Thursday, July 2, 2009

Giveaway ~ 10% off Boutique Graphics Web Design and More!

I have blogged about Maggie before and the wonderful work she has done for me and for many others. She has now offered 1 lucky winner 10% off any of her services on her website (Boutique Graphics only). In addition to her giveaway, she has graciously offered some great tips to market your website or blog. One thing that I haven't told you in the past is that she also owns and operates Bliss Photography where she specializes in on-location photography for newborns, maternity, children, seniors, families, groups, engagements and commercial product photography as well as modeling services. I have worked with Maggie on the design of my website, blog and Top 100 list and I can tell you that she is a joy to work with. Please read her tips below and visit her site or blog for even more advice.

Tips on Marketing Your Website
Written by Maggie Phillips at Boutique Graphics and Bliss Photography

If you build it, they will come... right? I wish it was that simple! In order for people to find your store, you will have to market it. Word of Mouth Tell people about your store! Talk it up, make it sound absolutely irresistible... the great products, the easy ordering, etc. Make sure you tell them both your business name AND your domain. For instance: " store, ABC Baby Stuff - it's"

Even if you talk to someone who isn't interested in your kind of products, they may be impressed enough to pass it along to someone who is!

A great place to start is with your friends and family - they are sure to tell people about your incredibly awesome store!

Banner Advertising

Paid banner advertising can be a great tool for marketing online. Be sure to check out the site first and make sure the traffic they claim is the traffic they get! Two good places to do that: I've found the following sites give good return on your advertising investment. It is generally a good idea to plan to advertise for about 6 months continuously before you see big results from your ads.

Print It Everywhere

Your logo, business name, and domain name are very important when branding your business. Add them to your packaging (think stickers, tags, etc), your business cards, forum signatures and all email correspondence. A nice touch can be to send a small "thank-you" gift that also works in your domain name, business name and/or logo. Newsletters/Mailing Lists Newsletters, aka Mailing Lists, are an amazingly effective tool in marketing to your existing customer base. If you don't have a mailing list with a sign up form, start one today.

You can get a free mailing list account at; another good option with reasonable fees is

Discounts and giveaways are a great way to encourage new sign ups.

Link Exchanges

Reciprocal link exchanges are a great way to advertise and promote your business. The WAHMShoppes Link Directory allows you to set up a fully dynamic exchange, wherein anyone who adds their banner to your site must first add your banner to their site. Your store keeps track of this for you! Your best bet starting out is to visit other WAHMShoppes stores that would provide relevant links with yours. By relevant, I mean that if you sell baby stuff, then linking up with a store that sells candles is not all that relevant. It won't hurt to link with that store, but it probably won't help either. Click here for a tutorial for setting up your WAHMShoppes link exchange. If you don't have a WAHMShoppes store, you can still have a link exchange. Just set up a page on your site to add banners to, and start searching for other stores to link with. Handle the link and banner exchange by email, and be professional and business-like when you contact them.

Top List Sites

Top Lists, Top Sites, Top 100... they are all the same thing, but not all created equal! These can be a great tool for getting lots of traffic to your site, as long as your are selective in the ones you join.

The objective is not to add your site to as many Top Lists as you can. Choose carefully, and add your site to the Top Lists that are attractive and well laid-out. Busy Top Lists with flashing graphics, messy banners in disarray, tons of missing links and missing banners are not going to convey an upscale image to your site.

When you join a Top List, you submit your banner, business name and a description of your site. In exchange, you put their banner on your website. The banner you place on your site is coded so that when someone clicks it, the user is forwarded to the top site and you get credit for a "hit in". When someone visits the Top List and clicks your banner to visit your site, you get credit for a "hit out". The more hits in and out, the higher your banner will appear on the list.

The "hits in" carry the most weight for ranking purposes, so the more prominently you display the banner for the Top List, the more clicks it will get, so the more credit you will get, and the higher your banner will appear on the Top List, thus resulting in more exposure for you and more clicks to your banner.

