Customer Support: Tips for Using the Polymer Clay Tutor Web Sites

Polymer Clay Tutor Site Navigation Tips “Today, I’m going to address some recent questions that have
come up.” ~Cindy-L

But before I get started… let me just say Happy Valentines Day to everyone reading :-) :-) :-) Hopefully your day is filled with chocolate, roses and lovely thoughts of that special someone in your life.

Now on with the show…. With new members coming into this community every day, I receive a lot of email about how to access all of the polymer clay information that I publish daily, here at the blog [www.polymerclaytutor.com], and weekly at the members library site [www.beadvideos.com].

Some of these emails are from members and visitors, just wanting to let me know how organized they feel everything is laid out around here, at least for the way their brains work. Obviously I love receiving these emails, because it means I’ve done something right :-)

But… not everyone processes information in the same way. And for that reason, I also get emails from people asking for further assistance with finding stuff.

So today, I’m going to address some recent questions that have come up, in hopes that everyone can benefit from the information. For the quotes and comments presented in this article, I’ve decided to leave out the names, since some of you may prefer it that way, with this subject matter.


Hello Cindy :) I enjoy so much getting your emails, you are so organized! Can I ask a question about your web site interface? It’s so pleasant and easy to navigate – both blog and content, is it WordPress? Thanks!

Yes I use WordPress for my website interface, both for the free blog [www.polymerclaytutor.com] as well as for the members library [www.beadvideos.com]. It works great as a content management system and is well supported by many developers who make both free and paid plugins for it.


Hi there! I just spent the last 15 minutes or so perusing your blog. I love how you have it set up! VERY nice and conducive to reading through lots of posts quickly, fabulous!! Everything you write about is great and very informative even for people who are not a polymer clay artist, but just someone who likes to craft!!

Thank you! A lot of information is provided in each of the daily blog posts, especially when a whole bunch of helpful comments get added below the article. But everyone has busy lives, so I wanted to set things up in a way where you can visually scroll through the topics to be able to quickly pick and choose what to consume, during the time that you have available for web surfing.


Thanks, Cindy for all the links you provide in each post to check out other related articles available on the site. My brain is spinning with all the information contained here. Just the links alone will take me days to explore and ingest.

This comment shows that if you have time to research a topic more extensively, all of the links in each of the articles help you to be able to do this more effectively.


Cindy, every time I think I have read just about everything there is to read at your blog [www.polymerclaytutor.com], I come across an article I have not seen before. I don’t know if anyone has ever asked you this before but is there anyway to start at the beginning of your blog and read from there forward. When was your very first blog?? This is the only way I feel I can be sure to absorb all the information you have ever offered here.

Now that I have a laptop, my wonderful husband has fixed a table on wheels where I can slide it over the bed and use it with ease. On days when I don’t feel like doing much of anything else, I would love nothing more than to read your blog from the beginning on. I am sure it will take me many days of which unfortunately I seem to have more than I would like some weeks. So if this can be done would you please tell me how. Eager to learn as much from you that I possibly can. Thank you so much for all I have learned so far.

To the wonderful member who sent this email, I sincerely apologize for not addressing your message sooner. There are two ways to go through all of the content in the blog. The quickest approach is to use the Archives feature in the right side bar column. There is a drop down box that says Select Month, which reveals a scrolling list of all the months since I started publishing articles back in February 2008. Simply click on each month and an index of all the articles for that month will show for you.

The other way to systematically move through all of the articles at this blog is to follow these steps:

  • Click on the Home link. It is at the top left of the blog, just above the Search box.
  • Then manually scroll down to the last photo on the page and click on the link that says NEXT PAGE (older stuff). This will show you next page of photos and article titles.
  • At the bottom of the second page, you will see another NEXT PAGE (older stuff) link that will take you to page 3. With the amount content that has been published at the blog to date, you would need to click this NEXT PAGE (older stuff) link 24 times to get to the very beginning post.

Good morning Cindy. I just wanted to say thank you for your website and videos. The website is easy to navigate and the free videos have been great. I am going to order the course as soon as I finish this email to you.

For anyone who may be brand new my polymer clay world, this comment helps to show you how you would go through the process of subscribing to my Polymer Guest List email newsletter, in order to view a few of my free video tutorials. By watching these free videos, you will get a better idea if it makes sense to purchase any of my premium video programs listed below…


There is so much info on your site I’m not sure if I am missing links or just the missing link. Just now I discovered the newsletter from the 11th. I don’t know how I got to it – or how to get back to it. I don’t know whether to expect an email with the current newsletter link or if they come out on specific days and I will need to log on to view. Didn’t know what site to log on to for the newsletters or videos. It seems I’m doing a lot of clicking and just ending up on the home page to order back issues. I’d like to believe I’m pretty computer literate (I am currently creating our company’s ecommerce site and do some html coding) but maybe just too web Old School. Am I’m the only one with these types of questions?

