Archive | June, 2011

Internet Marketing and me – getting seen

28 Jun


The holy grail of internet market:

If you want to see an amazing example of SEO then do this. Type in google search the word ‘duster’. (Bearing in mind what you are expecting to see) and then do a google image search. See what comes up? Is that not incredible!

I was lucky enough recently to spend some good quality time with the designer of that product, and when he showed me I was blown away. So, how on earth.

Now I am not going to even start to say I have any clue how to become that successful, what I do know is that if you aren’t careful, it can take over your life, as it has been doing mine for about a month so far.

What are some of the thing you can do? well from what I can garner, any image you upload should be tagged and named, not just have the camera ID numbers. For me? well I have over two hundred products uploaded, over about 7 or so odd sites. Each item has 4 or 5 photos with each item, therefore that is … loads of bloody photos. So, you are right, I am not going to go and completely re-do all my photos, but what I did do was take the first photo of the more popular products and add a tag and rename them, and re upload. Now if I go and do an image search on some of my items mine are on the first page of images. Not saying that is the only reason, but it all helps. (And google is making us all work like stink at the moment)

Now if you have vista or more recent, its quite an easy process, you’ll see in the viewer that you can add a tag eaily. However in windows 2003 and below I can’t for the life of me find where you can do it, so I have to put my memory stick of pics on another comp and do them. Of course it goes without saying – although I will later, that your photos have to be top notch, but that’s another post.

Loads of other things to add, but this is getting long, so will add more posts as I get round to it. Again, anyone have anything to add please do so, the more the merrier and any suggestions shared are always useful.

I’ve found all my followers!!

27 Jun

So they were lost and now they’re back! Yay!! reckon they were all hiding.
I have heard since from lots of people that this just seems to be an issue with blogger. Oh well! Lovely to see you all again!!

New Links

27 Jun

Well I just did that scariest of things, and changed some links on my website. All in the name of SEO but I am very worried that a load of the links I had before pointing to my website will now be as dead as the cat that is jumping all over the computer will be in a minute!.
So while this looks like I have just added a bunch of photos for the heck of it, in fact it’s to try and check the links.
I have also bought the domain for me and it should also point to my website – we’ll see.
http://www.suehodgson.co.uk

Well – that I didn’t know – copy a bracket from a url and it will turn into a percentage sign and add numbers to it!! Glad I checked!

I’ve lost all my followers!

25 Jun

Looks like I have lost all my lovely followers. No idea what is wrong, when you do a search it looks like many others are having the same problem. In my dashboard, it doesn’t look like I have any at all left, so unless they all went south, I think there is a problem with blogger… I hope.
I started a new blog, and since then…

Internet Marketing and Me! – Twitter

22 Jun

I am not here going to claim to be an expert, or even astute at either social networking or marketing – however I have some observations, and I thought I’d get them out there. If you have anything to add that would be great.

I’ll start with:

TWITTER

When I first started trying to sell online I kept reading that twitter was the way forward. I love all things computery, so decided to join that weirdest of worlds that is twitter. I read that to be successful you needed to follow as many people as possible and to have a gadzillion followers yourself. So night after night, I would try and find relevant people I thought would be useful to follow, and strangely enough the oddest people started following me. It took a month or probably longer and I eventually had 690 followers, I was following about 450 or so. I would diligently tweet my new uploads and hey presto I would get an extra 30 odd ‘views’. I quickly discovered these views were not real views but ‘bot’ views. (bot being short for robot) .

Slowly I realised what a bore it was just to see page after page of adverts for random garbage I wasn’t interested in by people I didn’t care about.
I read that you shouldn’t just post links but comment and tweet interesting facts and that people would find you more interesting.
I did this, it made no difference, I was shouting in the wind, no one ever responded, they just posted their links and ran.

I went through and unfollowed those that look like obvious robots, still the same thing happened.
I left for a while, my followers went up, more random people followed, and then more marketing drivvle followed. I started to not particularly like it and only used it once in a while to post a link to get some views. No one liked me either 😉

So, a couple of weeks ago, I lost it, and realised what a complete and utter waste of time it was and just unfollowed nearly 400. I now follow about 40. These 40 are people who have interacted with me or are friends. Suddenly I am enjoying it again, I post something, someone replies. I see posts that are fun or quirky or interesting.
I have to say in a year of having nearly 700 followers I never made a sale from it (as far as I know). I know many others have a different take, but I have honestly got very little except a tiny bit of fun from it. I have tweeted many times ‘is there anyone out there?’ and no-one responds.

I am sure if you are Calvin Klein or Victoria Beckham the world awaits your tweets, but if you are thinking that having hundreds of followers that you have never interacted with and who only ever post links is going to get you anywhere, then I wish you good luck. I suppose it’s worth bearing in mind, how many of those links do you follow? if the answer is very few, then that is probably what will happen back unless you are very engaging.

