Rabbit Rattle

Crochet Rabbit Rattle for my friend's new baby.

Gardening Apron

Gardening Apron for a friend's house warming present.

No Junk for Us!

Handmade "no junk mail please" sign in Finnish.

Meet Cyril!

Cyril is an amigurumi pig, made for my nephew.

Boxy Matryoshka Pouch

Boxy pouch made with very kawaii Japanese fabric.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

SEO next steps: time to build some links

I've been merrily working at my SEO over the last few weeks, ever since I wrote my first post on the subject. When I say merrily, I of course mean doggedly typing and clicking to amend my page titles, meta descriptions and add keywords (not too many, mind you).

And the result? www.scarfenvy.com now ranks #1 for... "scarf envy". Whoop-de-doo. I rank somewhere in the depths of Hell itself for anything useful like "scarves" and "scarf". Here's the whole sad shebang in a nice little table:

The pink and green denote worsening or improving ratings compared to the last time I checked. And for "scarf envy uk" it's my Freeindex entry that's rating #1, so that's OK. Not doing bad on "statement scarves" now and that is totally down to the SEO work I have done - I ranked nowhere on that before I started. But honestly, how many people search for "statement scarves"?

So, how can I improve my rankings for "scarves" or "scarf"? I think getting some links back to the site is the answer, so I have been trying to work on that. I've set up a Scarf Envy blog on Tumblr and I've been posting photos of celebrities wearing scarves and street-style shots that feature scarves. I'm getting a fair few reblogs, but I have no idea if this helps at all in the grand scheme of things.

The blog is at blog.scarfenvy.com. Is this is a mistake in itself? Am I merely creating link juice for the wrong URL entirely? I do have a prominent link to the shop on the blog and vice versa.

I'm also commenting on various fashion blogs as myself, giving blog.scarfenvy.com as my URL. I ummed and ahhed about using the main domain, but decided against that because it looks too spammy to me.

Right now I'm wondering whether I should create a "normal" blog and just have links to Scarf Envy on Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. I just don't know. Any ideas? Forget the whole thing and flog the scarves on a market stall? (Joke. Kind of.)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Perfect last minute Valentine's for the geek in your life

Forgotten to get your geek a Valentine's card? Here's a quick way to make him or her smile:

Obviously you send the linked heart in a message, not the graph itself. If you're not as geeky as your other half (or me), here's what you need to know:

  • How to type ♥ on your keyboard = Alt + 3 (on your numberpad)
  • What to link it to = http://bit.ly/AFrhoT, which is the graph on Google
Just sent mine to ORM via email. Time will tell if he notices/responds/swoons (it's just not gonna happen, folks).

Friday, 10 February 2012

Virtual Community Summit 2012: The Awards!

Yesterday was the inaugural Virtual Community Summit, held in the beautiful (but ever so chilly) Royal Institute of Great Britain. And great it was. Fantastic speakers and lively panel discussions galore and - most importantly - a live twitter feed (#vircomm12). The latter being the most fun a group of community managers can have in an enclosed space.

I was manning the twitter feed looking for questions from virtual attendees to put to the speakers and panelists. Turns out I was supposed to be watching some other gizmo for that, but when I checked that first thing it wasn't loading for me and I promptly forgot all about it. Apologies to the 5 people who have pressing questions unasked/answered. 

I also stepped in to be the mic passer-arounder while new-found friend Sarah went to one of the sessions in the other room, but I sucked at that too. Andy was just too damn fast on his feet for me and I didn't manage to proffer my mic to anyone. Shame really, I was looking forward to some pretend roving reporter antics.

(I did the copywriting for the website too; I may not be the best volunteer, but I'm nothing if not eager.)

I am sure plenty of the more academic attendees will provide proper commentary to the content of the various sessions, panels and round tables (no tables at all, quite a misnomer), so I will not. I will, however, proffer my suggestions for the Vircomm Summit 2012 Awards:

Best Quote of the Day: "Smiling from the wrists down" by Emma Monks

Best Supporting Quote of the Day: "I'm smiling from the ankles up" by Sarah Broughton

Best Evil Overlord: Patrick O'Keefe (aka Big Giant Head):

Award for Services to Writers: "You can train great writers to be social, but you can't necessarily train great socialisers to write" by Dominic Sparkes (We writers-turned-community managers thank you!)

