Happy Birthday to Woo(commerce)

Today is the 5th anniversary of the release of Woocommerce, the eCommerce platform the engine behind almost 40% of online stores and the one I recommend for artists, makers, and businesses selling products online. To celebrate five years of empowering people to start their own, independent online stores, I’m writing a 2016 in Woocommerce Review. Let’s take a look back at the highlights of past twelve months because age certainly isn’t slowing Woocommerce down!

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Your Competition isn’t Who You Think it Is

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times from many people: starting your own business and keeping it alive isn’t easy. Etsy and the markets are saturated, the internet is full of cheap knockoffs, there is no room for anyone else and nothing is new under the sun. Maybe you’ve even been tempted to believe it yourself at times. But none of it is true. The truth is that you get to decide who your competition is and succeed on your own terms. Here’s how.
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Why You Need an Email List (and How to Start One Today)

Don’t build your business on something that you don’t own. That’s my golden rule for artists, makers, and small businesses who are serious about building something for the long term. It’s why I don’t think you should build your website on a hosted platform, and it’s why you need an email list. It’s your ace in the hole the next time Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or whoever change their advertising policies or feed ranking and send your carefully-built audience to the bottom of the ocean. Anybody can build an email list, and everyone can benefit from one.
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Social Media Marketing Overload: A Survival Guide for Solo Entrepreneurs

Social media marketing overload is a constant occupational hazard for the solo entrepreneur. True, everyone sometimes gets bouts of FOMO when they see yet another sun-kissed vacation photo from their old high school friend.

But for someone who makes their living selling their handmade products online, FOMO becomes FOMOS—Fear Of Missing Out on Sales. Am I Tweeting enough to keep my shop from going under? Why is nobody re-pinning my Pins?

Sound anything like the inside of your head at 2am?

Well, let’s take a deep breath, close all our other browser tabs, put our phones on silent, and keep reading to find out how to control your social media anxiety and prevent social media marketing overload.

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Moving Christopher Taylor Timberlake Fine Art Jewelry Upmarket and Beyond Etsy

When Christopher Taylor Timberlake Fine Art Jewelry first approached dbdc, they were experiencing what many artists and makers experience as their business matures into a full-time job: they had outgrown Etsy. dbdc worked with them to move from Etsy to Woocommerce and WordPress, and to update their packaging, signage, and store layout to support their move upmarket.
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Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Your Customers

It’s one of the (many) questions that keeps small business owners awake at night: How do I know that what I’m selling is what my customers want? It’s especially personal for artists and makers who sell handmade creations that are close to their hearts. But there’s a way to find out if your work is hitting the mark, one that a lot of businesses small and large overlook: talk to your customers!

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Two Easy Ways to Make your Product Images Unforgettable

For people selling art and handmade goods online standing out on Pinterest and Instagram is vital. How do you make your products stand out from the thousands of other product images on social media? Here’s the thing: with a couple of easy tricks  your product images will stick in your customer’s minds and make their way onto more Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds. Ready to find out how?

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How to find your Most Valuable Customer with Your Story

Have you ever given in to temptation and Googled yourself? It’s OK, you can admit it to me, it’s just you, me, and the internet here. For better or worse my Google footprint won’t be fueling any viral news articles. But what I do find fascinating is what all the “other” Jeff Daigles out there are up to.

For instance, there’s Jeff Daigle, owner of a plumbing and heating business; Jeff Daigle, the dentist; and there’s Jeff Daigle, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Cambodia. All of us Jeff Daigles are different people who have accomplished different things, but to Google we’re not that different.

The same goes for your business and all of the other people out there making the same things that you do, but you have something that nobody else does: your story, and sharing that story is how to find your most valuable customer.

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SEO for Small Business Websites Part 2: Design for Better SEO

When people think of Search Engine Optimization, they tend to think of things like links, keywords, and meta tags. Those things are all very important, as you’ll know if you read part one of this series where we got into content optimization in detail. What some people don’t know, however, is that Google cares about design, too, and high-ranking websites use good design for better SEO. No, Google doesn’t judge you if you have too many pictures of cats on your site, but they do care about things that make your site easy for people to use and sites that make it simple for people to find the information they’re looking for. So right here in part 2 we’ll find out how design affects the SEO of your small business website.

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