How Much Content Should Your BANS Store Have?

I haven’t written much lately about Build A Niche Store, but I still do come across those stores that have little or no product descriptions and absolutely zero articles for content. And since I’ve been working quite a bit on my gold coins BANS store I thought I’d discuss how much content you should add to your store and a couple things you can do to get better rankings and more traffic.

Besides product descriptions of at least 2 paragraphs for each and every one of your products pages you should treat your BANS store as an on going project and continue to add pages to it on a fairly regular basis. I changed my philosophy back several months ago as did many BANS users, because of sites getting deindexed, in that the general consensus had been to build as many stores as possible and add content as you could. Now, I wouldn’t recommend working on more that one or two BANS stores at a time until you can add at least 30 or 40 pages of content to each one along with appropriate descriptions for each page that features auctions. You also want to get 30 or 40 articles to start off with placed in article directories for those all important incoming links.

Now, don’t think you’re going to get away with picking up a few articles from an article site and throw them on your store along with nonsensical product descriptions and poof, you’re done with that store. I’ve never been one to advocate the easy way of affiliate marketing and anything other than serious treatment of your content by giving your niche audience the quality information they’re looking for just isn’t worth doing.

Once you have your 30 to 40 pages, the same amount of articles and relevant product descriptions, congratulations, you now have the beginnings of a BANS store. I’ve read on the Build A Niche Store forums that some people have put up 10 or 15 pages of content on their sites and now they can’t think of anything else to add to their site. If you can’t think of more than 10 pages of content to add to your BANS site then either you need to change your niche or, more than likely, you need to expand your thinking.

On my gold coins BANS site I currently have 78 pages of content in several sections such as alternative investments, buying gold coins, the financial bailout, gold bullion, rare gold coins and more. These are all subjects related to gold coins that will eventually draw in the kind of visitor that could possibly be interested in either collecting gold coins or investing in gold coins. It’s not really that hard coming up with stuff to write about related to your niche. Just go to Google News or Google Blog Search and search for the top keywords in your area of interest. You’re bound to find lots of ideas for content and articles for article marketing.

As you continue to build your BANS store, the more relevant, quality content you add, the more your site begins to look like quality site to the search engines and your visitors. As far as some of the other things you can do to get better rankings are remove auctions from your home page and start a blog on your BANS site. I’ve seen my site completely disappear for some top keywords in just a couple of days when turning on home page auctions and then have watched that totally reverse itself in the same amount of days when flipping the switch again. I don’t have a clue why this happens, but Google just doesn’t like to see BANS sites with auctions on the home page, so get rid of them.

Also, blogs normally only take a few days to appear in the search engines and the gold coins blog added to the BANS site, while it only has 8 posts, it is indexed and starting to get traffic. The blog covers some things related to gold coins and other economic news and gives me an outlet to rant about the current state of financial affairs in this country while giving people access to alternative investments in gold if they choose to do so.

Yes, building a quality BANS site is still a lot of work, but having a successful affiliate business is all about work and quality these days. There are certainly smart and easier ways of building your affiliate business and a BANS store, but there aren’t any short cuts to easy money any longer.

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Outsourcing Boatloads Of Content To Build Your Affiliate Empire

For the last couple of months or so I’ve been outsourcing major amounts of content to build up my top TripAdvisor and Adsense earnings websites and blogs, for article marketing and to build up my top earning BANS eBay store as well. When I wrote about my goals for 2009 back in December 2008, I had stated I wanted to focus on the things that had been solid money makers and Adsense was one of them. One thing I didn’t include was the top BANS site that has at times made over $1,000 per month. That site, along with another site in the same niche, only broader, will be included in this year’s work because they have way too much potential to just let them go. They are especially relevant to today’s troubled financial times.

This past Friday I received my second order of 100 articles bringing the total number of outsourced articles so far this year to 210. I have used Elance.com in the past with good success, but decided not to go through them this time because of the amount of work I want to get done. The thought of waiting for bids, screening writers and working with possibly 10 or 20 different people to help accomplish my goals for content this year wasn’t appealing, so I instead found 1 company that can write all the articles I need. I’m looking at doing possibly as many as 1,000 articles this year.

