Build A Niche Store – The Most Basic Steps

Build A Niche StoreFor some reading this post, it is going to be very basic affiliate and eBay related information mainly because you probably work with these kind of things every day. However, there are people who don’t have eBay accounts, have never purchased merchandise or have very limited experience buying anything online and don’t have much of an idea of how ecommerce or affiliate marketing works.

Lest you think negative of this, don’t, because it is a huge opportunity as there are still hundreds of thousands to millions of people yet to be added to the economy of the Internet. And many of these individuals also want to learn how to make money online, but don’t know what hosting is, don’t know how to build a web site, don’t know how to upload files to a hosting account and so forth. They have no idea where to start. This post is for those people and actually came out of a conversation I had with a friend recently who wants to break into this field.

For someone who wants to get started in affiliate marketing and knows nothing about how any of this works, I recommend the eBay affiliate program known as the eBay Partner Network (EPN) and Build A Niche Store (BANS) to fully take advantage of the EPN.

Here are the most basic sequential steps you take to get started with EPN and BANS. (there are other ways to do this, but these are the steps I have taken or feel most comfortable with)

These are all steps to do after you have either decided on a niche to exploit or have done your own research. (that’s a whole other lesson) In the case of the friend I was talking with a few days ago, she already had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to do and after a little research on my own, it looks to be a very profitable niche. You of course never know though until you get in there and do the work.

Take these steps to build your eBay affiliate niche store:

Get a Linux hosting account at either 1and1.com or HostGator.com. I have used 1and1.com and HostGator is the recommended web hosting service by the BANS developers.

Look up domain names at Godaddy.com. Try and get a good keyword phrase in your domain name without making it too long. I like to use Godaddy.com to look up names because of the suggestions they recommend if yours isn’t available. They are very basic suggestions, but if you don’t know it by now, I like simple.

Purchase your domain name. 1and1.com gives you 3 free domains with the $9.95 per month hosting plan and your domains are $15 extra per year with HostGator’s $7.95 per month plan.

Sign up to be a member of eBay if you don’t have an account already. You need to be a member of eBay to be an eBay affiliate.

Sign up with the eBay Partner Network.

Buy Build A Niche Store.

Read the Build A Niche Store manual so you understand how everything works.

Log into your hosting plan control panel and set up an ftp account. This is a simple operation and instructions for this should be easy to find once you log in to your hosting account.

Download Filezilla if you don’t already have a program to ftp (transfer) files to your web host. This is a great free program that allows you to upload all your files to your online account.

Sign up for the BANS forum because there will be issues with your store or with eBay (get use to it) and the forums are a great place to get help when you can’t figure things out on your own.

Upload and install the BANS software according to the instructions in the BANS manual.

Find the correct eBay category number(s) for your niche and create your store. Also, make a logo for your header according to the sizes for the template you are using (found in the manual).

Add titles, meta keywords, meta descriptions and H1 title tags (in content titles at the top of your pages) and product descriptions for every page on your site. Depending on the size of your site you can do all this in an afternoon or for larger sites it can take several weeks.

Continue to add content pages on an ongoing basis.

Once you get your store in working order, it is important to stay connected to the BANS forum for some time so you can understand the process of how your store works by seeing what other people are doing or are having trouble with. You can also get inspiration and ideas from other BANS users for new stores.

These are just the most basic steps to get your store up and running, but beyond this you need to promote your store which you can learn about in this post, and in this post.

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Build A Niche Store Now Works With Pepperjam Network

Visit Build A Niche StoreGood news for all those having trouble with their Build A Niche Store affiliate sites and the eBay Partner Network, BANS will now work through Pepperjam Network! That means you can now build a BANS niche eBay store (currently only available for US stores) and completely bypass EPN so all your tracking would go through Pepperjam.

An email went out to all current BANS users this past Friday announcing an update from the Build A Niche Store developers. If you already own BANS, you can you can switch current stores to Pepperjam Network with an update if you choose to make the change. You can also download a complete version of the US Pepperjam BANS store set up as well. However, all new BANS buyers will be directed to download the current BANS EPN store software and if they want to build a new Pepperjam store from scratch or make an update to Pepperjam, they’ll have to go to the update area for the correct files. This is being done because Pepperjam is currently only able to support US eBay affiliates.

If you set up a store or update a current store to work through Pepperjam and then decide you want to change back to EPN, there is also an update to be able to convert back.

If you use BANS and want things to stay the way they are through EPN, then these updates aren’t for you. This is only an option for BANS users as the eBay Partner Network is staying put. eBay wanted to expand their reach and attract new affiliates and therefore formed a relationship with Pepperjam Network.

I won’t be updating any of my BANS stores at the present time, but will be working on a new store shortly that I will run through Pepperjam just to see how it works and be able to report back. In fact I’m going to go grab a new domain name as soon as I hit the publish button.

If you aren’t currently a BANS user you can get Build A Niche Store here.

