How To: Researching Good eBay Niches

If you decide to pick up a copy of Build a Niche Store to increase your affiliate income, one of the first things you’ll probably find yourself doing is researching for good niches that convert well on eBay.

Because most popular niches won’t necessarily convert well on eBay, you instead need to focus on products that are in demand.   One place I’ve found success when conducting much of my research is in eBay’s popular section.  They actually go out and track trends, then let us know what is hot.

If you check it regularly, you can often find emerging niches that have a number of keyword-rich domains still available.   For you BANS users, how do you locate good niches?

Make Money Online with the eBay Partner Network

In the past I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Build a Niche Store. This is because this is it has made it really easy for me to build multiple affiliate stores in a small amount of time and has proven to be an extremely successful earner for me.

If you end up purchasing BANS at some point, one of the first things you will need to do is setup an eBay Partner Network affiliate account. BANS then fully integrates with ePN, allowing you to setup stores on your own domains for eBay products and receive a share of eBay’s fees.

In my experience, BANS is definitely the easiest way to find success with ePN, but there are actually other ways to use eBay’s API to display eBay items. The only other one I have some experience with is a plugin called PHPBay, which is a WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate eBay auctions directly into your WordPress blog. There is a small cost associated with it, but it is much lower than BANS and only requires some WordPress knowledge to use (no manually setting up databases, etc.). I’ve also heard a lot of good things about this plugin, so WordPress enthusiasts may want to check it out!

What are the benefits of the eBay Partner Network?

In addition to getting paid $25.00 for every person that signs up using your affiliate link, you will also get credit for each auction won within 7 days of your affiliate link being clicked. In other words, your site just needs to convince the person to click over to eBay. Once there, you can earn income on all of their sales for the next week.

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Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing

If you are a blogger who attempts to make money online completely through Google AdSense, writing paid reviews, or even by selling advertising blocks, you are probably missing out on a huge amount of income each month.

When I first started placing advertising on my blogs, the logical place to start was with Google AdSense. 6 months later, I’m making between $1.00-$5.00 a day with Google AdSense. Not bad right? At first I thought so, but I had no idea that I wasn’t living up to my potential. Paid reviews? That is a one-time payment and usually requires a lot more work than should be required for the amount you are paid. Sell paid advertising blocks on your site? There is nothing wrong with this, but if your blog isn’t mainstream yet, you probably are having trouble finding advertisers for your website.

So, what is the best way to make money online? I am now 100% confident that the best way to do this is through affiliate marketing. I still use Google AdSense, but I only place one ad block per page and only display it on homepages or posts that are x number of days old. That way, it just serves as a supplemental income, rather than my primary income.

Now rather than dealing with 1 or 2 cent AdSense clicks, with affiliate marketing I know exactly how much I will get paid each time I refer a sale. I also know that affiliate marketing is much less intrusive on your readers, because you’ll be focusing on getting conversions from your search engine traffic. If you pick the right affiliate programs, you can make up to $100.00 each time you convert a sale. Yesterday I made $2.14 with Google AdSense, but I made $95.00 via affiliate sales from some of my websites. That is comparable to what I would typically make working an 8 hour day sitting at a desk for a large corporation, and there was no active work. Those same affiliate links may make me another $50.00-$200.00 tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, or I might go a full day without any sales. It does tend to even out over the course of the month, however. Keep building upon it and your income should go up over time. Heck, one day I made $270.00 by the time I woke up for the day!

So, where do you start? More than likely most of my readers already have at least one site setup. No matter what your blog’s niche is, there is going to be an affiliate program available that would convert well for your audience. You just need to find it. I also pull a large percentage of my income from BANS websites, which takes an hour or so to setup and optimize.

