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Using comments to customize your site

There are many opportunities to write custom text for your site -- there is one special type of text block ('multipurpose text block' or 'vacation' text) that appears on every page on your site, if you choose to use it.   The other types of text are specific to individual pages.   The vacation news is really intended to be used for just that -- announcements such as 'our store is temporarily closed for the next two weeks' that you want to have appear on all pages. Note that text should be used with considerable caution because many search engines will store only a small amount of the first text they find on your page and will display it to their customers. In the general case, it is a very bad idea to have identical text on all your pages -- while spiders probably won't think the pages are duplicate (because the page checksums will be different), it can be hard for customers to tell such pages apart. And some search engines may perceive such pages as duplicate as well. So we recommend that you use this feature only when you need to effectively override all your other content. If you don't want this effect, you should not use this text block.

Note: at the time of this writing, Google truncated entries at 150 characters, Yahoo at 150, HotBot and Alta Vista at 200. 

There are five major pages where text is displayed; this tutorial shows the text locations and discusses some issues to consider when using these features.

Your home page has 5 possible locations for text that you can customize:

As noted above, we recommend that you use the vacation text only when you are really on vacation.   vacation text is entered in the Preferences menu option of the Site Maintenance menu.

Use the store news as a temporary assist if you are having a sale or something that you want people to know is new.  There is a menu option for adding and maintaining this text in the Site Maintenance menu.

Use the opening paragraph to list your specialties or key merchandise.  However, remember, not all this information will be displayed -- make sure that which is, represents your store as you want it to be.  There is a menu option for adding and maintaining this text in the Site Maintenance menu.

If you use the tip-of-the-day feature, it is in a location where it will rarely be evaluated by a search engine.  This is, however, a feature that is often enjoyed by customers, so it's worth using.   There is a menu option for adding and maintaining this text in the Site Maintenance menu.

At the bottom of the main page (and at the top of the 'About Us' page, you can put optional text.  Many sites use this for customer testimonials or a brief paragraph about themselves and their business.  Given the location of this information, its comparatively unlikely that it will get indexed.  You enter this information in the Preferences menu option of the Site Maintenance menu.

There are two locations on the inventory page where you can put comments:

The vacation message appears first; the category description is unique to this category of product and can provide a way for you to offer some text that will be displayed by search engines.   Remember, however, that only about the first 150 characters will be shown.  Note that the title of this page will be the name of the category (in the example, 'Modern Chocolates with a Flair!')  You enter the vacation message by using the Preferences option on the Site Maintenance menu; you enter the category information during category maintenance.

Note that if you have an active coupon and have chosen the option to display coupon information on the page, it will show just below the vacation message.

The inventory picture page (the 'zoom page') only has an option to display the vacation text.  You enter this information in the Preferences menu option of the Site Maintenance menu.  Note that if you have an active coupon and have chosen the option to display coupon information on the page, it will show just below the vacation message

Your order form shows your vacation message and has two places that you can add text, one at the top and one at the bottom of the page:

The purpose of these comments is to allow you to tell the customer things during the order process.  A common use of the bottom comment is to remind customers that there will be shipping charges.   You enter this information on the Preferences option on the Site Maintenance menu.

On the 'thank you' page that the customer sees after they order you can add text:

You enter this information in the Preferences menu option of the Site Maintenance menu:  This may be a good place to give customers a coupon for a discount good on their next purchase.   You could also invite them to send the coupon to a friend or two -- customer referrals are an excellent source of new customers.

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