I initially sent a test set of 10 travel articles at the end of December to SEO Article Writing Pros and they did such a good job that I have since sent them 2 additional orders for 100 articles each. The first set of 10 travel articles were written as if they were reading my mind. Except for a few minor spelling mistakes, the articles were exactly what I needed. Then the first set of 100 articles were for 2 different niches and 3 different sites, plus for article marketing. There were a couple of articles that need to be re-done and they were promptly back to me the same day.

To alleviate any miscommunication for the next set of 100 articles, which were much more technical, I included from 1 to 3 urls for the writers that gave specific information on exactly what I was looking for. Initial instructions always include a keyword phrase or title for the article and a 1 to 2 sentence description of what I’m looking for. It’s very important to give as much information as possible to your writers so you won’t be disappointed with what you get back.

Cost for articles at SEO Article Writing Pros is 10 articles for $10 each, 25 articles at $9.50 each, 50 at $9 each or 100 at $8.50 each. Smaller quantities are available at either $13 per single article or $12 each for 5 articles.

The plan was to originally have about 20 to 30 articles done per month, but I immediately brought that up to 100 articles per month because I wanted to start off the year with a bang. I’ll probably skip sending in an order for March, but will send in another for April.

The articles are being used for adding content to travel sites and blogs to ultimately earn more Adsense revenue through organic search traffic. For the BANS site the content will be to get more organic search engine traffic that ultimately ends up at eBay. The BANS site will eventually have more Adsense added to the site depending on how much traffic it ends up getting, again, from organic search. The articles will also be used for article marketing to get more incoming links and boost the natural search traffic to those sites and blogs.

I’ll go into exactly how I’m doing the article marketing and adding the content to the sites and blogs in a future post. In the mean time, if you want to jam out some serious content, give SEO Article Writing Pros a look. Go ahead and check them out, I don’t earn anything for recommending them.

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January 2009 Affiliate Earnings Report

Time for another affiliate earnings report and unfortunately income is down for January by a fairly significant amount. One of the reasons for this was an $800 expense for content outsourcing that doesn’t have any direct earnings payback for the current month it was spent in. Unlike spending that much for advertising that has an immediate direct payoff, it’s likely to be 3 months or so until that $800 starts to earn back some revenue.

With PPC when you stop spending, you stop earning. But I’ve decided to outsource much of my content writing and build up some of the most profitable or highest earning potential sites that will take some time to see a return. The content being created now however, should pay off for many months or years to come. I’m looking at having a much higher and more solid Adsense income of some $3,000 to $4,000 per month and resurrecting my best BANS site that has in the past earned up to $1,000 per month. This BANS site has huge potential and is especially relevant to what’s going on in the economy right now. It’s too valuable an internet property to not give it the best effort to get it back to bringing in more revenue.

Total revenue was $3,630.12 and expenses were $1,543.26 giving a net earnings of $2,086.86. You may notice earnings for Amazon listed below. This has normally been classified under “Other Affiliate Income” because earnings were minimal, however this past month was over $250 for Amazon which is pretty significant since between my wife and I it took over 1 year to earn our first $100 through the big A, but I’ve found a way to earn some decent extra cash through PPC and I’ll probably blog about it in a future post.

January 2009 breaks down as follows:

Google Adsense – $1,376.02
Commission Junction – $52.70
EPN – eBay – $401.92
Meal Planner Ebook – $68.00
TripAdvisor – $137.74
Clickbank – $161.87
Private Advertising – $140.00
AzoogleAds – $412.75
Amazon.com – $259.60
Neverblue – $433.10
Other Affiliate Programs – $186.42
Total Revenue- $3,630.12
Total expenses – $1,543.26
Total Income – $2,086.86

Yes, income is down a bit from the highs of last September and October’s average of $5,000 per month, but sometimes you have to take a step backwards to ultimately move forward. More outsourcing is in the works for this month as well and eventually it all should pay off in a big time way.

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Build A Niche Store Changes

Build A Niche StoreBuild A Niche Store users received an email a few days ago outlining some major changes to the main BANS website and forums implemented recently. The design of the BANS site has changed completely to better reflect a more professional look and feel to come into line with where the developers want to take the product.

The forums have also been changed with better organization of topics, updated rules, no signatures at the bottom of posts any longer, no affiliate links allowed and unfortunately, no discussion of products that compete with BANS. Also, name calling and derogatory comments in the forums won’t be tolerated. It’s too bad that it happens, but many forums I’ve belonged to have deteriorated into a free-for-all and the developers of Build A Niche Store aren’t going to let that happen.

