Think about it... For the sake of example, let's say your business name is AXZ Sewing. And you google your business and maybe your etsy and twitter account come up. But let's say you had a problem with a customer and they've taken to the web saying AXZ Sewing SUCKS and that is in the top 10. And let's say, you're business is fairly successful and someone is trying to ride on your coat-tails and they's started an AXZ Sewing blog... that has NOTHING to do with you or your business... but it will mislead and frustrate YOUR customers. Just what are you supposed to DO about all that??? Well, controlling your google footprint can help!
Let's take a look at my google footprint for some ideas - This is 1-5.
Let's break it down:
- My website... with a nice layout to the most popular pages on my site. I maintain and extensive site for this reason.
- My Etsy... when I concentrated more on Artfire... that was #2.
- Facebook fan page
- Fan page again
- My blog
- My blog... I wrote a tutorial for free... and posted it on a site listing tutorials for other glassers. It gets me TONS of traffic, boosts my ad revenue and...now, another toe in my google footprint!
- A site geared toward glass people. I get a free listing there. I RARELY update my profile or pics there (I should!) but... look...that site gets so much traffic, it adds to my google footrpint.
- My twitter
- Widgetbox - an app that allows me to put a slideshow of my current work on my main blog page.
- Fan page again.
Here are a few obvious ways to spread your name around:
Yourbusiness.com. - having your own website may seem pointless if you sell on Etsy / Artfire but there are a several good reasons to have one. It can serve as a anchor with links any selling venue, online or in person. It gives you control over your image... suppose you have thousands of business cards printed with your Etsy shop and Etsy goes belly up??? Train your customers to start at your site FIRST, someplace you control .
And let's go back to the scenario in the beginning... what IF you become wildly successful??? I love the Daily Coyote blog... but when her writing career took off and it became obvious she needed a new website... DailyCoyote.com was taken. The domain has since been sold... I pray to the rightful owner but that's just one example of how a web scammer will try to make money off of a successful business name.
For around 12 bucks a year, you can and should own your own dot com...whether or not you use it! Protect your name! If you do launch a website... update it often! Google hates static!!!
Facebook FanPage / Google + Pages: A great free way to get your name out there as well was an amazing way to communicate with people who are already clearly interested in your work! I frequently post pictures of new work to my fan page and often sell it before I can bother listing it elsewhere! This is a win /win all around in my book!
Blogging - For footprint purposes... it's really bad form to blog on your own dot com. A number of web hosting companies toss in a free blogging template. But this does nothing to add to your footprint. Additionally, blogs on their own dot com never seem to aggregate properly. My experience starting the blog for the Fire Divas taught me this... Our Diva blog lists our individual blogs with the most recent published on top. Divas that published on their own sites would never go to the top.
It's much better to go with the grandaddies... Blogger (a google product!) or Wordpress. You pick up more followers there as well. Wordpress is so amazing that I utilize their inner workings as a template for my main website. It gives me the power of a blog with rss feeds shooting out to twitter and my fan page with the flexibility allowing a shopping cart.
Don't think you have anything to say??? Hogwash! I haven't met a creative type that couldn't talk about their work for ages. Focus on new items (again, sell before you list!), holidays, other sellers who make complimentary items. Write a tutorial and share the link! Wordless Wednesday is a popular blog tag around the net. Who can't take a great pic and put it up one Wednesday?? Try to blog just twice a week to keep your blogging footprint active.And sign up for blogger in your business name whether you ever blog or not! Protect your name!
Arts Organizations - There are three free handmade glass art organizations online and yep, I'm a member of all! There's also one expensive one.... and no, I'm not a member of that one.
Try and find one geared toward your art form. If you can't find one... consider starting one.... The ad revenue alone should make it worthwhile!
Twitter - Many people are twitter resistant. I use twitterfeed.com to feed all my shop feeds and my blog feeds to my twitter. I don't go on there and get political or personal... I just try to keep my feed active. And that keeps my google footprint bigger!
Now... back to that angry customer... eventually, he will fade away. Why??? Because YOU are working to keep your name in the top of the google search! You have inundated google with legitimate and current methods to find you and the angry customer's post is getting older and dying a sad google death!
Feel free to ask questions!
Next week, I'll focus on some other ways to increase your footprint.