Friday 6th December… how can it already be so close to Christmas? In two weeks’ time the last Christmas post leaves the post office, and I currently have nothing lining up to catch it. Yet only two years ago at this same time I had forty outstanding orders, and two or three new ones coming in daily…
How I wish I could get that time back. I don’t only love the actual sewing part of my job; I love the thrill of each new order landing in my inbox… the anticipation that accompanies opening each new email that arrives to say someone else wants to buy one of my creations…
So what’s gone wrong?! I really don’t know what’s happened to change Google’s view of my store. Nothing much is different from that, and the other previous wonderful years, full of adrenaline filled late night sewing… I’d already gone through all the difficult and time consuming task of testing my dolly clothes and bedding to CE standards. I’d expected the introduction of the newer more expensive clothes (increased only to cover the cost of the branded fabric I now have to use) to have an impact. I knew that people would notice the difference and maybe only buy the cheaper, older style things I was keeping on in order to use up old stock.
But the change didn’t take immediate effect.
I knew too that money troubles would affect the way people were spending, and that something such as beautifully handmade doll’s clothes come way down the queue of spending needs in most families, and really count as a luxury when compared with everyday essentials such as food and decent clothes for the human people in the family!
But again, the money situation has been bad for too many years- since before I even started out with my little business. People were still willing to fork out for non-essentials when it came to their little one’s birthdays and Christmas, and Little Dolly Clothes Shop has stayed strong and thrived throughout the very poor economic climate… until last year…
Why was there a sudden change? I wish I knew. Maybe after ten years of hoping, people have suddenly got wary of spending any more- not knowing just how much longer this crisis could go on for. Perhaps they’re fed up with hoping and carrying on as normal, and are tired of always seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but never quite reaching it? Perhaps their ever shrinking purses have just got way too small to even take out a tiny amount to spend?
Or maybe I’m just kidding myself.
Maybe my business wasn’t ever really any good and the public have only just noticed?
I don’t think so though, and I don’t think my nearly seven hundred sales, countless grateful emails from customers and the number of lovely comments from passers-by when I venture out into public with my doll’s clothes says so either!
But all of my thoughts above only go to explain so much- if they’re even valid points, it only says why people have become unwilling to shop once they find my store. I understand that, even if I don’t get the sudden change in attitude!
But none of that explains Google’s sudden reluctance to acknowledge me.
When sales suddenly dropped last year I had done nothing different to my store, since changing the layout and introducing my Logo a couple of years before! It was only after a few months of nothing that I started to look into what I could suddenly be doing wrong.
I found lots of ‘useful’ tools on the website builder that I use- the ability to give each item a ‘title’ that shows up on the computer’s browser bar, and a dedicated background page for every item and page, that can be filled in with useful search engine optimisation (SEO) stuff- keywords and a description for the search engine to read. Each page can be identified with a proper web address, rather than just having to have some random string of numbers and letters, and there’s the ability to choose tags within the store for when people are browsing and looking for something particular.
Towards the end of last year I spent many hours, too many perhaps, going through each and every page on my website- updating descriptions, adding browser titles and giving every item its unique web address- all things which should, in theory, boost my store’s chance of showing up in all the search engines and bring in all my longed for sales. But still nothing changed and last Christmas I had only a handful of sales- nothing that even warranted a late night finish…
And so this year I also spent too many hours researching, trying and failing to resurrect my little business- as told in my last Blog post ‘Search Engine Troubles’ a couple of weeks ago. I also realised it probably wasn’t doing me any favours having a different web address for the website, from everything else connected with it! My Facebook page, my Instagram and this Blog all use the complete shop name in their web addresses- something I didn’t even consider when I opened up shop ten years ago!
So back in the summer, I took the plunge and changed the URL used for the store- while being careful to keep the previous, shorter version, in the background and linked through to it. I knew it would take time for Google to acknowledge the change, and with visits to the site being so poor I figured that changing in the middle of the summer would give plenty of time for things to hopefully pick up a bit before Christmas.
But sadly, even that doesn’t seem to have made any difference. It seems that everything I do is in vain, and nothing seems to be picking my poor little business up out of the downhill stream it seems to have got stuck in…
My only ray of hope is seeing other people comment- on Facebook craft groups particularly, that their own small businesses are currently struggling… and that the country is about to face an election which could prove to be very important for its future, and its economy… and that one day, a decision over Brexit will finally be taken, and the country can move forward towards a brighter future.
Maybe then, so can my little business.