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BrainofJen

Looking for some selling advice

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If you can't get a lightbox to work, another option is to get some (two is fine) bright white lights (daylight lamps for instance) and put those behind some kind of screen to diffuse the light. I've used white plastic Ikea bins for this in the past (Trofast, if anyone cares). Anything opaque and white will serve for this.

yay, now i can have an indoor ikea fort to go with my outdoor tent fort! :lol:

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EEEE! I think I may have finally found the answer to all of my photo woes! I picked up a couple OttLites on the advice of another etsy seller, and WOW! Expensive, but I'm thinking this may just be one of the best investments I've ever made! I'll keep you posted.... :)

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I have built the odd website for family and work. However I have almost zero coding ability. Solution? Layout everything except text in a photoshop document, and I do mean everything (buttons, header, backdrop, tables, etc.). Save this as a .pdf or .jpg depending on which appears clearer. Then simply place that image in a web-building program. My favorite is iWeb. That thing is beautiful to work with. Dreamweaver can work, but it requires far more patience. Add text, add buttons (invisible is best, just place them over where you designated they go in the layout) and make sure everything links together. Upload (I use cyberduck, another fantastic program) and Bob's your uncle.

Examples I have done: Durstnuclear.com Tattooyourwheels.com

On the photography front... want black that doesn't get dusty? Crushed panne velvet. You can typically pick it up at at Joann's (or fabric store of your choice) for about 3 bucks a yard.

Light too direct and bright? Use a bounce board. Pick up a white sheet of mat board, or card stock, or anything firm. Hold the board at an angle. Shine the light at the board, not the piece. And bounce! :D Works best if you have two light sources, one you can aim at the piece, one to aim at the bounce board to provide that extra punch of highlight.

I took these pictures with a camera on a phone, because I didn't have an actual camera lying around. Earring stand $2, Crushed Panne Velvet $3, cardboard to hold up the fabric in the back .50 cents, white cardstock to bounce the light 25 cents, two flashlights $10. Total setup cost $15.75.

Good luck!

post-2268-129265574409_thumb.jpg

post-2268-129265583793_thumb.jpg

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I have built the odd website for family and work. However I have almost zero coding ability. Solution? Layout everything except text in a photoshop document, and I do mean everything (buttons, header, backdrop, tables, etc.). Save this as a .pdf or .jpg depending on which appears clearer. Then simply place that image in a web-building program. My favorite is iWeb. That thing is beautiful to work with. Dreamweaver can work, but it requires far more patience. Add text, add buttons (invisible is best, just place them over where you designated they go in the layout) and make sure everything links together. Upload (I use cyberduck, another fantastic program) and Bob's your uncle.

Examples I have done: Durstnuclear.com Tattooyourwheels.com

On the photography front... want black that doesn't get dusty? Crushed panne velvet. You can typically pick it up at at Joann's (or fabric store of your choice) for about 3 bucks a yard.

Light too direct and bright? Use a bounce board. Pick up a white sheet of mat board, or card stock, or anything firm. Hold the board at an angle. Shine the light at the board, not the piece. And bounce! :D Works best if you have two light sources, one you can aim at the piece, one to aim at the bounce board to provide that extra punch of highlight.

I took these pictures with a camera on a phone, because I didn't have an actual camera lying around. Earring stand $2, Crushed Panne Velvet $3, cardboard to hold up the fabric in the back .50 cents, white cardstock to bounce the light 25 cents, two flashlights $10. Total setup cost $15.75.

Good luck!

Yikes. All that website stuff still makes 0 sense to me. How sad am I??? LOL. But I appreciate the suggestions, I'll have to source some help, but I'm sure eventually I'll get it. I'm gonna transfer my domain away from SoopSee once I learn a little more, I'm really annoyed that you can't get past the first page because the page numbers are hidden by that footer. Grr! I've heard good things about Dreamhost, but I gotta learn more about coding & such first.

I'm definitely more comfortable with the photography since getting my OttLites, those things are AMAZING. Speaking of amazing, I can't believe you took those photos with a phone! Wow! I can't imagine what you could do with a professional camera!

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Am I the only one here who says screw photography and just scans in their work? I have a cheap all in one printer and I use Xsane in Ubuntu 10.4 with a 300dpi resolution.

I get excellent pictures every time. I use it for my coin shop, where I scan in the obverse and reverse of each coin, then Photoshop the two images together and upload that. On my coins you can see every little blemish, bag mark, nick, scratch, and flaw. It allows me to showcase everything exactly as is, which is what my customers want. When I put up graded coins, they can see that the grades are fair. I also don't have to worry about lighting, buying expensive cameras, etc, and I can do upwards of 20 pieces at a time. Just keep them in the same orientation on the scanner bed, and flip them over. It's fast and efficient, and in GIMP it's a breeze to break the base images apart into usable photos.

hope that helps. :)

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Am I the only one here who says screw photography and just scans in their work? I have a cheap all in one printer and I use Xsane in Ubuntu 10.4 with a 300dpi resolution.

