Saturday, 30 July 2016

Nifty Slideshows - International domains exclude USA-only Zazzle products

It's been bugging me for a while but I managed to get it dealt with today.

It's all to do with international domains... but first I need to make the point that there are some products, like postage stamps, binders, edibles and others that are only sold on Zazzle's .com domain.

The problem was that the international domains feature of Nifty Slideshows was showing the USA-only products to people outside the USA. Because the link was adjusted to use the Zazzle domain associated with their country, if they clicked say, a postage stamp, they'd be taken to an error page on Zazzle - postage stamps not being available on their country's domain.

Well, I did battle, I lost, I re-grouped, got smacked about some more, had a cup of tea, wrestled the beast again, saw an opening in the armour and finally scored! (Not to mix too many metaphors!)

The end result, follow this link and if you're in the USA, you'll see a postage stamp near the beginning and some cake pops and other edibles towards the end. If you're not in the USA, you'll not see those.


I've still got to make the same changes to the code snippets generated for blogs / websites.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Marvin introduces Nifty Slideshows for Zazzle Storekeepers

Watch Marvin take you through what Nifty Slideshows can do for you - One-tap sharing of sticky slideshows, hot-linked to your Zazzle products. Make your own!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Vid: How to use a Zazzle Collection in a Nifty Slideshow

In this video, I show you how easy it is to to make a Nifty slideshow of your Zazzle Collection.

It's only three and a half minutes long, well worth a look if you're a Zazzle storekeeper.

If you want to see the Nifty Slideshow featured in the video, it's linked in the video description on Youtube.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Reminding myself about ZazMySite

There was a question on the Zazzle forum by Paul Stickland about prouct grids. In Zazzle's recent blog post about updates to their rss feed mechanism, they had a screenshot from a website as an example.

Paul's question was, how was that product grid created? I've had my head stuck in Nifty slideshows and Marvin the Guidebot recently and had forgotten about ZazMySite.

Here's an output from it:

Strangestore Cuties

Funny Little Black Cat Woman's T ShirtFunny Little Black Cat Woman's T Shirt

Funny Owl BinderFunny Owl Binder
Funny Owl Binder
$27.40 USD

Cute little more

Black Cat Business CardBlack Cat Business Card
Black Cat Business Card
$28.05 USD

Create your more

Three Funny Black Crows Two-Tone Coffee MugThree Funny Black Crows Two-Tone Coffee Mug

Two Cute Robots Funny T-shirtTwo Cute Robots Funny T-shirt
Two Cute Robots Funny T-shirt
$41.45 USD

Cute friendly more

Not the same but close :)

Zazzle promoting buddy for newbie storekeepers

EDIT July 2017. This no longer works.
Here's a great little promoting buddy for your store.

For starters, you get a slideshow of your store's top 50 performing products that you can easily share on Pinterest - just click the pin button you'll see.

Next, it's stupidly simple to share any product shown on Fabeook. How?

When you're looking at the slideshow in one window, and Facebook in another, you drag an image right off the slideshow and onto a Facebook status update. It really is that simple!

Note that you have to start the status update first by clicking it.

Just adjust the following before you copy and paste into a new tab:

How do you adjust it?
Simple, replace my store id (hightonridley) with your own and do the same for my referral id (238582202591969585)

Saturday, 23 July 2016

3 tweaks to Nifty Slideshows

I've been tweaking the Nifty Slideshows maker so it:
  • plays nicely with collections as the source
  • includes a search facility
  • same for the code snippet it generates for blogs / websites
See an example below. The nifty slideshow was pulled from this collection.

Fetching...won't be a tick!


guided search (opens in new tab)

Cool, hey?

Friday, 22 July 2016

Zazzle rss feed update means new Collections feature for Nifty Slideshows

Zazzle announced on their blog a few days ago about a new feature they've added to their RSS feed mechanism - the ability to pull from collections.

Until the update you could pull either from the marketplace or a particular store. Now you can pull from a collection, too.

This is great news for Nifty Slideshows - it automatically makes use of that feture if you tell it to. All you need is the collection id, which you get from its link url. Once you've got that, in the Nifty Slideshow maker page, use this where you'd put the store id:
collections/your collection id

It's all explained on the maker page. Here's a Nifty Slideshow pulled from this collection:


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Generic Marvin Creatives for your Zazzle Promos

Marvin is a guidebot, primarily to give guided tours around your Zazzle store - 365/24/7

But he's much more flexible than that. He can do shopping guides for other people's Zazzle stores and also for the general Zazzle marketplace. Have a look at the one below.
It uses some generic creatives I created that you can use, too. Together they make up what I've called a generic Zazzle shopping guide. That's because it's pulling from the Zazzle marketplace.

