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First zRank boost

SincerelyCreated: zRank 4, 55 products, 10 collections, 6 sales, open for 14 months

Free Time Designs: zRank 3, 35 products, 10 collections, 9 sales, open for 23 months

I wanted to focus on boosting my SincerelyCreated. My ultimate goal is to boost the sales in my stores, but my immediate goal when I started buckling down was to get the zRank to at least a 4 and keep it there. At a zRank of 4, Zazzle says that stores begin to appear in suggested search results and the designer store search results. At this point, my Zazzle store would theoretically start to see a boost in views and possibly sales. The zRank basic info page notes that zRank doesn’t currently factor into marketplace search results but it will soon. I imagine that this page was last updated when zRank was launched, and it could very well be affecting marketplace search results soon if it isn’t already.

Changes made:

I started with my collections. Each store only had 4, but I noticed that there were collections that included products from both shops, but were not visible on both shops’ collections pages. I made all of the collections visible in both shops, which brought me up to 8 collections. I then created 2 more collections, one of which is serving as research for some future project ideas. This added 20% to my store completion.

Then I shared products to my blog and pinterest, which I imagine created viable backlinks to my shop. Good for SEO, good for zRank. One thing to note is that I didn’t just copy the URL from my browser. I clicked the “share” button on the product, and copied the sharing link from there. This does two things. I think Zazzle recognizes that you used the share link and credits you towards the “share 10 products” milestone. It also adds your affiliate identifier to the end of your link so that if someone uses your link to find the product, you get credit for that as well as the sale. This added 10% to my store completion and brought my store completion percentage up to 95%.

Additionally, I added 2 more designs that I’d recently created, this photographer stamp design and this nautical quote print. My intention with these is that these designs are more indicative of my current style and design trends. Thus, creating quality products, as Zazzle tends to like.

Results:

3 days later, I checked my shops and the zRank for SincerelyCreated was boosted up from 2 to 4. Woohoo! This lets me know that progressing towards 100% store completion is (or at least the 2 ways in which I made changes are) a strong factor in zRank. It looks like Zazzle values backlinks and promotion (I know this isn’t necessarily news, but it is validating to see a boost in zRank related to this).

It also lets me know that zRank is updated fairly quickly, in 3 days or less from changes made. I’ll continue to make changes, and hopefully narrow this time frame down!

Conclusions:

To boost zRank:

  • Work on your store completion percentage, even if you can’t get it to 100% right away.
  • Promote products by blogging about them, sharing them on pinterest and other social media sites, and thereby creating backlinks to those products and your store. USE THE SHARE LINK on your product!

Although I know that boosting zRank may not necessarily boost my sales, and is really catering to what Zazzle wants, for me it’s a place to start and doesn’t require a monetary investment, only time. I also plan to be doing some research to see what successful Zazzle shop owners are doing to bring in sales.

As a sidenote: I do know that this is not a purely scientific way of testing ways to boost zRank. Although controlling one variable at a time and making small incremental changes would result in more solid conclusions, I’m more interested in getting actual results. As a Zazzle shop owner, I want to see more views and more sales. I do hope that my results and method suggestions are encouraging and helpful to other Zazzle shop owners that are just starting out or are stuck on zRank!

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Zazzle baseline

SincerelyCreated: zRank 2, 53 products, 4 collections, 6 sales, open for 14 months

Free Time Designs: zRank 3, 35 products, 4 collections, 9 sales, open for 23 months

So I have two shops on Zazzle: my original shop Free Time Designs, and my second shop SincerelyCreated, which is where I plan to focus my energy. I opened Free Time Designs back in 2014 and threw a couple of designs on things like keychains, iPhone cases, mugs. I’d really wanted to do some designs with references to Doctor Who, Firefly, Harry Potter and the sort, but I quickly learned that Zazzle has a strict policy on anything that could even remotely possibly be trademarked. So a tossed a few more designs into my shop for a total of maybe 15 products, and promptly forgot about it.

A few months later, I got an email notification of a sale. I was shocked and embarrassingly excited to have made that $1.20. After that, I started seeing about a sale about every month, and every couple of sales I was motivated enough to add some new designs to the shop. A year from that first sale, I’d gotten 12 sales for a total of $35.53. I was still impressed that I was selling ANYTHING. I’d been sure that my Zazzle shop was pretty much swallowed up by the vastness of the internet, and expected nothing.

Last year, I opened SincerelyCreated in the hopes that the name would be more brand-friendly (and way better than Free Time Designs.) Since Free Time Designs opened back in 2014, I’ve sold a grand total of 15 items between my shops, and am up to $45.97 in royalties.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 10.46.25 PMWhen Zazzle made some major changes last summer/fall and  introduced zRank, Free Time Designs was ranked a 3, and SincerelyCreated a 2. My store homes started showing these checklists with “store completion” percentages. I hadn’t bothered with the collections, media, or sharing. It also constantly reminded me to hide or remove products that weren’t performing- weren’t garnering views, sales, etc. Which for someone whose majority of products fall under that “non-performing” status, is freaking annoying. So naturally I ignored it.

That just about brings me up to date with my stores. I have made a few changes over the last few days, and am hoping to see some results to share soon!

Welcome!

I’m an eclectic New Englander who, more often than not, can be found with a computer mouse in my right hand and a largeish jug mug of coffee in my left (Starbucks Veranda  with cream and sugar, gracias. Or a latte. I do love those.)

This website is primarily geared towards sharing my art. I also hope to make most of my designs available for purchase as prints or other products. The platform on which I’ve chosen to do so is Zazzle, which has proven to be an … interesting… life choice. One of my goals for this blog is to track my progress on Zazzle, and hopefully be able to share some tips and ideas on how to improve and build Zazzle shops.

I started my first Zazzle shop a few years ago as a fun way to get some of my designs and art out on the internet for others to see. I remember being dazzled by the array of products, and I quickly dumped reason and logic to post as many products as I could in a short period of time. Which didn’t last long- I burned out pretty quickly once I realized that there was more to it than just posting designs.

Lately, I decided to try to take my shop a little more seriously. The designs didn’t follow any particular style, some of the products needed to go (iPhone cases? Really?)  It needed (still needs) a serious clean up. Also, Zazzle made some major changes over the last year or so. A big one is zRank, which now affects how my shops show up in Zazzle searches, and I’m sure it’s up to countless other shenanigans.I tried to see what other people were doing to boost their zRank, but it seems to be a bit of a crap shoot- and Zazzle’s how-to article is a whole lot of “duh.” I plan to document my progress on here, and hopefully be able to clear up some of the mysterious fog surrounding that and Zazzle best practices.

Well, wish me luck! And coffee, I always appreciate that.