Need To Make Banners Or Headers For Your Collections, Stores, Or Posts?

If you need to make a professional looking graphic for your headers or banners it is no secret that Picmonkey and Canva are free, easy, and accessible.

However, maybe you didn’t know about that, yet.

It is easy to sign up for free access to most of the features and use the online editor. However I use the premium, for the extra features. Want to access those? Use my handy affiliate link for Picmonkey, and support me while you do yourself a favor and gain some really useful apps for graphics.

Picmonkey

Here is a link for Canva:

Canva for Web

Canva is very clear that their graphics are for personal use only. So nothing made on their site should be sold, although I am sure that you can make personal headers for your store or collections on this site.

Picmonkey has no dire warnings, so I am not sure about the use of your graphics, although they will be perfectly fine for anything personal, as well. Personal use is posting on your social media, blogs, etc. as well as making products for yourself, like cards you want to send.

Commercial would include POD products like those sold on Zazzle, etc.

Right now the only things I am recommending these sites for is the personal usage. Making Facebook headers, headers for your store, or profile pics. Collection and category graphics which can all be branded with your particular style.

 

Advice For Zazzle Newbies

Zazzle Designs from My Store

I just finished giving my artist daughter some advice about Zazzle, and as it kept building into almost a “mini-course” I thought maybe it would be a good idea to write some of that advice down in one place.

Start Learning Success Tips For Zazzle

Start with this Post

This post has been UPDATED on Jan. 12, 2018.

Zazzle has much improved their setup. The design tools are quite robust and I rarely have any troubles with “hang-ups” or freezing, now. The auto-save features on the site are reliable.

The questions started with… What can I do about my created product “hanging up” when I try to post it for sale?

To this, and other difficulties like it, the answer is save your design and write down the title, description, and tags in a text file to copy-paste. Once saved, the design will show up in your “saved file” and you can usually proceed without a problem. The short answer is that sometimes the javascripts get jammed. It might be your browser, Zazzle’s site, or a slow internet connection. Who knows? Just save whereever the hangup is and then go from there.

This happens to me most often when I am trying to post for sale. That is why I use a text file to keep from losing the description and tags. It is useful as a temporary file for making more products with that same design. Copy and paste the description and tags saves time and typing, while tweaking them for individuality makes them a bit unique.

Designer Editor Improvements

  • Select images and text in a design you’ve made, look for the “edit” dropdown, and chose “copy”; then paste the creation onto another surface, even a whole new product design.
  • “Filters” can change colors of an image into several types of styles; “Patterns” create a number of repeat styles.
  • Many fonts are available, once text is typed the spacing can be tweaked via the “AV” dropdown.  A few text warps are available: arc, inverted arc, vertical.
  • Infinite color choices for background and for text.

Example

I used a filter setting to make the background look more like I wanted. On the reverse side of the design I used the arc and the character spacing tweaks for some of the text.

Making Multiple Products with a Design
You can still “Quick Create”, but it is no longer recommended, and takes a long time to “post”. With the copy and paste powers of whole designs including their text and settings, it is easy to make multiple products with your favorite creation.

Keep Track of Colors Via HexFiles

My next suggestion is to keep a copy-paste file of color hex file codes for certain designs along with description and tag words so that when making more products from that design these are accessible. Call it “Zazzlecode” or something similar.

My Best Choices for Hex Color Codes

The Zazzle color chooser itself gives you the hex codes for the color you have chosen- write it down to use again ( that source file, you are keeping).

Want to know the trendiest Pantone colors? This w3schools site is a great resource.

Or go directly to the Pantone site, but to the insider area where you type in a color name and the info (including hex number) comes up on its own page.

Pantone Color Finder

SEO Is Important for Zazzle Sales

The next bit of advice is how important it is to use some basic SEO, since an artist has to do her own marketing. Use descriptive relevant terms when titling both the design and product, when writing the descriptions, and especially when choosing tag words and phrases.

If you don’t know very much about SEO, there are scads of articles and sites online which explain this to bloggers. Artists can use that same information when working to get Google to find their products, too.

