Winning Website Tips for Crafters, Jewelry Makers, Artists and Artisans

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                  Winning Website Tips For Crafters, Jewelry Makers, Artists, And Artisans
                                                         By Christine Gierer



   What Makes a Website Good?

A good website needs 2 things:

* To be found by customers (traffic)
* To be interesting to a visitor - a real human being

Let's talk about the real human being first.

Remembering the Real Human Visitor

 A crafts or jewelry website that sells needs some key elements- it needs to be inviting, and has to be
about the customer (or the audience or reader if you like that better).

So what does an inviting website look like?

 An inviting website talks directly to the needs of the customer rather than about you, the artist. Sad to
say, nobody cares about you until you tell them what's in it for them. The key to selling is thinking like
your customer. They are always thinking, "What's in it for me?".

Not in a bad way.

Everyone thinks like that. Don't you?

 One of the greatest lessons I've ever learned is to talk to your customer as if they were standing right
in front of you. Websites often aren't designed like that though.

 Let's look at how many art, crafts, and jewelry websites are set up. They often talk about the designer
front and centre, don't they? Who they are, where they live, how they would love to make you
something, and how people tell them how great they're jewelry is.

But think about it. Do people care where you're from? Maybe, but if you think about why they care

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you'll see that even that is about them, not you.

 Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor. What do you look for when you're shopping. Why do you care
where they're from? You might want to know how far away it is from them because of shipping costs,
because you like to shop local, or because there's some sort of prestige or "specialness" attached to
buying from say, Paris.

Elements of an Inviting Website

 Back to your arts and crafts or artisan jewelry website itself. So what makes people want to stick
around a website? Other than the content I mean. Think about yourself. Do you tend to hang around
sites that have a ton of stuff on them, or do you like sites that are more simple? Are there websites that
make you feel overwhelmed and make you click that back button pronto?

The biggest problem I see with most sites is that there is just too much going on. The trick is to cull
mercilessly.

 Two of the most popular websites are The Google Site and the Apple Site. I think they're
well-designed - they'd better be since they hire the top web designers in the world, right? So what do
they have in common?

* Clean
* Simple colors and design
* Lots of white space
* Goal oriented/ purpose driven
* 1 focal point
* Easy to understand navigation

Here's a tip for analyzing your own website. Load it up and squint.

* How many focal points can you count?
* Does your eye automatically go to one place? Or does it bounce around all over the place?

And take a look too - if your eye does go to one place, is it the place you want it to?

 Next, consider this: Is the purpose of your site obvious? Does it look like your purpose is to please the
customer? Or is it all about you?

 * How easy is it to get around?
 * Do you have a search box?
 * Is it obvious where to click first?
 * Does it look like you're just out to "sell" them stuff, or does it look like you want to help them find what
they need? Once again, it goes back to the customer.

Photography

 On the web, great photographs are not just important, they are paramount! Handmade items,
especially jewelry, are the type of thing you like to touch, feel, and maybe try on. You can't do that on a
computer screen so you have to do the next best thing. Describe it thoroughly and enticingly, and half

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lots of great pictures. And lots of different views of the same piece.

To get some ideas on presentation, I like to look at what other people are doing. There are some great
Etsy shops with beautiful pictures. Doing some research there will likely give you lots of ideas.

Good Copy

 What's copy? Copy is just the words you use on your website. The best copywriters in the world get
enormous sums of money because they get results. They know what people want.

Here are a few things people want:

* Not to be "sold" to
* Solutions to their problems
* Fast, easy, convenient
* To be priority number 1

 I often see websites that say something like, "I'd love to make you a custom bracelet". But if you were
shopping, do you care how someone would love to make you something? Or do you think, "Yeah, so
what, everyone selling something would love to sell me something?"

 So as a shopper what do you want? You want to know WHY you should buy from them. Marketers
sometimes call this your USP or "Unique Selling Proposition"

As a shopper, you have a bunch of things that might be motivating you. You want to feel special.
Some kind of "wow" factor that you can tell your friends about.

Often with jewelry this comes down to some story they can tell.

 For example, if you make jewelry in your rustic barn studio using a cutting edge technique that few
know how to do, that might be something that would make an interesting side story.

 Another great way to get into the mind of your customer is to use the problem and solution strategy.
Instead of "I'd love to design your bridal jewelry", maybe something like "Your special day is all about
you, the bride. You want to look like the most beautiful woman in the room. Imagine yourself, walking
down the aisle, flushed with excitement, your handcrafted custom designed swarovski crystal princess
length necklace, tiny matching earrings and 3 strand bracelet are sparkling like diamonds, and all eyes
are on you. Wouldn't you love your jewelry to sparkle like diamonds on your most special of days?"

