Tutorials

The New and Improved Zazzle?

New Zazzle Logo

New Zazzle Logo

Zazzle just implemented some huge changes to their platform. With a lower volume bonus pay-out, many shopkeepers are feeling the sting. On the brighter side, product images are larger and more appealing and with standardized store fronts, customers will find the experience less complicated than before. The standardization took from us the creative control we, as shopkeepers, had enjoyed for many years, but I do believe the shopper will benefit. Options for creativity still exist. The new and larger header (2360×400 pixels at 300dpi) is beautiful and we are able to use artwork for our category boxes.

For me, the most important feature not to change is the 15% referral we earn when we promote our own product or another Zazzler’s product on our own blogs and websites and with our favorite social media. I believe intensifying referral efforts could easily take the place of the volume bonus reduction. Also, we are still able to set our own royalty, keeping in mind Zazzle rarely promotes a product with a royalty set above 15%. I recommend setting your store royalty default to 14.9%. You will now be included in sales and other Zazzle promotional campaigns.

As with all change, it will take time to explore all aspects of the big changes going into effect July 01, 2013. I still believe Zazzle to be the best platform out there and I have no intention of going elsewhere.

I will be keeping you updated as we go along and will share anything useful or interesting I find over the next weeks. Keep positive and make the changes work for you!

Zazzle World Wide Marketplace

New Storefront

New Storefront

 

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Categories: Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Real Life ‘Create Your Own’ Experience in a Video

   This video below was posted in the Zazzle forum today and so perfectly describes the Zazzle experience and sums up what Zazzle is all about. One is able to make a one-of-a-kind card or gift without the frustration found on other print-on-demand sites.  This young lady tried to upload pictures/artwork on several sites in order to create a personal and uniques Mother’s Day card before finding the Zazzle site.  Zazzle delivered once again! Check it out…and remember, there are many artists sho offer unique, ready-made items for sale, many of which can be altered and personalized to suit your specific purpose. 

 
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Greeting and Note Cards on Zazzle

Stuccoloco Greeting Cards

Zazzle Home Page

Categories: Personailzation and Customization | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zazzle Image Categories Tutorial

 I received a great question from a reader asking for specific directions to set the categories in a Zazzle store using images rather than text. The following steps will explain how to do this.  Using images is a great way for your customers to find their favorite design on all the products you offer.

   1. On your Account page, choose ‘Store’ (circled in red) and then choose ‘Edit Content’ (circled in green). (Ill. 1)

   2. You will now be on the ‘Choose Your Content’ page (Ill. 2). Check the boxes as I have done, with special attention to ‘Change store display options’ circled in red.  Choose ‘Full grid’ which will allow you to show an image as a category.

   3. Next go to your product page (Ill. 3). Choose ‘Add new category’ (circled in red). The ‘Add new category’ box now pops up (Ill. 4).  Click ‘Change’ (circled in red) and you will be prompted to choose an image, either from your uploaded images or from images on your computer. Fill in the ‘Category name’ box as well as the ‘Description box’ and click ‘Done’.  Your image will show up on your home page with the category name appearing in your sidebar. To insure an appealing and orderly look on your home page, be sure to use images for your image categories that are the same size and shape.  I suggest cropping your images into a square shape of 5×5″ at a resolution of 72 before uploading. Repeat this process for each image you wish to represent a category on your home page.

   I hope my readers find this article clear and easy to understand.  I am always happy to answer questions and look forward to any and all feedback.

Happy Zazzling!

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Stuccoloco (My Store at Zazzle)

Categories: Custom Storefront-Categories, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 500 Websites Have This in Common

White Background

Reportedly, 95% of the top-rated and most successful websites have a white (or near to white) background with high contrast between the background and the text.  Many amateur (like me) web designers make the mistake of choosing colors and text that tend to overtax the eyes of viewers.  Garish or busy graphics intended to capture the attention of potential customers or readers have been show to be a turn-off to most of the people participating in various surveys.