Fetching...won't be a tick!


guided search (opens in new tab)

I could also have limited them to just designs in the official "occasions" category by using that option (and giving it the value of 103661321574220876 - the Marvin Maker page tells you more on using marketplace and your own categories).

About Marvin

Marvin is never seen, visitors only see what he does - and that's to show them a series of flash-cards. The guided part comes about because under the slideshow of flash cards is a search box that Marvin fills in for you.
Of course, those terms are cunningly chosen so they bring up the products or design styles being talked about on the flash card they're with.

Who chooses the search terms Marvin will use?

The person who makes the postcards are the ones who decide. - Yes, the flash cards Marvin uses are actually postcards on Zazzle.
So where are they search terms...
That's easy - they're in the title you gave to the postcard when you made it.
Note that in the postcatd's title you have to use + symbols instead of spaces if you use more than one word in your search term. For example, summer+beach.

What other options are there for controlling Marvin?

Lots and lots :) See the Marvin Maker page - everything's explained there.

What a store guidebot looks like

The heading and slideshow below was created by my Marvin Maker page.

Marvin always sits behind the scenes. He's only making an appearance here so he can introduce himself and what he can do for you, your Zazzle store and your visitors.

Note the search terms can change for each card.  Btw, there's nothing special about them being postcards, it's just postcards are a convenient size and shape to maximize the available space for your creative / message.
Enough, over to Marvin:

Fetching...won't be a tick!


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Self-Introduction from Marvin, your Zazzle store Guidebot

Hi, I'm Marvin...

Let Marvin introduce himself - he's your Zazzle store guidebot. He's a ready, willing and able, 24/7 personal shoppper guidebot, always working tirelessly on your behalf!

He guides them round - you don't have to!

But no more from me, watch him live and interact with him on this link

How cool is that?

Imagine, I'm a bride to be, looking for wedding stationery (your store specialises in wedding designs).
I bump into your Marvin and he's proclaiming about your gorgeous winter crsytal range - something that appeals to me. Not only does Marvin show me them, he's now upselling to me your gorgeous wedding reception table cards and party favors!

Hmm... but I was also thinking I might need to plan for a spring wedding instead and... oh, look, he's now showing me other seasonal ranges you do. Oh my, I'm sold! I'm bound to find what I need in this store. That's one worry off my mind!!

When will you get a Marvin for your own store?

How you use Marvin is down to you but no mis-treatment! He likes nothing more than to be showing potential customers around, so make sure you share him far and wide! A depressed, paranoid android is never a good thing (nods in the direction of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy).

He works brilliantly on Pinterest. Use the slideshow buttons to get to the image you want used as the teaser for your pin, then pin it using the pinterest button on the page. Don't forget to write a good teaser description before you finally choose which board to pin to.

Good on twitter, too - but no image on the tweet :(

Facebook is mostly ok. You drag the image you want for the status update to your desktop. You then start a new status update with your teaser text. Then you drag the image from your desktop and drop on the status update. Finally, you have to paste in the special link for your Marvin.

Same for Google+ as for FB. If you don't do the image drag thing, the both use a boring default image.

About that link for your Marvin... 

There's no fancy Marvin generator page yet. Until then, you'll have to make do with these instructions. Don't worry, not too hard - it's just some copying and pasting.
Sorry 'bout that :)

Enjoy making Marvin happy by letting him do his thing for your store!

Find out how to get your own Zazzle Store Guidebot

My first Zazzle Store Guidebot

Let me introduce you to Marvin. He sits behind the scenes and guides your visitors around your store on your behalf. He's active 24 hours a day working tirelessly to bring you more sales.

Botting 24/7

Here's Marvin botting for my hightonridley zazzle store. Did you notice how the suggested search terms changed for each slide? That's the key to the whole "guided" thing.

What you need for your own Guidebot

  • A set of Postcards created on Zazzle - the cue cards in the store guide Marvin works from.
 You design each one to get across the point you're making. Maybe you're talking about a particular color pallete or maybe a design style. Possibly you want them guided to your new range of scarves.

As Marvin is a bot, he needs to be told how to guide. The guidance he gives just consists of a pre-prepared set of search terms, ready filled out in the search box, so all the visitor has to do is click "go".
Where does he get those pre-prepared search terms from? Simple, you put the right ones to use in the title of the postcard when you created it on Zazzle. When that postcard comes up in the slideshow, Marvin pops the search terms from the title into the search box. Easy-peasy!

Once you've published, you just need to wait for Zazzle's indexers to get round to making the products available via their RSS feed mechanism - the one the guidebot relies on.

Btw, here's a link to one of the postcards from my first guidebot. See how the the search terms / postcard title works?

