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Monday, May 26, 2014

Beware the Duplicate Content Filter and.... Just Sharing Some More Enameling


So…. A good friend and fellow jewelry maker informed me last night about a thing called “duplicate content filter” on Google and possibly also on Etsy’s search engine.  Thanks Debra!

What “duplicate content filter” does is to filter out (not show things) in a search if a large portion of the content matches (or duplicates) the content of another web page somewhere (there’s duplicating within a site and there’s duplicating from one site to another.

So all that cutting and pasting I was doing in my listings may have been detrimental.

I’m going through a process this month of re-doing my listings with better photos anyway, so while I was there I decided what the heck… I’ll try to fix any potential duplicate content as well.

So I started removing all the verbiage I have that is the same from one listing to another.  It’s stock paragraphs about shipping and insurance and international orders and tax, etc.  These are all in my shops’ policies sections anyway, so… biting the bullet and hoping people will read my shop policies should they have any questions.

There’s a URL where you can put in one of your pages and see if it finds any similar content on another website (see a few paragraphs down).

For the heck of it, I plugged in the URL for one of my website pages.  Imagine my surprise when it came up with a 17% content match for a page on someone else’s site. 

How did this happen?  Simple.  Part of my “stock verbiage” for each listing included a paragraph about the benefits for buying from self representing artists…

“A self-representing artist does not sell mass produced beads or jewelry. When you buy from an SRAJD, you are supporting the artist directly, not the middle man.”

This line is probably somewhere on my SRAJD website and I always encourage SRAJD members to use my words if they life. 

I have two choices now… I can remove the paragraph and just have the info in one place on my policies or about me page…. Or I can create a jpg of the paragraphs I want that will be perceived as duplicate content (even if the filters consider jpg URLs in their search for duplicate content, a URL is a lot shorter than several paragraphs so would be a much smaller percentage of duplication).

Anyway, if you’re interested to see if there might be pages out there that duplicate some of your content, here’s the URL to check.  Be forewarned, you’re only allowed about ten  scans/searches per month.  [ETA: I have been informed that the site considers any Etsy URL as an overall Etsy check so if others have already checked their Etsy shop that month, the program will say you've reached your limit; I probably only tested my own website so didn't notice that... thanks friends!]

But the real culprit, I believe, is me myself and I… reiterating 3-4 paragraphs in each listing…. And copy and pasting from one selling site to another.

Food for thought.


… is always an experiment for me, whether I’m actually experimenting or not.  But the more I play, the (hopefully) better I get.

And I am a freak about one thing, which makes some of my experimenting a wary proposition for me… but I’m rather terrified of things that explode or pop.  I hate balloons (and guns), but I remember hating some white colored lampwork I used to use… it was “shocky”.  Such an innocuous term for such a scary thing.  Ha ha ha!

So yesterday, one of my experiments was to put a coating of enamel onto a flat bronze metal clay piece I had in my “throwaway box” (components not worthy of selling or using in jewelry, which become perfect for experimenting on).

The enamel looked awesome when it came out of the kiln!  So the piece was there, on the work table,  as my friend and I continued enameling throughout the day.  I jumped about a foot when suddenly and with no warning, glass flew at us in a multitude of pieces.

No one got hurt, but it scared me enough that all through the rest of the afternoon and on into today’s enameling session I was super jumpy.  Every bit of enamel had popped off (in violent fashion) that bronze metal clay piece.

You'd never guess how rattled I was if you knew what I was experimenting with today.   I was purposely mixing COE’s just to test the limits and see for myself.  Of course, I still jumped every time I heard a little "tink" sound.

Also, I’ve decided there are two more stages to the look of firing enamel.  They rest between “orange peel” and “glossy” and they are “old person’s skin” then “finger print”.

After my (mostly failed) experiments today…

 … I went ahead and did a bit of sgraffito.  I prefer to end the day with something usable.  I’m happy with how these pieces turned out and will probably add small, lightweight disks between them and the earwires in preparation for listing them.  They’ll be reversible earrings.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Re-Doing All My Online Jewelry Photos

Since my computer started freaking out about a year ago (not always booting up n the morning), I stopped turning it off at night.  Instead, I  just put it to sleep.  The problem with that is that it leaves  me the option of keeping numerous windows open… not dealt with or looked at, but there… waiting.

New habit:  I do not go to bed until I’ve closed every internet window on my computer.  If there’s a website I wanted to save or look at later, I can add it to my bookmarks to deal with at a later time BUT ONLY if I put it into the proper bookmark folder (I’ve got my bookmarks divided up into about 30 different folder subjects).

There.  Let’s see how long I stick to that. 

So the new photos are coming along well, so far.  Apparently I’m redoing 95% of the photos of my currently for sale jewelry items (read my last post).

I got the model shots done for the necklaces and rings.  I don’t have too many bracelets for sale anymore, and for earrings I use a paper photograph of a model (I don’t like putting earrings on a live model).

Yesterday I took care of all the “whole” or “back” shots (see part 2 of my up-coming tutorial on Photographing Jewelry for Online Sales).  Today I intend to go for the heart of the matter… the main shots, which will be my first impression shots. 