Facelift for Stuccoloco 

Stuccoloco Facelift

Interesting results which I have incorporated into my recent face-lift of my Zazzle store, Stuccoloco.  Though I am drawn to dark, bold colors, I have opted to go with the suggested white background as an experiment for the upcoming Christmas season.  I have reorganized my categories using colorful (I just cannot resist) icons, most of which show a sample item or two.  I also weeded out approximately 800 weak designs.  I recommend doing this once a year.  Many designs become outdated or no longer reflect your evolving abilities and aesthetic sense.

In January, I will report my results.  If any of my readers would like to share what works for them, I would like to hear from you.

These are the most influential and most highly rated sites on the internet.  Take some time to look them over.  Visit sites that have become your favorites over time.  Content is most important, of course, but I was surprised when I revisited some of my favorite sites and realized nearly all had white backgrounds with contrasting elements.

Tubac Presidio Park Shop

I am happy with the color scheme and contrasting elements I have chosen for the Tubac Presidio Park shop and, especially since the colors coordinate with other print and promotional items, I have no plans for revamping this site.

Here are some great examples of effective store fronts from around Zazzle:

Boston Public Library

Ever After

Painting Pony

Celebrate It

Make Browsing Fun

The ultimate goal is to make browsing your store fun, entertaining and easy for potential customers.  Offer interesting and original content in a simple, straightforward presentation that reflects your unique style.  Zazzle is growing rapidly and is partnering with many major brands, museums, galleries, and other content providers so it is becoming more important than ever to provide images, artwork and photographs not found anywhere else.  Shopkeepers whose Zazzle stores were built using clipart and free domain images may find themselves  sliding off the map in the not-so-distant future.

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Zazzle Marketplace

 

Categories: 500 Top Rated Websites Use White... | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Zazzle Text Customization for Personalized Products that Sell

     Zazzle products available with personalization or customization templates sell better overall than other products.  Adding a ‘personalize it’ field is a simple way to involve your customers in the designing process. 

     Here is a walk through for adding a text template to a sticker.  The same steps apply to any product you wish to make available to purchasers for personalization. 

     At the top of your Zazzle page, you see a bar across the page.  Click ‘CREATE’ and choose the product you wish to create, a sticker in this case. Click on it.  Do not add ‘TEXT’ at this time.  Upload your image and click the ‘MAKE IT NOW’ button.  (You also have the option of clicking cancel at the bottom of this box and using the ‘ADD IMAGE’ button instead.  This is useful if you have already uploaded your image to your own Zazzle image gallery).

 

 

 

 

 

Next, make sure that your image row is selected and position your image using the  left, right, up, and down arrows. To resize (smaller or larger) your image, click the magnifying glass plus and subtract symbols.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will be adding the text “This book belongs to Joe Bookworm”.  Select the ‘ADD TEXT’ button and type your words in the box that appears and click ‘OK’.

Make sure the text row is selected and use the ‘f” to select a different font, use the plus and minus arrows to change the size, and click on the color square to choose the color of your text.  See my tutorial for how to use colors not available from the Zazzle choices shown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create the ‘Personalize It’ template field by clicking the two overlapping gears (see illustration below), click ‘Make this a Template Object’ and type instructions such as ‘Your name here’ in the top Text Box and click on any blank area on the page to close the box. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it will be easy and simple for your customers to add their own name or text to your final product.  The procedure can be repeated if you wish to add more text, or if you wish to add text that is not available for customization and that is meant to remain on the product, simply do not use the step involving the gears.  Below is how your product will appear in the marketplace, ready for a customer to fill in the template field and click ‘BUY’.  Now one last step.

To finish your product, click the “POST FOR SALE’ button just under the boxes in which we have been working,  and you are done!

A Sample Product from Stuccoloco (click pic to view details)

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Zazzle Stickers Marketplace

Stuccoloco Merchandise

Categories: Personailzation and Customization, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Product Tags and Description-The First Step to Getting Found in the Zazzle Marketplace

Descriptions and tags are best described as a way to paint your product with words.  Search engines cannot see images, so think of them as a friend on the other end of a phone conversation to whom you must convey the shape, color, beauty and individuality of your creation as precisely as possible.  Below is a simplified illustration of the “Post Product for Sale” page, which is where you find yourself after placing text, photos, or artwork on a product and clicking ‘Post for Sale’

New Zazzlers often underestimate the importance of this page and fail to take advantage of its full potential for boosting the visibility of their new product.  Eagerness to see their new product in the marketplace as well as assuming a simple title and quick description will be sufficient often leads to few, if any, sales. 

  

The first step is to give your product an effective title.  For this tote bag, ‘Environmentally Friendly Pelican Organic Tote Bag’ would be a better title than ‘Pelican Tote Bag’.

The subtitle can be used to emphasize the artist, the style, or medium in which the original was created, or to call attention to why the work was created.  ‘Preserve our environment’, ‘Original graphic design by Joe Doe’, or ‘Save our Pelicans’ would be appropriate.

Next, think of the description box as a mini-blog and you are writing an article to post.  Searches in the Zazzle marketplace as well as outside search engines (after you tweet or post on Facebook, etc…) will respond well to text rich descriptions.  This is another thing I wish I had understood before opening my Zazzle shop!  See “Top Ten Things to Know BEFORE Opening a Shop on Zazzle”.  The following paragraph is a good example:

     Environmentally Friendly Pelican in green tones is my original graphic design and was inspired by the oil spill in the Gulf.  Under a deep, green canopy of stars, a Pelican, contrasted by a setting sun in a light, muted green, looks out upon the sea, symbolized by undulating lines.  The words ‘Earth, Sea and Sky’ above ‘Environmentally Friendly’ text serves to remind us about what our priorities must be in order to ensure the future of our lovely planet.  My design is placed on an organic grocery tote in a natural color.  The green tones alternates between a light foliage green to a deep, woodsy green contrasted by the natural, off white color of the tote bag which serves as the background.  This product really does enable you to ‘Go Green” and is ideal  for the environmentally conscious recipient on your gift list!

Beginners at Zazzle often use a description similar to ‘This is a pelican on the ocean in green and is environmentally friendly’.  Take the time to compose a sincere and accurate description, grammatically correct and free of typos.  It will pay off in the future. 

The last box is for your tags.  In my experience, the rule of ‘Five Tags’ has not proven true.  I list tags in order of effectiveness, beginning with precise descriptive words followed by more general descriptors.  For the example above (please note Zazzle does not require a comma between tags and uses quotes to combine words into descriptive phrases) I would use the following:  

     pelican environment ecology “environmentally friendly” “starry sky” earth sea sky sun stars nighttime green ocean organic “ecology gift” “environmentally conscious” ecologist conservation “gulf oil spill” “environmental issues” “go green” “graphic design” “joe doe” stuccoloco

I began with nouns and adjectives describing the elements of the design, then phrases aimed at the type of consumer that might like this design, then the issues or current topics related to my design, then the type of design (graphic design, watercolor, oil painting, etc…) then my name, and finally the name of my store.  Adding your name and the name of your store is rarely done on Zazzle, but it is important to include if you wish to be found by fans and relatives who may not know the either your store name or your name, and it helps to ‘brand’ your products on the internet as well as at Zazzle.   You will notice I do not use words describing the actual article itself like ‘tote’ or tote bag’.  Zazzle automatically adds these words and for me to do so would be unnecessarily repetitive. One final and important note:  Do not tag spam!  Using inaccurate tags or ‘popular’ tags just to get views will NOT lead to sales and will irritate your fellow shopkeepers.  Your credibility will be severly undermined.  An example of tag spam would be using words like ‘retro’, ‘vintage’, ‘justin bieber’, or other trendy words that have no relevance to your design.  Also avoid tags that could get your design ‘pulled’ from the marketplace for copyright infringement by Zazzle.  These would include using a famous brand name or popular phrases from movies, pop songs, or advertisements in your tags.  Everything you post on Zazzle must be your original design OR another’s artwork for which you have paid for the right to earn royalties when publishing it on Zazzle or other print-on-demand platform.  The same goes for clip art-check the fine print when you download.  And never copy another zazzler’s work.  Accidents happen, but your store could be completely shut down if you infringe on another artists rights.

