****Update Sept 2015*** As of fall 2015, Zazzle has recently changed their philosophy on Quick Create products. After formally encouraging us as designers to use Quick Create and make our own templates, now they are encouraging us to make unique designs for each and every product we publish. They want each product to have a unique title and unique description and tags, which is the opposite of how quick create works. They have created a scoring system for how they feel each store is doing, call a “zRank”. One of the factors that make up the “zRank” is the uniqueness of the products in your store, and whether they all have unique titles, etc. So the following post about how to create your own templates in Quick Create, while one of my most popular posts here on this blog, seems to now be opposite of Zazzle’s current philosophy. Ahh, the ever changing game of trying to keep up with what they want us to do. A few years ago, they also deleted all customization we shopkeepers had on our store’s homepage, saying that the different storefronts confused shoppers, and we needed to all look the same. Now they are mandating that we all have unique and custom header images on our storefronts and custom tag lines and that we tell our own unique story. It’s getting really hard to keep up with the ever-changing “changes” they are making to the platform. Anyway, if you are reading this blog post in fall of 2015 or after, just remember, this probably has no relevance any longer, as Zazzle doesn’t really want you making 100 products with the same design. Now, on to my original post…..
How to Make Your Own Templates for Zazzle Quick Create
Hi everybody! After all the questions, comments on other posts, I’ll try to explain how to make your own templates on Zazzle to use in Quick Create. At least how I do it. YES, the templates are SO confusing to set up! Here’s a summary of what you are doing.
Zazzle offers a Quick Create that has default items already in it. You can find this under your Products page, in the upper left corner. The problem is that the default dimensions they provide leave you with white spaces on the items, making it necessary for you to fix nearly half of the items before you can even go to the 2nd page of the Quick Create process. This takes a long time and makes Quick Create pretty useless in my opinion.
The solution to this is to set up your own templates that you can then use in Quick Create. So now the problem is “How do I set up my own templates”.
FIRST, you will need to make a “Category” and make it “hidden” so that once you make a template product, you can put it into this category. In order to set up a hidden folder (category):
- Go to products
- Scroll down your left hand margin and find “All Categories” and click on it
- Now click “Add New Category”
- Name your category “Templates” or something so you can find it later. This will be the category you will always choose when you want to use your own templates in Quick Create
- Check the little box under the folder image on the right that says “Hide (only you can see it)”
Now you have your hidden category folder ready.
How to make a Product into a Template Product
Now you are ready to start adding products to your Templates category. You might want to make a template set based on the shape of the product and use the same shaped image. For example, use a vertically rectangular image for iphone cases, Kindle cases, invitations, and anything else that shape. Then you might want to set up another hidden category that will be a different template set for items that are square like square magnets, stickers, etc. Personally I have a template set that works with images that are 3600 x 3600, which is the size of designs I make or buy, and another set that was created for images from my iPhone, which is a vertically rectangular shape. I still need to make a set of templates for horizontal stuff.
To make a product into a template, you create the product from scratch, just like you would if you were creating products one by one. Go to the “create” tab and pick a product to work on. At the very bottom of the drop down menu is a choice for “All” and it takes you to the http://www.zazzle.com/create page that shows all the product types. Within each category you can further click the “see all” links to see all the products offered.
Choose a product to create and upload your image that you will be using for all the template products in this category. Resize or move around your image on the product so it is centered and covers all the design area. When using a image for these templates make sure you are centering the entire image, not centered this particular picture because the dog’s face is over to the left. Remember that how you center the image will be how your images will be centered when you use them in Quick Create. So don’t off center anything just because it would look better on this particular image. You want it centered for every picture you will use in the future! This product template is what Quick Create will use to determine how to place your images on your products. How you align this image is how Quick Create will align everything during Quick Create. Make sure you increase the picture or decrease it to fit the entire design area.
Once you upload your image, click the little “gears symbol” and check the box that says “Make this a template object” and also make sure the “Allow editing on the product page” is checked.
