Six Pages Your Craft Blog Must Have
Welcome to Episode 6 of the Craft Seller Success podcast. In this episode I will be talking about six pages your craft blog must have. These six pages are pretty much essential for anyone selling from their blog or website. Read more to find out what the pages are and why you probably need them on your own site.
Listen to the Six Pages Your Craft Blog Must Have Podcast here, download it for later or read the transcript below.
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Transcript of Episode 006
This is the Craft Seller Success podcast from Tin Teddy. Episode number six:
Six Pages your Craft Blog Must Have
Welcome to the Craft Seller Success Podcast – helping craft sellers sell their crafts
Hi, I’m Deborah Richardson from Tin Teddy.
Today I am going to talk about six very important pages that your online shop, blog or website could well need. If your site is very small and simple you may not need them all. But if you sell products online, you will probably find that all of these pages are a must.
Although this podcast is aimed at those of you with your own blog or website, many of the pages are just as important for online shops such as Shopify or Wix, or marketplaces like Etsy and Folksy.
Number 1 – An About Page
For craft sellers, an About Page is very useful. This is where you can tell your visitors more about yourself and your business.
Make the most of this opportunity to really show why a visitor should buy from you, and not anyone else!
You can talk about your crafting experience and influences. Be sure to include any relevant qualifications you might have. You can also mention courses you have done, exhibitions you have taken part in and so on.
Your About Page is also a great place to talk about interesting or exciting projects you have done in the past. On the About Page for my Etsy shop, where I sell digital graphics for crafters to use, I mention that I have done artwork for a band’s CDs, and illustrations for children’s books. Although these are not the products I am selling now, they are relevant to my current business. I hope, they strengthen my business credentials.
I know that many crafters find it a bit difficult to blow their own trumpets. Remember that you have a lot of competition out there. If you want people to choose your products and buy from you, it is worth trying to give them good reasons for doing so.
Some people like to include a picture of themselves on the About Page. There have been studies that show that when a seller has a picture of his or her self, it builds more trust in the visitor. But if you are not comfortable about putting your face online, that is fine. Consider including a more anonymous picture of yourself. You could show your hands working on your craft, or a back shot of yourself busy at work.
Many About Pages include pictures of “behind the scenes”. This can be a great place to display pictures of your craft room, table or studio. Or pop in a few attractive shots of your materials. Such as a colourful pile of balls or yarn, or beads in a pot, or a painty palette. All this helps reinforce your hand-made USP.
Handy hint – If you sell at craft shows you may want to add details of upcoming events to your About Page.
Be sure to include some internal links from your About Page to other pages on your site. This not only helps your visitors decide where to go next, but is also great for Google SEO.
For more ideas of things to include on your About Page, check out episode 16 – An Expert in Your Niche.
Number 2 – A Contact Me Page
As you have no doubt guessed, this is a page with details of how a visitor can contact you. Shocker eh? At a bare minimum it will have your contact email address. You may also want to include your business phone number, Skype or similar contact details, social media links and so on.
If you have a bricks and mortar shop you will no doubt want to include its address and how visitors can find you. I see a lot of shops that include an interactive map to help people with this.
You will also need to include the physical address of the business somewhere on the site if you sell to the European Union. You can put it on the Contract Me page. Or you may prefer to use the About Page, especially if you only sell online.
Many Contact Me pages include a contact form. This is a simple form that the visitor can fill out, usually with their name, email address and message. The form is then sent to your email. Using a form like this is often a bit quicker for the visitor than opening their own email client. It also affords them a bit of anonymity if they wish, which some people might prefer. A Contact Form makes it quick and easy for visitors to your site to contact you.
Some people prefer to merge their Contact Me page with their About Page.
A GDPR policy will clarify exactly what data you are collecting, how you store it, if you share it with anyone else, that the visitor can ask for it to be deleted and similar things.
What data might you be collecting? If you sell via the website then you will need to collect your buyers’ names, emails and address, to be able to fulfil the order. You will also be collecting data if you allow comments on your blog posts, sign ups for a newsletter or have a contact form on your Contact Me page.
Be sure that your visitors are actively opting IN to things such as newsletters. In my opinion it is rather rude to assume that someone wants you to email them, unless they say otherwise. It is also illegal to make that assumption in many countries. Clearly tell your visitors what they are signing up to, then give them a clear option to choose to sign up. This way you will ensure that your subscribers are interested in what you have to say.
If you pass customer data to a third party it is very important that you clarify this. For example, if you use a printing fulfilment company such as Printful or Printify, if you use an email or newsletter client such as Mailchimp or if you print your postage labels online.
