What’s Changing in 2017 at NiciArt? We’re going Content Rich

Introduction

After Google saved Nici’s Picks and NiciArt from the curse of disappointing sales that are plaguing our Etsy Shop at the moment, this final week before Christmas has been a period to pause, rewind, and reflect on what may have gone awry. The most obvious mistake was being comfortably content on Etsy and letting the days pass with a complacent mindset buttressed by the old adage “too big to fail.” Such thinking is a bit ironic from a passionate trader who generally avoids large caps, blue chips, ETFs, and mutual funds in favour of small caps, emerging technologies, and companies shorted from their glories days all the way down to the bottom and preferably into the depths of the abyss. Putting aside the usual discussion of calculated risk vs. utter stupidity for discussion sake, my simple philosophical standpoint is today’s success is tomorrow’s failure.

Going Content Rich in 2017

Our Christmas miracle was essentially owed to just placing in Google Shopping, while organic traffic and social media performance could easily be rated “underperform.” The bulk of our website was essentially a product menu:

bulkofsite

Here we have a very typical Shopify site which falls into the category of a shopping cart site used to list items for order. Shortly before Christmas, we did integrate a blog at the bottom of the site as a small added bonus.

blog

Assuming the basics have long since been mastered and the about section, policies, contact us, and shipping information is complete, the next step would be focusing on going content rich. Looking at my site through Google’s eyes immediately revealed the weak link of having absolutely no meat on the bone. Looking to transform a pile of bones into a bountiful meal for the hungry coyotes with enough left-overs to attract an urban vulture to the scene, adding quality content in sections such as promoted items for the holidays, gift ideas, market schedule, twitter feed, and services would be essential. As usual, these ideas are easier said than done, since shop owners without coding experience are limited to the boundaries of their templates. Getting crafty with code and recycling where possible to save time in our busy schedule, we added a duplicate menu to create a service section.

services

As with any remodel, the easiest of projects encounter their share of hiccups. In our case, we needed to add coding for additional banners and eventually set up menus inside the “customize template” section in the Shopify Admin to accommodate the features. A little coding, becomes a lot of coding or sometimes just applying a very simple fix. Another classic example of a simple fix:

photographicprints

We only wanted one row to appear on the homepage as not to over-emphasize prints and paintings, thereby having them overshadow our jewelry focus. A little “…view more” with a dynamic code <h3><a href=”{{ collections[settings.frontpage_collection2].url }}”>…View More</a></h3> provides an incredibly simple fix for the navigation problem and lets the visitor see a teaser followed by an entry way into the entire collection. Sometimes we overthink basic problems by searching for the most complexed solution possible instead of working with what is already provided on scene. My example for not re-inventing the wheel is duplicating the blog coding and then changing just a few lines to provide the visitor with our tour schedule:

tour

Suddenly you have a Custom Website

Having been in e-commerce for quite a while, identifying the platform behind a website is often just a quick glance at the layout. Most Etsy shop owners opening a Shopify site in parallel to their Etsy Shops will download either a Shopify template such as “Simple” or shell out $150.00 for a partner template like “Responsive” from Out of the Sandbox. Both templates provide amazing layouts, aesthetics, and logical navigation without tweaking, however with so many Shopify sign-ups, venue refugees, and dreamers looking to strike gold online, avoiding tweaking and modifying equates to sacrificing the highly regarded uniqueness originally sought by those subscribers.

Finding yourself in the Process

Chances are the creative processes behind going content rich will hopefully spark a reasonable exploration of that content and being swept away with the flow could amount to finding yourself in the process. Looking for a comprehensive list of Liquid Variables with references for customizing the Shopify Template soon became an adventure in scrolling along past pages of search hits for companies and individuals marketing template coding, tweaks, and fixes, hence the addition of e-commerce services to NiciArt with the introduction “getting crafty with code.” Just as Art transcends the associative boundaries of backyard pottery or painting to encompass the “art” of almost any activity as a creative process elevating even the most mundane tasks to explorations of both unique expression and mastery such as the “art” of Automotive Repair, we view “getting crafty with code,” marketing, and tools and supplies as a logical extensions of our current business. Being an old-school coder from the last days of VAX and Floppies, customizing a Liquid Template presents very little challenge and can almost be considered fun.

Introducing rich content and expanding the scope of products and services leads to countless new opportunities for promotion, professional networking, and back-linking in addition to the obvious goal of providing Google with some real indexing meat. The most common pitfalls of adding content are decreasing engagement through superfluous information, sacrificing ease of use and ease of navigation, and slowing loading speed.

loadingspeed

According to the SEO Doctor, we are right around 1 second loading speed using a balance of precisely scaling images to fit their defined template size and saving the images at 80% to balance compression with retaining aesthetic appeal.

Now the final challenge is leaving the site in peace for 6 months to evaluate the index ranking in Google. Some changes to the root domain can take immediate effect, while others appear 12 months later. Paying particular attention to H Tags, attributes, and introducing the sections with quality content can make all the difference between showing in Google with section links or just a URL with a description.

googleresult

Google leaves out the section links on NiciArt since their algorithms consider those links to be non-essential to the website due to content quality. Indeed Google is correct, since NiciArt previous to this week’s changes was just a simple cart site without carefully chosen attributes and introductions to the sections. Hopefully, this week’s effort will pay-off and we will earn our links as well as a solid Google Ranking.