FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS2018-12-21T11:40:08-05:00
Forms of Payment2018-12-22T20:27:01-05:00

We accept cash, check, bank and credit cards through Paypal

Checks will need to clear before the project begins. We accept partial payments, and will provide service to the extent of the payment made. Made to be Unique also accepts some full and partial trades/bartering offers. If you are interested in this option, please mention it before we begin to work on your project.

Made To Be Unique will accept partial payments but only work for the amount that has been received. Except agreed upon prior to the design process, all payments are due up front.Bartering/Trade Crystal Calhoun of Made To Be Unique also accepts bartering and partial bartering as a form of payment. We have a wide range of interests, so please feel free to contact us if you believe you have something to offer for barter or partial barter.

Do you accept partial payments?2018-12-22T20:12:14-05:00

Yes we do!  Installment payment plans are great for those that want a great website, store design or need advertising services, yet need to pay them in affordable amounts on a monthly or weekly basis.  Please understand that we work for the amount that we’ve been paid for first.  We do not accept final payments after the project is complete, but rather before the project is complete.  Please contact us with any questions on this or to inquire about specific installment amounts.  Thanks!

Our Process, Start to Finish2018-12-21T14:45:54-05:00
Q&A – As an artist how can I promote my artwork better?2018-12-21T11:45:11-05:00

Let’s start off with some things that first come to my mind that should help

#1 a blog for your website – blog about all kinds of art and techniques… Answer Q&A’s about art… that would REALLY get some help to your site. Then blog about other artsy trends and what-nots – but keep it mostly related to art stuff. Your feelings/perspectives on this and that… it could even be rants and raves about others art.. just be careful on that on though, lol.

#2 you may consider having a Zazzle store and put your artwork on gift products. In the description ALWAYS mention your website and give a link. You can increase the cost of the gift products by whatever % you like. Then you can make a small commission and at the same time draw traffic to your website. It takes a while to make any “real” money through Zazzle so consider it more of an opportunity to advertise. You can also put some of your zazzle gift products on your website. I think it’s pretty fun and real easy to use!

#3 Deviantart.com – there are a gazillion artist on there that show off their artwork and get involved in groups. They rant, they rave and they get followers and they follow. Always, always post website links wherever you put any of your artwork pictures, and put it in the description field that way the search engines find your website address on multiple websites – it’s called link building.  Be wary of deviantart though, they have a lot of people that post a lot of bad artwork that you may very well not want to see.  I HATE visiting their homepage if I’m not logged in.  Kind of like Youtube, it’s full of perverse ads until you are logged in and it knows your personal settings.  (even still with the personal settings there’s trouble brewing).  So if/when I go in I go straight to my own channel, post my own stuff, answer questions from people that send me notes and then I’m out of there again.

#4 More link building. Visit other websites and make comments on their website articles pertaining to art, when you make a comment it usually gives you the opportunity to add your website address. This link will go with your name when your comment is published. This is VERY helpful for search engines as they see your website being promoted on other websites (which is the idea of #2 and #3)

#5 put together some wonderful photos and make some Youtube videos with them. Youtube has this tool where you just load the images and choose some free songs they provide and wa’la you have a slideshow video of your artwork! Be sure to put your website information in the description and use awesome key words in the title…. keywords that relate to your kind of artwork/photography, skills and tools.

Consider making a bunch of videos that feature different feelings or topics, or whatever… just the more the merrier.

Ok, that’s the first stuff that comes to my mind. That should keep you rather busy as well! heh!

Oh! And if you have a blog – if it’s WordPress there is a tool called Publicize which is linked to the Jetpack plugin.  It can post your newest blog on your facebook fan page automatically for you. It also posts to twitter, pin and Google+ if you have those accounts as well. The more automatic posts, the less you have to do yourself. Woot, woot!

I’m sure I can think of more but again that would keep you pretty busy for a while.

Please keep me posted and ask any other questions that may come to mind.

I welcome my website visitors to share other ideas on how to better promote your artwork online!

Good product photos may help sell your product more than the website itself.2018-12-21T11:44:08-05:00

Good pictures are equally important for selling products online as is the website itself, dare I say even more important. Don’t let the product photos you have rob the product and make them look cheap.  By adding special effects to your images you can actually make your product look cheap and less appealing, especially photos with distracting borders and clip art around them.