A couple of good Top Lists:

Posh Mom Boutiques
Haute Mama Shoppes
Victoria's Chic Boutique
Top 100 Snazzy Sites
Trendy Me and Mommy Boutiques

Just click on any of the banners and find the [Join] button. You will need a 468x60 banner before you start. (Need one? Click here) You'll also need to provide an email and password for your account. Use the same information for all your top lists and it will make it much easier to remember!

Your vote counts too! Most Top Lists restrict you to one vote in 24 hours, so each day, click both the Top List banner on your site, and your banner on the Top List.

The best part is that joining a Top List is free! Many have additional advertising spots as well, and these can be a great value as they are usually inexpensive and appear above the free ads.

Track Your Stats

A stat counter, or hit tracker, traffic meter, etc will allow you to keep track of the traffic your are getting, and where it comes from so you know which of your advertising is paying off. Try if you need help configuring it and adding it to your store, click here.

Know Your SEO

I'll keep it simple and short here, because SEO is an extremely complex subject. The most important things you can do to improve your ranking are to update your Meta Title and your home page text. Meta Keywords are so close to being obsolete that you may as well say they are obsolete. Please don't obsess over them; they are not affecting your ranking. Have 2 or 200, it makes so difference. The Meta Description affects what shows on a search engine below your Title. It has little impact on ranking but can have a big impact on if your link gets clicked, so use it to name your best brands, most impressive products, etc and make your store sound irresistible. OK now, the Meta Title. This needs to about 12-14 words, include your business name, and the MOST IMPORTANT keywords for your site. Put the most important keyword first, right after the business name. This is not a site description... it's a keyword fest. For instance... Jack's Kid Stuff - Offering Tons of Great Kids Clothing at Great Prices - WRONG!!!! Jack's Kid Stuff Boutique Clothing Little Mass Le Top Psketti Deux Par Deux - RIGHT!!!! There is no "perfect" Meta Title. The "RIGHT" example above could be done many different ways. The trick is to think about the keywords people are most likely to type in Google if they are looking for your site. Then use those in your title. Your home page text is the most important text on your website and hugely impacts your SE ranking. Make sure you have as many keyword-rich paragraphs of text as you can possibly come up with. Simply listing keywords is not powerful here; incorporate them into a body of actual sentences - the SE's are very intelligent and they penalize you for what they consider "keyword spamming". So amp up your text, but do it the right way! Research your competition, the ones appearing in the top 10-20 of the rankings, and check out what they are doing. Also, keep in mind that time plays a big role in ranking. The longer your site is around, the more credence it's given and the more your ranking will improve.

Keep It Up!

Running a successful business requires management and upkeep. Placing web banners for one month will not mean you get traffic thereafter. You need to make a constant effort to have your name out there. Small businesses have exploded in recent years, so there's more competition than ever. However, this means the industry as a whole has gained recognition and status, and that people are looking for these businesses and want to support them. Nothing happens overnight in the world of eStore marketing. Expect it to take some time as customers and SE's wait to see if you're here to stay. Their trust will build over time and so will your business!


Entering the Giveaway~ How it works:

*Visit Boutique Graphics and check out what Maggie can do with website and blog design, product photography, graphic design and print marketing; then leave a comment on my blog stating what services you found most intriguing. Extra Entries (you may do any combination of the following):

* Grab my button (leave a comment that you did this) * Tweet about this giveaway (Unlimited entries - leave a new comment for each tweet)

* Blog about it (5 entries - leave 5 comments with a link to your blog post)

* Subscribe to or "Follow" Me and Mommy Boutique Blog

* Become a Fan of Me and Mommy Boutique's Facebook Page (Unlimited entries - leave a new comment back on my blog once you've joined MAMB's FB page)

*Join Boutique Graphics Facebook Group (Unlimited entries - leave a new comment back on my blog once you've joined BG's FB group)

* Purchase something on my site, Me and Mommy Boutique, and let me know on the comment section when checking out that you are entering for Boutique Graphics Giveaway; also come back to my blog and comment about what you purchased (You will also receive 20% off your total purchase by entering Boutique Graphics in the discount code section at checkout ~ this is only during the Boutique Graphic's Giveaway time frame)

*No Resident Restrictions

Closes: July 20, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time

Winner will be determined on and then posted here; the winner will also be contacted via email; which means that you have to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. Thanks! :-)