Here’s a selected snippet from the email that pretty much sets the tone of how the developers feel:

Like we said – BANS is in many ways at its beginning. Whether it evolves into what it can be rests with the collective user base as much as it does with us.

We will take BANS as far as it can be taken IF it remains a supported product amongst its users.

If that dies or doesn’t evolve BANS as a project and platform is over. It either becomes what it can be or it sinks into oblivion.

With a project like BANS there is no middle ground.

From the tone of the email to the changes to the web site and forums it appears that BANS is being targeted to a more serious affiliate audience than it has been in the past. While BANS is a great product and the earnings potential is very high (people have reported in the forums making over $10K per month), it is not a product for everyone. Frankly, there are lots of BANS websites I run across that shouldn’t even be taking up bandwidth on the net. For whatever reason, the concept of content just doesn’t see to sink in with some people. Throwing up an eBay affiliate store shell with nothing but auctions will earn you exactly nothing.

It’s possible that the way the product has been advertised in the past by affiliates and the way it has been represented on the main site that too many of the wrong kind of people have been attracted to BANS. Any product that assists affiliates and makes it easier to make money online can certainly fall into the hands of the get rich quick types of people who are looking for more reward with little to no work.

On a more positive and exciting note, there are now 12 new BANS templates with 3 layouts each, for download in the forums. While several people have developed some nice templates for a nominal fee, these new templates are available for free when you become a member of BANS. They actually look pretty nice compared to the stale looking ones that have been around for years and will give users many more options. 

It is great to see the changes on the main Build A Niche Store website, in the forums and the new templates. Again, BANS is not a product for every one, but if you’re willing to put the effort into it and build a decent eBay affiliate niche store, you can earn some pretty good income with it. My BANS websites earn me around 25% of my income.

You can check out the new web site and learn more about Build A Niche Store here.

PS – This will be the last post for several days as I’ll be on vacation celebrating my wife’s birthday. I’ll try to approve new comments and check my email once a day, but if you don’t hear from me till next week, it’s because we’re chillin’ on vacation. Peace.

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Harsh Reality 6 – Those Who Analyse The Most, Do The Least

AnalysisThere comes a time when you have to put away the facts and figures, forget about the costs, stop trying to figure out how many people are doing the same thing you are, quit trying to analyse the code underneath the latest WordPress or BANS template and just jump in with both feet ready to do battle.

When I used to train people in the mlm group I was in, there was this one guy that came to our training sessions who always came with the biggest ideas, the nicest graphs and charts, the best marketing materials and he would go over his ideas, charts and materials endlessly, and guess what, he never made a dime, nor did he attempt to. I knew from the second time I met the guy, he wasn’t going to do anything. He analysed his business to death and killed it.

While it is important to do your due diligence in the niche you’re going into and research keywords, competition, offers, payouts, affiliate companies, available tools and a few other things, all the research and the statistics in the world aren’t going to sell products for you. My personal philosophy is that if you have a good idea for a niche or business on the web, you should have started it yesterday. Because of the time it takes a site to get indexed and start bringing you organic traffic, your new idea can’t wait for you to spend 2 or 3 months analysing all the minute details. It’s better to put that site up as soon as you can, get a few incoming links into it by writing articles and tweak it as you go.

Obviously, you want to have the framework of a site in place before you launch it and if you have a more interactive site or membership site, you have to have enough material that your readers will find interesting and encourage visitors to come back. But for the general affiliate site such as a Build A Niche Store site there isn’t any reason to not launch your site immediately after you find your niche and decide on a domain name. All the other work of writing and adding content and making your store look pretty can come later.

When you put your web project out there for the world to see and hopefully stop by and make a purchase, you can always work on the code later, you can always add more content later, you can always buy more advertising to bring more visitors, you can always add an additional revenue stream and yes, you can even change that sucky logo later. But if your site is still in the design and analysis phase, or the someday phase after 3 to 6 months, you can’t do any of those things and more importantly you won’t be taking checks to the bank to cash them any time soon.

It’s much better to analyse and tweak an already existing project than it is thin air. Thin air doesn’t pay the bills.

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