Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Adding a Watermark: Response to Elise

130 Comments

I would like to sell my photographs on Artfire, but I need to watermark them before posting them. How do I watermark my photos?


Elise



Elise,

Adding a Watermark to photos is generally a good idea for handmade sellers, and necessary for photographers to protect their work.

There are lots of ways to add a watermark to photos, but you will need some kind of photo editing software to do so. I’ve put together a brief tutorial on adding a watermark in Photoshop, since that tends to be one most popular photo editing program, but if you don’t have Photoshop you can check out this HandmadeNews article offering brief reviews on similar software.

Adding a Watermark with Photoshop:

Step 1: Prepare Your Photo

Start by transferring your photo onto your computer. For this example, we’re going to use a photo of a nice bracelet.




Step 2: Adding Text

Open the file in Photoshop. Using the Type Tool (shown as a “T” on the left toolbar) write your watermark. This is can be as simple as your business name with a copyright symbol © and the date. It’s generally best to put this in the middle of the picture so it can’t be easily cropped out, and be sure to make it nice and big.



Some artisans will stop at this step, but to make the watermark look professional, it helps to make the watermark somewhat see-through.

Step 3: Making the Watermark Transparent

Locate the “Layers” window. (This window might be “hidden” if you don’t use it much, but you can make it visible again by selecting the Windows tab from the File menu and going down to “Layers” to make sure that it is checked and visible.) Select the Type layer with your watermark text. Just above the layer, you should see an opinion for “Opacity” click this and using the scrollbar, determine how transparent you want your watermark to be. Generally, you don’t want to distract from the image, but you do want people to notice it. For my example, I found 56% to be perfect.



Step 4: Flatten and Save

From the Layer Menu, select “Flatten Image” to get rid of the extra layers.

Next, save your image, making sure it is saved as a .jpeg and not a .psd file. Now you can upload it to your ArtFire studio and list it for as item to sell. Just make sure to include in your item description that the actual photo wouldn’t contain the watermark!

Hope that helps you get started. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sharing Personal Information Online: Response to Anonymous

4 Comments

There is a great deal of hype everywhere that giving our private information on Twitter/Facebook is very risky. I think this should be covered because as for me, I am very guarded who I join/what I say/and my profiles are empty. I only give information related to my shop, not my personal information like birthdates, anything personal. My local news stations have had some terrible horror stories and are warning people to exercise care in using these social networks? Do you have any advice?




Anonymous


Anonymous,

As a business owner, it is your own choice how much information you share. While sharing too much can be damaging, so can sharing too little. If you’re going to do business online, you’ll have to share some information. You have to share enough information for people to believe you are a real person who wouldn’t scam them. It can help draw customers (especially in the handmade market) to brand your business as being personal and share  your name (for credibility) and your story (to allow the customer to connect with you). However, where you draw the line after that is up to you and your own comfort level.

A lot of users choose to create a Facebook Fan Page for their studio to market themselves on Facebook, and keep their personal Facebook account set to private. This way they can allow people to fan their business page on Facebook but save their personal account for connecting with friends and family. Many people do the same thing with Twitter as well.

I hope that answered a few of your questions. This can be hard topic to properly address, but if you’re really concerned about your private information, I’d recommend reading over the Terms of Service and privacy Policy of any site you join, social media related or otherwise, to determine if they are able to share your information.

Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online
Got a question for me to answer on this blog? Email me: Sara@ArtFire.com.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple Photography Tips: Response to Carol

1 Comments

I was wondering if you could give me advice on pictures. I know my pics aren’t great but I don’t have a fancy camera or lightbox or anything like that. Is there a way to take good pics without those things?
Thanks you.
Carol

Carol,

Pictures can be a very important part of an item’s listing. As the buyer cannot hold the item in their hands when shopping online, the photos have to provide the visual stimulation needed for buyers to complete a sale. Here are a few tips for product photography without special equipment that can help your photos:

-If you don’t have a tripod, try resting the camera on a solid surface. This will prevent the camera from moving while you shot and help you avoid tilted or blurry pictures.


-If you don’t have a light box, try a windowsill. Natural light can make a huge difference with photos. Try turning off your indoor lights and placing what you want to photograph on a windowsill or in light from outside. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make!

-Take A LOT of pictures. Even if it’s of the same shot, having lots of pictures to choose form when listing can help with better pictures. Also be sure to take advantage of how many photos are allowed on the venue you are using. If they allow up to four photos, use all four. If they allow ten, use all ten! Having lots of photos will help buyers get a better idea of the product you are selling and reduce their uncertainty about buying from you.

If you need more information on photography, check out our Photography Guide for Products. You can also try asking artisans whose photos you admire if they can offer any advance.


Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online
Got a question for me to answer on this blog? Email me: Sara@ArtFire.com.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Things to Consider When Pricing: Response to Anonymous

1 Comments

Hello there,

Something that would be good for the blog is advice on pricing as SO many newbies ask about it in the forums so guidelines would be good.


thanks

Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,
Price can be a touchy subject, but it is nonetheless an important one. I’ll only go into this topic briefly, as there are many guides available online for specific pricing questions. While there are  a lot of aspects of pricing (cost of materials, cost of labor, etc), I feel that market research tends to be one of the most important. In this case, market research involves looking at items similar to yours and noting their general price. What does your item usually sell for? Once you have a good idea, you can take into account the amount of time it took to make the item, the skill it took, and the cost of materials.

