Weekend Greetings & Inspiration All in One

We are up to our eyeballs in home stuff this weekend - cleaning, organizing, building pallet walls - you know the normal stuff! ;) 

But I came across a quote that I loved and I wanted to get it up on the blog and share it with you. If you're anything like me, you have caught yourself doing this a time or two. Stop right now because as I have learned, it's not worth the effort you waste worrying about how great someone else is doing. Instead, turn it around and use it as inspiration for yourself...you can kick ass and take names at anything just as well as the next person! 


Happy Weekend & Chive On! 

solution #3 - making your website search engine friendly

Hello again home chickens! So here we are on Solution #3 - It would be week 3 if I would have kept my ass in gear and my laptop didn't go kaput on me last week! That's another story for another time. 

So the last post was all about your customers experience on your website. This one is about making your website user friendly for those cool little bots we call search engines. I won't go through the definition of SEO (search engine optimization) because it will probably bore us both to death with all of it's technical jargon. 

What I will say is that it's important...like REALLY important for your website to be search engine friendly. 

There is no magic formula to show up on the first page of Google - yes, collective sigh. In fact, it is so secret you would probably have a better chance of breaking into the White House and stealing that red phone off the president's desk before getting your hands on the algorithm that makes Google, well Google. 

Back in the day there were things that every web page HAD to have...things like keywords, descriptions, titles, etc. Once people started figuring out how to game the system, Google got smart and changed things up. Now, keywords aren't even used to gauge a website and it's relevance anymore. But you know what is?

CONTENT


It seems almost too easy and kind of obvious but you want to fill your website with words that people care about - that make people want to immediately say I NEED THIS. 

So how do you do that? 


First things first, you have to know your ideal customer inside and out. You have to know what they like, where they hang out online and what they need - which should be what you have to sell. If not, you need to seriously re-evaluate who you are trying to reach. 

Once you know who you are talking to the next part is creating content that they would search to find you online. This includes product titles, descriptions, page content (like your story), etc.

THIS is what matters to Google...all those pretty things called words.


I have seen time and time again, a website that sells something really cool but leaves the product description BLANK! Ahhh...I want to scream "how will anyone find this!" - sometimes, I do and then everyone in my house looks at me like I am bat shit crazy

In the age of social everything, you also want to make sure people can share your products with their friends, very easily. This means making sure there are share buttons for Google+, Pinterest, FB and Twitter on every single product.

You also want to make sure you can gauge your traffic and where they are coming from so you know where to hang out more or the types of websites and blogs that your ideal customers are going to or coming from. 


This is super easy with Google Analytics. It's a FREE tool from Google that shows you all sorts of awesome stats for your website. Now, let me warn you...the interface is a clusterfuck...it's hard to really get to the heart of what you want to know, unless you have a degree in computer science or you really love spreadsheets. I am neither of those things so that's why I also use Google Webmaster Tools. It's free and a really EASY tool to see your traffic and a breakdown of the stats that you really need to know. 

There are a few more nifty things that can help with your Google rankings...join and contribute to Google +. Don't just set up a profile and forget about it! Google LOVES when you use it's products and while it's not documented that it will guarantee you better rankings it sure as shit doesn't hurt!

You can also sign up to verify your Google Authorship. This hooks your website up with your Google + page (as well as Webmaster Tools). When you have this set up, you actually see a photo of your pretty face beside whatever happens to come up in the search. 




See my pretty face up there? It kind of stands out amongst all of the plain search results huh? ;) Being friends with Google goes a long way. Ok so, I am not really friends with Google, just want to make that clear - no inside track here - although, if there was, that would be sweet! 

So the bottom line is, you don't have to pull your hair out trying to have Google notice you. Instead, think of your customer, write to entice them and the right people will find your website. It's not an overnight process so give it some time and work on things slowly. It's better to take a little longer and get things right versus rushing out some junk content and getting nothing in return. It will be totally worth it in the end, pinky swear! 

Chive On! 

Check out the other parts to this series!  
Solution #1 - Narrowing down your base and coming up with a theme 
Solution #2 - Your branding and making your website user friendly 
Solution #3 - Making your website search engine friendly for your base (you are here)


Solution #2 - Your branding and making your website user friendly

Have you ever been to a website that was so confusing you just said forget it and clicked off within a few second? Well, that is in FACT what most people do. According to about a million studies, you have about 3 seconds to grab a customer’s attention on your website. Three seconds! It took me longer than that just to write this sentence...yep, not much time at all! So how do you grab those customers and keep them on your site and clicking around?

Branding baby! Well a little more than just pretty stuff but I will get into that in a second. 

You want to immediately HIT them with an experience that grabs their attention. This can be done a number of ways but the easiest is with your design and the overall branding of your business. We love pretty things and we also love a great story. Combine those two together and you are one step ahead of your competition!

Your logo and overall look should compliment your products and make sense all together. Graphics and photos should be crisp and clear, not distorted or blurry. Just because you may have done it yourself, doesn’t mean it can’t look professional. If you have blurry photos and a distorted logo, chances are people are clicking right off because having a professional appearance helps people to trust you as a business.


Here is an example of a website with BANG on photos (and products) but the feel of her logo doesn't match what she does. You want to make sure everything on your website is cohesive to your brand and what you are selling. If your logo by itself doesn't match your products, then it may be time for a refresh. (And yes, I marked out the beginning of her logo because I didn't want it to look like I was picking or anything.)

