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DIY Business & Blogging

Use Pinterest to Grow Your Blog (How My Readership Exploded with Pinterest)

When this website was first conceived in 2009, I didn’t want it to be a blog.

I thought blogs were for deep, personal thoughts. They were for poetry and journals. I wanted thediymommy.com to be a static website – a resource for moms who wanted to make things for their babies.

Then came Pinterest. Pinterest, a place to “pin” inspirational photos of things that you loved, wanted to do, or wanted to make, started to explode in late 2011. I’ve loved it ever since I got my first “invite” in its beta stage. It was like Google, but a million times better because it was in curated, beautiful photos form! Not only did I love it for its entertainment factor, but here’s why else: Pinterest helped me grow my website from 2,400 unique monthly visitors in January of 2011 to over 41,000 unique monthly visitors in January 2013!

I know that might not be an impressive number to the upper echelon of crafty bloggers, but to me this is amazing and wonderful and inspiring. This growth of readership helped nudge me to post more often on this site and turn it into more of a blog format. This boost in readership gave me the courage to give glimpses of my personal life more often on here.

How do I know that Pinterest is one of the main causes for the growth of The DIY Mommy? When I look at my jump in readership (via my statistics program on my web host’s control panel and via Google Analytics), I can see how sharply it started curving upwards when Pinterest became popular.

I can also see that I get more referrals from websites than search engines to my blog, and Pinterest now gives me over 80% of those referrals!

Would you like to use Pinterest to help get more unique visits to your blog? Here are some things that I’ve learned over the past couple of years that may help you grow your readership.

Use Pinterest to Grow Your Blog - Tips & Tricks from The DIY Mommy

  1. Ensure you have good quality photos and/or illustrations on your blog. This is the most important thing, in my opinion – people like posting beautiful images on Pinterest. If you’re using grainy, low-light photos they won’t be pinned. I don’t think you need an expensive DSLR camera for this – a point & shoot will work just fine. Find tutorials on the net about how to take captivating photos for your blog. Mine are slowly getting better. I can definitely see a difference from 2009 to today! Here’s a good round up of photography tips & tricks on iheartnaptime.net.
  2. Use a variety of images within a post – include text on some and not on others. Having interesting, descriptive text incorporated into at least one photo in your post can make it more “pinnable”. Some people like to see text on pinned photos while others like photos free of text and other “distractions”. Give your pinner options.
  3. Use Pinterest as a guide to what you should post next. By seeing which images people are pinning from your blog, you can know which of your posts are making an impact. Are people pinning a certain post far more than the others? Why? Do you think it’s the content, the photography or a combination of both? What could you write next that is similar to this post or that would make a similar audience excited? Coincidentally, as I was finishing writing this post I learned that Pinterest just launched an analytics feature which will help make this step so much easier! Check out this post for the details on how to use the new Pinterest stats feature.
  4. Maintain your own Pinterest boards that compliment your blog and feature more of other people’s work than your own. There’s no denying that I’m a complete Pinterest addict. I have no problem taking time every day to pin ideas because I love being inspired (and it’s such a great down time activity that I can do write from my phone). I try to pin things that are related to DIY, home decor, cooking & baking, fashion and toddler activities like the posts on my site are. I think it’s perfectly fine to pin your own posts, but try to pin far more of other people’s work than your own – no one likes a selfish pinner!
  5. Add a “Pin It” button to your blog posts for easy pinning. Adding a Pinterest button to your posts will make it easier for readers to pin your images. There are a couple of plugins you can use to do this if you’re running WordPress, or you can manually add it into your code.

Do you use Pinterest? If you’re a blogger, have you noticed a change in your views because of Pinterest?

DIY Business & Blogging

Exhibiting at Tradeshows for the Handmade Business

by Christina Dennis

Exhibiting at Shows

If you have a home business and hand-make items for sale, exhibiting at a trade show or craft show is an excellent way to promote your brand and sell your product. It’s also a great way to meet your customers face-to-face and thank them for supporting you and your craft!

After a few years of being a vendor at shows myself and also from co-producing my own show, WeeStock, I’ve found several things that have helped me find success at these events. I’d love to share these tips with you!

