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Pridelord

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Hey guys! What's going on?

Yesterday I got paid by Teepublic:
pp.jpg

The thing is, that I didn't even get for what I got paid. So I was really surprised.
I totally forgot that some time ago I created a few designs and uploaded them on some marketplaces.

3 months ago I had my first-time (ever) experience with Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator. I created 9 simple vector images with text and made them in 2 variations: black image for light backgrounds and white image for dark backgrounds. So, in total, I uploaded 18 designs.

The main idea of the method was just to create designs and upload them to websites with good organic traffic.​
I got rejected by Amazon Merch 7 times
try-again-fail-meme.png

So I gave up on it and chose websites like Redbubble and Teepublic.

As I remember now, I got my first sale on Redbubble just in two days after I uploaded that bunch.
But, very unfortunately, I had to drop making new designs, because I was really in a hurry with cash and didn't have the time to wait for that net 30+ bullshit.
And that was a decision I totally regret now. My biggest mistake was that I didn't scale it after I got my first sale.

Yesterday I checked every website I had uploaded my designs to, and I got surprised by results even more because I totally gave up on this method in the past.
A few minutes ago I got an email with another sale notification, and that's why I'm starting this journey.

This journey will be quite long because I cannot work on it a full day, and I don't have money to hire people.

I think I'll manage to create 3-5 designs per day, so the road to 1000 images can take a full year. Stay with me and I'll share the results, the method, and the strategy. I hope you get motivated by my experience and start to make some money online. Let's get started.
The METHOD and things:

Simple.jpg
Very simple: create designs and upload them to websites with organic traffic (marketplaces). No paid ads, no social media promotion, no paid traffic.

I have no money and no time to spend on advertising.

Also, my current circumstances don't let me do e-commerce at all. I live in t3 country so I can't have a Stripe account in a natural way, can't get a Paypal Business account (due to some tax issues), can't use some websites like Cafepress (they don't send royalties to unsupported countries), etc.
So I can't do dropshipping, Etsy, Amazon Seller. As I mentioned before, Amazon Merch rejected me 7 times.

I can overcome things above by starting the US LCC (for example), however, it costs some hundreds of $$$.

Also, my current skills don't let me create HQ designs for Shirt-of-the-day websites, so yeah, I have to skip them too.

So:
1) Do keyword research.
2) Create designs.
3) Upload to marketplaces with OK organic traffic (List below).


I may do some advertising later when I get more money, but the goal of the journey is to create 1000 designs and upload them to all available to me marketplaces.​

What I have right now:
9 images, 18 designs, 6 sales, $18.59 made:

Redbubble:
rb.jpg

Teepublic:
tp.jpg

DesignByHumans:

dbh.jpg


Websites to upload the designs to. Current upload status, earnings, Similarweb traffic overview:

I got my Spreadshirt account disabled for inactivity and their migration thing, so I have to re-upload my stuff there.

From the beginning, my idea was to create as many designs per day as possible and upload them to websites with the fastest upload speed (redbubble, teepublic, spreadshirt, and threadless).
Also, I was going to ignore teespring because It didn't have that much organic traffic, however as long as I got a sale at DBH, I won't ignore low-traffic marketplaces anymore. I won't ignore websites with slow upload speed too because of that DBH sale again.

So yeah, I will create 3-5 designs per day and upload them to every website on my list. Stay tuned for updates.

Total designs uploaded: ?/1000
Total money earned: $18.59
 
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Pridelord

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Good luck
Who then bought those designs?
You put the price of each one or the website to decide that?
What can they do with those designs?
Tshirts?
Thanks!
I don't really know who bought a thing on DBH and I don't know what exactly he or she bought, however, I can tell about other sales:
On redbubble I sold a sticker, and on teepublic I sold a sticker too, a hoodie and 2 different kinds of shirts.
Pricing models are different on each website, on some of them you can set your royalties, but on others, you can not.
Well, you upload your image on a website and choose categories of products like shirts, hoodies, stickers, and other stuff.

