To date, there are currently over 68,000 sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers. And while not all of them are active, vibrant stores producing lots of products, if you’re a teacher-author, you’ll want to set your store apart from the rest. There are several elements of a TPT store which, when implemented, will help differentiate your store from others who sell similar products. Some of these include:
• Uploading custom banners
• Creating custom categories
• Stylizing product pages
So let’s take a look at how to do this.
Uploading Custom Banners
Go to your DASHBOARD. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see, “CUSTOMIZE YOUR STORE.” It’ll be under the “MARKETING A PROMOTIONS” section. Click it.
When the page loads, you’ll see two sections: one for your leaderboard and the other your column banner. The leaderboard is that long, horizontal banner that hovers above your product images while the column banner is the one that’s in the far left column below any custom categories you might have set up (and if you don’t, no worries because I’m going to show you how to do that too, next!)
You need to upload an image, preferably a .jpg that’s 706 x 90 pixels. At some point, I will do a tutorial on how to create an actual banner using Photoshop and/or Illustrator. But for now, if you don’t know if your intended image is the correct size and don’t have Photoshop to do it, I have two products in my store for banners that you can use. The first one is called Rainbow Glitter Bordette Shop Banners and the other are Chalkboard Glitter Sale Banners. The first product could be brought into Powerpoint and you could create your own text on top and save it (don’t stretch it or it won’t be the right size!) and the second are banners that require no editing. Just upload and done!
Back to the instructions, so you click “CHOOSE FILE,” and then navigate to where your image is saved on your computer. Once you select it, a preview of it will appear in the window.
Open up another tab in your browser and navigate to the page in your store where a product that you’ve featured – or would like to feature indirectly – is located. Copy the URL. You’ll see mine is highlighted in blue below.
Go back to the previous tab and in the section box that says, “ENTER YOUR PRODUCT PAGE LINK,” paste it in there. Click SAVE. This will only save whatever banner you’re working on, even though there are two types of banners on this page; you’ll have to repeat the process for the column banner below and click “SAVE” below that image for it to take effect.
So what if your store banner is not directly related to one specific product in your store but rather it’s a sale you’re running on an entire category of products? What if you want to link to that whole category? You can do that, too!
Simply open a new tab, and in your store, click on the category you want to make a sale for. Now, look in your browser window for the URL. You should see your category’s name in that URL. For example, here’s the tail end of a link to my Back to School category:
What if you wanted to put only products with a common word on sale, and what if these products were in different categories? For example, I have three products in store with the word “compass” in them: two are in my social studies category while the other one is in my math section.
You would navigate to your store and in the “QUICK FIND” section, type in the one word that all your products for sale have in common. I typed, “compass.” When the page loads up, you should see products with that name in their title. Copy/paste that URL and link it to your new banner image. And of course, run a sale (which I’ll talk about in another blog post).
Creating Custom Categories
Go to your DASHBOARD. Click on “VIEW & EDIT PRODUCT LISTINGS.”
A new page will load and in the left column you’ll see, “ADD CUSTOM CATEGORIES.” Click it.
On the next page, you’ll see a long list of blank categories. Simply type something in as many boxes as you like – one category per box – and then hit ADD at the bottom of the screen. Poof! Your new categories will be saved. Now, don’t go rushing to your store and expect to see them “live” immediately. The wheels of TPT don’t work that quickly. No, they aren’t hand-coded by elves behind the scenes but rather it takes the system awhile to catch up to your changes. So be patient. It could take several hours. However, if you go to add a product to your store, you should see the name of your new category as a selection that you can chose right there on the upload product page.
As for picking names for your categories, I suggest you think about the long-term strategy for your store and make a solid plan as to the types of products you intend to sell. Think about how some of the products could be unique enough to justify having their own virtual space in your store, while others would benefit from being commingled amongst other similar products so they get more customer eyes on them.
Another aspect to consider is that you get about 38 categories to fill. Will you quickly come up with so many product ideas that you’ll have to spent time reshuffling things later on (as I have!) or is there space to grow? Again, try to think of the long-term plan and proceed accordingly.
So, back to those categories…Once you click “ADD,” you’ll be taken back to your product listings page where in the left column you’ll see, “MANAGE YOUR CATEGORIES.” Click it.
Here, you’ll see all the name of the categories you created. You have the option to delete the new category (that’s the bright red ‘X” button next to the category title) or edit the title. To edit the title, simply highlight and erase the text you no longer want, type the new category name, then hit the “EDIT” button to save your change. The edit button is that icon that looks like a tiny piece of paper with a yellow pencil to its right (where the giant red arrow is pointing below).
You’ll notice that there’s not “SAVE” option anywhere on this page. If you navigate away before saving any changes, they won’t take effect.
You’re probably wondering what and how I got those cute little scissors right there in the name of my category, aren’t you? Read on!
Stylizing Product Pages
Ready to take your store to the next level? How about adding some unicode symbols? Uni-wha? Unicode. Surely you’ve seen these symbols before. They’re kind of like emoticons, minus all the emotion. 🙂
You can use them anywhere on your product page (even in your custom category titles!) in which you can input text. Now, the old-fashioned way is to type in the html code that corresponds to each symbol so that when the page goes “live,” the code is translated to its correct symbol. But, that’s time-consuming, tedious, and annoying.
There are several website which make viewing, copying, and pasting of these symbols a snap. Check out Copy Paste Character and Unicode Table. My fav is the Copy Paste Character website because you simply click on the symbol you want – the symbol is copied to your computer’s internal clipboard – and then navigate to your product page where you want the symbol to wind up and paste it in. I use COMMAND + V on my Mac to do that. You can also right-click and hit “PASTE.” Any form of of pasting it in will work. And voila! The symbol appears. It’s that simple!
You can see from my last image above, that I’ve cleverly used the symbol of the clippers for any product category that’s for clipart. Clips…clipart. Aren’t I clever? Try to use symbols that would make sense with what you’re store is about.
Now, as far as where to use them symbols, I suggest employing a strategy. Don’t just randomly and without thought plop a bunch of symbols on the page to look cute. Use them to create a uniformity on your pages; make them appear formatted and easier for customers to scan through your page to find the necessary information. Let me give some examples.
- Use bullets (OPTION + 8) or symbols like a ?, ?, or ? to make an ordered listed.
- Place words you want to embolden in-between these tags < strong> text to be emboldened </ strong> . You’ll have to remove that extra space I added before the word, “strong.”
- Include a list of links to other related products. Use symbols and embolden the text to emphasize them on the page.
Essentially. format your page so it’s scannable, so important aspects of the page can be found quickly.
One thing to note: you have no control over the size of the symbols. They’re determined by the, basically, the font that’s been selected on the page. This was determined by TPT, so there’s nothing you can do to make some of them bigger. I suggest you stick with the ones that show up the best.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! If you found it helpful, I’d appreciate a re-pin on Pinterest.