If you’re planning to charge more for your items, make sure you say why in the description. Was this item made with special material? Will it last longer? How long did it take to make it? Is it of higher quality? Remember, you can also show the buyer how the item is worth the extra cost with pictures. If you’re listing an expensive item, be sure use a lot of your pictures to show off your piece!

Lastly, remember that pricing an item too low can turn a buyer away the same as pricing an item too high.

Hope that helps! Drop me a line if you have additional questions!

Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Posting Items to Your Facebook Feed: Response to Mary

0 Comments

How do I promote my items on my Facebook news feed? I am simply lost on that one.

Thanks. Mary


Mary,

To promote your items, just post the URL of one of your items in your Facebook status update. Once you post a link, Facebook should recognize it as a link and pull the item’s picture (although you might have to use the arrows below the picture to sort through to find the right one for the link). You can then include an update to your friends to let them know more about the link, such as, “Check out this new banana scented handmade soap I just posted to my store!”

If you need more information on promoting your store on Facebook, be sure and check out my Facebook Guide.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online

Monday, May 17, 2010

Response to Pam: Duplicate Content, Facebook, and Twitter

1 Comments

I love being able to import items from my Etsy shop to my ArtFire shop, but do I have to be worried about duplicate content and being penalized in Google searches?


I have a personal Facebook page and also my Fan page, although not all of my friends are also fans. What is the proper protocol for posting business related items...post to the fan page then post a link to the first post from my personal page? I don't want to "spam" my friends, but they might be interested in my art, also.


I also have a Twitter account. What should I be Tweeting? How often?


Pam Geisel
For Quilts Sake
www.forquiltssake.com
www.forquiltssake.artfire.com


Pam,

Wow, those are a lot of good questions! I’ll try my best to answer them all in turn.

Question 1: Duplicate Content
While the listing pages for ArtFire and Etsy are very different, there is still the possibility of running into trouble with duplicate content. However, this can easily taken care of by using making a few changes to your imported item’s title and description. You don’t have to redo the listing, just make a few small changes. Making these changes can also be a helpful way to test which title or description works best for your listing so far as SEO (search engine optimization) goes. ArtFire has a guide for after you import you can check out to find more ways to tweak your listings.

Question 2: Facebook
This is really a personal preference, and really depends on your fans and friends. Some people will post every update they have for their fan page onto their personal profile, while others will keep their fan page and personal profile completely separate. You could try only posting important news to both your fan page and personal profile (for example, if you normally post every time you list a new item, only post it to your fan page, while for big sales and events, post to both accounts). You could also try just “liking” your fan page posts from your profile, as this will also show up on your friend’s news feeds without showing the full post. But again, it’s up to you to determine the right amount of promotion with your Facebook account. There really is no proper protocol, so it’s up to you to determine what works best!


Question 3: Twitter
I could probably devote any entire novel this to question, but I’ll try to keep it brief. With your Twitter account, you want to create the right balance of fun, personal updates, as well as business updates. I go over this in greater detail on my Twitter 101 Guide. You’ll want to try and incorporate Twitter into your daily promotional practices to get the best results from it. Start with about 3-10 tweets spaced out over a period of time throughout the day. To a new user this might sound like a lot, but you’ll be surprised how easy it can be once you’re used to it!

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online

Friday, May 14, 2010

Response to Glitter Designs: Free Blogging Services

5 Comments

Dear sell Handmade crafts online:


I was looking into a blog to promote my shop and I wanted to know which service to use as right now I can not really afford to pay for a blog. I know there is blogspot which this blog is offered on but what are some other good free blogging options, and which is the best for a crafter like me?


Thanks much,
Glitter Designs

Dear Glitter Designs,

It's great that you've decided to start blogging! Blogging can be very rewarding and useful way to promote your business.  Luckily for you, there are quite a few free blogging sites out there, in fact, there's too many to mention! I'll just go over a few of the most popular ones.


Blogger - Blogger is known for being low-maintenance and easy to set up. You have a lot of options for personalizing your blog, including the setting of your blog URL (www.(yourchoice).blogspot.com). It can be a great site to start on if you have no experience in blogging. You can manage multiple blogs from one blogger account and receive an RSS feed update in your dashboard of blogs you "follow." And of course, it's completely free!

WordPress -  WordPress offers a lot of tools for the experienced blogger. While they do have a free service, they also have a paid option, which offers video hosting, ad free service, and increased storage. There's a lot more customization options available with WordPress, but it can be overwhelming to a new blogger.  Unlike other blog platforms, WordPress has a few mobile applications available for smart phones.

LiveJournal - LiveJournal is probably one of the oldest "blog-like" platforms out there. LiveJournal has a lot more community options than most blogging platforms.You can set your profile/blog URL (yourchoice.livejournal.com)  and they have free account option available but it does come with advertising. However, people who are more interested in the community aspect of blogging might want to try out LiveJournal.

