In an attempt to have more ‘sticky’ content on my website (see previous post), I decided to set about making my first video. The recording part was fairly easy. I simply rested my iPad on the lid of my open sewing box which gave me just the right height for a close up of me (or rather my battered dish-washing hands) sewing, and pressed the red button.
Nevertheless, the whole process did not turn out to be straightforward. I was too aware that I was being recorded and so I made mistakes! I forgot to breathe when stitching the lines of the Curlew’s beak – disaster! I decided to ditch my first attempt, start again, and forget about the fact that I was making a video. Success 🙂
Next came the editing. And that took ages! It was my first attempt at using iMovie and it didn’t go well. I couldn’t work out how to cut out sections of the 8 minute long video. And so I found myself searching for alternatives. Eventually I stumbled upon Movavi Editor 3 which was just right for my skill level. The editing tools were more intuitive and in no time at all I had a video of just over 3.5 minutes long……with transitions……and text 🙂
Adding music however was a little more difficult as none of the sample tracks available was appropriate. The link provided to download others was an expensive option, so once again I found myself searching for alternatives. I discovered Audio Network which allowed me to purchase just one track rather than take out a monthly/yearly subscription which I didn’t want or need. So, music chosen, downloaded and imported and I was good to go.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Have a look and let me know what you think.
We are very lucky in Devon to have access to some excellent (and free!) training for new and small businesses. This week I attended a session entitled ‘understanding the world of SEO’ (search engine optimisation). Having tried to improve my website in this area using a beginner’s guide to SEO, I was eager to find out what I was beginning to do right, and what I was still doing wrong.
I was encouraged to learn that the aim is to write website content for the customer, not for Google. That was a relief as I really didn’t want to have to squeeze my website (www.karenwalshe.co.uk) into a Google shaped hole in such a way that compromised what I wanted to say. The trick, I learnt, is to write for one (my lovely customers) and at the same time, please the demands and requirements of the other (Google). Keywords and key phrases need to be woven into the text to ensure that the text flows, makes sense and is relevant. It is no good overloading the content with keywords to improve ranking as Google simply won’t like it!
I also learnt that content needs to be ‘sticky’; it should make readers want to stick around. The more (relevant!) pages there are, the better. Add media, images, videos etc…things that viewers can engage with. Think about what a customer might like to know about the product, the inspiration behind its design, and how it might be used. I think this probably means that I need to bite the bullet and make a short video of me at my sewing machine, making one of the front covers for my wading bird cushions. Yikes!
Content also needs to change, regularly. The Google spiders (crawlers) will be out there searching for new content. If a website stays the same, it gets overlooked. Regular updates are key. For me, this could mean changing my home page so that different products are featured. It could also mean making sure that I publish new posts on my ‘Latest News’ page frequently. As I struggle a little with this, I need to think more creatively about what might count as relevant and recent news….things like local community events; updates on best selling products; news about upcoming additions to the range; dates for the diary and how to catch up with us at local fairs/shows.
Above all, I learnt that getting it right means taking SEO seriously and remembering that it is an ongoing process. I need to treat my website as if it were a physical shop window….change the display and content regularly, keeping it fresh and up to date. For someone who has always been afraid of creepy crawlies, it is time to embrace the Google variety and entice them to make frequent visits.
“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there”
I was very excited to receive my first logo stamp in the post this week – handmade by the very talented people behind ‘Wood n Stuff Rustic’ (http://woodnstuffrustic.co.uk). I love the feel of the solid wood in my hand and the beautifully carved logo in rubber on the reverse. I ordered the larger size with the idea of sprucing up plain paper bags and simple product packaging but am now very tempted to get the smaller size as well…..just because….
Having a logo stamp tells me that I am a little further along in my journey of developing a brand identity. I am sticking at something….a look…..a motif…..something identifiable and consistent.
ETSY has been busy re-designing shop-fronts. I have used that as an opportunity to re-think how I describe what it is that I do. I seem to have outgrown my first strapline, ‘Coast and Country Textiles’: firstly because with the advent of my greeting cards range, I no longer offer textile products alone; and secondly because my work has naturally graduated towards the coast rather than the country. Time for a re-think.
Playing with straplines is an interesting activity. It has forced me to take a step back and look at my work from the outside. I have had all kinds of conversations with myself as part of the process and in the end I have decided to go with ‘Contemporary Coastal Style’. I will live with that one for a while and see how it feels.
I have always loved stationery. As a child I used to look forward to the start of the new school term as it brought with it a new pencil case and new (second hand) text books which we would cover in brown paper (as per the school rules!). Growing up in Ireland, we had ‘copy books’ not ‘exercise books’ – each subject had a different colour – and I couldn’t wait to write the first word on the first line on the first page. Friends have teased me for having an addiction to ‘colour coding’ and to insisting on all folders in my office being blue! But I can’t help it. Stationery, and the smell of new books, is where it’s at.
This of course, brings me to the point. I have decided to indulge my love of all things stationery and design my own greetings cards. As with all my other work, the designs are based on appliquéd images of my favourite wading birds. I am delighted with how they have turned out. Have a look and see what you think…..
I’ve been branching out a little in terms of my product range which now includes 100% cotton screen printed Avocets and Oystercatchers aprons. I’m delighted with how they’ve turned out. They look great and are so easy to wash and wear. I’m certainly going to add a few more of these to the range and am already busy planning the next design…..
In preparation for a ‘Meet the Maker’ feature to appear on the Devon Life website (next week) I arranged for my amazing product photographer to do a photo shoot in my ‘studio’ – aka the kitchen table. We had a lot of fun and for someone who absolutely HATES having their photo taken, I’m really pleased with the results 🙂