The best thing you could do is take clean and clear pictures of your products and do not add all kinds of “special effects around them”. When you take pictures try to use the same background colors and similar complimentary displays (eg. Flowers or leaves for an accent).  Flowers, leaves and other pretty yet simple things can really help as well.  Just be sure they are similar, that they do not distract but rather compliment the item you are trying to sell.  Such as an orange sitting next to a jar of orange facial cream – as seen in the featured image (photo credit: SMMCosmetics.com).

Having a lot of different backgrounds and colors behind your product can make your store look cluttered/messy.  This will cause a person to not want to hang around much longer resulting in a dramatic loss of product sells and page hits.

I strongly suggest using a pure white background (or very light gray) if you can get one.  Black backgrounds can look really classy as well but I think white is by far the easiest to work with and shows off your products very well. Some huge roll out paper or boards might work, even the ones they have at Wal-mart can be used above and below the product, especially if you can not afford to have your product pictures taken professionally.  However, never use wrinkled paper or wrinkled sheets as your background. Wrinkled sheets are very obvious, obnoxious and distracting. I’ve seen many sellers try to use wrinkled sheets, even I did this unknowingly when I first started to sell products online. But again it is very obvious, very distracting and kills a lot of the class a product has to offer the buyer.

Let your beautiful products sell themselves. Also, showcase your product images one at a time, collages are great for the family wall and for a website homepage, but can be overwhelming or annoying when it comes to a product page.  Keep things simple and clean, and again, let your products sell themselves. Large clear photos of the products with a very minimal background will help you sell your products and make it more likely for you to get the price you are hoping for.

Quick questions and answers that help designers provide a good quote2018-12-21T11:42:45-05:00

I’m always looking to give my customers the best quote possible so knowing what work is involved really makes a difference!  Here are some questions I commonly ask new clients before I provide them a project quote:

What service/s are you considering hiring me for?

popular answers:

  • eBay store design
  • eBay auction template
  • website design
  • labeling, CD/DVD or packaging design
  • Facebook cover design
  • other (please be specific)

How would you like your design to look?

What kind of products do you sell or plan to sell / if any?

How many pages are you interested in having me custom design for you?

page examples could be

  • homepage
  • about us
  • auction template
  • faqs
  • front or back cover for a flyer
  • brochure pages (how many)
  • other (please be specific)

Are there any special features or functions you would like it to have?

Is there a design or a website page that you admire, or some things about it you like a lot?  If so, please send me a link so I can get an idea of what kind of look of functionality you are interested in having.

 

For print marketing inquiries I also ask these important questions:

  • Is there a specific size or file type (such as psd, pdf, eps, ai, other) you need the design to be in?
  • Do you have a template outline for me to use that your printing company has provided you?
Do you host images or web pages?2018-12-21T11:41:10-05:00

Yes, I would be happy to, but I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what’s in my future and if God plans to take me home someday soon… Neither does any other web designing company, so if you want to be assured that you’ll have your designs tomorrow and the next day and the next, without fear of me falling off the face of this earth, then I strongly suggest you host your own images and pages. But again, I would be happy to if you would like me to, as it saves me a LOT of extra work. Be warned, this is most likely the reason why you see other web designers boasting that they’ll HOST for free (it’s so much easier that way).

How can I trust you to provide me the service you are offering since I don’t even know you?2018-12-21T11:38:33-05:00

The best encouragement I have to offer you is my 11+ years of unalterable eBay feedback. I have been a seller since 2000, so there’s a lot of feedback there that speaks for my service, my speed, my designing capabilities and most importantly, my integrity!

Please note that while I still sell on ebay from time to time it has become rare, so while the feedback there does reach back as far as 2000, there may not be many current feedbacks added. This is only because I am no longer dependent on eBay for my income, I’ve been able to pull away from ebay and do well w/out it… So I only list on ebay when I realllly want to. A pleasant goal most business owners might consider seeking to achieve themselves. ;)

You are also welcome to visit my Testimonials page to read years worth of client testimonials. And feel free to even contact any of them for a personal a reference.

If I hire you now can I wait a little while until I gather my information?2018-12-21T11:31:54-05:00

I have no problem waiting to begin your design if you need a little time to plan out any specific needs. Hiring me now might save you money in the long run as I might give myself a raise later on. My objective is like most everyone’s; work less and get paid more. I would love to spend more time with my children regardless of my love and addiction for design!

Do you have recommendations for brand new online businesses?2018-12-21T11:30:10-05:00

I do!  For those of you who are new to selling online you may consider the following business plan.  This plan should help you make money the quickest way possible (now) while building up an ecommerce website in which you can sell your own products from (ongoing) so you can make money now and the most profit possible as time progresses.

