Enhance Your Store With Custom Articles

Throughout your Volusion store, you’ll find dozens of pre-configured articles containing default content. Each of these articles is coded to appear in a certain area of your storefront, either as a standalone page, or as a section of a page. Although an article’s location is fixed, you can modify its content to fit your store’s needs. Articles are great for sharing more information about your business, providing answers to frequently asked questions, and even giving customers a quick way to send formatted inquiries and suggestions.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most important articles in your store and what they can be used for. We’ll also show you how to edit them for your own use.

Personalizing Your Store

A website’s homepage is much like a book’s cover; its purpose is to catch a shopper’s attention and provide a path to purchase. Article 2 is your best tool for achieving this goal; it displays on the homepage, right below your website’s header and top navigation menu (if you’ve enabled your store’s slideshow, Article 2 displays right below it). You can modify Article 2 to add text, images, promotional links, and even videos to your homepage. If you’ve enabled Featured Products, they’ll display right below Article 2. Perhaps you have content that’s important enough to be on the homepage, but not quite as significant as the information in Article 2. For content with less emphasis, we recommend using Article 71. This area displays below your Featured Products, above the footer of your website. It only displays when the Featured Products section is enabled and populated, creating an ideal opportunity for breaking up large blocks of content. Let’s say you end up utilizing all of the above-mentioned features; the content area of your homepage will include (from top to bottom): a slideshow, promotional content in Article 2, a section of Featured Products, and additional content in Article 71.

Another way to personalize your store is by modifying Article 1, which is commonly known as the About Us or Company Info page. This article provides an opportunity to share your company’s story with shoppers, whether it’s an inspiring mission, a promise of product quality, or an introduction to what your company does best. Most Volusion templates contain a link to this page in the footer area, but you may also want to create a main navigation category that links here.

Answering Questions

For some customers, the greatest barrier to purchase is a simple misunderstanding about your site or your products. Thankfully, your Volusion store has a few built-in informational pages to help address these misunderstandings. The first thing many hesitant shoppers will check out is your store’s return policy. The default return policy text on your Volusion store is pretty sparse, and that’s intentional; every business has a different business model. Be sure to update Article 3 with your store’s own guidelines for returns and exchanges. If you’re stuck, check out our video on How To Write A Killer Ecommerce Return Policy.

Before opening your store for business, you should also establish Terms and Conditions for your website users. By default, Article 4 contains boilerplate text that touches on general ecommerce practices. While this content may address some of your needs, it isn’t specific to your business and is only intended as a guide. We strongly recommend that you review and modify this text before you launch your website. If you aren’t sure how to start, websites like TermsFeed offer free and paid assistance with creating legal documents specific to your business needs.

While we’re on the subject of user agreements, your Volusion store also contains a dedicated page for your Privacy Policy, which lives in Article 5. Most companies use this policy to let customers know how their data will be stored and what it may be used for.
In the interest of customer service, providing your shoppers with a way to send inquiries is invaluable. These inquiries might be about custom products, existing orders, or even suggestions for future product offerings. Article 83 contains HTML code for a pre-built, customizable email form that can be modified for your store’s specific needs. In case you missed it, check out our previous blog post on how to use this form to its fullest potential.

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

The customer experience isn’t over when the sale goes through. Did you know you can customize the Order Finished page that appears immediately after checkout? By default, customers will see a generic message that thanks them for their order. But why stop there? You can use Article 49 to customize the page even further. You might provide information about the typical time frame for order processing, an invitation to follow your company’s activity on social media, or just a custom thank you message that better reflects your store’s personality.

Your customer also receives a standard order confirmation, or invoice, to the email address they entered at checkout. You can add similar information to the standard invoice by editing Article 84 (appears at the top of the invoice) or Article 85 (appears at the bottom of the invoice).

Managing Articles from the Admin Area

To view all of your store’s articles from a single page in the Admin Area, go to Design > Site Content. The Site Content table displays articles grouped by category, with article ID numbers in the far left column and a preview of existing content in the far right column. You can also search for a specific article (by ID or by Article Title, for example). To do so, click View List near the top right corner of the Site Content page, then click Search at the top of the next page. To edit a specific article, simply click its ID number to view the article editing page. Add your desired content in the Article Body field – there’s no character limit – then save. You can use the Easy Editor toolbar to easily format text and images, just like you would for a product or category description. If you’d prefer to edit the raw HTML code, click the </> icon on the far left end of the toolbar. When you’re finished editing and you’ve saved any changes, you can see how your new content will look to customers by clicking View Live in the upper right corner of the page. Keep in mind that you can also create a brand-new, custom article that lives on its own page in your store. This is a great way to add more personalized content: contest rules, a testimonials page…the possibilities are endless! For more details on how to create and link to a new article page, see our knowledge base.

Managing Articles from the Storefront

On occasion, you might not¬ice an error (or a missed opportunity) while viewing an article on the storefront. If you’re logged in as an administrator, you can edit most articles without diving back into the Admin Area. Hover anywhere over an article’s content area until you see a rectangular blue outline appear around the body.* Click the Edit link that displays in the upper right corner to expose the Easy Editor tools. Make any necessary changes, then click Save in the upper right corner of the content area. Your updates will immediately be live on the storefront!

*Note: If you’re not seeing the blue outline, make sure you have Storefront Editing enabled.
By this point, we bet you have a lot of ideas for customizing your store’s content. The best way to become comfortable with editing articles is to jump right in – so get creative, and have fun!