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Internet Wonderland For Quilters - Websites

Summary

Your web site is the place to put static information you always want out there. It's the place to answer the who, what, when, why questions about your business or group. It's also your front door/ window. It welcomes people in.

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Internet Wonderland For Quilters - Websites

A web site makes a great home base on the internet. It's the place to put all the necessary information we want out there. “When do we have our meetings? Where is your store and what is its hours? What do you teach? When is the conference? What do you have for sale?" It's a great place to answer the who, what, where, when and why questions people constantly need answered. For a store, guild, business, or teacher your web site is the door to your front door.

It’s also a store within itself. You can sell almost anything on the internet, and current packing and shipping companies make it possible for you to ship it anywhere. But Internet sales work best only if you can offer them something no one else has. If your goal is Internet sales, you need to make yourself unique either in service, price, or product.

For most groups or stores you'll find your web site is more of an introduction for your store, group or service. It's their first step to finding you. Once they've found you then you become a source they trust for ideas, products and help. That’s when they come to buy things from you. It also can serve as an umbrella for other media. It's a great place to park your blog, put your sales cart, and show off. It does all those things very well. Does the average person need a web page? Maybe not. There are several blog sites that are free and provide a wonderful platform for much more than just a blog. You can attach an Etsy store to a blog, put up static pages that answers the who, what, when, where, and why questions about yourself, load up picture albums and feed all of that through Facebook and Pinterest. It may serve for simple needs.

Web sites offer more robust answers. Almost any kind of information source, video, photo, or text can be put there, and teaching and sales are easily accomplished. But even the drag and drop web site builders require a bit of computer savvy. Blogging really doesn't. If you simply want a platform to meet people and tell them about you self, a blog is perfect for that.

If you're planning on multiple pages, lots of information, a large shopping cart, a newsletter system, or information gathering, you need that web site.

Web Site Concerns:

Web sites can be complicated. If they don't work quickly and seamlessly, people just click to another site. Of all the social media, you might want to consider expert help with designing your web site. It's more than looking good. That helps, but your site needs also to be maximized for searches and set up to be read on tablets and smart phones. For many of us it takes more than a web host. A web designer can help you fashion a site that fits your needs.

Your site is like the front door and windows of your store. Is it clean? Pretty? Inviting? Easy to find? All of those things form your image online. Now, they can find you!

How often should you refresh your sites

It depending on the site, at least change them out with the season. A guild or teacher may want them updated every 4 months. For a store or manufacturer,you want them to know any time there's something new. Monthly or weekly might make more sense. Small fresh updates are much easier and more important than large overhauls. Usually just changing the home page and anything that is no longer accurate will do the trick. Of course when there's a big change, your site should reflect that. Did you get a new book written? Get a special new line of fabric? Show them.

Will you need help with your web site?

I would argue that most people with a slightly complicated web site probably need a web designer. They can set your site up so that you update it, but it works. All the links click through. All the shopping carts work. You can arrange with them to have what you really need now, and talk about what you might want in the future.Even with drop and drag web builders, web design is in a foreign language. HTML is nothing like English and it’s got a steep learning curve. If you don’t enjoy that kind of learning experience, or need something done fairly quickly, get yourself some serious help. You’ll only need them to do the set up and it’s so worth it. And you have someone to go to when and if problems arise.

 

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Glossary

Drag
Caused by the weight of the quilt pulling while you are sewing. Drag can result in your quilt being distorted when it is finished.
Drop
The part of a quilt that hangs down the sides of your mattress.
Author
Ellen Anne Eddy

Ellen has spent most of her life teaching, writing or working with fabric, and now she’s come to a point where all occupations blend.  She began quilting in response to a gift from a neighbor who saved a quilt top from one of her mother’s cleaning fits, and gave it to her, quilted, once she was grown.  She has been quilting ever since.  She currently teaches for quilt guilds and conferences a series of fiber art courses covering all kinds of machine embroidery techniques for quilters.  

Her quilt, Dancing in the Light was acquired in June 2010 by the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.

Her book, Thread  Magic Garden, is now available from C&T Publishers. Her  first book, Thread Magic- The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy,  has proved to be a classic text on free motion and fiber art. Recently Ellen has started her own publication company, Thread Magic Studio Press, and has published small classroom books for herself and other teachers.

She has written for numerous fiber arts publications, including Quilting Arts, American Quilter, and Quilter’s Newsletter, Threads and Fiber Arts.

She also consults with stores/artists / and other quilting professionals on how to use social media as free/low cost advertisement. and community building.

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