Skip to Content

All About Etsy: How to Create an Etsy Listing that SELLS

Hello and welcome back to another part in the All About Etsy series! So far in this series, we’ve covered what you should know before you start a shop, how to set your Etsy shop up for success, and how to figure out what to sell along with a couple of ideas. This week, we’re going to finally start building an Etsy listing that SELLS. Not only am I going to walk you through the parts of a listing, but I’ll also show you how to find the right words to describe your items without guessing. So, let’s get started!



Parts of an Etsy Listing


There is so much information to unpack with creating an Etsy listing, and it can be overwhelming at first. But hang in there! Once you go through it a few times, you’ll be able to duplicate similar listings and change out the details. You may even find that you can create a system that works for you. But, with the first few listings, let’s take it slowly and go through all the parts of a listing. 


Note: When you first open a shop, don’t open with just one or two listings! They’ll be small fish in a big pond and very hard to find. Create at least 10 products to start with so that your shop is stocked.





The very first thing you see when you hit “Add a Listing” is the section for photos. You’re given space to add 10 photos and uploading them is really self-explanatory – you just hit “add a photo” and upload your images. But take the time to make sure your images are GREAT quality because that’s what people see. If you upload a couple of grainy images taken with your phone, it looks unprofessional and it may even be hard for customers to see why your item is perfect for them. 



Take quality photos


You don’t have to get a fancy camera. It helps if you have a DSLR, but what matters most is learning how to use what you have. Most cell phone cameras are really good now, and if you play with settings, you can find Pro options to take your pictures to the next level. 


I use a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and it’s a great beginner DSLR. It does everything I need it to and there aren’t too many crazy options to deal with. Along with my camera, I invested in a photography class that taught me how to actually use my camera to its potential. More than just messing with setting and following what others set their cameras to, this course (affiliate) showed me what each setting on the did and how to manipulate them to get the results I wanted. I can talk a lot more about photography in a future post if you’re interested.



Here is an example of pictures I took of the same item before and after the class: 


The gloves themselves were reworked obviously, but take a look at the picture quality. Even without editing, the second picture is sharper, clearer and better framed. The colors are truer and it looks like a more professional image. These were both taken in the same location, but one clearly shows a better understanding of lighting and camera settings. 



For now, here are the main things to keep in mind when photographing for an Etsy listing.


  • Use all 10 images if you can! Get different angles and close-ups to show the texture, try having your item modeled as it’s meant to be used, and include any variations it comes in.
  • Etsy recommends your images are at least 2000px wide.
  • Use clean backgrounds that don’t distract from your items – whites, midtones, and even black can help your product stand out.
  • Use natural lighting. It makes your pictures sharper and brighter without much editing. Midday to early afternoon is when the lighting is right for me. 
  • Edit your pictures. Take the time to lightly edit your pictures to polish them off. I usually need to bump the contrast a little and I remove my backgrounds, replacing them with a solid color instead. 
  • Keep practicing. 



Etsy Listing Details


The next section is all about listing the details for your items. 



Title: This is what your listing will appears as. It should clearly describe what your product is and use keywords to do so. We’ll talk about keywords in a second. Think of what a buyer would type into the search bar to find your item, and make sure it describes YOUR item. No one likes clicking on a listing to find that it isn’t what it claimed to be.


About the Listing, Category, Colors, Occasion, and HolidayThese fields are self-explanatory. They help customers find what they’re looking for and filter through the rest. Fill in as MUCH as you can to get your items seen. 


Renewal Options and Type: This is where you choose whether it’s a digital item or a physical one, and how often you want it to renew. Automatic renewals are the easiest, and Etsy will take the $0.20 fee automatically when it renews or sells. For digital items, it will say that the item can be downloaded to the customer after payment, and for physical items, it will go over shipping and be added as an order for you to send out. 



Listing Description


Writing a description for your Etsy listing is probably the most daunting task, but it’s manageable if you break it down. This is where your customers will go to for more information once your beautiful pictures have gotten them to click on the listing. You want this section to be thorough and descriptive using keywords to describe your product, but you don’t want to give them too much text to read. Because they won’t. 



The key things to include in your description are below:

  • The first sentence or two should clearly describe what it is. That way, your product shows up in more searches (including Google searches) and get seen more. 
  • Use short paragraphs, no more than 3-4 lines to make it easy to read.
  • List all the features of your product using bullet points. Talk about the materials, the construction, what’s special about it, how does it fit, and anything else that applies. 
  • Provide answers to questions buyers may have. If you can anticipate what the buyer may be confused about or interested in knowing, write it down. Most people don’t like to ask and if they’re confused, they may just leave. 
  • USE KEYWORDS. More on that below, I promise!
  • Include a call to action or link to another item in your shop that’s related.  A call to action can be anything from “favorite my shop” or “sign up for the mailing list”. You want customers to interact with your shop. If you link to another item from our shop that goes with the product or is similar, you can encourage the customer to look around and buy more. 