When visiting my Stuccoloco shop on Zazzle, you will note that I have failed to follow this advice on many of my earlier products and I have a lot of revising to do.  I hope this tutorial will save you from this task and enable you to use the time more effectively.  I have enjoyed success on items using this method and I trust you will find this to be true for your products as well.

Thank you for visiting and happy Zazzling!

Zazzle Marketplace

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This item from Jadedesigns has a short but good description

This item has an excellent description with the emphasis on the established artist

Categories: Effective Use of Tags and Descriptions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Color Coding for Matching/Coordinating Backgrounds and Text on Zazzle Products and Home Page

Too few choices?

When creating products on Zazzle, you may find it necessary or desirable to add a matching background color, frame or color text to your design.  If so, you will have also noticed that Zazzle provides a color chart box with a limited choice of colors.  This tutorial will show you how simple it is to customize your color choices.

Example-Greeting Card

Many Zazzle products allow you to add/change the background color of the product (your uploaded image will be ‘on top of’ this background color) you are designing.  Click the ‘Edit’ button just below the ‘Add Images’ button to see what you can change or add to a particular product.

In this case, click the ‘Edit’ button and you will see ‘Background’ which you click to see the color chart and all the colors Zazzle has made available for your use.  Notice the area I have circled and pointed to in the lower right of my example.  This is where you may enter a hex code (which identifies what color you wish to use) for any color you wish to use for the background.  This process allows you  to change the background to match or coordinate with your design or photo.  (This works as a background for text without a design as well). 

Where do I find the hex code?

If you are using photoshop or other program on your computer to create designs or to store your photos, merely open the file (design or photo) from which you wish to select a color (do this in a new window) and then click on the color box(circled in red in next example picture) to open the color picker box.  Click on the color in you photo or design you wish to match and you will see the Hex Code (circled in black), which is the number (or numbers and letters) identifying the color you have selected appear in the color picker box at lower right (circled in black).  Copy this code and paste it into the Zazzle box (after deleting/erasing existing code) from the first example picture (also circled in black) on your product design page.  Now click any blank area to force the change to occur. 

Text Custom Color

This is done in the same way but in a different area.  Click the ‘Add Text’ box and type in your greeting, slogan, messages etc… and click OK.  You will see a square showing the current color of the text to the immediate right of  an f, (which is what you click to change the font) and a number showing the current size of the text (which is what you click to change the font style).  Click the square to see color choices.  Now follow the same instructions from above to change the text color to the one you wish to use instead.

How do I customize the colors on my storefront?

 This is done the same way.  click ‘Store’ in your ‘My account’ section.  You will be taken to the ‘Manage’ section.  (With multiple stores, you will need to choose which store you would like to make changes to.  Click ‘manage’ to the right of the store name).  Click ‘Edit Appearance’ and you will see boxes next to the various sections and texts currently appearing on your store front.  Click a box to see your color choices and proceed in the same manner discussed above.

What if I do not have access to a color picker tool?

No problem! use the on-line color picker HERE.

Knowing this little Zazzle tip will save you time when designing products on Zazzle, and can greatly enhance the appearance of your design.  See examples below.

With no background color change

My Virgin of Guadalupe “I Love You” card at left has no back ground color added.  I added the text in a coordinating color. The background defaults to white in this case.

The same image, which I had created with a white background, is seen below with a matching red background and a coordinating text color.   The original image sits on top of the background color.

