Friday, August 27, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: More on Guest Blogging

Two weeks ago I wrote about how guest blogging can benefit your business.  If you missed the article, you can check it out here. I put my own advice to use and pitched my Tumblr article from July to Jonathan, the very approachable CEO of Zibbet, and landed the guest blog opportunity.  I reworked the article and it was published on the Zibbet blog this week.  When you check out the article, you'll notice a small blurb with my information and a link to my blog and my shop are at the top.  Remember, depending on the traffic the blog you post on gets, that little piece of web "real estate" can bring real traffic to your blog and your shop.  I hope you'll seriously consider taking advantage of this aspect of blogging.

Now, I was contacted by Ann Smarty on Creating the Hive (one of my recommended sites) as a result of my last article on guest blogging, and she shared her site with me.  It's called My Blog Guest and is dedicated to connecting guest bloggers and their articles with blogs that want to host their content.  Limited membership is free and that's the level I recommend for the average craft blogger.  The best feature is the forums where you can announce your availability to guest post or post requests for guest content.  Only one forum section is limited to premium members, so you will still be able to make great use of this area.  Definitely check this one out if you're interested in getting or sharing blog content.

And just in case you're curious, the traffic to my Zibbet shop this week is up 190%.  It does work!  Happy blogging!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weekly BEST: Turquoise Angels

Turquoise Angels is a mother-daughter team from Purcellville, Virginia.  They design and produce handmade apparel and accessories.  Here are some items from their shop:

Bright Polka Dot French Clip Boutique Hair Bow

Bright Tri-Color Tutu Great for Photo Shoots,Birthdays, Dance ,Parties or Dress Up Fun

Tutti Frutti Confetti Tutu Dress- Perfect for Birthdays, Dance Recital, Pageant, Photo Prop

Find Turquoise Angels around the web at these locations:

Let me know your favorite item in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Friday, August 20, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: 10 Dos and Don'ts For Running Your Online Craft Business

This week I'm going to go over a few things I wish I'd known or thought through when I first started selling online.

10. Don't jump in without giving it some thought.  Do you want this to be a full-time business, a means to support your crafty hobby, or something in between?  What kind of time and money do you have to invest?  What marketplace seems to be the best fit for your style of work?  Do answer these questions and do the research.

 9. Don't think you can set up shop and sales will automatically start rolling in.  Unless you have a highly original or trendy product, it's not likely to happen.  Do learn about search engine optimization, product photography, tagging, effective description and policy writing, etc.

8. Don't join Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, Tumblr, Blogger, StumbleUpon, Squidoo, and Digg all at once.  I'm on all of these sites but I don't spend much time on some of them because there are only so many hours in a day.  I get the best results from the ones I spend time on and enjoy.  Try one thing at a time and see what works best for you.  Do make sure you haven't overextended yourself or you won't have time to craft.

7.  Don't be afraid to ask for feedback.  Sure, your friends and/or family might think what you do is great.  That doesn't mean fresh eyes can't see ways to make your shop better.  Do make sure you get a critique from your online crafting community once you've set up shop.

6. Don't take every piece of advice you get.  Harsh, blunt advice can sometimes be the most helpful, but that's not always the case.  Sometimes the advice you get isn't what's best for you and your shop.  Do take what you can use and leave the rest.

5. Don't sell yourself short.  Learn how to price your work and make sure you can live with the profit that results.  If you're paying renewing fees or monthly subscription fees, do work them into your pricing so you don't chew away at profit if the item sits for a while.

4. Don't let promoting steal your joy.  If you can, use sites like Blogger, Tumblr, or HootSuite to schedule posts in advance.  A little bit of forethought can save you time in the long run.  Do try to find ways to promote that save you time and don't cost more than your budget allows.

3. Don't let your time get sucked away by unimportant things.  You may enjoy the socializing, but hanging out on crafting community forums for hours at a time isn't considered working (unless you're researching like mentioned in #9 and #10.)  Do use that time to work on your shop instead.

2. Don't think you're done.  You're never done!  Your pictures can almost always be improved.  Because Google algorithms change, your SEO will need tweaks.  You may find another venue or setting up your own site is necessary for you to grow.  Do understand that even successful businesses strive to be better than the year before by changing, tweaking, and (hopefully) growing.

1. Don't give up.  If you love your craft, don't quit trying to sell it even if it takes a while to get your business off the ground.  Do refer back to #2 during the slow times and think about what you can do to improve.  Stay motivated!