Here are the main sites you need to find affiliate programs, listed in order of relevance:

  • Commission Junction – Commission Junction has probably the biggest selection and deals with huge companies. One of my best performers here is Bass Pro Shops for example. You’ll find all sorts of large companies here.
  • Clickbank – Clickbank is great for digital and electronic stuff, so if your site is in this area, here is probably where you’ll want to start.
  • Amazon Associates – Amazon obviously does Amazon products, so you can get paid for basically anything that is sold at Amazon.com. As a matter of fact, you can refer someone to their website and get paid for anything they buy, even if you don’t refer them for those specific products!
  • Linkshare – Linkshare is one I haven’t had much success with yet, but I do have an account with them and I have read about others who have found success with them.
  • E-Junkie – E-Junkie has some nice products, but they don’t keep the money. In other words, you have to rely on the affiliates themselves to pay you, which usually happens (but I’ve had a few times I didn’t get paid).
  • ShareASale – ShareASale is fairly new, but I’ve already got a few companies with them that are producing fairly well.

These are the 6 that you should concern yourself with when you are starting out. If you use BANS, you will also be working with the eBay affiliate network (though everything sets itself up).

For now, if you have an established blog(s), go ahead and sign up for any of the above companies that interest you and get started digging for good affiliate programs that match your audience. I will hopefully be digging into these companies a little further in the future.

How to: Easily Build an eBay Niche Store

In one of my posts last week I mentioned that I would be writing about affiliate marketing more often on this site, and I figured where better to start than with something that I have come to rely heavily on to generate a significant portion of my online income over the past few months.

First, a little background. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve had some success with keyword sniping, which is basically locating a small niche to target and create a blog with about 10-15 posts. Then place some advertising and affiliate links on the site and forget about it. If you’ve done your homework, over time you can then create a large amount of income for no additional work.

One of the things that appealed to me about making money online with keyword sniping is the ability to “finish” the site, removing any real need for ongoing upkeep. The problem with this method is that it can sometimes take 10-15 hours initially to get the site setup and ready to roll. Why is that? Well, in order to successfully snipe a keyword, you’ll first need to do your research and locate the keywords you are going to target. After that, you’ve got to build your website, create a theme, then research and write about 10-15 posts. Add in the time it takes to locate affiliate programs that match up well with your site and you’re putting a lot of time into each individual niche site that you’ve created.

I knew there had to be an easier way, so I decided to go out and find it. One consistent thing I noticed while reading a couple of the affiliate marketing forums that I frequent is a website software that allows you to completely generate a website in under 2 hours. Yes, you read that right. I can do EVERYTHING in under 2 hours from registering a domain to completed website.

After reading at least 15 success stories from forum posters (these were not situations where the poster had anything to gain so I felt their recommendations had considerable value), I decided to give this magic product a try. The first day I set up 3 “niche stores” using domains I had registered in the past but hadn’t found a use for yet. The first store took about the full 2 hours, but after that it was less than an hour per website to set them up. Then I basically left them alone for a week to see what happened.

After a week I hadn’t made any money, but I had sent a lot of traffic over to eBay, which I viewed as a success. If you are an affiliate marketer, conversions are great, but getting clicks in the first place is extremely important. I knew it was only a matter of time. About 4 days later I checked again and I had already made about $10.00 from these 3 sites. Based upon this success, I decided to launch a few more sites, bringing me to a total of about 8 niche stores.

Fast forward a couple months and these sites are pulling in anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 a day (individually), which as you can imagine, adds up very quickly over time. The domains are easily paying for themselves, and the income is both comparable and in many cases better than using Google AdSense. I’m now in the process of researching and locating some optimal niches to target and continue to grow my business.

So what is this magical product? What I’m talking about is Build a Niche Store (although commonly refered to as BANS). When I first signed up, I was cautious about investing the price of $97.00 for this software. Now that I have experience with using BANS, I would gladly pay more for it. It paid for itself in only two months, and I think I could have generated additional income if I had invested some more time into making more stores before today.

So, how does BANS work? In order to use it, you simply need hosting account and a domain name (or multiple names for multiple stores). The creators of BANS recommend HostGator for your web hosting because it makes a few things easier than other web hosts, but their instructions are very specific and walk you through settings up your store no matter who you are hosting with. You upload it and run the install script, then you’re all set.

