Interview with Deanna Jump

Last night I was able to sit down with Deanna Jump as part of one of my other projects called EduAllStars.  When I’m not being a husband and father of a new baby boy, or teaching 8th graders, or going to grad school, or creating Teachers pay Teachers products, I’m working as a host on a podcast called EduAllStars.  We interview the difference makers in education and I’m super proud of the lineup that we have spoken with over the last year.  I find a ton of inspiration from listening to these amazing people talk about how they impact the education world.

Deanna Jump is everything that you want her to be.  She’s funny, smart, and seriously dedicated to her work.  She’s also grounded, and to me, that’s the icing on the cake.  I like that she has her own opinions and isn’t afraid to share them with the world either.  I hope that you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Here are a couple of ways that you can connect with us at EduAllStars

Track Outbound Traffic From Your Blog with Google Analytics

One of the main goals for any Teachers Pay Teachers stores should be to track and increase eyeballs on your products. I have a blog over at that I used to talk about my classroom and how I use my own products in it. I knew that there had to be a way to track the traffic that I was sending from my blog to my TPT store and just figured out how to do that.

Here’s a quick video explaining the process. Note that you will have to have Google Analytics installed on your blog to view this data. If you don’t have it installed I would suggest that you should. This is one of my go-to tools for my analyzing how my blog is doing.

Would you be interested in a video showing how to view incoming traffic from Pinterest using Google Analytics? Specifically, which pins are sending you the most traffic.

Edit: You may have to add a piece of code from Google Analytics to get this working properly.  The following articles explain exactly how to do that.

How to Start a YouTube Video at a Specific Point

Sometimes you want to link or embed a YouTube video to start from somewhere other than the beginning of the video. This can be done very easily by adding a tiny string of text into the original URL of the YouTube video.

1.  Clicke on “Share” from the the YouTube video

2.  Select the check box for “start at”

3.  Enter a time value in the text box next to it.  Your link to share with others will be to the left of the “Start at” checkbox.

Alternative:  You can also append the string #t=xmys to the end of any YouTube URL.  x represents the number of minutes and y represents the number of seconds.  For example. will start at 2 minutes and 2 seconds into the video.







How to  Embed a YouTube Video from a Specific Starting Time

The steps to embed a YouTube video from a specific time are slightly different than the steps from above.  It actually took me a while to find the correct way to do this.

1. Click on Share>Embed from any YouTube video.

2. Add the start string paremeter at the end of url in the embed code.  The value of the start parameter should be the start time in seconds.  The string should look like &start=400 (where 400 is the number of seconds where I want the video to start).


Embed Code before entering Start string:  <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Embed Code after entering Start string: <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

This is what the embed will look like using the code above.


How to Setup a WordPress Blog in 15 Minutes

I’ve already shared with you my reasons that you need a blog to complement your TPT store.  Here are some instructions on getting a blog setup today.  I truly think it’s one of the most valuable things that you can do as a TPT seller.

The easiest way to make your presence felt on the internet is to start a blog.  They are used to share ideas, reflect on thoughts, promote a topic or business, and can even aid in making money.  Most people don’t realize that setting up a beautiful looking blog is very easy to  setup and this tutorial will show you provide you with a step-by-step process to have your very own domain and WordPress blog setup within about 15 minutes.

In order to setup a blog you need to have three things.

1. A domain name

2. A hosting account

3. A blogging platform.

Before we get started I will mention that there are many different domain and hosting options.  I am only going to be talking about GoDaddy and BlueHost during this tutorial, because that is what I have been using for the last eight years.  You can buy a domain from one company and have it hosted somewhere else, but I recommend that you purchase them from the same place to make it a little easier.

Domain Name for Your Blog

The domain name is what the user will type in the address bar of a web browser (ex.  You can search and purchase a website domain at either GoDaddy or BlueHost.  Many domains are already taken, so it may take some effort and creativity to come up with one that you like.  Keep the end-user in mind when picking a domain name.  It’s much easier to remember a 1-2 word domain than a really long domain like As I mentioned previously, it will be easier if you purchase your domain and hosting from the same place.  I recommend GoDaddy or BlueHost.

Domain Hosting

The next thing you will need is a hosting account.  This is where your website will “live”.  All of the data for your website will be stored on a server in another location and will be maintained by that company.  Just think of it as the cloud.  I personally use BlueHost for all of my hosting needs, but GoDaddy is a great option too.

I should mention that free options exist, but they come at a cost that I’m not willing to put up with.  Free hosting accounts are highly limited and almost always plaster your website with advertisements.  I prefer to be in full control over what is shown on my website.  In my opinion the free hosting options look junky and unprofessional.  See the infographic below (from WPBeginner) for more details.  The biggest drawback for me of the free site is losing control and not being able to work with WordPress plugins which are crucial in my goals for the blog.


