Monday, October 5, 2009

Etsy Voter - Best Halloween Item

My invitation made it into the current poll, it closes in 7 days. I'm the "Halloween Part Invitation" Wiked Night Sky with the full moon and crow on dead trees silhouette. If you like it, please vote for me, tinybirdarts.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Party Time (Halloween Style)

I really enjoy this time of year. The temperature starts to drop, the daylight changes to cooler tones, and that means Halloween and all its decorations, costumes, and fun is around the corner.

I'm really proud of my newest invitation designs for Halloween parties. They're all printable designs that can be taken to any photo processing center for top quality and affordable fantastic invitations. They're all in my "Halloween" section of my Etsy shop.


This is for a "Party to Die For". The vintage skull is starting to become my favorite piece of public-domain art for all things scary.




I tried to make this design more detailed and a little less death oriented with an old black crow perched on a dead tree silouhetted agains a full moon. Victorian swirls add some pizazz in the background.


And this one is my latest from-scratch creation for an Etsy customer. She's having a "Dead and Famous" costume party where everyone dresses up as their favorite dead celebrity.


Happy Haunting!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Martha Stewart Contest - READ THE FINE PRINT redeux

Get some free exposure for your wedding crafts business by entering Martha Stewart Weddings DIY Contest. Please read the fine print first though when you sign up for it to make sure you understand the rights MSE will have to your item/idea.

I submitted my wedding flags to the Martha Stewart Contest despite having some reservations at first over the fine print. I figure my wedding flags are easy enough for someone to copy if they feel like it, so it might as well be Martha Stewart.


Please take a look & vote! http://contributors.marthastewartweddings.com/portal/index.html?ctrl:id=window.default.ContestWindow&ctrl:type=render&ctrl:windowstate=maximized&op=vpic&user=1148113&ccomm=36776&offset=0&cPicId=97711

If you put your item here, leave a comment with a link so we can all go look & vote as well!

You can enter the contest on Martha Stewart Weddings here http://contributors.marthastewartweddings.com/portal/contestGallery/wedding-crafts

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wedding Flags Made it into the Etsy Gift Guide

I can't believe it!! My wedding flags made it to the Wedding Invites & Favors Gift Guide on Etsy! Thank you to whoever put them there :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Digital Master - Music Treasury

I snagged a treasury! This time I picked some of my favorite digital art prints that feature musical topics.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=69950

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to get YOUR product into stores

For anyone that is interested in contacting brick & mortart stores for wholesaling products to, you HAVE to check out this Etsy thread

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6201294&page=1

There's a wealth of information on how to approach the stores, what info they are looking for, wholesale pricing, and more. By more than one seller too!

Summer Time Treasuries

I can't believe it...I'm in two Treasuries at the same time! Both feature my Summer Palm Trees Digital Collage art sheet.



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Repaired: Etsy SEO and Meta Tag Issues

If you haven't seen it yet, Sara Lou replied with a new Admin post in the Etsy forums regarding the SEO title issue. You can read her response here http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6191214

Also to shed more light on the issue, Furiousdreams posted a great deal of information that's useful to anyone about how to optimize your web pages. Her original post is below, the forum thread is here http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6191599

"Furiousdreams says:
I posted this a while back, but it appears that almost everyone (including myself) needs to be reminded and we also know that SEO is not static, but an ever developing process.

So a lot of folks may be confused about SEO and how to optimize a blog or website. Other issues are tagging and what to use for keywords. Tagging, contrary to what another person just claimed in one of these threads, is very much a part of your optimization. These are all ways in which a 'spider' trawling sites, finds you.

Matt Cutts is one of Google's head engineers and he makes everything very simple to understand. I watched him in an hour long WordCamp conference video in which he covers why you should not do 'keyword stuffing' and other esoterica from the giant of search engines.

