Transaltion by Google

Free website promotion

Friday, April 30, 2010

We all love free stuff, and website/shop promotion is no different. It doesn't need to cost you a fortune to advertise your website and get it high up on google searches.
I have tried many free promotional sites and tweeks, some good, some not so good.
This is a list of ideas and sites that I have personally found to work well in getting my site high up in google search.

As with everything else there are lots more of these sites, a simple google search will find you thousands. These are the ones I have found that work best for me and my site so far. You will probably find a different combination that works best for you. Most will also work for your Folksy, Etsy, Misi shop, it does not need to be your own website.

By far the most important thing you need to make your site visible is your keywords. Too many keywords and you will be considered a spammer and demoted in search. Too few keywords and the search engines will not find you. Around 10 keywords per page is considered to be the optimum number.

2. Submit your website to the search engines.
They will pick up your site on their own without you submitting, it's just quicker if you submit your site yourself.
Obviously Google, Yahoo, Bing are the main search engines to aim for but there are literally thousands of other smaller ones.
Google Yahoo Bing Others

3. Get your site listed in Dmoz.
This is a very good directory to be listed in, search engines like websites that are listed in Dmoz and will show them higher up in search results. Only submit your site once, if you submit it more it will be more likely to be rejected. It can several months to get listed in Dmoz so you need to be patient.

4. Social networking sites.
Personally I only use Facebook and Twitter but there are lots more available. Facebook has a new free shop front where you can now sell your items on your fan page. It can be quite fiddly setting it up but like most things once you have done it a few times it's easy to navigate.
To set up a Facebook shop got to any shop already on Facebook and click on "Launch your free storefront" at the bottom of the page. You can use my shop page if you like.
Other well known social networking sites :
My Space, Bebo, Flickr, Stumbleupon, Twitter.

5.Get your name and products in as many places as you can.
The more links you have back to your website the better for google ranking and search engine placement. Link exchanges is a good way to do this, this means swapping links with other sites.
There are a few link exchange sites you can sign up to. I find it easier to sort link exchanges through these sites but you can maually search out sites and ask for link exchanges by direct contact. The more links you have that are relevant to your site the better.
My links page as an example of relevant content.

My personal best top three link exchange sites : UKlinkexchange LinkMarket Link2me

There are also many places you can list your items for free.
Bttradespace - Free gallery and free shop with a link back to your website. Friendly network forum and fan this shop gadget.
Hotfrog - Free shopping directory. You can list items but not sell. Shoppers must click through to your website to buy.
Freeindex - Free shopping directory. You can list items but not sell. Shoppers must click through to your website to buy.
Yell - Basic submission with a link to your website is free.
Uk small business directory - similar to Yell.
Ebid - Market place similar to eBay with free listings.
Facebook - Free shop with any fanpage.

Please read all sites terms and conditions regarding advertising before you sign up. Please don't break any site rules.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Copyrights and Trademarks

Monday, April 19, 2010

After a recent discussion on copyrights and trademarks I thought I would do a post to try and help put the subject into an easy to understand format. Before this I must admit I had no idea what was involved. I did however find the subject very interesting and researched and read a lot of information.
I am in no way stating what I say here as fact or legally binding. This is my interpretation of the law from reading documents on the copyright and trademark laws. If you are in any doubt then please contact the company involved for clarification and access rights. They are human and will not bite you. If you have a question about something you make or are thinking of making then contact them. You never know it could do you some good.

There will be links at the end of this to various sites and laws for you to read if you wish and if you have anything to add then please do so in the comments.

Firstly copyright and trademark are two different laws. You cannot copyright a name, the ideas, logos, can be copyrighted, names, character, brand names and in some cases real names come under trademarking laws.
Both laws however are more or less the same and the same penalties apply.
If you see something with TM next to it it's trademarked, in the UK using the © means the same thing as TM. Copyrighted items will have ® next to them. If you see any brand name without these it does not mean they are not trademarked.
This applies to everything from quotes to out and out fakes. If it has a brand name or is used by a brand name then assume it's trademarked or copyrighted and it's a no go area. Unless you have permission of course.

