Featured Shop: Workshops with Elise Blaha Cripe

December 25, 2013

image from elisejoy.com

Elise Blaha Cripe's fantastic workshops are organized into daily lectures, many with helpful videos, that are insteresting and easy to understand. The classes are hosted on a private blog and are meant to be completed at your own pace. Throughout the workshops, she is available to answer any questions and provide clarification. At the end of each workshop, PDFs of class lectures are available for download.

Let's go shopping!

Featured Shop: Caryn Drexl Photography

December 24, 2013

image from caryndrexl.typepad.com

Equal parts haunting and beautiful, Caryn Drexl's portraiture will delight the shutterbugs and art lovers on your list. Add an antique frame and you've got the perfect gift. Don't miss The Memory Collector - Walk Down Memory Lane!

Let's go shopping!

Featured Shop: Wee Wonderfuls

December 23, 2013

image from www.weewonderfuls.com

Toy designer Hilary Lang and her shop, Wee Wonderfuls, are well known for offering colorful, sweet, sewing and cross-stitch patterns, embroidery stitchettes, and paper goods to delight kids and adults alike. Be sure to pick up a Big Footed Bunny or Kit, Chloe and Louise pattern for the clever crafter on your list!

Let's go shopping!

Featured Shop: Katie Can Draw

December 20, 2013

image from katiecandraw.typepad.com

Katie can draw: little kitties doing yoga, twists on Doctor Who, The Avengers, and My Little Ponies, or even a custom mini-painting of anything your heart desires. Don't miss Gronk; the star of her weekly webcomic even has his own books!

Let's go shopping!

Featured Shop: The Blackbird Sings

December 19, 2013

image from images.cdn.bigcartel.com

Natasha Newton is the talented painter, designer and illustrator behind The Blackbird Sings, featuring original contemporary watercolor paintings, illustrations, prints and decorative homewares inspired by nature and mid-century design. For a gift out of the ordinary, don't miss her gorgeous astronomy art pieces.

Let's go shopping!

Featured Shop: Mignon Kitchen Co.

December 17, 2013

Shop_mignon

Mignon Kitchen Co. is an online shop created by Rachel Ball out of her love for making and sharing food. The shop carries a selection of curated goods for prepping, baking, serving, and sharing food, perfect for the foodies on your list. Don't miss the Nutcracker Brittle!


Let's go shopping!

The Business of Blogging: Sponsorships

July 18, 2013

Welcome to our series of posts on the business of blogging! Each Thursday for 6 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you build, market, and successfully create a small business with your Typepad blog. Late to the party? Check out our other posts about the Business of Blogging.

So far in our series, you've learned how to use your blog to market your business, and bring in extra income.  In addition to having pay-per-click ads in your sidebar, another popular option is to offer a a Sponsorship program.  Having a successful Sponsorship program on your blog will require a little extra work on your part beyond the paid advertising space that you offer.

Sponsor ads are ad spaces on your blog one can purchase in exchange for additional promotion from you.  This could include writing a feature post about their site, hosting a giveaway for them, writing a product review, or just a few plugs on your social media sites. 

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A service like Passionfruit Ads has made managing sponsorship programs SO easy! They set up the code for your ad shop, your ad links, and even host the images for you - no upload required! Just some codes to copy and paste and you're all set!

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Use the Page feature on your blog to set up your Sponsorship page. This page is where you explain your program, prices, perks, and where to actually purchase the ad.  Here are some great examples of Sponsorship pages from Mary Makes DinnerSmile and Wave and Muse My World

When you have some ads queued for publishing, the next step is adding the ads to your layout.  We recommend embedding a new module to your layout.

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For more information, check out Passionfruitads "How-to" specifically for Typepad users.  

Sponsorship programs generally start when the blogger feels like they have a decent amount of followers and readership to offer this promotion.  To get an idea of what to charge for space, check out other blogs with similar readership/followers to gauge what others are charging.   Another option is to swap ads with other bloggers just to get the word out about your blog.

Like we mentioned earlier, sponsorships are more than just sticking a button on your sidebar.  You need to stick to your end of the bargain in promoting your sponsors as well as the upkeep your blog.  No one wants to pay to advertise on a blog that updates sporadically.  Sponsorships are a great way to discover new blogs, grow your blogging community, develop your own style as a blogger, and generate extra income.

The Business of Blogging: Best Practices

July 11, 2013

Business_blogging_head

Welcome to our series of posts on the business of blogging! Each Thursday for 6 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you build, market, and successfully create a small business with your Typepad blog. Late to the party? Check out our other posts about the Business of Blogging.

