Free for demonstrator use is this colorful graphic I made with TAMS (www.thesearemystamps.com) and Photoshop to help introduce your customers to the 2016-18 In Color Collection. I have seen a lot of rather poorly lit pictures from convention being passed around and they definitely do not do these beauties any justice, so here's a graphic with accurate colors instead : )
TO USE: Right click on the graphic and click "Save As." Save to your computer and insert anywhere you would use a JPEG photo--blog, newsletters, Facebook, etc.
PS--got a suggestion? Can you think of a social media graphic or widget that you and your fellow demonstrators could really benefit from? I'd love to make it to share with everyone! Please feel free to leave me a comment or email me at Lyssa@songofmyheartstampers.com
If you've been missing that handy automatically-updating Weekly Deals widget on your blog, These Are My Stamps has come up with another great slideshow widget to showcase the Clearance Rack and help your customers get to clickin'! Rotating at a sedate speed so it's not annoying, the widget comes in three different widths or a custom width, to fit any sidebar configuration.
The widget updates itself, so if an item sells out, it removes it from the slideshow. And if new items are added to the CR, they are automatically pulled for use in the slideshow as well. Nifty!
Best of all? When customers click on the products in the slideshow, they are taken to YOUR DBWS--not the generic store, not whoever's store they were last in--but your own DBWS custom links.
This vastly increases the chance that they will shop with YOU and not get re-directed to someone else or to the company itself. So many demonstrators don't realize how important it still is to have a DBWS!
Click here to go log into TAMS' beta site and get your personalized Clearance Rack widget!
Click here to go snag the code for a FREE widget from These Are My Stamps (TAMS) that will share the Stampin' Up annual catalog and the spring catalog in one space, saving you room in those cluttered sidebars!
You can choose to have it auto-rotate between the two catalogs, or to require one click to switch back and forth, if you prefer.
The widget is free, but it will come with a small, unobtrusive TAMS logo unless you are a Pro Account subscriber. The Pro Account is only $3 and includes amazing benefits. There's also a free two-week trial if you want to experience all the capabilities before you decide to subscribe. Be sure to check it out!
Ah, domain names.... one of my favorite geek topics!
Why do you need a domain name? A domain name is your unique presence on the Internet. It's the clearinghouse for your brand--not your direct sales company's brand. Everything you do on social media, every time someone searches for you online, personalized email addresses-- that all comes back to your site.You want your site to be THE home of your brand name, and a custom domain name is the first step.
Secondly, you can shed the long-form name that came with your blog. For instance, many of us use TAMS' amazing blogging platform. The name of my blog would be songofmyheartstampers.thesearemystamps.com and is obviously ridiculously long. songofmyheartstampers.com is far shorter, more memorable and more professional. Wouldn't it be great to drop that blogspot or wordpress off the end? Let's cut the dead weight!
Thirdly, your domain name protects your business interests. You don't want anyone snagging your idea and mimicking your concept, confusing your customers and re-directing business away. Chances are, they aren't doing it to be mean--they are probably plugging away building their own business just like you are. Obviously, the earlier you lock in your domain name, the better.
The last best reason to have a custom domain name? No blog designer worth their salt will design for a blog name or slogan that is not legally owned by their client. If it's already taken by someone else, it's hours and hours of wasted work on everyone's part... and if the blogger continues to use it, leaves them open to legal action.
Time to go grab the domain!
Don't have a brand name yet? Read my new article: 7 Tips for Choosing a Great Brand Name
I strongly suggest you purchase your domain name right away, so that no one else can legally take it from you later. However, PLEASE feel free to contact me before you purchase it so that I can help you choose the very best version. I have a lot of experience with domain names, good and bad. I will be happy to help you even if you are not one of my Web Design Services clients.
IMPORTANT: Once you have searched a potential name and found that it is not taken, DO NOT continue to google it.
The reason for this is that domain names can be sold for any price the market will bear. If the amazingly powerful search engines see that someone is very interested in a certain phrase, they will bump the price of all potential domain names associated with that term. You will see the price jump from 99 cents to hundreds of dollars. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. So, google away, but once you spot a live contender for your desired name, leave it alone until you’re ready to purchase it.
What happens if you went to purchase the domain name for your existing blog... and discovered it's already taken?
The rights to use reside with whomever owns the domain name. IF they do not appear to be using it, you can use the site www.whois.com to find out the owner and contact them with an offer to purchase it. They can legally charge you anything they want. With lucky you will find a nice person who quotes a reasonable price. If not, however, your only other options are to alter your name either slightly or a lot, or to choose a less-desirable "dot com" name such as .org or .net. My suggestion is to change the name slightly so you can still use the most common .com ending for your address, since people do not tend to remember the others.
