Month: March 2019

Facebook Outage

When Social Media Goes Down, The top 2 things you can do to ensure business as usual

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date. WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected. … read more

Facebook Outage

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected.

Checking DownDetector, we can confirm Instagram seems to be hugely affected…

Instagram outage

And Facebook’s issues loomed even larger with a total black out of 32% among reported problems

Facebook Outage

 

Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout said the outage was due to an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.

“While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis,” he said.

Some users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app. As with nearly every Facebook outage, users headed to Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown quickly becoming the top trending topic in the United States.

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

However, there is a rumor spreading that it is is denial of service (DoS)  malicious attack from an unknown source since so many platforms including youtube, Etsy and the USPS are even affected...this rumor has been denied by facebook and instagram and others.

What is a small shop to do if they sell on a platform that goes down, such as Etsy, or Facebook? Larger platforms such as these would logically seem to be safer because of the funds available to diagnose and prevent these problems, but in the case of the unsubstantiated DoS attack rumor, it may seem the bigger the platform, the bigger the target for those types of attacks. Sometimes bigger is not always better yo! I ALWAYS say never to put all your selling eggs in one proverbial basket. If Etsy suddenly decides to censor you and take out half your products because of your beliefs about vaccination, and that’s your only platform, then what will you do? If a DoS attack takes our your whole Facebook store… then what will you do? It is WISE TO DIVERSIFY… sell on multiple platforms, never sell on only one platform. (Learn more about selling your handmade products on Gypsy Spoonful HERE)

Sooo… What can we, as small shop owners, learn from a situation like this ? So many influencers, marketing and advertising people as well as  small shop owners depend on social media to get the word out about their events, sales, products and other news. I happen to have the blessing of having been in business for 15 years BDSM… that means Before the Dawn of Social Media (get your minds out of the GUTTER , y’all! lol) so what did we do in the days before social media was so prevalent

1. Build an email list… Seriously, I could tell all the small business owners I know 24/7, 365 and some still do NOT have an email list!  The best return on investment is building an email list of contacts, customers, prospects and fans. Sign up for a mailing list on MailChimp Today, don’t wait, do it NOW. Get a free Mail Chimp Account HERE. Email is a measurable business marketing practice that you can’t afford to be without. Marketing and Advertising folks KNOW that if it’s NOT measurable, it’s of no use.

Top reasons to have an email list:

For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood “modern” forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. (and in the cases of social media going down and being virtually useless to your business as it did today, you can’t afford NOT to focus part of your energy on email!)

For small shop owners, email lists can yield dramatic rewards. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US. Can you say that about your social media marketing campaign?

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

  • First, it’s direct, meaning that every person on your list receives an email the same way that they’d receive a piece of mail. It’s much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized.
  • Second, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day.
  • Third, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, and add any bells and whistles that you need to get the job done. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and well documented by email marketing experts.

Sign up for the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list HERE so you don’t miss out on any news about handmade or small shop management.

2. Work on your SEO! Being found in search engine searches is not hampered when a denial of service attack happens, or some other random technical glitch that makes your entire message go down in flames.

Search engine optimization nowadays is way more important than ever and it is necessary for every small shop owner to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business, no matter which platform they sell upon. SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

(written by Sam Hollingsworth of the Search Engine Journal, see the full article HERE)

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a small shops’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These top 5 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Credibility and Trust is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand. We, at Gypsy Spoonful have been effectively establishing trust and credibility since 2016.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success. (Learn what a bounce rate is, the GS site has a 23% bounce rate, anything under 70% is considered very good) .

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction. (Goosie’s suggestion:  If you want to emphasize that customers can #shoplocal, work on local optimizations!

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start. (If you haven’t created a business profile on the Google site, –buy an inexpensive domain at idotz, forward it to your small shop and get on it loves!) 

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

Customers do their research. That’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet from a buyer perspective.

Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, groundbreaking products and/or services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game changer.

It will also undoubtedly impact the buying cycle in a positive way when done right.

Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers, and the businesses providing those answer.

 

 

Save a pot o' gold

Save a pot o’ gold with Cricut

Starting today, through 3/12, Cricut is featuring excellent sales! including the Cricut Maker starting at $369 valid thru 3/12, use this link: https://thegslife.com/2NJiJhV 30% off Cricut Maker Materials valid thru 3/12, use this link: https://thegslife.com/2EQ7oZt 30% off Machine Tools valid thru 3/12, use this link: https://thegslife.com/2EKVOyq and 30% off paper valid thru 3/12, use this … read more

Save a pot o' gold

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Save a pot o' gold

Who Made Your Clothes?

Who Made YOUR Clothes? Fast Fashion Facts

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?! That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes. The sad fact is that fashion can … read more

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?!

