Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Matt Cutts Speaks About Google

Matt Cutts has some interesting comments at a Domain Roundtable Q & A. You can read more here on it. Somethings that stick out are that generic keyword domains may be rewarded a bit. While I do not think it will be huge, it seems they will get some extra value. The other interesting point is the template remark. While I am a huge advocate of modding the BANS templates and adding unique content, I wonder if default niche stores that are out of the box might cause some harm to other BANS stores who are adding content. You really need to try to change your templates as much as possible and add unique content as well. I also suggest modding some Wordpress templates into your store as well. While I think we are a long ways away from a BANS stock template hunt, it is always good do be unique as possible. Do not freak out, but just start playing around with some changes in your practice stores.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Plug Away

I see people going on and on about EPN and the switch over and their Niche Stores. If you read the negative you will begin to believe the negative. There is a reason affiliate marketing has a high turnover, because many to not have the staying power. Let the naysayers naysay while you continue to plug away adding backlinks and trades and optimize. Traffic building is not for the faint of heart. If you are 100% relying on Google, your business will bounce up and down and will drive you mad. I have said many times, become an authority on your niche, trade with like sites, write niche related articles. Bring traffic in other than Google. Build your Niche Stores with Google in mind, but not only Google. Build it for the customer. You do remember the customer? Stay at it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

eBay EPN extends migration date

In case you have missed it eBay is extending the time you have to migrate over from Commission Junction to the new EPN program. Remember to check your balances and make sure you are over the minimums for payout. If so, I see no reason not to migrate you Niche Store over, the new EPN is still a little clunky, but it is tracking and sales are indeed showing. The new cutoff is May 31st.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Unique Content Right Under Your Nose

Sometimes unique content is sitting right under your nose. Perhaps you sell items with different model numbers or brand names. Simply compile a list of these items with a one sentence description of each item. Perhaps year made or any other things along those lines. Model numbers are great food for search engines as well. Perhaps you sell a collectible with different names of items as well, just look at your own store listings, 9 out of 10 times you can create a content page for your niche store with items listed there. Be creative add content today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Playing With Link Vault

I am playing around with Link Vault on one of my Niche Stores to see what the quality of traffic it produces. It is free to use and I set mine on 3 links. Easy to set up and worth a week or two run. Ill report back after I run it a few days.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quality Backlinks Over Quantity Backlinks For Niche Stores

Everyone wants instantaneous traffic and backlinks for their Niche Stores, in reality I think and know slower is better. While I highly suggest link directory submissions, because it takes a while for all to be approved or denied. They will show up slowly. Now I only suggest 100 or so at a time. Same with social bookmarking sites. Don't go hog wild. Remember that slow and natural is better in the eyes of Google. Adding unique content and articles is where your time is better spent as with blogging daily. It is quality not quantity that matters. Have you seen much traffic in the past from link directories or social bookmarks you have submitted to in the past? Unless you get it to the top the only thing you are getting is hopefully a decent listing in Google for the title you created. Even those don't have much staying power. Start writing and adding content to your sites and become the authority on what you are selling. Even if you have an autoblogging Wordpress blog, mixed with a few regular post by yourself, this will go a ton further. The great thing about Wordpress is the tracking back feature which will help when linking to other blog stories or newspaper stories. I have one blog that picks up about 2 trackback links a week from newspaper sites. Those are quality backlinks there. The best thing you can spend your time on everyday is writing content. Do I like writing? Am I good at writing? No and no. I simply open up notepad and start typing. You can too. I am not saying to stop the other things, but make sure you prioritize your time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Free Wordtracker With Google Trends

I came across another great free Wordtracker tool this morning that also pulls in Google trends. While this tool is not as complete as the full Wordtracker or Terapeek, it is good for those still on a budget with their Niche Store development. I wouldn't get too caught up with the >100 on the report, but of course the closer you can get to it the better. Play around with it. Turn on QVC or a shopping channel for 30 minutes and get some ideas. I found 2 new niches in 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Best Niche Store Strategy

