Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prototype of New Product Packaging

I'm still not over Google's spanking, but one can only take one's licks and move on. I have followed their instructions by submitting a sitemap, which was very confusing for a non-geek person like myself. But I muddled through the lack of clear, concise documentation and figured out how to use my RSS feed as the sitemap. Blogger doesn't allow for a user-generated XML ... or whatever ... sitemap to be plunked somewhere in the template. I've submitted my blog for reconsideration so now it's a exercise in patience. I've also asked them about the "duplicate title tags" since I don't have a clue how to fix that. Blogger is THEIR product so it should be usable without creating havoc with another of THEIR products.

I did say something about moving on, didn't I? No more mention of PageRank unless or until I've been bailed out of search engine jail.

Today I took the mess you see on my dining room table in the opening photo and turned it into this:

I didn't use the boxed flower components in the first picture because after I opened it up, I realized there wasn't enough for duplication (there's that baaaad word again!). I need to make oodles of these packages so I opted to use cardstock, a couple of punches, and brads of which I have plenty. Not bad, don't you think?

I learned this technique last week when I attended a local stamp club that is run by a talented and creative Stampin' Up demonstrator here in the Plano area. If you'd like her contact information, contact me. She'll humbly tell you that she's just following the directions of other talented and creative people, but she has a gift for teaching.

In her class, we used double-sided paper so that the inside looks as good as the outside, but in the interest of not driving the prices of my handcrafted jewelry too far to the roof, I've opted for one-sided. I couldn't find any that matched my branding image, but I think this is close enough to work for now.

I'm having an open house in my house starting October 11th and continuing until further notice on the second Saturday of every month. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and are interested in coming, drop me a line with your e-mail address and I'll add you to the e-vite list. Just about everyone who I have met personally through the various network events I attend will be getting an invite. I'll be using my new product packaging at the open house ... or I HOPE to that is!

Trying to get people to commit to a home show has been virtually impossible, even with a generous hostess package in the offering. I've asked those I know very well, and those who are in the Mastermind group with me "Why?" and the answer is what I expected. Hostessing is a LOT of work. I know that because I've played hostess myself plenty of times.

So for now, I'll play hostess and invite the fashion jewelry loving women in my circles to come over to my house and play. And the entrepreneurial women are more than welcome to bring their business cards for networking.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I should have listened ...

Google slapped me silly.

I've read some great geek blogs I've found since joining Entrecard. And I've even attended a MeetUp meeting of a group of geeks. I learned Google penalized duplicate content (but I OWN the content). When I found out duplicating items from a blog was a huge no-no, I stopped doing what I was doing. But I guess I should have done more.

I belong to various social networks using the Ning platform. These networks are nice because they are topically focused, which helps in marketing because one knows they are reaching a targeted audience. All these networks give members their own profile page which also includes a blog. So I thought "Cool!" and I could duplicate blog posts among my Ning networks and reach a wider audience.

Live and learn. My rank went from a sweet little 3 to a basement bottom N/A. With great sadness I removed my PR rank button from my "Techies" sidebar section.

I contacted Google for advice and surprisingly, they responded within one hour! The responder gave me the suggestion to use the Google Webmaster tools, particularly the "sitemap" and wait. I had already deleted all duplicate content before contacting them.

The sitemap tool is giving me a report of "duplicate title tags" for 20 of my posts. I wonder how penalizing that could be? There is truly nothing new under the sun and with however many million of blogs out there, duplicate titles are going to happen. What does one do when a particular title is already used, but it's perfect for the post?

What a bummer. And to top it off, my nearby Starbucks was out of Kenya coffee so I had to settle for Ethiopia Sidamo. There's nothing better than a nice, hot cup of Kenya java first thing in the morning.

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