I’d like to use your site to the fullest and recommend it to others as it seems a bargain in today’s world of the $5 coffee, but at this point it seems a little time consuming jumping from page to page only to read comments and replies. On an average day I probably burn through about 50 web sites in my support role at work and do clay as recreation. I had come across your site numerous times through other links and had spent some time visiting. I didn’t sign up in the past because it seemed too much like most blogs – difficult to find current or “nuts and bolts” information.

Maybe I could help you create a welcome email with an introduction to the site navigation and how newsletters – video are delivered or accessed. Thanks again for your quick response to my other email – you’ve got to be overwhelmed with site maintenance, video creation, and stupes like me. It is nice to know you care enough to answer personally and quickly.

OK… first off I’m sorry that your initiation to the site has not been the most intuitive experience. I’ve addressed other emails from other members who were also confused by the orientation process. The good news is that they got through the learning curve and are now able to find their way around with ease. With further use, I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it too. New things can take a bit of getting used to… whether you are trying to search for paper books at your local bricks and mortar library, or clicking on links in my web video and article sites.

Anyways, one thing I know that needs improvement, is making sure that everyone realizes there are actually two separate sites. These two sites have links that connect them together, but each one has it’s own navigation interface.

The other thing you need to make sure that you understand, is how exactly the paid library works. It is all explained in detail at the member sign up page. But in a nut shell, new members pay $9.95 to receive access to 3 months of future videos, starting with the Volume that is current when you join. That means that most of the links you try clicking on when you first sign up to the members library, are going to lead you to the back issue order page. That is because those are links pointing to content that you do not yet own.

The clicking experience is way different for someone who owns all of the content in the library. When they click on member links, they go directly to the video or recipe page they are wanting to access.

In regards to the newsletter which contains links to all of the new content added each week at the members library and at the free blog, that goes out like clockwork on Friday mornings. The sign up form to receive this newsletter is here: Polymer Clay Guest List

But you don’t have to wait for the newsletter to come to you, to be able to watch the member videos you have paid for. They are available to 24/7 at the www.beadvideos.com members library site. At the top of the right side bar, there is a log in form where you type in your username and password. Once you are logged in, all of the videos you have paid for, will display on the library Home page. When you get to the bottom of the Home page, you will see a Next Page link that will allow you to keep scrolling down through all of the successive pages of content in the library.

But keep in mind as I said above, any videos that you have not paid for, will not show for you.

The fastest way to access back issue packages that you have paid for, is by using one of the Back Issue navigation links at the www.beadvideos.com library site. There is a Back Issue link in the top navigation bar at the library site. And another one in the right side bar navigation column.

When you are at the Back Issue page, scroll down or navigate to the Package you purchased. There you will see a link preceded by these words in bold red text: “Or… If You Already Own This Volume…” which will get you to where you need to go.

Please always remember that you must be logged in with your username and password for your paid content to show. I keep saying this because it’s amazing how many times people email me back with some rendition of, “I did not know I had to be logged in.”

And finally, what you said about helping me “…create a welcome email with an introduction to the site navigation and how newsletters – video are delivered or accessed,” you are absolutely welcome to forward something like that. I’m always open to receiving assistance :-)


Hi Cindy! First, thanks a million for all that you do for us clayers – I’ve learned so much. This is the first crafting hobby I’ve actually stayed with because your weekly videos keep my attention, and I try new stuff!  :)

Now, this isn’t a gripe, but a suggestion – maybe I’m just lame, but I can’t ever seem to get to your blog from the members video page.  I’ll be logged in and watching your video, but I don’t see a link to get to your blog, so I often miss things. Any way to make the blog a little more visible so we can get to it directly from your video membership site?

Seems most of your links go to getting a membership or buying back issues – but for those of us who are already members, it would be nice to go to your blog and see all the discussions there. Just a thought.

Anyway, I know you and Doug are busy, busy, busy, and I appreciate that as much as the rest of your avid followers! Thanks again for everything.

Thank you so much for the kind words. And thank you for your blog link suggestion. I really appreciate hearing feedback like this. I’ll respond in an upcoming post so that others who are wondering the same thing, can benefit too. I’ve learned that if one person is thinking one way, chances are that many others are too.

But real quick for your own benefit, there actually are links right beside each of the library member videos that will take you right to the comment section on the blog where the discussion is happening for that particular tutorial.