When making the decision to start a blog, you're embarking on an endeavor which is new to you. There are many things to consider when you get started, and you can take advantage of the experience of those who have gone before you by adhering to some of the best practices for business blogging.

Use Your Own Domain Name
Typepad allows you to use a unique and professional domain name for your site with the Domain Mapping feature. This allows you to present a professional blog to the world without typepad.com in your blog's address. Some things to keep in mind when choosing a domain:

  • Make it easy to read and remember. Say the domain out loud to see how it sounds. Make sure you are using easy to spell words.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Avoid numbers and special characters.

Some good examples of Typepad blogs using mapped domains: www.pulpsushi.com, www.abeautifulmess.com, www.specialneedsmom.com.

You can set up Domain Mapping any time without breaking links to your existing content, but we don't recommend changing your domain after you have established your blog. Need a shorter URL for your site? Consider registering a short domain which is easy to share and forwarding it to your blog without breaking any existing links.

If need help setting up Domain Mapping, the Typepad community and support team can do the set up for you. Click the Help link in your account and open a New Ticket with your request.

Less Is More
If you choose good, relevant advertising for your blog, your readers won't be overwhelmed and turned off by the ads. With well chosen ads, your readers will actually see the ads and potential advertisers will notice.

Use No Follow Links
By adding a small bit of code to your sponsored links, you can prevent Google and other search engines from clicking through those links on your site and giving a higher page rank to the sponsored website. If you do not use no follow links, your site may be penalized as it is seen as one way sites can buy a higher page rank.

The rel="nofollow" tag can be easily added to your links:

<a href="http://www.corporatewebsite.biz" rel="nofollow">Sponsor</a>

When composing a post, click to the HTML tab to edit the link tag. For sidebar modules, you'll want to use the custom sidebar module or Notes Typelist, instead of Links Typelist, in order to edit the link tag. (See the article on adding custom sidebar content for more information.)

For the Google explanation and more technical details, see the Webmaster Tools article on the subject.

Don't Steal Content
This seems pretty straightforward, but you see a lot of posts around the web which are simply copied from another site. Readers will be more likely to come back to your blog again and again to read original content. Instead of taking the lazy approach, take inspiration from articles you enjoy. Ask permission of the author to use a short quote on your own blog and give credit where credit is due. Then, add your own take to make the article your own. The same goes for using images and other multimedia you do not own. We previously published an article on photo use and attribution.

Don't Overlook The Design
Your writing may be spectacular, your photos beautiful, but if the design of your blog makes it hard to read or is unappealing, visitors may not stick around to read your posts. Put your latest content front and center. Carefully consider ad placement to prevent the ads from overwhelming readers. Limit your banner height to less than 300px to make sure your recent post appears above the fold and visitors don't need to scroll down to start reading. Add navigational links in a prominent place, like the Navigation Bar below the banner, or at the top of a sidebar column. Make note of other sites you visit regularly and see what about their design stands out to you as a plus and be inspired!

Looking for help with a new design? Typepad services can help you with a new design. Check out the portfolio and find a service that best meets your needs.

What other best practices have you found for blogging? Share your tips in the comments or the forum.

The Business of Blogging: Blogging for Business!

July 05, 2013

Business_blogging_head

Welcome to our series of posts on the business of blogging! Each Thursday for 6 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you build, market, and successfully create a small business with your Typepad blog. Late to the party? Check out our other posts about the Business of Blogging.

Last week in our Business of Blogging series, we talked about how to integrate your shop into Typepad. Hand in hand with this, there are many ways that you can promote yourself and your items right on your blog with blogging.

For instance, maybe you sell handmade crafts on your blog.  This could be anything and everything from greeting cards to scarfs to birdhouses.  Whatever you make, you have to obviously MAKE it to sell it.  Having a post or a series of posts on making your project is a great way to draw attention to your items.  Here are some ideas:

  • Start from the beginning.  Have an initial post about what's required to make your project including all of your materials, equipment, and planning material. It helps to illustrate how much work goes into making your items. Take pictures of the materials before and after they become your item.
  • Tell your item's story. What made you want to create this item?  Was there something particular that inspired you, be it an event or a person?  How did you learn to make it?  Did you take a class or are you self-taught?  Has someone encouraged you that you're thankful for?
  • Show your work. Lots of work goes into making your items.  Take pictures of some of the steps that you go through.  The more work you do, the more you can feel justified in charging for your item!
  • Display the final results. Your items are awesome!  Show them off!  If it's a clothing item, get gussied up and wear it!  If it's a toy for your pet, take a video of you playing with your puppy or kitty!  The ideas are endless to show how amazing your items are and how they can enrich someone's life by purchasing them.

