Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quality Website Content

Tips for Creating Quality Content

Keep it simple. People using the internet are looking for quick easy information. Give it to them. The typical internet user wants to sift through quickly to find what they need. If they click on your site from a search engine and it takes more than about 1.5 seconds to load, there’s a good chance they’ll hit backup before they even get a chance to see what you have to offer. Resist the urge to load your site with large image files and impressive Flash files which will just drive potential traffic away. Strive to keep your load time short.

Keep it easy to read. If they wanted to read a book they’d go straight to Barnes & Noble. Keep your content short and easy to find. Long paragraphs are your enemy. Stick to short paragraphs and sentences. Make use of bullets and numbering. Make keywords bold in select locations. Use italics where appropriate. The typical web browser is skimming. Make it easy for them.

Be original. Write your own articles if at all possible. Search engines love unique content and you can improve your rankings if your site has a great deal of original content. If you are not confident in your skills as a writer, consider asking someone for help or even hire a local college student. Just give them a bullet list of points you want to make and ask them to write it up for you.

Use spell check. Any decent word processor will have a spell check function as well as a grammar check function. Make use of them. You want your website to look professional and misspelled words say to viewers that you are unprofessional, incompetent and untrustworthy. It’s harsh, but true.

Proof read. Don’t rely on spell checker alone. There are a great many spelling and grammar mistakes that word processors will not pick up. You may have a missing word, duplicate word, phrase or sentence. You may have simply used the wrong word like ‘too’ instead of ‘two.’ Get someone else to proof read for you. It’s harder to catch your own mistakes than someone else’s.

Keep it relevant. Make sure your content is consistent with the aim of your website. Make sure it is relevant to the needs of your viewer. If your website is selling garden products, it might be best to avoid writing articles about your favorite sports team. You can start a new website for that.

Keep it current. Don’t let your content get out of date. Review your articles regularly and update as needed. Check to make sure your facts are still true. If you have links to outside websites, and you should, make sure they are still active. Make sure any contact information on your site is up to date. When you are finished reviewing, start again.

Start Your Own Online Craft Business

Many crafters out there have given up traveling to craft fairs every weekend. Instead they are selling their crafts on the Internet. If this is something you’ve though about, but dismissed due to a lack of familiarity with ecommerce or the Internet in general, you may want to reconsider. You too can sell your crafts online. It can be much simpler than you might think.

So many developers and supportive websites exist out there today, that even complete computer novices can start their own online craft business. You can do something as simple as a blog where you advertise just a few items to a large multi-page website featuring an ecommerce store, online shopping cart, message boards, etc.

The craft industry is booming, not just domestically, but internationally as well. You can join this rapidly expanding business, not just selling your own crafts, but selling craft supplies also. Starting your own ecommerce store can be as simple as a few clicks away. There are even online craft resources that provide free hosting and setup.

Etsy is a powerhouse in the online craft industry. They will help you start your very own online store for free. From there it is just a matter of taking a few pictures of your crafts, determining a sale price and uploading that information to your website. Etsy is just one of many online resources available to crafters.

Another option is to sell your crafts on a site like Ebay or Amazon, or look for online craft stores that are looking for vendors. A great many crafters are willing to sell your crafts for you for a small commission. Or you could just stick with Ebay or Amazon. They have tremendous exposure and are trusted sites. Most people feel more comfortable making purchases from names they know. The downside to this is your crafts could be lost among their huge inventory.

Maybe you’d like to build your own site from the ground up and sell your crafts there. That, too, can be easier than you might imagine. There are a great many web building software packages available, many of which can be downloaded free. You can also find free or very economical web hosting.

But don’t stop there. If you build your own site, you can increase your revenue by placing ads on your site. The ideas for crafters to start their own online craft business are endless. Search the web for inspiration and ideas.

Once you find out what your online goals are, start looking for support or software to get started. Don’t be afraid to join craft forums and ask other crafters how they got started. Sometimes it’s as simple as just asking a question to get you started on an exciting new online craft adventure.

Quality Craft Packaging

Once you’ve created a terrific craft the next important step prior to marketing is packaging. Don’t underestimate the value of packaging. It can boost sales and generate repeat business.

Have you ever received a so so gift that was beautifully wrapped? How about a pretty cool gift that was wrapped in newspaper or a cut up paper bag? Something that is wrapped beautifully predisposes the receiver to think whatever is inside is wonderful, while the opposite occurs if it is poorly wrapped.

Quality craft packaging for your products increases their perceived value, and overall desirability to customers. Using attractive packaging for your craft products also creates an impression of professionalism and reliability for your business. By packaging your craft products in an attractive and unique manner, you are telling your customer that your care about your product and them. This will inspire customer loyalty which results in repeat business.

The use of some ribbon or a decorative bag can turn a simple pillar candle into an upscale one of a kind work of art. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it gets the point across that a nicely wrapped craft product is more valuable to a customer that one that is left undressed.

Don’t forget holidays. Holidays provide the perfect time to sell your craft products. Package them accordingly. Your customers will love it if you wrap their purchase so beautifully that they don’t have to wrap their gifts themselves. You could even offer “deluxe gift wrapping” for an additional charge. Have materials prepared in advance for Fall/Thanksgiving, Christmas/Winter, Valentines Day, Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and summer.

Despite all this advice about beautiful packaging, you should try to keep your costs down in this area. Look for discount ribbons and accessories. Try shopping after the holidays to pick up supplies for the following year. Buy in bulk and split the cost with other crafters. Use your scraps if you have them to make your packaging coordinate with your craft.

Consider the packaging of your craft products as part of your overall product and the result will be positive.