Most Alarming Tweet Sent to Me: "I saw you on the live feed"

Joint Award for Great Event Planning: Oxana Morozowska & Rebecca Newton

And finally...

Most Uplifting Quote of the Day: "There has never been a better time to be a community manager" by Tamara Littleton 

Thanks to everyone; a great day was had by all. Looking forward to next year already!

Now, how to customise the free tote bag...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

SEO: my first steps in search engine optimisation

Most people do things like painting, reading or playing computer games in their downtime. I sell scarves. Or rather I try to sell scarves. I have an online scarf shop called Scarf Envy, filled with beautiful neck candy. It looks good, functions well, but if no one knows it's there, those scarves are going to gather virtual dust on their virtual shelves.

See, doesn't it look pretty?

I have dabbled with Google Adwords in the past, but I've put that on hold for a while until I have time to really get to grips with it. I don't want to be spending money on something without understanding why it is or isn't working.

I know that SEO - search engine optimisation - is important. I've read up about it in great detail, even reading a top secret e-book by a supposed SEO guru that was smuggled to me by a friend. I've changed my page titles and rewritten my product descriptions. The result? If you search "scarf envy" I come up first. Big deal.

Sadly, if you search "scarves" or "scarf" my shop doesn't show up even in the first 30 pages of results (I gave up after that and had a cup of tea). Doesn't help restricting to UK results either. Ho hum.

So, I am now setting myself a goal. I want to be in the top 5 pages of UK results by the end of March for "scarves". I'm going to start by changing my page titles, having noticed that the top results all had quite lengthy titles along these lines:

Shop Name | Women's scarves and wraps | Accessories 

Wish me luck and please feel free to pass on any tips in the comments!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Choose Any Key

We've all seen them - listings on eBay that seem a too good to be true. Someone I know very well (I shan't name and shame them, but feel free to share guesses) fell foul of such a listing yesterday. Not a major disaster considering the cost of the item, but definitely worthy of a poem:

Choose Any Key

Buy It Now, just 99p!
Now, that is a bargain.
Buy It Now, just 99p!
It is the one I wanted...
Buy It Now, just 99p!
OK, I've bought it, it's mine.

Buy It Now, just 99p!
An as-new Mac keyboard.
Buy It Now, just 99p!
3 to 5 days to get here.
Buy It Now, just 99p!
Hang on, the seller's emailed...

Buy It Now, just 99p!
"Trust you read the details?"
Buy It Now, just 99p!
"In which case, please let me know,"
Buy It Now, just 99p!
"Which key it was that you're wanting?"

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Watching trash on TV

I like watching TV. To be more exact, I like watching soaps and English detective programmes. I do enjoy choice shows from the US too, like House and The Big Bang Theory (I urge you to try the latter if you are at all geeky), but if I want to relax and forget about the world, it's EastEnders, Casualty and Lewis that are my escapist pleasures.

With this in mind, here's today's poem:

Trash on TV

I have a confession to proffer, 
It's a cheap little habit, nay free,
But I totally can't stop watching 
all the trash that's on the TV.
I know it isn't terribly highbrow,
But I care not one little jot.
I'd rather be watching EastEnders,
than learning about atoms from Cox.

Yesterday I did the ironing,
In front of old friend, Casualty,
But I got so engrossed in the action.
That I burnt a hole in your T (shirt).
Now come on, don't get all arsey,
It 'twas but an accident.
Next time I'll watch something quieter,
With more of a scholarly bent.

But really, who am I kidding? 
You're out tonight, the plasma's all mine!
I've got the iPlayer primed and ready,
And I'll be square-eyed at least until 9 (or maybe even later)
Tomorrow I'll buy a TV guide,
And plan something clever to view,
But today I'll eat twiglets and chocolate,
And perhaps watch a Lewis or two.

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