Sunday, September 23, 2007

More Optimizing and a Sick Baby

This has been a hectic few days. My poor little Alexander has been running a fever for a couple of days. We ended up taking him to the emergency room at 2:00 in the morning on Sunday because he woke up with a nasty, barking cough and his fever had spiked. Turns out he developed croup. You wouldn't have known he was sick except for the fever. He had no other symptoms and was as active as usual. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that energy and use it when mine was depleted.

I haven't been able to get much work done on the website with Alexander being sick. Google has been crawling my site every 5 days but there hasn't been much change in my rank. I just changed a few of my keywords and made a few changes to the homepage welcome to better optimize it with my title and meta description.

I have been trying to figure out how to add category links to the right side of my website. I want to add links for articles on my site, as well as posts from my blog. I use Miva Merchant 5 as a shopping cart and I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how to do this.

What I really want to do is redesign the storefront using CSS style sheets to achieve this. I have been reading HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS to learn how to easily create style sheets. This is a great book and it is extremely easy to understand. I am not the most technical person in the world and have a very tight time schedule, so it is important to me to have things written in plain english.

Well, hopefully my sweet baby will be better soon and I will be able to get some rest so that I can have energy to stay up late and find better ways to optimize my site.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Optimizing My Site With Unique Content

I am really getting into this SEO stuff. There is so much to learn and so much information out there. Yesterday I was looking for some information on one of the forums I participate in and I found a thread with a great link to a free SEO book. It is called SEO Fast Start by Dan Thies.

I downloaded it and immediately started reading it. He offers a lot of great basic SEO information and all he asks in return is that you spread the word about his book and his website. His website has a lot of great articles and he offers to answer any questions that you might have about SEO. I definitely recommend SEO Fast Start for anyone that is new to SEO and needs real basic information without having to pay for it.

I have been trying to optimize my baby boutique for a few weeks now. When I first decided to start an ecommerce business I had no idea how involed it could be. It is really important to provide useful and unique content for your website to succeed. I originally made the mistake of buying content related articles from an ezine before I really starting digging into SEO. Then I found out that using these articles could do me more harm than good if they are duplicated on another site.

Now I am attempting to add unique content to my site. There is already so much information out there on baby showers and diaper cakes. It is really hard to come up with unique content. I started writing a few articles concerning baby showers. I posted my first one yesterday. It is called Baby Shower Food Ideas & Recipes. Like I said, there is already a lot of baby shower information out there already, so I tried to offer some really good and simple food ideas. Since I love to cook and previously worked as a chef at a catering company I had a few of my own recipes I included as well as links to a couple of recipe sites.

Hopefully someone will find my articles useful and informative. And, hopefully they will help me rank better.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Looking for New Products

I recently stumbled across a useful site in my quest for new products for my baby boutique.

Mom's Favorite Stuff offers reviews on new baby products by 3 experienced moms. I really like the unique and practical products they review.

There are 2 products in particular that I am interested in. The first is a baby blanket by Secure2Me that has useful clips on the blanket to safely attach the blanket to any baby gear. This is such a great idea. I don't know how many times I had to pick up Alexander's blanket when it fell from the stroller or he when he would throw it on the ground. I didn't see any option for wholesale on their site. I guess I will have to contact them.

The other baby product is Tiny Tales. This is a great gift idea for the busy mama's. You don't want to miss any of your baby's first achievmeants but sometimes there just isn't enough time. Tiny Tales comes with a set of 2-4x6 notepads and 4 time framed dividers for baby tales, toddler tales, and personalized tales. This all comes packaged in a handy acrylic box. The notepads are the perfect size to carry in a diaper bag and you could have one handy in a flash to jot down those memorable moments when your on the go with your baby or toddler. I checked there website for wholesale options but they are only selling to brick & mortor stores right now. Too bad.

Mom's Favortie Stuff has a great baby gift guide too with a nice selection of website links that offer high quality baby products.

