Archive for March, 2011

Beginner Etsy SEO: Pictures

There are probably a lot of reasons why pictures are important, I am sure that I don`t even know hald of the reasons why. I do know that Google likes pictures. The one reason I can figure out is because you can link it to your shop listing and you can add alt tags and a title for Google to pick up.

Whenever you have a blog post about your Etsy shop, it is visually important to have pictures for your readers to look at. When I make a link here in WordPress, it automatically defaults linking the picture to itself. Make sure that you change this and have the link point to your shop listing. If you click on my link below, you will see that I have it going directly to my fingerless gloves.

You are also able to add words in your alt text. Make sure that you use the keywords that you’ve already selected for your item as well as a few other descriptive words. You need to make sure that the text will make sense to readers because they will see these words if the image doesn’t load up, or when they hover the mouse over the picture.

Google uses the alt text when trying to determine what the picture is for the image search feature. Personally, if I am searching for something specific, I will use the Google image search for fast browsing. The alt text is also used in browsers for the visually impaired so please make sure that the text makes sense!

Lightweight eco-friendly summer scarf

The keywords  I`ve chosen for the scarf above is summer scarf. The Alt text that I`ve used is “Lightweight eco-friendly summer scarf“.

So remember, pictures=backlinks. Alt text=keywords= Google image (and, as a result Google) search ranking increase.

If you will notice, I took my own advice in my previous Beginner SEO posts and created many backlinks throughout this post!

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Beginner Etsy SEO: Keywords

You’re now getting your shop name out there. How will people find out what you’re selling? By using carefully selected keywords.

What are keywords? They are the words and phrases that you use to describe what you are selling. It is very important to make sure that you use keywords that people will search to find your shop. You can use the Google Keyword Tool to search potential keywords and see which ones are popular search terms in Google. I am not an expert in using this tool yet, but it is very easy to look up keywords and see how popular they are compared to other keywords. It also lists similar keywords.

Using this tool, I looked up “fingerless gloves”, “fingerless mittens”, and “handwarmers”.  I see that on average, fingerless gloves has on average 110,000 searches per month which is significantly more than the other 2 terms. From this, I know that the keyword to use for my fingerless gloves is indeed fingerless gloves.

Now the important thing is to use this phrase as much as possible when describing my fingerless gloves. I need to make sure that each listing of my fingerless gloves has the term at the start of the title. Etsy takes the fist few words from your listing and puts them in the url for the listing.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/70283068/fingerless-gloves-knit-handwarmers As you can see the first words in the title of this listing is : “fingerless gloves”. I’ve also made sure that the word “knit” is in there too. You also need to make sure that you use this term right near the start of describing your listing so Google picks it up in the description. Google can also search your shop sections so if you can, create a shop section for each of your keywords. Remember, there are a limited amount of shop sections so this isn’t always possible.

The other place you need to make sure to use the keyword is in the clickable portion of links. As you have noticed, I used the term fingerless gloves and linked it to my shop section. I could even link to hand knit fingerless gloves for good measure. When linking to a specific item, I tend to use a little bit more of a descriptive term. One example could be pink hand knit fingerless gloves. When making your links, make sure that you put the keywords in the link title as well.

To increase my backlinks, I also make sure that I link back to the appropriate shop sections in each of my listings on Etsy as well. For instance, in each of my fingerless gloves, I link back to the fingerless gloves section.

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Beginner Etsy SEO: Backlinks

I have been ignoring the whole idea of SEO since I opened my Etsy shop. Bad idea. How can I expect to improve my shop views and sales if I don’t improve my google search ranking?

Google, and other search engines, don’t know who you are from the other etsy sellers out there. You need to tell them that you are cool and that they need to know about you. You do this by ensuring the your shop is linked as much as possible so that they can find you. The more links they find, the more popular they think you are and the better your google ranking gets. How is this done? By leaving what is called backlinks.

Backlinks are simply links to your etsy shop and the items you are selling. One very important thing to remember is that when you leave your shop link, remember to leave the long link http://www.etsy.com/shop/impossiblyalice instead of the shorter http://impossiblyalice.etsy.com. Feel free to use the shorter and easier to remember url on your printed material but always use the longer one when you leave a link on the internet. Why? Go to Etsy and click on your shop. You will see that the longer name is the actual url that etsy uses. It is much easier for Google to use and rank that url.

