The focus this week has been on cleaning up our ad campaigns and making sure that our keywords are performing for us the way that they should. We can do that by using the tools in Google AdWords to see what kind of results we are having with our ads.
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to put the work necessary into this as I’ve been taking care of family obligations related to the death of my Grandmother this week. I’m hoping to go over all of this again next week so that I don’t waste my ad money!

This week in class we discussed the topics of relevance, Quality Score (in Google AdWords), and how to sign-up for Google Analytics and link it to our Google Adwords account.
Obviously, we are getting ready to begin our ad campaigns, and learning about how to get the most out of them. I don’t feel ready to start spending money on advertising, but now is the time!
There are 3 main componants to a Quality Score rating on an ad- the expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and the landing page experience. A high quality score means that Google thinks your ad and landing page are relevant to someone who sees your ad, and the higher the score, the more likely they are to show your ad.
I found this video to be really helpful in understanding what I need to know and what I need to do next: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sstMxJjP4l8&feature=youtu.be
This article is also really helpful: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2404196?hl=en

This week we created text ads for our Google AdWords campaign. I had actually already done this and watched most of the required videos on my own. I love that Google cares about capitalization and overuse of symbols. They want clean ads, and I love that about them.

My favorite part of this week has been looking at my classmate’s websites. I’m surprised by the number of LDS affiliated products, and I’m enjoying the variety. As much as I feel like I need to take a web design class now, I also love the variety of the websites we’ve built and that they all look so different.

This week we discussed keywords, and what makes a good keyword for searches in AdWords. We also started creating our first campaigns.
A good keyword needs to be one that directs your intended customer to your site. An optometrist needs to make sure that his keywords for “glasses” don’t direct people shopping for beverage glasses.
It also needs to be specific enough that it will show up when someone searches for that term. If I were to use “Star Wars” as a keyword, no one would ever see my site because it would fall so far down on the list if options.
Google AdWords can give you an idea how each keyword you pick will do.

Most of my work for this class this week has been on building my website- making it look nice and be functional. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but things are improving. I really need to figure out how to get some variations available in my products, like color, and adding a place for someone to give me the name they would like embroidered for custom items. Etsy really works better for the custom order situation at this point, I’m afraid.

The lessons this week were focused on business licensing and tax issues. They weren’t actually lessons, though- it was more of a “go do some research and tell us what you found out.” That frustrates me. I’ve already done that, what I want is to know where I screwed up and what I’m missing! Because I already have my business license and trade name I’m a little ahead of things at this point, which is nice. I did the research, though, and felt like I was okay. However, once I tried to connect my website to a third party that accepts credit cards, it asked for my EIN. When I went to look for it, I couldn’t find it, so I asked Google if my EIN was the same as my UBI. Nope. Turns out that I missed a step and needed to register with the IRS, not just my state, for this thing. That was taken care of (and free!), so now I’m good there, I hope.

I guess I’ll just keep learning a little at a time and hoping I get everything figured out eventually.

This week we read about and discussed site design. I used what I had learned from my Intro to Graphic Design class about the principles of design and really thought about what makes a web site look good and function well. I compared a few websites, and really searched to find a site that sold products similar to mine to get a feel for how I want my site to look and which features will help me get the most of out my business. What I discovered is that people who sell embroidered products online generally have really unprofessional looking websites. I did get some good ideas, however, and ended up doing a major rehaul of my website to improve how everything looks.

We also discussed check out systems and took a closer look at PayPal. I was happy to find that their company has shopping cart options that will work well for me, so that I can include options for personalization with my products. That gave me a huge sigh of relief, because I’ve really been struggling with trying to figure out how to do that part of things.

This week in class we focused on choosing a site builder and a hosting company. My first step was to read carefully the details of each company that were provided in the course materials. I felt that the language of the course builders favored SquareSpace over many others. My next step was to discuss a few options with my brother, Ben, who is a web designer by trade, and knows a lot more than I do about this sort of thing. He strongly recommended SquareSpace for my skill level and the things that I want in an online business. I continued to research several other companies, but I felt that they were the best to reach my needs, and they offered a great student discount.

After reading the discussion boards in class, I started to second guess myself, since Weebly was so highly recommended. I don’t like their templates as well, but I’m also not as picky as my brother. Because their website didn’t mention any sort of student discount I sent them an e-mail asking about it, and I included the price I could be getting with Squarespace. It took them over 48 hours to respond to that e-mail, and although the discount was much less than what I could get elsewhere, it was the response time that cemented my decision that Squarespace was the way to go.

However, as I began to look at hosting companies, my views were swayed again. iPage offers $1.99 hosting, which is a HUGE difference. So I really looked into what that would mean, since I would have to choose a different site builder. After a whole lot of research, I realized that iPage would be nickel and diming me for lots of things that Squarespace includes- like backing up my data in case of loss, and the ability to restore it, protecting my site from hackers and protecting the information of my customers, as well. The research process made me realize that there are quite a large number of factors that go into making a decision on a builder and host. I’m glad to have my mind (mostly) made up.