Have you ever thought about opening an online store to sell your art and then quickly become overwhelmed by the process?  You may have seen that I’ve been branching out a little and working on a website where I’m selling personalized products.  If you haven’t, it’s www.LetsPersonalizeIt.com

I’ve had a few artists contact me to see if I am licensing art – not at this point.  Later?  Who knows. We will have to see how it grows but I DID pick the name so it wasn’t only associated with me and my art so if I wanted to go that route in the future I could.  (Forward thinking – always important!)

I’ve had other artists ask how I’m doing it, what software, website, etc.  So I thought I’d share in case you have been thinking about adding an online store to your income stream.

create your own shopify ecommerce store

I decided to use Shopify.com as my eCommerce platform.  I’ve been hearing about them for a few years but hadn’t paid a lot of attention since I wasn’t planning on opening an online store.  But they have done a great job staying on the radar because when I starting thinking about it, I thought of them.

Shopify is what I call the “WordPress of eCommerce”.

Like WordPress, there are a lot of themes you can use (some free, some not) to setup an online store relatively quickly and painlessly.  There are different apps you can add to your store (again, some free, some not) to help you have functionality.  For example, I pay a few dollars a month to have the ability to add personalization fields and menus to my store.  I added the Facebook “Want” button for free.

Shopify has different monthly plans based on how many products you want to sell and what other features you want in your store.  They offer a 2 week free trial which is a great way to play with it and see if you like how it works.  There are a few things I know how to do in WordPress and on my site I create with Dreamweaver that I can’t figure out how to do on my Shopify site (like create anchor texts so I can link to things further down the page.)  But otherwise, I love it!  It’s pretty straightforward and designed to make it easy to include all the SEO you need to be found in this digital age.

If you do decide to open a Shopify store, I would recommend registering the URL with Shopify and not with an external site like 1and1 or GoDaddy.  It will save you the steps and the wait to have the URL point to the server and since your site will be hosted on Shopify and you get unlimited bandwidth, it makes sense to keep it all together.  (Guess who DIDN’T do that and regrets it?? Yup!  Me!)

eBook to get you up and running with an online store on ShopifyEven though I’ve done a lot of website building and tinkering around, there is always a learning curve to get used to a new system.  I decided to buy the eBook “Shopify and You” to use as a reference and to save me some time figuring it out.  Well worth it – lots of screen shots and easy to scan to find the info you need.

I highly recommend this book if you decide to open an online store with Shopify – especially if you are newer to the website building process.

SO… that’s what I’ve been using to build the new leg of my business.  I hope it helps anyone else looking into an online adventure!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed