Last week Zazzle posted an anouncement on the Zazzle about changes in searching the Zazzle marketplace for your products. They noticed a lot of designs of Zazzlers did not sell at all, for ages. So they decided that all products that didn’t had a sale or a view for the last six months won’t show up in the marketplace. But only in your store.
The advice was to take a good look at the description and tags you made for the products. And make sure they were SEO friendly. Now, in the beginning of my shop, I didn’t pay attention to tags and that stuff. A bunch of my early designs didn’t sell at all and I thought that most likely SEO wouldn’t make a difference. The designs weren’t simply good enough.
With the Zazzle post I started to wonder. Zazzle did put an emphasis on search friendly tags and descriptions. Zazzle also said the search engine traffic from for instance Google, Bing and Yahoo is very important. I therefor started to look again at my early designs. I did put a lot of effort in them. It’s going to be a pain to create a good set of texts an tags. Probably one design per day, the tags have to be investigated with for instance a Google Adword tool.
So far I did a couple. This is a popart design which didn’t sell at all:
These are two cartoon images I put a lot of effort in. But no sale 🙁
This Humulus lupulus hop in art design did reasonably well. People like more traditional designs.
Also, most of the early designs I didn’t use with templates. So the amount of products is low. For now I only concentrate on early designs which are real illustrations with little tags and poor description. And I’ll see if I can boost the product amount with the Zazzle templates I created for this purpose.
It is going to be an interesting experiment to see if the SEO friendly tags and text will help increase sales.
In my previous post I mentioned that I wanted improve on my formline designs, this resuted in a Haida Killer Whale. This time I looked closely at the different formline elements. The example I found on the internet I modified there where necessary. All in all I’m pleased with the result.
Besides a new design I’m still tinkering with leveraging my designs to a bigger audience. I already started a Cafepress shop which started to fill up nicely. Obviously also with my Haida Killer Whale.
I asked the lady of five green lizards if she also used different print on demand services liek Cafepress. She tought the inteface of Cafepress too much hassle, so se doesn’t. Indeed it is a pain and you don’t have the flexibility of Zazzle. But I want to give Cafepress a try because sell cheaper products, maybe I can access a different audience. To date I only made one sale, so not much luck yet.
Zazzle and Cafepress cater mainly for the US market and I don’t want to skip the EU market. My first choice is Spreadshirt, a German company. They usually target per language in the EU, so my Dutch shop only sells in the Netherlands and Belgium. But the also have an EU wide website. I started a shop there and put some designs for sale, but Spreadshirt really uses your designs through their marketplace. So I made sure my Haida Killer Whale is on the market place for all Europeans to find.
Both the Cafepress and Spreadshirt shops need time to get some sales. In the mean time I’ll look for another POD service for the EU.
Years ago I set up a Cafepress shop for the Dutch Mars Society. Cafepress was the place to go for print-on-demand t-shirts. I always found the user interface unfriendly and difficult. Soon after I discovered Zazzle and was impressed how Zazzle implemented their user interface. I left the Cafepress shop for what it was and moved on to Zazzle.
Nevertheless I’m in the business of selling digital design, which means I have to explore every possibility for selling my stuff. Over the years I have collected a number of images and it would be a shame not fully exploit them. So I gave a Cafepress shop a second chance.
Fortunately Cafepress improved their website and the user interface for shop owners. Now it is easy to put a design on many products, not as cleverly done by Zazzle, but good enough. Creating a shop is easy and you have products on display in mere minutes. My Cafepress shop is of course named DigitalHomestead. And I’ve already got a few designs on display:
There are two things I don’t like about a Cafepress shop. First, most importantly, the customer can’t adjust a design on a product to his or hers liking. Which means I have to adjust the design on for instance a t-shirt myself and hope shoppers like my choice. Zazzle in this is absolutely brilliant. With Zazzle a shopper can do almost anything with the design. Scale, move, rotate etc.
The second thing is that a Cafepress shop won’t be used that much. After a query Cafepress will direct buyers to their own market-place where a shopper can purchase your product. Only, at the low commission Cafepress set as default for their market-place.
Nevertheless I want to use my design as much as possible in order to make money online. Every dollar is welcome. And a Cafepress shop will help me in this. I guess it’ll be a couple of month before a make a sale.
What is it with people wanting so eagerly making money online. Ever since the internet took off, so did the number off people wanting to start a business. Thanks to the web it’s never been so “easy”. But are all those budding entrepreneurs real business man and women?
Getting some freedom back
A common reason why people start a business is to get an extra income stream beside their day job. They don’t want to be fully dependent on a employer. Having a day job does give you a false sense of security. It looks ok, a steady contract, but usually when a employee gets sacked he or she has nothing to fall back on. Continue reading Making Money online with a Digital Homestead