I get excellent pictures every time. I use it for my coin shop, where I scan in the obverse and reverse of each coin, then Photoshop the two images together and upload that. On my coins you can see every little blemish, bag mark, nick, scratch, and flaw. It allows me to showcase everything exactly as is, which is what my customers want. When I put up graded coins, they can see that the grades are fair. I also don't have to worry about lighting, buying expensive cameras, etc, and I can do upwards of 20 pieces at a time. Just keep them in the same orientation on the scanner bed, and flip them over. It's fast and efficient, and in GIMP it's a breeze to break the base images apart into usable photos.

hope that helps. :)

Scanning is a fine option for some items like coins. Hey any option that gets the job done for no extra cost is a valid one. However when it comes to getting any depth the scanner will loose the battle. In an industry where much revenue can be generated through long distance transactions having quality, and appealing images can be the key to sale. Scanning coins is more of a documentation then it is an aesthetic presentation. People in the position to buy coins are not doing so for the artistic quality of the piece, it is for the implied value, and the condition of the coin.

Try scanning a larger three dimensional item, or perhaps a maille garment. You will rapidly appreciate the advantages of even the most limited camera.

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Visited your website, took a look.

I kind of work on a site for similar purposes for a side job. Our site is not only laughably a source of information for wikipedia (we've been sited for a number of articles I wrote), but we come up first on google for a certain manufacturer, despite the fact that it's just a simple homemade HTML and CSS page selling vintage items, (we come up above all the other sellers with much more expensive pages and even the manufacturer, much to their consternation).

First of all, the background needs improvement. The orange squares are a bit garish, and you'd do better with a simpler backdrop.

Secondarily, categories for your jewelry would be an improvement.

Third, better control over the divs that your items appear in on your sales page would be nice. The individual cells that your items appear in (before I go to the page to purchase which has a nightmarish coding problem i'll get to in a second)change it fit the text, which makes the rows seem a bit staggered.

See here: http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w35/postindustrialist/ScreenHunter_02Jan311534.gif

When I click on a particular item, I found that the page it redirects to places the image div over the info, and I can't figure out for the life of me how to make a purchase or to get more info because the image covers and obstructs me from seeing it.

See Here: http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w35/postindustrialist/ScreenHunter_01Jan311534.gif

That's definitely going to prevent sales.

(BTW, ignore the weird font difference. My computer has something like 15,000 fonts on it, and for some reason my browser interprets certain fonts that are undeclared in a funny way. I will fix it... one day).

Secondarily, your site/domain name doesn't really capture what you are selling, or even mention it. it kind of sounds like a blog or a writer's site or something, but not focusing on sales.

the pics (not sure whether you already changed them or not) look fine. I also like the high res images you get when you go to the page with the weird divs.

Next. DO NOT REDIRECT TO ETSY!!!!!

Etsy is a site with literally millions of other competitors. Once off your page, your customers will rarely hit the back button to go back and see what else you got. And on etsy, they're more than likely going to roam THEIR site and see what else might be available.. and most likely from other people.

Plus you have to pay to be on etsy, and your items will no longer show after a specific time period.

It's fine to run an etsy shop side by side, but DO NOT rely on them for your shopping cart. Use paypal's buttons if you aren't going to build (or download) a shopping cart. You still have to pay paypal's commission, but you aren't giving etsy a cut as well, and you're not redirecting. Paypal's buttons are easy anyhow. It's just filling out some general info about each item, and then copy and pasting some code into your site. Couldn't be easier. Paypal handles all the shopping cart stuff seamlessly through their own site, but it doesn't really drag people away from yours at the same time.

Now that we got that out of the way, back to your categories: "find me on the web" should be on your contact page. Not the biggest and longest honking link in your menu! Same with your blog. You really don't need a blog. Instead I suggest an info or projects page, where you can talk about your upcoming projects, tutorials on a few easy projects, and anything related to your craft you feel like sharing. Instead you should have rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc listed or jewelry, clothing, misc, or whatever categories of what you are selling be the bulk of your menu. It should make sense, and seem intuitive, and visit your page from the perspective as though you've never visited this page before.

Back to the info page.

A great way to up your SEO is to have articles and information, which not only gives your customers the air of authority, which can make them trust you more, but also is a great way to build more key words into your site. The more times you bring up key words, the more your page will register for those words. The best way to do this though is to not overly think about key words, but to write in a way about the subjects your are dealing with where key words will naturally appear. Your articles should be interesting, and avoid the trap of looking like you're padding it for those key words. Also provide links wherever appropriate. The more links to your page, the more you will register on the search engines. However, do not let the information section take over your site. It's about selling, so make that the forefront of your page's purpose.