Getting Traffic

 Remember the other good website must-have? Traffic! People need to find you. How do you get
traffic? Marketing!

 There are lots of ways to market to bring traffic to your websites. Of course every creative type person
hates marketing. We all just want to build it and have people come. Well, I'm not going to sugarcoat it -
if you want traffic you have to work at it. So suck it up.

Here are some ways to bring targeted (i.e. people who are actually interested in your website, not just

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miscellaneous surfers) traffic to your site:

 * Article marketing: write articles and submit them to article directories, magazines, and other websites
 * Search engine marketing: make sure you are search engine friendly
 * Pay per click marketing: Use a service like Google Adwords to get traffic
 * Social media marketing: Use social sites like Twitter, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Youtube, I-Tunes,
Hubpages, and hundreds of others to strategically spread word about yourself.
 * Forum marketing: Participate in forums by offering USEFUL answers. Don't spam. Sometimes
people will follow your "sig" back to your site.
 * Newsletter marketing: Get your customers on a mailing list (make sure you ask first!) and send them
interesting news and updates. Repeat customers should be your bread and butter.
 * Other Marketing: business cards, ads if applicable, do craft shows, trade shows, put your website on
all your packaging

 I could go on and on - and I guess I have - sorry. Now get started on fixing your own websites. I want
to see you shine!

Christine Gierer is a self-taught jewelry maker and web master who enjoys sharing her knowledge with
others. For great jewelry making and business articles, tutorials, tips and ideas, visit
http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com




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                                                     Jewelry Crafted by Hand
                                                        By Amy Carrington



If you are thinking macaroni necklaces and hippie style beaded earrings when you hear the term
handcrafted jewelry, you have likely not spent any time at craft exhibitions and shows in the last few
years. Handcrafted jewelry has really come into its own with a variety of different metals, styles,
semi-precious gems and stones as well as non-traditional jewelry materials. Handcrafted jewelry is
often a one of a kind item, making this an ideal gift idea for that hard to buy for person on your
Christmas or birthday list. Handcrafted jewelry also is in high demand for bridal parties and special
events as the wearer is sure to draw attention and comments on the unique jewelry they are wearing.

 The internet has really brought handcrafted jewelry into is own. Artisans and jewelers from around the
world are able to market their creations through the internet, literally entering into a global market with
just the expense of hosting a website and uploading some digital photographs. Typically the websites
provide a good cross section of what the craftsperson produced, but also allows you to communicate
regarding custom designed pieces you may be interested in having made. Another great place to
locate both handcrafted jewelry as well as the artisans themselves are the season handcraft shows
that are commonly held around the Christmas season in most areas. This will provide you with a good
idea of what is available locally, which can save additional shipping costs and time lags associated with
internet transactions.

 Many handcrafted jewelry items feature items such as gems, semi-precious stones or even polished
rock that is native to the area where the craftsperson resides. Often this in itself creates the one of a
kind quality of the jewelry as the materials themselves are not available in stores or in mass produced
jewelry items. In addition handcrafted jewelry may also reset or use some of those odds and ends
pieces you have in your jewelry box such as the single earrings, hopelessly bunched up gold and silver
chains and even the rings that don't fit anymore and turn them into unique and new creations you can
wear with pride.

 Some handicraft artisans will also complete custom orders. This is a wonderful way to design your
own jewelry with the help of someone that can provide ideas, assistance and typically will not charge
as much as a custom designed piece from a jeweler. Of course there are handcrafted very exclusive
items that you may want a designer to produce such as an engagement and wedding ring set or an
anniversary or family band. Before going to a traditional jeweler however you may want to spend some
time browsing around the internet to find out just what is available.

 Beaded jewelry is still very popular, although the styles and materials have changed over the years.
Modern beaded earrings, necklaces, bracelets and even anklets feature various types of precious and
semi-precious gemstones, silver and gold decorative beads and really unique pieces of natural
materials such as coral, crystal and shells. These items are both functional as well as beautiful and can
typically be matched with traditional jewelry to give a very polished and high fashion appearance.

Amy Carrington is a fashion maven and editor at http://www.SorellaJewelry.com. Sorella Jewelry
Studio creates elegant and original personalized jewelry with the names, words, dates and Chinese
symbols that matter to you.




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