5 Most Common Mistakes Print on Demand Sellers Make on Etsy (and How to Avoid Them)

11 min read

Have you ever wondered why you are not making as much sale as you would like to?

While there are many factors tied to this, there are also some common mistakes that you might make that can take a toll on the number of sales you make.

The good news is that many of these common mistakes can be easily avoided. With these mistakes taken out of the way, you should increase your sales and get better results instantly.

The truth about mistakes is that we all make them. From the forgetting minute details to more costly mistakes, nobody is truly above all of these. But there some mistakes that are just silly and can be easily avoided.

Sure, we are meant to learn from our mistakes. But if you want to be a successful print on demand seller on Etsy, it is best that you don’t become the specimen of your own education.

Here’s what I’m trying to say.

You do not necessarily have to feel the heat or drill a hole in your pocket before you can learn all the hacks of becoming a profitable print on demand seller on Etsy.

Sometimes, all you have to do is sit back and learn from other people’s experiences. And for this guide, I am “other people” and I want you to learn from my experience, mistakes, and the mistakes of people that I have come across over the years.

Hopefully, nobody would write a guide about learning from your own mistakes later on. 😅

So, I have been talking to many sellers and found that many of the new sellers have been making the same mistakes over and over again.

But you see, many of these common mistakes can easily be avoided. And take this from me, if you really want to make a living from your Etsy print on demand business, it is not enough for you to read this till the end but also ensure that you fix all of these mistakes.

I also made some of them in my early days as a POD seller on Etsy. When I started my Etsy shop, I didn’t know half as much as I do now.

So, I made some avoidable mishaps myself. Did it affect my business? You bet it did! Did I learn from them? Yes, I did.

And I’m a fast learner too.

Etsy is a great home for print on demand sale. There are thousands of successful sellers on the platform. But it can be quite challenging when you are getting started.

So, I want to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gathered over the years with you. This would save you a lot of time and effort. It would also help you to focus your energy on becoming the most profitable seller that you can be.

I would be covering an extensive list of not-so-profitable Etsy habits that you should avoid. For this, I would be talking about common mistakes that have to do with your product listing.

Here, we will discuss how most sellers misuse the keywords for the product listing on Etsy and how this affects their sales.

Sounds exciting, right? I know! Let’s get started.

These are common mistakes that you most probably would have made as a POD seller.

1. NOT inserting the main keyword in the product title

Sounds simple, right? I mean, who would not insert the main keyword in their product title?

But surprisingly, I have found that many sellers who are new to the print on demand business on Etsy often fail to insert their main keywords in the product title.

Some might be due to sheer forgetfulness, while some do not just have an idea about how important it is to have it there. Whatever it is, ensure that you make the right amends, and I’d tell you why.

When potential buyers conduct a search query on the Etsy platform, they are most likely going to use the keywords of the specific niche for the product that they want to buy.

So, you most probably would not get a slot on the search result if you do not have the main keyword on your product title. And if you do, you are likely to rank pretty low.

This is why you need to insert the niche keyword in the product title. Use keywords like “Engineer Mug”, “Mother’s Day mug”, etc.

It is essential for the SEO and the product ranking in Etsy.

Also, the majority of the traffic generated comes from search results. If your keywords are properly distributed, you have a chance at boosting your traffic and sales conversion rate.

This mistake can affect the visibility of your product listing and your shop too. This is why you need to pay attention to this.

So, if you have been asking yourself why you have not been making so many sales as you’d love to, the answer might just be in your product title and the absence of the relevant keyword.

If you want to boost your sales, you must revisit your product listings immediately.

Here’s another takeaway. There is no need for you to repeat the same keywords many times in the same title. It is just a waste of precious characters.

You have limited characters for your product title. Make sure that every word counts! Repeating the same keyword in your product title doesn’t make it much more effective.

Also, flooding your product title with words that are not so relevant can be a waste of characters. So, make sure you use your product title characters wisely, and do not forget to add your main keywords.

2. NOT inserting the quote on the product to the product title

There are different ways that buyers search for products on Etsy.

Surprisingly, many people search for print on demand products from the quote that they want to be on it.

Although the number of people who go through this route might not be so much, you can still make good sales. This is because people who search with quotes often know what they want and are ready to buy.

