Sunday, November 21, 2010

Marketing on the Web

You're making beads or jewelry or quilts or... whatever. You hang out your little web-shingle and ... you wait. You've built it. But they don't come.

There's lots of reasons for that... so I thought I would share a little bit of what I've learned the hard way.

Google Limits
What any web vendor wants is a decent Google Rank. And there are any number of ways to work on that. The most important of which is using keywords. That is a topic that I could write about every day from now til Christmas and still not be done... But your keywords are important.

But let's say you ARE using your keywords well. Even if you doing EVERYTHING right on your site, as a general rule, Google will only give you the TWO listings  per website in any search. There are exceptions but as a marketing person who wants to control your public image, how do you maximize your hit potential and dominate the other listings on the search page? How do you prevent those listings from going to your detractors (think Regretsy)?

Have you ever wondered why Ford or Pepsi owns several websites? Have you ever clicked on any of their other sites? They often lead you to the same place. But let's face it...websites cost money. Maybe not a lot of money but...we're starving artists, right?  But you can still diversify. Here's some solutions:

  • Blogging - NOT on your own dot com - legitimizes your own website to the web spiders and it gives you one more address in those Google rankings.
  • Tweet - Twitter under your business name - yet another address for Google to find you.
  • Sell on other venues - not just on your own website. I sell my older designs on Artfire and Etsy - two more web addresses.
  • Don't count out Ebay - Use your business name for every thing you sell on Ebay whether it's related to your business or not. Ebay consistently comes up high in google rankings.  So whether you are getting rid of old inventory or cleaning our your closet, it's one more way they can find you! 
  • Facebook - This powerhouse is the ONLY website Google is afraid of and they should be! Be sure to start a fan page for your business there and check it often. And again, this is one more piece of web real estate with your company name on it.
  • Blog Networks - Feed your blog to other sites but be sure they give you proper credit. Or be sure to build links to your actual blog into the first few sentences. Networked blogs app on Facebook, Blogher (for female bloggers), and BlogCatalog are all legit and give you credit for your work without looking to simply steal your content to make money.
  • Guest blog - If you are a good writer, write articles for other (more heavily trafficked)  blogs than your own. They often mention your business and link back to you.
  • Network Specifically - I network on boards devoted to glass bead making and I use my business name as my i.d. Find Social media groups geared toward your business and create even a small presence there. Even if you only post once a month, it's one more time your business name is out there.

By using these tips, I have Google links 1-10 all pointing to me or one of my other venues. In creating a web presence, you cannot care HOW they found you. And you can't HOPE they will find you on their own. You have to leave breadcrumbs everywhere.

Which leads to the question "Do I need my own website at all?" Yes! You do! Even if you don't sell there, it can be the jumping off point for the places you do sell.  Think of it as the central hub with all your other venues, sales or information, rotating around it.  Your own dot com is vital to your web presence too!


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