Shortcuts and Templates Club Getting Started Resource Center
Selling Platforms | Build Your Own Website | Grow and Manage Your List | Shopping Carts | Affiliate Managment Programs |
| Website Analytics | Advertising Platforms | Print on Demand Services | File Storage, Sharing and Protection | Graphics Editing
This resource center includes a variety of resources and tools you can use to grow your business. Each resource listing includes a brief overview, a link to learn more and a link to tutorials to help you further.
Once thing we want to stress to you, especially if you're new and starting out is NOT to stress out about all the tools you could be using to grow your business. Just take it one tool at a time, one step a time. You don't have to have it all figured out before getting started and because you're running a virtual business, you can always change your mind later. The important thing is that you take action, test things out and then you can adjust later.
If you don't get started, how will you know what works?
The answer is...you won't! You HAVE TO get started. One step at a time.
Use the links below to find the resources you need...
The number of platforms you can sell your products on has exploded in the past few years. These five are vetted platforms that have large audiences you can market your products on.
But PLEASE NOTE – We always recommend creating your own website, in addition to any platforms you may use. You want a way to grow your own mailing list, control the order process, so you can fully scale your business on a platform you own.
That said, these platforms make it easy to get started, but remember, you’ll still need to do your own homework to ensure you are creating product listings that will easily be found on the platform, so you can get plenty of buyers.
Check these out and keep reading this resources section on creating your own website.
A platform for selling printables, print-on-demand products and other creations. It is a relatively simple way to start selling online and you can reach a potentially huge audience, but the fees can be quite high, especially if your sales volume is low. In addition, there is quite a bit of competition and Etsy is in full control of what happens in your shop.
Merch by Amazon:
Nothing beats the reach of Amazon. Merch has the largest reach of all print-on-demand selling platforms. It’s also one of the most expensive. You only pay royalties on what sells, however, so there are no carrying costs for the store or your listings. You can sell t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing items, but Merch has also expanded to include phone cases, tote bags, and throw pillows.
This is an easy, straightforward platform to use to sell your print-on-demand and printables. It can be used in multiple countries and has relatively low fees. You decide on your own pricing structure and get paid automatically. Products include everything from t-shirts to notebooks to stickers. It’s smaller than some of the other platforms but still has a huge audience.
If you want to sell funny art that can be printed on-demand, Teepublic is an excellent platform to choose. It’s known for high-quality products. You can sell original designs on over 80 types of products, all of which the platform will print and ship for you. They also handle customer service and have a reputation for doing a great job. Fees are generally lower than other platforms, meaning you get more of every sale.
This platform lets you sell print-on-demand products, which they will manufacture and ship for you, but it also lets you list products that you manufacture at your facility and ship yourself. It serves as a facilitator for these latter transactions, just like Etsy or eBay. It currently has over 1300 different kinds of products you can list. The customization options are incredible. This platform also has a variety of reports and promotions available to help you track and grow your business.
Teachers Pay Teachers:
If you create and sell educational materials, this is a good platform to list products. And no, you do not have to be a teacher to list on this platform. They boast of having listed over 5 million pieces of content and the site was used by 7 million teachers last year.
They offer both free and premium membership options. With the free option, sellers get 55% of all sales made; the premium offer increases the payout to 80%. There are also other differences between the two options as listed on their website.
If selling products, choose from either their Commercial or Extended Commercial licenses. With Commercial, sellers can list up to 5,000 products; Extended Commercial increases the number of listings to 250,000.
There are two different ways to make money off of this selling platform:
- Become a Partner
- Open A Shop
Become a Partner
With this option, you are an affiliate of theirs and in return, they pay you 25% for each subscription and 20% for each subscription. You can read more about this at Become An Affiliate below.
Open a Shop
With the second option, you can turn your affiliate account into a designer account and sell your own creations. Access your to select that option.
Build Your Own Website
Setting up your own website is essential for any business. Relying solely on other platforms to build a business is not recommended because those companies can go out of business, they can terminate your account without notice (it happens ALL the time, even to very big, reputable sellers) and you have very little control over the sales process. Add to that, in many cases, you don't even get your customers contact information, so there is no meaningful way to follow up and get more sales. And REPEAT customers are the best source of income.
Building your own website and growing your mailing list is how you get full control and can properly scale your business.
The steps to build your website to sell your products are:
- Get a domain name
- Choose a website building tool
- Choose a shopping cart (you will also find more shopping cart options further in this resource center, if you prefer)
- Choose a web host
And of course, you will also want to set yourself up for growing your mailing list and we'll talk about that in the next section. For now, here are our recommendations for these 4 steps. And of course, if you'd like recommendations or feedback outside of these, you can always come to the EKitHub Facebook Group and help is there!