  • Zazzle prefers that you use around 10 important keywords, although you can use more.
  • Describe your design in terms you think people will search for.
  • Don’t inflate with irrelevant terms, there is a No-Spam policy in place.
  • Use places that can help your SEO, like descriptions and titles for images, as well as design descriptions and tags. Collections also have tags and descriptions.

Collections

These area ways to curate your designs, introducing less popular ones in ways that organize your site. They are useful for social media sharing, so learn how to make them (quite easy), then display in your store. It’s been recommended to have your collections near the top.

Example of My New Puppy Love Collection

This is also a ways to share more of your designs to potential customers. They get to see more of your work than trying to spend time in your stores (which is awkward and time consuming for most people).

The New Title

Duplicates are a problem in SEO results, so while it used to be okay to have multiple products that use a design titled and described all the same, this is now a problem. Customize the written labels and descriptions for each product.

Views

Products views are important. Even your own view of one of your designed products counts, but if you have created something that no one views over a certain length of time, it gets hidden from the general marketplace.

So include your creations in the collections, share them, and go to their pages if necessary, to increase the possibility of sales.

That sums up the latest of gleaned tips for gaining a foothold in Zazzle success. If you have tips add them, please.

Zazzle Success Tips and Pointers

Share Your Best Stuff

Now there are “collections, products that you can curate any way you wish. These are shareable ways to make your store more attractive and help customers find related designs.

  • Share with your friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook, G+, and your own website.
  • Group product designs by theme or occasion
  • Relate by product type (iphone cases, postcards, etc.), event ( birthday, retirement, et al), theme (vintage, cats, fractals), or occasion (Christmas, Mother’s Day, 4th of July).
  • Don’t create huge Collections. I made this mistake at first. Since then I have pared down those very large unrelated ones to help me better serve customers in finding what they want.

Examples of Two of Mine

How to make and add to your collections.

directions for making Zazzle collection
Making a new collection on Zazzle
  1. Each profile has a “Collection” button in the navigation bar. Click on that and there is an intuitive box with the plus sign that you click to make your group, which you name and tag.
  2. Make a banner which is  1140 x 315 pixels. Upload to the banner space in the collection ( in the same manner that Facebook banners are uploaded and changed).
  3. Next: Go to a product that you wish to add. Find the “add to” button.
    add to collection button
    addto button

     

  4. Click on the down arrow and it will open up a list of your collections. Simply check the box next to the one you wish to add the product to.
  5. Go to your collection after you have added 3 to 10 items and share it with all your friends and followers.

Promote Yourself

It is really important to do your own marketing when you have a Zazzle store now.  Learn how to tag your designs and products without spamming (Zazzle has a strict no spam policy).

Share and encourage your friends to do so. If you have products that you think are poorly done (usually in retrospect), hide them.

If you have some that haven’t gotten any views, give them a few yourself (just by going to the page) to keep that product in the Marketplace until the public discovers it.

Remember to attach your associate number to the things you share,  of your own design or others in case it makes a referral sale.

Referrals

Share, but don’t overshare referral links on social media.

Consider using a free blog to show off your designs and those of others. Include pertinent designs in your blogposts.

While it is possible to make income from this form of sharing, I have made very little from it. For me, referral traffic is more important to create some buzz about the product items in my stores.

 

Helpful Sizes to Know For Your Store

It can be a nuisance to try to guess which size graphics to make for the various parts of this POD.

I seem to always have to look up some of the other graphics dimensions, and to save time collected a few here:

  • Collection banner: 1140 x 315 pixels
  • Store banner: 2369 x 400 pixels
  • Category picture: 640 x 640 pixel square

Official Zazzle site advice

Helpful Design Tools

There is a page of guides. Although somewhat outdated, the ones available do help with designing cards or mugs, etc.

Zazzle is no longer making official product guides, but still have the tried and true older ones:

Make sure the “dpi” or resolution of your graphics are high enough. I think 300-350 dpi is a good range. Lesser is acceptable, but not the 72 that is common for most web pictures.

DPI Is Important
High enough resolution is important for printing. “Dots Per Inch” makes a difference in sharpness of the image.