About that "who" question: traffic can be organic, paid (redbubble and teepublic have a crapload of retargeting Google AdWords campaigns), and direct. Redbubble has a massive customer base itself, second to only Amazon if we are talking about POD things. So the goal is to rank a keyword inside of those websites.
 

Psh

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Yay, a journey about POD - Following, and good luck! This will be interesting.

Have you tried ranking your t-shirts as parasites? I did a small test a while back and I ranked #8 within 3 days.
 

Satal

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Sounds like a great journey. Look forward to hearing how it goes.
 

Pridelord

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Yay, a journey about POD - Following, and good luck! This will be interesting.

Have you tried ranking your t-shirts as parasites? I did a small test a while back and I ranked #8 within 3 days.

Thanks!
Oh, lmao. I was looking for a thing or two about ranking my listings, however, I have never thought about parasites!
Great idea, man! How did you rank it?
Have you used general kw or long tail?

I have some listings ranked in google images for general keywords, and one of them ranked from multiple websites, but I really have never thought about parasites in that way.

Good luck OP, following

Sounds like a great journey. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

Thank you, guys!
 

Roger Marquez

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Good luck sir! I myself started something similar last year but no results whatsoever so i got depressed and stopped doing it.

I got my Redbubble account banned a couple of times and I've heard so many negative things about TeeChip I just didn´t care anymore.

I was focusing mostly on Teespring but, again, didn´t sell a thing.

Got a few questions for you...
  1. How do you do keyword research?
  2. Do you have several storefronts organized them by niche or are you just randomly creating designs?
  3. Can you give me an example of a product description?
  4. At what price tag are you marking your t-shirts and hoodies?
  5. Are you selling other POD products?
Cheers and GL!
 

Pridelord

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How do you do keyword research?

I cannot say my way was the right way because that bunch of designs was created on a whim and it's not like I expected any results from them.
I searched for general keywords like kw+shirt and checked volume.
But I feel it's not how it should be.
This time I will search kws on Amazon and Redbubble and look at the competition on Redbubble. Because RB is massive.

Good luck sir! I myself started something similar last year but no results whatsoever so I got depressed and stopped doing it.

I got my Redbubble account banned a couple of times and I've heard so many negative things about TeeChip I just didn´t care anymore.

I was focusing mostly on Teespring but, again, didn´t sell a thing.

Got a few questions for you...
  1. How do you do keyword research?
  2. Do you have several storefronts organized them by niche or are you just randomly creating designs?
  3. Can you give me an example of a product description?
  4. At what price tag are you marking your t-shirts and hoodies?
  5. Are you selling other POD products?
Cheers and GL!

Thanks!
How did you get RB accounts banned? For what reason?
I never used Teechip before, but I don't want to ignore low organic traffic websites anymore.
Teespring is the best website to drive traffic to, but it's not really good to expect traffic from.
For my current listings, Teepublic has the most traffic.

1. Above ^^^
2. Right now I don't have dedicated storefronts, because, again, I was randomly creating designs. However, yes, I will create dedicated things because I don't really want to mix absolutely different niches in one place.
3. I don't have good descriptions to show off right now. That's why I didn't rank most of them well lmao =) However I firmly believe that descriptions should follow teespring guidelines: https://community.teespring.com/training-center/optimizing-listings-for-boosted-network/
4. Different price tags on different websites. On RB I'm ultimately shameless and do most expensive listings like + %40 on everything and + %200 on stickers. The funny thing here, my first sale was a sticker on redbubble for $6.
5. I do as many products as I can simply because it's more keywords, more listings. People search for different products. It's not like this is the right way, however, I do this because I saw some Reddit post where dude sold a clock (!).
 

Roger Marquez

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How did you get RB accounts banned? For what reason?
They never give a reason on why they banned accounts. They just do, period.

Teespring is the best website to drive traffic to, but it's not really good to expect traffic from.
Will keep this in mind, thanks!

For my current listings, Teepublic has the most traffic.

I will look into this more, thanks!