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66358

http://www.dailyblogtips.com/seo-advice-for-bloggers-straight-from-the-horses-mouth/

Free search engine optimization tips for beginners:
http://www.dullest.com/blog/free-search-engine-optimizatio-tips/

One of the more helpful people on Twitter is redheadwriting - she's a copywriter who posts tips on SEO on her blog. She's a bit irreverant, but her advice is priceless and she's a fun read. I learned almost everything I know about SEO from her:

SEO Copywriting Resources Anyone Can Use:
http://redheadwriting.com/2008/07/08/seo-copywriting-resources-anyone-can-use/

This is from Hubspot's site, where you can grade your own blog:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4040/Top-10-Most-Egregious-SEO-Mistakes.aspx

Top 10 Most Egregious SEO Mistakes
David Letterman Style, here it is:

#10. You're optimizing your website around really common (probably really popular) keywords that you'll never be able to rank for. In the last week, I've had two people tell me they wanted to optimize their site around "leadership". I said, good luck competing with Wikipedia and About.com.

#9. Everyone of your title tags has the same keyword phrase in it. And it's your company name. The title tag on a page is probably the most important On-Page SEO factor to consider when creating new pages. You probably already rank well for a search on your company name, so you can safely leave that out and still get that traffic. So, make sure you pick appropriate keyword phrases for each page that are phrases that someone is going to type into a search engine in order to find a product or service like yours.

#8. Dynamic URLs without your keywords in it. You bought a fancy shopping cart or content management system (CMS) that uses dynamic urls with all kinds of random numbers and random letters in the url. Your URLs should be readable by humans because search engines read words like humans too. The words in your URLs is another very important signal to search engines what that page is about. So, get yourself a CMS that allows you to control your urls or get yourself a URL rewriter. Include your keywords in your URLs.

#7. You used images as headings. Headings are usually the big bold letters right above the content at the top of a page usually below your navigation. See "HubSpot Inbound Internet Marketing Blog". That's a heading. If these are "words built with images" (designers do this to control the font of the text), search engines aren't reading them. These should be text. Pick a web safe font that's close to what you want. Go with that.

#6. Number 6 is equally egregious, but a little less common nowadays unless your website is circa 1997... If your navigation is built using image buttons instead of text, you're giving search engine one less signal about what that page is about. See #7 for a fix: Use text.

#5. All of the above. I've seen it happen. I've seen sites with all of the above mistakes. Really. Honest.

#4. Doing SEO after the website is designed and built. For some reason, people think SEO should start afterwards. I've been racking my brain for an analogy, but it's really pretty simple: Do you go on a trip before you pack? Do you launch a business before writing some sort of business plan? Do you visit to a friend's new house without printing out driving directions?

SEO done right allows you to determine what content to write in order to get traffic from search engines. And you shouldn't design a site before you know what content will be on it. I'm not saying that you should change your business model or product name based on what keywords will be easiest to rank for, but you should consider it. I guarrantee you that your competitors or smart internet marketers are doing this homework. Why not claim the search traffic for your business? It only takes a little bit of planning.

Plus, if you go to a designer or web developer that isn't an expert at SEO (Most aren't - even though they say they are), they may not implement a system that allows you to publish new pages and optimize your site around your keywords without paying them $100/hour to make the changes and additions for you. Someone that knows SEO will launch your website in a system that allows you to easily do SEO on a continous basis.

Which brings us to...

#3. Our design firm "DID" SEO for us. This one is probably the most common. There is no such thing as "BEING DONE" with SEO. It's an ongoing thing. Just the other night, I logged into HubSpot's Keyword Grader tool and found 2 new keywords that we should target. We rank not-quite-on-the-first-page for both of them and both of them could deliver several several hundred visitors/month once we get to the first page. That's hundreds more visitors we could attract to our site - with a bit of effort. And we already rank for "internet marketing", "internet marketing software" and a bunch of other great phrases that are relevant to our business. Doing SEO once is like doing prospecting once. If your salesperson said "I called prospects last month" as a reason for not calling any new prospects this month, what would you say to them right before you fired them?

#2. You built your website entirely in flash. You might as well put an invisible shield up between you and the search engines because they don't see you.

#1. And the number one most egregious mistake. Drumroll, please... Your site is built entirely in flash, you're a web design firm and you advertise that you do SEO. I've run into two of these people recently. I won't link to them even though they deserve to be called out.