Official Image Recommendations

Advice from the Forum on making your own:

1. Go to create your chosen product (but don’t add an image)
2. Change to ‘Design’ view and ensure the guides are switched on
3. Click the ‘Zoom’ button and take your screenshot
4. Trim the image down to the red rectangle (the bleed area), I also make the white part transparent
5. Now the image needs to be enlarged to the size you will be using for the product – in the case of the iPad Mini you could base the measurements on measurements of the device itself (given above) – I tend to make my graphics a little larger than necessary to allow for effectively ‘zooming in’ when making the product (or to give a customer the option of doing the ‘zooming’)

Of course, you can always use your Instagram pictures or simply upload a large enough design to give a good print for the product. Not exact, but this can work.

Can you earn income with Zazzle?

Zazzle Income For Beginners

Zazzle is set up to share profits, through royalties and referrals with their members.

Whether you can earn income is a mixed bag of answers. Many people do earn well, and it must be stated that they probably work very hard at it.

I have read many statements in the forums and elsewhere that provide insights into their process. Most devote several hours each day to making their stores successful.

It is not easy money, but it can be part of a business.

I have done better when I invested more time into improving my store with keywords, designing products, and paying attention to examples from the top trending products.

I make less now than a couple years ago, which may be due to a number of changes that the site has made. My own intention is to work on my brand, improve my techniques and designs, and make more products.

That is also the advice I give you.

It remains to be seen whether the referrals will produce any income, as of now, it doesn’t. (For me, I can’t speak for everyone). It could be that there is too much competition for the casual presentation of products.

Collections

A recent way of showcasing products is the set of collections. Curated by you, these are a way to promote either your own or fellow Zazzler’s work. To complete your profile you make a certain number of collections which are then shown on the stores you own. You can choose which stores a collection appears within.

They work very much like a Pinterest board, just on a smaller scale.

Tips For The Zazzle Entrepreneur

Zazzle Income How-To

Here are the tips I have gathered and learned through my own experience.

  • It is a numbers game- make lots and lots of designs and products for Zazzle income results.
  • Pay close attention to keywords and learning about SEO for Zazzle as well as for your blog.
  • Use your social media to gain interest in your stores and designs.
  • Investigate the idea of designing around a niche. The fact that you can have multiple (free) stores encourages and facilitates this.
  • The forums are very informative, visit there for the new products, helpful tips, and troubleshooting.
  • Set up a blog for showcasing your work. Write posts about the designs or the products. Or related topics such as baby shower parties, wedding invitation tips, birthday party themes, etc.

 


I am beginning to try to use more posts to showcase great products and designs… a type of “curation post”. I will report on whether this has any effect on referral income for me, and let you know what the practices are that result in income from Zazzle.

I tried to sign up as an affiliate for them, but that didn’t work out. The affiliate process from the site itself is what I must use.

Art Follows Life … A Prayer Warrior

 

I wasn’t originally planning on making this design. It was just a day of finally getting around to using some elements that I had bought as a bundle, complete with full licensing to use on my own products.

I painted and arranged, and then the fact that being a “Mom Who Prays” inspired me to make this t-shirt. I’m going to order one for myself because I really find it inspiring and encouraging.

One thing I am… a prayer warrior. I didn’t plan on that, either. But God has plans for us that work out over time, and the best thing about becoming an intercessor is that you start to get to know your God. You become friends with your Savior and Lord.

The back design was one of the rhema moments: a banner… “His banner over me is love”! So of course I had to add the word love to the banner and it hovers over “prayer warrior”- me!

I love when that happens.

The scripture is a well known one to all who believe in the power of prayer:

1 John 5:14

 

Anyway, I am super happy about how the design came out, it was fun to do, and I believe it will be an encouraging, enjoyed shirt for other praying women as well.

What is most satisfying about this design, aside from the message, is the subtle watercolor look and washed colors. Sage green (another meaningful play on words), aqua blue (water is full of symbolism in this context), and coral pink create the kind of feeling that I often experience in prayer times.

It is calm.

Peaceful.

Hopeful.

Restful.

The hand painted look is not just something I am drawn to (can’t get away from puns and word play!), it is something that joins with the intent of being a person engaged in the act of creating from my heart.

Letting the Lord inspire our desires and prayers, and returning them to Him to more fully experience His love over us.

It is just a simple tshirt, but somehow it turned into kind of a devotional inspiration for me.

Funny how that happens sometimes. But wonderful and refreshing!

Zazzle Stores: Populating Them and Getting Views

zazheaderVintagejpg

The reigning advice about success with Zazzle is to have lots of products, the second bit is to work hard, and along in the mix is the idea to open many stores, with focused purpose, design, and/or products. I have done that, although reluctantly. Reluctant because it is becoming quite a complex job balancing all the many hats expected online, along with multiple projects.

That said, Zazzle multiplied stores are not so hard to keep track of, it is only the populating with designs and products along with the challenge to be seen that is the complication.

I opened Ilona Vintage (which is called conversely “Vintage Ilona”) because I found I liked the Vintage look graphics and art pictures, and they looked a little out of place in the main store, which has a Garden theme. Even though I have divided the theming, the original store “Ilona’s Garden” will still carry the designs already produced.

The jury is still out on whether more stores makes you more successful, but it is easier to organize, and theoretically should be mroe user friendly when it comes to navigating the designs that a customer is looking for.

It does follow that when I publish new designs I make sales (though not actually the new designs); if I neglect to work on new products then I don’t have any visitors or sales in my stores. I think it might be a search engine thing.

The New Zazzle: Custom Store Help

 

zazzle
zazzle

Over the years plenty has changed at Zazzle. The sizes needed for customizing the stores, the store profile banner and the member profile image are just two to know.

To complete the requirements for 100% profile and store completion includes making “media” as well. I had trouble getting the sizes large enough.

The Store Banner

As of now, in the Forum, the advice is to make the store banner the right size. Here is the official advice:

The important thing to remember is that the image should have an aspect ratio of 76:21

That is 3.8” x 1.05” inches.
Official word on this is:
“The main banner to your store should be at least 1140 pixels wide by 315 pixels in height (e.g. 1140 x 315). Your banner should give some ‘texture’ as to what your store is. A pattern or repeating image works well, as does a photo of objects that you don’t have to see in their entirety to know what they are. The reason for this is because your banner scales depending on the device it’s viewed on.”

Member Profile Pic

Make it square and make it 512 x 512 pixels.

Category Pics

Without images, the categories will not show up. Make your store category pics 640 pixels square.

There are also “media pictures” now. For the longest time I just didn’t get what they’re all about , but this is the word from on high on those:

Media Images

“Any photography or images you add to your All Media section should be at least 1080 x 1440 pixels.

The image sizes we give above are the minimum of what you need to upload. If you want the best resolution possible, double the pixel size  suggested above.”

Most designers are taking photos of products they ordered. I used an online Pinterest oriented generator to make an automatic collage that uses collections to make media worthy graphics.

Pinnable Images

update 2015

I promised I would update this page.

Due to big changes in the format that Zazzle uses, much of the old information on customizing your store has changed and is outdated.

Zazzle has optimized for mobile. I think this is smart, since that is the direction the web is taking.

It has also simplified the entire process of installing a header. Like Facebook, you simply upload a large enough photo or graphic for the background. The store profile picture is to the left, and a profile pic is in the center on your profile page.

Each category must have a graphic to appear, a product picture or one of your product image could be used.

The entire process of referrals seems to be shrouded in mystery. I am investigating that for future posts.

 

 

Continue to read past entries…  which might still work

Zazzle completely changed its look and how each of the stores look, as well. I have been having a hard time finding the information needed to customize my store, so I thought I would collate some of the necessary info in a Webhelp post- which is “Web help for baby geeks”.

First, sizes.

  1. The size needed for the Store Icon is 200 X 200 pixels.
  2. The size needed for the Header is 2360 X 400 pixels.
  3. Featured Categories: 648 x 648 pixels, although I downloaded a template gif that measures 500 X 500 pixels..

Zazzle calls the header a “Mantle”.

Troubleshooting

This page from Zazzle lists some of the issues; in case you are struggling with something, it is good to know when it is them and not something you are doing wrong.

New Site Issues List

Did you wonder what happened to your products and how to figure out “groupings”? There was an illustrated post in the forums that clarified  this for many of us:

Forum answer to “Where Are My Products?

 

I’ll update this post as I find new information.