Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Creating Quality Products for Teachers Pay Teachers

Creating quality products incredibly important on TpT. Quality products will get you high ratings, return customers, and higher search placement. Further, high quality products keep people coming back to TpT and that helps all of us. High quality products are:

  • visually appealing
  • appropriate for the grade for which they are being marketed
  • complete - the buyer should have everything he or she needs to use the product
  • not specific to your particular school or classroom
  • free of errors and typos
  • not overloaded with ads and link to your store, facebook, blog etc.  
One way to get an idea of what quality projects include is to look at some free ones on TpT

Let's take a closer look at what most products contain:

Cover Page
Your cover page will most likely be your primary thumbnail for the product. This means that buyers will see it, along with the title when they are browsing and searching. That means you really want it to "pop" off the page and catch the reader's attention. A good cover page is colorful and not too crowded. Include the title in a large font, perhaps a picture, your name/store name, and maybe a sentence or a few bullet points to get the idea of your product across. Bordering the page with a box is also a nice touch. 

Teacher Information Pages
Your first page(s) should tell the buyer about the product - what is included (table of contents), how it can be used, materials needed, suggestions for differentiation and extensions and anything else the teacher should know. Consider creating a cover template that you always use - this will make your "brand" easily recognizable. You may also want to include your copyright information here.

Content
Everything the buyer will need to implement the product. These may include: student instructions, worksheets, handouts, answer keys, grading rubrics, PowerPoints, labels, game cards etc. These should be presented in a logical order. Other things to consider:
  • If you use color, make sure it will print out well in grayscale
  • Remember that it will be printed out - watch your margins so that everything prints
  • Some Word fonts do not work when they are downloaded onto another computer (the buyer may not have your fonts), formatting can also get messed up. Consider saving in PDF format.
  • Use space well. Pages should not be too crowded or have huge amounts of white space
  • Make sure your fonts are easily readable - yes your font is cute, but does it make your eyes hurt?
Store Ad
Buyers who like your product will want to know where to find more. Include a page (yes just one), with a link to your store and possibly links to some other related products. You could also include a thank you to the buyer (though many put that at the very beginning with the teacher information), information about you and/or your products, a request that the buyer rate the product, follow you on facebook or take a look at your blog.

If you can get someone else to proofread, that is a great idea. Sometimes our eyes skip over our own mistakes. Once you are sure your product is as good as it can get, you are ready to post!

You may also want to view Creating and Effective Preview.

12 comments:

  1. Great points, Rachel! I need to work on the cover page part. Some of my products have cover pages, but most don't. I like it; I just don't always think of it. Great advice & love the blog!

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  2. Thanks Tracee!

    Not all mine have cover pages either, I am slowly revising to get them on there. I think it really helps.

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  3. I agree with most of this (and need to get busy revamping my products!), but I do have a question about something: why is it necessary to include color and graphics?

    I understand including graphics for worksheet pages for little ones, but I find it unnecessary on anything else (even cover pages). Doesn't that just serve to increase the price, since you had to buy the commercial license to sell that graphic with your product?

    And the color thing really bothers me. I must have worked at some really poor schools in the past because we were NEVER allowed to print in color. I just don't understand the point of making it colorful if it's not practical. When I download products with color, I personally am annoyed because printing them either 1) eats all my personal colored ink that is so expensive, or 2) is a waste of the creator's time and my money because no one can see how pretty it is, now that it's b&w.

    I know color and graphics are visually appealing, so are those things for marketing purposes ONLY? I guess I just feel like teachers should be smarter about their purchases and not jump on the first thing that pops out at them.

    ...Hope this didn't come off as too negative! I wasn't trying to attack you; I just want some answers. :) Thanks for your time, and I love this blog!

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing about color. Thanks for all the great tips.

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    2. The color items can be useful if a teacher has a smart board or projector that he or she will be using with students. When pulling up the worksheet on the board to write on/use, students would be able to see the color then.

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    3. I also wondered about the color pages. I do see that could use them with my smart board but mostly I would use them in a copied format... and that means in black and white. I do not like copying them on my home computer because it eats all my color ink and they are only used as blacklines anyway... so I wondered about the value of creating them for sale with my products.
      I would like to know how to MAKE the graphics that are on the pages in TpT. I am terrific at hand drawing them... but I don't know how to covert them for use on the computer. hmmmmmm....

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  4. I am about to start posting some products on TPT. I also was concerned about the color thing when creating them. I did use a lot of color on my cover pages because those are meant to capture attention and not really intended for anyone to print. I do have some products which have color on the individual pages because the needed graphics on them are in color. They are small pictures and would not be ink consuming if someone did choose to print in color from their home computer. Otherwise, they can easily be printed in B&W from any computer. In other words, if it was necessary due to the particular activity then color is on them. Otherwise, I tried to keep the color to a minimum for printing purposes.

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  5. Ya know, the thing about printing in color... I was thinking, some of these could be displayed on a Smartboard or from an LCD projector as a way to go over the answers to the worksheets students have in grayscale. A way to not have all those pretty graphics go to waste?? :o)

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  6. I have a question. When I set up a FREE item, it does not allow for a thumbnail, however, I see some other sellers are able to. Does anyone know how you are able to show a thumbnail for FREE items? Thanks

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  7. Thank you so much for all of the information that you have posted on this site. I am considering starting to sell on TPT and did really know where to start! Thanks for sharing with us!

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  9. What graphics program would be good to purchase to use in designing products to sell?

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Thoughts, questions? Please share!