What’s In a Name?

“A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet…”

But it sure wouldn’t be able to be found by an internet shopper!

Tags…those so-essential-but-bain-to-my-existence little words that get my shop and my items found by the all-mighty search engines…or, at least, that’s the hope anyway.

And since last summer when Etsy changed their search programming to be more shopper friendly, tags are even more important to us shop owners.

Case in point…

I recently listed an item that I made just like my pencil cases, but smaller and attached to a key chain.  Here’s a picture of it:

Cute, huh?

Anyway, because it was modeled after my pencil cases, I labeled it a “mini pencil case key chain,” and used tags like, case, mini pouch, utility pouch.

Well, theses little guys have been getting just about zero attention on Etsy, and I couldn’t figure out why.  I was talking to a friend about it the other day and she had these words of wisdom for me…

What were you thinking!?  Those aren’t pencil cases…you can’t fit a pencil in them!  Well, maybe a stub of a pencil, but even then…”

She was absolutely right!

I made the mistake of not looking at my product through the eyes of my customer.  I had in my head that this was a mini pencil case, so that’s what I called it.  A potential customer, looking for an item like this, would probably be searching for “coin purse,” or “key chain coin purse,” or even “key ring zipper pouch,” but definitely NOT “mini pencil case!”

So, I changed up my tags, relisted one of the newly named “zippered key chain coin purses,” and waited.

What do ya know?  It got some view!  Who would have guessed!?


The moral of this story is...it’s not a bad idea to ask other people what they would call your items.  At very least, put your ‘customer’ hat on and think about what words you’d use if you wanted to find an item like yours.

Helpful hint:  If you start typing a word into the search box on Etsy, it will come up with a list of related and recently searched for phrases.  This is a great help because you can see what people have been finding when they type in the words you’re thinking of using as tags, giving you a better idea as to whether the word is a good tag for your item.

And now I’m off to make sure I haven’t been stupid with my other item tags!

Happy listing!

9 thoughts on “What’s In a Name?

  1. And just keep telling me this stuff and maybe that little light over my head will stay on! Great info!

  2. Wow, your friend sounds super intelligent, radiantly beautiful, and also very humble! I wish I knew her personally! ;P

    Good tip about the search box, I will try that. Oh, and I’m really loving the leafy notebook cover you gave me for my birthday – totally awesome, totally cute, and extremely useful. Everyone should go get one pronto!


  3. Ha ha…and I was going to forward this tip to Jennifer.

  4. adorablebanner

    This post inspired me to add some other titles, tags etc to the thriftee gear lunch bags because they could be used for other things.

  5. […] I can deal with.  Coming up with good tags, writing descriptions…I can do that.  Taking a good picture…that’s a skill I […]

  6. […] I’m in the middle of working on my game plan for growing my Etsy shop.  I’ve been tweaking my titles and tags, making sure I can be found internationally, scrutinizing my photography, purging the old and […]

  7. I try to always use good descriptions in my titles. I think the hardest part for me is adding tags. I see people who have all 13 tags get many more item views but my problem is coming up with 13.

    • I used to struggle with that, too. Then I started thinking of every possible synonym for my item, like pencil case, pencil pouch, zipper pouch, boxy case, fabric pencil case…etc. and found that I sometimes wished I had more spaces. I’m sure you already know this, but adding color, fabric, and style tags are also a big help….evening clutch, embroidered clutch, turquoise evening bag, fancy party clutch, prom purse…you get the picture. Multiple word descriptions can be really helpful, just be sure to follow Etsy rules and make sure they go together, like the ones I listed above, not like… large blue embroidered fancy clutch…basically, related adjectives in a phrase are good, just not a rolling list of words, even if they are relevant.

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