WordPress or Blogger

I have used WordPress sites since 2005 and feel that they are superior to Blogger sites in many ways.  Wordpress is hand down superior for more advanced blogger and allows much more control than a blogger site does.  However, you can still have a nice looking blog by setting it up on Blogger.  I would definitely suggest still buying your own domain on BlueHost or GoDaddy so that your domain doesn’t look like  Your domain will be much easier to remember if it doesn’t have the subdomain on the front of it.  It’s a very cheap investment and makes you look a lot more professional.  You can setup Blogger with your own name by following these instructions.

How to Install WordPress on Your Website

Once you have the domain name and the hosting setup all you need to do is install WordPress on the site.  This process used to be reserved for only tech savvy individuals, but most hosting companies now have a one-button install process that makes it very easy.  Wordpress is the blogging platform that is kind of like the skeleton for your website.  It is the structure that makes everything pretty and organized on your site.  Wordpress allows you to focus on the content that should go on your site rather than have to worry about HMTL and CSS.  That said, WordPress is highly customizable, and it  is the blogging platform that many of the top bloggers use.  Here is a great article on the top 10 reasons that you should use WordPress.

I am providing a video that shows you exactly how to install WordPress on your BlueHost site once you have the domain and hosting setup.


I have also included a video for GoDaddy hosting and WordPress setup.

Change Your WordPress Theme to Make it Shine

Once you have WordPress installed in your hosted website you’re ready to start having fun!  Login to your WordPress control panel.  This will look like www.domainname/wp-admin (replace domainname with your domain name).  You will use the user name and password that were provided to your after you installed wordpress on your hosting account.

The first thing that you will probably want to do is to change your theme.  Themes are the look and feel of the website.  There are thousands of themes available and many of them are totally free.  Here are some of the more popular themes.

From within the wordpress admin panel you will go to the Appearance menu option on the left>Themes>Intall Themes.  From there you can search for themes and chose to intall them.  You can easily switch from theme to theme and not lose any of your posts.  They will show up in the newly themed format.  Here is a more detailed post on installing themes.

Create Your First WordPress Blog Post

We’re all set to share with the world!  It’s time to write your first blog post.  From the left hand side of the WordPress admin panel you will choose Posts>Add New.  You will then be prompted to write a title and post.  Once you have completed the post you can choose to save it as a draft of to go ahead an publish it to the internet.  Here is an excellent starting point for WordPress.

Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins extend the functionality of WordPress.  These are some of my favorite WordPress plugins that I install on all of my sites.  Here is a tutorial of how to install them.

SEO Yoast  – This plugin allows you to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) your site.  Long story short, it allows for search engines (namely Google) to find you easier so that it can put you into organic search results

Akismet – This plugin does a great job of blocking comment spam which is a problem for many bloggers.

Google XML Sitemap – This plugin provides a map for Google to use when it crawls or indexes your site.  It helps with search engine rankings

Google Analyticator – This plugin allows you to see how many people are visiting your site along with a ton of other analytics that will help you find out how people use your site.

Get started now with a WordPress blog with GoDaddy or BlueHost .

Benefits of Being in the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter

Back at the end of December I landed one of my free products in the newsletter. At the time I captured some stats and posted some analysis on the forum, but wanted to re-share that with you here on TPTSchool.

You should definitely consider submitting a free/paid product each week to Teachers Pay Teachers. You can do that by logging into TPT and then going to My TPT > See it in the Newsletter.

The first post I made was the evening after making it into the newsletter.


OK, here are some initial stats from being in the newsletter today. I’ll do another one at the end of the week. I just happen to be awake at 4am because I couldn’t sleep and that is when the email came in. I took a snapshot of my dashboard right away so that I could compare some things.

My free science product is geared for middle school, but definitely appeals to elementary teachers also.

Views: Before – 594 Tonight – 4617 (whoa)
Wishlisted: Before – 4 Tonight – 115
Downloads: Before – 202 Tonight – 2639 (another whoa)
Sales: bleh. Horrible time of the year for sales. I’ve had a couple, but nothing abnormal
Follows: Before – 45 Tonight – 103 (fantastic)
Feedbacks: Before – 4 Tonight – 34
FB follows: I doubled the 10 that I had smile I’m just getting started there.
Blog: above average blog traffic, but again it’s only been live for about a month or so.

I also advertised some of my other paid products inside the freebie and within the description of the freebie. Those numbers are up, but I was expecting some sales from that. Again, brutal time of the year for sales.

Here’s the best stat though.

Number of times that I’ve submitted to be in the newsletter: 1 I guess I need to go to Vegas. Pure Luck.

All in all it’s been a fun day watching numbers and getting feedback emails. I think the biggest win is the 50 extra followers that I now have. I don’t ever follow anyone if I don’t genuinely have an interest in their products, so hopefully some of those follows are potential customers also.