I see it asked all the time. What is the best BANS store strategy? 100 quick sites or slow an easy? The answer lies in what works best for your style and time. I might pop up 4 new sites in 3 weeks that are slightly worked and go back to them over the next week or so and really polish them. You have to understand, I probably have more free time than you do as well. If you are on time/job constraints, one store at a time might be the way for you. I highly suggest that every Build A Niche Store owner have a blog on its own domain. You must post to it everyday. Even if it is a Blogger blog like this one. Can I afford a Wordpress blog domain? Sure, but I wanted to see the power of this Google owned platform. I post daily here and the spiders stay here all the time. If you have a blog, you can post a link a day to store pages with a paragraph or so about the store page. This will make for plenty of content to write daily about and will be a nice organic doorway page. Even a free blog like this is easy to set up and easy to post to. Back on topic... Go at your own pace, there is no set in stone path to the top, just keep your feet moving daily.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May 1st is coming | EPN Blog Feed Added

May 1st is right around the corner and that means you need to be thinking about finalizing your Build A Niche Store transfers over to the new eBay EPN tracking affiliate program. Commission Junction will no longer track after April 30 th according to reports. With the 7 day cookie lag, I highly suggest you have everything in order by this weekend.

Also I have added the eBay EPN blog feed to the bottom of this sites page. It will keep you up to date with everything on the EPN blog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

EPN Report Tracker For Your BANS Store

Sonjay from the Build A Niche Store forum has provided a great tool for reading your EPN reports for your BANS stores. You can run this own your own server and it will give you the peace of mind that your data will stay only with you. This is great for tracking your EPN eBay sales.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Give Away Something Free At Your BANS Store

Have a great screensaver or some great photos uploaded? Perhaps a buyers guide related to your niche store? These are great items to create and give away free to build traffic to your BANS Store. Get the word out about your free item through DIGG or any of the other fine social bookmarking sites. Be creative, be imaginative. Surely you can create something to give away.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Monitor Your Niche Store Server

As promised, I will show you how to monitor your Build A Niche Store server changes. Let me first say that this tutorial is based on you hosting your BANS stores on Hostgator. The script can be cgi script can be modified for any server, but I will cover the installation for Hostgator.

First you will need to create a directory in your top level of your server named "scripts". Not in your public_html directory, but in your root of your server. Next in the directory of scripts create another directory named "custom".

You will next need to download these 2 files. directories.txt and PWSmonitorchanges.txt to your hard drive.

Open up directories.txt and change the word username to whatever your Hostgator username is. Save the file back to your harddrive.

Next open up the file PWSmonitorchanges.txt and look for the 3 entries below:

$sendto_email = 'You ';

$sender_email = 'You ';

$path = "/home/username/scripts/custom";

The first 2 entries are your email address where you want the emails sent when changes are made on your server.

The last entry is the path, change the word username to your Hostgator username.

After these edits have been made save the file back to your harddrive as PWSmonitorchanges.cgi not PWSmonitorchanges.txt

Next you want to upload both of these files
directories.txt and PWSmonitorchanges.cgi to your custom folder which is in the scripts folder you created. Next you want to chmod the PWSmonitorchanges.cgi file to 700. The script and directories.txt should now be installed.

Next you need to create a cron job that will run this script at whatever interval you choose. I suggest every 6 hours. Log into your cPanel of your Hostgator account and click on Cron jobs and then click on Standard. Copy the below string into the command box, but change the word username to your Hostgator username.

/usr/bin/perl /home/username/scripts/custom/PWSmonitorchanges.cgi

underneath that you can select how often to run it. Like I said I would click Every Six Hours, Every Day, Every Weekday, Every Month. When done, click Save Crontab.

