Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Promote your blog via Flickr - part II

I had posted earlier about how to promote yourself via Flickr. In that post I suggested submitting your photos to various groups. Here's an expansion on that idea:

Have you ever stumbled across blogs that showcase handmade items? Two fine blog examples are Gift Rap and Cuteable.

Where do you think they get their ideas?

Aha! I can just imagine the lightbulb going off in your head and the ideas are starting to churn.

Yes. You are correct in your thinking: Join the flickr group for these blogs and submit your pictures to them.


In fact, here's part of the Cuteable flickr group welcome page:

We regularly check the group for new pictures, and occasionally select outstanding entries for posting on the Cuteable blog!

To small and home-based crafts businesses: the Cuteable Flickr group is a great way to spread the word about your product(s) and get FREE advertising.

Be sure to include a nice description and high quality pictures, as this will increase your chances of getting some mega-primo-time on the main Cuteable blog.

Cuteable stats are here. Good news is they get a LOT of traffic. Bad news is that they have a lot of submissions. My advice is to submit your stuff and continue to keep up with your other promotion methods.


Here's a little blurb from The Gift Gurus flickr group page:

Get the latest tips and suggestions from the "Gift Gurus," check out cool items from the "Gift Rap" blog and share your own gifting photos and stories with other gift-giving (and receiving!) aficionados.


Cuteable and Gift Rap are not the only ones out there who use their flickr group to collect new ideas. If you do a search for Flickr groups based on keywords that fit your item(s), you'll find more. Don't forget to check the following keywords: blog, gossip, shop, buy, baby, fashion... etc.

Now before you go running off to send your stuff to Cuteable, Gift Rap, and others, here are some rules and suggestions.

  • DO NOT include a link to your Etsy shop or any other commercial site in the description of any of your photos. Ever. This puts your entire flickr account at risk of being deleted without warning. If you must add a link, it can go to a blog or other NON-commercial site.
  • Don't submit multiple shots of the same subject. It's overkill and can make you seem spammy and/or desperate.
  • Refrain from adding "please feature me on your site" in your photo description. That's tacky and is more likely to get you ignored.
  • Just use common sense when posting, follow the flickr TOS (even if other people are posting their Etsy links,) and have fun.

  • Include a non-salesy description of the item in the picture. Write as if you were showing it to a friend, not as a sales pitch.
  • Use the best photo you have, with a clean background, good lighting, etc. Edit it to improve it, if necessary.
  • Post photos of new items regularly, maybe once a week or so, to keep your flickr name reappearing. Psychologically, this builds your credibility as a serious crafter/artist.
  • Just like in blogs, comment on other people's photos. Be complimentary, ask questions, and make your comments relative to their subject.
  • Last, like in my earlier post, blog about your picture (if you have a blog) before submitting it to the group, and the include a link to your blog post in the photo's description. Here's an example -

Tropical Batik Print with Primary Curls Doo Dad

The PlateWrap is a fun, re-useable cloth "gift wrap" for your Pass It On Plate.

This particular plate started its journey in northern California and you can track it here:

Excited about this? Go see what you can find out there. I'd love it if you would comment here with other groups come across.

Oh. And as of this writing, there are only 24 members in the Gift Gurus group (as opposed to 2500 at Cuteable). I'm going to watch and see how we can make this little group membership simply explode.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Startup Nation

I received an email last week with a link to website Startup Nation. Curious, I clicked over there and WOW. What a lot of handy information for the small business startup.

If you are a small business just getting started, click over to Startup Nation today to see what resources they have available. It's smart, well-organized, and easy to read. Even if you are making and selling handmade items, you owe it to yourself to take a peek.

I guarantee you'll find some info that you can start using today to improve your bottom line.
Of particular interest is Melanie Rembrandt, a PR expert, who puts public relations how-to info in terms so simple you'll have a hard time not creating your own public relations on the spot.