You can also build up links by searching the web for sites and search engines where you can register your page (google and yahoo I know have forms for this, and I think MSN and Aol do too). These will provide more links from outside your page to your page and help. With etsy, you can build a link to your page possibly within your profile or possibly within your listings, though you will have to check the terms of service to make sure what is appropriate or not.

Thirdly, be more descriptive with your items. Listing materials, weaves, and so on not only can give your customers a better feel for what they are getting, but also provide those key words you may be missing. And when adding images don't forget your Alt tags. Those tags give a description of an image if it doesn't show... but they also provide the key words within your HTML for the web spiders, which cannot tell what your image is by appearance. Also name your images something relevant, which also means more key words, and the possibility of coming up on image searches for those same key words.

Another thing to do is to use the ranking of HTML tags. Certain tags get higher priority over others. A header tag will have more weight with a search engine over some simple formatted text. If you quote, use a < cite > tag rather than just your usual italics. It also ranks higher in importance.

I hate facebook and twitter, but you can also use independent accounts (and you should keep your personal life separate from your business accounts!) to build up links to your site and to your store as the people above suggested. But make sure your links go to your site and NOT to etsy or artfire! Again, those sites are sites where your customers have easier access to your direct competitors and less of a chance to get back to your works.

Finally, stick with it. Another way to get to the top is to just squat for a really long time. sticking around for years also adds to your Search engine rank.

As a final note, sales are usually slower on the web than in person. It's just the nature of the game. The more you stick with it, the more you'll see better results.

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Wow, that's a lot of info to take in, thank you soooo much!

In the meantime, in light of all the craziness going on over at Etsy right now, I've closed my shop there. Well actually, I've delisted all my items and changed my announcement to redirect people to my ArtFire site, which I'm sure will get me shut down in no time :lol:

I've been doing fairly well at ArtFire, considering I've only been there a couple of months, learning a LOT about SEO. But now I have to start all over with my own domain. The reason I went with Soopsee was the simplicity, I know exactly ZERO about building a site, so it seemed like a logical step at the time. But since my only option there is to link to my etsy shop.... :angry:

This would be much easier if I didn't have a full time day job & could concentrate on at least learning how to do all this stuff, but for now it's just a little here and a little there. With ArtFire, I apparently have the ability to put my RapidCart directly on my own website (whenever I finally get it up and running again), so I assume that means customers would essentially be buying directly from my site, as ArtFire doesn't require registration to buy, but you clearly know a lot more than I do about how all this stuff works, what do you think?

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Wow, that's a lot of info to take in, thank you soooo much!

In the meantime, in light of all the craziness going on over at Etsy right now, I've closed my shop there. Well actually, I've delisted all my items and changed my announcement to redirect people to my ArtFire site, which I'm sure will get me shut down in no time :lol:

I've been doing fairly well at ArtFire, considering I've only been there a couple of months, learning a LOT about SEO. But now I have to start all over with my own domain. The reason I went with Soopsee was the simplicity, I know exactly ZERO about building a site, so it seemed like a logical step at the time. But since my only option there is to link to my etsy shop.... :angry:

This would be much easier if I didn't have a full time day job & could concentrate on at least learning how to do all this stuff, but for now it's just a little here and a little there. With ArtFire, I apparently have the ability to put my RapidCart directly on my own website (whenever I finally get it up and running again), so I assume that means customers would essentially be buying directly from my site, as ArtFire doesn't require registration to buy, but you clearly know a lot more than I do about how all this stuff works, what do you think?

I don't know anything about artfire to be honest. I do know a lot of people like using it, but taking a brief look at their site, they look like just another etsy clone.

A website isn't that hard. And guess what? you DO know HTML already! Well bits and pieces if you use message boards. For example, if you hit the bold button on the reply page, it'll insert a [ b ] and a [ /b ] (minus the spaces) into your response. Believe it or not, that's almost HTML code for bold, except instead of [ and ] it's < and >.

HTML is not hard, and you can honestly learn it bits and pieces over the course of a few weekends. It takes absolutely no tools except for a text editor, like notepad (which is how I learned) and a web browser.

(here's a decent site to learn from: http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp They also have CSS which is helpful too)

All you have to remember is that when you save your files from notepad, you have to change the part that says "save as: .txt file" to "all files" and put .html at the end of it.

BTW, I used to frequent Etc. on etsy every now and then. How are the girls holding up over there?

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Sadly, Etc. is now gone :( Just one of the many changes happening over at E. right now, with really no explanations from admin. Hence the closing of my shop there. It's really not the place it used to be....