Your website should immediately let people know what you do...there should be BIG bold BEAUTIFUL photos of your products (preferably being used) that will grab customer’s attention. Photo sliders are on their way out as far as features because customers don’t want to sit through a moving slide show just to see what you offer. I personally LOVE sliders from a design perspective but again, it’s not about your personal likes or dislikes, it’s about the customer! Showcasing your products on your home page is a great place to start. If you have a variety of products, add something like a “hand picked” section and change out products every week. This gives your website a little makeover every so often.

If you painstakingly handcraft all of your products, make sure that’s stated somewhere on your website. Minus the painstaking! ;) Tell a little bit about your story and why you started your business right there on the home page. Remember to keep it short and sweet but having some of your personality show through is always good for business! Maybe a section like “Meet the Maker” or “In the Studio” or “Behind the Seams”...you get the idea, you want to add a little bit of YOU into your website. Your products may be so great that they sell themselves but adding an emotional aspect to it always helps. We buy off emotion and when you are a small business, you have an extra special story to tell.

It’s not about being a no name big box store, it’s about the person behind every single one of your products...yep, YOU!

The other part of this is making sure that your website is user friendly. Once you grab the customers attention, you want to make sure that they can find what they are looking for...and very easily! The customer should be able to get to a product in less than 3 clicks of their mouse. All of your products should be arranged in organized catalogs (categories) that can easily be found. Having your shop menu on the left hand side of your website is standard and that is typically where people are accustomed to look. Make sure you also have a search function so that a customer can easily find a product...this is especially important if you have a lot of products on your website. A few other key areas is a clear contact page and customer service or policies page.

On a bonus note, having an opt-in (mailing list feature) is also a great way to capture potential customers. You should have some sort of incentive for them to sign up and by all means don’t call it a newsletter...that is boring and no one really wants to read one of those. Instead make it fun and interesting with a purpose behind it. For instance, if you sell dog collars you could do a monthly giveaway for a free dog collar for anyone who’s pups birthday is that month. You could also send out monthly training tips or a dog of the month photos. Something that goes along with your THEME that I talked about in the last post.

For your incentive, you could do free shipping on their order, a freebie dog training tips sheet (going back to the THEME), a special buy one get one or something along those lines. Just make sure it’s something worth their wild so they actually want to sign up! 


Here is a website that has everything I talk about in this post. Her branding matches her products, her website is user friendly AND she has an opt-in feature that is something other than just "sign up for my newsletter".

Without making this post crazy long, I won't keep going with things like packaging, photography, print materials, customer service, etc....there are a lot of elements that tie into your website. And these will be in other posts to follow!

I will tell you that I have decided to start an online course! Nope, not one of those boring ebook ones that just gloss over what you really need to know. This is a no holds barred type of course that will show you all of the makings of your brand AND how to design an ecommerce site for your business. Yep, by the end of this course, you will not only be armed with an arsenal of awesome branding knowledge but a BRAND SPANKING NEW WEBSITE to sell your products! Sign up to be notified when the first class is scheduled to start.  

Check out the other parts to this series!  
Solution #1 - Narrowing down your base and coming up with a theme 
Solution #2 - Your branding and making your website user friendly (you are here)
Solution #3 - Making your website search engine friendly for your base 

The ugly myth to having your own website and what to do to combat it - Solution #1


Ok, home chickens...we are about to get real up in here. I want to preface this by saying that this post isn’t meant to scare you but instead inform of the actual truth in having your own website. The internet is a massive place so it essentially becomes a dog eat dog world out there. Instead of just pointing out the negative, I am going to give you a positive with it...showing you what you can do to combat the sometimes ugly truth of having your own website.

This is part 1 in a 3 part series that I will be adding every week.

Solution #1 - Narrowing down your base and coming up with a theme (you are here)
Solution #2 - Your branding and making your website user friendly
Solution #3 - Making your website search engine friendly for your base

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME


Nope, not gonna happen! Do you realize how big the internet is? Throwing up your website in hopes that the masses will suddenly care about you and your product is a huge myth. I have seen it time and time again where someone hits publish on their website then expects to become a millionaire overnight. Sorry but it just doesn’t happen that way.

Solution #1 - Narrowing down your base and coming up with a theme

First, you need to narrow down your customer base to only those people that would TRULY be interested in your product. You can’t and don’t want to appeal to everyone...you REALLY don’t! By narrowing down your customers to a small section, you save yourself tons of time. So instead of talking yourself up to people who don’t really care, you are able to focus your energy on people that would love your product and tell their friends...because we tend to gravitate toward those that are like us.

Check out Jules from Amp & Pivot and download her  free customer avatar sheet. She is pretty much the bomb! Take the time to go through it, believe me you won’t regret it!

Once you know who your customer really is...go where they go! Hang out where they hang out and get to KNOW them. Don’t just spam your butt off...that’s not marketing in the sense that makes a difference. Real marketing is all about connecting with your potential customers in a meaningful way. Get to know them, post things that interest them and is related to your product. This is your theme. The theme that is built around the products you sell.

For instance, if you sell handmade dog collars...join a few FB or Google + groups that all about people that love their dogs. Post things on your blog about dog training, funny dog photos and just general information that your peeps would be interested in. This goes for everything, from your blog to all of your social media. You need to have a theme that goes along with your product so that you aren’t just spamming people with links to your latest creations.

So what is your theme? What other things relate to your product that your customers would find meaningful and interesting?

Instead of just posting about this and saying...yeah, now go find your theme people, I will do you one better! If you are stuck on your theme or even your TRUE customer base….shoot me an email and I will help you figure it out. For free of course, because information shouldn’t cost you a penny. :)

I’m Lisa...the proprietor and teacher of business awesome here at Moxie Pear Creative. I help creative entrepreneurs and small business owners dig in and find the story behind their business then help them tell it to the world.

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