Blogging vs Websites

 

Start a Handmade Business

 

Lesson Info

Blogging vs Websites

Today, um, I have some messages for you think you're all fantastic but enough about you because today we're going tio work on websites, gloves and social media. Then in segment two, we're going to go into business planning and business models and everybody is going to need paper and something to write with for that because there's gonna be a lot of exercises if you have the workbook, you're all set, but if not, you're going to need something to write on. We're going to talk about numbers and accounting, you and the law, which you do not want to break and record keeping, which is one of my favorite tasks to dio I love keeping track of things on dh, then segment three we're gonna have a great guest. Christine again is going to come out and talk to us about pr and then business brainstorming and segment for and something I'd really like to do in segment for is be able to take the time to answer any lingering questions about anything we've covered in our days together. So if anybody has a ...

burning question that they think would benefit themselves and the group as a whole, I would love to hear that question at some point during segment or so that we can answer all those get all your questions answered so that you can lead the class feeling really satisfied with what we've learned and also in segment for throughout the day, I want us to be sharing our intentions for the next six months, so I'm going to share my intention for the next six months with you later in the day, but I really want to hear from people I wanted to commit. So what? You're going to dio to make your business the way you want it to be in the next six months? So it's not a lifetime goal, you don't have to worry about making million dollars this year or quitting your job if that feels a little bit too far off right now, just what is your main intention for your creative business in the next six months? So you definitely want people tio to share that, and did everybody get their homework done? You guys have probably ok so glad to hear that, because we had homework from yesterday. Um, so if you have the workbook, we're going to start on page eighty five that's websites blog's on social media, and we're going to die bright, and I think that most of us at this point in time, particularly if we're savvy enough to be watching, of course on creative live are familiar with what a website, a blogger and most social media is. You all have been doing a wonderful job sharing with us on twitter and instagram and on facebook, and I really appreciate all of that that's been fantastic using the hashtag carry live, which I appreciate, so when I get back to my hotel, I can type it in and see all the things you're saying and all of the the great community you guys are all building, you're buying things from each other, you're supporting each other, you're sharing tips and tricks and it's been really phenomenal, and I'm very grateful for that. Thank you very much. So, um, I want tio dive in on this really important topic of you having your own private residence on the internet, and this is a must these days, even if you have an online shop it's really important for you to have somewhere for people to go somewhere, for people to find you somewhere for people to discover you somewhere for people to be able to research you and your products. And another reason that you want to establish a good home on the internet is because you want to have as much control over your business as possible. So we all know that sometimes online venues change the rules, changed their structure, changed their policies, maybe they do something that doesn't work well for you or your business. And if you ever reached the point that you decide you want to leave an online venue, you need to have some place to go and all the while all you want to have had some place that your customers are familiar with finding you so it's really important tio to set yourself up for success it's pretty easy to get a website or a block these days in some cases you can even do it for free you don't have to start out working with a designer. I sure didn't I think I told you all that I've been blogging for many, many years and I did not pay for a website until two thousand five I think, and then it cost me two hundred fifty dollars and they basically just had my blogger it was called blawg spot I think back then fancied up I just had that made pretty versus getting a whole dot com situation, so if you don't want to start out that way certainly don't have tio ideo advise if you can that it is best tio at least try to buy your dot com for your business neymar however you want to be in the internet save that in your back pocket if you're not ready to set up a website yet but have that available to you when you are ready for it and that if you do decide to go with a a blogging your website company that does a lot of the formatting for you that you really understand what the limitations our for that web site you know you should check into can you have a shop on the web site eventually can you control the pages in the layouts the branding the theme of the website make sure that you can have control over this really important aspect of your business as much as possible I recommend wordpress so this is something that people ask lots definitely not the only option I know rosalie use do parole as does yet drew people as does my friend diane that that's also another popular option and new people use square space or they use type pad that there's lots of other options out there I really like wordpress because a lot of stuff is just easily google google or youtube bubble if you want to know how to do something it's easy to type in how do I do this in wordpress and then well there's a video tutorial showing you how to do it so that makes things a lot easier for me and a lot of other people I