Hello all, long time no speak. Well my attempt at keeping the blog up to date has failed miserably. To be fair I have wanted to write a blog but I have not really had anything to blog about.
Those of you who know me personally will know how quiet and laid back I can be. Being the centre of attention is really not me. I’m just trying to make a living like everybody else.
My business has been running for nearly 3 years and is now finally turning a corner, I think. I won’t be making an appearance on Dragons Den any time soon but all the hard work is beginning to show it’s worth. My website has also been online for the duration and I have spent plenty of time doing what is required to improve the website to get better rankings and more visitors. For those in a similar position you know I’m talking about, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO involves placing the relevant keywords in your web pages, so that when a user searches ‘door name plaques’ on Google for example, my website would be on that first page of returned search results. SEO is much more than keywords, but one of the main focus points.
Social networking is also a factor, links back to your website and customers clicking through from these websites also help with web rankings. Back in the early days of the business this was quite easy. I only had a Facebook page so it was relatively easy to keep my customers informed of the latest happenings.
Over the last year SEO has changed quite dramatically, everything I thought I was doing correctly has now apparently been a waste of my time. Google and other search engines are changing how they show search results and how they rank websites.
Instead of keyword stuffing (placing lots of search relevant keywords on each web page) and link building (adding links to a website on other web directories) the focus is on good quality, relevant content. Writing good content about my products is not easy. Apparently good content is around 500-1000 words of informative, readable, shareable information. You try and do this for a £1.50 children’s bracelet, without sending the reader to sleep.
One way to get this content out there is through social media. As you probably have seen on a previous blog post you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. Even here the goalposts have changed. Facebook now limit how many people see your posts, unless your willing to pay for your liker’s to see them. If your Facebook page users don’t interact with your page within a set time, Facebook decides not to show them any more of your posts.
I used to exhibit in at lots of Craft fairs but decided a year back to do less Craft fairs and focus more on my website, as this would be more profitable for me. Maybe I wasn’t attending the right events, or selling the correct things but I did learn a lot from my experience of these events. I try and focus mainly on larger events now that I know are well attended and don’t involve me spending my weekends (precious family time) in cold village hall’s.
Promoting a website is not an easy task when your competing against 14 billion other websites. So I also use other sites to sell my wares. I’m on Folksy, The Supermums Craft Fair and StorkUp as well as having a shelf in Three Little Birds Gift Shop in Accrington, I have a friend who kindly sells some of my items on her market stall in Accrington and a display cabinet at my brothers snooker club Elite Snooker Club, Preston. Keeping all these up to date as well as keeping up with my orders, and making new stock is almost impossible. During the day I also have my 18 month old little boy to entertain, this means that most of my work is done in the evening when my husband gets home from work, which means lots of late nights!
It’s only a matter of time before the goalposts are changed again and I have to adapt my thinking. I can just be thankful there are programs out there to make social media easier.
As a small business owner and friend to other business owners we need your help. If your looking for a gift someone special or would like to treat yourself, think about the small businesses like me who make items with love and care, Gifts that are handmade and tailored to your requirements. There’s loads of small businesses out online and on the High Street that need your support. Please keep an eye out for my posts and other’s posts on social networking site’s and why not share them with your friends.
If you have bought a gift from me, then I would like to thank you so very much, in continuing to help me make my dream of my business come true. As a thank you for your support here’s a 15% discount code. Simply enter the code NEARLY3 at the checkout. Offer ends 31/5/14