New: Sales Tax & Business Registration Page

Well I’ve been meaning to do this for the past few years and now that Etsy is trying to add a sales tax feature to the site there’s been an even greater need for info on sales tax & business registration requirements.

I’ve got a hundred or so links bookmarked for sales tax issues in many states that have come up in the Etsy forums and I’m putting them up on the blog’s new:

Sales Tax and Business Registration Page

So far I’ve got info for only 10 states up, but I’ll be adding to the page as much as possible. If your state isn’t there yet and you’d like to see some links for it, please leave a comment on this post with your state and I’ll put your state at the top of the list for states to be added.

I’ve got direct links to answers many of the frequently asked questions from the forums–links that take you to official government pages because I believe you should only get your answers from the authorities.

Any other place you get answers–be it forums or unofficial websites–may or may not have accurate answers, and that’s just not good enough if you want to be obeying the law.

This post from 2008 should still prove very useful in your quest for information–it lets you know what questions are asked repeatedly by sellers, so finding out your state’s answers to these questions should help you understand issues you may not have faced yet, so you’ll be prepared to handle them when they arise:

Sales Tax Questions
You Need to Know the Answers To

Here’s to everyone getting legal!

Etsy
GoTo

Have you heard of Paypal Micropayments?



Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2010
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

Most online sellers are aware of the business, premier and personal types of Paypal accounts but not so many know about the micro payment account where lower per-transaction fees are charged with a higher percentage fee. (I know this type of account is available to US sellers, but I don’t know about other countries.)

Micro payment accounts are useful for low dollar amount transactions because of the lower transaction fee (and less useful for larger transactions because of the higher percentage fees), but if most of your transaction totals are under $12.14 it might be a savings for you to use a micro account.

Types of Paypal accounts for selling items
(amounts are in USD)

Premier:
$0.30 per transaction plus 2.9%
one user–an individual

Business:
$0.30 per transaction plus 2.9%
same as the Premier account but you can accept money under your business name and have multiple log-ins (not just one user)

Micro-Payment:
$0.05 per transaction plus 5%
same as regular business account

How many Paypal accounts can I have?

Paypal tells you here that you are allowed “one Personal account and one Premier or Business account”, but they specify on the following Paypal page that you should have a micro payment account in addition to your regular business account if you want to receive both macro and micro payments.

See here for more on Paypal’s Micro Account & how to get one:

paypalobjects.com/IntegrationCenter/ic_micropayments.html

I hope this info saves some sellers a few bucks!

Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2010
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

Item Listing Basics



Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2010
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.

I often see folks asking for help in the critiques section of the Etsy forums wondering how to improve their shops because they aren’t getting many hits.

The most common response is to improve your photos, and while good photos are very important, even excellent photos will mean little if your items are not showing up in search results for folks to see those photos and click through to your item. Web-based searches don’t return photos with their listings, so you really need to improve in other ways to get outside traffic in to your shop.

Promoting your business is great and usually necessary for success, as is getting the internet search engines to work for you…

The key:

Search engines can only find you based on the text in your listings.

Repeated text in titles, descriptions and tags is a good thing–it gives more weight to those keywords when search engines are returning results. Improve your listings with better titles, descriptions and tags by including words and information that folks would use when looking for items like yours–basically think like a buyer…

If a buyer saw your item once, then wanted to find it again,
what words would they search to find it?

Some important ways to describe your items in the text:

    Content–tell us what your item is in detail.
    A print? original? watercolor? photograph? hat? earrings? purse?
    Does it have two orange cats in a field of flowers? a field of yellow and white daisies? of light pink tulips?
    Red hand-knit hat with a multicolor tassel? or pompon? (or pom-pom, since that’s a common alternate spelling)
    Yellow and light blue handmade clay pendant on a bright pink ribbon necklace?

    Mood/Theme–Use common descriptors for your style so folks shopping for a “feel” can find you.
    Examples: Retro, goth, rustic, folk art, steampunk, kawaii, mod, surreal, formal, casual, country…

    Colors–describe all main colors in your item.
    Don’t describe the color of the background of your photo of a product (or the props you used) since that’s not what a shopper will be looking for/able to buy from your listing. (Obviously if a photo is the product, all main colors in it should be included.)

    Size–in inches and centimeters.
    The web is international, don’t make your buyers guess what something would be in their units of measurement.
    Print sizes in the title is very helpful in addition to it being in the body of a listing.
    Personally, I like to break the size out of the descriptive text to make it easy to see, like here: Suncatcher–Roswell

Working all those in to a flowing description & adding the appropriate bits to the title and tags can be a challenge.

It helps to have some writing skills, a friend who can help or to post in the forum critique section to get ideas on how to refine your listings. Here’s an example of an item description I helped someone with in the forums:

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6556178&page=2

That’s not the only way to work keywords in, sometimes folks tell a story in their description and/or use humor and that’s a great talent. I’m sure if you browse Etsy and see a few good description styles you’ll find one that suits you and your items, but be sure not to copy anyone’s listings.

Just a list of keywords isn’t good, search engines will see that keyword spamming and it may actually hurt your search engine results.

These should also help you get a feel for what tags and text will help:

Guidelines & Tips: Tagging on Etsy
etsy.com/storque/how-to/guidelines-tips-tagging-on-etsy-281

Etsy: Meta Tags
gotogreatpanes.com/blog/2009/07/21/etsy-meta-tags

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) info straight from Google
gotogreatpanes.com/blog/2009/06/22/search-engine-optimization

Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2010
This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.