  1. Get your business name established (see recommendations below)
  2. Get your products ready to sell
  3. Open an eBay store and sell your products here first.
  4. When you send out your products always put a business card or thank you card in the packages, with an invitation to check out your website for more wonderful deals such as this one.
  5. Forward your domain name to the ebay store for now while you build up your products.  This way you can make money as quickly as possible while advertising your website domain.  For now your website visitors will just automatically be sent to your eBay store to buy. But later, when you’re ready you can turn off the forwarding and have them see your new website instead.
  6. While you’re making money on eBay and establishing a clientele, get your website going.
  7. Work on your website products and content.
  8. Advertise, advertise, advertise. The more you do this, the less dependent on eBay you will become.  Within time you may not need the help of eBay for income at all.  It took me several years but I’ve accomplished this myself.  With the help of social networking your timeframe could be a lot shorter!  Having been able to pull away from Ebay is the reason why my eBay feedback doesn’t have much current feedback posted to it. I just haven’t needed or wanted to sell on eBay for quite some time… but it did take me a lot of work to get to this point.  Ebay is great for getting established and known…. but the plan is to pull away as soon as you can, so you can keep most of the profits yourself, heh!

Recommendations for establishing a good business name.

Consider a name that is easy to use, starts with either A, B, or C… and don’t use numbers in the business name (yuck).  It would be good to have key words in the name, ie. beauty, fashion, makeup or cosmetics; as this will help you in the search engines ratings greatly. So for a Cosmetics business you may consider something like:  Cosmetics Wholesale or Beautiful You Cosmetics.  (just as an example)

But again something easy to remember, easy to spell and early in the alphabet.  When your site is added to a list if you start with A, B or C, then you’ll be more at the top of that list!   You don’t have to take all the recommendations, but the more you get the easier it will be for people to remember, return and recommend!

Do you use Google Adwords yourself and have you profited from it?2018-12-21T11:15:18-05:00

I do use Google ad words, but I have not really profited much from it. I don’t really have the type of site set up that works well with Google adwords. Now if you had a fashion blog and posted fashion tips and trends you could probably do real well with Google ad words. There are so many companies around, or even just webposts that will go through step by step with you to get things rolling. Check out these Adwords Scripts as a starting point to gain an understanding of the basics of what you need to be doing. Google ad words are great for informational websites such as blogs with trendy posts and news & events going on. I do plan on using Google adwords in the future on other websites I have in the making. I should be able to benefit from Google adwords better on those sites verses my own website designing services website.

What I like about Google adwords is that is very hands-off advertising. From what I understand, Google will post advertisements according to what is on the page the person is viewing and also what the persons search history is like. So Google basically advertises to the visitor what they think the visitor is already interested in.

What I don’t like is that if I put one of these adwords on my service website, Google’s ads will also include links to other COMPETITORS website services. I do not want to put an ad on my website that will advertise a competitors business… that’d just be crazy! Lol So again, it’s great to use, you just need to be careful WHERE you use the Google Adwords.

For me I’ve made a nice commission using cj.com (Commission Junction) instead. Here I’m able to choose who I recommend and why I recommend them. For instance, I use HostGator for website hosting, I’m signed up with their affiliate program through cj.com so when I make a recommendation to my new clients, and use the affiliate link I will get a nice commission for that recommendation if the person signs up for a hosting account, and this a recommendation I would have made even w/out the commission. So it’s nice and I don’t feel threatened about advertising a competitor business, or even a business I wouldn’t really recommend in the first place. To me cj.com is a win-win for everyone. 🙂

Are Video Blogs (Vlogs) good for business SEO?2018-12-21T11:13:40-05:00

Well they can be good and bad – it really depends on how you vlog. For instance one of my makeup clients started a vlog and she started LOSING business – dramatically fast. Scared her pretty bad. What I believe happened was that she was vlogging from home, with a background that was too comfortable rather than professional and “sterile” – and that probably got ladies wondering what kind of conditions their makeup was being produced in…. eg. Someone’s kitchen counter top… probably doesn’t sound very appealing to women putting this stuff on their faces.

SOOOO….. she took her videos down.

