Friday, September 27, 2013

A Rose By Any Other Name...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Truer words than these written by Shakespeare have never been written, but as in many aspects of  life in this new age of technology,  some things can come obsolete.  While Juliet's words are true for life and living, they do not fit into the world of the internet.

When Eric and I decided to go forward with our web based Craft Gallery, the first order of business was to decide on a name.  In the old order of brick and mortar stores, this aspect of the new business could wait until later and you could go ahead and plan your inventory, design your locations, and start "building your house."  But when dealing with e-commerce on line, it's all about bringing people into your site.  Unlike "real life" where you can locate yourself well and create a facade that your potential customers hopefully will drive/walk by and be inticed to come in, on the internet, it is a difficult task to place yourself in the right "location." That is, on the first page of a Google Search for what you have to offer.  Your shop, if not high up in Google Rankings, can go forever un-noticed, and many web based businesses fail only because of this.

I had no idea about any of this when we started our venture.  Fortunately, Eric is a computer and especially an Internet Expert, and knew to start by searching out words for "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)".  Mostly Eric, but me too, looked for words associated with an art gallery that might specialize in fine Crafts as well as some traditional art. 

It was difficult.  The examples of how to do this task always seemed to use dog supplies as a model to make it look easy, but if you look up Crafts or Handmade, or Gallery, you will find a hodge-podge of web sites that have nothing to do with what we are intent on doing on the front pages of Google.  Fortunately, there are other ways of getting high ranking when developing a web site or web based business, but we are still going to have to use wording to help us and you find us.  And this is where, my readers that are clearly my friends as according to the Blogger Stats, I had 72 visits yesterday after not posting for two years, and only having put up two blog posts in the past two days, I need your help.

Suppose you were looking for a shop to buy handmade crafts... something that was special and different than the norm (like Etsy).  If you were to look for something like our shop, what would you type into the search bar?  We hope to carry a diverse assortment of handmade items including jewelry - of course - but ceramics, fiber arts, soaps, glass work, knit wear, journals, leather work, and more.  If you would be so kind as to tell me what you might use, even if it is a repeat from somebody who (I hope) might have already used the search terms, I would be ever grateful.

But back to that rose.  We are close to putting the web site, unfinished though it might be, into a location where you can see what is going on.  (Right now it is hidden under a domain name which will remain secret.)  We needed to settle on a name so that we could obtain the domain and server space.

I came up with a number of names, as did Eric.   Some were better than others; some not good at all.  Once you figure out a name, though, then you have to search the internet (through a process that I won't bore you with) to see if it's available or already been taken.  We bought some of the names that we thought might be usable (it's very inexpensive to just buy a domain name and Eric has been, over the years I've known him, collecting them as he thinks of something funny, useful, or both.) but we were not really fully happy with any of them.  Nothing we could find in our SEO searches really seemed to be what we were looking for.  And then Eric thought of a name that I really liked.

"Handmade by Design"

The problem was it was already taken!  But when we tried to look the site up on line, there was nothing there.  Just like Eric, somebody else had thought of this name and reserved, surely with the idea of selling it later.  And so Eric looked for the person or broker who might be handling this name and contacted him.

The original price asked was prohibitive.  I was ready to drop the name immediately and try to think of something else.  But again, Eric who is very smart and wise, told me to wait.  He made an offer for the name that was far below what was being asked.  They came back with a counter offer far above what we would be willing to pay, and we let it sit for a while.  A long while.

Meanwhile, Eric kept working away at the web site.  He had originally used "Handmade by Design" as the working title, but changed it to "American Traditional High Heeled Folk Dancing".  That got a giggle out of me.  He started to test some of the functionality systems including actually purchasing and checking out through the shopping cart.  The first thing he offered for sale was Miles holding up basil plants... a picture from his 5th grade science project, and called the item "Boy With Basil."  That got an actual laugh out of me, not only for the item itself, but because he was asking far too much for the product.  Certainly, as the purchaser realized who they had bought, they might have second thoughts and try to return Miles!  I love Miles dearly and would never let him go, but he has some personality quirks that are quite difficult to live with. 
Miles is damned cute, isn't he?

A month went by without us countering the offer on Handmade.  And then Eric, after a Crafts show we attended so I could look for more artists who might be interested in participating and who met our specifications, suddenly asked me if we should go back to negotiating on the name. 

It was the best name I could think of; I have an intuition that our site is going to work and work well and we will be very happy running it, but if for some odd reason, we decide we don't want it anymore, it was a name that went with a working site that I believed would help it sell so we could recoup our money.  And so I told him that we should go for it.

Eric negotiated and negotiated all this week.  And by the end of yesterday, we were the proud owners of the domain name, "Handmade By Design"!

I've long thought in the back of my mind that running a dot com might be fun, especially one that would bring me in contact with artists of a like mind as me.  It's an opportunity not only to establish a business for myself above and beyond what jewelry I can produce (beading is a slow speed sport anyway and with the elbow/hand, I'm slower than ever) which could make some money for our family to live on, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to help my artist friends get exposure and sales for their own work.  If this venture works the way I envision it, it will be good for everyone!

And now again, my friends, if you can think of any terms you might use to search out an on line gallery that sold hand made crafts, you might leave your ideas in the Comments, I will be very happy and grateful.

Thank you so much for coming back and taking in my musings.



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