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