Do you have any tips for someone new to online selling?  Leave them in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly BEST: Clever Crafter

I'm very excited to share this week's artisan with you.  Clever Crafter, aka Jenni, hails from Michigan and enjoys everything from quilting, sewing, crocheting, and cross-stitching to beading and scrapbooking.  Her shop is full of fabulous guitar pick and button jewelry, which just so happens to be in a style I personally really enjoy.  I've selected some of my favorites for you to check out below:

Jenni can be found at these places around the web:

Shop 1:
Shop 2:

Be sure to check out her shops, blog, and Twitter and let me know what your favorite piece is from Clever Crafter in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Farmer's Market Fresh

I just love the NC State Farmer's Market.  I'm fortunate enough to live about 5 minutes away from great local produce at much cheaper prices than I'd get for imports at the grocery store.  I had a lovely, huge stuffed mushroom baguette for breakfast this morning and enjoyed samples of blueberries, cantaloupe, and corn as I walked.  I came home with a heavy bag stuffed full of local peppers, eggplant, a couple pints of blueberries, roma tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers and squash for $15.  You can't beat that!  So I decided to pull up some great farm fresh-themed items to share with you this morning.  I hope you enjoy!

Where do you like to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade soaps and lotions?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Friday, August 13, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Getting Exposure for Your Business By Guest Blogging

Being a guest blogger can be a lot of fun.  You have an idea, you write the post, and you pitch it to another blog.  If accepted, your post is posted on their blog with a link back to yours.  Why would something like this help your business?  First, you'll be sharing your expertise and knowledge with a whole new audience you might not otherwise reach.  Once you've piqued their interest with your information about knitting techniques, marketing strategies, or techo how-to, they'll want to check out your blog to learn more.  This drives traffic to your blog which, if your blog is interesting and fun to read, can increase the number of subscribers you have.  This might not turn into sales immediately, but if your shop is linked on your blog you might get a few new customers.  The even greater potential benefit is the opportunity to be noticed by others.  The networking you do with your readers can turn into blog features, magazine features, custom and wholesale order inquires, and more.  It won't happen every time you decide to write a guest post, but the possibilities are there.

There are tons of articles online about how to successfully become a guest blogger.  Everyone will tell you that you should read the blog prior to submission.  You should know whether or not what you want to pitch to the blogger:

A. fits with what their blog is about
B. isn't something they've written about themselves recently

You want to make sure your style will mesh with theirs and that you'll both benefit from the relationship.  Definitely check out this article from Daily Blog Tips linked on the Handmade Spark Small Business Success Reading List from July.  They'll give you some concrete steps to take on writing and submitting a guest blog post.

What I'm going to do with the Hotlist today is give you some places where you might wish to submit a guest blog post.  Most of these sites will require you to pitch your post to an editor and a couple will allow you to simply post whatever content you like and have the community decide whether or not it's valuable.  This is certainly NOT an exhaustive list - never forget to consider popular blogs in whatever niche your work falls in!

Do you know of any great blogs that accept guest posts?  Any tips for aspiring guest bloggers?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekly BEST: LoveElycia

LoveElycia is a shop run out of Hamilton, Ontario.  The Canadian owner is an engineer who has now fully embraced her lifelong love of all things creative.  Her style is very funky, colorful, and playful.  She has a wide range of talents from knitting and crocheting to drawing and sewing.  Check out these fun pieces from her shop:

Have fun checking out this quirky seller all over the web:

Blog: or

If you're local, be sure to also stop by Maison Fritz on Main to see LoveElycia's bows and bow headbands!

What's your favorite item from this shop?  Tell me in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Rainbow Bright and Cutie Pie

Here are a couple of throwback queer pride treasuries I found out I was in after the new treasury search was implemented.

The first is Rainbow Bright by caseyyoder:

The item of mine that was included is my Square Striped Rainbow Ring:

The next is a treasury called Bright Cutie Pie Random by NanaMommy:

The item of mine selected for this treasury is my Bicone Rainbow Beaded Ring:

I'm always excited when curators put my pride items in non-pride related treasuries. I'm flattered that these items are considered appropriate for the mainstream.

Have you curated or been in any great treasuries lately?  Be sure to send me a link!

Until next time,

Friday, August 6, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Increase Followers and Traffic to Your Business Blog

Having a blog isn't for everyone.  You can't just set it up and leave it and expect it to do much for you.  However, it can be a great tool for marketing if you can generate traffic and gain loyal readers.  Here are some of my suggestions for getting people on your blog and bringing them back time after time.