That is it, now every time you are anyone or an error happens it will email you any changes to any files made on any sites on your server. It will be normal to see some error logs pop up in the report, but you are looking for any unauthorized file changes or file uploads that YOU did not make. This will also track all of the changes you make as well. I hope I have explained this well enough for you and it should be simple to uninstall should you feel you do not need it.

The script comes courtesy of Premier Website Solutions.


One of the blog readers left a great comment I will add here:

Thanks Mike!

The cron job can be set for every 6 hours as stated, or any frequency you want, BUT make sure you also change the variable:
$minutes = 15;
in the script to the same.

If minutes is left at 15 and cron is set to run every 6 hours, it means every 6 hours the script will look for files altered within the last 15 minutes, so it would miss anything altered more than 15 minutes and less than 6 hours ago. Miss pretty much everything. ;-)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wordpress Blog Hack

Well, I have been very busy trying to straighten out several infected files on all of my BANS stores after being hacked through my Wordpress blogs on a few of my Niche Stores. If you have any Wordpress blogs on any of your servers you might want to look into this. Here is a post about the security issue. You need to check every folder of all of your sites or ask your hosting company to run a check for you. I had 61 files that I had found, even on sites without a blog attached. I have now finished up installing a new script that checks my servers every 15 minutes to see if files have been changed or uploaded. I will post tomorrow on how to install and run this on stores hosted with Hostgator. Get busy and check those sites tonight.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Will Not Leave It Well Alone

My Dad always got on to me growing up. I was always getting into something or messing with something. His words to me were, " Can't you leave it well enough alone?". My answer is the same with Build A Niche Stores. No, I can't!! I am always tinkering with building a better mouse trap and I suggest you do the same. I suggest you pick yourself up a cheap .info domain and use it to play around with BANS. You should play with it and learn it inside and out. Play with templates and design and functions. If you break it, re-install it and break it some more. Remember that BANS is a tool, a platform if you will. By building different templates and adding unique functions, you will set your self apart from other niche builders. Surely you can afford a practice site?! It will make you a better niche store builder. May Dad would be proud, as I still can't leave well enough alone and I am making money because of it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Google Sees Your Niche Store

Sorry for the late post today, but me and the Pope had a birthday today. I turned 40 and the Pope turned 81.

Today I want to show you how Google sees your Build A Niche Store. Google sees your site as text. Thus Lynx is a text browser. This tool will let you see what your site looks like to Google. As I can tell you right now, the BANS templates are not optimized for Google. Will this kill your site in Google? NO!! Can you improve yourself with a more friendly Google template? YES!!

I know I promised some free templates, but the ones I almost have done were not up to par with the Lynx browser, so I am working on another set. Hopefully by the end of the week it should be ready. see if you can see what needs to be improved with the BANS templates.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Build A Niche Store Accounting

I though I would dedicate todays post to Uncle Sam as it is tax day. When you bought the Build A Niche Store software you were officially in business as an independent contractor. This has a ton of benefits tax wise as well. You may be able to claim some home office expenses and other things you use in your BANS store business on your taxes. Make sure you keep all receipts of everything you purchase to help with your niche store marketing. You can claim directory submissions you pay for and any links you buy as well. You do not need any fancy accounting software to keep track of everything. I use Quick books now, but in previous years a plain excel spreadsheet did the trick as well. I am able to write of some square footage in my house for one example as a home office. Now I must tell you I am not an accountant. I do turn my stuff over to my personal accountant once a year and she files my taxes and makes sure I am within the letter of the law. I suggest you do the same or at least set up a free consultation with a trusted one in your area. Pretty soon you will be like me and paying in every year. :cry:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Keyword Research is NOT about Keywords

Came across an interesting read while browsing the Build A Niche Store forums this evening. It has two parts and it talks about the The 10 Commandments of Keyword Research.