That about covers it. I hope this was a fun way for you to learn HOW TO DO SEO and not just HOW NOT TO DO SEO. I recently wrote a more detailed post on my blog about how to continuously identify new keywords for your content creation and link building efforts which details the few things that you need to know besides content creation to do SEO effectively. It should dispel any misconception that SEO is some mysterious science not comprehensible by mere business mortals.

---------------------

Good luck with these links and tips!

Victoria"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Etsy SEO and Meta Tag Issues

If you're an Etsy seller, you may have noticed a decrease in views over the past month or so. Part of this is due to the changes in Etsy's way of displaying your listed items in search engines, namely the titles of our items and the meta tags.

Meta tags are used by search engines to describe a website page. The title is also very important because the better your title matches your tags (without repeating too many words), the higher it will show up in the list of search results. To see what your titles and meta tags show up as, in Internet Explorer you can go to View -> then Source. Towards the top of the text will be "title" and "meta name".



All of our item titles now begin with "Handmade XXXCategoryXX on Etsy" then your item title, then they've add "by username" to the ned. So for instance, my wedding invitations now show up as "Handmade Weddings on Etsy Wedding Invitation....... by tinybirdarts"

Why does this matter? Most search engines only look at the first 60 charachters of your item title to use in displaying search results. So the nice descriptive title you've given your item gets truncated. Also search engines will penalize you for having titles that are too long, and going over other character limits on description and meta tags.

You can check if your items are search-engine friendly buy entering the URL of your shop and items here http://www.scrubtheweb.com/abs/meta-check.html

You can also follow the advice of another Etsy seller who has been actively addressing this issue in the Etsy forums, PaperStreet:

"Make a list of key words for your entire shop and think about what people will use to search for your products.You have 10 sections to work with. You get to pick ten keywords or 2 that you use 5 times or any combo, just don't use any word more than 5 times in the whole list that include *and* because that is how the bots are.

I'll give you some tools to count letters and check to see if you exceed the limit keyword limit is about 800 characters according to some sources, but try not to go that far so use the keywords, and try not to add anything that is not relevant to most of your products because the keywords or similar related words on your home page need to be found in your product pages. For that reason, if you can use a section keyword as one of your 14 tags when you list an item into that category, the bots will find it and add it to the information they are grabbing."

You can use this free word counter tool to help as well http://www.wordcounttool.com/

It's beneficial to both Etsy and customers (buyers AND sellers) for all to be found with easy searching. People will go to whatever link comes up first in Google or other searches. If Etsy's programming forces our listing down on the list, Etsy will lose money. Sellers will lose money. Buyers will go elsewhere. Etsy's promotion of itself should be separate from my listing. Etsy should use the money I pay in listing and selling fees to pay for advertising for itself, not just piggy back on my creative wares.

When Etsy becomes a name like Ebay, people will know AUTOMATICALLY what to come to Etsy for...handmade and vintage. Etsy will not accomplish this buy spamming my item title with "Handmade on Etsy" and "Supply on Etsy" and "Everything Else on Etsy".

People on a search engine ARE NOT typing in "Handmade on Etsy". If they know Etsy AT ALL, they're searching on ETsy directly. People may type in "hanmade card", "vintage wedding", etc. HANDMADE ON ETSY is not one of them.

It's of utmost importance that your shop and items be worded with titles and descriptions in such a way that people searching on a service such as Google can find your items. Until this issue is resolved, you can help your shop by modifying your item titles with the SEO requirements in mind from http://www.scrubtheweb.com/. You should also be doing your own promotion on Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Printable Wedding Invitations


I finally listed some of my wedding invitation designs that've been hanging around on my Flickr page. Right now they're printables, targeted to the do-it-yourself crafty bride that has a lot of time but little money.

For $20-$35, any bride on a budget can get a custom designed wedding inviation suite that's ready to print either at home or at a local print shop. The suites include invitation, RSVP reply card, a file for printing the return address on envelopes, and other enclosures.

