Several years after I started my blog, The Everyday Home,
I decided that if I were to be able to finally quit my high-stress Real Estate job,
I had to come up with a Plan A which would allow me to be able to blog full time.
I had already made the switchover from Blogger to Wordpress, self-hosted thru Hostgator,
and registered my own domaine, www.everydayhomeblog.com, with them as well.
I started some research, and finally decided that I
would create and operate a home-based business and online shop
called Farmhouse Decor Shop.
I am going to share with you the
10-Ways to Create an Online Shop
and Monetize Your Blog.
Once the decision was made, I starting making plans.
And there were a LOT!
Lists and lists and lists.
Lists of lists.
These lists helped me streamline my thoughts.
10- Ways to Create an Online Shop & Monetize Your Blog
1) What will I sell?
I know. Seems simple, right?
What will your shop feature?
Will it be a line of handmade items or
will it be stocked with items I have sourced from wholesale vendors.
Maybe it will feature some carefully chosen vintage items, as well.
Or, maybe it will be a selective collection of all of the above.
That is okay, too.
Just keep in mind your budget. What I found with sourcing wholesale items is
a) the minimum orders were high. (usually over $500 or more)
b) You had to keep a constant flow of stock to fill orders.
c) You needed a pretty good room or stock area to store these items.
In the long run, I decided to go with sourcing the Wholesale Products and
also including a line of farm-house style furniture which could be drop shipped.
(I will further explain drop-shipping below)
2) Decide on an E-Commerce Site
There are a variety of sites which will allow you to sell directly to the public.
These sites are quick to set up and maintain, but they also take a percentage of each sell.
I wanted a site which was completely my own, was more customizable and
where I could design the online shop with my blog in mind.
If the shop is to be an extension of your blog, you want the
design of each to be closely related.
Therefore, I chose a site which would allow me to create a
custom banner and home page.
3) Source Your Stock
Once I decided that I wanted my online shop to be “Farmhouse” themed,
I started the journey of finding companies which produced highly qualitative
and beautiful products that I would be happy to have in my own home.
Also, I registered for a State Tax Number, as well as, a local Tax Number
and also registered my business name, etc.
Call your local or state Tax office (or Better Business Bureau) to find out what steps
you need to take to establish your business, as all states are different.
To be able to order with any wholesale company, you will need a State ID Tax number.
4) Photograph Your Items for Your Online Shop
This is probably the most timely of all the steps. I was lucky that some of my vendors
had great catalog shots and allowed me to use these pictures in my own shop.
(Talk about a HUGE time saver!)
But, others did not…so – out came the camera and
the staging began. It is IMPERATIVE that you have pretty,
clear photographs. No one will purchase from you if you have small, fuzzy
examples of the products you are trying to sell.
5) Register for Various Shipping Companies
Here’s the catch to having an online shop.
Once you have worked tirelessly for hours and hours building a site, sourcing your
stock, ordering and photographing your stock, etc…
you sit back and keep your fingers crossed that you will get customers, and those
customers will place orders. Then guess what?
Those orders have to be shipped!
Believe it or not, the United States Postal Service offered me the best prices.
I created an account, and could schedule pick-ups and print shipping labels
right from my own home.
I also created accounts with UPS and FedEX.
FedEx will most likely, be your best bet for shipping larger items of furniture.
6) Save Up on Packing Supplies
Seriously! Hoard boxes and packing peanuts like a mad person.
Put out a call to all your friends and families
to NEVER, under any circumstances, throw away small boxes and
You won’t believe how much you will go through. And while I’m on the subject of
Packing and Shipping….
CREATE A DESIGNATED PACKING AREA.
Preferable NOT your formal Dining Room Table.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was no fun trying to clean up a
pile of packing peanuts when the cats had had a “Packing Peanuts Party”
the previous three hours. Use a bedroom, closet or space in your garage.
But, set up a table and have a printer nearby to print out your shipping labels.