This next post was on 1/5/14 and was at the end of the week after being in the newsletter.

I just wanted to post some final numbers after having my freebie in the newsletter for a week.

My free science product is geared for middle school, but definitely appeals to elementary teachers also.

Views: Before – 594 Tonight – 9733 (whoa)
Wishlisted: Before – 4 Tonight – 206
Downloads: Before – 202 Tonight – 5642 (another whoa)
Sales: best sales week but most of it came from new products I posted this week.
Follows: Before – 45 Tonight – 170 (crazy)
Feedbacks: Before – 4 Tonight – 51
FB follows: 28 new follows

In summary, being in the newsletter has really helped out. I think the biggest benefit is having the additional 130 targeted followers that now are potential customers every time I post a new product. I posted 3 new products this week and all of them had sales on them almost immediately because I have people that follow me that know and trust that my work is solid.

It was lots of fun to watch. It’s time to get back to making some killer products in preparation for my next appearance.

How to Find Your Posts on the TPT Forum

This little trick saved me a ton of time. It’s not really a trick so much as something that I was overlooking on the TPT forums. There are often times when I want to go back to a post that I made on the forums, but the SEARCH function doesn’t seem to work as well as it should.

I stumbled across an area that allows you to search all of your posts, responses, subscribed posts, and unanswered topics. You simply have to login to the forum and they are listed at the bottom of the page.

Here is a quick video showing you exactly what I’m talking about.

Write Item Descriptions Before Working on Products

I’m going to be keeping it short and sweet today. I changed something up a couple of months ago that has worked really well for me. Before starting any work on a project I wrote out the item description that I would put on teachers pay teachers for that particular project that I was about to start.

This helped me to remain focused on exactly what the product is going to cover and allowed me to publish once I met the requirements that I had outlined for myself. I include everything that they teacher is going to be getting with my product as well as the links to other similar product that I may want to try and sell to that particular customer. By doing this I can remain totally clear on what my goal is and what I need to do to complete the product.

I’ve spoken publicly about my tendency to keep adding additional items to my products or to not hit publish because I wanted to tweak this or that. At the end of the day you have to get your project out the door and put it up for sale. A 95% complete project is still 0% to a customer. Get that thing published and move on to the next one.

Teachers Pay Teachers Product Link Generator

Here’s the method that I used to generate hyperlinks that I use for my “Item Description” hyperlinks.  Cross-promotiong your items via hyperlinks will help you sell more products.

TPT Product Link Generator Google Spreadsheet

Step 1. Click the link and go to File>Make a Copy.  Call it whatever name makes sense to you.  This will allow you to edit the document because my original file is ‘View Only’.

Step 2. In column A Add the text that you want for your hyperlink.  I usually just use my product name but it could be whatever text you want.

Step 3. In Column B copy and paste the link to your TPT product page for that product.

Step 4. Copy the HTML from column F (columns C-E are hidden) and paste it into your item description.  Boom! No need for HTML anymore.

I have an example of one of my products in Row 2.  Feel free to delete it on your copy.

I find this document to be very helpful for item descriptions and when I want to quickly access all of my product links for pinning or blogging.

How do you keep track of your links?


To Bundle or Not to Bundle?

My best selling products are what I would consider comprehensive products. They have more than one lesson in them which ultimately allows me to charge more for the item. For the first few months on TPT I believed that this was the way to go and only focused on the larger products. I trusted that I was right, but didn’t do any testing until recently.

I was wrong. Very wrong. A couple of weeks ago I split up some of my larger products into individual activities and the sales came in for both formats.

One of the things that I did with the pricing is that I made sure that there was actually an incentive for someone to buy the full product over just the single activity. What I did was to advertise all the savings they can be had in the item descriptions for each of the individual products. I also kept the same covers which allowed the customer to know that they were related. I am very surprised to see the individual items selling as well as they do. This is a win-win for the customer and me.

The takeaway here is that you should definitely be bundling and/or un-bundling products to give your customers an opportunity to purchase exactly what they want. I’m thrilled to make $2-$3 rather nothing because someone may not have needed all of the other information from the bundle. I’m also happy to up-sell my bundle to someone that didn’t know that they could buy a more comprehensive product for a discount.

I’d like to hear your experiences with bundling. Leave them in the comments below.

How to Pin High Quality Images From Your Teachers Pay Teachers Store

There are several ways to pin images from TPT and one of them is far more effective than that others.

The freshman team pins their low-quality title page directly from TPT and thinks that their marketing campaign is done with.  They wait around for weeks and ultimately end up wondering why their pins aren’t getting any traction and that sales aren’t coming in.

The varsity squad watches my video below and then hits the game winning shot in the form of increased exposure and sales.  This is the strategy that I use to pin high quality images to my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Which team are you on?