know use wordpress so it's easy to have a conversation around it so that's just why I like wordpress but definitely it is up to you to choose what is going to be the best fit for your skills your business, your budget and what's going what's going to work best for you, there's only ten ways to say that, and I think I said the mall ten ways. So, um, when you are deciding about having home on the internet, you might be wondering, do you need a block or a website? Or do you want to have both it's possible to have both? In fact, I think that these days they're more and more the same thing, whereas a few years ago they were very separate. You could have a website without having a blogger on it. Since the work we do is so personal and really matters to our customers into our community, I think blogging is a really great marketing tool in strategy for all people who make things by hand. People want to get to know you better and a lot of instances, and being able to communicate with people with the blogged is important, if, if that's how your customers are really going to relate to you and come back to shopping with you, so if you decide tio, get a website, what kind of information do you need to put on it? For sure you need to have your contact information, it doesn't do any good to say, here I am don't talk to me, although sometimes that's very tempting but that is not a very good business strategy. You want to have information about your business? What is your business about? Why do you do the work that you d'oh? What do people need to know about your business and order to do business with you? How long is your company been around? How long have you been making this particular craft? What makes your information good for people to have? What makes your product's good for people to buy? This is all information about your business and this also ties into your story. Most of us have really great stories about why we make what we make. I learned to crow shea in the fourth grade from a teacher and I so appreciate to this day I learned to embroider because it was the easiest thing for me to carry around, you know? And I just had a really good time with that and I loved my mother in law's embroideries are beautiful and she has some framed all over her house and it was a way for me to feel like I could draw. But I'm not very, very artistic when it comes to drawing, but I felt like it was ok to not be a great draw if I was drawing with thread, so I really have a good time embroidering because it feels very free to me and that is the story of why I like doing that kraft I took my first pottery class in the third grade and have continued to make pottery all the way through and that is an important part of my ceramic story I really like making my own dishes. I like making gifts I like doing those kinds of things, so those air reasons why I craft and and how I got started and you know that's a bigger stories and and all of those examples but kathy, why do you make what you make it makes you feel good makes you feel good. Did you did somebody show you how to make those faulted flowers? Did you have a really good time experimenting and figuring that out on your own? Well, that was a really big scrap booker before I went into my business, but I just loved to be creative him and I take lots of photos of my kids and, um the embroidery came about when I was I did my first show at a at a actually that cupcake shop my friend was working there and she wanted me to decorate the space. So somehow I fell on who part and I made these banners and paper crafts to that's a great a great story. Do you share that on your web site it on good, good erin, what made you start making handkerchiefs um, I started when I was unemployed I couldn't find a job kind of just in an area familiar story tio um and it's just kind of took off and it's my favorite thing to do, so I made a business out of it good. And leslie where'd you get the idea for your jewelry? I think I've been making something my entire life. My mom actually is a huge influence she saw that she actually when we were very little create toys for us, that we're actually educational, that we didn't realize that was what we were having too much fun and one of the things she did wass have a bunch of little plastic pony weeds in containers for us and really colorful shoe laces, and she rate right on these index cards, these little circles in different colors to make patterns, and then we could string patterns, and we were learning about colors and patterns and putting things together. I was probably like five or younger on I think that was the first time I made jewelry and then just provided crafty family and we've tried every single hobby, but you can make with your hands under the sun like seriously every single one and none of them really stocks for jewelry on, and I think, well, that last ten years that's the one that I really, really focusing on right and rosalie, were you just standing in the shower one day and you were like, this this's so boring? Why isn't there any artwork in this hour? Well, yes, carrie. Excellent. That is exactly what came about. I came out of the shower and I told my husband, doug, that there should be something you can look at while you're in there. And then we said that's a good idea, let's, figure out how to make it sweet that's great. So these are all interesting things that you can share with people on your block, but that let our on your website, even in your about page, that what people know more about why what your connection is handmade is very, very personal. People are buying things made by hand because they're looking for more than just a mass produce product. They're looking for a connection to the maker, and they want to make a connection for themselves or for the person they're giving the gift, too. So having something to say about why you do what you d'oh, we'll help you sell your products. This is a part of