Personally, I like adding my quotes to my product title. And I’d tell you why.

During the last Mother’s Day holiday, I had hundreds of buyers visiting one of my winning mug product pages. And guess how they found my mug? Through the quote!

When people know what they want, they go for it!

This is why they run their searches for products that carry the words that they desire. When I searched for my product on Etsy using the quote, my product was the first search result!

Why is that? My guess is that because no other product title had the quote on them, my product was ranked better than everyone else’s.

This is the trick. Many of the top-selling products on Etsy do not have a quote on the product. Most people on Etsy usually compare the products (design or price) before making a purchase. They will search for other products to make a comparison.

And again, many of them will search from the quote!

So, if you have products with similar quotes to those top-selling products and add the quote to your product titles, you will benefit from this.

Your products will be visible to people who are ready to buy something

Adding your product quote to the product title can boost your traffic volume a little more. Sure, it’s not a strategy that drives high traffic volume. But the conversion rate is good because it’s exactly what they are looking for.

Here’s one thing that you should note. Try not to insert the entire quote of the product on your product title. The quote might just be too long to fit the product title.

Also, you still need characters to slot in other relevant details such as your keywords, tags, and the likes.

Check this out:

If you take a close look at these search results, you would see that the shop “BrownOwlGifts” dominates the search results with many engineer mugs.

This is simply because they added the quotes to all of their product titles.

The search results are from the keyword search “Engineer mug to save time let’s just assume I’m always right” and this seller happens to have added the quote “to save time let’s just assume I’m always right” and keyword “Engineer” to the product title.

However, I would advise that you just stick to a few first words from the quote when placing the quote in your product title. This would allow you to still be able to add words such as “Funny Coffee Mug”, “Gift for Engineer”, “Engineer Funny Mug”, or “Engineer Mug”.

So, have a fantastic listing, but also ensure that your product title has the right words. Consider this as an icing on the cake to drive more sales on your Etsy platform!

3. NOT using all characters for the Product title

Yeah, you read right! Etsy provides you with 140 characters for your product title. Use all of them! Do not leave anyone unused.

Ensure that you spread your keywords properly and evenly until every one of those characters is used up.

The more keywords you have on your product title, the better your chances of being ranked for different keywords and getting more traffic.

There are different kinds of keywords that you can use to boost your product listing visibility. When next you are preparing a product listing, first of all, ensure that you insert your main keyword along with other related keywords.

The main keywords would include words that describe what the product is such as “Engineer Mug”.

Then, you can also insert related keywords like “Engineering”, “Civil Engineer”, “Software Engineer”, “Structural Engineer”, “Mechanical Engineer”, “Electrical Engineer”, etc.

For a product with “Accountant Mug” as its main keyword, you can add related keywords like “Tax Accountant Mug”, “Accounting Mug”, etc.

If you have face mask products, you can have “Floral Face Mask” or “Camo Face Mask” as your main keyword. Other related keywords such as “Fabric Face Mask”, “White Face Mask”, “Washable Face Mask”, “Reusable Face Mask”, “Woven Floral Face Mask”, and “Breathable Face Mask” can be included in your product title.

You can even go-ahead to add keywords like “100% Cotton Face mask”, “Adjustable Face Mask”, or “Double Layer Face Mask”.

Now, someone might ask: why are all of these keywords important?

Well, it’s simply because people search according to the product they want, how they want it, and the kind of features they want it to have. Having all of these on your product title can really help boost your sales.

Then, you can also make use of product-type keywords such as coffee mug, shot glass, etc. These keywords help buyers looking for a specific kind of product to find yours easily.

The receiver keyword is also one very important keyword that must not be missing on your product title. This is simply the keyword for the recipient of the gift or product.

Putting in the receiver keyword can boost your chances of being found by potential buyers who want to get gifts for their mom, dad, spouse, friends, son, daughter, employee, or boss.

So, consider adding “Coffee Mug for Dad”, “Gift for Her” and the likes.

If you still have some spare characters, try adding the event-based keywords or holiday related keywords.

You can try keywords like “birthday mug”, “Black Friday T-Shirt”, “Christmas tumbler”, etc.

If you use all of this properly, your 140 characters should be complete already. So, ensure that every single character count for something.

