EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

The DOMOREBOOK has landed. The site, albeit minimal, is up.

Care to know how the sausage is made? Here’s what it took – just 10 easy steps.

So You Want to Sell Stuff Online?

Step 1

Firstly, do you have stuff to sell?

My inspiration came from making a Christmas gift for my boyfriend, Alex. His New Year’s Resolution for 2016 was to simply “do more”: to give battle to Boredom and Sameness. So off I went, scouring the web and picking friends’ brains for gems of fun in Ottawa, long dubbed “the city that fun forgot”. Guess what? I found tons.

And that’s when it hit me: if the conventional wisdom is that Ottawa is terribly boring, and we (the humans) are forever in search of meaning, couldn’t more people be wanting to rid themselves of existential angst by simply “doing more”? Couldn’t I help them, at least the ones from Ottawa?

Yes, yes I could.

Step 2

Take some photos of your thing to sell.

Yes, you can likely do this on your iPhone. If you want to get slightly fancier, I used our DSLR and this really helpful tutorial, with the following setup we dubbed “Ghetto Studioz”.

Step 3

Register hosting.

I’ve long used fatcow.com, but honestly cannot recommend them. Try FullHost, Alex swears by them.

Step 4

If your hosting package does not come with a free domain name, register it.

I’ve also long used Rebel.ca (née DomainsAtCost) – but Hover is a relative newcomer that I’ve heard boasts usability and friendly service.

If your host and your registrar are two different entities, you’ll have to point your registrar’s DNS settings at the hosting provider’s name servers and wait for approximately 10,000 hours for propagation (supposedly 24-48, but usually longer in practice). Check whether it worked using a DNS checker, and then proceed (or wait some more).

Step 5

Install the WordPress!

You can do it through your hosting provider (look for the words “1-Click Install” like on Bluehost’s WordPress-specific page) or manually like a freaking animal.

And yes, you can probably get away without using WordPress, but there is scant other CMS as powerful and full-featured as this beast. It is, though, a beast, so expect 1000 options you did not know you needed.

Step 6

Buy a WordPress theme.

This is clearly optional, as there are umpteen bajillion free themes available, but in order to prevent fuckarounditis, I recommend Uncode. This theme is also a mega-monster, but as you can see from their showcase website, it’ll serve your website needs now and essentially forever, and look bloody good doing it. According to them, you also “deserve it”.

Regardless, install whichever theme you select, and the plugins it requires.

Step 7

Create a landing page.

If you’re using Uncode, you can first put up a “Coming Soon” landing, like I did for a few days. The leanest way to go is just to put up a product photo, a countdown, and an email address at which people can reach you. Slightly less lean is having a way for people to put in their email so you can notify them of launch, but you’ll need a thing for that…

Step 8

… and that thing is MailChimp. Again, many other ways to do this, but MailChimp stands out for me. Their free tier is roomy and therefore, unless you’re planning (hoping) to start blowing up immediately, should suffice.

So, sign up for an account there, create a list, note its ID. Then grab an API key from Account > Extras. With those two pieces of information, march back over to your WordPress installation; we’re about to add some more plugins.

The combo that works well for me (and even comes with some templates via the aforementioned Uncode theme) is Contact Form 7 plus the Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension. You simply create a form (mine’s a super-minimal email input field + submit button) and add the shortcode to your page or post.

See how in the configuration settings for each contact form there is a handy MailChimp tab? And how it asks for your MailChimp API key and list ID? Good thing you’re prepared. You’re welcome.

Step 9

With your Coming Soon page up, and potentially even collecting interested people’s emails, let’s pop on over to Shopify to actually set up the buying portion of this. Why Shopify? Honestly, it seems to me like the easiest way to sell stuff online (though this is the first time I actually try). If your product is worth more than USD$9 and you’re expecting to sell more than one a month, it feels entirely worth it to go for their lightest tier. They offer a 2-week free trial and, if you’re a procrastinator like me who doesn’t get very much done in those two weeks, they extend it by another.

It’s pretty quick things over there, just register your account, and add a product. Upload your product shots, write up a description, and set your price. Add the Buy button channel, generate the embed code, and bring it back over into WordPress.

Step 10

Now here you have complete creative freedom. Want to just add the Shopify Buy button code to a simplistic landing page and be done with it? Go for it. Want to add an individual product page, a bunch of supplementary pages, or maybe even a blog? Totes doable. Entirely up to you.

Godspeed!

I CAN HAZ DOMOREBOOK?

If you’re wondering… YES, the DOMOREBOOK is now available for you to buy! Super-duper-custom-made-entirely for you, for CAD$199+tax. Free hand-delivery within Ottawa (and hugs, if you’re up for it)!

 


Your Thoughts

Have you set up a site to sell stuff online? Did I miss any steps above? Let me know by shooting an email over to sabbatical@mashakrol.com, or leave a comment below - I'd love your tips and tricks!

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