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Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Responsive

Published on November 25th, 2014

Mobile design infographic

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Australian Quilt Market 2014

Published on November 25th, 2014

photo of stand in australia  

photo of stand

Last week Dan and his wife Emily had the amazing opportunity to travel to Melbourne, Australia to represent Websites For Quilters at the Australian Quilt Market. We had a great time meeting with all of our friends there.

We also enjoyed having the chance to showcase our products and services. Pictured above are some photos of our stand (they don’t call them “booths” down under). Web development options in Australia are limited and expensive, and few developers understand the unique needs of the quilting industry.  Websites For Quilters in Australia helps fill this void by offering high quality service, web development solutions at affordable prices for Australians.  It was also really nice to meet in person many of the people we currently serve.

Australians have a wonderful zest for life and have a healthy work / life balance.  It’s been really nice seeing the beautiful sites around Melbourne too!  Australia is a beautiful country and many friendly people. (Little piece of trivia: Dan’s mum grew up in Melbourne)

It came and went so fast that when it came time to fly back to the United States we were already excited for next year’s quilt market. We hope all of our Australian friends will keep in touch!


Categories: General, Quilting Related | |

Taking the First Steps Towards a More Successful Website

Published on November 17th, 2014

Most users rely on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to help them find information and products online. For this reason, SEO is one of the most important things you can do for your website.

 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is helping drive traffic to your website from a search engine. If you’ve ever searched for something on Google, clicked on a link to a website, and found what you were looking for, this is an example of a website that has good SEO. A website without any SEO is a website without any visitors from search engines.

There are a lot of different techniques for improving your website’s SEO. Search engines like Google have very complex algorithms they use to sift through the millions of websites out there and find you what you’re looking for. Since Google changes these algorithms often, SEO strategies are always changing and learning SEO can be tricky.

The good news is, there are some simple things you can do to improve your website’s SEO each day. Keep in mind that SEO takes time and the results aren’t instant. Newer websites usually take longer to move up in the ranking. This is an ongoing process and is never fully complete.

 

Getting Started

Before jumping right in to the SEO process, make sure you have an overall goal in mind. Ask yourself what you need to achieve for your time spent focusing on SEO to be a success. Here are some examples of SEO goals:

  • Raise brand awareness through new visitors to your site
  • Improve sales of products and services 15%
  • 10% more email subscribers for your newsletters
  • Reach 1,000 likes on Facebook
  • Increase returning visitors to your website by 25%


Audit Your Site

google analytics

The next step is to use the free SEO tools that Google provides, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster. These will help you audit the performance of your website, help you track goals, and even help you with setting your goals. With these tools you will be able to identify your userbase so you can think of ways to target them. It will take time for Google to track user data for your site, so the first month is a waiting game. After you have at least one month of tracking data, you can begin your audit.

 

Execute and Make Improvements

After you have some data to work with you can make changes to your site that will help you reach your goals. If your goal is increase returning visitor traffic by 25%, then you might want to implement a monthly sale, a coupon or regular Blog posts. Auditing your site and making improvements monthly will help you understand what users are searching for and how you can better provide them with the services they need.


Interested in learning more? Sign Up for our SEO Newsletter!

http://www.websitesforquilters.com/forms/seo-and-online-marketing-newsletter/


Categories: Online Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEO Tips | |

E-mail Marketing - CAN-SPAM and Why You Shouldn't

Published on August 12th, 2014

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective tools that any one can utilize to get the word out and promote products. Most of the time sending these marketing messages through the interweb is relatively straight forward, harmless and very rewarding. But if you are really enthusiastic about marketing your business, there are 3 things to note. 
 
1. SPAM
 
It's important to be sure your e-mail lists and the people who are receiving e-mail from your newsletters, business e-mails and personal e-mails, know who you are. If you haven't received express consent from the recipient to send them messages, give them an opportunity to give you permission. You can do this by periodically sending an "opt-in" message or by inviting people to sign up for your newsletter. 
 
BEST PRACTICE: In the footer of your message, include a short line about why they are receiving your message and then give them an opportunity to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. Example: "You've signed up on our website to receive periodic e-mail updates from us. To unsubscribe..."
 
2. CAN-SPAM
 
In the United States, there are regulations set aside by the FCC to help ensure businesses send marketing messages in an appropriate fashion to citizens. 

Under the CAN-SPAM Act (which is a Law in the U.S.) all communication messages from businesses that have a marketing message must have the following:
  • Identification – The e-mail must be clearly identified as a solicitation or advertisement for products or services;
  • Opt-Out – The e-mail must provide easily-accessible, legitimate, and free ways for you to reject future messages from that sender;
  • Return Address – The e-mail must contain legitimate return e-mail addresses, as well as the sender’s postal address.
    (Information from http://www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text-messages-and-email 
3. New Canadian Law

Recent legislation from the Canadian front has now made it a law to anyone that sends e-mail messages to Canadian e-mail addresses to have a double opt-in record. What this means is in the next 36 months any business sending marketing messages to a Canadian e-mail recipient must have two opt-ins on file for the e-mail to be considered non-spam. Canadian law that went into effect July 1, 2014 can now FINE businesses for not complying to this new spam rule. 