Example of a store front with coordinating colors.  I designed the Header first, uploaded and then matched and coordinated test colors, page color, and pod colors to make an aesthetically pleasing Home Page.  Tubac Presidio Park 

Example of a store front using two colors effectively:  Holiday Hearts Business Cards

My Zazzle Store Stuccoloco 

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Categories: Adding Custom Colors for Zazzle Products and Home Page | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Using Zazzle Categories Creatively

The Front page of your shop should include at least a header, profile link and categories/products.  This article addresses ways to set up and organize your product/image categories creatively and how to best showcase what you will be selling.

As a photographer, artist or designer, you know that your work will sell itself once it is seen by an appreciative audience.   There are a variety of ways to showcase your work on the front page of your new shop.   Examples below:

Set up with IMAGE as category (one clicks on an image to see the products featuring a particular image) Science Connection

 Set up with NO CATEGORIES (features profile information and various products) Jeremy D. Bonfiglio Photography

Set up with PRODUCT TYPE as category (one clicks a product category to see it with all images available) Myka Jalina Fantasy Art

 Set up with SPECIALTY categories (one clicks a special interest category to see products featuring available images) Old Rocker Dude

Set up with SPECIALTY PRODUCTS only Hear Me Now Speaker Shop

In my personal experience, using the IMAGE as a category is the most effective way to showcase the professional artist or photographer because the front page becomes your portfolio.  This method is also effective (as in the case of Science Connection above) if you have few, but distinct, images available.

Choosing to display no categories gives a blog-like feel to your front page, like in the case of Jeremy Bonifiglio above, who has a background in photo journalism.

Especially good for a large store with many images is the PRODUCT as category option.  One’s customer can always use your store’s search to find specific types of images.  Browsing is encouraged here and relies on the storekeeper’s ability to keep the interest of the potential customer.

The passionate enthusiast looking for very specific artwork will like your SPECIALTY category set up.  These shops reflect the shopkeepers devotion to something in particular, music in the case of Old Rocker Dude, and followers are usually very loyal to your shop.

Use the NO CATEGORY option if your store only sells one type of product such as speakers only as in the case of Hear Me Now Speaker shop.  Product designs are showcased effectively in this way.

Once you have made a decision about how you wish to use categories on your front page go to MY ACCOUNT and click on PRODUCTS (you will see ‘dashboard’, ‘account’, ‘store’ and then ‘products’). Near the top of the page you will see the page name, Categories, and underneath you will see ‘add new category’.  Click this option and you will see the ‘add new category’ dialogue box where you can give your category a title and upload an image to change the picture from the gray folder to anything you wish.  If you have opted to show no categories, click the hide button and only the products will show.

If you want to show designs/photos/artwork as categories, you need only upload your image (it is best to have all the same size if possible) and on the front page of your store they will show across the page either in a grid or in a scrollable format.  (More on this in another post.) 

To show products as categories you have the option of leaving the gray folder with the title of each folder identifying your categories or of designing a ‘box’ of your own design (most of the categories in Stuccoloco,  are set up this way) using Photoshop, Corel or whatever you are using with which to edit photos and create designs. 

How to change page and text colors to coordinate with your header image.  Hex codes and custom colors

Using categories in an interesting and creative manner greatly enhances the appeal of your shop to potential customers and gives you a chance to express who you are.  Browse some of the shops at Zazzle and you will find many people do not do much to individualize their storefronts.  They are relying on their products being seen in the marketplace to make sales.  This is fine, but having a nice, professional storefront that is memorable and easy to navigate will invite visitors to bookmark your site for future visits.  This is obviously very beneficial over time.  Keep in mind that you may revise your choices at any time, but making a few good decisions early and setting up your shop in an organized way will save time in the future, thus allowing you to do what you love most-sharing your art and designs on the products offered at Zazzle.  As I mention in the post “Ten Things to Know BEFORE Opening a Shop on Zazzle”, I was not aware of all my options and I am revising and tweaking my store in my spare time.  I hope some of the information I provide for my readers will help them avoid the time-consuming task of revision.

Thank you for visiting and my very best to you and your future success on Zazzle.

You may find interesting:  Zazzle Image Categories Tutorial

 

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Categories: Custom Storefront-Categories, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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