How To Create and Sell Your Own Product

This post is part 2 of a three part series on how to turn your website into a money-making machine. Yesterday, I explained how to generate revenue with ads, and today, I’ll show you how to get started selling your own product. We’ll look at the various types of products you can sell and various e-commerce platforms along with step-by-step instructions on setting up your own online store.

When you first think about selling products on your website, you might first think about selling a physical product. But there are many other types of products that you can sell including e-books, stock graphics, website templates, wordpress templates, or a subscription product on your website. For a more detailed look at each product types, see our post “A Guide To Passive Income for Designers.” With each of these product types, you have the option to sell them on your own website or an online marketplace. Since selling these items on your website involves a lot more hands-on effort, we’ll concentrate on that selling option in the remainder of this post.

To get started setting up your online store, you need to decide if you should use a hosted e-commerce platform or a custom built store. A hosted e-commerce platform provides web hosting, e-commerce functionality, and support for their services in exchange for a monthly fee. Hosted e-commerce platforms are extremely popular today because they make setting up online stores a cinch! In contrast, a custom store requires you write the entire codebase for the store, so a hosted e-commerce platform is the fastest, easiest solution. My recommendation is that unless you’re a very experienced web developer who is able to devote hours of labor, a hosted e-commerce platform is definitely worthwhile.

Next, you need to choose the right e-commerce platform for your product–this can seem overwhelming at first, but take your time and study the advantages and features of each. To help get you started, here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Shopify – One of the most popular e-commerce platforms mostly because it’s easy to setup. Plus they offer an affiliate partner program which is an added incentive.
  2. BigCommerce – Another big e-commerce platforms which also offers an affiliate program.
  3. Highwire – Not as widely known as our top 2 picks, but still a good option for a hosted e-commerce platform. They also offer an affiliate partner program.
  4. DPD (Digital Product Delivery) – Another e-commerce platform, DPD handles the automatic delivery of digital products to your customers. They offer an affiliate program as well.
  5. E-Junkie – Like DPD, E-Junkie will handle product delivery and also offer an affiliate program. E-Junkie is a good option, but it’s not as user-friendly as the other options in my opinion.

If I had to choose which of these platforms to go with for a new site, Shopify would be my top choice. Their integration is extremely easy, and they offer 24/7 support, which after learning my lesson the hard way, I will never use a company that doesn’t offer 24/7 support.

So let’s dive in, and I’ll show you how to set up your online store using Shopify’s hosted e-commerce platform.

How To Setup Your Online Store with Shopify


Step 1. Setup your profile
To get started, visit Shopify.com and simply enter your email address to sign up for your free 14-day trial. Then you’ll be asked to create a login and provide basic information for your business (business name, address, etc).

Shopify

Step 2. Customize the look
Next you’ll choose the look of your online store. Shopify has lots of free themes available, so if you want the fast, simple approach, you can simply choose one of their free themes for your store. If you want a more customized look, for example, if your store needs to match the rest of your website, you can edit the code to give your store a custom look.

To customize your theme, simply click “Themes” in the left sidebar and then “Customize Theme.” Here you can customize the various parts of your website like the header, footer, homepage, background colors, navigation color etc. For example, you may want to customize the logo on your website. You can do this by selecting “header” and then under “Logo and icon settings” check the checkbox for “Use custom logo”. You’ll then be prompted to upload your custom file.

Customize Shopify Theme

Step 3. Add your products
Next, you’ll be prompted to add your products. Simply enter your product details, add an image, and click save to setup a product.

If your website is built in WordPress, Shopify makes it easy to add your products directly in the WordPress interface with the Shopify Widgets App.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 2.13.35 PM

Step 4. Add collections
Collections are categories that you want your products to appear under. Adding collections to your online shop will keep it organized and will make it easier for your users to find the products they’re looking for. There are 2 ways to add categories–manual and automatic, so we’ll look at both methods and explain the difference between the two.

To add collections to your shop, simply click Collections in the left sidebar then click “Add a Collection” button. Add the details about your collection including things like title, description, meta data, URL for the collection can be found, etc. If you want to add your products to your collections manually, be sure to select the radio button beside the manual option, then after your collection is created you’ll be prompted to select the products you wish to add to your collection.

If you prefer to add products to your collections automatically, you’ll perform the same actions as you would for adding products manually to your categories except you’ll click the radio button for “Automatically select products based on conditions”. Next, you’ll choose the criteria for adding products to your category. You have several options for this including price, product type, product title, as well as many other options. So after you choose the criteria, Shopify will automatically pull products into that category that meet the criteria you specified.

Step 5. Add pages
If you would like to add various pages on your website about your store like your store’s history, details about store locations if you have brick and mortar stores, the latest news about your store, or anything else your customers will find interesting about your store, you can do this by adding pages in Shopify’s interface. To do this, simply go to “Pages” in the left sidebar, click “Add a Page”, and then add the information you would like to post on your website.

Step 6. Setup your domain
Next, you’ll be prompted to setup your domain.

If you don’t yet have a domain for your online shop, you can register a new domain with Shopify, and they’ll host it for $9/year. With this option, you’ll then need to complete the setup for your domains and subdomains after you register your domain.

If you already own a domain that’s hosted by another provider, you can enter the domain in the section provided in the setup instructions. Next, you’ll need to connect your Shopify store to your existing site. Shopify provides high-level instructions on how to setup your store using a 3rd party domain provider. However, your hosting provider will be able to provide you with the best instructions for connecting your Shopify store with your current domain.

Step 7. Complete Your Store Details
Lastly, you’ll need to provide your store details such as shipping, taxes, and notifications, and you’ll also need to setup your payment gateway. Shopify offers easy integrations with several payment gateways including Paypal, Google Wallet and other payment solutions, and they also offer an internal payment gateway called ShopifyPayments which is powered by Stripe. There are no transactions fees if you opt to use ShopifyPayments for your payment gateway, so this is definitely the preferred method of many.

After these seven steps, you should be all set up to start selling products in your new online store!

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there are lots of other types of products besides physical products that you can sell in your online store including e-books, stock graphics, website templates, wordpress templates, software, or digital downloads. So tomorrow, I’ll give you tips and tricks on how you can maximize your revenue stream with tips and tricks for selling these types of products. Stay tuned…