Put a link back to your main shop on eachof your listings, in your policies, and in your profile. Link your shop on twitter, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, and any other site where you can leave links. Start a blog. Even if no one reads it, Google will find the links when you blog about your shop. Comment on blogs and use your shop url as your site that your comment links to.

Google also likes these links to be posted in relevant content to what you are linking to. For example, if you are selling wedding related items, it is probably not in your best interest to leave links on pregnancy blogs. Having your own blog ensures that you are linking to relevant content.

When putting links in your blog, Google also prefers you to use words that describe your link as the clickable part of the link. For instance, I can leave the following link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/67933045/spring-and-summer-scarf-handknit-from and Google will find my scarf and can figure out what it is but if I said “Check out my new eco-friendly spring scarf“, Google will know what I am linking to. It is also important to enter in the title for your link. If you hover over each of my links, you will see that I have described what the link is.

There is a fine line between leaving links everywhere for Google to find and being spammy. Please make sure that you don’t alienate the humans you are trying to draw into your shop when leaving your links for google and other search engines.

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My Life In Music

This is inspired by San from The In Between is Mine who was inspired by LaMidge.

Barrett’s Privateers by Stan Rogers

♪ This song is a legend with my family and my family friends. We play it at every special event.

Karma Chameleon by Boy George

♪ This is one of the first songs or artists I remember liking. My sister was more into Michael Jackson but I was all about Boy George. For Christmas in Kindergarten, I got a Boy George tape as a present and I was so proud of it! I also proudly wore by Boy George shirt to school with my flourescent green socks. I wish I had a picture of that outfit.

♪ I’ve Got No Strings or The Grandfather Clock by Fred Penner

♪ I have to admit that I still enjoy Fred Penner songs. When I was a kid, I loved playing the Special Delivery tape (now called Ebeneezer Sneezer) over and over again. I can’t find either of these songs on YouTube but they’re worth looking for.

The Age of Aquarius by The Fifth Dimension

♪ No matter which version I hear (and it is most often the one from the Hair soundtrack), I am always transported back in space and time and I remember watching the episode of Head of the Class where they preformed Hair.

Stand By Me by Ben E King

♪In grade 5, I had a wonderful teacher for a few short months before he was promoted to a school division job. At the end of each day we would clean up our desks, put our chairs on top of out desks, and stand there while we listened to the song.

Tonight by The New Kids on the Block

♪ My sister got into The New Kids on the Block earlier than I did so their first album was “hers”. This was my favourite song on the Step by Step album. One of the saddest moments of my life was when I was not allowed to go to their concert but my sister was and she didn’t really like them anymore.

Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast from the Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack, and A Whole New World from the Aladdin sountrack

♪ These songs take be back to a more innocent time in my life when my world was simple.

Jeremy by Pearl Jam

♪ One of my most profound music video memories is watching the Jeremy video for the first time on MuchMusic.

The Music of the Night from the Canadian Cast of Phantom of the Opera

♪ I am loyal to the first version I heard. My parents bought me the tape when they went to the show because I wanted to go so badly but it was sold out. I don’t quite remember but either later the show came back and they got tickets or they added shows on and they got tickets. I have seen this show at least 4 times now. I regret not going to the Las Vegas version when I was there just to see it but I felt weird going alone.

♪ Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravtiz

♪ No explanation necessary.

Sleigh Ride by Harry Connick Jr

♪ This song introduced me to jazz music. It means the start of Christmas. Sorry for the poor quality video.

Buddy Holly by Weezer

♪ For some reason, with the exception of a few songs, I don’t really like the Maladroit album. Other than those songs, I have pretty much loved every single Weezer song I’ve heard since Buddy Holly.

Glycerine by BushX

♪ Yep, when this song came out Bush was called BushX in Canada. Awesome. My sister took me to the BushX concert for my high school graduation gift. We had great fun. Mostly at the expense of the girl in front of us who couldn’t stop crying.

Wonderwall by Oasis

♪ Love singing along with this one. Charlie sang it in Lost.

Resurrection by Moist

♪ My friends and I took the bus to a small town to see them because the show in Winnipeg sold out. It was the first time I took an overnight trip without any parents. We stood outside after the concert until we met most of the band. It was a Big Deal at the time.