your marketing, and being able to talk about what makes your work special is very important because people don't want to buy things that are not special so I know that we say a lot of the times like I don't want to talk about myself people find things that that's boring they're going to think I'm bragging people don't want to buy something made by hand that's not special enough for you to be able to talk about and if you're the maker and if you've created it and if you put your energy and your time and your love and your spirit into doing it you of all people should be able to comfortably talk about what makes that product special because you're special your item is special and people don't want to buy some random dumb thing they want to buy something that's special and so you need to share with them what that is our stories share a product or sell our products and this can go back into your web site if you have a really great story about why you made something how you came up with the idea where the materials came from people will share that with other people when they get compliments on it I mean how many times has somebody said they love your scarf and if you made it yourself you're sure to say that because that's really exciting or if somebody made it for you he would say we grandmother made it or somebody gave it to me that's the story being passed along and passed along and passed along and it's important to feel good about sharing that information with people. If you're not confident in your work, why should I be as a buyer? If you don't think it's something worth talking about our worth telling me all about it everything that I might want to know before I spend my hard earned money on your product why should I buy it? Why should it matter to me if it doesn't matter to you so you need to think like your customer, what do they need to know? What do they want to know? To feel attachment to what it is that you make? Photos talked about this yesterday and got one of the best lessons ever. Photos are really important to your branding to your to your marketing and your website is a great place to put those out to the world, and these could be different than the ones that you show in your shop two so people when they read blog's the number one thing they say that makes them come back to a lot of again and again is the photos so they really like in process shots they really like behind the scenes shots people love to know where we work have any of you experience that people love to look inside of studios in workplaces any time they put a picture of my computer desktop online for some random reason if I'm just the other day I typed that end when I was done writing this one hundred thirty page work but on my instagram the page that said the end and it was one of my more popular post people really like to see the details of your work so sure that through photos your social links people want toe connect with you as we've been saying, they want to know where to find you and you can spread the word about what you make and you can get your customers to actually do a lot of your marketing and communicating for you if you empower them with the tools they need to do that if you put up product shots or blawg post at the bottom put up those buttons that say goodness instagram this tweet this facebook this whatever it is let your customers help you spread the word about what you make and if you ask them to do it, they'll do it if they really like what you're saying they want to buy that later they will pin it, they will tweet it they will a spread your message for you if you give them the tools to easily do that I mean it's a no brainer to click tweet this pin this I do it all the time I spend a sad portion of my day pinning things just like yes yes, I'm going to pin it all and someday someday I'm going to make all this great food and, you know, have this amazing house, but so so empower people to help you spread the word and share what you have and thank you frequently asked questions is the most useful page on my website, and as your business grows, it could be a very useful page for you to have to. And if people haven't asked you any questions that that doesn't matter, anticipate the questions your customers are going to ask is this organic? Is this you know, whether the ingredients in this if you make some something for a bath and body products, uh, just was this made around peanuts, whatever, whatever your customers are going to ask and they might want to know, anticipate those questions and answer them ahead of time so that they have more information or at least the information they need to be able to make a purchase and feel comfortable about that. So I get a lot of questions about what I do or can I help somebody else do it? And until I put up a fake you I was I was really sending a lot of e mails and the same email over and over, so we talked about this a little bit on day one, but having a canned response through gmail, affect your email program or a word document where you can cut and paste the same things over and over is very helpful. But it is also easy to say, check my cue or if you have questions about this, look at my fake you on my web site, so it really does help people make decisions. And if you, when you start getting questions over and over again, you can always add that back. I also used my think he was a place to refer people to other people who might help them. If somebody wants help with something or service that I don't offer. I get a lot of those same kind of questions, and I say these air books I recommend these are people I recommend this is, you know, a resource where you can go to get help. So it's a time saver, and it makes your customers feel more comfortable. I highly advise that you have a place where people can sign up to get updates and this would be a newsletter or that you have a way for them to subscribe to the r, s s feet of your blogged