I’m going for an overall cohesiveness to my photographs.  Even if my jewelry is all over the place, I’d like a certain continuity to the photo layouts.

And as much as I like a rustic background (rocks, wood, earthtones, etc), my jewelry is in a different, more stark aesthetic.  So I’m sticking with grays, in all shades.  If I do gradient, I want it to be less severe than what I’ve used in the past.

I tested out my new DIY photo cube yesterday and loved it.  I’ve got photos that for the first time all I had to do was crop.  Not one single thing made the item in the shot look more true-to-life than the unadulterated, downloaded photo itself.

Not that I do too much anyway (not big on much photo-editing)… sometimes lighten up the shadows, adjust for white balance, etc (see part 3 of my upcoming tutorial).  Hate seeing jewelry photos that are hyper-contrasty, over-sharpened,  over “blinged”, or anything else that doesn’t represent the jewelry’s true identity.

With that said, I’m off to photograph.  TTYL!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Jewelry Photos.... AGAIN and Etsy Faux Breadcrumbs


I don’t do too many jewelry shows, but a couple weeks ago a friend asked if I wanted to take part in a trunk show she was having at her boutique and it sounded like fun so I happily agreed.

I learned something very important about my work while I was at this show.  I learned I really like my jewelry.  Why was this a revelation?  Because after I make and list a piece, I pretty much only see it as everyone else sees it, online via the photographs I’ve taken.

And now we come to the point.  I have been unenamoured by a lot of my jewelry because I was basing my opinions on my photographs, which are apparently not representing my pieces. 

When my friends say, “Laura, you take fabulous jewelry photos!” I feel like the anorexic kid who looks in the mirror and sees only a fat kid.  How are these people not seeing what I’m seeing?  How am *I* not seeing what they’re seeing?

All I know is, when I hold my jewelry in my hand I like it.  When I see it on my computer monitor, it’s iffy at best.

So I’ve got a shoebox full of jewelry sitting on my workbench that I intend to rephotograph.  I’m determined.  Will let you know how it goes.  One thing going for me, I have a new light tent set up.   What?!  Another one?!?!  Yes, indeed.  I saw something online that other jewelry makers were raving about but it was over $200.  So I found out what it was made of and after a day of internet searching I found the material online.  Fingers crossed.


Don't Like


Sound crazy?  Turns out there’s actually some good reasoning for do this.  I’ll let my good friend Tammy Adams explain in her blog post: Etsy Quick Tip: faux breadcrumbs


I spent some time today going through files on my computer, organizing and whatnot, and found something funny/interesting. I don't even DO eBay auctions anymore.

Here’s a pie chart I made for my sales in 2012.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Organizing the Things on My Workbench

Yes, it HAS been a long time.  For the past couple months, I keep saying to myself, “Yes, I’m crazy busy right now, but in a few weeks, I’ll have time to blah-blah-blah”. 

But then I take on more projects, get invited to more opportunities, and take on more responsibilities.  “In a few weeks” never comes. 

But here I am.  Tada!  Hopefully I can get into some kind of regular writing plan now and stay in touch with you all.  I’m putting my traveling shoes in the closet for now (which is fine… I prefer to be barefoot anyway).

Made some major rearranging in my studio to accommodate my upcoming classes.  Yep.  Classes in my own workshop.  I love it!  (Mostly because I hate packing everything up… traveling, unpacking, repacking, and unpacking again.)

So over the next few blog posts I’ll show you some of the things I’m doing in the workshop to stay organized.

Let’s start with the little do-dad tray.  At any given moment I’ve got dozens if not hundreds of “things” at my work station.  They range from things that need a lot of work to things that are ready to list.  But in the chaos, nothing gets done.  And I hate is doing one thing at a time; it’s so wasteful.  For example, setting up my whole patina station to add liver of sulfur to just one component.  Same thing with tumbling.  Do I want to have the tumbler on for two hours with only one item in it? 

So I took a multi-compartment tray and began to sort.  Here’s what I came up with for the first tray:
·         Examples for Metal Clay 
·         Ready to Polish 
·         Ready to Seal 
·         Photograph but not for listing 
·         Components 
·         Ready to Use 
·         Listed 
·         Ready to List 
·         Add Patina 
·         Do Something Else to It 
·         Examples for Etching 
·         Misc May Use Someday 
·         Misc to Use 
·         Need Work 
·         Add Color 
·         Need Lots of Work 
·         Ready to Photograph for Listing

I don’t want to be that all or nothing person so instead of saying, “But I’m not done with this blog post… so I’ll just pause here and continue writing tomorrow, then I’ll post it when I finish.”  Yeah, don’t want to be that person anymore.  That’s how we end up going a WHOLE MONTH without any blog post.  Ugh! 

So I’m going to be the person who say, “I said SOMETHING… it may not be everything I wanted to say tonight, but I did say something, so I’m going to actually post this to my blog and I can write more tomorrow.”

And just because I like optical illusions and eye/mind tricks… can you see the circles in this image?  If not, give it a few seconds.