Get a Domain Name: GoDaddy
To start, you will need get a name for your website and that is called your "domain name". For example, our domain name is EKitHub.com. While people have many preferences on the domain name registrar they use, we always use GoDaddy, so recommend them...but there are tons out there.
But the only thing we recommend is using GoDaddy for domain names. Do not use their hosting or their site builder as they're very limited...at least in our opinion.
Recommended Website Building Tool: WordPress
WordPress is hands down, the most used tool for website building. It gives you full control over your website and business. It also has so many plugins that allow you to customize your website to make it do exactly what you want. There is also a big community of users, so if you get stuck, there is always help around...even through a Google search, you'll always find answers to most of your questions. It also allows for easy integration to most print-on-demand suppliers, so it's a definite plus.
Next up, you'll see that we recommend WooCommerce as a shopping cart for print-on-demand and printables product sellers. You will need a "theme" for your WordPress site that is compatible with WooCommerce, but there are tons out there. We've reviewed a bunch of WooCommerce-friendly themes for you here.
Also, don't worry about WordPress installation...it's very simple. If you use the web host we recommend, there is a 1-click install from your control panel. Then all you do is add your theme, plug in your shopping cart and get building.
Recommended Shopping Cart: WooCommerce
There are TONS of shopping cart options out there, but in the interest of keeping things simple, we're recommending WooCommerce as it's reputable, has been around for a long time and it is easy to integrate with many print-on-demand suppliers and makes it easy to sell digital products like printables.
Creating WooCommerce Funnels
Speaking of WooCommerce, one of the ways we recommend to increase organic sales is through the use of sales funnels. How it works is when a customer buys a product or service, they are presented with the opportunity to buy another product referred to as an OTO or One-Time Option. This is known as an upsell and usually costs more than the original product. If the OTO is declined by the buyer, they may also be presented with a second OTO. This on may be the same as the declined OTO, but with fewer features and at a lower price than the previous OTO. This is known as a downsell. There can be several OTOs contained within a single sales funnel.
Or the buyer might be presented with an add-on option - something that can be purchased that increases the functionality of the original product just purchased.
To assist with setting up sales funnels, there are several plugins that work both with WordPress and WooCommerce. Four of the most popular ones are highlighted below.
Created to specifically work with WordPress and Woo Commerce, Woo Funnels is the ultimate funnel builder and automation sales plugin. They offer various site licenses with both annual and lifetime options.
This funnel builder also works with WordPress and Woo Commerce. It is simple to use with its unique funnel design and built-in templates. Easily offer customers options like order bumps, upsells, downsells, etc. It too also offers both annual and lifetime purchase options.
This funnel works a little different in that it provides other sales options (called upsells) by using a slider at the time of checkout. Products displayed can be based on rules, total price, number of items in the cart, coupon codes or a host of other “triggers”.
When compared to the other funnel option recommendations, this one is the least expensive. As its name says, it is a funnel process that is activated as part of the customer checkout process flow. When checking out, the customer will see other product suggestions presented and can seamlessly add them to their cart as part of their checkout experience.
Recommended Web Host: Mom Webs
Just like with domains and shopping carts, there are plenty of web hosts to choose from. Some of the most popular are Bluehost, DreamHost and HostGator. We personally recommend Mom Webs. It is a smaller company, but the service is impeccable, but it's VERY newbie friendly. Scott is always on hand to help you with your questions and guide you where other hosts might leave you wondering what to do next.
The pricing is also quite affordable, so it's definitely worth getting started with Mom Webs. And nope, you don't have to be a mom to use the service.
Grow and Manage Your List
The success of your business depends in large part on carefully managing and growing your email list. Selecting the right company to partner with is critical, but the good news is, each of these providers is a great option for your business. We personally use Aweber, but think all the services are useful, so perhaps take a trial and see how you find the dashboard, compare pricing and make your decision. But if you don't want to do all that, go ahead and sign up for Aweber...it will do the job!
One of the older email list managers, AWeber is still popular due to its features and ease of use. It’s easy to integrate with most website builders and offers some advanced features such as a/b testing and autoresponders. They have live customer support too. AWeber offers a limited free version for up to 500 subscribers.
This company is consistently ranked as the number one email marketing provider for small businesses for good reason. It’s easy for beginners to use and has on-demand online training. They have incredible customer service reviews as well. Finally, Constant Contact offers every advanced feature you could want in an email provider, including autoresponders, list segmentation, analytics, surveys, and more.
Are you going to create a podcast, newsletter, or blog? ConvertKit is designed to be a marketing platform primarily for creators. The company has features specifically for these sorts of businesses, including the ability to sell digital products and subscriptions. They also offer all the features you could want in an email manager.
