latest article, and then don’t forget to circle back around and share your older content every now and again!
Social media does have a shorter ‘shelf life’ (see average lifespan below) than Pinterest, but they’re still great for your community presence and to get more eyes on your work.
Twitter: 18 minutes
Facebook: 5 hours
Instagram: 21 hours
Linkedin: 24 hours
YouTube: 20+ days
And the best for last. Your email list is your key to guaranteed readers. They already signed up for your list, so you know they like what you have to say!
While you should be providing your audience with a variety of content for best engagement, make sure you’re sharing your posts with them when it fits with your message. This is a great way for your readers to have other content from you rather than info about your products all the time.
Haven’t started your list yet? The number one comment I have heard from bloggers is that they wish they had started their list sooner. This is even more prevalent from Etsy bloggers. Getting your email list to your blog AND your Etsy shop is your ticket to gold.
As mentioned above, MailerLite is the top pick for ecommerce + blogging entrepreneurs. It is SUPER easy to set up, and their tutorials are phenomenal.
Keep in mind that blogging is a long-term game. It could take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to rank in Google (if you’re good at SEO). Using Pinterest effectively will speed that up, but still not overnight by a long shot.
If you’re a lifer, this is absolutely worth the time. AND provides you with other complementary income streams simultaneously.