2. Right now I don't have dedicated storefronts, because, again, I was randomly creating designs. However, yes, I will create dedicated things because I don't really want to mix absolutely different niches in one place.
3. I don't have good descriptions to show off right now. That's why I didn't rank most of them well lmao =) However I firmly believe that descriptions should follow teespring guidelines: https://community.teespring.com/training-center/optimizing-listings-for-boosted-network/
4. Different price tags on different websites. On RB I'm ultimately shameless and do most expensive listings like + %40 on everything and + %200 on stickers. The funny thing here, my first sale was a sticker on redbubble for $6.
5. I do as many products as I can simply because it's more keywords, more listings. People search for different products. It's not like this is the right way, however, I do this because I saw some Reddit post where dude sold a clock (!).
Thanks for the insights!
 

Psh

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Thanks!
Oh, lmao. I was looking for a thing or two about ranking my listings, however, I have never thought about parasites!
Great idea, man! How did you rank it?
Have you used general kw or long tail?

I have some listings ranked in google images for general keywords, and one of them ranked from multiple websites, but I really have never thought about parasites in that way.

Thank you, guys!
I just optimized the t-shirt listing for the target keyword, so added 500+ words of unique content etc. Then blast the listing with some cheap PBNs/whatever. If I remember correctly, Redbubble was a really good parasite for Google ranking.

The keyword was a "main" one, like "Fishing T-Shirt". But you can also target "Best Fishing T-Shirt for Men" etc. Unfortunately my listings got removed because of copyright issues.

Anyway I'm rambling, but give it a go if you want, would be interesting to see how that would work out. Best of luck!
 

Pridelord

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I just optimized the t-shirt listing for the target keyword, so added 500+ words of unique content etc. Then blast the listing with some cheap PBNs/whatever. If I remember correctly, Redbubble was a really good parasite for Google ranking.

The keyword was a "main" one, like "Fishing T-Shirt". But you can also target "Best Fishing T-Shirt for Men" etc. Unfortunately my listings got removed because of copyright issues.

Anyway I'm rambling, but give it a go if you want, would be interesting to see how that would work out. Best of luck!

I always check which website is in top10, and, literally, every marketplace almost always has at least a whole category in it.
Still, the idea seems great to me, I'll check it after I'll deal with some things.
Another thing is, redbubble listings are very dynamic. When I got my first sale on it, there was a "grid_pos=400~something" in its link. It means, that the position of that listing was on 4th page. After some time I checked it again and found my listing on the second page of that kw (IT IS ON THE FIRST PAGE OF RB RIGHT NOW LMAO (>2100 results and >1000 for different products)).

Anyway, seems good. I'll try this one.
Thanks
 
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Pridelord

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They never give a reason on why they banned accounts. They just do, period.


Will keep this in mind, thanks!


I will look into this more, thanks!


Thanks for the insights!

Oh, that triple thanks feels so f*cking good.
Thanks! =)
Also, I searched for some info about bans.
The thing here is always to check the community rules. Always use royalty-free fonts and images to trace, stay away from trademarks and things that resemble trademarks. Even your unique art can be banned if it resembles smth trademarked.
So yeah, the general rule is to avoid suspicious things.
 

Roger Marquez

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Oh, that triple thanks feels so f*cking good.
Thanks! =)
Also, I searched for some info about bans.
The thing here is always to check the community rules. Always use royalty-free fonts and images to trace, stay away from trademarks and things that resemble trademarks. Even your unique art can be banned if it resembles smth trademarked.
So yeah, the general rule is to avoid suspicious things.
I only use royalty-free images and vectors as well as double-check any copyright infringements. Personally, I believe I got ban due to the controversial nature of one of my niche designs. But regardless of the reason, and i know they don´t have to due to their policies, but it would be nice to get a heads up on the reason that motivated their decision to ban my account.
 

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Alright, small update here. Some good news, some not:

1. The worst thing is that I didn’t work on it for 1.5 months. So, the start of the journey can be counted from today. Well, good thing is, now I can run it full time
kappa-png-and-kappa-transparent-clipart-free-download-kappa-png-260_260.jpg


Well, it's better late than never.

Another good thing that I got some sales tho:

Total money earned: $23.34
Total designs uploaded: ?/1000

The fact that this thing is an ultimate passive income, motivates me hard. To such an extent that it's a sin not to scale it.

