I bought an antique telegraph sounder a while back, and I’ve been working on a project that will click out emails from my Etsy store when I get an order. I’ve gone through several generations, and come up with something I really like. What follows is a description of my process for going from concept to finished piece. The code & PCB are open-source, and can be found on my github.
I opened my Etsy store in January (about 9 months ago), and have learned a lot about effectively marketing my store. For the first several months I was trying everything I could think of to increase my visitor count, and I did get a ton of people coming into my store, but the effort required on my part was substantial, and 3 months in I lost interest. That’s when things got interesting.
A while back I built my own thermostat using an Arduino, nodejs, and Google Calendar. It worked really well, but when I moved to a new apartment last year I couldn’t use it (because I now have window units instead of centralized heating/AC). I finally got around to putting it back together this weekend, but I had to rip out the (now unused) thermostat code. What was a Google-Calendar-controlled thermostat is now just a thermometer. Not nearly as cool, but I’m at least glad to have the portion that makes sense back up. You can see it here.
The site I’m working on now, deploys as static files. I haven’t put up a non-server-side-dynamic site since high school, so I’m exploring my options. I thought I could just throw the whole thing up on Amazon S3, but was surprised that it was slower than the current setup (nginx on Linode). I have been reading about the importance of fast load speeds on conversion, google ranking, etc (for example), so speed is a big priority for me. Here’s how I cut my site’s page load time down from around a second to around 500ms.
It’s hard to say what sort of sales rate is reasonable or average for a new Etsy store. I spend a fair amount of time in the team forums, and the general consensus I’m getting is that it’s really hard to make any/many sales for smaller shops, but that larger shops (100+ items) tend to make several sales per week. Given that understanding, I have set a goal for myself that I think is aggressive but achievable.
I’ve completed the first pass of what seems to be a popular electronics self-education project: a home thermostat. I’ve already written about some of the software, and now I’d like to share some of the hardware details.