Many of these companies will have issued guidelines on how to be sure you are complying with the latest data laws. So check out their websites. They will have their own privacy policies too, of course.
Data gathering sites and tools, such as Mailchimp, Jetpack, comment and form plugins, will also have details about how to use their products in a GDPR compliant manner.
I strongly suspect that over the next few years we will see more and more countries tightening up their data handling laws. Privacy is a very delicate and important matter.
Important – I am not a lawyer, nor an expert on privacy policies. Please ensure you do your own research to be sure that your website is complying with any relevant laws.
Number 4 – A Site Map
There are two sorts of site map, both of which can help your website a lot.
An XML site map is usually created by software, not you, and is for search engines like Google to use. It allows the search engine to understand the structure of your site and ensure that it can visit all your pages.
There are a few different WordPress plugins that generate an XML page for you, or you can use use the Google XML Sitemaps site. I will include a link in the show notes.
The other sort of site map is usually called an HTML site map and this is basically a normal website page which lists all the pages on your site. This type of site map is for your human visitors to use. If you go to https://www.apple.com/sitemap/ you will see a great example of a human-friendly site map. Here there are links to all Apple’s different services etc, grouped to make it easy to find what you need.
You can create your own HTML site map, laid out however you wish, or you can use a tool to automatically create one.
Please note that if you are selling through a marketplace site like Etsy, you will not be able to add any sitemaps – the marketplace site does this for you.
Number 5 – Terms of Service Page
If your website is a simple blog, this page might be very short, or you may even feel you don’t need one at all. But if you sell products from the site you will almost certainly find quite a few things you need to include.
You may even want to split your Terms of Service page up, as many online shops do. For example. With a separate page for your returns policy on it. Be sure to link all such pages to each other so your visitor can find what they are looking for.
Some of the things you may want to include on your Terms of Service page are:
Here you can tell your visitors what service you use for shipping, how long the item takes to make before shipping, and perhaps roughly how long it will take to arrive. Be careful not to promised shipping times that you can’t guarantee!
I recommend including anything that will reassure a potential customer. This could include that you double box delicate items, if the parcel is tracked, and so on.
If you use recycled packaging material I recommend including this fact too – it can be a good selling point.
What should your customers do if an item arrives damaged? Do you need photos of the damage? Should they keep the packaging? How long do they have to contact you about it? And, of course, what will you do about it?
This is very similar to damaged items. Here you clarify how long a customer should wait before a parcel is considered lost. Check with the delivery service you use to see what their guidelines are on this. If you use tracked postage you can take this opportunity to say so.
Handy hint. I have seen some newer sellers saying something like “This shop can not accept responsibility for items that are lost or damaged in the post.” Whilst it is true that you are not personally responsible for what the postal service does with a parcel, you, as a seller, are always responsible for ensuring that a customer gets the item that they have paid for… or a replacement or full refund if that is not possible. The customer’s payment provider, such as Paypal etc, will back them on this. So if you try to refuse to refund for a lost parcel, you could end up having the money taken from you, and a black mark on your account to boot. If you are concerned about parcels being lost or damaged, use postal insurance.
That being said please do not ask your customers if they want to pay for postal insurance. No wise customer will ever actually ask to pay more for it because they have no need to. The insurance is to protect YOU, the seller. If you want it, include it. If you prefer to self-insure, that is to accept any losses yourself (which may be a logical decision for low priced items), you will still need to replace or refund the customer. You choose the shipping method. You choose whether insurance is worth having. And you must accept the responsibility for ensuring your customer is not out of pocket if something goes wrong.
If tracking or signed for options are available in your country, you may want to look into these.
What should a customer do if they want to return an item because they do not like it. What if it does not fit or it is not what they expected? This sort of return is usually called “buyer’s remorse” or “change of mind returns”.
Clarify how long the customer has to contact you for such a return. Be aware of any legal requirements such as the European Union’s online selling regulations, which requires you allow at least 14 days for returns.
Does the customer need to do anything particular to return the item? For example, if you are in the EU, and selling to someone outside of the EU borders, you will need them to clearly mark the returned parcel as being a return. Otherwise you may get hit with VAT when the item crosses back into the EU.
Be sure to also mention if there are some products that are exempt from your returns policy, such as digital or edible items.
Offering a customer friendly returns policy is one of the easiest ways you can give your business a little boost over the competition.
Some niches, such as clothing, may experience more returns than other products – people can’t easily tell if something will fit or suit them until they try it on. But, in general, if your products are well made, of good quality, and you describe them properly, you should get very few returns.