1. Content is key.  If your content is not interesting, it doesn't matter how much traffic you generate - they won't stay long.  Most, if not all, successful blogs are not one big shop advertisement.  It's not that exciting to read post after post peddling your wares.  Instead, try writing about your creative process.  Are you an expert on soap making?  Tell your readers how soap is made and show pictures of the process.  If you're trying out a new fragrance, explain how that works.  If you sell jewelry or accessories, consider giving fashion tips.  Let people know what's trendy and why you have certain things offered in your shop.  Other great content ideas are posting tutorials, tips on how and where to buy handmade/vintage, and (non-controversial) personal life stories.  Everyone is an expert on something - write about your expertise and your passion.  Keep this in mind:  If people will benefit from your content in some way, they will be more likely to read it.

2. Set a schedule so that you post regularly. People that read my blog know to expect at least one post per week featuring another artisan, at least one post per week reviewing a site for handmade sellers or giving business tips I've found that week on the web, and at least one post per week of a treasury, Kaboodle list, or some other collection of handmade and vintage/eco-friendly items. Since they know what to expect, they know whether or not they want to come back.  You never want to leave people guessing whether or not you're going to post again.  If you're going on vacation, let your readers know.  It's even better to have content scheduled to post once or twice a week while you're out and let people know you'll respond to comments when you return.  Blogger, the platform I use, allows you to schedule posts in advance.  If you come up with a good idea (or more) and write up a few non time-sensitive posts, you'll always have something to share.

3. Spice things up visually.  No one wants to read long blocks of text down an entire page. Use photos and video content to diversify your blog and make it appealing to the eyes.  Just make sure the images and video you use are royalty free, yours, or purchased by you.  Respect other people's intellectual property.

4. Make it super easy for someone to bookmark your blog. Make sure they can subscribe to your RSS feed, use Google Friend Connect to follow you, sign up through Feed Burner to get notifications of your posts via email, or something similar, or all of the above. Don't count on people bookmarking you in their browser and remembering to come back. Personally, I have 100s of bookmarks and I'm probably not sorting through them all just to find your site again.

5. Promote your blog.  Add yourself to directories like Blog Catalog.  Some sites like Creating the Hive and Handmade Spark allow you to import your blog RSS feed.  Do this.  Put the link to your blog on your existing social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter if you have them.  Turn your existing fans into loyal readers.  They might share your content with their friends and help your blog go viral.

6. Just like you optimize your shop, make sure your blog titles are optimized for Google searches.  I'm not about to try and teach you SEO like I know it, but there are plenty of bloggers out there who do.  Use Google to find articles on the subject.

7. Offer to guest post on other blogs.  They will provide a link back to your blog with a little info when the post is published.  A good tutorial on this can be found here.

8. My last tip is to follow other blogs and make relevant comments on them.  The blogger and their readers may just decide to check you out.  You can try this now by leaving a comment for me! ;)

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weekly BEST: Our Home to Yours

This week I'm featuring a fabulous collective of North Carolina crafty stay-at-home moms.  Debbi finds inspiration from her mother.  She describes her art as her hobby and stress reliever.  Her daughter Amanda is another member of the collective. She has a background in Fine Art and a degree in Graphic Design.  Alison is the newest member of the collective and enjoys her new interest in sewing.  Here are some of the items from their shop:

Be sure to check out Our Home to Yours around the web:

Have a look around the shop and post your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time,

I'm a part of an Etsy team called Boosting Etsy Shops Team or BEST. The purpose of the group is to provide promotion for each team member through our existing social networking accounts. Each week I'll be doing a blog feature about a different team member.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Rainbow and Get Your Pride On

There is an exciting new feature in the new Etsy Treasury, previously known as Treasury East.  Treasury now has search capabilities!  The search allows you to not only type in tags and themes and pull up related treasuries, but you can also type your name in the search bar to see a list of every treasury you've created or in which you've been included.  If you haven't tried it yet, I encourage you to go check it out!  It makes Treasury more manageable and allows you to find treasuries you're in that aren't registering on Craftopolis because the curator didn't click on every listing.

I found several treasuries I didn't know about, and I'm sharing two with you today.  Rainbow was created by lala24ch on Etsy.  Check it out below:

Get Your Pride On is a treasury created by findingsforyou for Gay Pride Month:

The earrings of mine the curators chose for these treasuries are these Rainbow Striped Post Dangles:

Be sure to check out the new search to see what treasuries you're in and feel free to leave a link to one of them in the comments!

Until next time,