I originally published this in the ArtFire forums, but since I went to all that trouble I felt I should add it to my blog. Here it is...
These are the links I have found to promote my ArtFire shop - and all are free. I am currently using or have used most of these. Others have been recommended, but just haven’t found the time to add myself.
http://www.freecraftylinks.com/ (can only be a link to your shop. Links to individual items don’t work on this site. It also runs an Artist of the Month. I was selected!)
http://www.thecraftshopper.com/ (US only)
http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/ (US only)
www.gumtree.com/ (UK and Australia)
http://www.craigslist.com/ (careful not to over-post or post out of your area)
http://www.stumbleupon.com/ (sign up and use that link! It's right there in your shop for goodness sakes!)
http://www.craftersbuzz.com/ (links only to your shop, but can advertise single items)
http://www.thehandmadecafe.com/ (advertise single items in their classified ads and add your shop to the list of sites. Also have a forum and blog section.)
http://www.kijiji.com/ (Canada only)
www.unanimouscraft.com (create an account and link to your shop. You can then update with your new listings)
www.widgetbox.com (great use for your ArtFire feed - shows a photo, title and description of your listings. It also, adds you to their directory and lets others easily post your feed on their site.)
The following list of websites can be used to promote your blogs or other websites you run and host yourself. Most require you add a reciprocal link which is commonplace.
www.gotop100.com/directory/ (exchange banners with established users or create your own banner exchange program)
www.aussiecrafts.com.au (for Australians)
www.relevantdirectory.ca/ (Canadian based)
www.relevantdirectory.com/ (for anyone)
I have noted extra information accordingly. Some are area specific so make note of it. I suggest that you don’t add your site to a place where you don’t live even if you do offer shipping there. It may be considered spam by the webmaster and get you banned from the site.
I have also tried to add only those that allow clickable links and that are free to use. I know I have a very limited advertising budget and assume that most of you do too. This will, hopefully, improve your page rank and enable higher listing for your ArtFire shop during searches.
Other tips you may find useful:
If you have a blog or other website, make sure that you offer a section with reciprocal links. Add others’ links to your site in exchange for them adding your link to theirs. Make your ArtFire banner into a link. This is a more advanced and you’ll need to know some basic html. A quick search on any search engine will give you plenty of links to many helpful html sites.
An easy way to do it is through widgetbox.com It uses your ArtFire feed which you can find in the left hand column of your shop marked “STUDIO RSS FEED”. Click the link to your feed and copy the address from the address bar. Click the feed logo in widgetbox to create your widget. Paste your feed link into the appropriate spot and it will take care of itself. You can also customize your widget to match your shop colour scheme. This is a free service and you can pay to upgrade, but it’s still very good even though there are ads on the widget.
Another benefit to using these widgets on your blogs and outside websites is that, the code for the link is automatically generated. This makes it easy for anyone to copy and paste it onto their sites and blogs which is great for creating reciprocal links back to your shop. This is very advantageous for us who are somewhat computer challenged but still want to share links.
If you do run reciprocal links on your website and want to know who is and who isn’t linking to you go to Google and enter this including the brackets:
Of course, enter the url (the www.somewebsite.com) of your ArtFire shop or other website you want to know more about. A list of every site linked to this url will be there.
Facebook and Twitter are also very good. You can find some useful tips and hints from other users of these sites and can easily promote your latest items. ArtFire is great for allowing you to link easily to these.
Look for local classified ads on the web. Web entrepreneurs are always looking into ways to cash in on a local market and may have started an online classified ad listing for your community or surrounding area. It could be free or not. Every place is different.
A final note: I am undecided about identical listings on the internet. Some say it doesn’t matter and others says you should never do this. In the excess of links and websites on the internet, I find it hard to believe that any search engine can determine that a description is the same and going to penalize you for that by not listing or downgrading the links.
On the other hand, I feel it would be better to use a distinctive title and as much unique description as possible to help customers find you and your handmade stuff. The more keywords that trigger your item to come up in a search can only benefit you in the long run. But in saying that, I understand that not all of us have the time or patience to rewrite every listing we have.
If you know of any other websites that you’ve used successfully, please share it! We’re all in the same boat and need to help one another ;-)
- - Happy Promoting and Good Luck - -