Tips for Print on Demand - Creating, Managing and Selling

Print on demand providers create a "product" only after receiving an order. It may be a book or CD, or designs applied to products such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, stickers, etc. There are a number of "print on demand" (POD) services that allow you to not just custom create products with your own designs but also sell them. This site covers a wide variety of topics useful for success in getting started in using a print on demand (POD) service to sell products with designs you create. I will be using my sites as examples. Many specific instructions focus on CafePress® because that is where I was when I wrote them, but most information will be just as useful for any apparel based POD. Plans for expanding information to Zazzle and other PODs are discussed here.

Start with the Basics
Image Size
Image Colors
Designing and Selling
Examples
Html Hints and Tips
Custom Shop Tips
Affiliate Information
Legal Issues
Other Resources
Video Demonstrations
Useful Guidebooks

Start with the Basics

First step with your chosen Print on Demand is to determine whether the designing is done on-line or by uploaded graphics. Many use a combination. Usually you will need a graphics program to create your item, even if it is text based. Before you get too deep into creating your items take some time out to read the terms of service and information on copyright and trademark infringement. Skipping that step could be very expensive. You may not get a warning before being sued even if your infringement was accidental. Also find out your design area, and get a good grasp on properly sizing your design. Incorrect sizing is the most common quality problem.

Open a CafePress shop. 

Quick Start to Adding Products to Your CafePress Shop

Learning Checklist - what do you have to know to succeed?

Giving Up? - Have you given it a fair chance? Is this the right business for you?

A word on logo items - Who are you designing for? If you don't have a built in market for your logo, don't expect to sell it.

How much should I charge? - most new shop keepers price too low but think they are pricing too high.

Zazzle basic and advanced tutorials - general tips and resources on other sites for Zazzle shops.

Image Size

Image Colors

Designing and Selling

Html Hints and Tips

  • Creating a Text Link - if you have never written any HTML you might not know how to create a link.

  • Creating an Image Link - The process for creating an image link is very similar to creating a text link.

  • Creating an Email Link - The process for creating an email link is very similar to creating a text link.

  • Redirecting the Customer - if you want to send your customer from one web page directly to another on your POD site, you can usually use one of these redirect techniques.

  • Pointing Your Custom Domain Name to Your Shop - OK I've done this so much I'm sure I left part of the explanation out. So write me with your questions so I can make this explanation better.

  • Creating a Coupon Box in an iFrame - you can create a box to make your coupon information stand out, without using a table.This shows you the code you need to write. You can copy the code any place you can use HTML.The second step is that instead of manually having up update the coupon everyplace you can create one coupon file, then create an "iframe" to show that one file on many web pages. That will mean you only have to update the coupon in one place, and the update will show everywhere.

  • Creating HTML from a text list - nothing fancy here. If you have a plain list of links to images you want to display as the actual images, or a list of links to web pages that you want to make clickable, here is a way to start.

  • Creating HTML from a Spreadsheet. - if you have a spreadsheet from a Froogle/Google Base feed generator, or otherwise have a spreadsheet with product URLs and image URLs you can create HTML to show them easily. The explanation is a little daunting, but just try it. Once you get it you will use it for all kinds of things.

  • How to Save Images From Your Shop - You can't get back the full size images, but anything you see on screen can be saved to your local computer. So if you want to use product images to create a montage, or whatever, this is one way of getting them.

  • HTML Tutorial Links - You don't need anything more than basic html to get started. To write basic html you need a plain text writer ( e.g. "notepad.exe") and a browser.

Custom Shop Tips

  • Customizing Your Shop Resources - tutorials and resource links on how to use those little boxes to insert your html code and create your own custom look. It takes some reading. The "How to Experiment with Your Premium Shop" link below is more of a way of helping you to figure it out rather than a step by step "how-to."

  • Putting Content in Your CafePress® Sidebar - if you have never written any HTML you might not know how to create a link. These instructions (and video) explain how to write a link, and how to place it in the sidebar of your CafePress® Premium Shop. Also explains how to suppress the sidebar on a particular page and why you might have two sidebars.

  • Putting Content in Your CafePress Section Description - This can hold almost any kind of standard html allowing you to create "about" pages, host contact forms, seamless links between shops, and fake duplicate sections. Let your creativity be your guide.

  • How to Backup the HTML - Don't be afraid to experiment. Nothing you can do on the Custom HTML page will delete your products or images. The worst that will happen is you might have to start over with the custom HTML you entered. You can save yourself some work by backing up the code before making changes.

  • How to Experiment with Your CafePress® Premium Shop - Part of the code in your premium shop is necessary for inserting your sections or products, tracking codes and other items. So the editing area is broken down into sections. That can add to the challenge of making design changes. You can test out your ideas by making a local copy of your front page. The CP Tutorials page has more information.

  • How to DeBug Tables - You decided to make a quick edit and you forgot to back up your code and now the front page of your shop looks all funky. Chances are the problem is that you did something to the tables codes. If you don't want to reset here is how you can track down where the problem lies.

  • Shop Organization and Management Tips - Learn to create product section templates for consistent pricing, product organization, image placement and image sizing. Lean how to deal with old designs, designs that fit in more than one section, as well as the affects of moving, importing, deleting and editing images, products and sections.

  • Tips for Seamless Integration of two CafePress Premium Shops - Your CafePress Premium shop may be limited to 500 sections but that doesn't mean you have to stop growing. You can move customers between shops with only the very most observant shop keepers noticing anything.

Affiliate Information

Legal Issues

Other Resources

Video Demonstrations

Useful Guidebooks

 


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Tutor Tanith