Now what I think she should have done is created a very “sterile” looking background and then vlogged. I think she could have done well with that. Another point to consider is what kind of information should be shared, and how much or how often should one vlog. If a business owner is very open and wants to share their “real side” with people because they are naturally very personal and friendly, the business owner may in fact scare a lot of buyers away. There are many people out there that don’t want to know the “real side” of who they are doing business with. Most people have their opinions on this or that and if a business owner voices too much of their opinion well they can be assured someone out there will hold it against them and choose to do business with someone else.

With that I would say that the success of vlogging is conditional. Some niches such as artists, musicians, news and political debater types and such would probably do well with them, while other businesses would probably only do well with videos that are informational or advertisements of their products.

Now informational fyi’s – how-to’s and advertisements are really powerful for SEO so I would strongly recommend getting into this area and putting some videos out there – they do help! Just don’t forget to put the website domain name in the video title and/or description.

Selling to American’s on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday2018-12-21T10:14:40-05:00

Question

It appears that America have been on holiday since Thanksgiving.  I have a few questions you might be able to answer.

  1. Is Thanksgiving on the same date each year?
  2. What is Black Friday? It looks like I missed an opportunity for some sales.
  3. I’ve also seen the term Cyber Monday. What’s that?

 

Answer

Yah our Thanksgiving Holidays are almost as treasured to Americans as Christmas and 4th of July.  It’s a big event.  Many people will get 2 paid vacation days off to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Same for Christmas (btw – we don’t celebrate Christmas ourselves, I’m just sharing matter of factly – but we do enjoy Thanksgiving!)  🙂

Black Friday is the main 1 day event where Americans forget who they are and put on a very animalistic nature for the sake of saving a few bucks.  The measures they do to observe this disturbing day is inhuman.  My husband read that this year 2 people were run over in a parking lot, people are knocking people over, bringing handguns to Wal-Marts, fist fighting, literally breaking doors down (LITERALLY) to get inside a store.  It is sickness.  And a great point was made that all the time people put into a LONG OVERNIGHT waiting line outside a store (ON THANKSGIVING EVENING till the next morning) that all that time they could have put in the same amount of extra work hours in at work and would have been able to get the same product they’re standing in line for.

I was disgusted when I heard people were staying in line over night at a Toys-R-Us of all places…..  A Kids toy place!  I mean really… stay home with your kids on Thanksgiving, they’ll love you more for it than the toy you’d stand in line for hours just to save $20 or $50 bucks.

It is sad and disgusting at the same time.

As far as sells opportunity, sure its defiantly a time to throw out some sales pitches.  All holidays are advertising opportunities.  Black Friday is just another “reason” for the season – of shopping.  But it mostly pertains to retail chains.  There are many online businesses that will try to do a “pre-Black Friday” sale in order to get the peoples money BEFORE they spend it all on Black Friday at the retail chains.  This works to some degree.  But I think it’s a minor degree.  These people that rush in line at the stores and stay overnight there with their sleeping bags and what-not – also do it for the “experience” and thrill… and sheer stupidity.  (eh hem… as you can see I’m quite perturbed over this particular day, lol)

It was pointed out just looking at the animalistic nature of these people rushing in and grabbing and fighting and hurting each other (OVER ELECTRONICS) how much worse would it be if our economy were to go through a meltdown / economic disaster.  The people are just uncontrolled… and how much worse would it be if it were not a Black Friday – but a depression or terrorist attack that made us have to fend for ourselves.  They’d be animals out there.. no humanity about them whatsoever. ARGh.

Sorry… venting while answering your question. Heh.

Ok, back to holiday sales.
It’d be a good idea for you to get a list of American Holidays and popular events.  Any holiday or popular event is typically a advertising opportunity.  Companies will find whatever holiday or “reason” they can to throw a sales pitch… and it works.  Give a person a reason to shop, and many times, they will.  People for the most part are followers.  Very few leaders out there.. and companies are leading the followers into spending.  Some are better at it than others.

Another idea you might consider is signing up for some other popular newsletter lists, especially the makeup companies.. and just keep an eye on them and their advertising.  I remember you said you’re doing that with Barb, which is awesome because she really keys in on selling, she’s a leader!   But each leader has their own style, so again watching and signing up for different newsletters of makeup sellers will broaden your perspectives as you learn to lead in online makeup advertising yourself.

Cyber Monday – honestly I don’t know enough about it.  But my guess is that it’s online businesses trying to play catch up with the retail chains Black Friday.  Christmas is right around the corner, this is the one big opportunity for business to make the most that they can in the whole entire year…. If they don’t get $$ now who knows if their business will make it through the economy slump yet to come.

