Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Thank you so much for following my blog this year! I appreciate all the new followers, and always adore the older ones as well.

I hope to have a full 2011 covering our garden, business & our community. Please be well this season, and keep following us for a long time to come.

Thank you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Analyzing Google Analytics

I find this to be a great advantage when determining what venue of advertising is working for me. I don't exactly 'take out ads' in the paper. I have the same budget as most other etsy sellers... $0 for advertising! So we take advantage of blogs, twitter, facebook, Etsy forums & what ever venue we can find. The true cost of all that is our 'TIME'. And don't let anyone fool you, running your business is not cheap... and you should put value on your time. I was told that during a meet with Small Business Association Office in Cary, NC.

So how do you know your time is not wasted? Well, Etsy offers you the ability to sign up for GOOGLE ANALYTICS and connect your store to their program. This program will track where your traffic is coming from, and how much traffic is being filtered to your shop from all your free locations.

Here's a reality check... I spend a hour or 2 each (and sometimes every other) day plugging my store. I use my blog, though its main focus is what I love... my passion for my garden, baking & supporting the local/natural food movement. I use facebook, but I have a private page, not a fan page that is open to the public. There is also Twitter, and I have over 700 followers so view & share my store links. A few times a week I post specials on Etsy's promotional forums & I also have listing available on another of my favorite websites BackYardChickens.com (because I will not be happy until there is a chicken in every yard in America!).

So how do I know whats working? That's a lot of hours in addition to my canning, gardening, baking & shipping I already have to do. I'm working at least 50 hours a week, 7 days a week to keep my business going!? How many of those hours could I be spending with my daughter? With my husband?

Well the answers are now clear! Or are they?

Google Analytics gives many charts to show how your traffic has been... it shows what sites they come from... how long they stay on your site... and what kind of return you are getting in traffic for your efforts.

I even get a laugh at some of this! Here's some google search keywords that had returned my Etsy shop, AND even got me traffic... though these keywords almost had nothing to do with my biscotti or jams.

Hippie Wedding Dress? Really? Hahahaha

Oh well, its not the point... it got me traffic... though you can see from the average time they are on my site being in the negative, those are not successful keywords to get me any sales.

Now here's how my front view is. It gives me a nice chart so I can see my traffic really averages from a lot of sources. That lets me know my time is not as wasted as I thought it may have been. My efforts are getting me clicks for sure.

Lets view a 'full report' of those top traffic sites. It appears REFERRING sites are biggest bang for the buck. Direct traffic through Etsy is pretty good too!

2950 visitors it pretty good to me, but knowing I've managed that I think we can increase traffic by focusing on where my greatest number of clicks are coming from. Which is? (After direct which is right on etsy) Its BRONTO email. Now WHAT is Bronto email? Well, I did some research when I came back with that same thing at the top of my clicks in September after I first set this up. It turns out BRONTO is the company that supports the email for Etsy that they use for mailings such as "Etsy Finds". You get that in your email? Well... so do THOUSANDS of other Etsy visitors. All those people who aren't frequenting etsy to catch a 'frontpage' view, can check their email at any time and see you in the 'Etsy Finds' newsletter. If you see the spike in my chart up about November 26th, I had nearly 500 clicks on one page of my store. That day, I had about 12 sales and sold out of Watermelon Jelly. I was featured in a newsletter by Etsy. That would be my choice advertising venue! (The next spike you see in the chart was a frontpage feature I received for another store item.)

I have learned something important here....

First, I am going to go through all my keywords in my listing and make sure they are working for me, and not against me. Secondly, I put more hours & physical time into Twitter to have it be my 7th avenue of traffic on my list. I am going to reclaim that time by only using twitter once a week and not 5 days a week. Thirdly, the BackYardChickens site offers paid advertising... and seeing it does bring me nearly 40% of my new visitors each month, I may go ahead and save me a few hours a week advertsing time, and just pay for a monthly revolving ad, it is very inexpensive! Lastly, I have learned that I adore the Google Analytics. I think you should really truly link your store.... keep up with it... and maybe you too will see how to save not only money... but time... and increase sales to boot!!!

And all this is FREE, Silly... go use it!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Garden Neglect

We've gotten so busy with our stores... baking & woodworking... that the garden had gotten covered in snow last week before I got all the veggie out! I still have dozens of heads of cabbage, radish & lettuce I hadn't gotten out yet. Some of the cabbage seems fine though, and since its going to be back in the 50's and out of the teens here shortly... I hope they survive & give me a little more growth.

I picked the lettuce yesterday, a lot of it was bruised, but a few heads still had tender leaves. I think I have enough for 1 family salad. Thank goodness :)

I can't remember us ever being so cold in December or having snow this early in eastern/central NC.

Things I still HAVE to do in the garden to be ready for spring:

Till over the empty beds
Lay hay on the strawberry patches
Lay hay on the onion & garlic beds
Break new ground for the new 50' garden plot we have planned
Clear out the over growth near the pond where I want a new wildflower patch

These things will not wait for spring for me willingly. Especially when I have a feeling the strawberry crops in the spring or the surrounding farms may not be ready as early as they used to be. I have to depend on my own berries for Jam. :)

Will go out and photo everything this weekend so you can see how mother nature has beat on my garden beds this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wand - Wizard Gift Set

Now available for your Harry Potter Fan for Christmas. Hand carved natural hard wood wands. Each coming with details on its materials... each one different! You could get yourself a 10 1/2" Walnut w/ Dragon Heartstring Core or an 11 1/4" Elder w/ Unicorn Hair Core. Stains ordered from oak, walnut & cherry. Some with delicate carved handles, and some with the woods natural curve. (All actually made from natural pear tree hard wood)

Each purchase comes in a gorgeous fabric bag with material tag, AND a "Hogwarts School Acceptance Letter w/ attached School book list for 1st years" - Addressed to your child; Dear Mr. (Your son or daughter's name here).

What a magical gift!

All for $25 + Shipping

Get your order in now before they are gone... and you may have to wait until you're a second year wizard!

Here are some sample pictures of what you could get! (Fabric bag colors vary, and you don't get to chose.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

We made it to Etsy's Front Page!

But it was 1am, and I was so very asleep. So I missed the wonderful moment! It was a great men's treasury too. I did manage to find a screenshot online though.

Don't forget to visit our shop this holiday season, we're having random great sales... don't miss any!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harry Potter Wizarding Wands

It took a little longer then expected... but Brian and I worked on these wands today, trying to doing something similar to the wands from the Harry Potter Movies.

We stained them up in different shades, and the pear wood we used looks gorgeous.

I think if we had better weather here today we could have done better quicker. However, the winds have been whipping bad. Its barely 5pm, and its already getting dark... so maybe tomorrow he'll get more done.

I have boxes still to pack for orders, so the reality that the holiday is coming is setting in. To bed early this evening we will be going!

These wands are available for sale: