I felt like a lot was accomplished yesterday. Sometimes Mondays are days filled with small tasks and odds and ends and this Monday was no different. Add to that Keith being a bit under the weather still and it makes for a full day. He is getting better though, and we both appreciate your kind thoughts for him. So far I feel good and I am at the point of willing myself to stay healthy, which (mock me if you will) has worked in the past. Mind over matter as they say.
Even though we had a site update only a couple of weeks ago, we have so many new patterns to offer that we feel it is time to do another. We used to update it only every three weeks or so, but lately we have had so many new patterns that it has been necessary to do so more often. We don’t think that our customers mind however, as we have received a lot of positive feedback about the site and our newsletter. For those of you who wish to join our mailing list to receive our newsletter, the link to that page on the site it here: http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com/mailing-list
Yesterday, we added a key feature on our site which we feel will be helpful to those of you who are looking for a timely seasonal pattern. Since our site now has over 500 patterns on it, we feel that it is important to keep them organized and categorized so that it is easy to find things. But so many of our designs are unique and it is difficult for us to sometimes put them in the “right” category. Some fit into more than one category as well, which makes thing even trickier. You all would not believe the amount of cross referencing that Keith has done on the site! I must admit that he does most of that type of work for us, and I think he does an outstanding job.
But over the past couple of weeks, I have had customers come to me to ask about a particular pattern and even I had trouble finding it on the site. The categories on the site aren’t always cut and dry as to certain types of designs and sometimes it is hard to figure out which category a particular design falls into.
There is a Pattern Search feature located on the upper right corner of the site to help you find what you may be looking for. If you click on it, you are able to put in key words like “Halloween” or “Deer” to find specific types of patterns you may be seeking:
But people don’t always know exactly what they are looking for and sometimes they don’t realize it is there, so we came up with another idea.
What we have done is added a section on the home page called “Seasonal Showcase.” If you scroll down the home page a little bit, you will see it under the “New Scrolling and Painting Patterns” section of the page.
What we are planning to do, is to showcase as many of the seasonal patterns that we can think of – old and new – to fit the particular season that we are in. We find that because we create patterns at such a fast pace, many times seasonal patterns have a short lifespan on the home page and then once shuffled back into their category, they are forgotten or not seen. Many times we are required to hold seasonal patterns due to the fact that we had them published and need to wait until the rights to sell them fall back in our laps. By the time this happens, it is sometimes too close to the holiday for others to want to use them this year. By the time the next year comes around, there are so many new patterns that we forget to bring these other designs back to the foreground and they are somewhat lost in the shuffle of designs. We hope this will help alleviate that problem from occurring.
We also have many new customers who haven’t seen any of our designs and we would like to make it as easy as possible for them to see all we have to offer. We realize that as we keep making patterns, the quantity of patterns will increase and we want to insure that we are making it as easy as possible for everyone to find what they have in mind. We hope this helps address that issue.
Keeping up with and maintaining a website is a huge task. While I spend part of each day blogging here and answering many emails and questions, Keith spends part of each day working on the site. (Sometimes he spends HOURS on it!) No matter how you look at it, having a nice looking, smoothly functioning site that is easy to navigate and showcases our work in a professional and organized manner can be a really daunting task. It certainly doesn’t just “happen” and there is no way that spending a good amount of time keeping it updated, fresh and exciting can be avoided.
It is fun and exciting for both Keith and I to watch our little company grow. We often receive questions from people that ask us things like “how do you set up your site” or “how do you make your patterns.” When I receive these questions, it is very difficult for me to answer something that is so broad. The best I can do is tell people that they need to research and study what is available and then apply it to their own business and implement it. There is no quick or easy way to accomplish these things.
When I think back on it though, I realize that to the outside world we must make it look easy. For the most part, in the past several years we have had very few issues with our website, and it has run without a hitch. Our feedback from our customers is usually very positive and we make it both easy and secure to order from us and pay in a variety of ways. We deliver our patterns very quickly and we try to be there to answer questions as soon as we possibly can. And our customers have expressed their appreciation for our efforts.
There are times when I think I should be making more patterns. I look back at the year and I see the actual number of new designs that I offer and I think that I could have done better. But then I look at the quality of the work that we put forth and the feedback we receive from others and the quality of our site and I don’t think that I would have it any other way. For two people finding their way in a world of large companies and corporations, we are very happy with our growth. Word is getting out about us and we are making our mark in both the wood working world as well as the painting world.
We must be doing something right. :)
We both thank all of our followers and our customers for all of your support and encouragement. You always make us want to do even better.
Have a great Tuesday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"