That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes.

The sad fact is that fashion can come with a very high personal cost to the people that create it, and also to the planet.

What can we do about this alarming trend?

Don’t buy it! Mass-produced clothing is not the best quality, nor is it the way to reflect the values YOU hold dear. Society is consuming fashion at a rate like never before. We call this monster: fast fashion.

Fast fashion is the phenomenon we use to describe garments that go from design to store in a quick flash; sometimes within the space of a week! As the price of fashion dives lower, and the accessibility of new trends increases, fast fashion is being put in the spotlight.

Sad Facts about Fast Fashion:

  • Eighty billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally every year.
  • The US spends an estimated $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes every year: worn for one night only.
  • 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years due to the stress of debt they accumulated through buying genetically modified cotton seeds to keep up with demand.
  • The wages of workers in garment factories overseas can be as low as $1-$3  a day.
  • Some overeas clothing factories use forced prison labor to make the clothing
  • Some clothing factories use child labor (sequins and beading can be an indication of this)
  • Fast fashion giants actually make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with the bottom line, so will do anything to make you buy more clothes.
  • Using the restroom during a 10-hour shift in a garment factory can cause a major uproar from managers.
  • Fast fashion brands put out new collections every week or month to make it seem like your wardrobe is all off trend. This is the reason you sit and stare at your full wardrobe thinking you have nothing to wear

The fast fashion industry is shocking. When you look at the facts and figures, it’s hard to swallow.Change isn’t going to happen from walling Just like building a house, avoiding fast fashion is easy when you have the right tools in front of you. Head to the Gypsy Spoonful site, we are completely transparent, and when you buy clothing from one of our small shops you will know EXACTLY who made your clothing and don’t have to worry about the circumstances it was created under.

The 100 Handmade Shops of GypsySpoonful

See our handmade community in action in our Facebook group

Shop GypsySpoonful.com
Join The Conversation and let us know how you feel about Fast Fashion. Was this the first you’ve heard about this?
http://facebook.com/groups/gypsyspoonful

Willow and Sage Magazine: Your source for DIY bath and body product inspiration

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I … read more

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I glanced through it and instantly was drawn to it. This magazine is called Willow & Sage. As stated on their website-

Willow and Sage Magazine

Willow and Sage magazine is filled with more than 70 unique recipes, uses, and beautiful packaging ideas for homemade bath and body products, paired alongside stunning, Somerset-style photography. In addition to showcasing natural bath salts and soaks, soaps, face masks, chemical-free make-up, lotions, sugar scrubs, how to use essential oils, and more, Willow and Sage features refreshing new layout designs that include hand-illustrated tips and educational information, such as eye-catching infographics and the benefits of specific ingredients. Also, if you’re looking for the perfect homemade gift idea, for any occasion, each issue provides DIY inspiration for creative packaging and the most unique gifts or spa bundle

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


The magazine is a quarterly magazine that starts in Feb. It’s an odd start date but when you look at lumping Jan into the winter issue, it makes sense. I totally understand doing the issues to follow the seasons, but it kills me to have to wait so long between publications! I usually go read it within the first two or three days, but definitely within the first week. It’s always interesting to see all the different ideas brought forth by other creators. I also enjoy the packaging ideas, bundle ideas, and ingredient spotlights. It’s a good way to learn about new benefits as well as help me with potential trend ideas. I have definitely used some of their ingredient spotlights to help focus on what ingredients to highlight to my customers.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful magazine with a lot of fun diy ideas I would definitely give Willow & Sage a look. A quick side note is, many of the submitted recipes do not have preservatives in them therefore will not last for more than a few days or so.

Written by GS shop Owner, Rebecca Reynolds of JMaeHandmade ,  Stop on by her shop and take a peek at her awesome handmade bath and body products, and Heart her shop while you’re there!

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management When you run a small shop, it’s hard to find time to get everything done in the day. However, here are some tried and true tips to help you make the most of the time you DO have. Be as productive as possible instead of spinning your wheels.  Don’t fight your … read more

Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management

When you run a small shop, it’s hard to find time to get everything done in the day. However, here are some tried and true tips to help you make the most of the time you DO have. Be as productive as possible instead of spinning your wheels.  Don’t fight your body clock. Don’t try to become and early riser if you have a history of being a night owl. And don’t stay up late to get stuff done if you know your mind and body shuts down early so that you can get up as the sun rises.

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in the day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

Don’t fight your body clock. Don’t try to become and early riser if you have a history of being a night owl

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible. It may be helpful to journal your energy level for a few days until you figure out when you find yourself the most productive.

 

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Sources: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/dont-fight-your-body-clock.html, https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/dont-fight-your-body-clock.html