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Tips on Selling T-Shirts on a Blog

After my post earlier in the week on making money by selling T-Shirts from your blog – a regular reader by the name of Chris (from Poker Geek and Jedi Scribe) sent me a message saying that he’d done ok out of T-Shirts himself and that they were definitely worth getting into as another income stream for your blog. Of course I wanted to know more and asked if he’d consider writing his tips up as a post. He kindly agreed so here is what he has to say on the topic of selling T-Shirts on your blog (by the way you can check out his latest T-Shirt here.

If your blog isn’t pulling in the hit count neccessary to make ad revenue that lucrative, it’s definitely a wise idea to consider something along the lines of t-shirt sales or other merchandise. Blogs that have smaller amounts of traffic (250-1000 hits a day) still can count on devoted readers who enjoy the content and won’t mind supporting the site for something in return

A few notes that I’ve learned:

-Cafepress is something to avoid like the plague. It reeks of low quality and you will take a hit in sales just for using it. There are some exceptions out there, but generally you are not going to have the flexibility, communication, or variety that you want from a merchant that you’re working with.

-Get more creative than simply putting your website logo or name on a shirt. People want something to wear that nobody will understand except themselves. Offer something that reflects the spirit of your site without catering to it. If you have any design or writing experience (and if you write a blog, you probably do), you can think of something clever and visually interesting.

-Shop around online for a good printer. A simple one or two color printing on a high quality Tshirt is cheaper than you think, especially if you have the ability to order in bulk.

-Don’t be afraid to set an aggressive price point. You are doing this to put some money in your pocket. Make sure you’re making more than a dollar or two per shirt. People are buying because they want to help you out, not because you’re undercutting competition.

So – would anyone buy a ProBlogger T-Shirt???

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Tom says:

    what kind of profit can be expected for each shirt sold …..?

  2. eckes says:

    There is even a Meta Blog about T-Shirts (in German) here: http://shirtblog.de/

  3. Chris says:

    Tom:

    It all depends on how much you’re willing to mark up above the cost of producing the shirts. Without knowing any of your target demographic or how many shirts you plan to make, i’d venture a guess to say 5-10 dollars US each.

  4. Andy says:

    Any decent ‘all-in-one’ sites around, bar Cafepress, if its not rated highly? I like the principle, but not sure I have the time or patience to get into doing the work myself. Are there smaller web outlets that do a similar job to Cafepress but on a better quality? In general, can you elaborate on the problem with CP? I’ve not bought or sold through them. Is it just T-shirts that are lower quality or are all their products (ie prints) of dubious quality? Any tips on decent places for producing prints/posters of photos?

  5. John Evans says:

    I’ve got a t-shirt printer round the corner from me. Better than using some remote fulfilment operation that takes most of the profit. For orders less than the magic 25, you could always “iron on” the design yourself. Don’t forget to flip the design in a photo program before ironing! You never know we might end up ironing all day long. We could even call ourselves “housewives”. :-)

  6. Andy says:

    Then I could start a blog about ironing – it might even find some synergy with all the knitting blogs I’ve seen recently…

  7. Darren: I’d buy a PB shirt if it was funny. If it were too serious I’d have to explain myself EVERY DAY I wore it (“no, see, a blog is …”)

  8. Stan says:

    We’ve been dabbling in t-shirts for a couple of years now and it’s not easy! The key is finding a good printer, and one who sticks to their prices and doesn’t up them the more you order! We’ve actually experienced someone like that when they saw we had an editorial in Kerrang magazine!

    The problem with Cafepress t-shirts is the process they use: sublimation printing. This is only really suitable for white shirts and for a more durable print it needs to be sublimated onto a 50/50 polyester shirt. The problem there is those type of garments are really naff.

    However, sublimation techniques are excellent on things like mugs, mousemats, jigsaw puzzles etc, as long as they’re white backgrounds, which they usually are.

    We’ve just purchased a digital printing kit which will allow us to offer customised versions of our designs but this is more suitable to flat colours, text etc. The plotter cuts out the design and then it is heat applied to the garment. The results are brilliant but, like I said, best suited for flat colour or text designs e.g. silhouettes, slogans etc.

    Our new site is under construction and we’ve also decided to print onto American Apparel shirts – best quality, best cut.

    Maybe I should start a blog on t-shirts!

  9. J Stolarski says:

    I’m exploring t-shirt designs right now.
    Have looked online, but the last comments
    about finding local sources sounds good.
    I’ve had luck finding images at the stock sources, which
    I couldn’t photograph myself, at affordable prices.
    So, got back on photoshop after
    having not used it at least 4 years.
    Little rusty, but with the images I’m finding, really
    getting to a point that I can produce something different
    for a niche market that I am considering.
    Noticed this blog’s from June but,
    I’m just finding it now :(

  10. Scott says:

    I use CP because it kills in the search engines. Low margins but pretty high volume. I am thinking of taking some of my top designs to a printer though.

  11. Joshua says:

    Excellent information about how to sell t shirts online…Tips are really very helpful.