Production Partners, Custom orders, Section:  If you have another company making your products or dropshipping, include them in the production partners. Do you allow custom orders? The sections part is optional but it helps divide you shop into categories for easier browsing. 


Tags & Materials: The tags section is where you add the keywords for your item and search terms that people will you to find it. Use all 13 to get the most out of this section. For physical products, the materials section is where you’d list what the item is made of.


Pricing & Inventory



Price: This next section of an Etsy listing is the Pricing and Inventory area.  When you first start out, it can be better to set slightly lower prices to encourage sales, but be sure that you’re still making a profit. You can set the desired price and then in the “Sales & Coupons” section later, enable a sale to mark them down to introductory prices that show that you’re products are on sale, but the regular price is also listed. 


There are a lot of different ways to price your items. With my knit and crochet, I use a method that works for me and ensures that I get paid a fair amount for my time and effort, and one that’s reasonable for customers too. You can grab my free Handmade Pricing Guide below. It has the formula I use and how to make it work for you. 


Stock: This is where you can list how many items you currently have in stock. 




I mostly deal with digital items so I don’t use the shipping section very much. In general, you can just go through the settings to create a profile that you always use with preferred timing and rates, or have it calculated by Etsy based on the size and weight of your packed items. 


Digital Files: If you have a digital item, upload the file(s) here. 





How to Find the Right Keywords



Okay, now that we’ve covered all the parts of an Etsy listing, let’s talk about keywords. I’ve mentioned them a lot in this post, but I haven’t really explained what those are yet. Keywords are the words that you use to describe your item and that others search for in order to find it. When you’re writing your title, tags, and description, you want to use as many good-quality keywords that will be searched for as you can. 


When you’re starting out, you’ll see a lot of people telling you to brainstorm lists and check out what others in your niche are using as their keywords. But there’s a better way: do the research. 


Marmalead is a keyword research tool specifically for Etsy Listings



This is not an affiliate deal or anything, but when I found this website, it really helped get my listings into better shape. Rather than guessing at keywords, Marmalead gives you a ton of similar words to use and tells you statistics like how much competition and engagement there is for that keyword. There are a ton of great features, but I’ll talk about the ones I found the most useful.


Storms are lists of keywords


Once you make an account and get it set up, you can click over to the “Storm” option and create a new storm. Just type in a keyword that you would normally choose – I used crochet here. Marmalead will then give you a list of suggestions you can use in your Etsy listing along with the # of searches, amount of competition and engagement (those are the little circles). You can then click on the arrow next to the keywords to move them into your Bucket and save them for later as your own curated list of go-to words. 



Grading your Listings


If you already have some listings, this next tool is awesome. Click over to the “My Listings” tab and you’ll see your active listings on Etsy with grades under them. Now, take this with a grain of salt because the letter grade isn’t everything. It’s a starting place to see where you can improve and how much. If you have a listing that’s doing amazing and making consistent sales, but the letter grade is low, don’t worry about it! It’s obviously working for you so there’s no need to change it.



But if you click on a listing, it takes you this page full of insights about the words you use, the length of your title, and everything that goes into creating an Etsy Listing. Here’s a look at one of mine. This is for one of my bestsellers, and there is some work I could do to make it better. I would create a duplicate listing and edit that one, though, so I don’t miss out on sales here and I can test if the changes help. 



This is something you’ll have to play around with and use to get the most out of it. It’s $19 a month, and it seems like they got rid of the free option. But if you’re doing a ton of new listings and opening your shop now, I think it’s worth getting it for the first month and seeing what you think. If you like it, you can continue the subscription or cancel it if it’s not for you. 



Wrapping up



You thought about everything you need to know before you open a shop and decided it was right for you. 


Then you took the leap and set up your shop!


You came up with some awesome product ideas and created a brand that’s yours


You’ve taken pictures, researched keywords and created your listings. 


Now just hit publish and wait for the money to roll in. Right? NO. 


There’s more work to be done after listing your items on Etsy and the main part of your job now is going to be promoting and marketing the heck out of those listings. You spent all this time creating something amazing and now we need to make sure people SEE it! That’s going to be in a future post though. So for now, work on your listings and give yourself a pat on the back for taking the next steps towards the life you want.


I’ll see you soon 🙂

Visit my pattern shops on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy to buy the printable PDFs of all my patterns. They're ad-free, comment-free and your support helps me run The Blue Elephants so I can continue publishing free patterns here. 

My material lists sometimes include affiliate links (denoted with a *) for which I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to products I personally use, love, and recommend. You can read more about this in my Disclosure. 

I worked hard on this pattern, so please be respectful and do not sell or redistribute this pattern as your own. If you sell finished items made using this pattern, credit The Blue Elephants as the designer and link back to the blog post or the Etsy pattern link. For any other questions, read my Terms of Use or contact me