It’s that big yellow button with two curved arrows pointing at it, to the right of the video screen. On the button it says Questions? Comments? Now you have me curious, is  this button not showing up for you? ~Cindy


Hi Cindy, Thanks for being accessible! I’ve taken a screenshot of how I see the page when I log in to view your weekly videos and attached it as a .pdf with my annotations on it [FYI: The photo image for today’s post at the top of this page is the screen shot referred to in this comment] - I hope they make sense! Basically, I just think (unless I’m just not seeing a link) it might be intuitive to have a link on the right side bar of the members site that goes straight to http://www.beadsandbeading.com/blog/ site.

I do have the links beside each video that goes to the comments, but not one that goes just to the ‘home page’ of the blog itself. I hope the attached doc clarifies what I mean :)

Off to watch the kaleidoscope cane video now (I just got the beginner’s course today and have watched it – great job on that! I learned a lot of great tidbits, like how not to squash the ends of the canes when reducing!)!

OK I see what you are asking. I just added that link for you. It is listed in the right sidebar navigation column, with a label that says, LINKS TO OTHER SITES > Polymer Clay Tutor Blog Home Page.


If any of the information presented above has triggered any other questions or comments you would like to add, please feel free to use the comment section below.

Actually what would really be helpful for me, is to hear how all of you navigate the blog and the library web sites. This may allow Doug and I to make even more improvements for you guys. We are always open to hearing your suggestions on things like this.

**************************************************************************************************
** Index of Other Customer Service Information Articles:

2008-10-07: 5 Tips For Finding Polymer Clay Instructions and Info At This Blog
2009-04-10: Polymer Clay Blog – Quick Answers To Your Bead Making Questions
2010-02-14: Customer Support: Tips for Using the Polymer Clay Tutor Web Sites

**************************************************************************************************

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. This is great information, Cindy. Except no one seems to know how to get here to read it and comment…

    (You know I’m kidding, right?) It’s just cuz it’s VD day! I am here because I’ve been elected to babysit while everyone else spends time with their “honeys.” I hope you and Doug have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

    I’m using a different email here than I usually do. I set up my gravatar with this one by accident — I hope I am able to link my username to my usual email!

  2. Nah… Some of us are just too lazy to read through that much stuff! ;D

    Seriously, to my taste there is a bit too much full quoting in some of the blog posts — like this one :D — when I think a summary of the question asked or point raised, before the return commentary, would be more reader-friendly.

    The only navigation issue I had is with the Recent Comments links on the right hand side of each page. With their form of “[UserName] on [Topic]”, from experience with other bulletin boards and blogs I expected clicking on the [UserName] to take me to that user’s profile or posting history summary, and clicking on [Topic] to take me to that user’s particular comment. This is different to how it actually behaves, where clicking on [UserName] does what I expected clicking on [Topic] to do.

    Other than that, perhaps the Search feature needs to be more prominent, and/or more explicitly labelled as being a search within this blog. There are many questions asked that have already been covered in excellent detail by either blog posts or their follow-up comments.

  3. I just checked out the new link on the video page — works like a champ! I never had any trouble navigating, but I guess it’s one less click to get to the main page! You do such a good job, you Lietz’s!

  4. Today was a good refresher on how to find information here, and don’t think it went unnoticed Cindy, Happy 2nd Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. FYI: At another post, Adrienne-L just left a comment that relates to this article. You can follow the link by my name to read what she added. Thank you Adrienne.

    And thanks to everyone else who has commented here. Although this post was not exactly creative or inspirational, I have been spending a lot of time emailing people one on one to walk them through the process of how to find and access all of the content at my 2 web sites… and how the 2 sites tie together. There is a lot of stuff, so understandably there will be a bit of a learning curve.

    It is very time consuming to have to explain the same stuff over and over again on an individual basis. At least now, this page will become a good reference for those that need a little extra hand holding.

    @Ken-H: Thank you Ken… I was wondering if anyone would bring that up :-) Yes we just crossed the 2 year milestone. Yay!

    RE: The comment from Sue-F about my use of quotes from you guys in the articles here at the blog. I’d love to hear more opinions on this. Like it? Don’t like it? Doesn’t really matter either way?

  6. Congrat’s on the 2-year, Cindy! I didn’t realize. That’s so amazing. YOU are amazing!

    My opinion on the quotes is this: I think they’re nice. For the person quoted, it’s nice to see your opinion/comment show up in your post. Also, you are an incredibly busy lady. You respond to emails and comments, create amazing color palettes and videos, and write a daily post on top of that. (And that’s on top of all the other things in your life — being a wife, mother, etc.) To have to summarize or paraphrase each & every quote in your blog, just to make it shorter, seems like extra, unnecessary work. The quotes are mainly used as an example for the topic of the day. If someone is too busy to read it, they can skip it. The content of the blog is still understandable. I think you are doing one heck of a job — it’s hard to imagine how you do it all, anyway!

