We need to stick together
I used to think that if you’re a writer or an artist or a jewelry-maker or anything, that you shouldn’t link to or promote people in your creative area. I think I read something a while back that said something like that — “if you’re trying to make money, it’s unwise to talk about your competitors” was basically what it said. I guess that’s true in some ways, like linking to a competitor on your shop website would be kinda dumb. In blogging and twitter, youtube, etc. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to make a mention of others or make a links page and link to some of the people you really like, who do the same thing as you.
But won’t that take away some of your business??
Well, if you have something unique and awesome to offer, you don’t have anything to worry about. If you’re making jewelry that is identical (or almost identical) to the jewelry on another website, then yeah, that is an issue.
If you write poetry and independently publish it or write fiction, of course it’s going to be different than another author’s work! One photographer is going to have a completely different set of photos or maybe a different style than this other photographer.
The internet is a big place and the only way people will find what they want to find is if similar things are linked together. An artist (and I’m using this word to describe anyone who is using their creativity) or any kind of business owner who is trying to promote their work online will often feel like they’re floating around without being found, even on a site like Etsy. If we’re new or still trying to get found, the more we link to each other the more likely it is that we will be discovered. That’s a part of SEO — the more you are linked, search engines will notice and bump you up.
Being sincere in linking to people you actually like is also important. If a customer or reader wants something you don’t have but you know someone who does, you can refer them and the same thing will happen to you if you’re linked to someone else. This is great especially if you’re more established and well known and have a way to link to or promote others in your field — not only do people love you for your work, but this will open doors for other people as well as for you.