I'm giving the Handmade Business Blog it's own twitter account. If you follow my personal twitter account @Noadi I will still announce there new posts but I'll now be posting not just new blog posts but also business how to related stuff on the new account @HandmadeBizBlog. I hope that this does two things A: gives people more access to me about business related topics and B: keeps my personal account more focused on my personal stuff (creating jewelry, talking about skepticism, etc). Also I've given the blog a dedicated email address and am updating the links on the site to reflect that change too.
Today, we're officially introducing AdWords Express, a faster and simpler way to start advertising online in under five minutes. We first launched this product as Google Boost last October for a small number of local businesses. Since then, we’ve continued to improve the product and enabled all U.S. businesses new to online advertising to reach customers with ease. AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren't already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns—watch the video below to see how you can create and run an online campaign from start to finish in just a few clicks:
AdWords Express helps potential customers find your website or Place page, and gives you a quick and straightforward way to connect with them and grow your business. You simply provide some basic business information, create your ad, and your campaign is ready to go.
After you sign up, the campaign will be automatically managed for you. AdWords Express will figure out which searches should trigger your ad to appear and displays it when these searches happen. Your ad will be shown in the Ads section of search results pages—on the top or right hand side—and in Google Maps with a distinctive blue pin. Customers can see your ad whether they’re searching on laptops or mobile phones.
As with all our ad products, you pay only when a customer clicks on your ad. To make things even easier, AdWords Express optimizes your ads to get the most out of your advertising campaign and budget.
Many businesses are already finding success through AdWords, but we know many of you are looking for an easier way to begin advertising online. Visit www.google.com/awexpress to sign up or learn more about how it works.
Posted by Kiley McEvoy, Product Manager, AdWords Express
SEO is something people are always confused about on the Etsy forums and elsewhere that handmade business people hang out. I'll be honest, even to a total web geek like me it can be confusing. SEOMoz which is a great SEO consulting company has a Free Beginners Guide to SEO on their website and it's really free, you don't even have to sign up for anything to get it.
I also highly recommend subscribing to their blog as well it's always full of interesting tips and insights into what's up and coming on the web.
I've written before about how important it is to keep reevaluating what you are doing and keeping your business fresh. I like to go through my shop every 3 months and make sure everything it as good as it can be and see if anything needs changing. I generally do this at the end of March, June, September, and December (after the holiday rush). Well I got a little behind so I'm just now working on freshening up my Etsy shop.
Here's what I did:
Made sure all listings had up to date information and tags.
Moved the short little stories for my cephalopod jewelry to after the main description instead of before.
Added new custom order listings.
Changed some categories. I completely got rid of the "Clearance" section, changed "Gifts and More" to "Seasonal Gifts" and added an "Everything Else" category (right now it just has my decorated tins which were moved out of "Gifts and More" but will have other stuff soon).
Of course I've also been working on other things, more videos of my products for my YouTube Channel, updating the Noadi.net website, updating my Squidoo lenses, getting my presence on Google+, and updating and ordering new business cards.
So what could you do right now to freshen up your online presence?
It's been a while since I've done a Link Roundup but I thought this was a good time to do one with the launch of Google+ (yes, I'm on) and many sites on Google and elsewhere launching major redesigns. In fact Blogger which hosts this blog and is owned by Google has a fantastic new look if you use the Blogger in Draft feature that lets you try new features before they roll out to everyone.
So this roundup is recent news and articles focusing on web technology and how it relates to or can be used by small business.
I'm a big fan of using video to promote your business. We humans are very visual animals, this is one reason good photos are so important when you're selling handmade products. When the photos are also moving that grabs our attention even more.
Now one of the problems with using YouTube for promotion is that usually the only place you can put a link is in your description and many users ignore the description, even more so since YouTube redesigned the video pages to hide most of the description. There is a way around this, using YouTube's Promoted Videos you can put what YouTube calls a "call to action overlay" on your video that can contain a link to your shop. This will cost a little bit of money, because it is an advertising program, but there are ways to minimize how much you spend.
Here's a video that describes how to set up a Promoted Video and use the call to action overlay. YouTube gives you very few characters to write your message so choose your words carefully and be creative.
Here's an example of one of my videos using this overlay (apparently it doesn't work on embedded videos so you'll need to go click the link to the video on youtube to see it in action). If you have ad blocking software you might need to disable it to see the overlay.
Tip: YouTube also gives you the option to use a 56x56pixel image. I used a .png of the cuttlefish in my logo with a transparent background. Just take any image you want, crop it square, then scale it down to 56x56, save, and upload to an image hosting site like Photobucket. You can then use it on your overlay to add just a tiny bit more branding. I recommend using your logo or a portion of it like I did.