2. I learned quite a few things too. I'll share my research later, step-by-step. There will be a crapload of valuable things, be sure.

Also, I lowered Redbubble rates from %40 to %15, because it's a joke in such a competitive marketplace. Even I have a few listings, I have traffic. But there are no sales because a $60 hoodie is too much for a product from a no-name designer with almost no skills.
I have to get followers and better design skills for more flexibility in pricing.

3. When I checked my current listings I got terrified...by lack of SEO. Here is an example:
Before.jpg


This is a visual material about how to fail listings ;)

Now I'm doing long (120-150 words if possible) kw-rich descriptions, maximum tags and kw-optimized title.

There is a decent Reddit thread from a guy who made his 500th redbubble sale.

I copied his comment about SEO and tags here (CLICK ON SPOILER BUTTON):

Title:

We start each title with the category name, this helps us easily run analytics but also makes our shopping experience better.

If it is a text based design we include most or all of the text in the title (more than the recommended 4 words). This is helpful when the text isn't readable on a RB sponsored add and helps make the design more googlable.

Description:

We write long, detailed, keyword filled descriptions for every design.

Generally we have a few sentences that every design in the category gets, then a few sentences specific to that piece of art.

We don't assume humans will read the descriptions but know that those words help search ranking both on RB and on Google. We try to make sure that some of the words from the title are also in the description.

We don't write the obnoxious merch style descriptions like "perfect gift for your mom, mother, step-mom..."

Tags:

You can have 50 tags per design. We shoot for 30-45 for each so we have room to add new tags if something happens in the news/social media.

Again, we have banks of tags that we use. About 10 tags go on every single design including our shop name, and potential misspellings of our shop name. We develop about 20 tags for the category for us that means referencing related content or general themes, and try for about 10 tags for each specific design.

We do a ton of business in the UK so we make sure to add US and UK versions of words. We also add misspelling of words.

We don't tag for super generic stuff like color, but do tag if something has been illustrated, hand drawn, painted etc.

RB removes tags like: gift, t-shirt, sticker, etc. because they are also tagging at a product level.

We don't tag artist, bands, actors, brands, or anything that could trigger the copyright police.

We will tag specific designs for holidays. I haven't noticed if those tags get removed.

For our main shop we just know the subject matter well enough to know the types of things we would search to get to our designs, we will occasionally hit up wikipedia for inspiration. For our other shops we will create mind maps and try to create searches to get to designs like ours. You can also see other people's tags on RB if you click into the artist notes section, but we are out ahead of our competition in our niche so that isn't a helpful tactic for us.

4. During checking and updating my listings I found that some of the marketplaces have bugs atm.
For example, I had to delete listings and upload them once more because websites (several of them) didn't save changes or prohibited to make them (like DBH listing titles).

Also, besides technical bugs, there are racist websites that don't support my country, so I reached them to inquire about the possibility of selling.

Support of the Spreadshirt was really great, they provided me with the solution and gave me permission to work with them.:)

To put it simply, even I created 50 more designs I didn't upload them because I have to fix my current listings, reach the support and wait for answers, deal with technical issues and so on. I have tons of work before I can dive into my journey completely.

Also, the uploading process is very time consuming, so now I look for things like merch titans automation. Although it supports less than half of the websites on my list, it still helps. However it's $70 per month, so yeah, not this time.

5. While I was updating one of my listings, I found that not all websites are equally good for SEO. For example, Redbubble and DBH (I really underestimated DBH) allow making a long description and 50 tags, while Spreadshirt allows only 200 symbols in the description. Teespring has only 10 tags (I have an issue with it right now, cannot put tags), and so on.

I think I'll make a tier list about it later. What do you think? :)

Also, I really underestimated DBH. Right now, I got most earnings from it (and probably most traffic).

6. After I finish with everything above (technical and geographic issues, updating current listings, uploading 50 new ones), I think I start to do some social media.

Today I bumped into some quora thread (link) and got inspired by this comment. Actually, I watched this guy on youtube when I touched POD for the first time 4 months ago. Although I do not totally agree with everything from his head, some of the things are worth to try.