Stop by the Spice Girls

♪ The Spice Girls helped me embrace the idea of loving pop music. I guess I was a bit turned off after I stopped liking the New Kids on The Block. Every time I hear this song I need to get up and do the dance. Learn it.

Change by Blind Melon

♪ I’ve listened to Blind Melon since I was in junior high (another concert my sister was allowed to go to and I wasn’t). When I was in university I fell in deep love with this song. It has helped me get through some difficult times. If there is just one song you listen to from here, please make it this one. Shannon Hoon unfortunately died way too soon.

Common People by Pulp

♪ As you can probably tell by now, during my high school/university years, I was strongly influenced by Brit Pop music. This song makes me so happy. My husband and I regularly fight over which version is better: Pulp or William Shatner.

Angels by Robbie Williams

♪ When I heard this song for the first time, I had no clue that a lifetime love affair would start. I often crave listening to his songs. I don’t always want to listen to every song but there is a Robbie Williams song out there to satisfy all of my moods.

If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot

♪ My university boyfriend had just broken up with me and I was driving home. This song came on the radio. It spoke to me. It helped me.

♪ Killing Me Softly by the Fugees

♪ I know it’s not the original but I enjoy this version and I enjoy dancing to it

♪You and I by Michael Buble

♪ I also have a love affair with all Michael Buble songs. This was my wedding song. If you enjoy him and you have a chance to see a concert, go! They are some of the funniest and most entertaining concerts I’ve been to. This man is a performer. Despite that,  I can`t find a youTube video for this.

Multiply by Jamie Liddell

♪ This is another song that always gets me up and dancing. I was addicted to it the first time I heard it.

♪ If I Had Eyes by Jack Johnson

♪ He’s another artist that can do no wrong in my book. This was the first song of his that I took notice of and I love all songs before and after.

Sleeping Sickness by City and Colour

♪ Consistently the #1 song on my playlist count. Adding to the awesomeness is the cameo by Gord Downie.

After Tonight by Justin Nozuka

♪ There is something about his voice that soothes me and comforts me. I have trouble comprehending the fact that he was only 19 when this album was released! A kid!!

There are some artists too that provide the soundtrack to my life but I don’t remember when I first heard them, or I have too many favourites to list.

The Tragically Hip

♪ Once I got over the fact that my Dad also liked them, I loved them. Day for Night was one of the first 2 CD’s I bought.

R.E.M.

♪ I was so lucky to get tickets to their concert in Winnipeg. Since they had never played here before, it was like listening to a greatest hits album. Monster was one of the first 2 CD’s I bought.

Spirit of the West

♪ Most people only associate them with Home for a Rest but they have so many great songs.

Feist

♪ This is another artist who is consistently great in my books. And she seems like so much fun! Did you see her on Sesame Street?

I know this is very long and there are songs that I am missing but these are the standout ones that I remember.

I hope I managed to bring back some memories for you and hopefully introduced you to some new songs!

Do you have a soundtrack to your life?

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New Spring Items and Fixing Up Photos

I’ve worked hard on making new and exciting listings for my Etsy shop.

I’ve got some new spring colours of fingerless gloves and more to come in the next few days. These gloves are so soft and cozy, everyone who touches one immediately comments on how soft they are! They are perfect to wear in the spring for bike rides, for busy parents who need free fingers but want to keep their hands warm, and for people who love to use their iPhones, iPods, blackberries, etc. They are also awesome to wear when the weather starts getting warmer and they turn on the air conditioner in your office so your hands don’t freeze while you work on your computer!

I’ve also listed new spring or summer scarves with more styles to come! These scarves are made from fair trade handspun yarn from Nepal and India. The banana fibre scarves are also vegan friendly and eco-friendly because it is made out of a renewable resource. Please read my first post on banana fibre. Despite the name, the recycled sari silk is made out of entirely new fabric. The recycled sari silk is scrap fabric left over from making saris. This means that these scarves are also eco-friendly because you are preventing this material from going to landfills.

I’ve also fixed up the pictures for one of my favourite cowls in my shop. Not to pat myself on my own back too much, but one of my Etsy friends thought that it was a completely new listing! This cowl is so long that you can wrap it around your next 3 times when it’s cold outside. Because it is so stretchy and long, you can use your imagination and wear it any way you can think of! It would also be a perfect blanket like shawl to keep at the office in those cold air conditioning months!