Do-it-yourself wedding inviations are perfect for small weddings where it's hard to meet most stationer's minimum orders. The savings really add up for large weddings as you pay for the design once, and the remainder of the cost is just supplies and printing charges.
Printable inviation designs are also a great option for a bride that wants expensive pocketfold or layered invitations without breaking the bank.

Just print the inviations, mount them with double-sided tape on to layering cardstock or a pocketfold, and embellish with ribbon, crystals, or vellum overlays. Because the number of invitations is known before printing, materials can be ordered without extra waste.

My newest design, Black and Blush - Sparrow on Dogwood, is even included in the Etsy site-wide Yart Sale promotion here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=26251901


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Toot Your Team's Horn!


Are you a member of any Etsy teams? Give your teammates some exposure by listing their shop names on your Shop Annoucements. I'm a member of North Dallas Team, Etsy Texas Crafter, Etsy Greetings Team, Etsy Bloggers Team, and the Militay Brats Team.






Etsy Greetings Team is on http://etsygreetings.blogspot.com/


Etsy Bloggers are at http://www.etsybloggers.com/


You can also find what teams are available along with contact information for each from Etsy here http://team.etsy.com/teams.html


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tag - You're IT!!!

This is how the tag works:

1. Name and link back to person who tagged you.
2. Tag six bloggers and let them know they're it by leaving a comment.
3. List 6 things that make you happy.

I was tagged by http://www.artistamyjo.com/.

My six picks:

1. http://sarahridgleyletterpress.blogspot.com/
2. http://knockknockingblog.blogspot.com/
3. http://denimnotes.blogspot.com/
4. http://alteredevents.blogspot.com/
5. http://btpf.blogspot.com/
6. http://papermoonies.blogspot.com/

Now for 6 things that make me happy.

1. Long weekends
2. My husband's smile
3. Planting beautiful flowers
4. Designing graphics
5. Making babies laugh
6. Running

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Giveaway!!


I'm hosting this week's giveaway on Etsy Greetings Team blog!

It's for 4 notecards with envelopes of my design, and 2 cute stamps by AsspocketProductions.

To enter, you must visit this Thursday May 14 post on the Etsy Greetings Team blog page.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Haiku

How I love Friday.
The great promise of freedom
gives hope to my soul.
-K.
I really enjoy Fridays. It means that I'm about to get two whole days to create my dreams and clean my house.

Unfortunately this week the old day job is taking over my weekend, but it pays the bills.

What's your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day


Fragile Earth is home.

Will we destroy such beauty?
Only time will tell.
-K.


This photo was taken by the Apollo 17 crew in 2001. I'm always in awe when I see pictures of the Earth from space. Notice the barren dessert on the north & south ends of the African continent? Hopefully changes from industrial and emerging nations will keep the spread of desert at bay.

There's a rather chilling article and slide show on MSN about what the US could look like in 2100. They mention that what will happen in our climate for the next 20 to 30 years is already determined and irreversible.

Personally, I drive a car that gets on average 30 mpg, even though it's 12 years old. I don't drive aggressively....I coast to stop lights, and basically coast between hitting the gas & brakes.

I also don't buy bottled water. At home, I use the water from the fridge filter. At work, I have my own sports bottle that I fill with water from the company-provided ozone filter station. I recycle my plastic jugs and bags. I shop with reusable shopping bags made from recycled plastic bottles that I bought at Whole Foods Market.

I turn the water off while brushing my teeth. When washing dishes by hand, I don't fill the whole sink with water...I rinse them first, then wash each one with soap/water mix from a bowl while the water is off. Then I rinse them all at once at the end.

I unplug electronics that are use infrequently, and the often used electronics are plugged into a surge protector. Trent at The Simple Dollar has some great articles on why this is important.

On the side at Etsy, I'm making more digital products that people can print themselves, which saves on packaging waste and shipping pollution.

I think being green is also very economical. Wasting water and electricity costs me more with higher utility bills. Wasting less is good for everyone, including your pocketbook and the earth.

