In a world where almost everything is done online, whether it’s for personal use or for your business, it is no wonder individuals are starting to create their own websites to make an extra or full-time income.
Easy marketing, cost-effectiveness, global connections, and your cat getting comfortable on your laptop while you’ve got work to do, are just some of the reasons that make running an online business seem glamorous.
The internet, which was essentially an academic and educational platform, later became a sales tool. No longer do you need an actual store or to be in the same geographical vicinity as your clients to sell your products or services.
Retailers can integrate customer support into their online offerings. And with the rise of social media and analysing software, companies can now track their customers’ behaviour online.
While being online does help to unleash the full potential of your business and ideas, it also comes with its own difficulties. As we all know, everyone is online, which means there is a lot of competition online already.
Thinking of creating a website that sells cool t-shirts? Changes are that millions of others are doing the same thing, including that nice old lady from around the block.
Do not let that stop you from dreaming though. That old lady may have years of sales experience, but making money with your own website is possible if you know how to do it. Let us explain how.
Table of Contents
Decide on the Kind of Website You Want
But before you make that decision, you need to at least have an idea of what you want it to achieve. Do you want to sell t-shirts that are delivered locally, nationally or internationally? Perhaps you are already doing that and you want to keep your customers informed of new items available for purchasing?
Are you a freelance t-shirt designer and want a space to showcase your portfolio? Or maybe you are thinking of retiring, but want to keep your mind active by blogging about the one thing you know best: t-shirts.
Also, think about the kind of websites you enjoy visiting and how you can incorporate it with your ideas. There could be a demand for an online platform of t-shirt suppliers with a possible Q&A section. What websites did you look for in the past without any luck of finding?
Afterwards, think about how you want your audience to interact with you. Would you prefer that they call you on the phone, make use of a live chat system, connect on your social media channels, and send complaints to your ex’s email address? Also, how do you want to interact with your website visitors in return?
After you’ve decided on the kind of website and online business you want to create, it’s time to think of a marketing strategy. Yes, you can print hundreds of business cards and flyers with your information, including your website, climb a hill, throw it in the air while shouting “fly my minions, fly!” and hope the wind will deliver it magically in the hands of needy customers. Or, you can take the more productive route, which we’ll explain in the next steps.
Establish Your Target Market
A target market is a group of certain people that are most likely interested in buying the t-shirts that you intend to offer. This is the most important aspect to keep in mind after knowing what kind of website you want to create.
Now we know what you are thinking: surely everyone wears t-shirts, so why not advertise to the general public? A large net should catch more fish? That may be the case, but if everyone is doing it, eventually there will be less fish in the sea.
The more tech-savvy people become, the more they are used to marketing messages that surround them. Thus, if a message does not appeal to their needs, they will ignore it.
Let’s say we have a young customer called Tammy. She is looking for a green leather jacket. She sees two websites on Google: one is yours, selling general apparel for all age groups, including jackets.
The other one is a website that sells leather apparel for young people. So Tammy, who doesn’t want to waste too much time searching, thinks she’ll have better luck with that website. And you just lost a customer.
That’s why it’s far better to define your target market and aim your marketing efforts towards them, rather than trying to sell to a wider group of people with low results. Your specialisation can be as broad as “t-shirts with your own design” to as detailed as “black short sleeve v-neck t-shirts for matured women who are young at heart wearing B-cup sized bras”.
The more specialised your products and services are, the more people are willing to pay for it. Why do you think we pay more for heart surgeons than general surgeons?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The realisation of search engines, in turn, resulted in a new discipline called search engine optimisation, or SEO. As the internet grew and more websites came into existence, the necessity for SEO increased. Search engines, like Google, provide a list of results of the search term (or keywords) you’ve submitted in the search bar, providing the most relevant and recent ones at the top of the list.
SEO is the methodology of reworking the content of a page and using backlinks to increase the traffic to a website. Search engines evaluate these using technical algorithms on the content and themes of your website, how the pages link to other pages, keywords used on the page title and the page URL, among other things.
But, even though you should try to include keywords relevant to your online business, many people worry so much about not achieving high search engine rankings that they create “spammy” content.
If you write a blog post about blue t-shirts and describe how awesome and blue your new blue t-shirt range is and how your customers can order their blue t-shirts right now, they will be irritated reading about your blue t-shirts. Search engine algorithms have evolved and are leaning more towards sites with lots of fresh, unique and useful content.