In my opinion makeup sales are very different.  Yes they can be used a gifts, and very nice gifts at that… but for the most part they are a daily “need” for a large portion of women.  So they get makeup on a very regular basis.  Especially the foundation.  The eye colors can last a LOOONG time, so keeping them a fun thing is a bonus, but the main attraction is to keep the foundation well stocked so women can hide their “flaws”.

So having said all that, yes Black Friday and Cyber Monday are selling opportunities for you, I assure you, there are monthly and even bi-weekly reasons in which to advertise the need for makeup, lol.

Even sharing Australian customs and holidays with the Americans is an added bonus, what a neat thing to learn about another countries holidays and to enjoy a great sale for both American and Australian events!  That’d be neat to read a short newsletter about some Australian holiday and then to find out I could get a discount off along with the Australians… I’d feel like part of the family or something, lol..

This would also be great for blogging opportunity (SEO) in which you can fill up your site with priceless keywords.

Holidays and events… it’s a company’s true romance novel.

A Powerful SEO Tool – Blogging for Website Traffic!2018-12-21T10:10:49-05:00

Q: Do you suggest that a blog is the first place to start for getting traffic?  I want to learn, and start with the most important place first in getting traffic to my capture page.

A:  A blog is the most powerful tool for getting traffic – if you USE it.  I have many clients who order my services for an ecommerce and blog and then they never end up using the blog, it becomes such a wasted investment and opportunity for them.  So, if you use it, yes, it will be soooo helpful in regards to traffic.

The best thing to do is post 1-3 articles on your website a week.  It should be stuff related to what you’re selling most of all… ie. Health, nutrition, oils and all that good healthy stuff.  Writing about your personal experience in using them would be AWESOME… writing about some testimonials you’ve received or heard that amazed you would be great.  Writing about FAQS about the oils… so many things.  They can be short blog posts (articles) or long ones, the more information you post the better for SEO… but it can also burn you out quickly so keep in mind short and sweet is also good, just keep them coming in!

You may consider creating a facebook fan page as well, and every time you post to your blog you can copy the url and paste it into your facebook fanpage.  In time as your fans grow they’ll be able to appreciate the info you have on fb.

You’re welcome to like & keep an eye on my pages and see how I use FB in conjunction with my blog.

 

It’s a good idea to watch others and learn how they do things. 

If you ever get into sending out newsletters then consider signing up for newsletters of other companies with similar products, and see how they advertise to their subscribers.  🙂

For now, yes, get a blog and use it regularly.  If possible have it on the same domain name as your website.

Looking for some feedback on your website (as well as any others)? This new tool helps you analyze and evaluate website content by showing Page Authority, keywords, page tags and other page attributes, how much is their bounce rate, etc. It’s also great for competitive analysis and content research – all helpful information that can be used to create a good website.

instructions to help you get the newsletters on your website blog2018-12-21T10:08:48-05:00

Many people rely heavily on their newsletter campaigns and put a lot of time, attention and detail into their newsletters yet what they fail to do is to use that WONDERFUL content rich information for their websites!  Search engines LOVE information, information, information, and if you are posting a lot of information in your weekly and bi-weekly newsletters, why not copy that information and post it to a website blog??!  That information can be stored up and used for your benefit as the Search Engines will recommend people to your website more and more!!!

Here’s a little guide (err… suggestion) so as to show you how to get old newsletters you’ve already written and post them to your WordPress website and/or blog.

2 suggestions to help you get the newsletters on your website.

#1 – When you write your newsletter write it in a word document first… and then copy the information over to both your newsletter and then your website.  🙂

#2 – if you’ve already posted the information and want to copy it from a newsletter…

  • Open the newsletter you want
  • Highlight all the information you want to add to your website
  • Copy
  • Open your notepad found on your pc under accessories
  • Paste or (Control X) the content on your clipboard from the newsletter.
  • If nothing is pasted in try copying and pasting one more time.
  • Now all the text is in the notepad and all the coding is deleted.
  • Go through the content and erase any parts that you don’t want, e.g. links that say “click here” or anything that just wouldn’t really be applicable on the website that is applicable in the newsletter.
  • Now highlight and copy all your notepad info.
  • Go to your website
  • Create a new post
  • And paste your information in.
  • Add a featured image and stick a picture inside to make the news more interesting to the reader.
  • You can also add bolds and paragraph breaks and other light text editing, but I don’t recommend much. Keep it readable and consistent with the website formatting.