a newsletter is a really great way to share information about new things that are going on with your business with their customers. And an important thing to remember about newsletters is not to be shy about sending them. If I come to your web site and actually put my email address into the box that you've provided to me on your website that says put your email here, that means I genuinely want to hear from you, and something I hear from people with newsletter lists all the time is I don't want to bother people with an email I don't want to add to their inbox. The truth is, we all get so much email already that if I willingly give you my email address and asked to hear from you, I really do want to hear from you think of it as you're doing me a favor by giving, sending me an email that I really do want to read mixed in with all of the other ones that I do not want to read or that I'm going to delete right away or that I I feel frustrated when I you know, my goal for two thousand fourteen was inbox zero, and I went from sixty eight a thousand e mails at the end of two thousand thirteen, which was a result of years of not really cleaning out my email that wasn't a snapshot of, you know, one year for me, but andi, I have remained steady around one twenty five and my inbox I'm feeling pretty good about that. So it's definitely a treat when something I want to read appears and my inbox. So if I am your customer, don't don't think negatively for me. I don't think that I don't want to hear from you if I've given you my email address, send me a dane newsletter because I want to know what's happening. Um a ce faras newsletter services go there several great ones, tio to choose from I myself like male chimp. Do any of you said newsletters? No, rosalie, who do you use? Male to male sham erin male champ marlowe male trump okay, all right, so we've gotto we've got a male gym consensus in our studio audience here. That's great. I have used a few others before, but I have stuck with male chimp the longest and don't see any reason to be leaving male chimp, but that's just me and now she's putting affiliate link on my website, but home on the internet is where you're going to express your brand. This is where you're going to be able to experiment with what people respond, tio what you really like, you want your your website or injured? Blogged and or if you have both to really express your brand, you want when people to come there for them to make a connection with your business, you don't want them to show up and be like, oh, heather, why is this all motorcycles? I thought I was going to get mixed media art so since heather is avid motorcycle rider and she was a camera on her helmet in films, films her ride while your readers might occasionally want to know what what kind of fun thing you did, that would be two very different audiences I think for you, so if you were just writing about motorcycles and then on the side trying to sell me a painting, that would be a tough sell, but if I know I can come there for inspirational information and to look at your beautiful photographs of your photo shoots and that kind of thing and then sometimes see that you ride a motorcycle, then I'm like that lady's a badass artist he's a really great, you know, so that's a different that's a different story to share. So you really want your website or your blogged to express your brands, your brand it's also where you can charm people, people do not want to show up to your website and not feel like they're getting some kind of peace of you it's not all just the fax you know this is where you get to really be yourself and let yourself shine through and I think you're charming so therefore it's true this is also where you will market yourself this is the number one place where you have all the permission you want to talk about yourself as much as you like this is your website it makes sense that I'm going to go to your website and get more familiar with you this is your opportunity to feel ease and to feel like it's ok to be a cz much about yourself and your business and what you're trying to do in the world this is the place for you to do it without worrying about what people think because if they don't like it they will just click off it's a simple as that you know it's very easy if they don't like what they're seeing they're going to leave leave and you're not even going to know about it unless they choose to send you an email um communicate with your ideal customer this is where you can get to know your customer better you can give them called to action you can get deeper into what they're doing you can ask them questions that you need to know to sell your products you can become more familiar with then you can get them tio help you build your brand and build your business so you're ideal customer is definitely going to be checking in on your website and this is a great chance, teo teo, get them more on board with what you're doing also this is a great place to sell items. Some people choose to sell different things on their own website than they would choose to sell in an online venue and this makes sense for a couple of reasons but it's not something that you have to do it's not a rule so some people have the same item on their own website and in their online shop and then if it sells in either place they just adjust the listing. Depending on where it comes from, your you might choose to showcase your more expensive work or your custom work on your website and send people to your online venue if you have extra supplies to sell or if you're selling something different, a downloadable pattern and your online venue will do that for you and you don't I want to mess with pds on your own website and sending those through your newsletter service, so having shops in both places is number one a good idea in case you ever decide to eliminate your online venue but it's okay not to sell the same things in