Online T-Shirt Stores : Ten Steps To Start Selling T-Shirts On The Web
By: Thomas Christopher
Writers and artists can create additional online income streams by opening print-on-demand T-shirt stores on the web. You can build and expand your shop in ten steps built around finding good keywords, without which you are invisible on the web.
Step one. Get a free account at a print-on-demand (POD) T-shirt website, such as Printfection, Zazzle, and CafePress.
Step two. Get an image editor. The POD sites print from graphics files. You can get an excellent one free at GIMP.org. It may cost you, though, for a good book or tutorial on how to use it.
Step three. Try out ideas for shops. A shop will contain products with several related designs. When you have an idea for a T-shirt shop, try to find good keywords for it. A good keyword is at the same time most common and most rare: most common as a search term, most rare as a keyword on web pages. A good keyword is one which describes your product line, has many people searching for it each day, and does not bring up that many other websites on search engine results pages. If you cannot find good keywords for an idea, you’ll have to decide whether you are more committed to your idea or to your income. Is your shop a hobby or a business?
Step four. Open your shop with good keywords. You want people to find your T-shirt shop when they are looking for designs like yours. They will find your shop when they type in search terms that match your keywords. You need a lot of potential customers to find you on page one of search engine result pages. The more other pages that come up for those search terms, the harder – and less likely – it will be to get on page one of the results. The fewer the people looking, the less it will matter where you are in the results.
Step five. Create a T-shirt design inspired by keywords. You may have many ideas for T-shirt designs, but unless people are looking for them, you are merely indulging in a hobby. Ask: Do people want something like this? What search terms are they using? How can I get the news of my products to them?
Step six. Use keywords throughout your site. When you load a T-shirt design to your account, you give it keywords so that customers can be shown your products when they visit your POD site’s marketplace. They won’t be shown any products that don’t have keywords. You will need to write keyword-rich descriptions of your designs, your store, and its sections to attract the search engines. Search engines can’t understand your pictures, they can only understand the keywords you have placed with them.
Step seven. Put your design on products. This is easy at the print on demand T-shirt sites. The main problem is making sure that your design is visible on all the colors the T-shirts come in, both light and dark.
Step eight. Advertise your products carefully. Your markup on an individual T-shirt is probably about two dollars. Most people who buy from your site will buy only one T-shirt. You can not afford to be paying very much per customer who arrives. Fortunately there are places to advertise for free on the Web.
Step nine. Get quality back links. A back link is a link from some other site to yours. It is a quality back link if the other site is relevant to your site’s keywords, and that site is itself considered important. Give away information to get quality back links. The key word here is “information.” You can write e-zine articles (like this one) and put up information at sites like Squidoo and Hubpages. All of these provide back links to your site. Back links tell the search engines what your site is about. A large number of back links tells them that your site is important. This all will help your site show up on page one of the search results and help people actually find you.
Step 10. Repeat the above from step five for new designs and from step three for new shops.
How much will you earn at your online T-shirt shop? It depends on how well you express the attitudes of your customers. As with most human creations, your web store will flourish only if you give it time and attention.
If you haven’t opened your own T-shirt shop yet, go to the How-To/Shirts web site to get an overview of what it takes. Dr. Thomas Christopher teaches classes in how to be witty and is the proprietor of several print-on-demand T-shirt shops.
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