 

I recommend option #1.   lol

The older the newsletter the less editing I think is necessary, it’s good for the Search Engines, but probably inapplicable to the visitor at least in regards to the sales….  Having said that you want to be sure that it is clear that there’s a date deadline somewhere stated so that someone viewing the newsletter even accidentally can not later call you on it asking why the coupon code doesn’t work or what-not.  Expiration dates are important to have in other words! Lol… but having all that WONDERFUL rich newsletter content will be soooo good for you!  I’m sooooooo glad you’re going to give it a try!!!!

OH and yes, do the OLDEST newsletters first….. That way by the time you are caught up and posting the most current it will be shown as the most current posting and will be in correct chronological order.

AU Verses US spelling issues for store page content2018-12-21T10:03:44-05:00

I do think the idea of keeping as little confusion on the spelling of Australian words verses American words as minimal as possible would be very wise…  So if it’s not too much trouble to change some of the verbiage where the spelling is the same in both places, then great, but if it’s difficult to find an adequate word that is spelled the same way in both countries then I’d recommend using the spelling that best suits where you are from and who you are marketing to.  Honestly as an American it’s peculiar to see the differences, but neat at the same time!

You may even consider explaining some of that in your About me page… why not…  it adds more words to your About me page, and the search engines just loves all those words! Lol… plus it might help explain the differences to your buyers.. or maybe not post it in the About us page, but the FAQS page… hey, maybe even both…   I don’t think it’s necessary to explain, not at all.. but it is opportunity to share more content and content is good.

Minimalist Designs VS Personalization & Captivation2018-12-21T10:01:20-05:00

My brain functions naturally in extremes, lol….  the thought process of the complete design is to captivate, familiarize and personalize the presentation…. I believe the more a person can familiarize themselves with things, the more they get involved and interested in what is being presented to them  (ie. The local state or country flowers, the state or country colors, the product qualities, and then models to make it come “alive”).

While I CAN create a much more calm minimalist design, I don’t normally prefer it myself… it’s sooo less personal. (heh)  no offense towards those that do like minimalist approaches.. I do have a lot of clients who prefer that…. and I do in some situations, but I have to question what the goal of the design is… and in many cases, I think personalizing is much more powerful than minimalism.

Other things to consider when deciding whether to opt-in for a minimalist store design vs. a more “fuller” store design…

Minimalists are usually drawn towards minimalist designs and away from the fuller design that provides more pictures (for obvious reasons)   🙂  however those who are not minimalist are likely to be drawn towards a more full design where words are spelled out in pictures (ie. Category pictures and advertisements).  While a minimalist might think a full design devalues the products, a person on the opposite side might feel the same thinking that the minimalist website or store design couldn’t afford to have more done to their site.  I mean that in the kindest of ways.  People will have differing views whether minimalist or not.

I think it’s good to consider and observe what the larger companies who have LOTS of money in which to spend on marketing gurus who’ve studied what works best in marketing strategies (website advertising tactics, layouts and appealing verbiage).  Are their designs, minimalist, full of design, or a mixture of both… OR… does each one have a different taste of their own (some minimalist and some full in design.  It’s good to consider the colors they use… are they dark, light, or changes with the seasons?  If they change with the seasons then you really might not know unless you’re very familiar with the company, or if they put graphics that are clearly seasonal or holiday related.

Here’s a look at some top makeup companies on the web… just to have a gander what type of design they prefer:

 

The shorter body designs seems to be a consistent layout.  And while I prefer this shorter layout myself it does have its disadvantages to those starting out.  For instance these companies don’t need to push nor pursue SEO much within their page because the higher more established companies typically pay for the top space on the search engines so they don’t really have to add as much SEO tactics such as a good amount of information, meta tags and keywords on the homepage.

I also believe having some products below the main design should help spark curiosity for the visitor (into digging deeper) as well as help with SEO by means of information and important keywords within the titles and page description.   For the sake of design it looks nice shorter, but I do believe having the products below will be more productive and make you more money.

SEO – Social Networking Sites & Places to Advertise Online2018-12-20T23:26:50-05:00

I wanted to share some sites with you (some you may already be aware of) that really help drive more traffic to your website as well as get your products more attention and in the end, more sells!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Deviantart.com (HUGE website for all kinds of artists)
  • Zazzle.com (you can make products w/your pictures)
  • Twitter account
  • Flickr (good for search engine optimization if you add website links in the descriptions!)
  • Photobucket (same as Flickr but also helps with auction listings)

There’s a bunch more, but those are the ones I use and benefit from the most.