Q. You want to sell an item with a Hello Kitty theme, are you allowed?
A. Yes and no!

Yes, if you have an authentic item of Hello Kitty you can use this on your handmade item and sell it as Hello Kitty as it has the authentic item included. You also have full rights to sell any authentic Hello Kitty item as long as it's used.
You cannot buy a job lot of brand new Hello Kitty items and resell them without permission from the copyright/trademark holders.

No, if you are making something from scratch to resemble Hello Kitty then you must not use the Hello Kitty name to sell it. You can by all means make the item and use it for your own personal use or put it on display (without charge) but as soon as you start to sell you are infringing trademark laws. Even giving it away in some cases can land you in trouble.

This is also known as fan art, whereby a fan makes or paints/draws or makes a film/photos of a copyrighted character and adds there own twist to it. This is fine but you still cannot use the brand name or sell it.

Q What about the fair use exemption?
A It would seem that this only applies to the written word, things such as quotes, newspaper articles, commentary, research, education, it is not a defence for anything else. The fair use exemption is purely for freedom of speech laws.
For example you may need to quote something you have seen or include a paragraph or two from some Else's work to explain something, or as in this post I can only use the name Hello Kitty as it comes under the fair use exemption rule. If this rule wasn't included I wouldn't even be able to type the name on my blog at all without permission.

Q But surely it's good for the brand, it gives them free advertising.
A This maybe true, but that's up to the copyright and trademark holders. If they don't like what your doing they will stop you one way or another.

The laws I have written about here apply to the US and UK. The UK tend to be a bit more lenient and turn a blind eye until you start to attract some attention. The US companies will sue you as soon as they find you if they can, it makes no difference what country you live in. Anything copyrighted or trademarked outside the UK and US will have it's own countries laws.

If in doubt, leave it well alone.

Links to sources and Laws.

Copyright myths

US copyright law
US trademark law
UK copyright law
UK trademark law

Deviant art article
Dr who infringement case
Paramount cease and desist letter
Hello kitty infringment letter

Copyright/ Trademark information
Hello kitty remains the registered trademark/copyright of All material found on this site is for personaluse only. and qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law, and not personal or financial gain. No infringements on their copyrights is intended.


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Are you registered?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I have come across quite a few online sellers recently who call themselves "hobby sellers". I have no idea where this term comes from but as far as the tax office is concerned there is no such thing. I have put together this check list of things to do once you start to sell your handmade goods.
Don't let them catch you selling illegally you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

This is for UK sellers only, sellers from outside the UK will need to seek advice from their own countries tax offices.

Firstly are you a business? If you buy items to sell or make items to sell then yes you are. If you are selling your unwanted belongings then no you are not.

1. Register with HMRC for tax and national insurance as soon as you start advertising items for sale. Failing to do so could land you with a fine up to £1000.
You need to do this regardless of any other jobs you may have, or you dont make any profit. Most small businesses run at a loss for the first few years. You could even claim tax back if this is your second job.

Dont worry about VAT, this a completely different thing and you need to be making an annual profit of at least £70,000 to qualify for VAT registration.

2. If you are claiming any tax credits you will need to notify them as soon as possible. Dont worry, your payments will not change if you are not making any or are making very little profit.
If you claim any other benefits i.e. income support, job seekers allowance, housing and council tax benefit then you will need to contact your local benefit offices to let them know. As with tax credits your benefits will not change if you make none or very little profit.

3. Keep records of everything going out and coming in. Print out all invoices for all incoming and outgoing and organize them accordingly. Don't forget things like listing fees, postage, packaging, printer ink, paper. Anything you use for your business can be included.
Doing this makes it easier for you when you need to provide paperwork for the benefits, tax credits and your annual tax return.
I use a ring binder folder with seperators to keep things in order.

4. Tax returns are not as scary as they sound. If you keep all your paperwork in order throughout the year they are in fact very simple to fill in. Keeping all your paperwork in order will also keep you from needing a book keeper or accountant, and save you a lot of money.

5. If you are unsure of anything contact the tax office for advice. They are very friendly and very helpful and will let you know exactly what you need to do if you are confused with it all or have any doubts.

6. That's about it so now you can relax and enjoy your new business. I wish you the best of luck with your new venture.

Useful links
HMRC for businesses
Business link
Tax credits
All other benefits