Building Your Handmade Online Empire {A Five Part Series} Tip #2

Welcome to my five tip series to help get the web on your side, a little bit at a time.  Each month I will provide a new tip to get you inspired!

My last Tip #2, "Harness The Power Of Stats" gave you a crash course in approaching stats for your various websites, social networks and shops. I hope you cracked open a few stats pages and got excited about the wealth of information there. Did you find my article helpful? If you missed it, please be sure to read it here!

 If you missed the first tip, be sure to read it here!

Tip #2. Harness The Power Of Stats

Once you have tried creating some new online places such as a Facebook or Twitter account, a Pinterest page or maybe a YouTube Channel, it is time to determine what is working, and try to figure out why! The power of stats will make your online presence drive traffic and sales to your shop!

This article is not a detailed course in specific stat applications, but rather a crash course in recognizing the importance of watching your stats (even if only once a month!), and a resource guide to get you started and keep you learning about what stats can do for you.  So..let's get started!

WHAT ARE STATS? Stats are collections of data that provide information about activity on the web. You can find stats almost anywhere you create an account, including Craft Cafe, Etsy, Big Cartel, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, the great Google Analytics, which allows you to see your website traffic in lots of great visual ways. 

Start Simple: Ask these three questions, and look for the answers in your stats:

1. Where is my traffic coming from? (search engines? referrals? links from your facebook posts? outside links?)

Here is a sample of my website stats that shows where my traffic came from during a 7 day period last month.

2. What do people click on? (most popular pages, posts, items in your shops)

3. Are those clicks turning into sales? (example: if you get 1000 clicks to your necklace and earring set, but no sales...you might reconsider your pricing, or see if you need to make a more alluring or informative description)

QUICK TIP: Look in your "admin", your "dashboard" or "shop tools" for stats. Click around and get familiar with what each account looks like!

From the simplest numbers (how many clicked your link, visited your site) to complex and visual information sliced and diced (so you can see exactly how people reacted to your link, post, sale, campaign), stats enlighten what goes on after you post a listing, a sale announcement and so on. Don’t ignore stats! Look around at all the different places where you have stats available. Do you see any trends? Do you see anything unexpected? 

Facebook Shares, Likes, Comments
TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: Stats give you information about WHAT people react to, and as you observe your stats, you might begin to see trends that tell you which things you posted that brought customers, fans and sales to your shops, pages and accounts.

The screen grab of my facebook post illustrates a very simple version of stats you can see right on your facebook page. Every time you post, facebook shows you how many people saw the post (lower left corner of the image), how many likes, comments and shares. Note the posts that get a great reaction and keep up the good work!

Something to think about: You might see that nobody clicks when you simply post a link to your listing, but when you talked about a new technique you used to create your product (and yes, add your link to it in your shop), you got a lot of clicks and a couple of new fans. That example is actually one I learned about in my stats. When I first created my Facebook fan page for M Design Boutique, I used to post links to my items for sale in my shop. I got very few clicks on those posts. When I began posting about orders I was making or new ideas I was looking for feedback about...I got a lot more clicks, more comments, questions and that lead to more sales.

What makes you interesting? Think about each post as a potential conversation, and when you get a click...you’re being a good conversationalist. Handmade small business owners are interesting. What makes you interesting? Think about that every time you post. This works to attract bloggers and fans who might decide to share what you posted! That is the definition of viral activity! Be so interesting that everybody wants to share what you have to say. It all links back to your page!

Think like a customer: As a customer, I am more likely to click and see your link if you tell me something I didn’t know before. I am more likely to find you interesting and want to know more. I am more likely to become your customer because you’re not selling to me, you’re inviting me to learn more about something I’m interested in. You are an expert! Be interesting! It sounds a little touchy-feely, but it works. Just watch your stats to see it working!

What to watch for: Spikes in traffic can indicate that somebody on the internet has linked into your shop or page! That is exciting! 

READER CONTRIBUTION: Carrie Foster of Frawgz Dezignz submitted this example of her Craft Cafe Stats page, which shows the direct correlation between her facebook fan page posts and the traffic into her Craft Cafe shop.