The biggest challenge I have as a knitter is to knit items that are not meant for fall and winter. I am excited to announce that I am working on some new designs for listings in my shop that are not season dependent! I hope that these new designs work out as great as I am envisioning them in my head so I can introduce them to you ASAP!

I’ve also got my first set of business cards and they are so beautiful! I’d love to start sharing them with you!

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Teeth, bright lights, and Shamrock Shakes: One Person’s True Story Of Her Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery

As my blog readers and twitterers know, I got my bottom 2 wisdom teeth out yesterday and I was so nervous. I don’t think I was as nervous about the dental work, but that I didn’t know what to expect.

I knew I was nervous because I got turned around when I was downtown trying to find the parkade closest to the surgery centre. Don’t worry folks, I didn’t drive home or leave my car overnight in a parkade (too $$$). My husband took the bus over from work and picked me and the car up. I messaged him every detail of exactly where the car, car keys, and parkade ticket were so I would have to remember after my surgery. I didn’t know how out of it I was going to be.

I got to the surgery centre almost exactly an hour before my appointment so I had a lot of time to sit and think. Too much time. I brought a book with me but I couldn’t focus. I did a lot of people watching in the tiny room and I felt old. The other people there my age were parents waiting with kids! It looked like all the people getting their wisdom teeth out were at least a good 10 years younger than me.

I got a bit upset while waiting. There was a 4 year old there because she had rotten teeth that needed to be pulled. This made me so sad. I hope that the parents work extra hard at teaching her proper dental hygiene now. Unfortunately this little girl got a popsicle as soon as she woke up. There was another mom there that was angry her son’s appointment wasn’t on time, when everyone knows that they can schedule surgeries as much as they want but things happen. They told her that they have blocks of time for each surgery and sometimes it goes over and sometimes it is shorter. She demanded to see this schedule of people to make sure they were telling her the truth. Well lady, have you ever heard of patient confidentiality?  She was so angry that they wouldn’t show it to her.

Sometimes, I just can’t understand people.

Finally (after peeing 2 times during my hour-long wait even though I hadn’t had anything to drink in over 12 hours!), my name was called and I had to change into a gown. I thought they’d take me in right away but I had to wait in another room that was heated so it was cozy and warm and it had comfortable arm chairs and a People magazine out for me to read. I met the anesthesiologist who met me and went out my general health. After peeing one more time I was taken into surgery.

My only other surgery was my c section. This room was smaller, and therefore more scary and foreboding than the c section room. I didn’t cry this time luckily (I pretty much cried for 3 hours before my c section). The anesthesiologist knew I do not like needles so he tried to do it without my seeing anything which was awesome of him. I know that the drugs they were giving me weren’t going to make me completely knocked out but more floaty and uncaring so I wasn’t sure if I should fall asleep or not though but then the nurse told me to close my eyes because she was going to be turning on a bright light. I took that as my signal to go ahead and snooze.

Next thing I know, I hear a whirring noise and the room seemed to be full of a lot of people. I wasn’t sure if there was something over my eyes or I just didn’t open them because I could see the bright light but I think that there was something there. I luckily managed to snooze through the worst of the noises, I didn’t have to listen to any cracking or anything but, just as I woke up was when the dentist was saying that he didn’t think he could get my impacted tooth out. The nurse was very encouraging to him but those are NOT the words you want to hear when you wake up during surgery. I know that the drugs were still working for making me floaty and uncaring because if I was with it, I would have completely FREAKED OUT when I heard the dentist say that. After a bunch of whirring and yanking, they turned off the light, pulled the thing off my eyes (if there was something ) and wheeled me into recovery.

They called my husband, in the way home we got the drugs, a giant shamrock shake to share (I ate with a spoon), and our daughter from daycare. My mouth was so frozen that he had to check each time I swallowed a pill to see if it was still there! It took a few times to actually swallow the T3 because it was so hard to sip water. I think my husband had fun watching me “eat” the milkshake because I couldn’t feel anything so I had milkshake running all down my face. I ended up using many MANY paper towels until about 10:00 pm to mop up my chin from milkshake and drool.

I’m on the mend now and I can truly say that this is much more pleasant than recovering from a c section even though the end result is not nearly as satisfying as a c section.

