Interview with a successful business owner
Why every business needs a blog in 2021!
More and more online shop owners are starting blogs on their websites as well. Not because they’re into blogging so much, but because they’ve come to realize that blogging for your business can help them to attract more organic visitors to their websites. And more visitors equals more sales!
A blog provides extra context to your website, and more content means more online visibility. Besides, a blog is the perfect way to show your customers that you are passionate about your trade and that you have sufficient knowledge about the product you are selling.
Especially if you just started your online store, a blog is a great way to increase your reach in 2021! For this blog post, I interviewed online shop owner Esther de Jonge who owns ‘t Kralenstulpje (a Dutch online store for beads). She explains why she started blogging to grow her business and what it brought her so far.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra. So it’s a win for everyone! Please note that I won’t link any products I don’t believe in or don’t resonate with my blog site. Thank you!
I plan to interview several (novice) business owners / online shop owners about the topic “Why you should start blogging for your business” in the future. So if you are an entrepreneur who is also blogging to increase your visibility online, please send me an email (You’ll receive a do-follow backlink!)!
Interview with business owner Esther de Jonge
Tell us something about yourself; who are you and what type of business do you own?
My name is Esther de Jonge and I started ‘t Kralenstulpje on 3 March 2010. At that time I still worked as an Office Manager at a medical company, where we manufactured knee implants. These implants weren’t sold yet, we were in the clinical trial phase, and we were paid by investors. I also knew that when the product came on the market, the company would be sold to a foreign company.
As a child, I already created jewelry, mostly earrings. I made everything myself, including the hooks and I sold them for a couple of guilders when I went to the flea market with my father. Even though I only sold 5 pairs on a whole day, 5 guilders was a lot of money for me as a child aged 7/8 years old! From the money I earned, I was able to buy new materials to create even more earrings.
In the beginning, I often used my father’s materials to create earrings. My father was an electrician and he had these beautiful colored transistors for TVs and radios and those came in handy to me as well! Later on, I started using more professional materials, but I always bought far too much and by now I had accumulated quite an inventory!
Back then, when I was still together with my ex-boyfriend, he was always complaining about the materials lying around the house and he asked me why I didn’t start selling some of them. So, I started to make my own jewelry and sold it on the online marketplace. That worked out so well! That’s when I decided to open my own online store.
Six months later, I was extremely busy all with my job, and with my jewelry shop, so I needed to make a decision. And I already knew what the decision would be! It had always been my dream to do something for myself. However, my parents opposed to it at first. They said I shouldn’t just quit a good job in the middle of a crisis. But, I did it anyway and I never regretted it for one second.
Why did you decide to start your own business and what does it mean to you to be a business owner?
It has always been my dream to open my own store. I always imagined myself owning a physical store, but it turned out to be an online store. I did own a physical store where I sold beads, but it wasn’t a big success in my village, so I closed it down again.
Entrepreneurship means freedom to me. Despite the fact that I work many more hours, and that I work every day of the week. I’ve even been answering my mail on Sundays for 11 years, I advertise on social media, and so on. Still, I feel such freedom because I no longer have a boss who is breathing down my neck (to put it bluntly haha!) I have always worked for an employer for 40 hours or more since I was 17 years old and this feels a lot better. I do have a lot more responsibilities.
You will always have the feeling that more money will come in if you keep doing more. Even though I know rationally that this isn’t necessarily true, it’s a drive…a motive. I started out in the back of the garden in 2010 in a log cabin that my father built for me. Now I’m located in the former library in Scheemda since 2015. I rent a 200m2 space there.
When did you start your online shop and when did you start blogging for your business?
‘t Kralenstulpje has been around for almost 11 years now and I try to post a blog every now and then. I know I do it far too little. I used to post my newsletter every week on Blogspot, but later I got a tip from a friend that it would be better to post the blogs on my own website.
I’ve created a knowledge base, a blog page, a page with tutorials to make jewelry, and I post my newsletters on my website. I know that it is very important to blog to increase your online visibility so you can be found organically. I have conducted keyword research using Google Trends and I try to incorporate these keywords in my blogs as much as possible.
But I do notice that sometimes it gets difficult to really come up with something new again that fits this topic. That is why I am grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in this interview which gives me a backlink as well.
Do you only write blogs for other websites, or do you also blog for yourself?
I actually only blog for myself but I also try to involve colleagues in the same field. I’ve written about Gerda Beintema’s Atelier Hobbekol and Marjo Gorseling’s Het Witte Luik Shop. I’ve known both ladies for years and we are very close friends. We help and support each other where we can. We’re business buddies 😉
Why did you start blogging?
First of all, because I really like writing, it’s kind of an outlet, but I also started blogging to increase my online visibility –> SEO (search engine optimization).
How does blogging for your business help you improve your online visibility?
Blogging helps you to rank higher on Google, so it’s good for your organic visibility, without advertising costs. Plus, you can post your blog posts on social media as well, which will also help you to increase your visibility and recognizability.
How do you promote your blogs and your website?
Mostly on the Dutch online marketplace and website submission sites in the beads and jewelry niche.
I use Facebook the most, but I also use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as Google Post. I added Tumblr for a couple of years, but I didn’t get many followers or interaction there.
Have you noticed a difference in your sales since you started blogging?
This is very difficult for me to determine. In Google Analytics I do see that I have a lot of organic visitors but I can’t tell if it’s specifically because of my blogs. 2014 was by far my best year. Blogging for your online store was not a thing back then. Making jewelry was a real hype at that time. I never made so many sales again as I made then, not even after I started blogging.
Did your organic traffic from Google grow since you started blogging?
You would think so, but unfortunately, I have no idea how to measure this.
(Tip from She Can Blog: This is how to check in Google Analytics if your organic traffic has increased since you started blogging. Go to Overview -> Landing pages. These are the pages your visitors first visited on your website. You can play around a bit with the dates to make comparisons with previous periods to find out if your traffic has grown after you’ve started blogging.)
What did you learn from blogging?
I know that blogging for your business is a very important part of SEO (search engine optimization) and that you should actually do it on a weekly basis. I have learned that you should describe a problem and offer a solution to it.
You should start with a trigger: How to make people curious enough to read my blog, then you look at your target group and the “problems” your target group might have, e.g. broken jewelry or the lack of a real personal piece of jewelry that is 100% to your own taste. Then I will offer a solution by offering you a nice package and/or tutorials full of inspiration to make your own jewelry.
Yes, I do! To do business means taking two steps forward and one step back. Entrepreneurship is a process of trial and error, falling and getting back up again. Just keep going! It is a continuous learning process. Each day you have to rely on your creativity and you have to keep on learning. Standing still is not an option.
What are the goals you hope to achieve with your company and blog in 2021?
My goals are to learn more about marketing and social media. Maybe I want to help people with this later on as well. Of course, I hope that ‘t Kralenstulpje will continue to exist for years to come and that our revenue will grow!
That would mean more work opportunities and more happy and satisfied customers. That’s what we’re going for in 2021!
Also interesting to read: 10 Reasons why you should start a blog and 6 reasons why you shouldn’t