With my Pass It On Plates business, I have been stuck for months and months on how to get the word out and tell people about the plates. Today I read one of her articles before heading out to lunch. On the way back to work I wasn't even thinking about what she had written when I had to suddenly pull the car over and scratch out a bunch of ideas on my lunch bag.

I've got it figured out. It's so simple.
(I want to try it first, then I'll tell you all about it.)

I'm a smart girl, but I have no idea why I couldn't figure it out until now. I think Melanie unlocked something in my brain.

Here's hoping you have similar good luck!
And here are the links to check out:
Startup Nation
Melanie Rembrandt's blog posts on Startup Nation

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fast Facts About Women Consumers

Do you market your business/products to women?

After looking through the blogs of both my dear followers, and my wonderful commenters, I see that not only are the majority of you creating and selling products geared for women, but most of you are women. If you are one of my rare readers who markets and sells products to guys, you may want to keep the following facts in mind.

The Power of the Purse - Fast Facts About Women Consumers:*

Spend 80% of all US consumer dollars, $4.6 trillion per year

80% are in charge of handling their families day to day finances

42% are responsible for business purchasing decisions

71% "will pay extra for products that are consistent with the image I want to portray"

*These facts were found the other day while browsing through PINK magazine online.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

What is Marketing?

If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday” that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.

And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s Marketing!

- Unknown

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Add a Recent Comments widget

Are you a comments junkie? While totally guilty of not leaving a trail of comments everywhere I go, I LOVE comments on my blog posts.

Here's a way to engage your readers in your blog content and possibly coax more comments from them: add a widget that shows off recent comments to your blog.

It looks like this.
These are the most recent comments from my family blog, The Adventures of Pam & Frank:

Want to add one?
Here's how you can do it in your Blogger Blog:

  1. Start a new HTML widget in your sidebar.
  2. Copy the code in this text box and paste it into your widget.

  3. Without adding any spaces, type in the number of comments to show. I have mine set to show the 5 most recent. Remember to type in the number - don't spell it out.
  4. Now copy the code in this text box and paste it into your widget.

  5. Now for the good part. Where are the comments you want to show off? Copy the URL of that blog and paste it here without adding any additional spaces. Don't forget to include the http:// part.
  6. Now copy this last section of code in this text box and paste it at the end of your widget.

  7. Save. Drag it to the location where you want this nifty widget, then save the layout.
  8. Look good? Yay! Not showing up? Let me know here and I'll see what kind of troubleshooting I can do for you.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Create a Scrolling Marquee for Images & Buttons

The other day I was looking for a hit counter and came across an interesting feature. Unrelated, of course, but it piqued my interest and thought I'd share it with you.

It's a scrolling marquee for images like this ( I used images from my sidebar. You can use whatever you want.)

Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Handmade Showcase

Sweet 'n' Sassy Girls

I saw this feature on sister sites: and

Not only is controlling clutter an ongoing issue at home, but also on one of my other blogs. I had to find out how they did it. A little research revealed the nuts and bolts of this scrolling feature.

◘ ◘ ◘ ◘ ◘

Would you like to add this to your Blogger blog? Here's a simple tutorial.
Note: Each set of steps shows you how to add one image to your marquee. Repeat these steps for each image you want to add.

In Blogger, go to your Layout tab and click to add new element. Choose Add HTML. When pasting in the code, do not leave any blank spaces between one section of code and another unless instructed to do so.

1. Copy and paste the following code into the box:
<a href="
Paste the URL of the site your image will link to. End it with:
" target="_blank">
This will open the link in a new window so your readers don't lose your page.

2. Copy and paste the following code:
<img alt="
Type in what you want your readers to see if they hover their mouse over the image. You can just type in the name of the site that it links to.

3. Continue by pasting in this code:
" src="
Then paste in the image URL. How do you find it? There are a two different ways you can locate it.

In the text box where the site invites you to grab their button, look for code that starts with http:// and ends with .jpg Highlight and copy the entire bit of that code. To make it easier to find, you may want to copy all of the code from the text box and paste it into a notepad document so it's easier to see. In the case of Sweet 'n' Sassy Girls, their image URL is

b) If you right click on the picture, you'll see a menu pop up. One of your options may be to copy image location. If you see that option, click it. That's what you need.