These ideas can be applied to all kinds of items that aren't handmade in the same way, like art work and photography.  Show how much work goes into finding just the right subject that you want to take a picture of or paint.

If you're creating something even more elaborate - maybe building furniture or sewing a wedding dress - make several posts about the process.  After all, your work is intricate.  It's unlikely that just one post could cover all of the effort that goes into it.

Another way to engage your readers is to ask them what they think.  Is there a group of people that this would make a great gift for, like moms or college graduates?  Are there other colors, fabrics, or styles that would nudge them over the edge into making a purchase?  Perhaps there's something you can do just slightly different that would open up a whole new avenue of sales!

Bottom line, the more you blog about the process and the item, the more opportunities that you have to catch a reader's eye and get them interested in what you create.  As we all know, more opportunities means more possible sales.  Instead of thinking "ABC: Always Be Selling," think "ABB: Always Be Blogging!" instead.

The Business of Blogging: Integrating Your Shop

June 27, 2013

Business_blogging_head

Welcome to our series of posts on the business of blogging! Each Thursday for 6 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you build, market, and successfully create a small business with your Typepad blog. Late to the party? Check out our other posts about the Business of Blogging.

 

You've got a blog, you're starting a shop, but how to integrate the two?

If you haven't started by first comparing the eCommerce solutions out there, then by all means finish reading this post before you do so; it may just save you some time and heartbreak. And while we don't natively offer eCommerce, we make it easy for you to integrate your preferred eCommerce solution with your Typepad blog, provided you use the right service.

There are too many hosted shop services for us to cover here, but it wouldn't hurt to consider one of the following (we aren't affiliated with any of them; we just happen to like them):

What you really need to do, though, is take into consideration the type of shop you'll need. What will you be selling? Is it handmade, resale, direct downloads, or something else? Once you've got that figured out, use your preferred search engine to locate options that fit your needs. Some search terms to get you started:

  • embed shop (or store, ecommerce--try all three)
  • hosted shop (or store, ecommerce--ditto the above)
  • online store builder
  • simple shopping cart

Review and compare the shops that look like they'll fit your needs. Now check whether or not they allow you to embed the store, or your items, elsewhere. Do they? Rad! If they don't, then it's best to not move forward with them.

So, your shop is all setup and you're ready to add it to your blog. There are a few ways this can be achieved, and it all depends on the options your chosen service provides.

Embed the shop as a widget in your blog's sidebar

This option will display your shop widget on all posts and pages of your blog. Copy the code provided to you from your selected service, then use either a Notes Typelist (add | publish) or an Embed Your Own HTML module, pasting the code into whichever of the two you choose.

Code pasted? Excellent job! Now save and publish your changes.

Embed the shop as its own page

Depending on the layout used for your blog, embedding your shop on its own page may be a bit cumbersome. Lucky for you that we've covered this topic in the past, right here at Everything Typepad! It's the ideal solution for you if your shop doesn't seem to be fitting within the given space very well.

As with the earlier embed option, you'll need to copy the embed code that your selected service provided. Once copied, compose a page (Compose > New Page), then click the HTML tab of the editor. Paste the code into the page, then click Publish, making certain that the HTML is still visible (returning to the Rich Text tab could corrupt your shop's embed code). Once published, click the "view page" link to make sure it looks the way it needs to.

If your shop service provides you customization options to narrow or widen the content, you can use that to make the shop better fit the space available. If it does not, however, use the CSS tip provided in the article linked above. Make sure to follow the directions carefully.

You can copy the URL of the page you published, then add it to your blog's navigation bar so readers can quickly, and easily, access your shop content.

Embed specific items rather than an entire shop

Does your selected service allow you to embed specific shop items? That's pretty cool! Being able to embed a specific item means that you can include it, via the HTML tab, in a blog post when you are looking to feature a product to your readers.

Similar to creating a page, for embedding a specific item,  you would copy its embed code, then compose your blog post as you normally would. Once finished, click the HTML tab, then paste the code into the location you'd like it to appear. Preview the post to verify that it looks the way you want, then share it with the world!

Rock and Roll!

Now that you've got the rundown on how to embed your shop, you're one step closer to getting it up and integrated with your blog. Your readers are going to love having such easy access to your wares, man. All the other bloggers will be totally jealous.

Ready to share your shop with other Typepad bloggers? Make sure to visit and submit your shop link to shop.typepad.com!

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