Everything else you can do from the Admin panel (a walkthrough is provided while you get used to it). You just enter your eBay Affiliate Network ID (they explain how to get an account with them if you don’t have one) and set your own meta tags, titles, and descriptions. You also have full control over how things are displayed on the site. BANS will then create a complete eBay affiliate niche store on the domain for you. That is really all you have to do, but you are also able to create posts in the same manner that you would if you were keyword sniping. The idea is that you can get more pages indexed and bring more traffic to your site, which in turn will hopefully convert to more affiliate commissions.

Because I know sometimes it is easier to see the final product in action, I decided to create sort of a demo. If you’d like to see a BANS niche store in action, I took one of my spare domains and set one up for you to see how the store looks and works. This is not one of my niche stores that I mentioned above, but simply is a niche store that I set up specifically for demonstration.  You can see the niche store over at DiamondInvestment.net.  Now imagine that site with a custom made banner at the top and some stylesheet changes to give it the colors you want!

As far as site functionality goes, obviously if I was going to put some work into generating income with this site, your target audience would be people buying diamonds and jewelry on eBay. You can see from the categories in the sidebar that it covers a wide variety of diamond jewelry areas based upon the specifications I gave it. You also get to choose between a variety of 2-column, 3-column layouts, and advertisement styles so the store can look the way you want it to. You can also add a header if you want to complete the look of a full fledge store.

As you can probably tell from the above, this is not a paid post or anything of that sort. I’m very passionate about this product and would recommend it to anyone that has webhosting that supports addon Domains. With only a little effort it will pay for itself and over time I think you can make a considerable amount of passive income. I feel that for each site I’ve put an hour or two into building, I will get returns of $200.00+ over the course of the year. My hope is after a few more months to have 20+ stores making me passive income and that will hopefully be for years to come!

For my next post, I’m going to work on creating some strategies and tips to maximize your income with BANS including what niches to avoid and what settings are best. In the meantime, go ahead and check out Build a Niche Store. Probably the best investment I’ve made online to date.

Best of: Firefox Greasemonkey Scripts

Have you ever noticed that sometimes websites don’t behave in an ideal way, don’t look the way you want them to, or maybe there are a few features you would like to see added?

What if I told you that there is a way to manipulate those websites to look and work the way you want them to? If you use the Firefox web browser, you can use the Greasemonkey Firefox extension to customize the way a website displays using bits of javascript. Internet Explorer fans can use the IE7 Pro Compatibility Add-on to use some Greasemonkey scripts, and Safari users have Greasekit (formerly known as Creammonkey).

In the past, I have already done a post highlighting some of the best Greasemonkey scripts available, however I have decided to take it to another level and much larger compilation post. Once again, I’ve chosen to display the scripts broken down into categories for easy reference.

Amazon Greasemonkey Scripts

  • A9.com Googlizer – Make a9.com more readable, somewhat like Google.
  • Amazon Ad Blocker – Blocks Amazon sponsored links.
  • Amazon Dynamic Local Currency – Show prices in you local currency.
  • Amazon Music Helper – Creates a direct link to the download from free music downloads.
  • Amazon Super Saver Snooper – Enhance Amazon search by showing which items are eligible for Super Saver Shipping / Amazon Prime.
  • Book Burro – Compare book prices from various book stores.
  • RIAA Radar – Attach RIAA_Radar directly to Amazon’s pages.
  • The Movie Dude – Cross-links movie sites so you don’t have to.

Blogger Greasemonkey Scripts

  • Add Comment Edit Link in Blogger – Adds an edit link beside the trash can icon in Blogger comments. This link will only be visible to the blog owner when the owner views the comments.
  • Blogger Comment Moderation – Check off comments to delete, then blast them all at the same time. Use with Checkrange for extra fun.
  • Blogger Keep Current Time on Post – Blogger keep current time on post.
  • Blogger Large Template Editor – Hides the navbar setting and doubles the template editor’s height.
  • Sitemap Generator for Blogger – Generates a Sitemap for Blogger.
  • Technorati and Del.icio.us Tags for Blogger – Changes the Edit Post Blogger form to include a tags field.

Bloglines Greasemonkey Scripts

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