Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trinkets N Whatnots Workspace!

A picture of me and one of my Italian Greyhound doggies :)  Isn't she precious (the dog LOL)

I am really excited to share with everyone where I work.  So I just have my setup around my breakfast room/dining room.  I have my kitchen table to create my jewelry and behind the table is a china cabinet.  I use the china cabinet for all my mailing needs.  I keep the jewelry boxes in the cabinet, my mailing envelopes, bubble wrap, my return address labels, business cards, pens, scissors and packaging tape all in that china cabinet behind where I work.  This way I can quickly package things up, and I also file away the receipts for all my shipments.

Then I have a TON of kitchen cabinets/pantry in the breakfast room.  But I had WAY too much inventory to organize, so I had to get rid of my food and fill the cabinets with all my bead boxes.  There are 3 huge cabinets all filled with bead boxes, and bags of buttons.

And these bead boxes are 2 deep, meaning there are just as big of stacks BEHIND all of these.  PHEW!  I always joke I have my own personal bead store but I really do.

But even those cabinets weren't enough so then I bought some plastic organizers with like 10 drawers.  Those drawers are organized by material.  The top drawer has all my wire in it, the 2nd drawer is nothing but different types of glues, the 3rd drawer is filled with a boatload of seed beads etc.  It makes things extremely efficient for me to know exactly where things are when I need them, and to have everything in one area.
Check out my seed beads:

Each bead box I have is organized by the material. The box below is filled with all kinds of jump rings. Angela (http://www.angelaspaperart.etsy.com/) asked if I had one jump ring for a pendant she wanted. I had to laugh, I am not sure if I have one to spare :)

And I have told many how many buttons I have.  I have been lucky to have people give me their stashes and then I of course found a ton myself.  Check out this small stash:

So that is how I work.  I try to keep it organized, I kind of have to since there is such a large inventory to track.  I hope you enjoyed seeing this.  I can't wait to see what space you guys work in!!!

Have a good week.
I am listing a lot of these supplies in my supply shop to try to downgrade a little:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Driver's Education - HELP!!

Ok so this post is a little bit of a detour from my normal blogging.  I am not writing about business, marketing, etsy, or jewelry today.  In the last month I have started driving 45 miles in the morning and 45 miles in the evening for a new job.  I used to LOVE driving.  I would drive from Connecticut to Norfolk, Virginia for 8 hours and just love it.  It was time to relax, to have solice, to listen to my favorite music... ahhhhhh
Now... not so much.  Now everyday I think I am lucky to still be alive and not in an accident!
I just can't get over the total lack of regard for someone else's life and safety and the amount of ignorance and selfishness out there.  I truly dread my drive every single day.

So here is my vent.... my list of pet peeves that are going to kill, injure or drive me insane over time.

The "Fast Lane"- I will try not to make sweeping generalizations but it seems the majority of the people I encounter just have no clue what this term means.  The fast lane actually has nothing to do with speed, it has to do with the flow of traffic.  If someone wants a leisure drive and to go on the slow side, they can go about their business in peace in the right lane.  The "fast lane" or left lane is supposed to be the PASSING lane.  You are not supposed to travel in this lane endlessly.  If you want to go faster than someone else on the road you should be able to go in the left lane, zoom around the car on the right... THEN move over to the right yourself to continue traveling at whatever pace you choose.  It seems that many people think that they are somehow the one to set a reasonable speed by pacing the rest of the pack of cars on the road.  I know people who as soon as they are merging on the highway they go straight from the merge lane, to the right lane, over to the LEFT lane and just sit there no matter what!  To me it is incredibly selfish to just do whatever you want while there is a line of 20 cars behind you.  If you aren't comfortable riding in the right lane because there is too much merging of traffic then maybe you should consider that you aren't capable of driving!  If you think you should be the one to control the speed of others on the road then maybe you should become a police officer and do it the right way, the safe way!  And the most frustrating point is that much of the rush hour jam up is because of one or two selfish people traveling in the passing lane.  These laws were made to help keep traffic flowing so get the Hell out of the way and let people go!

The next pet peeve is merging.  Look I understand wanting to be nice and slowing down gradually to let someone in.  I mean why not if you are in traffic anyways, what is one single car length?  Let them in.  What I don't understand is why a person going 60 or 70mph on a highway with only 2 other cars on the road decides to jam on the breaks to let someone merge.  It is downright dangerous to just slam on your breaks like that and completely unncessary.  And if you are the car merging then that means you YIELD to the rest of the traffic.  You don't have the right away to just force your way in, I shouldn't have to dart over to the left lane to let you in or slam on my breaks.  Again if you can't figure out how to blend with traffic then you should consider that you aren't capable of driving.

Which brings me to the next point.  BLINKERS!!!  A blinker flashing doesn't mean you now have the right to come over.  Using a blinker doesn't mean you can now ram the car next to you because you called that space! 

I am seriously just amazed that if someone is coming over and there isn't room for them, I hit the horn and they come over anyways.  The horn is a warning that there is a problem and you shouldn't proceed.

It is just terrible how people drive.  OH, and this is really quite minor but I really wonder why do cars have to go WAY out to the side before making a turn?  I mean really it isn't some 16 wheeler, tractor trailer that needs the clearance for the long backend it has!!  And for goodness sake if a car is turning GO AROUND!  Why do we have to stop dead for a car to turn??

I guess I should bring this back to some sort of business point... And that is with the cost of gas skyrocketing, and the terrible driver's education we apparently have you should strive to work from home!
Make Etsy work for you... anything BUT having to drive out in public.  LOL

The stress relief of not driving and the money you will save from not using all of that gas is such a HUGE benefit of working from home.  So re-focus and get those shops selling!

Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Etsy Shop SEO! Get Found by The Search Engines

So I am breaking this down into as small of bites as I can, and not using all kinds of terminology.  I am not going to explain what a meta tag is, because for most of us we don't care.

What you need to know is where in your Etsy shop can you make changes that will help with Search Engine traffic and indexing of your Etsy shop?  How to find your most optimized keywords for your shop?  If you should repeat keywords in your shop or not?  If so how much?  (keyword density)
If you can learn a few of these keys and then adjust your shop you should see a change in your traffic.

First, before we dig in.... you should all have Google Analytics set up for your Etsy shop!  Make a note of your current traffic and trends before you do any tweaks to your shop.  Find out where is your traffic coming from?  What are the top 15 referrers to your shop right now?  How much traffic are you getting from each of those referrers?  Get a notebook out and make a note of it, so that in a few months you can recheck and see the changes! 
**** NOTE **** You can change your shop to make it more SEO friendly but the changes will NOT happen overnight.  It takes time for Google and other search engines to crawl your shop and re-index items, and even then you may have missed the mark on which keywords will work best for you.  This is an ongoing process, that should be tweaked regularly and will bring gradual results to you!

So there are certain locations of our shop that we can actual use to feed information to the search engines.  Here are the areas you need to focus on when tweaking your shop:
1.  Shop Announcement
2.  Shop Sections/Categories
3.  Listing Titles
4.  Listing Descriptions
5.  Listing Tags for Etsy's search engine
6.  Item Materials for Etsy's search engine

Which Keywords Should I Use?
I use Google's Keyword Tool Tracker.

Just plug in the general topic of your Etsy shop, and you will have to enter a word verification once during that session.
For example, I can plug in Button Jewelry into the search.  Since this is one of the main things I sell.  Notice you can change the location of your search by country and language too!  If you have something you are targeting for a specific culture play around with different countries to get more specific keywords.

So after I plugged in Button Jewelry the 1st result given is button jewelry.  It shows me a little box with a bar that tells me how much competition there is for this term.  It shows the bar mostly filled in (more than half), meaning there is a lot of competition. (see the picture below, the column below the Red Arrow)  The next column tells me that over 8000 searches are done a month for button jewelry. (see the picture below, the column with the blue arrow)  As you can see button jewelry can be confused with belly button jewelry searches! 

So here is what you have to do when looking at the results.  You should search for the terms that have less than half in the bar for competition.  The less competition there is for your keyword the more times the searches will return YOU in their searches.  Once you pick out say 10 options with low competition, now you want to look at how many searches are done monthly.  If there are only 200 searches a month, then you won't get much traffic from it.  Although you will show in the results for most of those 200 searches, you want bigger traffic then that right?  So look for those terms with the least amount of competition but the highest searches done.  THOSE words that fit that criteria would be keywords you may want to focus more on.  For example, my Button Jewelry search shows that Antique buttons has a low competition rate but over 6,000 searches per month.  Since many of my rings are made with antique buttons I will want to emphasize those keywords to gain the best traffic possible.

Play around with it to find the best words.  I have a notebook that I keep a list of keywords I want to use.
Once I have the top 5-10 keywords under the Button jewelry search, then I could search another category from my shop like Crystal jewelry.  The more specific keywords you use,  the more targeted traffic you will gain.  Why do you want targeted traffic?  Because this will increase your odds of converting your traffic to sales.  This isn't just about gaining traffic but gaining SALES!
What good is it if someone puts in Crystal jewelry and gets your shop, but they wanted belly button rings?  They aren't going to buy then, so you want to get them in your shop for what you sell to achieve maximum sales.

How to Use Your Keywords in Your Etsy Shop
So now you should have a list of 30-50 keywords at least!  What do you do with them?
You want to start putting those keywords into the key areas of your Etsy shop. 

You want to place them naturally into your listings, do not do keyword stuffing... meaning don't just say "button crystal pearl antique vintage jewelry rings".  

Keywords should be placed as close to the beginning of titles and descriptions as possible. 
Also, your shop announcement is CRITICAL in your shop SEO!  If you just put welcome to Trinkets N Whatnots.  The search engines will never pick that up.  The first 30 characters are the most critical so try to get some keywords into that space! 

Next your shop sections!  Instead of just putting Necklaces, put Button Necklaces... use your keywords and be specific in which you use for your shop sections.  Also, search engines like longevity... the longer something is around the more reliable of a source it must be. So try to think of the best way to divide your shop up and name those sections, and try not to change them often.

Now for the internal Etsy searches you also have to consider your materials and listing tags.  Use tags that will represent what your item is, and what a person would search for when looking for your product.  They say you should have around 3% keyword density per page.  Meaning I shouldn't have button jewelry as every other word in my listing, because the search engines will consider this spam and you will descrease your visibility with this.   I generally try to put a keyword in my title and description, and my tags.  This will help you with the "relevancy" searches on etsy and with search engines.

****FINAL NOTE****   Search Engines frown upon duplicate content.  So even though I want to use button rings as keywords if I have 40 listings that all say the same thing Google will only index ONE.  This is to prevent someone from doing a search and the entire 1st page being all the same item.  They strive to provide variety in their search results.  So even though you want keywords in certain places and near the beginning it is ok to switch it up some to get maximum results.

I hope this helps you guys a lot!  Please leave your thoughts and comments, and come back to let me know how your Google Analytics has changed after you make your changes!!

A special thank you to: Kelly Designs  who helps me get that graphic up there for you guys!
Check out her shop for help with your banners, avis, any graphic design solutions you might need!!!
Thank you!!