For more information about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legistlation, Visit: http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home 
 
Other E-mail Marketing Advice:
  • Newsletters should be sent at least 1/month, but not more than 2x/week. 
  • Include an action item in your marketing e-mails to measure it's success.
  • Find ways to grow your e-mail marketing lists. Ask your social networks to sign up for e-mails, gather sign ups at trade shows or hold contests to encourage customers to sign up for your marketing e-mails. 
Happy Marketing!


Category: Online Marketing | |

Results: Annual Quilter's Shopping Trends Survey

Published on August 7th, 2014

The results from the Annual Quilter's Shopping Trends Survey are rolling in and we'd love to share. This year we asked our quilting friends to answer questions about their online shopping habits. We hope that this information will help those who operate online quilting businesses so that they can make the online shopping experience for their customers a pleasant one. 

This year was a record breaking year for our survey. We reached over 1,300 quilt shoppers! The growth in our data pool really helps make a difference when we compare results. Thanks to those of you that took that time to contribute your responses. Without further delay, here are the results for 2014.

Annual Quilter's Shopping Trends Survey : Results 2014


"I prefer to shop online for my quilting needs."

 


Top 3 benefits to shopping online for fabric instead of at a brick-and-mortar store:

1. There is a larger inventory of fabric online.

2. I don't have to leave home.

3. I can compare prices easily


20% of those surveyed said that 80% or more of their ONLINE quilt supply purchases was for fabric.
 

Shoppers prefer online stores to organize their fabric by:

1. Collection

2. Color 

3. Manufacturer

4. Theme/Genre

5. What's on Sale


What styles of fabric do you typically purchase?

25% of those surveyed said they compare prices between brick-and-mortar stores and Online Stores frequently.

 

85% of those surveyed said that low shipping cost was the most important aspect of the shipment of their items from online purchases.


When you go online to buy fabric:


55% of those surveyed said they ALWAYS look for security marks or https when they purchase online.


What best increases your loyalty to an online store?

1. Excellent customer service

2. Prices

3. Ease of use

4. Type of inventory

5. Shipping options

6. Loyalty or rewards programs


48% of those surveyed said they had signed up for a quilting class online.


What makes you want to leave a website the most?


Which social media channels would most likely lead you to buy online?


Do you prefer to finish your own quilts or do you hire it out to another quilter (or longarm quilter)?


How much time do you spend on social media websites each week?


How did you hear about some of your favorite online quilt stores? 


I respond best to...


What search engines do you use to find fabric and quilting supplies?


65% of those surveyed said they frequently return to the same online stores.


60% of those surveyed said they prefer or don't mind using PayPal for processing payment at checkout.


75% agree that if an online store looks outdated, it makes them NOT want to buy from the store.


I expect the following from an online store in order to purchase:


How did you find your favorite online fabric & quilting supply store?


90% of those surveyed said they avoid purchasing sewing machines online.


Which social networks do you use?


70% of those surveyed own some kind of smart phone device.


47% have used a mobile phone, iPhone, iPad or tablet to make a quilting supply purchase.

 

This concludes our search summary for the Annual Quilter's Shopping Trends Survey in 2014. We'd like to give a special thank-you to our sponsors this year. We've randomly selected prize winners for each of the sponsors prizes and they will be contacting the lucky recipient this week to help them claim their prize. Feel free to visit their sites listed below for more great products and services.

2014 Prizes and Sponsors:

* Crafty Threads - $25 Gift Card
http://www.craftythreads.com/
  * Pacific Fabrics & Crafts - $25 Gift Card
https://www.pacificfabrics.com/
     

* Cotton Candy Quilt Shoppe - $50 Gift Card
https://www.cottoncandyquiltshoppe.com/

  * Quilter's Roost - $50 of Fat Quarters
http://www.quiltersroost.com/
     
* Custom Quilt Kits - $100 Custom Quilt Kit
http://www.customquiltkits.com/
  * Heirloom Quilting Company - Homestead Gatherings Dessert Roll ($34 Value)
http://www.heirloomquiltingcompany.com/
     
* Quilted Dawn - Northcott Stonehenge Jelly Roll ($43 Value)
http://www.quilteddawn.com/
  * Fun With Stitches - $30 Gift Certificate
http://www.funwithstitches.com/
     
* Studioe - Precut Fat Quarter Bundle ($30 Value)
http://www.studioefabrics.com/
  * Henry Glass - Precut Fat Quarter Bundle ($30 Value)
http://www.henryglassfabrics.com/
     
* Piecing the Past Quilts - 10 Piece Fat Quarter Bundle of 1800's  Reproduction Fabrics ($25 Value)
http://www.piecingthepastquilts.com/
(Site Coming Soon! Will be live in August.) 
  * Quilter's Palette - "Quill" Fat Quarter Bundle by Robert Kaufman ($34 Value)
http://www.quilterspalettecapecod.com/
     
* Aunt Sassy's Quilts - Fat Quarter Bundle "Tomorrow's Promise" by Marti Michelle ($78 Value)
http://www.auntsassysquilts.com/
   

Categories: Quilting Related, Online Marketing | |

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