Thousands of businesses choose Easyspace to help get them online. So we thought we’d introduce you to one of Easyspace’s customers: Caroline Chaplin who breeds micro pigs. Caroline’s business Petpiggies is based in Ridgmont, Bedfordshire. Before reading our blog interview with Caroline, please take a look at the short video we made:
Q1. Caroline, tell us about your business Petpiggies and how you became involved in breeding micro pigs.
Petpiggies breeds healthy, miniature pigs as family pets. It started as our personal hobby but breeding a litter of piglets for family and friends turned out to be the catalyst for further breeding as interest just grew and grew. It really was a case of, ‘Yes let’s have a litter, it’ll be fun.’ That’s how it all started.
Q2. What sort of interest do you get in the micro pigs?
It’s amazing really. We started taking loads of cute photos of them and it just snowballed from there. We realised people just loved seeing piggy pictures and later on, the video clips we produced. The piglets have also featured in fashion shoots and television shows. We literally have people all over the world following us: in America and Mexico where micro pigs are really popular; across Europe; and as far away as Australia.
Q3. How important is your website for your business?
It’s vital. We have to be found in the Google search engine rankings. For example, if someone types in “Where can I buy a micro pig?” we need to be up there. So, we need to keep refreshing the site with new content including images, videos and blogs that help us maintain our 1st page ranking. Also, if there’s any publicity about micro pigs on the television or in the press we are often contacted by journalists asking for comments as a result of our high position in relevant searches.
Q4. Why did you decide to move to Easyspace for your web hosting?
We needed reliable hosting for our website it’s as simple as that. Every single day we update pictures to our blog to show what’s happening with our piggies and we need to be able to do this quickly and efficiently.
Q5. Why did you decide to use WordPress for your website?
We decided to use WordPress because we needed control of our website and the ability to make changes and upload photos and videos ourselves. The interest in our piglets via the website is absolutely huge and WordPress makes it very easy to add new content.
Q6. How much time do you spend updating your website?
We spend time most evenings working on updating the website and our social media channels. It’s all about the cute factor but also not flooding your audience with stuff they’re not interested in. You learn what works and try to stick to it. A lot of our work is done in the evenings when the pigs are asleep because that’s when people get home and start searching for information but also it’s the time when key audiences around the world are awake.
Q7. You’ve posted hundreds of images of your pigs. How do you decide what type of photos to take?
It’s not that difficult really, the number of ‘Likes’ , shares or re-Tweets of images is the best indication of what our followers want to see. This generally means the cute factor – a pig with a peach, a pig with strawberries. We look at our litter of piggies, see what they’re like, handle them and make sure that they’re going to be happy when being photographed. The gallery is the most popular part of the website. This is why it’s important for us to have good web hosting because we have lots and lots of images we need to keep as well as post online. Some of our blog posts can have as many as 40 photos, so our web hosting needs to be extremely dependable.
Q8. You’ve also branched out into social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Can you tell us about the strategy for that and how you manage it?
Our YouTube channel Petpiggiesuk is very popular and a recent video we made of a piggy having his tummy tickled has had over 800,000 views. We also have thousands of people following us on Facebook and Twitter. In terms of our strategy we are guided by what our followers want and do our best to ensure we deliver.
Q9. How important is it having people following you? Are they necessarily going to buy?
The fact that people follow you doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to buy from you but it means that they can share information and promote our business to those who might want to buy. Everything we do, other than the breeding of our pigs – which is something we love doing – is aimed at improving SEO. The whole thing is about keeping Petpiggies at the top of the search engines rankings. Links from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all drive people to our website. If someone is on YouTube they can go straight to www.petpiggies.co.uk or if they’re on the website they can go to YouTube or Twitter from there. It all keeps the interest going.
Q10. Tell us about the media interest in your piggies.
There is a huge media interest in miniature pigs. Various media organisations often contact us for photo shoots or for filming for television programmes because the media is aware of the public’s huge love and affection for pigs. One of our piggies appeared in Tatler Magazine with a model dripping with expensive jewellery, while another starred in a television commercial to launch TLC channel in the UK. It’s all good publicity for us, so we’re happy to contribute when ever we can.
Q11. What lessons have you learned about starting a business, and growing the popularity of your website?
We’ve learnt lots of lessons. The first thing is that the welfare of our piggies must always remain our main priority. Our pigs and their piglets are the business and we’re very passionate about them. It is hard work trying to manage all the other aspects of the business but we’re learning all of the time and hope we’re getting better at it.
We know a lot more about our fans and want they expect from us and by giving them what they want we are able to maintain our high search engine rankings. For example, whilst we’ve never been keen on the term ‘micro,’ (we prefer ‘pet pigs’), you soon learn there’s no chance of potential customers finding you unless you appear in searches under the key words they are searching for. Learning about websites, search engines, web hosting and SEO is key. When we started we were way down in the search engine rankings but gradually we’ve worked our way to the top.
Q12. What does the future hold for Petpiggies?
We love our little pigs and will continue to breed them for as long as demand remains high and there are plenty of good homes for them to go to.
Our business has grown simply by reacting to customer demand and it looks set to move into other areas including merchandise and even soft toys in much the same way. We are constantly asked for greetings cards and posters and why we haven’t any toy pigs for sale so we are working to make these items available.
As you can see from the image above, we’ve just had a fantastic set of shots taken by top photographer Paul Cocken which we’re going to use as the basis for some really exciting products like cards and mugs and t-shirts. We’re also talking to a well-known traditional toy manufacturer about making a limited edition piggies soft toy. It’s incredibly exciting and we’re very hopeful that a whole new world will open up for Petpiggies.
Thanks Caroline, from everyone at Easyspace. Good luck with your future plans.
If you want to find out more about Caroline Chaplin and her little piggies then you can visit her website www.Petpiggies.co.uk
Build a website with Easyspace today !
Have you ever thought about setting up your own business? Has Caroline’s online activities inspired you to start your own online business venture? If it has, then start off by registering the domain name you want for your business. Then get your website set up. With this in mind, Easyspace has created EasySiteLive PRO – a website builder product, to help get your website up and running in no time. Click here to try our new EasySiteLive PRO website builder for 21 Days Free of charge.