or other Adobe products Like Adobe Illustrator, or the whole entire package, the Creative Suite 4 (CS4)
The reason for the programs, is you will have to create some form of design, whether it's a simple text design tshirt, or a more artistic graphic design t-shirt, you need to create Vector images, or images that have a transparent background.
Which will allow you to create and design whatever you like, and with cafepress , directly load your design onto the products of your choosing. They even have a great design tutorial and Beginners Image Workshop , that explains the correct way to design for their products. They will take you step by step learning how to create and design your images to put on clothing and merchandise. Starting with a third party website is perfect for low budget starting companies, looking to have someone handle the printing and shipping of the products, as well as the merchant services, and customer services. You wont have to charge one credit card yourself, or handle any returns or discrepancies.
Most third party custom clothing sites allow you to personalize your shop's page and colorize and customize your layout. Granted you know a little bit about HTML, and web design, you can take your shop to the next level with flash design, and custom banners and logos. YOU are in control of what you sell, how much you sell, and what you want to sell. If you love dogs and dolphins, and there's a market for dog owners and aquatic adventurers, make a t-shirt for dogs that has some artwork of dolphins on it. If you're a mother, and want to sell cute adorable clothing for moms and their kids, design some cute stuff. ANYTHING goes, except for explicit content, explained by each website. If you take some time designing your products, those products will be on auto pilot, so to speak, and as long as you pay any small monthly fees, your products can sell while you sleep. That's right, your funny hilarious t-shirts, and cool awesome products, will make you money 24 hours a day. Sounds easy, right? It is, and we've joined thousands of shop owners, making money off their creativity.
Diving into the T-shirt Pool and Making your T-shirts Store, Stand Out.
Climbing to the top of the cafepress shop top money makers
When creating designs try to brainstorm ideas that haven't been done. It's hard, but think of things that you appreciate, and try to ask people around you, such as co-workers, or people who will not be bias towards your design. You can even go as far as talking to other shop owners to find what niche works best for your style. If you have experience in market research, by all means, study market trends, on what your target market is, and design for those consumers. This way you can grab an understanding of what the consumer might like. Try a new spin on a common saying and throwing in a pun in there to make it something funny and interesting of your own. Design a graphic all your own, and illustrate your funny phrase, deep emotional connection, or random information, to give the consumer more value for their product. Your shirts don't have to be hilarious funny t-shirts, but they can be artistic, or political, or even educational, spiritual, or any type of artwork, you have created, or appreciate. Try designing specific designs with common names on them, or celebration gifts for birthdays of all ages. You can go as far as obtain a license for selling other people's artwork. We currently have two artists, who's amazing artwork, we've placed on t-shirts, mugs, clocks, posters, stickers, ornaments, magnets, dog tees, mouspads, pillows, teddy bears, underwear and more. Almost anything you can imagine, can be on a product. Check out Soge Shirts sogeshirts.com for a great example.
Or check out other companies, that bring shirt design and selling, to the internet. Like a leader in the business
It's a good idea to browse tshirt companies, to see how they're built, how they attract people to their site, and what quality and value they bring to each potential consumer. Another company is Reckless Tees
If you feel your idea is not quite original, or have doubts, please research trademark and copyright infringements.
Building an Awesome T-shirt Website, that Drives Sales, and Profit Right to Your Pocket
Take a look at your store and products from a consumer's perspective
Take a look at your site as if you wanted to buy something. Take a look at your store and products from a consumer's perspective. Are the colors working? are things easy to get to? Is there enough information for your products? Do you want to come back to this site? What is it you get when you visit this site? By thinking like a customer, you can get a good idea of what they will be looking for when they come to your site.
Hopefully you already have some designs created, next is to spend some time on your shop's website. If you need to brush up on your HTML skills, check out W3Schools, for a fast, simple way to learn HTML, and how to code websites. Personally, I use Dreamweaver, From Adobe.
If you have a little money to spend, pick up this website building program. It has a great Help section, and online tutorials that will give you Massive amounts of web building power, more than any template can give you. By completely customizing your website, you can update it at any time, easily with Dreamweaver, with only limited knowledge of HTML and web design.
