Freelancers Starting Online T-Shirt Shops Face Five Frustrations

Opening a T-shirt shop online at a print-on-demand site seems an ideal way for writers to pick up an extra income stream. It costs next to nothing. All you do is create a graphics file with your design, upload it to the site, and collect a markup when someone has your design printed on a shirt. You can do text-only designs if you’re not comfortable with images. Alas, there are five big frustrations you may encounter in setting up your own T-shirt shop at a print-on-demand web site.

The first frustration is paying more than you have to to set up your shop. You should be able to do it for nearly free.

A second frustration is fighting with your image editor. Too simple an image editor will be too painful to use. A full-featured image editor may be hard to figure out.

The third frustration is not knowing what your customers want. These are self-expression products. You need to find out what sentiments people wish to express.

The fourth frustration is not knowing how to attract your customers to your shop. Having what people want doesn’t help if they can’t find you.

The fifth frustration is not knowing what designs people like. For example, people do not particularly like large, rectangular pictures dominating the design.

The way to get around the first frustration is twofold: first, get the GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP. It’s free and as powerful as you will ever need. Second, carefully choose the sites at which you set up your shops. You might want more than one store if you have incompatible product lines, family vs. adult-oriented for instance. For that you might prefer Printfection where you can create many shops free. Printfection has a reputation for high quality, but has rather few types of merchandise. If you do not intend to set up many stores, you may decide it is worth the $60 per year CafePress charges for each “premium” (i.e. adequate) store: you get a wide variety of merchandise to put your designs on, and their advertising brings a large number of customers through their marketplace. Zazzle is free, has many types of merchandise available, and does a reasonable amount of advertising.

A big problem with a powerful image editor is that you can get lost in the features. It is worth buying a book to tell you how to get started with it. There is information available on the web for free, but you may have trouble finding what you need presented simply enough.

One way to find out what customers want is to ask people, but that may give you too small and too biased a sample. Another approach is to find what keywords people type into search engines when they’re hunting for designs like yours. You can find this out for free, though at the cost of a little time, by using Google’s keyword tool and the Google search page. The keyword tool will suggest alternative keywords and will tell you how many times people search for particular phrases in an average month. The Google search page will give you an estimate of the number of web pages using the keyword phrase. If you find this process is too much effort, you can buy Micro Niche Finder or pay to use Wordtracker.

A way to attract customers to your shop is to use keywords effectively. You need to fill up your shop pages with good keywords, for example, using them in descriptions of your designs. More importantly, you need to get quality back links to your shop using those keywords in the anchor text. (That’s the colored text in a hyperlink.) You can get free back links by giving away information. You can post helpful advice at forums, you can post comments on blogs, you can put up pages at Hubpages or Squidoo, you can write e-zine articles, you can have your own blog. The most important thing in all of these is to give away useful information and not to try to sell. The links to your web site in your signature lines and resource boxes will bring you some visitors themselves. More importantly, they will spread links to your pages around the Net, telling the search engines both what’s at your store and that your store is important.

A good way to find out what designs people like is to ask people. Join the forum at your host site. Post your designs and ask for comments. The shopkeepers there are usually happy to offer suggestions and encouragement. You can also ask people you know on- or off-line.

There are definitely things that can frustrate you when you set up your own print-on-demand T-shirt shop, but you can do things to relieve those frustrations.

Personalised Shirts – How to Reflect Your Unique Personality

Everyone loves having clothes which reflect their unique personality. For this you will find there is nothing better than owning personalised shirts which clearly state whom they belong to. You will find that it is possible to buy these types of shirts in your usual clothing store but for the most part these items of clothing will merely show a well known name or initial. To get a more personalised look however you will need to look elsewhere. The question of where you can shop for these unique looking shirts can be answered in one word, internet.

So now that you know where you can buy these personalised shirts the next question you may ask is what sort of design features you will be able to find for these clothes. As the choice of clothes is personal preference, it is best if you take a look through the numerous online stores to find this answer. What you can find are stores where you will see the same name and initial combination as what can be found in your favourite clothes store or ones which can be coupled with a design, logo or even a colour combination which highlights these words.

There are some online stores where you will be able to choose quite a different look to these personalised shirts. Here you will find plain background shirts which are devoid of any designs, words, colour patterns or even logos to enhance its appearance. To these you will be able to choose the designs, colours, words and if desired embellishments which will make these shirts look totally unique from what you would see in department stores. The various designs, colours for these designs, possible words, sayings or even messages which can adorn one of these shirts is almost as varied as the people who choose them.

To find the perfect looking shirt all that you will need to do is to take your time scouting out the various choices which are offered in the different online clothes shops which specialise in personalised shirts. Once you have located one or two shops whose designs catch your eye then you can enlarge the image to see exactly if you can stand to wear this item of clothing in the long run. Of course you will find that these customised shirts are perfect for giving as gifts as they can be monogrammed or embossed to suit the tastes of the recipient.

You will find that these personalised shirts can be humorous, stylish in looks or just plain colourful. The only real barrier that you will find to designing these shirts is space and your personal tastes. With these facts in mind you can order the design shirt which has caught your eye. Whether you are giving one of these as a gift, wearing it yourself or just keeping it as a memento you will find that these customised pieces of clothes are great additions to any wardrobe. So the next time you are thinking of spicing up your choice of clothes think of shirts which reflect your unique personality and you can not go wrong.

Shopping Football Shirt Stores Online and Offline

If you’re shopping football shirt options, there are several ways to find the shirt you want at a price you can afford. Whether you’re a long-time fan of a specific team, or you’re new to the sport and want to find the most popular designs, you can buy shirts from many different locations and in many different ways. The modern convenience of the internet has provided a new outlet for the football shirt culture, and the sport’s popularity is spreading by leaps and bounds around the world.

Local Stores

The most traditional way for shopping football shirt stores is to check out your local sporting goods retail outlet. Most stores will have a certain amount of football gear, and they will always have the shirts that represent local and national teams. Sporting goods stores will also carry t-shirts and other types of merchandise to advertise the sponsors of your favorite football teams, or just celebrate the sport itself. The only problem with shopping at a brick and mortar store is that their selection is limited to what they have on hand, and you won’t find any merchandise from teams that aren’t popular in that specific geographical area.

Football Kits

Many amateur and school clubs prefer shopping football shirt options through local outlets because they can get a better deal. With a local store, you can send the players to be fitted and purchase their gear on their own. It’s a good idea to at least check your online options if you’re buying gear for a new season, though. Many football kit sites have created new packaging ideas that make it easy for a coach or purchasing manager to buy all of the gear at one time, and have it delivered by a set date. That saves you from worrying about that last player getting over to the shop to pick up the kit before the first game of the year.

Online Options

Shopping football shirt packages online is really the simplest and most cost effective way to find the exact shirt you want. You can browse through stacks and stacks of shirts for all of the popular teams, from Barcelona to West Ham, without ever leaving the comfort of your home. If you’re not sure what size to order, you can check your favorite shirts in your closet. Even if you live in Manchester, you will be able to find and buy a Liverpool shirt.

Buyer Beware

There is one downside to shopping football shirt sites online. Counterfeiters have begun to infiltrate the football shirt world, and they’re offering fake shirts at incredibly low prices. Counterfeiting steals money from the clubs you want to support, and usually the products are far inferior to the authentic shirts. It is worth it to go ahead and spend a little extra on an authentic shirt so that you can avoid the disappointment of a cheaply made garment that will fall apart when it has been washed a couple of times.