I'll just have to keep looking for more new product resources. There is so much out there to sort through. The web is a much bigger world than I ever realized.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Joys of Living with a Toddler

Today started out good and then went downhill. How could that sweet little baby I once knew turn into this mini tyrant!

Every day is a battle. Getting up in the morning, mostly Alexander is in a great mood, but there are those mornings where everything upsets him. Getting up from nap time is a whole other story. He always gets up on the wrong side of the bed and is ornery for a good 30 minutes. He insists on me carrying him around like if he were a tiny baby. Really hard on the back!

As for food, he lives on pb&j sandwiches, yogurt, fruits (only bananas & oranges), pretzels, and french fries with tons of ketchup. He use to eat anything and was willing to try whatever I put in front of him. Then he hit that magical toddler age and everything changed. Sometimes I feel like I am hitting my head against a wall.

And what is the big deal with using the potty. We have been doing pretty good lately and have actually been able to go out in regular underwear. Today was our first accident outside of the house. We were at the mall. I tried to get him to use the bathroom but he wouldn't. He has this strange fascination with public restrooms. He loves to go in them but he won't use them. We were only there for about 10 minutes playing in the bookstore. Our bookstore has a great children's section with a train set for the kids to play with. Then I notice Alexander is standing very still in the corner. I go over to him hoping that it is not what I think it is but, of course it is. I snatch him up quickly before any other kids see that he wet himself and leave the store. There is nothing like a sopping wet toddler. We go to the car and I clean him up and put clean clothes on him. Of course he wants to go back to the mall and can not understand that mommy has a really wet shirt and doesn't want to walk around wet and smelling like pee pee. This causes a big fuss and I end up feeling horrible. From now own I will bring a change of clothes for myself too.

When will this all end? I thought by the time 3 rolled around he would be a little easier to handle but everyone tells me we still have a long way to go. Maybe someone will invent a new baby product that instantly makes your toddler agreeable no matter what. I will definitely carry that product in my baby boutique!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Starting a Blog

I don't know much about blogging but everyone is doing it, so I thought I would give it a try. I'm not exactly sure where my blog will lead me.

A year ago I decided to try my hand at running an internet business. Although I have tons of experience surfing the web, I have absolutely no experience at running an online business. I have a bad habit of rushing into things without fully researching them.

Silly of me to think that it would be so easy to run an online business. You know the saying, "If you build it they will come"? Well they won't! Not without a whole lot of work.

Of course being a partial stay at home mom, ( I only work 2 hours every morning as a bookkeeper), money is tight. So I can not afford to hire companies to build me the perfect website, make sure my SEO is just right to get me good rankings, or write good copy for my site. I have to do all of this myself. Here I am a year later learning everything I can about running an online business. I can't believe the amount of information out there.

What made me decide to start an ecommerce business? My beautiful son Alexander, who by the way my site is named after. I started selling some of his old things on ebay and then got the fever. It was like gambling. It was so exciting to watch people in a bidding war for my items. I started looking for bargains and scouring yard sales so that I could continue my ebay adventure.

Then one day I hosted a baby shower for a family member and made her a diaper cake for the centerpiece. It was so much fun and gave me a chance to be creative. I love to bake and decorate cakes and for a while I did it professionally. Unfortunately I am a perfectionist and would get so stressed about making the cake perfect. Then I thought, why not start my own business making diaper cakes. It would give me the opportunity to use my creative abilities making cakes, you just can't eat them. And that's exactly what I did.

Unfortunetly, I went off on a tangent and decided to include a lot more then diaper cakes on my site. I thought why not offer a variety of baby products and gifts. Products that I knew were not only practical but also quality made. To make a long story short, I got in way over my head.

I really am enjoying my new found occupation. I have learned so much but it has been a rocky road for the past year. My advice for anyone deciding to start an online business? Do your research first, find a niche market, and do more research. Now, if only I could rank higher in Google! I'll keep working on that.