So I read somewhere that if you go to a party and just go up to random people and say ‘look this is my product’ buy it, you’ll become very unpopular very quickly. And it’s pretty much the same. So, I have stopped looking at it as a way to sell or market my items (except rarely just to get bot views up) and have now decided to try and make connections with people.

Just my thoughts. And you? what have you found?

On a lighter note

12 Jun

Getting royally naffed off with all the SEO, so decided to write a more upbeat blog today. For the longest time I fancied making a silver bird, however they aren’t exactly rare in the handmade market and I didn’t want to be seen to be copying. So for weeks if I had any time to play in the studio I would be trying things out. Man I got through so much silver (must send it in to be reclaimed at some point).

This is what I eventually came up with. The body is suggestive of a bird, made in sterling silver and hammered, and the wing is pure silver and detailed with a skeleton leaf. It was then soldered on. I then found the optimum balance point and drilled a hole for the link, so that it continually swings (unless it is resting against something of course!).
I made a mother and baby however they both seem babyish so have called them both baby birds.

Is this the Moral Payback??

4 Jun

I was musing this morning and realised that the statement I made on the second to last post, was in fact brought home with a thud by the post before this!

“there is a price to pay for ‘cheap’ often in human terms, and that skirt for 5 and crappy pair of boots for 20, should really not be on our high street, not now that we belong to a global village, we should all take responsibility for what cost these things really have in the big picture.”

How so? Well let’s look at it a bit shall we. Some years ago I took a break from making silver jewellery and was making beaded jewellery. I shopped around all over looking for the best value beads that I could find. I was trying to make very affordable but beautiful items that could sell for a cheap price. I went on ebay, I went all over. At that time I was looking for ‘tibetan silver’

I came across a site in China that sold for a very very good price the loveliest of beads. I bought them in bulk, as I knew many had, and used them in my jewellery (and also sold them as supplies). Yep, so who in the beaded market hasn’t done that?, either from ebay or some other site, but a bead with a lot of detail for a dollar or two.

Right, so where did that design come from? See this is the rub. To design, create, finish, market and sell a product takes a lot of time and effort, we all know that. To sell online takes an inordinate amount of effort, sometimes you question whether it is worth it for the returns (see previous posts).

Now imagine – you are poor, you want to make money, you have a skill of being able to recreate things? What do you do? Go to the original designer and ask if you can licence their product? Unlikely that they will say yes! So what you do, as we have all seen, is look at the item, copy it in a much cheaper material / fabric and sell it. If you are able to save money by not having to design, not having to take the photos, not having to translate or even create descriptions so much the better, more profit for you. Make one as similar as you can, maybe even buy one and then make a caste, then you can remake as many times as you like that item for a fraction of the cost, oh yeah and pay your workers a fraction of a decent salary as well.

One of the items that this company has copied of mine, I was able to get hold of their quotation for buying 50 and 100. They quoted between $3 and $4!! (It costs me at least 18 times that in materials alone). (Trust me if they were silver I’d buy from them myself!!) So, the only way that can be is if they are mass produced using a casting and some ghastly alloy, and the operator was being paid peanuts.

That must be the answer for all those things that we like to buy cheaply, all the clothes that we buy in Primark / Wallmart, all that stuff available at the market, those cheap earrings, that copy copy fake Gucci bag, same principle.
As I said before, if the skirt that I bought over 40 years ago costs the same as today, when my salary has multiplied by a gadzillion, something somewhere is very wrong, and this is where it has gone wrong, allowing ourselves to fool ourselves into thinking that it is possible to buy that item for such a stupid price, a price that we know very well in our heart of hearts does not cover design, creation, materials, marketing, a profit for the seller and a living wage. One or more of those requirements is going to go out of the window. Well, looks like it’s the design, material and the living wage, cos you can bet your bottom dollar that the profit is still there for someone.
So, yes I am royally pissed off with my design, photos and the rest of it being stolen, but somehow in my heart, I can’t get too angry about it, I, in many ways, feel I deserve it a little bit, its my wake up call, maybe it should be all our ‘in the west’ wake up call, these beautiful beads, this lovely skirt, that fab bag, those lovely leather boots, how can they be created for such a low price? They can’t, someone somewhere is paying the price, and now it’s hitting home who.

A great read from Time magazine here

Of course the implications for sellers of handmade goods online is this, which is very worrying, will a buyer who sees the item listed often with the original details of the shop some how believe that they are buying from that shop? Is there a chance of the originators reputation being rubbished? but also is the problem with google searches. Since February Google have changed the way they work the searches, and doubled up copy drops way down in the rankings, so with one fell swoop, these copyers have slightly ruined our google rankings, as well as nicked our stuff!