7. For today, that's it. I thank you, people, who follow me on this one, and who interested in it.

In my next big post, I'll provide you with the niches, keyword research (including the trick about how to piggyback some of the trademarks without copyright punishment), and useful resources that I'm using.

So yeah, stay tuned!;)
And have a nice day!
 
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armur

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This is super motivating for a fellow BHWer like me who is also into POD. Although my main focus is my home country, I do upload designs to Merch, Spreadshirt and Etsy. Seen something like $35 sales in the last few months. Following this journey. Am going to concentrate a bit more on these sites as well.

Too bad I played around with RedBubble a few years back when I wasn't really serious about these things and got my account banned. Can't really sign up with them again. They seem to be able to detect all my new accounts and ban me the instant I sign up as an artist.

Cheers and good luck mate!
 

Pridelord

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This is super motivating for a fellow BHWer like me who is also into POD. Although my main focus is my home country, I do upload designs to Merch, Spreadshirt and Etsy. Seen something like $35 sales in the last few months. Following this journey. Am going to concentrate a bit more on these sites as well.

Too bad I played around with RedBubble a few years back when I wasn't really serious about these things and got my account banned. Can't really sign up with them again. They seem to be able to detect all my new accounts and ban me the instant I sign up as an artist.

Cheers and good luck mate!

Thank you, mate! If you can't do RB, don't mind it then. I advise you to consider Teepublic, DBH, and maybe Zazzle for upload-and-forget style. It seems you're from India, so Cafepress doesn't support it, or I'd recommend it too.

Today I played around all websites from my list so I decided to write some thoughts.

1. Ultimately dissatisfied with Society6. Uploading is cancer; no background colors; uploader is crap overall. Really. I may consider it only after I upgrade my PC ($150 to go) because it can speed up Photoshop and make things better.

2. Zazzle is surprisingly ok. I didn't find a fast uploader before, but today I bumped into it, so my impression about this marketplace increased. Also, it still has the second-largest organic traffic volume after RB (from my list of marketplaces). It supports long descriptions, so yeah.

3. I'm really in love with Sunfrog UI and dashboard. Also, it supports both long descriptions and crapload of tags. More then that, it supports crapload of tags for collections, increasing SEO impact. That is why sunfrog can be seen in the top 10 of Google sometimes, despite it is a lot smaller than gorillas in the room.
The only downside is limited uploader (category only, for example, apparel only, mugs only, and etc.) and very strict dimensions. You must upload designs with the exact size they mention.
Also, my account isn't reviewed and approved yet.

4. I found that Bustedtees is a shirt-of-the-day website, so I dropped it. I'm not good enough yet.

5. Teechip was tailored for paid ads. When you register on it, they ask your paid ads ID to check how are you doing. They have many tracking things, their product page seems to be high-converting and has some misleading shit like "Someone bought this product 30 seconds ago".

Ok uploader, and duplication is possible, so uploading is fast. The long description is possible, but tags are....really that bad. Only 6 generic tags.

Another downside (for customers) is bad quality of the products. Teechip products have an extremely low base cost, so the margin for sellers is the highest. Yes, it is profitable, but the reputation of this website is bad.

I'm not sure about it. Well, I'll upload some things here just to check if there any organic traffic.

6. Reached out Fine Art Amerika and Cafepress about possibilities to sell on them. Waiting for their response. Also reached out Teespring about tagging issue:
Teespring-bug.jpg

Another technical issue with Teespring is bad uploader stability. 4 months ago I didn't come across it.

7. After today's testing, I'll focus on Redbubble, Teepublic, Spreadshirt, DBH, and Zazzle.
Teespring has tech-issues, Teechip is suspicious.
My current PC is slow, so I don't want to waste much time on resizing designs for Sunfrog and Society6. I'll consider them again after the PC upgrade.
Also, I finally set up G-analytics for the Threadless, I just want to see if is it useful or not for the whole thing.
 

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Good luck with this. I have my passive income from merch by amazon. Will dig it up and post updates!
 
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