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You May Think I’m Crazy But…

You may think I’m crazy but I love going to the dentist.

 

Dentist Gorilla Dr. U.Grunt by KittydirtVintage on Etsy

 

I love the feeling of having clean teeth. I have mildly sensitive teeth so sometimes it can hurt a bit, but I find it worth it to have clean teeth. I’ve gotten cavities filled and other minor dental procedures in the past without a worry.

I find it relaxing to go to the dentist’s office and lay back in the chair and not have to worry about communicating. I find my dentist’s constant off-key humming and occasional bursting out into song comforting.

 

Wisdom Tooth Cameo Necklace (black laser cut acrylic) by emikoshop on Etsy

 

 

Five years ago, I got my top two wisdom teeth pulled out. They had grown out of my gums and they were not causing problems with the rest of my teeth so my dentist was able to do it for me in his office. My dentist froze my mouth and was doing some work in there while keeping up a one-sided conversation. A few minutes later he said “Ok” and I asked if he was ready to pull my teeth. He told me that he had already pulled them! It had barely been any time and I only felt some mild pressure in my gums. This may sound odd, but it was definitely a relatively pleasant experience.

 

Wisdom Tooth Print 8x10 by theblackapple on Etsy

 

So if I love going to the dentist so much and don’t mind dental procedures, why am I filled with dread over going to get my bottom two wisdom teeth out this Thursday via dental surgery? I mean, I will not feel the pain, I won’t remember the experience, I get to eat loads of jello, and I will have 2 whole days off of work. How does this not sound great?

I am so scared!

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Eco-Friendly Jewelry

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting 2 wonderful and local jewelry designers. First on twitter, then in real life. They are Emily and Corina behind the beautiful jewelry line jake+cleo. What makes their shop special and unique is that their jewelry is eco-friendly.  Please read this interview, like their facebook page, follow them on twitter, and read their blog. While you’re shopping, check out Emily’s other etsy shop, emms gems.

Describe yourself.
We’re 2 girls with a shared passion for design. We met while working as kitchen designers and became fast friends.

What makes your jewelry eco-friendly?

We are excited to work with an eco-friendly medium like Art Clay silver, which is made with 100% recycled silver, water and an organic binder. Our design process is also environmentally responsible in that all scraps, shavings and dust are collected and reused in jake + cleo creations.
How did you get started in the world of crafting?
E: It’s in the family…or maybe it was as a Brownie.
C: I enjoyed building models in design school, does that count?

Your etsy shop is called jake + cleo, does this have any meaning to you? How did you choose the name?
We wanted a catchy name that represented us as designers. There are 2 of us, we own cats named Jake and Cleo, we like modern design with a twist, masculine yet feminine. Plus, we thought it sounded better than Corina + Emily.

What is a typical day for you?
E: I start just about every day with a bowl of Mini Wheats cereal and a glass of orange juice – NO PULP! But before that, Cleo the cat gets a good scratch behind the ears, and the other cat gets fed.
C: Every day is a little bit different. That’s what is great about working from home.

What inspires you?
E: Smiles. Giggles. Colour.
C: A deadline. I do my best work under pressure.

What is your favourite thing in your shop and why?
E: Nothing beats a great pair of earrings.


C: I love the Green Like Grass ring. It’s my favourite thing because it was the first ring that we designed and it’s still a top seller.

If you could go back and give yourself advice on starting out on etsy, what would it be?
E: practice taking photos at ALL times of the year!
C: I feel under-qualified to give people Etsy advice having only opened our shop in September 2010. But, have patience, it takes time to build relationships, followings and for buyers to find you.

What are some of your favourite etsy shops?
E: Emmsgems 😉
C: Emmsgems, definitely. I was Emily’s spokesperson/model before we started jake + cleo together. My latest favourite is Chrisssmith22, aka The Art of Zen…Crochet. Her latest crocheted ‘gypsy’ scarves are amazing.

Do you do any other types of crafts?
One Christmas we each made pencil crayon fabric roll-ups for our nieces. We SEWED them ourselves!

Is there any craft you wish you knew how to do?
E: Embroidery for sure!
C: I’m not so crafty. I sure would love to learn how to lay hardwood flooring.

Zombies, pirates, ninjas, or vampires?
E: That’s easy: none.
C: Yeah. Not so much. If you’d said werewolves…go team Jacob!

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