4. NOT using all 13 tags

I just talked to one of my students. He told me that he didn’t insert all of the 13 product tags because he was too lazy and wanted to publish many products fast. 😱

I do not encourage this. You can have thousands of products, but you will get less traffic if you don’t insert the tags.

Tags are your opportunity to introduce 13 different phrases that best describe your product uniquely. Hence, consider each tag as your chance to match your product with a buyer’s search query. So, do well to spread your tags properly, use every one of them diversely.

Let me explain something to you. The secret to making consistent sales on Etsy is not having thousands of listings.

If you don’t get your Etsy SEO right and you keep making mistakes like this, many of your listings would rank really low, and you would end up not making any sales from them at all.

If you can avoid these potholes in all of your listings, you would be setting yourself up for an easy ride. Well, not so easy, but it would be way easier than before.

Etsy allows us to insert 13 tags for a reason – to boost traffic and increase visibility in different related niches. So, I encourage you to use all of them. It’s important for ranking and driving sales.

Each tag can be 20 characters long. I always advise people to use long, multi-word phrases for their tags.

Instead of loading your 13 tags with single words all through, try increasing the efficiency of the tag by using multi-word phrases such as “White Face Mask”, which is just 17 characters, rather than using “White”, “Face”, and “Mask” for 3 different tags.

Also, try not to use all your tags on overly generic things. Sure, you can have it in your product description or your product title. But try to use your tag to target a more specific audience.

Each tag gives you 13 different opportunities to be found on Etsy.

Tags are important because, without them, buyers will only find you be your title in an Etsy search. Tags say more about what your product is about. It also helps the Etsy algorithm to see more specifics about your product.

Trust me, an excellent tag can mean the difference between page 1 of the search result and page 35.

“But I’m on page 12!”

Well, don’t give up your chances to move even further on the result page.

5. Using a boring and generic product description

There are times when I have come across some product descriptions, and they sound so mechanical and robotic. No connection with the audience. No personal ring to it.

This is because most people use the generated description template from the software. No changes, no alterations whatsoever. This would affect your product listing ranking.

It is very important for you to create your own unique description.

The quality of your listing plays a huge in determining how well people would engage your listing. Avoid having a lifeless product description.

When you write basic descriptions like, “This is a white mug with a black handle.” That is just too simple, with no heart. You cannot connect with the Etsy audience this way.

Take your time to create a detailed description of your product such that it creates a personal connection with your audience.

Etsy is a platform for selling handmade products and creative items. Making your audience understand your creative process can help buyers feel like a part of the whole process.

In all of my years as a POD seller, I have found that Etsy buyers are looking for a connection with artists, which is why personal descriptions are best.

As a print on demand seller, you are an artist in your own right. You are turning regular objects into a piece of art and a statement object. Let your audience understand what makes each product special and why it is what they have been searching for.

If you are stuck on how to go about this, you should try taking a page from the pros themselves. You can check out Etsy’s own guide for writing product descriptions. That is a good starting place.

You can also check your competitors’ pages for inspiration. As a print on demand seller, learn the habit of reading other POD seller’s product descriptions. You would be amazed at how creative people can get when describing their products.

But please, I said, look to them for inspiration, not copy them! Just look at their description for key pointers that you can emulate and introduce to yours. While you are checking out their descriptions, take things down. What do they do well? How can you improve your description?

Finally, always research the most successful sellers on Etsy. Learning from top Etsy POD sellers can be what you need to reach your print on demand business’s next heights.

Also, when curating your product description, try to insert at least one main keyword. This is another factor for getting better ranking in Etsy.

Adding the main keyword to the product description tends to tend to affect the SEO score of your listing on both Etsy and also the search engine.

But like anything else, there can be many reasons why a shop is successful, so don’t base your entire strategy for writing descriptions on what the top sellers are doing.

Ensure that you take all of these mistakes into consideration when making your product listing.


There are several factors responsible for the success of a print on demand business on Etsy. Avoiding many of the mistakes highlighted above can play a great role in improving your sales and traction.

The road to becoming a successful Etsy is long and bumpy. It requires consistent effort and continuous learning. You must continue to get better and do better with your listing. Ensure that you pay the required attention to your SEO.

You should get good results with time!

—Bank K.

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