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Greetings, Creators!

I work at CafePress, and I've been collaborating with Ning to develop a partnership that's designed to help you make more money from your Ning Network. We launched a CafePress App on June 16th, which makes it incredibly easy for you to get started with your own storefront. We also worked with Ning on a very unique offer: the ability for you to earn a free year of Mini or Plus. We're very excited about this idea because it’s really a win-win situation for everyone. It’s clearly excited a lot of you as well. As of today, the CafePress App has been installed on over 2,500 Ning Networks.

If you're not familiar with the offer, check it out. We've already seen a number of Ning Networks meet their goal and earn a free year of Mini or Plus.

The folks from Ning invited me to stop by Creators and give those of you who haven't yet reached your goal a few tips that might help you get there faster. We’ve obviously had a lot of experience seeing storefronts succeed or fail. Here are three of the best tips I can give you.

1. Include a custom design.

From my experience, the single most important thing you can do to increase revenue in your CafePress store is to offer custom designs. While the standard "I heart" message works great for some people, I've seen a dramatic increase when people go the extra distance and create custom images. It also helps to offer a number of choices.

The Bayan Ng Candalaria site is a great example of a Ning Network that’s already reached their goal of earning a free year’s subscription to Ning Plus. Their CafePress store offers a dozen graphically rich choices that can be found on over 20 fabulous products, including t-shirts for dogs! Now, that’s clever.

Not a designer? Create your own design with our "Designer" — simply select the option "Build a design." You’ll find a library of clip art and text tool to help you create a great design.

2. Don't just think visual — think textual

Even if you aren't a whiz at Photoshop, with a little bit of creativity you can offer compelling text-based designs that include your tagline or fun sayings that your members will connect with. A great example to follow is Duke City Fix, a Ning Network with a longstanding CafePress store. They offer witty and catchy sayings that read like bumper stickers. Very clever bumper stickers.

3. Put it above the fold

We do a lot of statistical analysis at CafePress, and one of the things we focus on is how people integrate their CafePress stores into their Web sites. There is a very important detail that we've found makes a big difference: display your merchandise "above the fold" — closer to the top of the page so people who take a cursory glance at your Main Page will clearly notice it. The old sales adage "show the product" applies here. As I'm writing this, I notice that a Ning Network that does a great job of making their CafePress site visible above-the-fold is Walden International Corps — and it looks like they just met their goal of a Ning Plus subscription today. Go, Walden!

It's easy to add new designs to your Ning CafePress store! Here are steps to help you get started:

  1. Go to your CafePress store on your Ning site and click on the "Edit Your Shop" button.
  2. If you're not logged in, it will take you to the member sign in page. Enter your account information.
  3. Click on the "edit" link for your Ning store and you will be taken to the edit version of your store.
  4. Under Shop by Design (left side), you can start adding new designs by selecting the "Add a Design" link. You will be given the choice to:
  • Browse our Designs by using our design templates personalized by your site name or text
  • Upload a logo
  • Build a design by using our easy "designer tool" to put together clipart and text with your choice of font

Once you're done, be sure to save your design!

We hope that you're already on the road to earning a Ning Mini or Plus year's subscription. You still have until August 20th to take advantage of this offer, so if you haven't started, you can get going right now. Or just add the CafePress App to make money — it's your choice.

If any other Creators have tips to share based on their own experience of integrating CafePress into their Ning Network, feel free to share them here.

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