Hubspot is more than just an email list manager; it’s a complete Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It’s a powerful system that will enable you to manage customers' needs all in one place. Lead nurturing, customer service, order management, and more can all be integrated into one system. If you need that sort of capability, HubSpot is your go-to provider, otherwise, you probably want to go elsewhere because it’s more expensive than many of the other options.
How does free forever sound? The reason Mailchimp is one of the most popular email management providers because they offer a free version. Not a free trial, but a free version. It is limited in features; the more you pay, the more features you get. Mailchimp in general has fewer features than the other providers on this list, but if you’re on a budget and just need the basics, it’s a good way to go.
Shopping cart software is something you need to have if you intend to sell products directly from your website. Some of these options are integrated into a web host, while others have their own online stores or can be integrated into your standalone website.
This is an option specifically for WordPress websites. It’s a plug-in rather than a separate software package. Best of all, it’s free and open-source, meaning you’ll never have to pay a license fee. What’s the downside? It only works with WordPress, which means you either must have or start a WordPress site first.
This is a rapidly growing company that offers a 15-day free trial of their shopping cart software. It’s affordable and consistently ranked among the top options. The platform has more than 200 features. It’s one of the top options to optimize your store for SEO too.
You’ve probably heard about Shopify; it’s one of the most popular options for small business owners. This is because it’s extremely easy to use even for beginners. It has a drag-and-drop store builder and offers payment processing as well. Shopify also has a free trial.
Weebly is one of the few web hosts that has its own built-in shopping cart. Their shopping cart software is decent and has a lot of features. You can solve two problems with one solution if you choose Weebly, as you’ll get both your website and your cart. This shopping cart is better for physical products than digital products, however.
This is a specialty shopping cart designed just for B2B and wholesale sellers. If your business falls into one of these two categories, other shopping carts won’t have the features you need. Zoey is a great option that connects with other B2B platforms you may use for your company.
Affiliate Management Programs
For marketers using another e-commerce platform besides WooCommerce, there are WordPress compatible affiliate management plugins that you can use. Below are four of the best non-WooCommerce affiliate management systems out there right now in our opinion. Any of them would be good choices to create and manage an affiliate program where you are using another e-commerce platform besides WooCommerce.
Besides working with WordPress and WooCommerce, this management platform integrates with several other e-commerce solutions, including the more popular ones like Simple Shopping Cart, Easy Digital Downloads and S2Member … just to name a few. This cost-effective plugin checks all the boxes by offering recruitment of affiliates, sign-ups, login and management functions as part of your website.
This WordPress-compatible plugin is somewhat unique in that it not only supports affiliate management, but also memberships sites. It tracks sales by affiliates and offers solutions to automatically pay affiliates, thus freeing up time to do other things.
This plugin integrates seamlessly with WordPress and 30 other ecommerce platforms. Easy to set up, you can be ready to start recruiting affiliates and track sales in minutes after installing this plugin.
WP Affiliate Platform is a WordPress-compatible plugin has features too numerous to mention that makes it easy to recruit, manage and track sales made by your affiliates. On the admin side, configure banners, set up links, and create tools affiliates can use to make sales and drive traffic to your site.
You’re going to need an analytics program to measure the performance of your website. You can use the data to increase sales, target customers, and make your overall site more efficient. Luckily for your pocketbook, most of these programs are free. The ones that aren’t are noted.
This tool is focused on analyzing your website and understanding where your traffic comes from, how long visitors stay on your site, and what your visitors do while they’re there. The reports let you optimize your site for conversion and increased ROI. This is a paid tool, but they do offer a free trial.
This is the most popular analytics program in the world. It’s completely free for small and medium-sized businesses; enterprise-level businesses will want to pay to upgrade to the Pro version. This program will help you with your website, ad campaigns, sales funnels, and more.
Are you primarily concerned with your search ranking and optimizing your PPC returns? This is the company for you. It is the best of all of them for gathering this data. Unlike most of the other options, it isn’t free. Pricing starts at $119.99/month, billed annually.
Another program with both a free and a paid option, Similarweb helps you analyze your marketing, your customers, and your sales. It has features to optimize ad campaigns and even tracks affiliate sales.
Most experts rate this tool as the best for website analysis and ad management. It offers all the features of Google Analytics and other larger tools but is much easier to use. There is a free plan and you can increase your service level as you grow.
There are many advertising platforms you can use to promote your business and your products. It’s important to carefully consider where you spend your limited marketing budget. Here are some of the best options.
