Whether you’ve already launched your blog or you’re in the planning stages, the option to sell products may be on your agenda.
Why Should Bloggers Consider Selling Online?
- The opportunity to gradually build blog recognition by selling branded merchandise, like coffee mugs and t-shirts.
- To help establish your expertise in the field and sell professional services or by offering digital products (such as e-books or gated video courses) that provide relevant and valuable content to your target audience.
- To generate revenue to offset the cost of hosting.
- The desire to make your blog a profitable venture.
You don’t need to decide up front: there are plenty of e-commerce solutions that enable you to integrate selling into an established blog.
If you are set on selling online — perhaps your blog has been conceived as part of your content marketing strategy for an online store — then, by all means, assess the available e-commerce site builders.
How to Sell Physical Products Online: Drop Shipping
If you plan on selling physical products, you should consider whether you want to go the drop shipping route. Drop shipping enables you to sell products on your site without purchasing and storing any inventory.
Here’s how it works: when someone orders from your site, your third-party product provider is automatically notified, they package the product, and ship it under your name.
Many drop-shipping options offer “on demand” product production. For example, you can create designs for t-shirts, hoodies, laptop sleeves, coffee mugs and more ahead of time and give them to your third-party merchandiser.
When someone visiting your store orders one of these items, your third-party merchandiser is automatically notified, they print the t-shirt, mug, etc., and ship it under your name to the customer. E-commerce builders like Shopify will enable you to easily connect with all sorts of third-party on-demand product providers like Merchify and Printful.
If you go this route, consider whether you’ll accept returns (and how you’ll handle them) or if you expect the third party to do that.
What E-Commerce Platform Should I Use for My Blog?
There are plenty of platforms designed for novices. That means without any experience at all, you can create a beautiful store using pre-built, professional website themes.
One function of blogging.com is to introduce you to some of the current e-commerce platforms on the market: software solutions that run the gamut from plug-n-play shopping carts to add to your blog, to DIY store site creators, to fully customizable solutions for big ventures.
When reviewing available options, you’ll want to consider the following basic questions:
- Are you looking for something easy to use or do you want to “get under the hood” to tweak code?
- Will you be selling digital (e-books, music, course) products, physical products, and/or services?
- Do you need an online store to be created?
- Do you need a way for customers to book appointments with you?
- Do you want your store to be multi-lingual? (In other words, do you want your visitors to be able to choose other languages to view your site in simply by clicking a button on your site?)
- How will you get contact information from your potential customers? (Do you need sign-up forms?)
- How will you market to your potential customers?
- Do you want to sell in multiple currencies?
Build It and They Won’t Come
Don’t expect to build a store and suddenly have products flying off your digital shelves. The mere act of creating a visually impressive store filled with products is something anyone can do nowadays. You’ll need to bone up on digital marketing basics –especially search engine optimization, content marketing, and conversion optimization.
In other words, you’ll need to learn how to attract your audience, grow your community, and sell to them. And that’s where we come in: to help provide you with the best tools, insights, and practices to succeed, like “What is 10x Content?” written by former Newsweek reporter Ji Guo.
Some encouragement: there’s never been a better time in the history of mankind to become an entrepreneur. The barriers to entry are low: you no longer need a factory, a printing press, a distribution center, offices, and employees to start a business. With your laptop, an internet connection, a willingness to learn — and a commitment to yourself to not quit — you will advance, step-by-step towards your goals.
And we’ll be here, rooting for you all the way.
What E-Commerce Platform Should You Use on Your Blog?
With so many e-commerce solutions, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. Lucky for you, we wrote in-depth reviews on dozens of the top e-commerce solutions.
- 1ShoppingCart: A stand-alone solution for managing the entire e-commerce process.
- 3dcart: A full-scale, e-commerce solution with a focus on SEO.
- Big Cartel: A e-commerce solution designed specifically for creative bloggers.
- BigCommerce: A WordPress-friendly, e-commerce solution for high-volume sellers.
- Cart66: Premium WordPress plugin that offers tons of control for a smooth customer experience.
- CloudCart: A feature-rich e-commerce platform with everything you need to open a store.
- E-junkie: Perfect for small-scale creative bloggers looking to sell products.
- Ecwid: Add a simple, responsive store to your blog.
- Highwire: A multi-channel, all-in-one, e-commerce solution.
- LemonStand: Perfect for building a fully customizable, scalable online store.
- Magento: The perfect solution for bloggers who are also proficient developers and want all the features.
- Mozello: For bloggers looking for a site-builder with integrated e-commerce functionality.
- Oberlo: For bloggers who want to import dropshipping products into a Shopify store.
- OpenCart: A free, open-source platform that is completely customizable.
- osCommerce: An open-source solution with advanced features.
- Selz: For bloggers looking for a simple, affordable way to start selling online.
- Shopio: For bloggers looking for a turn-key e-commerce solution.
- Volusion: For bloggers looking for a simple, practical solution.
- WooCommerce: For WordPress users looking for a basic, free e-commerce tool.
- Zen Cart: For smaller, DIY bloggers and developers who are like using plugins to design exactly what they need.