I suppose for a buyer ArtFire probably isn't all that different, other than not having to be registered to buy (which I LOVE, I know I've lost sales on E. because of that), but VERY different from a seller's perspective. I'm just happy to not have to play the re-listing game. Bad for SEO...

I don't even know what CSS is , lol. But thank you so much for that link, I'm gonna go start learning right now!

Seriously, I cannot thank you enough for spending all this time!

:beer: Cheers!

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Sadly, Etc. is now gone :( Just one of the many changes happening over at E. right now, with really no explanations from admin. Hence the closing of my shop there. It's really not the place it used to be....

I suppose for a buyer ArtFire probably isn't all that different, other than not having to be registered to buy (which I LOVE, I know I've lost sales on E. because of that), but VERY different from a seller's perspective. I'm just happy to not have to play the re-listing game. Bad for SEO...

I don't even know what CSS is , lol. But thank you so much for that link, I'm gonna go start learning right now!

Seriously, I cannot thank you enough for spending all this time!

:beer: Cheers!

haha... No problem. Thanks for the update. I miss the people's there, and yes, the relisting game was irritating to say the least....

I hope all works out for you and keep us posted!

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Hello all!

I just wanted to pop by and say a HUUUUGE thank you to everyone for all the amazing help! You have no idea how much all of it is really appreciated.

I'm still hard at work, I only have my ArtFire shop at the moment (I debated re-listing on Etsy again, but I'm reeeally leery since they changed their privacy policy, I've been hearing many horror stories already, so I'm glad I made the decision to leave when I did), and it is looking much prettier than it used to :) And I'm working at adding new items as often as possible. My domain name has FINALLY been transferred, but until I learn a little more, I just have it pointing to my AF site.

So really, not a lot has changed, still plodding along, finally learing to have a little patience with this whole process. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks! If I could buy you all a beer, I totally would!

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Realistically, you will not be making the first page of Google using the most common search words like "jewelry", "bracelets" and "beads". Unless you decide to spend a scary amount of money in banner campaigns it is not very likely that you will draw in too many random visitors in the near future. So, do make sure your site follows SEO (search engine optimized) guidelines so you can be found if someone searches for you, but do not worry about getting those random hits just yet.

The website is a good addition to your business card. You should be handing out cards with your name, information, and website to as many people as you can afford. This gives you direct hits through those potential customers and anyone else who expresses interest to them. Many have mentioned that they fail to make a sale at a show but the buyer does purchase the item on the website later that week. That is the power of web sales for smaller ventures such as your own. The trick is to make your website as easy to navigate as possible. I won't go into critiquing your current design, but sufficed to say that the trick is to make your site look polished and oriented toward selling quality product. Remember, websites can give first impressions too. I personally dislike the "garage sale" feel of a site and will often not make a purchase unless I have met them personally and know they have quality wares.

Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter) are becoming great, free ways to advertise and get people aware that you exist. Try to update your FB/Twitter page at least every other day with something just so people know you are still alive. Avoid spamming your FB link to everyone under the sun because that can be annoying, but promote your services actively. That being said, you already have a blog component built into your site. Use that space to generate unique, useful content so people are driven to your site for more reasons than just to buy some jewelry.

There are plenty of articles online about how to increase traffic to your website so you should probably read up on some of that information as well. Driving traffic is a universal challenge for any website. The information applies to you as much as it applies to a big corporation.

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Im looking for 60 pieces of 10in x 16in squares of chainmail made of 14ga. 10mm steel rings

anyone out there that can do this at a reasonable price??

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Hello all!

I just wanted to pop by and say a HUUUUGE thank you to everyone for all the amazing help! You have no idea how much all of it is really appreciated.

I'm still hard at work, I only have my ArtFire shop at the moment (I debated re-listing on Etsy again, but I'm reeeally leery since they changed their privacy policy, I've been hearing many horror stories already, so I'm glad I made the decision to leave when I did), and it is looking much prettier than it used to :) And I'm working at adding new items as often as possible. My domain name has FINALLY been transferred, but until I learn a little more, I just have it pointing to my AF site.

So really, not a lot has changed, still plodding along, finally learing to have a little patience with this whole process. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks! If I could buy you all a beer, I totally would!

If you are still looking for HTML/web page help, I highly recommend the "For Dummies" books. That's what I used to learn Front Page and set up my corporate website.

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Frontpage!?!??!?!?!?!

NO!

notepad is the ONLY way to truly learn HTML.

I tried to take the shortcut out, but all my friends made fun of me and treated me with disdain till I started doing notepad. I am SOOOO grateful for their insistence. My HTML skills have boosted my annual income by about $5-7,000 for the last 4 years. XD

Edited by The Postindustrialist

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