Tuesday, 25 August 2015

How to become a seller on DBT & TpT: Creating quality products

Welcome to part two in my series on becoming a seller on DBT and TpT. I hope this series clears up any queries and concerns you may have and haven't been able to answer with regards to becoming an online seller of education resources. This second post is about creating quality products:

It is important to create quality products when you plan to sell them online. Quality products will get you high ratings, return customers and a high seller placement. Providing high quality products will also keep customers coming back to not only your store, but other sellers stores, and that helps everyone! So...

What constitutes a quality product?

Well it will need to be:
  • Visually appealing (cliparts, borders, digital paper and fonts);
  • Appropriate for the year/grade for which they are being marketed;
  • Complete - the buyer should have everything they need to use the product (this includes instructions, answer sheets, links to online resources etc);
  • Non-specific. Take out information regarding you school or classroom and make it generic;
  • Free of errors and typos (collaborate with another creator to proof-read it); and
  • Free from an abundance of ads and links to your store, facebook, blog etc.

How do I create a quality product?

Before you start, you will need to have a reliable computer/laptop with Microsoft Office, with Word and PowerPoint loaded AND a good printer and laminator (if you don't own a laminator that get out and purchase yourself one - NOW!). Why do I need a good printer when I'm selling digital products you ask? Well, you will need to test your product to ensure it prints in the way it appears - there is nothing worse as a buyer than paying for a item, printing it only to realise it doesn't work! Now that you are ready to create or re-invent an item you've already created, here are 3 main steps to ensuring it is a quality product that is going to earn you money and ratings! 

1. Create products for yourself.

This may sound silly, but creating products that you yourself will use means that they are practical and of real-world value. You can also share your personal experience with your followers through photographs via a blog, Facebook, Instagram etc. which increases interest, traffic and customers. 

When you start creating products that are going to be sold via online marketplaces, you'll put in more effort - instead of just using Comic Sans font and images taken from Google, you will create products with commercial fonts and images/clip-arts with engaging layouts. The constant reinvention and creativity is what teaching is all about - you are constantly developing and improving your practice! Below is an example of one of my original products and the made over version!

The first products I sold on TpT were ones I had used during my casual teaching experiences, created using simple fonts that comes standard with Microsoft Office and NSW Foundation Font and images taken from conducting a Google search. Once I really began delving into the world of selling through online market-spaces, I realised the importance of using commercially licensed fonts and clip-art to become competitive in such a growing market. From here I then started creating some larger activity packs based on unit studies I had taught with the classes I had during my temporary teaching experiences - these are now some of my most popular sellers, and as you can see from the images above and below, they have both had make-overs - not just on the cover pages, but also with the layouts of the activity pages, providing answer sheets for teachers and new fonts to create engaging pages for students. 

2. Use PowerPoint NOT Word

You may be wondering why you would use PowerPoint to create printables, but after doing some research into it myself to improve my creating process, I have found that it provides a much easier platform in which to manipulate fonts and images on a page, and also allows you to easily add new pages rather than inserting a page break and quickly duplicate any page unlike the cut-and-paste method that you have to do with Word.

So if you're ready to brave making printables using PowerPoint, check out some of these sites for tips and tricks on creating products using PowerPoint:

This great post from Kindergarten Kids at Play introduces you to how to set up and use PowerPoint to create printables.

View this video from Jess at Mrs Stanford's Class:


This is another one from Ladybug's Teacher Files:


If you are unfamiliar with the basic functions of PowerPoint then check out these FREE  Microsoft Office Training links.

Now as I am writing this, I have a confession - I still use Microsoft Word to create my products. As the old say goes, old habits die hard! While I'm experimenting and getting used to PowerPoint I'll stick with what I know. But if you're new to it, then follow the lead of those who are in the know, and start using PowerPoint.

3. Invest in quality licensed Fonts and Clipart.

Teachers don't want to purchase something that is made using Comic Sans or NSW Foundation Font - they can create that themselves. They want something different that will engage their students, and the way to do this is by using commercially licensed fonts, clip-arts, digital paper and borders. Doing this is a way in which to develop your own designer style and will make your products stand out in the huge world of online educational material. Your style is something that will evolve as your create products, so remember to go back to your original products and see what can be changed or improved.

Some of my favourite designers for things like clip-art, digital papers and borders are:

And Kimberly Geswein is possible one of the most popular font designers for teachers, and has fast become mine. I was fortunate enough to purchase the lifetime license for all her fonts - this is an expensive purchase, but you can pick it up on sale (like I did) and if you start making money you can use your earnings to pay for this purchase - just as I did. BUT, if you want to get some new fonts now you can purchase a single font license which is a good way when you're starting out. Check out her Facebook page and website to see the types of fonts she offers, as well as tips and tricks on how to use them in your products.

So there are my 3 main tips how how to create quality products that you can sell online. Make sure you come by tomorrow for my post about Copyright and how to create Terms of Use and Acknowledgement pages.

Don'f forget, if you decide to sign up for TpT please use my referral link by clicking on the image below.


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