What you need for your own Guidebot part 2 

  • The link to your store guidebot
Eventually I'll build a Guidebot Maker page but until then, it's a case of messing with gobbledigook codes in a link url, as described below. Sorry 'bout that ;)

If you can't wait for the maker page, here's a quick low-down on the codes. If you do nothing else, for your first play with it, just change the qs and the storeid. Here's my store guidebot link, just change it to make yours by changing some text in it:

qs= the unique codeword powertag you used for your postcards (remember, one postcard per slide image) (if just having a play, put in any old query for your store)
rf= your ref id
st=date_created - leave alone, this is so your slides appear in the right sequence
sd=desc - leave alone, as above
storeid= mine's hightonridley
tc=nft_ss_ad1 the tracking code you want used so you can identify any arising referral commission
title=blah+blah the title you want displayed above your guidebot

Good time to mention getting the slideshow sequence you want. I created mine in reverse order so that's why those 'leave-alone's are there - so you can create yours in reverse order, too. If you choose to create the first, first, the second, second etc. (yeah, I know, it's the logical thing to do, I must have had a brain hiccup!) then just change the sd=desc to sd=asc

During testing today, I noticed things were a bit glitchy again between Google and Zazzle, not sure which. The upshot is getting the dreaded 'feed not loaded' message sometimes. When this happens, a reload of the page will often sort it.

Well, that's it for now. Do drop off a comment if you can see how it would help you and in what way you might use it. I'm happy to answer questions.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

2 steps ready to Pin - the fastest Pinterest sharing yet with Nifty Slideshows

You won't believe it.  Two, yes 2, steps to get a themed Zazzle product slideshow to share on Pinterest.

Get ready to Pin

  1. Click this link: 
  2. In the new window that opens, type in your search term (under the slideshow controls) and click the arrow button 
..a new window opens with your ready-to-pin slideshow.


That's it, you're ready to share that cool slideshow on Pinterest:
  1. In that new window click the Pinterest button in the sidebar.
    NB Before you click, wait till you see the image in the slideshow you want used for your pin - then click and choose it from the choices given.
  2. Write an appealing description, choose which board to pin to and you're done!

Referral Commission is mine - bwoah, ha, ha!

Drawbacks to you of this method?
  • I get the referral commission generated from any sales arising (i.e. when folks on Pinterest watching the slideshow then click on any of the products and buys).

Advanced users only may proceed beyond this point!

What, you want the dosh? Here's how...

Ok, so you want any referral commission arising... well, it's not magic - you have to tell it what your referral id is. Here's how

  1. Copy this link:
  2. paste it into your address bar - but don't hit enter yet...
  3. in between the "=" symbol and the "&" symbol, paste in your referral id (ak rf id or associate id)
    mine looks like this
  4. Now hit the enter key or the "go" button on the address bar. 
Now you can do the search and then share on Pinterest as before.

What, you want just from your store? Here's how...

Ok, so you want to promote gear just from your own store. So how do you get the slideshow to do that? Here's how

  1. Copy this link:
  2. paste it into your address bar - but don't hit enter yet...
  3. as before, in between the first "=" symbol and the "&" symbol right after it, paste in your referral id
  4. in between the second "=" symbol and the "&" symbol right after it, paste in your store id
    mine looks like this
  5. Now hit the enter key or the "go" button on the address bar. 
Now you can do the search and then share on Pinterest as before.

Pretty cool, I'm sure you'll agree! :D

Why not bookmark that final link you created - it's than a peice of cake to do a bit of Pinning when the mood or idea pops into your head!

For full control

For total control over settings you can use, like international domains, promo codes and other goodies, hop over to the Nifty Slideshows generator page where you can do all that and much, much more besides. Just click the test your slideshow link and pin from the page you get.

Trending quinceanera invites, rsvps and more from Zazzle forpntrst


Christening product trends on Zazzle

Monday, 4 July 2016

Using Zazzle's Events & Occasions and Recipients in Nifty Slideshows

I never realized...

The Events & Occasions and Recipients navigation in the left hand column on some Zazzle pages are actually "categories" as per their RSS feed definition. This means you can use them as another way to specify what you want in feed requests.

As it works on feeds, so it will also work on Nifty Slideshows (and PinAProd, SeeMyBest and others).
Do you see that &pce in the address bar? The number that comes after it is the number to use for the rss feed's cg= thingy.
That means you can use it Nifty Slideshows. Here's one for the encouragement category 103972392227461916:
And here it is in place on the Nifty Slideshows generator:

It's the one after "Limit results to this category number" and you can see one of the products selected from that category (with search "new journey") in the slideshow preview at the top.

Neat :)

I've only shown it for the Events & Occasions navigation panel but it works identically with the "Recipents" nav in that left hand column (top pic). It'll appear as the number after &pcr= in your browser's address bar.

Shame we can't use both at the same time like you can when navigating on Zazzle :(