Nov 10,2008 Shopify API
Selling Blog Branded Merchandise
An income generating idea that many blog owners over look is the creation of merchandise that promotes your blogs name or popular themes. Many blogs have clever names and/or unique content that have mass appeal. For some it a catch phrase, slogan or quotation that is well received by readers, and for others it is a very clever logo. If you feel your blogâ€™s name or content has mass appeal donâ€™t be afraid to market it in the form of t-shirts, mugs, journals, or bumper stickers. There are many sites that allow users to sign up free of charge and begin selling merchandise with their own logo or slogan.
Custom Ink: http://www.customink.com
Uber Prints: http://www.uberprints.com
Establishing a store on a site like Cafepress or Zazzle not only gives you a chance to make more money thanks to your blog, it also lets you have a free link on a high ranking site which increase your blogs PageRank and traffic. I currently have a store on Zazzle where I sell merchandise (t-shirts and bumper stickers) featuring my domain name and most popular post quotes. During the holiday season I also opened a store on Cafepress to sell a few more specialty items that were not available on Zazzle. I sold a variety of messenger bags, hoodies, mugs, and journals featuring some photography and art work that could only be found on my blog.
Donâ€™t be afraid to open more than one store to get the best quality for each item. Some of the sites listed are known for hoodies, others are known for producing quality shirts, and still others for providing lovely framed prints. Since the sites themselves handle all of the customer service and back end production you will not have to worry about anything after initial set up.
After your item is set up and listed for sale make sure you promote these items on your blog. I occasionally dedicate a blog post to one of my items from Zazzle and then one from Cafepress. One week I will discount the price of the t-shirts that promote my blogs domain name and then other weeks Iâ€™ll discount the mugs that promote one of my slogans. This gives me unique content for my blog while promoting my products. I also have a page on my blog dedicated to my shop with pictures of items and direct links to the item at the appropriate store. These products and strategy provide me with a steady weekly income.
Other blog owners I know prefer to be more hands on with their merchandising. They will find a local company that provides affordable printing services or even find an affordable online printing company. They will then order shirts, hoodies, and other items in bulk and sell them directly through their own blog site.
These blog owners will use Paypal (http://www.paypal.com) and Google Checkout (http://checkout.google.com) to set up shopping carts. There are even a few shopping cart plug ins/tools for different blog platforms such as Wordpress that are designed to make selling through a blog even easier. A few of these more hands on blog owners have even been known to sell autographed prints by contacting a celebrity that appeals to readers requesting (and getting) autographed photos.
If your blog contains a great deal of unique, quality, text content that you feel could have mainstream appeal you might want to look into self publishing. Look at it as article publishing taken to the next step. Several blog owners have self published their most provocative and informative posts and turned them into cash cows.
Publishing your own book will give you access to an entirely new audience, both online and off. that may have never even heard of your blog before. Many people that go online to shop for books have never even thought of visiting a blog, so all the information you recycling is going to be brand new to them. Plus there are bound to be some current readers who would like to have the information you provide in an offline format that they can reference it or give to an interested friend.
A great service to use for this sort of venture is Lulu (http://www.lulu.com). This service will allow you to self publish a book of any size absolutely free of charge. They walk you through the process of putting your book into the proper printing format and allow you to set the prices of your book. After the production costs and the small fee Lulu takes for payment processing you keep all of the profits.
I have used Lulu for a few ventures and have had nothing but positive experiences. They pay royalties on time by check or via Paypal. It is easy to set up account with them and the forum is extremely useful. Customer support is fantastic and you are able to set up, and customize, your own store front that can include a link to your own blog site.
Remember, this is your book so you can shamelessly promote your own blog, or blogs, as much as possible within the book. You might also want to contact affiliates who may want to contribute some quotes or testimonials to use in your book. Once it is complete you can list your book for sale on your blog and watch the news spread.