  7. I used to hate rainy days but now i don’t mind at all I can spend many happy hours on your site. I don’t seem to have any trouble finding my way around and enjoy going back to the beginning and I learn something new every day.

  8. I agree with Phaedrakat regarding the quotes. I usually scan through them to get the gist and then read your answer. It is good that you have the quotes in red and your answers in black – easier to scroll to your answer by looking for the color change. Yes, I’m a simpleton when it comes to blogs, but I do look forward each day to yours!

    I do have a question – and I know it has been brought up in the past, but there is a recent aspect, too. What about the B recipes. I understand from prior Qs that the old Bs are not readily accessible even to you, but why can’t we members have an on-going list of the current Bs like we have for the As? Or are they there some place and I just haven’t found that place? Honest – I’ve really looked hard to find them.

  9. I like the full quotes, too. I’d rather you spend your time creating wonderful new stuff for us, instead of paraphrasing someone else’s comments. Thanks for such a great job on both sites!

  10. I wouldn’t ask you to change a thing. With everything you are doing and for the price that we pay, I think we are getting a real bargin from the most hard working people I have ever seen. You really have your hands full. I think you are unbelievable!!!!!! With all that the both of you do, I think the both of you are amazing!!!!!!! Happy Anniversary and God bless the both of you!!!!!!!! Luv you both, Honey

  11. Thanks gals for your input about the quotes. I appreciate you taking the time share you opinions.

    @Carolyn – The link by my name will take you to where I discussed the B-Series color recipes.

  12. Hi Cindy and all, PHEW!!I have just finished reading through this amazing discourse on how to find your way around the site. I am here waiting for my Friday Video to show up and found you all here.
    This is great Cindy and will be very helpful to anyone in the future as a
    refresher as Ken says
    I am with Helen (honey clay) as to, wouldnt change a thing ,and all we get for such a small outlay.
    I have had my ups an downs with getting to things, but that was me no fault here on the site.
    Just have to take the time to read properly.
    Once I did that I found everything very simple and easy.
    Not the sites fault if someone goes to another part other than what they want first. Learn to navigate properly and it is all there.
    As to logging in. you would onlky need to do it wrong once and youd see why you didnt get to the content. Log in Gals !! so easy. No need for introductory pages ,everything is self explanatory.
    Q+A is my fav place, and is easy to find, just look and read and follow instructions.
    I think Cindy you bend over backwards to hold our hands with all your help and quick replies so dont beat your self down about any of this.
    Thanks for the refresh we can now go there anytime to pick up anything that we need to know.
    So on with the Vidoe content.
    Happy Anniversary if that is right you have been going 2yrs?
    I have been here nearly one of those 2 and it just feels like home when I come in and find my next tut video to have fun with.
    Sorry this has been so long PHEW!! to me now LOL
    Id just say, if you are having trouble just Concentrate and read properly, anything ca be accessed even a packet of peanuts if you read the instructions of how to open it first,LOL!!
    Bye
    E XXX

  13. I apologize for not noticing and acknowledging your anniversary.
    I want to wish you the HAPPIEST BELATED ANNIVERSARY!! I wish you many many many more Happy ones to come.

    I also want to agree with the majority above when saying Please do not change a thing about the way you use the quotes. Also as said above if you don’t like it just skip over it. I happen to be very proud and honored when a quote of mine is used. This is part of what makes this site the best there is available out there. You make us feel like we are a part of it not just a member.
    So once again I want to THANK YOU AND DOUG for being who you are.
    That is the BEST YOU CAN BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks to this blog I now get around it like a pro.

  14. Bumping this one up for re-reading this week since it may help those that wish to get directly to information on clay. Lots of different ways to use this blog site, and good information is one every screen.

  15. HI Cindy,

    I got your email….. Thanks so much.

    I hope everything appreciates how you go above and beyond for your customers. I sure do! Thanks so much.

    Happy Valentines Day,
    Laquita

  16. Cindy, We just recently got new credit cards and it didn’t dawn on me that the old one was attached to my membership with with you! I have updated the information as you advised.

    NO NO NO I do NOT want to ever be taken off the membership. I LOVE your tutorials and SO look forward to Fridays when the new one comes. Thanks for making my life a bit richer and happier!!!

    Carol

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