Because time is of the essence, I would not wait and "hope" that the name gets released back into the pool of available names if the owner doesn't renew their domain. You can use services to keep you informed if it ever does become available, though, and if it does, purchase if you please.
As far as where to actually purchase your domain, I use www.GoDaddy.com, and have been happy with their service, reminder emails, special offers and ease of use. But where you buy your domain doesn’t really matter. It will typically be around $10-15 dollars per year. Many sites offer a 99 cent first-time-buyer domain, to entice you to start with them, since you will want to keep all your domains organized under one provider.
I bought it! Now what?
Domain names can be "directed" at any blog, so if you already have a blog, just purchase the new one you want and follow the steps in your provider's confirmation email or under your account with them, to "point" that address at your existing blog. Then don't forget to update all your labels and business materials with the new address. If you are buying it for a blog that doesn't exist yet, just hang onto that email while you set up your blog and then go back to point the domain at it later.
Got more questions, or suggestions for tips to be added to this article? Please leave a comment below! Thanks for visiting SOMH Demonstrators today. I know this can be a big an overwhelming topic, but YOU HAVE HELP. If I did it, YOU CAN DO IT. I promise!
One of my regular joys throughout my years as an upline has been helping demonstrators select a team name/blog name/brand name for themselves. In the past, we could only choose a group name once we hit three or more members in our downlines, and the only place we had a brand name was our DBWS sites. However, since the proliferation of the blogging world and the advent of Facebook business pages, Pinterest and Instagram, it's now crucial to pick a brand name very early on.
Unfortunately, having to choose a brand name so early means many people are stuck with ill-chosen names that don't grow with them. It's much harder than people realize to choose a good name! With that in mind, I've compiled a list of 7 concepts to consider when choosing what to call your business.
Pick a brand name that:
1. Is not already taken. Check by googling it and looking at the list of Stampin’ Up group names under My Business on the demonstrator site. Until you do both of those things, no responsible blog designer will create a header for a theme that may already be taken. Remember that while it may be technically allowable to have a name that is extremely close to someone else's, it's definitely not advisable, and isn't really very polite either.
2. Does not have any form of “Stampin’ Up” in it. As independent contractors, we are not allowed to use the company name unless in the long form of “our name, comma, Independent Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator.” Which is NOT suitable for a blog name or brand name. No copyrighted terms or slogans from any source can be used in your blog name.
3. Is spelled correctly, not “cutesy,” and with no numbers in place of letters. This is very hard for people to recall and type in correctly. Don't use acrobatics to make it fit into an acronym. People won’t remember or care what your acronym stands for. You must make it as easy as possible to get it right every time.
5. Is memorable in a good way. If your name is unusual, strongly ethnic, super long, or hard to spell, leave it out. It’s not worth the aggravation. On the flip side, if your name is TOO common, it can also confuse people and send them to the wrong sites. Best to leave your actual name out entirely and build your brand instead in those cases.
6. Isn't too long. The longer it is, the less likely people will remember it. Think of the major brands you like. One or two words, three at the most, right? People always think “more specific is better” when it comes to brand recognition, but the truth is that the name itself has very little to do with why we recognize a brand. It’s all the work that has gone into connecting that name with that product that is sticking in our minds. The number “31” has nothing to do with tote bags, except that we all recognize it, don’t we.
7. Will grow with you. I always feel bad for people who have limited their own growth by picking a name that is either regional-specific, too-exclusive of other types of crafting, or in some way unprofessional. You have no idea where this blog can take you. Don’t think small—dream BIG!
Whew! Lots to think about, eh? It's worth the time to consider well! My best suggestion is to brainstorm with your team. Tell them about yourself, what else you like to do besides stamp, what collections you have, what you consider your style to be. Share this list with them so they know what makes a good brand name. We have come up with many a name in my group by pooling our suggestions, sharing our thoughts on how different things sound, and eventually hitting on an idea that resonated with the demonstrator.
Best wishes on discovering a brand name you love that will grow with you as your business takes off!
PSST...Once you have your brand name, now you need to lock in the domain name! Read: About Domain Names: Your own little piece of the Internet
Here's a few of the headers I've been able to create for members of my downline. We worked together to come up with something that expressed their personalities. The results were both fun and VERY informative to me as their upline! I was not expecting that delightful aspect! But I have loved getting to know them even better than before. ****Please note that at this time I am not taking on any new blog design clients for the foreseeable future. I'm sorry for the inconvenience!*****
Allana Brunk had a clear direction in mind for her header and as a result it came together in ONE take. I absolutely love the combination of the classy modern cursive font with the swirls and rhinestones over watercolor.