Tumblr - Tumblr is another free site whose focus is on ease of use and customization. On Tumblr users can create a "tumblelog" or short-format blog. They also have some different types of blogging features allowing users to "reblog" (similar to Twitter retweeting),  and "like" posts (similar to Facebook's "like" feature). On Tumblr members can post video, photos, quotes, links, chat, audio, and of course text.You can also set your own URL as www.(yourchoice).tumblr.com.


As for which of these services is the best, you'll have to decide for yourself! Play around with each of these platforms or other ones and decide which one works best for you. You can also check out our Social Media Guide to Blogging to learn how to get started writing blogs and the types of posts to make.  If you're looking for more free blogging service, check out this Mashable article, 40+ Free Blog Hosting Platforms.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Response to Alice: How to Set a Custom URL on Facebook

5 Comments


Dear sell handmade crafts online blog,
I noticed you had a post about facebook pages. after I  read it I went out and made one your post was so helpful. But now I don’t know how to set my url to be my page name. right now its all numbers and hard for people to remember. I see others with urls like: www.facebook.com/artfire which is their page name. Can you help me?
sincerely,
Alice

Dear Alice,
Sounds like you're having trouble setting your vanity URL or username for your fan page.  Don't worry though, I can walk you though how to do it.  
Start by logging into Facebook. 
In your browser bar, enter in the URL: http://www.facebook.com/username 
Click the link at the bottom of the page reading "Set a username for your Pages".
Select your page from the dropdown menu. 
Enter the username you'd like to appear in your page's URL. It might be easiest to make this the same as your shop name so people have no trouble finding your fan page.  Remember you cannot change your username after it's been set. 
After you've make sure that the username is available, click save.
Your Facebook vanity URL should now be set! Try evering in your new URL to see if it takes you to your page. 

Hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions,

Sara

Sell Handmade Crafts Online



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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Response to Blog Blocked Writer: Where to Get Blogging Ideas

1 Comments

Dear Sara,


I think it is great that you offer this blog. I know so many people have trouble getting started. I myself have been on etsy a few months now. I started a blogger blog like this one but I am always at a lost for what to write about. I know you should update a blog regularly but it is hard when I have no ideas. Any advice?


a very blog blocked writer.


Dear Blog Blocked Writer,

One of the most challenging things about blogging is coming up with ideas that attract readers. Luckily, there are countless topics you could blog about on a crafts blog.

First, try thinking of the types of posts you might be interested in. You may even want to look at other blogs of interest to see the kinds of topics they're covering. Many sellers show off their latest products, or blog about the progress of a piece with their blog. You could also try posting general advice on your blog. Share a tutorial, a trick you used in your crafting, business advice on running an online shop, and other things you think your target audience might be interested in.  Try reviewing your favorite craft supplies, writing a top ten list for craft fairs, or even interviewing a fellow artists (readers are always interested in new talent).   Make sure include a nice photo with your post, maybe one of your own items, if you can't find something that specifically goes with the post. Also preview and proofread your post to avoid making embarrassing typos!

This guide may help you:

Social Media Guide to Blogging

Don’t forget, to share your blog URL anywhere you can to draw in more readers!

I hope this helps with your writer's blog. Be sure to email me if you have any other questions!

-Sara
Sell Handmade Crafts Online

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Confused Seller Response - Why You Should have a Facebook Fan Page for Your Business

2 Comments


Dear Sell Handmade Crafts Online:

I’m new selling and have just opened up my jewelry shop with ArtFire.  I’ve hooped on the forums now and again and people have asked me do I have a Facebook page. I have a Facebook page for myself but I don't want to to give this out to other people.  I've seen Facebook pages that look like their a business, but I'm not sure how to do it or what I would do if I had it.
Regards,
Confused Seller
   
Dear Confused Seller:

Welcome to the wide world of selling online! It’s wonderful that you’re involved on the forums on ArtFire.  It’s true that Facebook was initially designed to help people stay in contact with friends and family, and it’s a good idea to keep your personal Facebook account separate from your business.  However, Facebook also has “pages” available for businesses which are separate from profiles and allow you to promote your studio without giving people access to your personal Facebook account.
 If you’re just getting started selling your product online, it can be very helpful to have a Facebook page for your studio.  With this page you can promote your brand on Facebook to their 400+ million users. It will also allow your shoppers on ArtFire the ability to “Like” your business on Facebook, helping you to establish a connection with them as well as provide exposure to your shoppers’ Facebook friends.  

You can also put your Facebook Kiosk on your Facebook page to allow people to shop while they check out your page.  The Facebook Kiosk Guide has a few steps for setting up the Kiosk and your Facebook Page you might find helpful.  You can also check out the Promoting Your ArtFire Studio with Facebook and the SEO Tips for Facebook guide as well for more information on using your Facebook Page. Don’t forget to add a link to it on your Market Hub once you’ve set it up!

 Good luck, and feel free to contact me again if you have any other questions!

 

Sara 

Sell Handmade Crafts Online