Are you doing anything special for Earth Day? What are you doing to help the planet? What do you do to conserve, reduce waste, reuse, and recycle?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dream, Hope, Believe Treasury


Please visit my latest treasury on Etsy here http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=53321


Hope you feel inspired :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetry on Twitter



















I just found the coolest thing on Twitter. Search for "#haiku" and see all the neat poems people write.

If you've never heard of a Haiku, it's a Japense form of poetry. No rhyme is required, but the first line must have 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the third line 5 syllables. It's say as much as possible in as few words as possible, kinda like Twitter.

Here's my latest, inspired by my Aloha Hawaii digital collage.

Crashing waves on sand.

Tropical sun shines warmly.

Hibiscus grows wild.

- K.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Second Blog Feature

I'm proud to say that I've gotten my second ever blog feature! It's by Kayla of The Eclectic Element.


Kayla has a very inspirational background and outlook on life. Please visit, and follow, her blog to see a little more about me and her great critique of my shop. Read her crtique well, there's some things that anyone can learn from, not just sellers on Etsy.

Also visit her Etsy shop TheEclecticElement for some beautiful pieces at really great prices. My favorite is her Sunflower Chaos bracelet, pictured below. Doesn't Kayla have some mad photography skills?












Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Identity Theft

Ohh the horror. The tragedy.

Someone has taken your identity. Cloned you. Using your picture everywhere.

Following your every move. Menancingly shadowing your day.

Pretending to be just like you. Trying your clothes on.

Watch it doesn't happen to you this Easter.




Monday, April 6, 2009

April First Monday Madness


I'm a member of the Etsy Texas Crafters Team, and today is the first Monday of the month. That means there's crazy deals on discounts, free shippin, buy-one-get-one (BOGO) and others. These sales and special offers are only available from 12:01 am Monday, April 6th to 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 7th, Central Time (that's 1:01am Monday to 1:00am Tuesday, Etsy Time).


The full list of participating shops is here on the Etsy forum here http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6107580

In my shop, all of my digital downloads including scrapbooking alphabets , scrabble-tile pendant designs, pocket mirror art, and printable stationery are only $1.00. I've got something for everyone, including feminine letters, beautiful bright mandalas, Army Wife & Brat graphics, and some stationery to keep in touch with the lady of your life.....your Mom.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grace Your Front Door


These are some of the cutest, most adorable spring decor items I've found on all of Etsy. And they're made by a fellow Texan. Go have a looksee at KnockKnocking's beautiful year-round wreaths.

Isn't the attention to detail phenominal?? I love the blue, yellow, and white color scheme. It almost makes laundry seem enjoyable.

She seems to share my same issues with very high number of views without actually selling an item. If I had a penny for every view and heart I had....well that would be a lot of pennies.



Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Etsy Day


The long awaited details are here!

When: Friday, April 24th ALL DAY!!

Where: globally, with any luck!

Concept:So many people don’t know what Etsy is. Wouldn’t be great to do a grassroots, marketing blitz to raise awareness and create a buzz. The idea is to create a mystery about Etsy.

We want to educate the public by throwing the word out there in mass numbers without telling them what it is, thereby getting people to notice it everywhere, wonder about it, talk to people, and eventually researching it on the internet.


See initial thread:
Materials: I know some of you want to buy shirts, bumper stickers, car decals, etc. That’s great.
You can do that in ADDITION to printing our car sign for free here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36935450@N03/3403147220/
(This sign is only to be used for Etsy Day or future Etsy Days TBA)

We want everyone to be able to participate. We are strongest in numbers! And this car sign is the simplest method. For those who don’t drive or live in the city, you could:
1. Arrange to meet other fellow Etsians (if you live in metropolitan area) to hold the Etsy car as a sign. Ex. Meet in Times Square for 15 min and wave the sign or pass it out as fliers. Then leave…blitz-like.
2. Print car sign and post in the local coffee shop, diner, etc
3. Wave it on the Today show!

*I think it will be a little flimsy when printed so I think it would be great to glue the sign to black construction paper.

** Remember: For this one day we are asking that you just promote Etsy, not your personal shop. United, we stand to gain the most!