both places your website is a place to tell people where to find you out in the world and that's a really useful thing to d'oh it's really easy to say sure, and just check out my web site here's. You know, if you don't have a business card on, you can say your name or write it down easily. You want people to be able to find you and discover you and discover your work. Oh that's so great because the last one to be discovered. So you want people to stumble on you? You want people to just find you? You want people tio be messing about on the internet and come across you and they can't do that. If you're not there, they can't find you if you're not there. Ah, local reporter in your town can't put in searching for something to do a story on holiday crafts or items presence that said you outside of the box if they can't find you on the internet so you could miss a lot of opportunities that way. I want you to think of your website like this. It is a twenty four hour employees that works pretty cheap, sometimes even for free, and it always does what you ask it to d'oh, your website can't do all of these amazing things for you if you don't tell it to do it, if you don't put in the work to make your website, do these things for you. Your your employees cannot work for you if you don't tell it what to d'oh. It's one of your very, very, very best business tools works for you twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. It always gets its job done. It never sas is you? Nothing. I think your employees what's at issue. But, you know, it's never rolling its eyes at you behind your back or crying in the bathroom when you're not looking it's not doing any of those things your website is, is your your best employees? It will always be there for you. And it always wants to work for you and it's a pretty affordable resource. So there are there. Is there anything coming in from online? Okay, great. You know the answer to that question? Like, I'm getting a signal I have on this crazy lipsticks. I'm goingto drink this water and see if that terry wants about long. Ok, did you have something else you wanted to add? No. Ok, so let's talk about blogging because I know for myself should you blogged? He blogged once a month. Should you block if you block once every three months or should you just like, I mean, you were here either into it or you're not with blogger yeah, and you know, what do you think about people that do it once a month? And the most effective log is the consistent log people need to know when to count on hearing from you so if you are going tio blob every three months that's just a chance you're taking but then you're not really getting your blogged to work for you you're just using at it's like a temporary placeholder, so consistency is important with blogging and there's lots of ways to make that easier. I think in fact, in here we have ah blogging calendar, I think or an editorial calendar where you can sort of plan ahead what you want to write about what you're going to target, what you're going to link tio when you're going to post it, and why that's important logs block post don't have to be huge big drawn out things, particularly if you're using a lot of photos and you can give yourself themes as a way to make that easier. Maybe on tuesday you share something about your process and on thursday you, um thursday you talk about a story a customer told you, you know that you have these these sort of parameters that you set up for yourselves to make it easy blogging will be more difficult if you just sit down and think now I'm going to write an amazing long post this is going to be a cinch because six hours later you're going to be like so trying to make a plan for yourself and stick with it as a lot easier but ineffective log is a consistently updated blogged and your readers will get used to that so if it's every sunday they'll get used to that it's four times a week they'll get used to that they just need to know what to expect from you and to trust that it's going to be there so I guess the question is if you don't if you're not consistent should just not have a block that's really a to you I don't think there's ever a reason not to do something unless you don't like it and we are going to talk about that later for example there's some social media that I really don't respond to a cz muchas as others and if you just don't like doing something then just don't do it you are the boss and there is no reason to force yourself to do some sort of activity that you're not really in it to win it because if you're not it's going to show through and then it's not an effective tool for you so blogging is something you're going to dio once here that's something I'm a little bit guilty of then I just don't do it because it's it's not something that I I love to d'oh and and I totally agree on dh also to not then stress yourself out about it yeah, I do that consistently like my what was my business facebook page like I don't put anything there that stress about it or belonging and then I stress about it so maybe if you just make the decision to not do it and then in the end it got done with it yeah, that is one of my best best tips that I talked about a lot is if you're not going to do it be ok with it if you're not going to do it and then you're going to feel climbing about it there's there's nothing we can do to help you because you're making a decision to feel bad and that's sad but that's why do you want to do that yourself? What kind of boss are you going to be to you? You know the kind of boss that makes you feel really bad or kind of boss that says ok that's not your strength move on do something that you want to do and that you're going to enjoy doing and that's going to have a bigger impact on your customers they can tell when you don't really care about what you're doing and if you don't care about it then they don't care about it so do something you both care