Wholesale Supplier for Customized Gift Products2018-12-20T23:24:23-05:00

I make a lot of custom products in Zazzle.com, when an item sells I make a small commission off of that sell.. yay for me.  Well, this time I wanted to order one of my own designs that was to be printed on a puzzle board.  It’s a new product for Zazzle so I thought I’d give it a try and see how it came out.

I just got my package in today and was PLEASANTLY surprised to see the wholesale supplier stamp on the back of the puzzle board.  I HAD to look it up!  So this is what I found:  http://www.rplsupplies.com/supplies/puzzle.php

Ask, Seek, Knock Christian Poster Puzzle by madetobeunique They make and sell a lot of wholesale parts for companies such as Zazzle that will personalize products for a fee.  I was very impressed!  SO!  If any of my clients out there is into personalized gift items, here’s a great wholesale resource for you to check out!  😀

This is also a worthy avenue of advertising you may consider… even if you don’t want to make a business out of it, some of the personalized products may come in handy for advertising your business... ie.. Keychains that you can slip your cool custom business card designs into….  It’s defiantly worth checking out and giving it some thought.

What’s nice about Slide Show Banners?2018-12-20T23:21:47-05:00

Slide shows are primarily used on the homepage.  They have attractive pictures or advertising banners that fade in and out. The point of the slide show is to cross-promote different products, different services, different sales, or the best points of your business…. Or in the case of makeup different skin types!  If you put pictures of different skin type models in the slide show, then you can point out that your products apply to all skin types.  The customer automatically knows you have what they need in the shade they need it.

I would use different skin types if I had my own cosmetics store… or maybe even both skin types and advertisements!… ie… “Pure Minerals, Purely Good for you…. ”  with a beautiful model of one skin type and then “Our ingredients have this and that” on another ad with another model of a different skin type.  Again, so the customer automatically knows you have what they need in the shade they need it.

So again, slide shows are for getting across multiple messages in a short span of time (fast advertising in a bling bling kind of way).

Check out my portfolio, and browse through the different live examples, the ones with flash and the ones without…  And see how the flash affects the presentation.  And then look around at designer websites of top brand name websites and your strongest competitors… Probably the majority of them have a slide show themselves! lol  – why?  because largely it works!

What are the ongoing costs to keep an online business running?2018-12-20T23:19:15-05:00

I was recently asked the following questions, I’ll post them here in case any of you have the same questions in mind:

Regarding ecommerce website hosting with HostGator’s Small Business Plan:

Q: I’m just wondering, after the initial outlay, what will be the ongoing costs to keep the business running. I know that there will ebay & Paypal fees and website hosting costs. I know also that Magento has several pricing plans available starting from $15/month for 100 SKUs. However, I have no idea whether the storage (200MB) and bandwidth (4GB) that comes with the $15 plan is sufficient.

I don’t know anything about WP e-store options, but I assume that you’ve chosen the Magento platform  because it provides me advantages over other platforms that are perhaps free.

A: Ongoing costs is only about $12 a month for the Small Business Hosting Plan.  Then of course the paypal fees when someone purchases an item.  I estimate about 8-10% of the products selling price going towards ebay and/or paypal fees.  Magento hosting is different than HostGator hosting.  I would recommend HostGator because I know it can host Magentos FREE Community edition successfully.  The templates I work with use the community edition, I don’t know if they work with the Magento hosting (you would think they do, but I don’t know for sure if they do).  Using the templates help save a lot of time in CSS and HTML coding – so customizing the premade templates to have a custom look with different pictures, colors and information saves me a lot of time and my clients a lot of money!  😀

You asked some real good questions on the storage and bandwidth concerning the hosting plans.  From what I understand the Small Business hosting plan is good until you have a LOT of traffic on your site…  I’m not sure what a lot is in reference to quite honestly, but they said it’ll take a while to get to the point… but when it starts to quirk a little then you can up your hosting plan to something that fits the amount of traffic you’re having.

I currently have 200-300 visits a day on my own website, which includes a WordPress blog and Magento ecommerce.  To my delight I’ve experienced no hosting quirks at all.  🙂  But when I do I’ll just up the plan to the next level as needed.

