The title says it all. If you run a t-shirt site, have an entry in a t-shirt competition, or have ever designed a t-shirt that’s up anywhere you can link us to, post it right here in the comments. Let’s make this the longest t-shirt comments thread ever!
The only catch – you must post a link to a t-shirt or a t-shirt site that inspired you. Just post your stuff, and then follow it up with a link to someone else’s work. Here, I’ll start:
Cafepress.com/Thetshirtblog – Contains a few of my designs, which I have uploaded to Cafepress, America’s favorite self-publishing site for t-shirts.
One of my favorite t-shirt sites happens to be T-Shirt Hell, not necessarily because I love offensive t-shirts, but more so because of the dry, sarcastic humor often found hiding behind the offending epithet.
I receive what seems like a TON of e-mail from mostly a upstart t-shirt companies, and it’s difficult to keep up with, let alone reply to all of them. However, I do appreciate the effort, and here are some of the best t-shirt links I’ve received in my mailbox.
A few days ago I signed up with Spreadshirt, in order to play around and see how everything works. The only on-demand printer that I had worked with previously is Cafepress, and in a way my first impressions were made up of ways in which the two are different. Here’s what I found.
Vector Designs and Printing Methods
In addition to the traditional WYSWIG method of digital printing Spreadshirt employs something called plot printing. I’m not any kind of an expert on this, but the way I understand it is that a blade cuts your design out of a colored material, which is then adhered to your shirt. This allows for a wider range of materials, such as glittery foil and velvety “flock” prints, and Spreadshirt claims the results are a lot more durable. There are some limitations in terms of the shapes your design can have, and only one swatch is possible. This also requires the use of vector graphics (think Illustrator not Photoshop).
A Wide Selection of Printable Products
Spreadshirt has a dizzying selection of printable apparel for men, women, and children. There is anything from cheap lightweight t-shirts to American Apparel and even track jackets. Choice is always good, but makes for some difficult choices when designing your products. The upside is that printing areas are fairly large, average around 12″ wide and up to the whole shirt length.
Sell Your Design at Spreadshirt
Another way that Spreadshirt is different from, say Cafepress, is that in addition to putting your shop’s products into the “marketplace” you can also submit your designs, which in turn can be used by other shopkeepers, in exchange for royalties. This works a bit like clip-art. Design an element that someone might like to use (think shamrock, stylized heart, baseball bat), and you can earn a couple of bucks anytime it’s printed on a shirt.
Aside from all these positives Spreadshirt also has a slick, modern interface, and tons of customization options. Just take a look at a shop like Amorphia Apparel to see how seamlessly Spreadshirt can integrate with your website. This high level of customization at a price of a higher learning curve, but the e-mail support so far has been great.
Want to see what’s available in the Spreadshirt Marketplace? Here are some coupon codes:
BUYMORE8 – 20% off when you buy two products.
BUYMORE9 – 25% off when you buy three products.
Experies Nov 28th.
CYBER48 – 25& an order for $30 or more.
Valid Dec 1st – 5th.
So far I’ve mainly written about t-shirts from a consumer point of view, but I’ve secretly wanted to create a subsection of this blog that deals with issues faced by webmasters, t-shirt designers, and anyone involved in selling or publishing t-shirts online, in particular because that’s something I am involved in myself. I run several other t-shirt related sites, actively work on advertising campaigns, and have created several t-shirt designs (with more on the way). Given that a significant part of my visitors are actively involved in running t-shirt related sites I feel like I have a ready made audience who could benefit from the topic, and vice versa. So expect to see more posts about things like search engine optimisation, website promotion, search marketing (ppc), and other issues pertaining to running a website and attracting visitors.
My first topic for webmasters has to do with Alexa.com and and the issue of measuring a site’s populary relative to other websites. (If you already know all about Alexa you might want to skip the rest of this post). Before I explain to you what I find so useful about Alexa’s website rankings, let me ask you a question:
Have you ever looked at another website and wondered how much traffic it gets?
It might be a competitor’s website, an industry leader like Busted Tees or Threadless, or maybe a blog who’s readership (or lack thereof) you are wondering about. The reality is, that, short of asking, there is no real way of knowing how much traffic another website gets, and here’s where Alexa comes in. Alexa is a tool that ranks websites sites in order of traffic. So, for example, Yahoo.com is number #1, Google.com is #2, YouTube.com is #3, and Facebook is #6 as you can see for yourself at Alexa’s main page. The rankings are straightforward – while we don’t know exactly how many visitors or pageviews these sites get, we can see that Yahoo gets the most visitors, Google is just behind, and YouTube follows in third place. A quick search for my site reveals that thetshirtblog.com is ranked… #533,515 as of this minute.
Personally I use the Alexa toolbar for Internet Explorer and the Alexa plugin for Firefox to instantly see the Alexa ranking of any website I visit, just like in this screenshot:
So at this point you are probably wondering, how does Alexa gets it’s rankings? Furthermore, are those rankings accurate and are there any caveats? Well, hold those questions until the end of the article, because it’s time for some tees! Did you really think you were going to read through a full post from The T-Shirt Blog without seeing a single t-shirt? Don’t you realize, t-shirts are the glue that holds the universe together, and permeate everything we see and do! Ok, maybe not, but these customized Alexa tees showcase your site’s ever changing Alexa ranking with the help of Zazzle’s API:
And now for the nitty-gritty on Alexa’s rankings.