Pay attention to the image “URL Parameter Name”, as this needs to be the same for every item you put into this template set (put into this template category). It might default to image0 or it might default to image1. Make sure they are ALL image0, or they are all image1. They must all be the same for every product you make for this category.
Once you have made the image a template item, then go to the next page. The titles, descriptions, and categories don’t matter for these items because these items you are making are just templates that you will keep hidden and will be used in quick create. Once you are actually using Quick Create you will be asked for the title, description, tags, etc for each batch. What you put here right now doesn’t matter, because you will be changing it when you use Quick Create with different images. So you can just put a few letters in the title, description, etc. When you choose the CATEGORY, make sure to choose the hidden TEMPLATE category that you set up at the beginning. You will be putting all these products in that same folder. Then later when you use Quick Create, when it asks if you want to use your own templates, you will go choose that folder, and all these product templates will be in it.
Check the button under Product Visibility that says “Hidden” (only you can see it). And make sure the button that asks if you want to “Make product a template?” is marked YES.
Once you publish your product, it usually takes about 24 hours for these new templates to show up in your new hidden category and be ready to use. But today you will want to continue adding products, one by one, making sure to mark each image you upload under the gears symbol as a template item and making sure the URL parameter is the same as your others products. Making sure each of these template products are hidden and marked as templates. Keep adding products to this hidden category.
Once you have all your template products done, and after about 24 hours they are all showing up in your hidden TEMPLATES folder that you created, then you are ready to use them in Quick Create.
How to use Zazzle Quick Create with your own templates
Once you successfully set up your template folder and put a bunch of template products into it, you can now use Quick Create and choose this template category and it will load the image of your choice onto these new products. It will align the images however you aligned them when you set up the products above.
First, Go to Products, and in the upper left corner click on “Quick Create“.
Then, second, choose to “Use your Own Templates” and use the drop down menu to find that hidden folder you created in the steps detailed above (you probably named the folder “Templates”). You must first choose the store in the drop down button, then choose the folder you set up (all the products should have been published to this folder in the steps above). Now you will change the placeholder image to the image you want to use with this batch of products by using the “change” link. This puts the new image on all the products you have put into your templates folder.
Quick Create will have you title and describe this batch of items before publishing. Just remember that your description will apply to ALL the products in this batch, so refrain from saying “iphone case” if your batch has iphone cases, magnets, stickers, etc. Same thing with your tags. Focus on the colors and the design when making your tags because the tags will apply to ALL items in your batch. Zazzle will automatically affix a few words in your title and tags that identifies each product. For example, it will add “iPhone 5 Case” to the iPhone 5 cases and “Mousepad” to the mousepad. Normally this may take a few days before the product name is appended to the titles and tags automatically. You can also choose to go back and edit individual products if you wish and put more product specific tags and descriptions on them.
Once published you can “edit” the title, description, tags, and royalty rates, but you cannot edit the actual image or alignment or text boxes. If you see a mistake on a product in the image or text, you would need to “Customize It” and republish a whole new item, then delete the old one that has the mistake. Therefore, it’s better to catch a mistake early, and publish a new item with the corrections, before the old item gets ranked too high in the marketplace, making you hesitant to delete it and lose all your marketplace rankings.
I hope that helps! Questions? Leave a comment below.
PS… Zazzle has been adding a lot of NEW Product lines recently, so you may need to add more items to your quick create templates based on the new items you wish to include in your template batch. Zazzle announces the new products here.
PSS…You may also be interested in this book for sale online called Make Money Online Using Zazzle by Tracy Foote. Yes, I’ve bought this book and read it, and I can honestly say that it is very helpful for someone who wants to learn how to make money on Zazzle. It covers a lot of details, with screenshot examples, of how to set up your store and how to market your products. This is a paperback book, NOT an ebook. It’s an actual book, which is great for sitting on your desk and referencing when you are stuck on something in Zazzle.