Know When Less Isn’t Always More
When it comes to your microbusiness, the smaller the better. Usually. By definition, a microbusiness is run on an extremely small scale. Batches, shipping, expenses, marketing, advertising: you typically only have the capital to move a little bit at a time. But when it comes to SEO, this is not the time to think small. If you want to shift your weekend business into a full-time career, you have to reach as many potential customers as possible. To do that, you need to be seen.
Read on to learn about the dos and don’ts of microbusiness SEO.
#1: DO Invest in Branding
Before you proceed too far down the rabbit hole of your handmade company, you need to ask yourself, first and foremost, where you see it going. If you’re absolutely sure that you want to build a viable, long-term business using the skills your mama taught you, then you need to have some sort of branding strategy. Granted, if you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have enough capital to pay for even a decent logo, but don’t just write it off altogether. Alternatively, don’t think that you shouldn’t go ahead and start making things for a living just because you can’t afford branding. Find out how much you can spend on branding (which includes not just a logo, but every other visual element of your business), and go from there.
Did you know you can draw your logo and scan it to your computer? That’s obvious, but a lot of people are put off by that idea for fear of it looking too “drawn.” Easily digitize any drawing for free without photoshop by running it through an online photo editor, such as PicMonkey. I would suggest you go this route only if you’re confident in your drawing skills. For further instructions, click here.
If you really can’t draw, and you really can’t afford professional branding, there are some visual elements you can decide on, such as typeface, colours and web page templates.
You can learn more about branding in this handy post.
#2: DO Set up Local SEO
As a small business, mke sure to market yourself as a local company. Customers who are attracted to handmade products are also usually into supporting local companies. By marketing yourself as a local business, you will have the opportunity to tap into that niche. There is also another, more practical, reason to promote your company as a local business: local SEO.
Here are some ways to boost local SEO:
- Register your business on local directories, such as Google
- Include your business address, name and phone number on all your web pages
- Show your community pride by including bright and beautiful pictures of your neighbourhood and incorporating them into your website or directory sites.
- Expose your brand to the world by selling your products in local shops. Where I live, people eat that up with a spoon!
#3: DO Network With Others a.k.a. Off-Page SEO
If you own a handmade business, there’s no reason for you to feel alone. Seriously. The handmade community is actually bursting with friendly, warm and helpful people who are just looking for fresh meat to accept into their fold. Be not afraid of cliques. Sure, it may seem like the cool crowd might want nothing to do with you, but if you run a business based on a solitary skill you’re probably just as introverted and shy as the rest of us. Join in, get involved and attend community events. They’re absolutely everywhere!
While meeting new people doesn’t directly affect your search engine rankings, just think of how your small business will benefit by you networking with like-minded people. Not only will your new friends—and I guarantee they’ll be your friends in no time—share and admire your work, but they’ll have tons of information and helpful advice to get you to the next stage of your business. And opportunities for earning decent backlinks will inevitably arise.
#4: DON’T Skimp on Photography or Staging and Properly Tag Everything
You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to produce amazing images. Many successful handmade brands use iPhone photography for all their product shots. If you follow your favourite brands on Etsy, Instagram or Facebook, you might notice two things they have in common: a consistent photography style and staging.
Your staging doesn’t have to be an expensive, elaborate set with backdrops, a million props and a complex light set up. Many of the photos I find myself attracted to use simple props, like a few sprigs of evergreen, a nice wooden table, and natural lighting.
When you include images on your website be sure to include your keyword in the file name and alt text. The alt text field is important to fill out because it basically tells web crawlers what the picture is. Since web crawls can’t “see” images, alt text is essentially describing what’s on the page. With more information on your page to index, your website’s SEO will get a natural boost.
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#5: DON’T Forget About Content
This is a step that handmade business owners tend to forget. One of the major attractions to your brand isn’t your product. It’s you. Your story is compelling. Connect with your customers by producing high-quality content that educates and interests them. People want to know about your process—how you make your product, what inspires you, how you run your business.
Writing content on a regular basis gives Google and other search engines something to play with. The more content you produce, the more search engines understand how to index you, who your audience is and where your website belongs on a search engine result page (SERP).
Search engines also prefer fresh content. When they come across websites with old and stale pages that haven’t been updated in months, they start to think they’re abandoned and no longer index them as relevant. While your website is generally made up of static pages, a blog page is an easy way to constantly add new content. More information about alt texts can be found here.
Give Your Microbusiness a Major SEO Boost
If you’re just starting out, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. That’s why you became addicted to your craft in the first place, right? Never lose that. And when you start fulfilling your first orders from people you’ve never met, you will be overwhelmed with pride.
Do you agree with my list? What other essential dos or don’ts are important for new handmade businesses? Leave a comment below to let me know.