Custom or Personalized items
If you sell items that are personalized for your customers, or things that you make custom to the buyer’s specifications, you may want to include a section in your Terms of Service about this. Or you may want to have a separate page for it if there is quite a bit to say.
Explain what you offer, what you need from the customer and the time frames to expect for such a service.
Remember that custom and personalized items are a good selling point for your business, so be sure to include a few sentences reminding customers of this!
Some sites, such as Shopify, include a template to help you create your Terms of Service. Marketplace sites, such as Etsy may have “boilerplate” policies that you can easily adjust to suit your shop.
Again, there are many template available online. Check out some of the websites you regularly use to see what sorts of things they include in their Terms of Service, to give you ideas for your own.
Number 6 – An Affiliate Disclosure Page
If you have affiliate links on your website you will definitely want an Affiliate Disclosure Page. Affiliate links are links to items for sale on another person’s website. When you visitors click the links and buy an item, you get a small commission from the site owner for sending custom their way. Affiliate links are very popular on blogs as they can bring in a little extra cash to the blogger. I will be discussing more about Affiliate links in a later podcast.
In many countries it is a legal requirement to clearly disclose that you are using affiliate links. If you are an Amazon affiliate they require that you clearly disclose the fact to your visitors, other affiliate schemes may have similar caveats . To be honest, doing so is good manners, in my opinion, so everyone should do it.
A few other pages and additions to your blog you may want:
Here are a couple of other pages that you may find useful on your standalone website.
A Customised Page Not Found Page
This is a page that comes up if a visitor to your website tries to go to a page that actually does not exist. It is commonly called an Error 404 page.
There are two common ways a visitor to your site might see such a page.
One is if you have a broken link somewhere. Perhaps you moved or deleted a page at some point If the page no longer exists, the Error 404 page will show instead.
The other reason for stumbling on 404 pages is if someone mistypes the URL when trying to get to one of your pages. Or uses a link with a typo in it. For example, if you had a page on your website called YourWebsite.com/products and someone typed into their URL bar, YourWebsite.com/produce…. it would show an error 404 page, unless you happen to have a page called produce.
Many websites use a customised Page Not Found Page, perhaps with a search box on it, or links to other parts of the website.
If you type in your website’s url, followed by a slash then some random letters, you will see your site’s current Error 404 page.
If you search online you will find tutorials, video etc with instructions on how to make a customized page for your site. This is not necessary, but something you may like to do.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
FAQS, or Frequently Asked Questions is a page where you list questions that a customer, or potential customer, might ask, together with answers. FAQ pages can be found on a lot of websites and can help visitors get information quickly.
Many online shops have FAQs that include things like “How long does my item take to prepare and ship?”, “Can you make the item in another colour?”, “Are there discounts if I buy in bulk?”, “Do you ship overseas?”. Obviously the sort of questions you use on your FAQs will very much depend on what sort of a business you have.
For example, if you sell woollen knitted hats, you might have FAQs such as “How do I wash my hat?”, “How do I store my hat?”, “Can you make a hat in a specific colour?”, “What sort of wool do you use?” and so on.
Are you finding you get people asking you the same questions over and over? These are exactly the sort of things you could include in your FAQs. Hence the name Frequently Asked Questions!
Well, this is usually not a page per se. Most sites have a search bar or a link somewhere on each web page where a visitor can search for things. It is always worth doing whatever one can to help a visitor find what they are looking for quickly. So if you don’t have some sort of search system on your website, I’d recommend looking into this.
The pages that I strongly recommend every craft seller includes somewhere in his or her blog or website are:
- an About Page
- a Contact Page
- a Site Map
- a Terms of Service Page
- an Affiliate Disclosure page if using affiliate links.
Most websites have links to these important pages on every page of the site. If you are reading the transcript for this podcast, or listening to it via the Tin Teddy Blog, you will see my own links in the black bar at the bottom of the page. You may also want to include some of them in your main site menu.
I will be discussing some of the topics referred to in this podcast in more detail in future episodes.
Links to all the sites mentioned and a full transcript are in the Show Notes on the Tin Teddy Blog.
In the next episode of the Craft Seller Success podcast I will be talking about 9 Ways to Add Value to your Products. This episode will be out on the 10th July.
Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to the Craft Seller Success podcast.
Check out www.TinTeddy.com for more Craft Seller resources.
Until next time, bye
The Craft Seller Success Podcast from Tin Teddy.
Featuring Deborah Richardson and Matthew French
Original music by Matthew French
Craft Seller Success from Tin Teddy
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You may want to check out episode 20, Building a Craft Shop with WordPress and Woocommerce
For much more about useful plugins, see episode 23, Essential WordPress Plugins for Your Craft Seller Blog or Shop.