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Happy Birthday to my Website!

I am a planner. I am a researcher. I am a muller. Everything you should be when making an important decision. Until I get so overwhelmed and can't bear to look at another product comparison, cost analysis spreadsheet, pro/con list or any other useful tool needed for a big purchase. Then I end up going with the next thing I see, whether it was considered before or not. Information overload results in a total impulse buy.

This is what happened to me two years ago, in 2020, as I was working on the quarter 4 taxes for Joatmon Creations, by far the busiest three months for me every year. The reports offered by my old hosting site were definitely lacking. I also started to come to terms with the fact that my old site was a bit lackluster, but it had served me well since this is just a hobby business and my primary advertising has always been word of mouth. For months I had looked into alternatives. There were some pretty good options out there for craft businesses, but I was always turned away by the fees, so I never made the leap. However at this point I was frustrated by what I was working with, sales were slowing down after the holiday rush, and let's face it, I was a bit bored because it was the start of 2021 and we were still quarantining. This all added up to me doing a quick Google search on affordable website options, and within hours I pulled the trigger on the hosting site Wix. Never heard of it before that day, but without a second thought, I transferred everything over. I guess I am the Queen of Quick Decisions (which was the original title of this blog post when it was in draft form).

Transferring everything for a crafter without a specialty or niche like me, is A LOT of stuff. And I did the site entirely on my own. No professional designers (which I am sure is evident) or advanced HTML knowledge, just a lot of hard work and sleepless nights (as documented in my post, Who Needs Sleep). I am now two years into the site, and I will say that I am very happy with my decision. I am still constantly learning and updating things, and Wix is constantly adding new features to make it fresh (including their reports, so my taxes much easier to complete).

For years I have imagined opening a storefront, a small little shop like you would see in a Hallmark movie, with all of my handmade items on display. A little café counter on one side with a reading nook in the corner; an area to consult with customers on their custom pieces and a work space out in the open so I can chat with people as they browse, while I make something new to add to the shop. Since this storefront will never become a reality, I was hoping

the website could be its own little "cozy shop" online. A place to browse, but also share stories or learn something. Chat with me through the blog or forum features, not just about handmade items, but life "hacks" and helpful tips to get through the every day challenges. A "Tuesday Tip" and Thursday "Quote of the Week". More than anything, I want to have that connection to people so I can get to know what they like and how I can help them get what they need when they "shop small."

Unfortunately my original concept of a "go to" site didn't pan out. It began to get too daunting to come up with weekly updates, especially if I didn't know if anyone was checking in that often when they weren't specifically going there to buy anything. However, maybe on its second birthday it is time to revisit it. Things have quieted down after the holidays and I am planning to roll out some new design elements for my products, which I will share with my newsletter subscribers and Facebook followers soon. I also recently started a Loyalty Program to say thank you to my customers for a great 2022. It may be a nice time to get some input on how to make my site more of a welcoming destination than just a shopping site so people will visit more often. If you have any suggestions on what I can change on the site to encourage a regular visit, not just when making a purchase, I'd love to hear it.

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