Webby Wednesdays: The Importance of Being Yourself

When you create your social media strategy, you should start thinking about who and what your brand is. On social media, the best strategy is to treat your brand as a person. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you or who is your brand?
  • What drives you/ your brand?
  • What is important to you/your brand?
  • Who do you admire? Who does your brand admire?
  • What type of person are you? What type of person is your brand? (Example: are you a tea drinker? A hipster? An activist? Is your brand?)

There are many other questions you can ask yourself. Have fun with it. Imagine yourself talking to your brand, what would it look like? Be like? What are its preferences? By asking these questions, you can start to flesh out your social media experience.

Essentially, for bloggers, their brand is almost always themselves. Who they are. Their authentic selves. People want to know you, they want to feel that you understand them. Share with your audience or potential audience. Share funny stories, heartfelt stories, show them that you are human. Respond to their stories with empathy and authenticity.

I once created an inauthentic blog. In that blog, I wrote without feeling, it read like a very bland text book. You know what? That blog didn’t get anywhere. No one visited me. Well, some trolls did. It was very disheartening. Then, I wrote another blog. A blog where I poured my heart out, every ache and pain, every triumph. That blog got attention. I, unfortunately, removed it during law school fearing the material was too raw, but I should have kept it. It was a true portrayal of myself. It could have shown growth. I understand that now.

Right now, I’m reading Renegades Write the Rules: How Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate. I highly recommend this book. I’m not finished reading it yet, but the most important takeaway I’ve had so far is be yourself. 

Webby Wednesdays: What WordPress Plugins Do I Need?

When I transferred my blog to a self-hosted WordPress, I was excited. There were so many things I wanted to do with my blog, but I didn’t know where to start. I began reading other blogs and paid close attention to design elements I liked. Then, I found plugins that would help me add these to my blog.

Here are my favorite plugins:

1. Jetpack by WordPress

 Jetpack by WordPress was my first WordPress plugin. The WordPress Jetpack plugin allows a self hosted WordPress blog user to have features that WordPress.com users enjoy. In other words,  ”Jetpack is a plugin that connects to WordPress.com and enables awesome features, powered by our cloud infrastructure.” See Jetpack.me

I use the following Jetpack features often:

  • Publicize: The sharing tool that adds social media buttons to the bottom of my blog posts. On the little buttons, it shows how many times a post has been shared on a social media channel. 
  • Subscriptions: The sharing tool that allows a reader to subscribe to my blog.
  • Proofreading: A tool that checks my spelling and gives me grammar suggestions.

2. commentluv

commentluv

I love commentluv because it links back to the most recent post of the person who commented. This is one of my favorite plugins because it “gives back” to the person that has commented on my blog. I appreciate all people who take the time to comment, and this is a small way of me showing my appreciation.

3. Google Analytics for WordPress 

I love my Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin. It made adding Google Analytics to my blog a piece of cake and enabled extra goodies for me to play with such as: downloads and outbound tracking.

New Plugin Find: 

LinkWithin

I just installed LinkWithin. Linkwithin is a blog widget, not a WordPress plugin. In order to add it, you must go to the LinkWithin website, download the widget, and upload it into your plugin section (I tried to find it in the plugin section, but was unable to find it).

 

LinkWithin

LinkWithin adds blog post suggestions underneath your current post.

 

LinkWithin is helpful because, according to Jo-Lynne, from Musings of a Housewife, “[It] recommends similar posts from your blog and increases the time readers stay on your site.” I can’t speak to this since I just installed this widget, but I am excited to see if this increases my pageviews.

For more information on WordPress plugins and what plugins can help you, here are a few resources I found:

Do you any favorite plugins that I have missed that you would like to share? Is there a plugin that really helped to increase your page views or engagement? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

Webby Wednesdays: Where Can I Sell My Crafts Online?

You have your crafts ready. They are finished, packaged, and ready for sale. You have amazing pictures — ones with your adorable kids smiling and wearing (or using) your product, and all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Here comes the big question,”Where can I sell my crafts online?”

527107_10100266038997706_224151997_n

My attempt at making my own dress, and why I depend on sites like Etsy, Hyena Cart, and Artfire for some homemade items.

Etsy

The easiest (and most popular) answer would be: EtsyEtsy is easily one of the biggest craft markets online. With lots of users and buyers, it is a great place to set up shop. See Etsy’s Year in Review: 22 million members, $895 million in sales. In January 2013, Etsy had 800,000 active sellers, and probably has more now. Etsy sellers sell everything from crocheted goods to digital art to hard to find vintage items — Etsy shoppers are all over the map and even include celebrities like Jessica Alba. However, in order to get noticed, you’d better make sure your shop is ready. What does it take to get noticed? Great pictures, more inventory, and well-written product descriptions. Here’s a link for more Etsy tips: Etsy Mentors: Critique Your Own Shop.