And if you don’t belong to Pepperjam Network, you should because they will surpass Commission Junction someday and you’ll be left in the dust. You can join Pepperjam Network here.

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New EPN eBay Affiliate Report Reminds Me Of Jaws Movie

Well the first full month’s report is in from the new eBay EPN affiliate network thingy (I’m still not sure how to refer to it) and with the inconsistency of earnings it reminds me of the movie Jaws. As you can see below there’s not any more than 2 days of steady earnings:

eBay EPN Report

I find the up and down roller coaster earning levels a little weird. I mean, what’s going on here? Is there an effort on the part of eBay buyers to only make good on their payments just every other day? Is eBay not correctly reporting and still working on getting EPN up to speed? What’s weird is that if you average out my clicks per day, discounting a couple of 3,000 clicks per day anomalies, I come in around 250 to 300 each day and that’s a pretty consistent line. So why the inconsistency in earnings?

Well anyway, just to be goofy, I took my earnings line through the 26th and made a little illustration. I hope there’s no truth to this? The shark’s teeth match up perfectly with revenue:

eBay Jaws Movie, I hope theis isn't true

Anyone else seeing a roller coaster ride of eBay affiliate earnings like this?

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eBay Affiliate Panic Subsides As EPN Switch Is Extended

eBay Affiliates No Loger RiotingUtter panic, rioting, confusion and general mayhem in the streets has subsided with the recent announcement that eBay affiliates will be given till the end of May to change all their links and completely migrate over to the new eBay Partner Network. eBay announced last month that they would be leaving Commission Junction to manage their affiliate program in house and initially gave affiliates only 30 days make the switch.

I’m sure multitudes of eBay affiliates are breathing a sigh of relief today knowing that they don’t have to cram in possibly weeks worth of work in the next 3 days. I was looking at a very busy 3 day stretch here because I have one site in particular that still has some 60 pages of rss feeds that need to be changed. And other affiliates have huge sites or networks of sites with tens of thousands of links that still need to be converted.

eBay made the announcement about the migration extension on their blog on April 25. Stated in the post was eBay’s admission that only 66% of their affiliates had made the switch to EPN thus far, leaving another 33% lagging behind. It was definitely a smart move on eBay’s part to extend the deadline because 33% of their traffic from affiliates may not have reached the correct destination making for a possible combination of lost revenue and unhappy affiliates.

The extension will end on May 31, but because of contractual obligations, no commissions will be paid after that date. However, it would be a good idea to make all your changes before May 24th because there is a 7 day cookie set on any traffic sent to eBay. So to avoid losing commissions from clicks in May that end up converting in June, it’s best to get er’ done before the 24th.

It’s good to get a little leeway, but if you are an eBay affiliate don’t let it go too long and end up against the wall at the end of May. I was planning on finishing up everything by Wednesday, so maybe I’ll extend that to Friday. It’s best to stick with your original plans as close as possible.

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Why I Like The eBay Affiliate Program

I absolutely love the eBay affiliate program. I’m sure you already know that, but now I like it even better that the whole deal is being run by eBay itself through the eBay Partner Network. The tracking appears to have improved, it’s much easier to tell what you’ve actually sold as an eBay affiliate and commission updates take about half the time as they did with CJ. Plus, this month only, eBay is paying out an additional 5% on commissions to encourage affiliates to quickly make the change over to EPN.

One of the nicer things about the switch to the EPN is that it is so much easier to get reports and to see what you sold. To do that all you have to do is log into your EPN dashboard and click Reports at the top of the dashboard, then click Transaction Download and you will see a screen like below:

EPN Transaction Download

One you get to this screen, you can then select your date range (I choose the entire month of April so far) and then click to download as a text or Excel file. When you download the report as an Excel file it’s now incredibly easy to find the item you sold because all you have to do is look for the column labeled eBay Item ID and there are the number ID’s of the auctions you drove a buyer to. Just take those numbers, you may have to double click on the individual cell so the number doesn’t display as scientific notation, go to eBay and plug it into the main search box and you will go to the specific auction you were credited for. 

The cool thing about eBay and why I like it so much is you end up selling lots of unrelated items because people love to buy through an auction and people love to buy on eBay. Here are a couple of items below that showed up in my latest report that have nothing to do with anything I sell or any niche that I’m in. However, I got the commission just because I sent the buyer to eBay and they took some sort of action that ended in a purchase within 7 days of landing on the eBay web site.

200212428009 – Tickets to a Detroit Tigers vs Chicago White Sox baseball game.

140219933308 – A Callaway Golf Used X Headcover for a driver.

While these items only earned me a tiny commission, I’m sure you can see the potential benefit here. It was reported yesterday in the Build A Niche Store forums that someone earned a commission over $500 for selling a very expensive musical instrument that was also completely unrelated to anything they are targeting as an affiliate. That just shows you what can happen when you get people to eBay. I’d love to divulge what that musical item was, but that’s a niche that I’m going to start another store for.

If you are an affiliate marketer and aren’t a part of the eBay Partner Network, you are missing out big time.

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