*** With the recession looming over us, we have a great opportunity to explain to people that there’s a need to go back to simpler times ie. supporting artisans and craftmen(women).

****Please try to spread this thread to as many fellow Etsians as you can. If you notice your state’s team not responding to the thread, send them an email with the link.

Let’s make this BIG!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Print Your Own Stationery


I occasionaly got cards and letters from my Mom when I was away at college. It only took 27 cents to bring her love over so many miles to me. (Boy does that show my age or WHAT ?!?)

Going to the mail box is usually boring. Most of the time I just find bills and advertising. But every once in a while, I see an envelope with a real stamp and my address hand-written on it. I smile when I see it.......I know there's something special inside, from someone special I care about.

My mom inspired me to make my latest creation. After much labor, I've finally finished the first in my new line of print your own stationery. I think it gives people an economical way to to leave a note for Mom. It also saves some trees too by avoiding waste.

Hopefully, it'll make your mom smile :)

I'll be posting a tutorial later on this week about how I created this photo. It was way easier than you think, and for free.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My other favorite blogs

I haven't posted in forever since I've been so busy with work, trying to develop new products for my Etsy shop, and nursing my dying ancient computer and vehicle.

But on a lighter note......these have nothing to do with graphics design or Etsy. These are just pure fun.

I can't get enough of that Pioneer Woman. She warms my heart & cracks me up on a daily basis. Go give her a look-see. She just won a boat load of Blog Awards. (Yes I stole that pic from her website. I don't think she'll mind though.) Hmmm chaps. Even a city girl like me can appreciate chap-clad Wranglers.


My newest & also second most favorite blogs have to do with food. And not just any food, I'm talking all the sugar & cake & cupcakes & fondant & royal icing you can stand. I'm talking about Pioneer Woman's new friend Bakerella, who I think also just won a boat load of blogging awards.

Her cake pops are the cutest darned things I've ever seen! Her cake balls are a unique & can be convered in any form of coma-inducing confection you can imagine.




I'm also enamored with Cake Journal.

I don't think I've seen prettier cookies and cupcakes.

Someday I'll be able to make something like that without it looking like a 5-year old did it. That is if I don't eat all of the cookies first.

Her tutorials are great and are suprisingly easy. For people that don't decorate cookies like 5-year-olds that is.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Donation Update

In December I donated some holiday cards for silent auction organized by a fellow Etsian. Here's the update she sent me.

Your generous donation to the Woodrow Wilson School Public Service Auction held on December 5, 2008 contributed to our success in raising more than $9,800.00, all of which will be used to support programs for children and teenagers in the Greater Donnelly neighborhoods in North Trenton. These children, among the most under-served in Trenton, are not provided government-funded after-school and other services that are accessible and available to children in other communities. Your contribution will help young children and teenagers receive the mentoring, tutoring and care in out-of-school programs they deserve, and support in resisting the negative influence of the streets that surround them. Many of these children have no place else to go.

The decision of the graduate students enrolled in the Woodrow Wilson School to select The Greater Donnelly Initiative as the beneficiary of this year’s event stemmed from their own experience in the community. Volunteers from the School are serving as tutors and mentors, and were drawn to the children and the progress the community has made. The neighborhoods in which the children live, which surround Donnelly and Page Homes in North Trenton, were selected by the Department of Justice as a “Weed and Seed” site, and therefore benefit from an intense anti-crime initiative (“weeding”) which began in 2005. Those law enforcement efforts have led to a new sense of security and hope, and opportunities to provide human services programs, including the out-of-school programs you are supporting. To learn more about The Greater Donnelly Neighborhood Initiative, and Weed and Seed, visit the organization’s website: www.GreaterDonnelly.com.

You will see that you and your Etsy Site have been listed as a contributor to the community on the website (click “Supporting Arms”), and we hope that your participation will inspire others to contribute through donations or volunteer support. In these difficult times, our neighbors in Trenton, and especially their children, are grateful for the support provided by generous donors like you.

Thank you again, and with best wishes for the New Year.