7) Source “Drop Ship” Products
Once you have your inventory well in hand, go ahead and start
sourcing for “Drop-Ship” Items.
What is “Drop Ship?”
Basically, it’s where the original maker or manufacturer is responsible
for all of the shipping. You take the order from your end, collect all the money
to include the shipping costs, then pay the manufacturer for the product ,
as well as, the shipping fees. Then, they send it directly to the customer.
Why would an online shop do this?
~ It allows you to have a line of products you could not and would not
stock – due to size or cost, or both.
~ It allows your online shop to have a variety of items, not just “smalls.”
It doesn’t have to be items like furniture.
It could be someone who makes homemade candles and soaps, maybe even
You may not always make as much profit on drop-ship items, but because the effort is
minimal – the percentage you make is all profit.
8) Create a Link On Your Blog & PROMOTE
As soon as my online shop was established, I immediately
added a link on my blog that said “ONLINE SHOP.”
Also, the online shop itself had a link back to the BLOG.
Promoting your shop on your blog is a HUGE component of having a
successful online shop.
I cannot stress this enough. BUT, on the other hand –
DO NOT let your blog become all about your online shop, or you will lose readers.
Instead of just creating a blog post which systematically lists everything 1, 2, 3
and includes prices… use some of the items in a blog post where you
show how the item can be creatively used.
Here is a great example using the Farmhouse Milk Bottles and Carriers.
9) Promote with Friends
I was blessed to have so many amazing friends and co-bloggers
promote me when I first started my online shop.
Sometimes I would even offer them an item in return for a promotion.
My friend, Deb, with Confessions of a Plate Addict, was responsible for
one of my best sellers, all because of her promotion.
The profit you give away can be made back three-fold with a successful
campaign on other blogs. But, I do believe the key is to find
LIKE blogs which closely reflect your online shop’s products.
Which leads me to GIVEAWAYS!
Whenever I asked a fellow blogger to feature a product for me, I always included
the option to allow them to do a giveaway.
Readers love giveaways. Heck, who doesn’t like a giveaway?
You will be approached a LOT for giveaways.
Learn to say NO unless it is, once again, beneficial to you and your business.
It’s hard to turn away friends, but the profits lost can start adding up quick!
#10) Social Media will Make or Break Your Business!
Why did I save Social Media for #10?
I mean, shouldn’t this subject not be broached up around # 2 or #3?
I saved this subject for last because I cannot stress enough the upmost importance of
social media for the success or failure of an online shop.
Establish a Facebook Page under your business name pronto!
The same goes for Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, too.
Although promoting on your blog and the blogs of others are important and
effective, it is not enough.
Also, consider setting up a Facebook Shop. It is easy and is simply
another source for selling your products. Be consistent!
Pin your products, Instagram your products, Tweet your Products!
Your products won’t sell if no one sees them.
It’s that simple.
Make Social Media work for you and your business by being pro-active!
So there you go!
That is my 10-Ways to Create an Online Shop
to Monetize Your Blog.
I know there are a lot more details. I could keep filling up about 10 more pages
with what I learned to do – and what I learned not to do.
But, bottom line – you won’t learn until you DO IT.
Sadly, last year – I became very sick and soon realized that I could
not continue on with the business. So, I was happy when a dear friend
approached me and asked to buy me out. I am happy to say that
Farmhouse Decor Shop is alive and well.
One other thing I would like to touch on.
Your online shop is only as good as your blog.
And your blog is only as good as your Host Server.
I chose to go with Hostgator for several reasons.
~ Hostgator offers 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email – you’re not alone.
~ Hostgator has one-click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
~ They offer design services if you do not have the time or know-how to do it yourself.
~ Hostgator In-House Experts can assist you with SEO and Marketing Services.
~ Hostgator is a one-stop shop for registering your domaines.
Contact Hostgator today to find out more about all the services they offer,
as well as, get 30% off web hosting services by using this LINK.
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.