This process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites and linking them to a page on your website increases your search engine ranking. Search engines use links to discover new web pages and to determine how well a page should rank in their results.
Imagine you write a blog post about how to care for your printed design apparel. With no references, readers can easily question your advice, especially when you’re just starting to make a name for yourself and your website. Where’s your proof?
However, add a hyperlink just after your statement, directing your readers to the website of a t-shirt designing specialist mentioning the same thing, and you have instant credibility, plus a better search engine ranking. Link building takes time, but links tell Google that your site is a quality resource worthy of citation.
Search engines use backlinks (also known as inbound links) to help with the ranking algorithms of web pages. A backlink is a link used on someone else’s site that leads back to your own website. It’s like the t-shirt designing specialist recommending his readers to check out your site for some fresh ideas.
Their audience then clicks on a link provided on the page and they get redirected to one of your pages. If their well-known website generates a lot of traffic, chances are your website will rank a little higher too. Receiving backlinks from less-known websites can also work, but will take a longer time to get you to the top.
Quality Content Generation
This goes without saying, but if you provide great quality t-shirts on your website, but your website copy looks like it was written by a China Town shop owner, people will just laugh at you. The message you’re sending out is that your products are as low in quality as your writing, even if it is false.
There is no right answer to how long your website copy should be to have a better search engine ranking, as long as it gets the message across. However, studies have found that most readers are scanners: they read headlines, bolded text and bullet points to retain the information they need.
Add some images of the apparel on promotion on your website and your visitors will be compelled to stay and have a look around. Also, focus on how you format the copy on your website. Interesting copy with a hard-to-read font will scare visitors away.
Headers and sub-headers help to convey the main message quickly and easily. For example:
- 5 Easy Ways to Care for Your Favourite Black T-Shirt
- How to Create 3 Different Outfits Using the Same Shirt
- Black vs White: How to Take Care of Underarm Stains
- Why Bleach is a No-Go for White Clothing
The algorithms of search engines give priority and preference to websites with rich, in-depth content with visuals, guidelines, calls to action, natural links and good loading time.
that is constantly updated and user-friendly. If your website retention (the ability to keep visitors on your website for a long period of time) is low, these algorithms will assume that your information is not relevant or updated enough.
Social Media Management & Advertising
With the help of web analytics and social media, it is possible to test and see which content resonates best with your target market and then to tweak it accordingly. This means that content can be highly personalised to your audience’s behaviour, which results in more conversions from casual browsing to taking actions such as buying your printed apparel.
Knowing your target market also means knowing which social media channels they frequently use. Depending on your content strategy, you can use Facebook advertising (or PPC campaigns) for certain goals, whether it is to encourage your clients to interact with your brand and each other, inform them of upcoming promotions, run competitions to build a database of potential future customers, or offering them an alternative platform to contact you.
Even if you share the same information on multiple channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), the content for each platform has to be tweaked for that particular audience.
Content Marketing Strategy
Do not know what to write about? Then it’s time to consider a content marketing strategy. Having a plan for your content and where to showcase it is a strategy not only large companies need. Online marketing provides information on your brand and industry, which will interest your audience and have them keep coming back, even if it is just for the information you provide.
Content plans can include:
- Informative blog posts with images and links to relevant information.
- Social media updates that provide gift ideas, upcoming promotions and special occasions for specific groups.
- Newsletters featuring new products, updated information and frequently asked questions.
- Website articles that show your expertise and experience, which can influence customers to purchase t-shirts from you.
Your content marketing strategy needs to have a well-planned purpose and needs to consider a few key aspects:
- Who is your target market?
- What problem will your content solve for your audience?
- How can you make your content unique?
- What are the formats you’ll focus on?
- On what channels will you publish your content?
- How will you schedule and manage content creation and publication?
What not to do when you start your own website? Don’t be hard on yourself. Most people who decide to create a website spend more time on planning the design and templates rather than working on their business. Also, don’t think you have to do everything. There are many experts who can help you set up the best website for your business.
Not sure how to go about it or where to start? Have a look at Adspirine’s Growth Hero Package. Let them worry about setting up your website while you focus on what you do best. It’s time to invest your business online.