 "I check every day. I know the days I post new items on groups or my fan page, the days I even post at all on my fan page with a link to my shop, my stats go up. The occasions I'm featured somewhere, my stats go up." -- Carrie Foster, Frawgz Dezignz

Etsy Stats from M Design Boutique on Etsy
Here is an example from my Etsy shop stats. Last June there was a major spike in traffic to one of my listings. I was in the midst of my busiest season for filling orders, so I didn't look till later to see why. I ended up figuring out that a VERY beloved website "Regretsy" listed one of my products in a post they made. Look at that traffic! Without looking at stats, I would never have known why so many clicks happened all at once. Especially since I don't promote my Etsy shop on my social network sites.  

Notice also that I get a good amount of clicks coming from other places where my products are showing up in search queries. I'll talk about it in another post, but well-written KEY WORDS, TITLES and DESCRIPTIONS all help with those rankings and click-throughs.

This is a good time to stop, breath and go brave those stats. You're armed with some basics...and before you know it you'll be excited every week or day or month...to go see what your stats have to offer you.

Thanks for taking the time to read! Watch next month for Tip #3: Ask Yourself The Hard Questions

Please do leave comments and questions here! I will be sure to respond to everyone. I know that many of you are experts. I welcome your input, as I am speaking only from my experience. What works for one works for many. Increase the expertise! Add your advice to the discussion!

Melissa Machowski
Owner, Designer, Maker at Spoiled Cowgirl by MDB, M Design Boutique, MDB Weddings and Events and Spoiled Cowgirl by MDB at Craft Cafe

Why listen to my advice? I believe in getting perspectives from all over the place. I have learned from other people succeeding at what I am trying to do. I’ve tried a lot, read a lot, failed a lot, and ultimately found some real success at running an online handmade business. My lessons learned can be yours too...at least, I hope so! ----> next tip coming in one month! Follow Craft Cafe and Spoiled Cowgirl to get the announcement!


  1. This was a very informative! I need to work on this!


  2. Believe it or not, stats are fun! Some of them actually show a map of where your traffic came from in any given period of time. It feels pretty good to take over the world, afterall!

  3. Thanks for helping me have a deeper understanding of what stats mean! Its time for me to take a closer look at them and dig a little deeper!

  4. I think each person can pick and choose how much, how often and what kind of information is helpful. My shop is slower in January, so I use that month to analyze my prices, remove products that aren't good sellers, add new things, re-boot my brand, and look closely at stats. It is great to get a quick look here and there, but if you can schedule a solid day to look at all of your stats, take some notes, brainstorm some ideas for a new campaign...do it! Stats are like little info elves reporting back to you about how well your techniques are working.

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  6. I would like to know if you have any experience judging the costs of ads on blogs. There are various sizes, various blog topics, with various numbers of ads and of course various monthly or yearly costs as well not to mention various traffic and you know that not all of that traffic is going to end up visit your shop or web site. So how do you make a judgment as to whether or not it would be a good idea to risk a certain amount of money to run an ad? Any type of criteria to use for consideration would be appreciated. Thanks Melissa.

  7. Hi Laura,

    Ads are tricky. I have spent some dollars here and there on small ads and I have seen a return on traffic from them. It depends on a lot of factors. Where are you placing the ad? Do you know how many visitors visit the page where your ad will appear? What is the average click-through rate for ads in that location? Is your ad getting in front of the type of customer who will buy products like yours? You also need to consider the ad itself. Is it professional, enticing, obvious what you're selling? Does it provide pricing or other information that your potential customers might want to know, and is that balanced with a pleasing graphic design? Consider that the cost of an ad might also include hiring a designer who knows how to create an ad that will make someone want to click.

    I can't tell you how to make the judgment, as that is based on what you are willing to risk, and how well you understand what the risk vs. return is for the location and cost of your ad. But I do recommend finding out all about what you'll be promised for your money. If you can't stomach the cost, save up for it. Set aside money and research where you want to buy an ad. Then you'll have to make peace with the results one way or the other. Sometimes the cost becomes an investment in education instead of traffic.

    Anyone else have any advice for Laura?


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