I'd been itchin' to do Lori's blog design because of her adorable name, Duchess of Design. It was fun to work with a "royalty" theme for her header. I actually gave her two versions of this header, one with Wisteria Wonder and one with Blushing Bride, and she allowed her Facebook followers to choose the final version. Cute idea!
Tamie's favorite stamp set is Gorgeous Grunge, so I knew I wanted to use that for her blog, Time Out to Stamp with Tamie. We both loved the splattered rainbow idea right off the bat. The heavy black font holds its own against the Bold Brights.
Bonnie Waterman of Stampin' With Bonnie wanted something elegant and classic, and after a false start with too-dark colors, we settled on this beautiful Rich Razzleberry, Orchid Opulence and Blushing Bride floral theme. The final touch was adding rhinestones for a little classy bling.
This team member just loves purple all to pieces, so when she mentioned she liked the soft watercolor looks and butterflies, I knew where to head for Dawn's Krafty Korner. A fun font and a clean layout balance the femininity and retain a pretty professionalism.
Heidi Sue Stamps for You was another one where the name was just so fun I couldn't wait to find a design to fit. Heidi had a clear theme in mind of balloons and bright colors, so this one hardly took any time at all for us to settle on as a favorite.
Kristine's blog header was inspired by her home region (the West), the colors in her headshot, and her love of fonts. I think we went through at least four styles of wording, but we finally found just the right one that satisfied us both and gave Some Semblance of Stamping the unique look she was going for.
Jena's adorable Stampin' Round the Clock theme gave us a great starting point, so after a few tries we hit upon some great patterns and lightened-up earth tones for a vintage modern look with a little office "retro" thrown in.
It was also my honor to create a blog header for my former fifth level upline Kristen Bryant of Stamping With Kristen. She wanted something elegant but casual, and this cool silhouetted floral theme fit the bill.
Jill's adorable group name, Green Thumb Stampers, meant we had a clear direction to head with in the garden theme. The lattice added a great touch. Looking forward to seeing Jill's blog take off in the near future.
Angela of Angela's Artistry gave me a wide-open field to play in, requesting shades of orange and yellow, and elegant florals. I love the peachy springtime feel of the final product.
New demonstrator Gretchen Z loves the Sheltering Tree stamp set, and I was delighted to accommodate her request for this sweet header for her page, Gretchen's Greetings.
I will admit to having favorites amongst the designs I've done so far; since I love vintage, Lynn Dunn's beautiful blog header is near the top of the list! We worked together to create a theme that perfectly echoes Lynn's signature feminine style.
Kerry is a teacher, and I had the traditional Lang-style classroom colors in mind when I made this header with her favorite Regal tones. I love Kerry's new business & team name--perfectly sums up what she wants her artwork to represent.
I love how clean and crisp Michele's new Paper Passions header turned out. The cool combo of wasabi, plum and baja help tame the trendy chevron pattern.
My sweet second-level Gail Vogel is a big-time purple lover, so we did a classic and elegant header for her in Blackberry Bliss, Pale Plum and Rich Razzleberry.
So crazy about Janell Brown's new domain name and blog header that I told her if she ever changes her mind, I will buy it from her! Can't wait to see where she goes with this adorable new brand and look.
I think every demonstrator who is serious about online business needs a blog. A real one! One that expresses our own personality and can be customized to maximize business success.
But for many of us, time considerations make us hesitant to commit. I totally understand!
Will you be able to get one started? Will you be able to figure out the tech? Will you be able to keep it up?
Now, for the first time, there's a real-life option for those who want to blog but need it to be EASY.
Did you know there was such a thing as automatic blog posting? Well you do now! If you can upload a card, you can have a blog! My favorite resource for demonstrators on the web, TAMS, makes it just that easy. Posts are automatically generated when you add a picture to the gallery at thesearemystamps.com. It's one of the most amazing tricks I could ever share with you.
Check out the $3 a month Pro Account that comes with unlimited link generator access, exclusive inventory management, PDF creator, automatic watermarking, free widget creator, and a FREE basic blog. it's social-media enabled, updates automatically with the new catalogs and weekly deals, and is easily personalized.
So yes--the answer is YES, you CAN be a blogger!
Here's the site, and don't hesitate to ask questions. I've been a happy TAMS user for years and years now. www.thesearemystamps.com
I've been researching stamping blogs lately, and while I've compiled a handy list of tips and tricks to implement, I've also seen some extremely unfortunate practices. The amount of wasted effort and under-utilized resources is distressing.
Your blog will clearly showcase the difference between yourself as the ultimate hobbyist and yourself the papercrafting business person. Which one are you?
Seven easy steps to ensure your blog fails:
Follow these seven sure-fire tips and ENJOY your blog's success! And speaking of things that are enjoyable, you could leave me a comment and I wouldn't mind at all.
Dream BIG, friend! And blog hard.