about that's helpful to you and there's no there's no rule that says tow have a very successful business you must be a successful blogger if that was the case, I wouldn't be here because I don't enjoy blogging all the time most of the time I don't and I just let it go I don't have time to worry about things that I don't like and neither do you so I love the theme of what do you want to be your own boss? Yeah would you like yourself as a boss if that's how you treated yourself? Yeah that's really helpful it was really helpful to me actually came up with that when I needed to know that myself that man I really worked for somebody like me ever it's quite a long time ago because I was so mean to myself a lot of the times and then I just thought she was if I wanted to have a mean boss I would go somewhere, make more money oh, and just feel better about things every day like I could come home at least to be like, oh my god, that lady is core easy but instead you know, I was looking at myself in the mirror like, oh, you are crazy like not ok and you have to take her home with you yeah, I got him with that whore twenty four hours a day and it was really helpful to me when I just decided if I had an employee, I would never treat them the way I treated myself I would never put them down the way I put myself down sometimes his employee I would never say you know you've only reached this point in your life what in the heck is wrong with you and that you know you can't pay me enough to do that even though sometimes I do it for free but trying to decide how can I be the best boss myself has been very, very helpful game changer cool, well, let's, take another question it's good of you from christie, who says in regards to newsletters, if you're selling a product that is really only relevant from one event like wedding invitations or I know there's a lot of crafts out there that are for weddings or other, you know single time events do you think customers will still want to hear from you about new products and update updates even if they were once they've already purchased and they're no longer going to have that event? I think there's a lot of ways to talk to customers about that afterwards. Every once in a while you could offer suggestions on what to how to our crime or how to save your wedding invitations, how to frame them ideas for other things to do with your invitations as time goes on but again, if people don't want to hear from you, they decide that and they'll just unsubscribe that's not up to you to be like oh, he just got married, you're off my list boom unsubscribed I'm doing that for you customers will let you know if they don't want to hear from you anymore those just simply unsubscribe it's pretty painless I don't recommend that you get the updates from your newsletter service that lets you know when people on subscribe because you might find yourself on a friday night at one o'clock in the morning with too much wine like wondering why did you go sparkly dog? But there's nothing you can do about that that is just not not your business and not your concern so somebody doesn't want to hear from you they have the option unsubscribe because that's the law it's going to be on the bottom of every newsletter you send so you don't have to think for them. As far as that goes, you want to keep taking questions? Sure, sure right well center be had asked about the about page should be updated like your social media and I just kind of wanted to jump into that because I know a lot of people I've heard both sides of a story some people say you're about page, you know don't talk too much about yourself you're really selling your product and other people say no, you're really selling you you should really you know, let them know about yourself personally on your about page so that they know what they're buying from and I know you talked about people like behind the scenes they want to know more about your your craft area what do you think about just knowing more about who you are? I think it depends on who your customer is and how comfortable you are sharing. I have a several different things on my about paige I have a letter that I wrote to anybody who comes to my website that says a little bit about me because people are people are interested in me as a person, so not just as an author or is a teacher, so I communicate like that with them because if I don't, they send me e mails and asked me a very direct question, so I answered some of those questions on my f a q and a part of me doing the best job possible is being myself as much as possible, which isn't always easy, but that is one fear that I have that I constantly pushed through to just be true to who I really am so that I can be comfortable not to do the work that I do, so I do have that on my about page then I have a professional speaker bio and that has testimonials from people on my about page about what it's like hiring the air, what their students say after I worked for them, or what they're attendees say at their conference after I speak, and then I have a factual about page, which is what the media needs for me. So if somebody is writing an article about me, they don't care that I have two dogs, but my customer does, but the media doesn't, so that one says, you know, I've written these books. I live in portland, oregon, I you know, it says it says what the media wants to know for me so they can take that bio for them. So you're about page really depends on who you're talking tio and if your comfortable, if you're not comfortable sharing personal things, then you don't have tio, but just basic personal things that relate to your business overall is a good idea. Why do you love taking photographs? Why is this the way you choose to express yourself, discuss people? One more way to connect to you in your work?

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.

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