If you open a Cafe Press Premium Shop, and have built your own website, seperate from Cafe Press, DO check out this amazing PHP tool, from CPSHOP. It takes all your products from cafepress.com and places them inside your own website, with somewhat great ease. If you have a problem, Marty, is awesome and has Forums, and message boards to help you every step of the way, and he even gets involved if you're slow like myself, and sometimes get confused. Much Love Marty.
Market Research is a Great Way to Know Your Customer.
Gather information on your potential customers, and their style of shopping. We made the mistake of making our first shop, really bright, and cluttered, and too much going on, that it was very difficult for the shopper to concentrate on our products. The look and feel of your shop, should potentially match those people viewing your site. Find colors that complement your shops style, but don't drive away potential customers. Adding value to your store, such as a newsletter subscription, or blog feed, or even some simple but effective you tube videos, to increase reasons people would want to stay on your website. Soge Shirts uses a blog to keep friends and customers connected to the value we offer, along side our awesome products. This can increase the chance of your products being seen, by grabbing another aspect of social marketing, and turn new customers onto the style of service you provide. Of course we have links to our shops, and display our shirts on the blog as well. Much like the Newsletter subscriptions, the blog is a great tool for users to recieve rss feeds based on news released through the blog, or any product updates, and potential headlines your shop might produce. The longer someone is navigating your site, and staying connected to your brand, the higher potential there is for your products to be seen, and eventually sold.
You'll need to buy a domain name (the virtual address of your site), find a place to host your website, and the desire to create your shop. Many places can build one for you, and some can give you design tools to create one yourself. GoDaddy.com Yahoo! Web Hosting, Yahoo uses a web hosting service to allow your site to be visited and operated. Yahoo also has online stores you can open, if you plan on getting a seller's permit, and business license to sell products from your home Yahoo! Merchant Solutions - Open a yahoo store.We have found that purchasing multiple t-shirts for cheap, then having a silk screener, or graphics printing company, print your designs onto the shirts, selling them gives us a larger amount of profit. This ultimately is how companies start out selling, then moving into huge warehouses, and taking over the market. Start small, and move to larger leaps and bounds. The great thing about a third party company, it can build the revenue and designs for printing and selling your own tshirts. In addition, a shop can provide market research, based on which designs sell the most, then you would decide what designs to print yourself.
If you're not a webmaster, you can use a website that offers "website templates" you can use to build a personal website. Create a biography about yourself and what you do/what your goals are for the company. This creates value and allows the customer the chance to get to know you, and relate to the shop owner.
On this site you can try to set up affiliate ads with other companies and receive commission when someone buys something from a linked company through your site. Search in the google search engine for "adsense", or "paid per click" advertising. This way, you can generate revenue for each person who comes to your site, and clicks on your ads. Try and not saturate the web page with ads, because we want your viewers to see your products. Make sure to tag your Designs. Tagging your designs, is a great way for your products and website to come up higher on the search lists of major search engines.
Once you have got your feet wet and have a good number of designs go ahead and transfer over to producing your own shirts. Once you gain some market insight as to what shirts of yours people are talking about, and which designs are selling, you can start to have your own shirts made. Some ways of producing your shirts are: screen printing, heat transfer, Iron on, Direct Printing, and embroidery. You can buy shirts wholesale inexpensively and get your designs printed Fairly cheap as well. Make sure you do the math right produce the shirts in bulk amounts, for less than you would sell them to the public.
Since you've got your own shirts, department stores, boutiques, and online stores can start to sell your product. Take a few personally made shirts around town to see if stores would like to sell your shirts. This is where you have to be a salesperson, and believe in your product, have confidence in your design, and bring reasons why people will buy your shirts into those stores, and they will likely agree, and purchase some of your products to sell in stores.
Its not a bad idea to give some of your biggest fans some free shirts. You're going to need a shopping cart on your page. GoDaddy.com has a wonderful site hosting and shopping cart tools. You are also going to have to be able to take orders and ship to your customers in a reasonable amount of time. I might suggest UPS. or USPS. Whichever you think is cheapest and speediest.