As I researched Etsy, one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen is fees. The fees for Etsy are $0.20 USD per listing and 3.5% at the point of sale. Etsy’s Fee Policy

Hyena Cart

Well known in the WAHM cloth diaper circles, Hyena Cart seems to be gaining popularity in niche groups like cloth diapering, custom dolls, and knits. Hyena Cart is not just a sales platform, it is a community and has a pretty active forum.  According to Hyena Cart, it “gives the seller the ability to set a specific stocking time, run auctions or lotteries, and fully customize the look and feel of the cart via style sheets and html coding, if desired.”

While researching Hyena Cart, I came up with some mixed reviews. Some people absolutely love it, while others feel it’s too difficult to use. As I’ve never used Hyena Cart, I am unable to comment, but here is an awesome post from Diaper Pattern Reviews about Hyena Cart and how to evaluate whether or not you’d be a good candidate: How to Succeed on Hyena Cart

WAHM’s seem to like Hyena Cart’s fee schedule more than Etsy’s. Hyena Cart’s set up fees are $10 to set up shop and $5 each month after. Seller Fees: Costs to Sell on Hyena Cart

Artfire

Artfire is another platform with a marketplace and craft community. According to Artfire, they are “an e-commerce company and [they] focus on support of member’s needs by taking a service first approach.”  Their mission is “More than Commerce, Community” and encourages interaction and engagement of their community.

After researching Artfire, I’ve learned that it is a lot like Etsy. There is a debate among sellers which platform to choose: Artfire or Etsy. Some sellers prefer Artfire because they say it is easier to customize where as others prefer Etsy because it has more traffic. Read more about Etsy vs. Artfire here: Etsy or Artfire?

Artfire has a set rate of $12.95 with no listing fees or commissions. Artfire’s Fees

Conclusion

After giving you all this information, I’m sure you are thinking,”Great, thanks. Now what?” Here are my thoughts on Etsy vs. Hyena Cart vs. Artfire. If you are a brand new seller, selling a one of a kind craft that stands out, but don’t have a lot of fans yet, try Etsy because it will give you the most audience. If you are a cloth diaper or custom doll maker, I’d suggest Hyena Cart, and if you are selling high ticket items and have an audience, you may want to try Artfire.

Bonus

You could always sell your products on WordPress by turning it into an e-commerce platform, but this may open you up to a whole new world of headaches.

Please weigh in:

Etsy, Hyena Cart, and Artfire users (or any other type of craft sellers), please weigh in. Where do you sell online and what do you think about the experience?

Google Reader is being discontinued. What do I do now?

As many of you know, Google is discontinuing Google Reader on July 1 as part of a “spring cleaning.” In order to avoid interruptions in reading your favorite blogs, it’s time to start considering alternative RSS reader options.

I highly recommend Bloglovin. It’s a blogging tool that allows you to add your blog to a blogging list, find blogs that are interesting, and follow blogs. It’s also very easy to import your Google Reader list onto the Bloglovin platform.

Here is a link with instructions:

Moving from Google Reader to Bloglovin

If you are looking for a reader that isn’t just for your blog list, take a look at this detailed list of 5 readers from TechRepublic: You have choices in the aftermath of Google Reader’s demise

NOTE: Import your list before July 1, 2013 or you may lose your feeds.

SECOND NOTE: I tried to test out Old Reader. It was pretty good, but there is no “automatic” plugin. You have to download your Google Reader info, then upload it onto Old Reader — needs more technical skills for the import than just point and click.

Webby Wednesday Series: Organizing your website for readability

I am not a web design expert, and I did not attend school for web design. (Although I would like to attend some courses!) But, as I stated In my about me section, I used to work in digital marketing before I became pregnant.

I loved my job — especially researching and tinkering with layouts to improve website usability and effectiveness. I managed more than a few websites and reviewed each one of them like they were my babies. Fiddling, working, and editing, I came up with the best plan of attack for website navigation.

In my research, and my findings from working with the websites, I found that website navigation is usually the most effective when it is at the top of the screen, visible, and easy to find.

Usually, readers read a web page in an F shaped pattern, this is important when creating a business website because you want a reader to find the most important parts of your website easily. The reader will most often scan the top of the website first. This is where most companies have their navigation. Decide what is most important, and add it to your navigation bar. Most readers like to see “Home” at the top left. Websites have “Home” in this location in order to allow their reader a way to easily find their way back (like breadcrumbs). Also, it seemed to me, that readers expected to see a contact button at the furthest right part of the navigation on a business website (I found that when I started placing the contact button in other places, the contact button received less clicks).

I found, at least for my websites, the best order for navigation was: Home, Miscellaneous, About, Contact me. Play around with your order, watch your site analytics and see what works best for you. But, if you have no time for testing, try this order first.

After the navigation, a reader will read down the left side of the site searching for keywords and information that they came to your site to find. This is why making headlines readable, bold, and relevant is important — the readers often don’t have a lot of time (or they have a short attention span), and you have to be very quick to grab their attention. Catch their eye with a well thought out and easily readable headline that stands out.

Of course, the most important thing you can have on any website is, according to Mom 101, well-written content, but a well thought out layout is a must as well.

I am including the links I used for this post below:

 

I hope these work for you. If they do, and you find that you get more hits (or less) on your navigation, please come back and let me know! I would love to hear if this was helpful (or not).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...