I don’t have experience with WP e-stores, I’m apprehensive but curious about them at the same time.  I’ve seen some real nice templates that include them though.  I like Magento because it has a plugin that can integrate with the ebay store… so that the quantity automatically updates in both places when an item is sold.  I was introduced to this plugin by another client of mine over a year ago and I thought it the next best thing to sliced bread! (lol)

Drop Ship Suppliers for Online Sellers2018-12-20T23:17:21-05:00

I wanted to share a link with you to a site that has a lot of drop shippers from all over the world.  I had planned on doing this myself (along with a cosmetics online store if I ever find the time)…

However, I have some clients who sell on ebay products that are just drop ship and they do very well.  Now I’ve heard some bad stories of drop shipping so you have to be very careful, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be success…  and for a few of my clients it has been ongoing and profitable!  🙂

www.gogodropship.com

There’s a gazillion drop shippers available – so again, be careful if you do decide to give it a try… and I would recommend starting slow with low dollar items, just to get a “taste” of the drop shipper… if they’re timely, do they have good communication, fair prices, ect.

I purchased the lifetime membership package myself (they offered this rate when I was going to discontinue my trial…  The discount I believe was over half their normal price for the lifetime membership – and I am a sucker for savings, truth be told)… I have yet to use it, but hey, when I’m ready (if) then it’s available for me. Lolll – So hey, if you give it a try, you may consider talking the price down – way down and for a lifetime membership.

How to fill your business blog with SEO friendly information2018-12-20T23:13:24-05:00

How to fill a blog…  Honestly I let my clients and prospect clients help guide me with that.  When I answer their questions I will grab some of the content (my answers) and post it to my blog.   This is great for my visitors that have the same questions, so it may save me time later on by already addressing those questions, but also for Search Engine Optimization!  The Search Engines just looove all that information, information and information.  So, when you have a blog, consider doing the same, post Frequently Asked Questions to your site, as they come in.

It’s good to add content regularly to your website in small even portions… like a page a day if possible.  It doesn’t have to have a lot of information, but the more the merrier as far as the Search Engines are concerned!  It’s okay to add a lot all at once, but I’ve seen somewhere that it’s good not to add too much all the time otherwise the Search engine red flags go up and they think you may be spamming your site with content…  So gradual content added is most recommended.  (of course you want to get your site filled up with products so I’m not referring to filling up your store – just addressing the notion of after your store has been filled – to keep information coming in – gradually).

There are websites that offer Free content or free articles – STAY away from these sites, the Search Engines have documented their articles and their links and will consider your website a spam website if you post these free articles on your site.  I learned this the hard way… I used to be on the bottom of page 1 for Google with the keywords: ebay store design before I gave free content articles a try.  It has taken me roughly 3+ years to recover because I used free articles to build my site up.  BIG lesson learned!

So again, when you think about adding content to your blog/website, do it gradually and use fresh information or fresh answers to questions you receive (or questions you can think up that someone maybe searching for).  Trendy stuff and beauty news is also great to add to your blog.

Made To Be Unique also offers content writing services that are written uniquely for you, so this is something also to consider when needing content rich information for important pages and posts.

How to pick a good business name2018-12-20T23:04:57-05:00

Recommendations for establishing a good business name.

Consider a name that is easy to use, starts with either A, B, or C… and don’t use numbers in the business name (yuck).  It would be good to have key words in the name, ie. beauty, fashion, makeup or cosmetics; as this will help you in the search engines ratings greatly. So for a Cosmetics or fashion business you may consider something like:  Cosmetics Wholesale or Beautiful You Cosmetics.  (just as an example)

If you plan to sell more than just cosmetics, then don’t limit yourself by putting only cosmetics in the name consider adding something like Cosmetics Fashion and more – or Beauty Minerals and More… (shorter would be better, but it does take time to think them up, lol).  But don’t put a keyword in your name unless you’re 100% sure you plan to sell that type of product (ie. fashion or makeup or eye-wear)

But again something easy to remember, has keywords, is easy to spell and early in the alphabet.  When your site is added to a list if you start with A, B or C, then you’ll be more at the top of that list!   You don’t have to take all the recommendations, but the more you get the easier it will be for people to remember, return and recommend!

Another important thing to consider when choosing a good business name is to check the domain name (scroll down to the bottom of the HostGator page from the link I shared, and click where it says Domain names, that’ll help you check to see if your business name has already been taken or not.

If you plan to sell on ebay then look on ebay to see if there is a store already using that name.  It’s important that your business is consistent, unique, easy to remember and easy to spell, so that your customers can find you no matter where they are (ie. home, school, office, etc).

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