Ranking, Link Building, and Google Analytics

I learned so much this week. First, I really enjoyed the assignments on link building. I had no idea that back links affected SEO so much and it was good to read about how to build quality links. I think the best way for me to build links is to reach out to colleagues in the industry and ask them to share links. I can do this now as my business starts and I can do it in the future for special occasions or new products.

I need to start to build relationships with others in my field through social media and forums. It also seems that it would be an excellent idea to add a blog to my website where I write articles or tutorials that can be more appealing to link to. Links can be shared by colleagues on their websites (and I will share their’s) and on reputable directories.

Second, I found woorank to be really enlightening. It will take me quite a bit of time to go through all their suggestions to really optimize my website, but the first 5 I chose to focus on were including metadata, optimizing images for faster load times, integrating social media on my website, fixing some broken links, and including a blog page (as mentioned above).

Finally, I got to play with google analytics a bit more. I was rather surprised to see that I have been averaging almost 50 visits a day and my bounce rate isn’t too terrible either considering the small amount of products and content available on my site. I am excited to try setting some goals and see what I can do to improve my site.

Social Media Optimization

This week I developed a social media strategies plan. I really appreciated the discussion board about how to use social media because I had not thought about all the ways I could use social media to promote my business. I like all the ideas about giveaways, competitions, and interaction with the customers. It helped me to see that I can do much more than simply share my website and products.

That being said, I think for now that is what I will start with. I do not have a lot of extra time to put into a major social media plan. For now I think the most I can do is simply share my stuff and hope others will share it too. In the future, when I have more time (aka not in school), I will devote much more time to social media and connecting with my customers and colleagues.

Landing Page & SEO

This week I worked on improving my landing page and learned about SEO.  I feel like the best thing I can do to improve my landing page is simply to add more product and continue creating new product. To improve my website overall I need to add better descriptions, complete my about page, and my contact page.

I leaned much about SEO. Several of the articles I read were very helpful (https://moz.com/blog/visual-guide-to-keyword-targeting-onpage-optimization and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF515-0Tduk&feature=youtu.be). Of course the use of keywords throughout your website is very important, including in page titles, headlines, and content. I was surprised to learn that image alt tags are also very important as well as your website’s metadata. Another very important part of SEO is the number of incoming links. Search engine use the number of incoming links as an indication of the relevance and value of your site.

Google Ads

I wrote up a couple of Ads for my google ad campaign this week. It was fun. Here is one of them…

Hand Lettered Birthday Card – Make your Loved One Smile with a Personal Touch
www.foxparkpaper.com/shop/
Shop now for a handmade high quality birthday card for the special person in your life!

After doing keywords last week, I already had some categories in mind and I simply started creating ads for the different categories. I also look forward to doing ads for different seasons and holidays. I love that I can do different campaigns, that goes perfectly with my desire to do holiday and seasonal cards. I can begin promoting different holidays at appropriate times.

AdWords Campaign

This week we set up a Google AdWords Campaign learned about what makes good keywords and what makes bad keywords in an AdWords Campaign.

Good keywords describe what you are trying to sell. They are broad enough to encompass the full vocabulary surrounding the product but exact enough to grab the attention of the target audience.

A bad keyword could be too broad or too exact. If it is a long descriptive phrase it is too exact and few others will find it. But if it is too broad than you will garner the attention of many who are not even looking for your products and will not buy your products.

When brainstorming about keywords, I started with a very broad term and then got a little more specific creating themes and categories and continued with more and more specific keywords (phrases really). By doing this I could see the entire spectrum of keywords from too broad to too specific and could select the middle ground keywords that I felt would be best.

The Keyword Planner is also very helpful with this since it suggests dozens of keywords and phrases that are similar to the keyword you placed in the search. You can also sort the keywords by relevance and popularity. I found it interesting to toggle between the two settings. Relevance of course is important to make sure you are targeting the right audience, but I found popularity to also improve my knowledge of the market. Although those keywords may not be the best for me to use in this round of ads it can help me plan future products and ideas.

Licenses and Taxes

It’s all becoming so real this week. Building my website. Setting up PayPal and stripe. Buying licenses and tax permits. It’s really happening. I learned so much about business licenses in the state of Iowa and I am posting it all here so that I will be able to find the links again in the future.

Iowa does not have a general business license and I do have to pay taxes.
http://www.iasourcelink.com/regulatory/business-license-homehttps://www.taxjar.com/states/iowa-sales-tax-online/#do-you-have-sales-tax-nexus-in-iowa

I am starting off as a proprietary or partnership, so I simply register my business name with the county recorders office and register for a sales tax permit. If I ever hire employees I will need to obtain and EIN.
County Recorders trade name registration – https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/recorder/departments/real-estate-dept/trade-names/
Sales tax – https://tax.iowa.gov/iowa-sales-and-use-tax-guide
EIN – https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/index.jsp

However, I am considering starting an LLC sometime in the future… An LLC is required to register with the Iowa Secretary of State by submitting a Certificate of Organization. I also need to register for a sales tax permit and I must obtain an EIN.

Iowa Secretary of State/ certificate of organization – https://sos.iowa.gov/business/FormsAndFees.html#DLLC489

I was really hoping to have products up on my site by now, but there has been so much “behind the scenes” work that I haven’t had time to get product ready. I should be able to get some done this week and ready to place on the website.

Site Design & Payments

I realized this week there is so much more to starting a business than I initially realized. For example this week we researched and discussed using PayPal for credit card payments. My initial questions were initial about my own pricing, shipping costs, and taxes. But as we discussed I began to realize there is so much more to it all. There are transaction fees to consider, what happens during a fraudulent purchase, the ease of use for the customer, ease of use for me, tax reporting, etc etc. And that’s just the details surrounding how the customer pays me for my products and one payment service. If I were to offer more than one payment service I need to do research into all those options.  And this week we will start researching the legal side of a business including structure, licenses, and and taxes. I can see that I still have a lot to learn.

Although I am very excited to be creating my products and building my website. This part of it is lots of fun. I love designing and by starting this business I had an excuse to buy a few new toys too. I’ve also been doing lots of visual research to get ideas for both my website and my products. It’s fun!