For quite some time now I’ve been battling back and forth with what to do as far as my business goes. I recently hit one of my “Oh f*** it!” periods, which oddly (or perhaps not) caused a lot of productivity, and I’m starting to get some good feelings back about what I’m doing.
Here’s the thing though; no matter what I do or think of doing, I seem to find information out there that it’s right, and that it’s also wrong. It’s like no one can decide which end is up, and there’s no absolute fact to be found. Here are some examples of the opposing or contradictory stuff I’ve read:
- Product titles should be unique and interesting | Titles should only describe the product
- Titles should be human readable | Titles should have item type first, then color, then attributes, then alternative keywords (totally NOT human readable)
- Every online store needs a blog | Blogging is dead
- Customers want to know you as a person | Never mix your personal self with your business self
- People will trust you if you’re honest and real | Always present yourself as trustworthy, professional and already successful, even if you have to lie (yes, at least two sites explicitly suggested lying)
- Don’t try to use clever product descriptions | Make sure your descriptions are captivating and engaging
- Keep your site design clean and in conformity with other sites | Be sure your site is unique and memorable
I could go on, but I think you get the point. It’s absolutely maddening. (Oh yeah, and they say never talk about business where customers can see it. Oops!) I got so wrapped up in all of the bullshit that I totally lost my inspiration and I started to completely frigging hate what I was doing. Like “throw in the towel because it sucks so much” hating. Then I remembered for a moment how much I love making things, and I decided to say “screw it” and just do what I wanted.
I’ve gotten positive feedback on the site design even though you’re not supposed to do dark layouts. I’ve gotten positive feedback on the new product layouts as well, even though I broke the rules of only using plain bullet points. People have said they like the photos too, even though you’re not supposed to ever photograph on dark or colored backdrops. Interestingly, when I just say to hell with it and go my own way, I feel a lot better and people like it. (Sales could be better, but hey…)
I know that according to some of what’s out there, everything I’m doing is going to make it hard to be found in search, but I think it can all still work out. At very least, I don’t feel like I’m selling my soul to the demons of SEO every time I try to list something.
The bigger thing here though is that I don’t think we can really trust as much of the internet as we think we can. For every five “professionals” you find saying one thing, you can find five saying the exact opposite. That’s true of almost anything. Like when I was researching homemade toothpaste, I found just as many people saying that using charcoal was totally great as I did people who said it was the worst idea ever. (FYI, it’s really a bad idea for daily use, as I learned the hard way.)
I know it flies in the face of a lot of what “they” say, but I think we should do what feels right. I’m not saying you should never learn or read, of course you should, but at the end of the day, you need to go with what feels right. If something makes you hate yourself or loathe your work or just feel wrong, then it can’t be a good thing. If something makes you feel happy and excited and motivated, then one way or another, that’s probably going to work out for you. And for every source or person that says you’ll fail, there are just as many that say you’ll succeed, always remember that.