A third of humanity uses Facebook on a regular basis, making the social media platform one of the best ways to reach people. They have their own built-in ad program; if you want to advertise on Facebook, you have to use it. It’s a powerful tool with almost limitless ways to segment your market.
This is by far the most popular online advertising platform due to the massive reach of Google. All ads are pay per click. Campaigns are easy to create but difficult to optimize and competition is fierce. There’s a steep learning curve to getting your ads right, but if you do, Google Ads can be a lucrative way to advertise.
It’s the third-largest advertising platform, with 1.5 billion ad views every month. The program is easy to use and has a high clickthrough rate. It’s best for users with a lot of U.S. traffic, however.
Once known as Bing Ads, Microsoft Advertising is a cheaper alternative to Google Ads that will let you put your ads on both Microsoft channels such as Bing and on Yahoo. You have more control over your ads than you do with Google, but you also have a smaller potential audience.
If your website starts getting a lot of traffic, you may be a candidate for Revcontent. This is one of the biggest ad platforms in the world and will push your ads into all kinds of websites from newspapers to social media. The downside is that you must be approved to join.
Print on Demand Services
These are print-on-demand companies that either integrate with other selling platforms and/or let you order custom products for your online or brick-and-mortar store.
This provider has one of the largest product catalogs out there and integrates with Etsy, WooComerce, Shopify, and more. You can sell everything from apparel to housewares through CustomCat. Products are produced in the U.S. and shipped quickly.
Are you ready to scale your print-on-demand business? Gooten might be for you. It provides a wide variety of high-quality products and ships globally. Integrations include Etsy, BigCommerce, and Shopify.
Printful is one of the largest print-on-demand providers and integrates with almost every other e-commerce solution you could choose, including eBay, Amazon, and Wish. Products are produced in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. The catalog is small, but all the products are of good quality.
Printify’s catalog contains over 300 products, all created globally and shipped worldwide. It uses a network of vendors instead of dedicated manufacturing and fulfillment centers. Some of the shopping carts and platforms that integrate with it include Wix, Etsy, eBay, and Woo.
If you’d prefer to work with a smaller company, Teelaunch might be your best option. It’s also an easy platform for beginners to use. It provides high-quality mockups and more personalization options than many of its competitors. It currently only integrates with Etsy and Shopify, however.
File Storage, Sharing and Protection
Protecting your data from theft is getting more important every day. You also need to store it safely and share it with members of your team. Each of these services is a good option for small businesses.
Specifically for Apple devices, Apple iCloud provides automatic backups with restoration, device syncing, file transfers, and security. Files can also be accessed from a Windows device.
If you want a scalable solution that can integrate with most of your other software, Box is it. It is used by businesses of all sizes from solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. It integrates with Adobe, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, G Suite, and more.
Designed specifically for use by teams, you’ll want to consider Dropbox Business if you need the ability to sync across multiple devices regularly. Dropbox has great security features and has e-signature functionality.
The most affordable solution out there, iDrive is still a fully functional cloud backup program that will back up all of your devices, including your phones. You can sync files in real-time and store and transfer them with full encryption.
Microsoft OneDrive for Business:
This program is the default for Windows users. It integrates seamlessly into Windows and Microsoft 365. The first 5GB of cloud storage are free. It doesn’t have as many features as other options, so may not be the best choice for some businesses.
The graphics we provide are in PSD format, so they need to be edited in either Photoshop or PhotoPea, but the other options below are great for creating your own graphics.
Adobe Photoshop is still the standard for photo editing. It’s more complex and more expensive than many other options, however, so the other options are better for many companies, particularly if you’re not very tech-savvy.
This is a simple, easy-to-use graphics creation and editing tool. It has both free and paid versions. The ease of use makes it a top choice for non-professional designers. Features include an editor, a template library, and the ability to order prints of your designs.
Corel PaintShop Pro:
If you want a program with a one-time fee instead of a monthly or yearly subscription fee, this is the program for you. It has many of the same features as Photoshop but at a much lower price. Unfortunately, it can’t be used on a Mac. The current price is $79.99.
An open-source photo editing software, GIMP is almost as powerful as Photoshop. It’s also complex and may be difficult to learn for some users. There is an extensive tutorial library to help, however.
This is a free online editor that can be used to edit a variety of picture types. It also contains a large template library. The platform is easy to use and intuitive. Photopea also has a complete learning center with free resources to help you learn the program.
We hope you've found these resources helpful. Again, we know it can be overwhelming getting started, so all you have to do is take it one step at a time...and anytime you're stumped, you can always find us in the Facebook Group.
The more steps you to take to growing your business, the closer you get to that goal!
To your online selling success,
Yusef Kulan and Alice Seba
Your Partners in Easy Product Creation at EKitHub.com