  1. Research the shows in your area & choose only the one(s) that suit you the best
    It’s important to find shows that are the right fit for your business. Do they have the same target customer as you (moms, people who appreciate handmade products, expecting parents)? Does the show have an established following? How long has the show been around? How do they market themselves? If you cannot easily find this information online, contact the show producer. They should be happy & willing to answer any questions you may have. You may have to try different shows to see which work best for you, and then edit your selections the following year. Sometimes shows can be a hit-and-miss dependent on the other shows happening at the same time, the weather, the economy etc. so keep this in mind as well!
  2. Treat shows not only as a sales opportunity, but also as a marketing opportunity
    It’s a wonderful thing to make lots of sales at a show, but keep in mind that shows are also an excellent way to promote your brand to potential customers. Every person you talk to, every business card you hand out, and every email address that is signed up for your email newsletter is a potential customer in the future. Every person that glances at your logo is a new person aware of your brand! With this in mind, make sure that you have a large stack of business cards on hand, a method of capturing new potential customers (an email sign-up sheet, a draw etc.) and lots of signage with your logo and contact information largely displayed on it.

    Golly Gee Baby Display

    I love BIG, BRIGHT signs at my show booth to match my branding! Photo credit: Steve Nagy Photography

  3. Give people a reason to see you at the show
    I find that it’s useful to offer some sort of “special” or sale when I’m at a show to encourage my customers to visit me there rather than order from me online. This is helpful for us both – my customer can see the product in person and get a discount, and I can make a lot of sales all at once with no packaging & shipping hassles… and I can say hello! Offer a small discount on your product, a volume discount, a free gift, or something that will encourage visitors to your booth at the show. Advertise this promotion several weeks prior to the show through your email newsletter, your page on Facebook, your twitter following and with flyers added to your outgoing orders.
  4. Make your booth display eye-catching and unique
    A booth, whatever the size, can be organized in creative ways to make it visually appealing. Consider the colours and the feel of your brand, and decorate your booth to match. Is your logo green and brown? Use a green tablecloth and brown shelving to display your goods. If your booth is small, display your products vertically – a grid wall is a fantastic tool for this! Use lots of large, colourful signage and make sure that a price tag is on all of your items(people despise looking & asking for prices)! Look for creative ways to display your products – old crates, vintage wire shelves, old hat stands, drying racks, clotheslines and antique furniture are all unique pieces to use in your display. Use your own creativity to come up with something truly unique!

    Whimsical Elements Booth Display

    I love this booth display by Whimsical Elements. What a clever use of old crates, antique platters and vintage boxes! Photo credit: Steve Nagy Photography

  5. Follow-up to maximize your experience
    After the show, give feedback to its producer on what you liked about the show and what you thought could have been better. You can also contact the people that visited your booth and made purchases (here’s where an email list or draw comes in handy) and thank them for coming to see you. It’s also helpful to review your sales, how many cards you gave out, how many people you talked to and then consider whether or not this show was beneficial for your business and if it is worth your time and money to return again.

I always have such a great time at trade and craft shows – and these tips have helped me make the most of them! I hope that you will find them useful as you market your business through shows. Are there any additional tips on exhibiting at shows that you’d like to share? Please add your thoughts by commenting below. Happy trade show season!

Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured. Christina also co-produces WeeStock Indie & Boutique Baby Show with Leah Seidl of Whimsical Elements.

The photos on this post are courtesy of Steve Nagy Photography.

DIY Business & Blogging

Labelling & Safety Laws for the Handmade Business

by Christina DennisBlank Label

In this post, I’ll be focusing on another set of legal issues that DIY mommies selling their creations should know – labelling & safety laws for childrens toys & textiles.

These areas still bewilder me a bit, so this post will mostly be links to government sites in Canada and the USA so that you can read the information yourself. If you have information on these topics from your own country or want to add to the links I’m posting, please comment below! Like most crafters, I am constantly learning new things every day. I hope this post will be a helpful resource for others like me.

LABELLING LAWS

Even if you handcraft your items, you are required by law to put a label on them when you sell them. The neccessary information that needs to go on your label will depend on the laws in your country.

PRODUCT SAFETY

Products, ESPECIALLY childrens products, are required by law to be safe for consumers. The manufactuer (whether you are a massive corporation or a DIY mommy) is required to ensure the safety of products they sell as well as making buyers aware of possible safety hazards associated with their product (ie. small parts warnings, choking hazard etc.). From what I’ve researched to this point, the USA’s safety requirements for children’s products are a lot stricter than Canada’s with the introduction of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008. According to the latest news, though, Canada will soon be making stricter changes to its product safety laws.

At this time, here is an overview of what is required saftey-wise for products sold in Canada & USA:

  • CANADA – Childrens clothing cannot have drawstrings, small parts on clothing & accessories (like buttons) are unsafe, and childrens clothing & toys must meet strict flammability requirements (ESPECIALLY sleepwear). This is just a brief overview; please read all of the details here: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/child-enfant/access/index-eng.php
  • USA – Every part of childrens clothing and toys needs to be tested & passed for toxicity and other elements according to the new CPSIA laws. These laws are quite in depth, so please read about them here: http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/smbus/cpsiasbguide.html

More helpful links in CANADA:

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