Does having your own website outside of a custom t-shirt shop increase traffic and sales?
Build your Google Page Rank, and Increase SEO by optimizing website
Yes it does. It gives you another platform for your products to be seen. You can submit the site to directories, as a complete entity outside your custom shop. You can use SEO tips and tricks to optimize your website for the highest search engine results. SEO is needed because you can attach keywords, phrases, and words people would search for when they go to sites such as google, and yahoo, or ask.com and live.com, and search for t-shirts or products.
A good idea would be to go ahead and start and join a social networking site for your t shirt company such as Myspace or Facebook or Twitter, etc. to get a easy way to communicate with your public, and find out which ideas or designs can fly with the masses. You'll even be able to write blogs, or bulletins ot inform your friends when new shirts come out, and even entertain them a little bit. We recommend that you add 100 friends a day on Myspace or so to build your brand recognition and cultivate relationships. You can stay connected to your consumers and use blogs and messages to find out what your market wants on their shirts. They can comment on your photos of products you upload and figure out what is popular, and what is not so popular. You can even network orders through those site. Free stuff, free stuff, is always a great way to Bring value to your site.
If you have some cash, give a way some free products in a contest. Promote the contest as much as possible, to have people come to your site, sign up for a newsletter, or blog, or submit emails about your site to their friends, for a chance to win a free product. Great way to increase recognition of your brand, increase SEO, and increase your page rank in google, all leading to more traffic, more looks at your products, and more sales.
One thing many good websites incorporate to drive their page rank higher, and increase traffic to their site, is Links pages. Creating a links page or link directory, is a way to increase your popularity with the search engines. Contact people about exchanging links. You put their site address or URL on your website. They return the favor. You both get links pointing towards your website, and search engines love when you have more links pointing towards your site. More links to your site, the more important it is for the search engines. The more important the website is, teh higher it will show up in search results. (there is a method to this madness, and google's figured it out). If you have a direct link to your website, (ex: a one way link, where some other site, links to your site, and you don't link to them) tends to hold more weight with Google and other search engines. If you have more than one website. Request a link exchange with another website, and ask to place their link, on website #2, which will point towards their website. They get a direct link. Have them put up a link to your website #1, where you want most of the traffic, and you get a direct link to your site. Everybody wins.
Soge Shirts is open to link exchanges, click here to view our links directory.
A Fast way to increase traffic to your website, is directory submital.
Go to Google.com, Yahoo.com, or use those search engines to search for more directories where you can submit your website's url, in order to get index and recorded in their searches. This way, your site will appear in search results, whenever someone searches for terms in your website.
Another technique is using target market titles, descriptions, content and keywords.
- Put key phrases and words based on what content and products your shop will be selling, right into your title.
- Give the description of your shop a good use of keywords and relative phrases to your content, and products. It's a good idea to match your descriptions, with the content in your page as much as possible. This gives you a higher standing with Search Engines. For a good tool on how to check your websites title, description, content, and keywords for SEO optimization, is this site: SEO Central Web Marketing Resources.
- Place keywords relevant to your site's content (the written words and sentences on your website, not contained in ALT tags and images. Words a consumer would type in to find your products.
Lastly, it's promoting your site. Any advertising site is good. If you can do banner exchanges of banners and logo's you've created, in exchange for banners of other companies, on your site, GO FOR IT!. It's a fast and easy way to get free advertising for your shop. Any way to spread your site around is a great idea. Word of mouth, submit your website to search engine companies, and internet advertising on high traffic sites, such as google, ebay, yahoo, myspace, facebook, and other. There are many forums and such for all types of topics, you can create a profile, and use your website link in that profile, and comment on forums, to help spread your site's name and url around the internet.
For Advertising on our own site, we use Bidvertiser they are a pay per click advertiser. Commission junction, Google Adsense, and Click Bank are all great Paying Ad sites that will pay you money to put their ads on your website.