Renewing items isn't totally useless though. Lets look at a few ways people find items:
- Search: Relevancy is king, if your items aren't relevant to the search you're unlikely to rank highly in results. Your titles and tags are the most important things here, however recency still plays a part so newer items that are highly relevant are more likely to show up at the top of search results.
- Categories: Etsy's category pages are still sorted by recency so people browsing that way will still see the most recent items listed or renewed.
- Your Shop Home Page: Renewed items get pushed to the top of your shop which makes it look fresher for returning visitors. You could also use the rearrange shop tool every day or so to do this as well.
- Etsy Mini: If you use this widget on your blog or other web page it is sorted by newest items (unless you choose to show featured items)
- Facebook Fan Page App: Etsy's official Facebook app puts a tab on your fan page that displays your shop ordered by most recent items.
- RSS Feed: Your shop feed (found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/yourshopname/rss ) can be used for automatically posting new or renewed items to various services like Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, etc.
You can save yourself some time by scheduling your renewing using the following tools:
Clockbot - Lets you schedule specific items to renew, this is a free tool (not counting the $.20 listing fee from Etsy). You can schedule for days or weeks in advance but every item and time has to be selected for each scheduled renewal which can be time consuming.
Etsy on Sale - You can buy unlimited renewing options in monthly increments, I use this tool just because I can schedule renewing to occur at set intervals automatically (every 9 hours currently). It costs a small amount of money but I personally find it worthwhile for the convenience.