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Tips on creating your successful craft website


A guest post from Polly Dugdale of Handmade Horizons

Exciting stuff!  You have registered a domain name and are ready to start designing your spangly new website...

One slight hitch, you are not really sure what you are supposed to put on it - or worse, there is a very enthusiastic website designer suggesting a looooong list of things to include, which will serve well to hike up their final bill - but doesn't seem to be sitting well in the pit of your stomach.

Does this sound familiar? 

Yes? 

WHOA THERE... Easy tiger.  Let's get back to basics!

There are 2 questions that you need to ask yourself before you go any further down this path - and the good news is that they are not tricky ones to answer:

1) Who do you want your website to appeal to?

This is different for everyone, depending on your business goals and it really does matter.

Some examples to get you into the swing of things:


- new customers
- existing customers
- your suppliers

- potential stockists
- people you have just met
- bloggers / press

- colleagues / peers

The reason it matters is that in the real world, were you to meet these different types of people face-to-face, you would have a different communication style with each of them... and they would be seeking different information from you. 

Despite the wonders of modern technology, your website is not able to adapt for each individual who visits it, so the crux of the matter is that you need to decide who the priority visitor is that you want to address on your website - and in turn this will give you some ideas as to the sort of communication style, look and feel you should give to your site, as well as what information you should make the most prominent.

GREAT.

So that is the first question answered; the next thing you need to ask yourself is...

2) What do you want visitors to your website to do when they get there?

Some ideas for you:
- sign up to your mailing list
- keep up to date with your latest news and products

- engage in your branding story and values
- buy a product online

- ring up to place an order with you over the phone
- make an inquiry about stocking your products in their shop

- read about your press coverage and get in touch to ask about featuring you in an upcoming article

Once you have an idea of what the priority thing is that you want your visitors to do, you can start thinking about how to go about making it happen.  For example if you want people to sign up to your mailing list, get a really noticeable mailing list sign-up form on your site and give visitors a compelling reason to give you their email address. If your key objective is to get people to ring up and place an order, then tell them to do just that... make your phone number prominent and give them a strong call to action to get them to pick up the phone... and to do it now.

It sounds obvious when you look at it like this, but this is an area where people go really wrong because they try to make their website cover all possible bases and provide so many different options to a visitor that generally the visitor will end up doing none of them as a result of all the noise*.  I've said it before and I'm bound to say it again and again;

"If you talk to nobody in particular, then nobody in particular is going to listen to you".

So start thinking about specifics; you will not only find that the process of getting your website up and running is far less of a mental quagmire, but you will also end up engaging your visitors in a more effective way, giving them the information they are looking for and getting the results from your website that you are after! 

Hurrahs all round!

* If you are interested to find out whether you are making the same mistakes that other creative sellers make, get yourself over to http://www.handmadehorizons.com/free-training/LandingPage.html to find out the 5 biggest mistakes being made and to download a checklist to see what you need to do to amend matters!




About Polly Dugdale:

Polly is an online marketing consultant with nine years’ experience, advising some of Britain's biggest brands on their strategies and online retail activities. Now out of the London rat-race, Polly works with entrepreneurs, creative sellers and small businesses across the UK to shape and execute their Digital Marketing strategies from a converted dovecote in Gloucestershire. 


Polly shares free marketing advice on her blog at Cukooky.com, as well as being co-founder of Handmade Horizons, a source of marketing advice for creative women who mean business! That’s when she’s not embarking on strange craft projects or dancing to cheesy music in her kitchen, while concocting weird and wonderful pie recipes...


Polly gets a real kick out of people telling her all about their plans and aspirations for world domination through their work, so would love it if you let her know yours. Go and find her on twitter @dolly_puggles and say hi!

Also check out Polly's free get ready for Christmas e-book!

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