07 June 2011

Direct More Traffic to Your Crafty Blog

Running a successful etsy business means, as I have recently mentioned, much more work than just creating your items and setting up an online store. The next step is marketing your work, and what better way to promote it than by doing so on your own blog, where you set the rules, the tone and the whole experience depends on you!
Photo: goXunuReviews

It would be great if you have already built a faithful readership before you start your etsy store, but even if you haven't, it is never too late, why don't you start today! Running a blog is a totally different experience than creating with your hands but it can still be considered hand work, which means that you can do it!

It is worth putting effort in your blog because that will inevitably direct more traffic to your etsy shop. People love to know more about the real person behind the creative facade and your blog is the most powerful tool you can use for that purpose.

Increasing the traffic is not as hard if you follow some basic rules which have already proven prolific:

Determine your audience
Even if your blog is new and you still don't have an audience you need to envision it, so as to know in what tone to write. Knowing your audience will help you determine what they are interested in. Be consistent and try to write in the tone appropriate for the theme you have chosen.

Write often
Try to write at least every other day. Bloggers who seldom update their blogs quickly loose their readership because in the Information age people easily find another source of inspiration. Strive to be interesting and versatile. Don't be afraid to experiment this is the only way to find your true style.

Answer your email and comment
Be punctual in your communication. To win someone's trust you need to prove that you are trustworthy. You don't gain gain anything if you procrastinate answering emails, on the contrary, you would rather loose.

Comment on your posts. By setting an example you encourage your readers to comment and you create a community feeling. We humans are herd animals and subconsciously try to be part of a group. 

And please, please, please, take the word verification off your comment form!  Make commenting easy and pleasant for your readers by ensuring they can do it quickly and effortlessly. After all, it is more important to know what they think, right?

Here is how to take word verification off: in your Blogger dashboard go to Settings|Comments and there on the Comment Form Placement (the 3rd option from the top) choose Embedded below post

For everyone having spam problems I recommend two solutions:
  • If you already have spam comments, go to your Blogger Dashboard and there choose Comments|Published and manually mark the spam comments. In this way you help blogger identify spam messages and eliminate them in the future. Once you do that, the marked comments will move to your Spam Inbox.  
  • But I believe that the most powerful tool is to disallow anonymous posting by going to Settings|Comments and on the second option, which is Who can comment? choose Registered users instead of Anyone.

Be a part of an online group or etsy team
By joining and actively participating in online communities and groups you ensure yourself yet another source of inspiration and a place where you can share your ideas and communicate with like-minded individuals. You can promote your blog by adding your blog link to your signature or profile.  While there are no signatures in etsy you can still direct traffic from the forums by writing engaging content! If you do so, many people will want to learn more about you.
Photo: ManCave1
Use big pictures
Illustrate your posts! People love beautiful images. In photos size really matters. A big photo attracts the viewers' attention and makes them stay longer on your blog. I catch myself ignoring small photos and lingering more to the bigger ones.

Offer DIYs
People are crazy about DIYs, there are lots of crafty websites such as I share crafts and Upcycle Magazine who serve as DIY hubs and have submit forms. Once you have written your DIY just go on promoting it. Those sites will direct traffic to your blog for longer than you can imagine.

Tag your posts
Take your time and tag your posts accordingly. Tags help search engines to find and classify your blog posts.

Submit your blog posts to social bookmarking sites
By adding your posts to Social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon or Digg you increase your chances to be seen by people with similar interests and to quickly boost the traffic to your blog.
Photo: Niecieden
Use your blogroll widget
Adding blogs to your blogroll and regularly updating them will direct traffic to those blogs and their authors will check you out. Maybe some of them are your future fans! 

Make sure your blog loads quickly
Get rid of widgets that slow the loading time of your blog. People don't have time for your blog to load even if it is worth the wait. If they really want to see your products they will click on your etsy link instead of waiting for your etsy mini to load. If they don't care about them, they will ignore your widget even if it is XLarge.

Make sure that the most important content of your blog  loads quickly! You can easily determine the loading time your the items on your blog require with the help of Stopwatch. Just type your blog address and click "Start StopWatch". It will then record the time it takes for everything on your blog to load, including images, videos, widgets, etc. Modify the parts of your blog that take longest to load. My result was 5 sec.

Control the number of blog posts on your front page
The loading time of your blog is in direct correlation with the number of blog posts appearing on a page. In the Formatting tab of your Settings you can change that number. Bear in mind that from Blogger recommend that you display 10 or fewer posts on the main page. 

Organize the information on your blog
Take care to make your blog reader friendly. Organize your most important information in the top section of your blog because that is the segment that gets the most views.

Don't be afraid to guest blog
Guest blogging is a great way to promote your blog. By writing valuable guest posts you expose yourself to a completely new readership.  You will get a lot of followers from that effort too. There are a lot of people who are looking for guest bloggers in the etsy forums. Some blogs also openly advertise for guest bloggers. If you stumble upon a blog with guest posts you can always write an email and offer your expertise. After all, even the most successful blogger is a human whom you can approach.

Want to know more? Read all articles in the How to Blog Like a Pro series.