4. Next, copy and paste in this code:
" title="
Type in the name of the site that this image goes to (it can be the same thing used in step 2.)

5. Finish up by copying and pasting this code:

Repeat steps 1-5 until all your badges are in place. When you are done, end the whole thing with this code:

◘ ◘ ◘ ◘ ◘

Now, would you like to customize this a little?
The different elements for how your marquee behaves are:

This stops the marquee from scrolling when you hover your mouse over it. You can delete this code if you don't want it to stop.

This resumes the scrolling when you move your mouse off the marquee.

This is your speed. I can't tell you what number is what speed, but 4 is approximately twice as fast as 2. You can experiment with this, but make sure it's slow enough for people to read as it zooms by.

This makes your marquee scroll endlessly. If you want it to scroll once through the list and stop, change true to false.

This scrolls everything in an upward direction. To scroll down, change the word up to down. If you want it to scroll from right to left, change the word up to left. From left to right, change it to right.

This places your marquee in the center of your space. You can change it to left or right if you want it aligned with either margin. For a marquee in the sidebar, my personal preference is to center it.

You can adjust these to fit them within your space. If the width is more than your sidebar, the images will be cut off, which doesn't look so great. If you're scrolling from side to side, you can change the width and height to fit the space you're using.

For more details on how to customize your marquee, check out this blog post by Kang Rohman.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Indie Spotting

Here's a no-cost idea to give your shop a little boost.

There's a shopping website called My Shopping Connection, where you can window shop and see what fabulous new things are out there. Click on something you like and you're taken to that item's online store.

My Shopping Connection has an indie side called Indie Spotting, which of course, features an amazing array of quality handmade items for your window shopping pleasure. Again, click on your favorite item and you're whisked to the store. (I have added a link in the sidebar for you.)

Here's the thing... It's free. All you have to do is submit a great picture of your handmade item to Indie Spotting and they'll show it off for you. There are some guidelines you'll need to follow regarding how many pictures to send, how often you can submit them, and photo quality. You'll find all of this info in their FAQ.

My theory - since they will accept one photo per week, you have the opportunity to send them 52 photos each year.

The question now is this: Do you want to promote the heck out of one item until it sells? Or promote up to 52 different items?

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Etsy Hacks

Have you heard of Etsy Hacks?

I stumbled across this site while cruising through the Etsy forums. It's a huge time saver for me, especially since I hate listing new items - what a time consuming pain in the butt.

Etsy Hacks is a site where you can get tools to do handy things such as:

  • Heart-Unheart

  • Fast Tagging

  • Bulk Image Uploader (Upoad all 5 pictures at once! Oh my gosh, how much time will that save you?)

  • and more

My opinion: If you sell on Etsy, you need this.

While Etsy Hacks can work through your Internet Explorer bookmarks, it works best as an add on for your Firefox web browser.

When you visit the site, you'll see that when you click on a hack title, such as Fast Tagging, you go to that hack's page to view a screenshot of how it works, installation instructions (pretty easy), and other information. Check it out - it's sure to make your time spent on Etsy much more productive.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Countdown Clock

While building my school's website, I wanted to add a countdown clock for the reunion.

Did you know there are a LOT of free countdown clocks out there? I think I looked at about 20 before I found one I liked.

Many don't allow you to change the size of the clock, which was a problem for me, since it couldn't be wider than 150px. I also understand that free widgets like this usually come with a link back to the site that provided it. That's fine, but not if the link overshadows the countdown clock. That's just tacky.

I finally found one I like at:
It uses flash instead of java, looks cool, and the free one can be customized to a degree. You can pay for the clock and open up more customizable options, but for me the free one works nicely.

Here's what my clock looks like:

Here's a direct link for you to get one for your site:
Click Download Now to customize and get the code.

I've added a link under Blog Bling in the sidebar so you can find it again when you need it.

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