Most people think it’s nice to be popular. If you’re building a craft business online it’s absolutely vital!
After all, if people don’t know about you, how are they going to buy from you!
The most straight-forward way of getting people to notice your craft business is to advertise it, and pay-per-click programs like Google Adwords can be very effective if you’ve got a budget to play with.
Thing is, most new craft businesses don’t. So how can we get some bang for no bucks?
Well we can start by getting a bit of link love. You’ve all seen links pages on craft websites, right, or list of “recommended” sites or “friends” down the side of a blog? Very popular…
…and largely a waste of time, unless you add a bit of professionalism to your linking.
For example, if you find someone whose work you admire you might link to them, yes? Someone might contact you and ask for a link. You might think, why not?
I’ll tell you why not. A link going OUT to another site is just a way for your visitor (potential customer) to leave you. Having links to other sites does you absolutely no good at all.
On the other hand, having relevant links coming IN is very important.
Google and the other search engines track who links to you. If another craft-related site links to yours, you go up in their ranking as a result. They see you as more popular. If a dozen sites link to you that’s great, if a hundred link to you… well it really is a question of the more the merrier.
So before you link to another craft blog or website, shoot them a nice polite email pointing out the benefits and ask them if they would like to swap links. It’s usually called “reciprocal” linking. You both gain from it.
Likewise if you get an email from someone asking you for a link, by all means say yes, as long as they will “reciprocate”.
Actually I do have a proviso here. Sometimes you’ll get car insurance companies or real-estate agents or goodness knows who asking for links. Don’t. If it’s not relevant it will harm your status, not improve it.
So if incoming links are important, are there other ways you can get them?
Yes there are. For a start, leaving comments on other people’s craft blogs can generate incoming links. You’ll usually be asked to leave your name, your email address and your own blog or website link. When your comment is posted on that blog, it points back to you (in fact we call it a “backlink”) – and you’ve got yourself more link love!
A word of warning. Don’t just go round dozens and dozens of craft-related blogs posting “Hi, I love your blog” and then expecting people to post your comment. It’s all been done before. First off, people will just ignore you so you wasted your time. Second, you’ll just get yourself a bad name.
On the other hand, if you post an interesting or useful comment you add value to the blog so the blog owner will appreciate it and you’ll get your link, which helps with the search engines. More than that though, other people will read your post and are more likely to visit your blog or website themselves – so you get more popular both ways!
Building link love isn’t an overnight, one hit thing, it’s a strategy. It’s something you build over time. Every time you read something interesting on another blog don’t just click on to the next site, think if you can add to the conversation. If you find a website you like, drop them a short, polite note asking to exchange links.
Some people will, some won’t. Accept it and move on. Never pester people, you’ll just get a bad name and online your reputation is incredibly important.
Well article marketing is another way of getting backlinks and spreading the word about your crafts. It’s a powerful technique that I use all the time. You can get more details about that here.
Does all this work? Is it worth the effort?
Well the effort is really quite small. Do it when you think about it, or maybe set aside one short period a week to do it. Results? Well it will vary of course, depending on how many links you get in. There’s also a weighting effect. Google uses a system called page ranking (pr) – kind of a popularity rating if you like – and some sites get a much higher weighting than others. If you get a big, established craft site linking to you it could be more valuable than five or six small sites.
I wouldn’t worry about it though. Trouble is, it’s hard to know which are the high-rank sites and so it’s probably not worth the effort to try and sort them out. A linking strategy isn’t something you should be beating yourself to death to do, it’s something that you need to be aware of, and attend to every so often on an ongoing basis.
I never, ever spend money on advertising. Almost every visitor comes here via article marketing, some form of link love or affiliate marketing (which I’ll get into with you soon).
I don’t know precisely how you came to be reading this post. Search engine? Blog comment? Guest post? I guarantee it wasn’t as a result of an advert that I paid for!