Part 1
Part 2

I am finishing up some free templates that I hope to release on Tuesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tracking Your Niche Stores

The more Build A Niche Stores that you build it van get quite confusing on what you have or have not done in promoting and advertising you have done. It is a must that you create some sort of tracking document, whether it be an excel spreadsheet or a simple text file. I suggest listing the domain name, the expiration date, update dates and any dates that you might have done directory submissions or social bookmarking submissions. This will give you a moments look glance at where you left off. Also if you have placed any Google ads as well. I also suggest you list your database names, passwords and any dates that you have done store backups. I am working on a free template to release in the coming weeks to help with this process. In the mean time, I suggest starting now in some form.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great Googly Google

I was checking out some of my older non BANS sites today and doing a little inventory of some things. I came across this half finished project. It is a SEC Football link directory of sorts. I have not messed with it for months and months and some how Google has it as a PR 5 of page rank. This site has very little backlinks and no new listings for a long long time. Google must think it has potential, so I will likely try to figure out a way of linking up via the eBay EPN tools. It does get some traffic, but I might as well maximize it better. Trying to understand Google will make your head hurt. Just build quality niche stores and sites and move on to your next project.

I am finishing up some new Build A Niche Store templates this evening that I might share free to my readers later next week. Make sure you are subscribed to my RSS feed as to not miss a post.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Watching your Niche Store Stats

I logged into one of my Build A Niche Store stats area on Thursday to find that one IP was eating 12 GB of bandwidth. After tracking down the IP and offending site, I merely blocked that IP (for now anyway). You should constantly be checking your stats on a regular basis to find out where you traffic is coming from, what search phrases were used to find your niche store and also to be on a lookout for bandwidth theifs. You really can learn about your site performance from the inside out. I prefer viewing using the awstats version in the cPanel with Hostgator.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Add a blog to your niche store

Wordpress is very search engine friendly for blogging and I highly suggest everyone add a blog on site. It is real easy to set up and Hostgator customers have an easy install function right inside their cPanel. Makes installing a breeze. It will take some time, but posting 2 or 3 times a week if even a paragraph, will keep the spiders happy and you will be adding unique content to your Build A Niche Store site as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Making your BANS store appear natural in Google

One of the toughest tricks in promotion of your Build A Niche Stores is to appear natural in your backlink building of traffic to your store. We all like to social bookmark and submit to free link directories, but do not go overboard too quick. Google knows you need backlinks, but also knows when you are trying to game them as well. 100 directory submissions a pop is plenty. Half will never get approved and the other half will be approved over time. Same with the social bookmarks. Just spread out your timing on these things and keep a record of when you did what. You can come back once a month and always add more, but remember that Google wants you to appear natural in your baclink building.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Build A Niche Store (BANs) Domain Names

I have been doing a bit if study regarding Build A Niche Stores and domain names. I am not complete on this, but I have some early information coming back in regards to ranking with Google. Without a doubt, it always helps to register the domain name longer than just one year. It seems as if Google thinks of these sites as not being serious or are afraid the domain names will be used to spam the search engines. Another thing that is not conclusive is that indexing seems to be much faster for longer registered domain names. Like I said, this is still ongoing research, but it seems for the most part that Google is indexing the whole niche store faster. In regards to keyword stuffing domain names, I am having good luck with using at least one of my main keyword in my name, even if I am going after longer keyword phrases. Most surfers are starting to see that is made for search engines and might be inclined to stay away, because abuse by the black hatters. I am sure in due time Google will penalize for more than one hyphen, but I would start appearing more natural. Good SEO and proper back linking make for great rankings, not domain names. So on your next domain registration, try at the very least 2 years. It won't hurt and it very well may help.

Monday, April 7, 2008

US Free Ads and your Niche Stores

I am a big fan of US Free Ads. Let me say first, they are nofollow, but if written correctly your ad can sore to page 1 of Google for a long tail keyword. Instead of hashing other info out there, I thought I would share this tutorial in tips. I really suggest you make your ads as eye pleasing aspossible and suggest you use the html function to really build a nice ad. Ad pictures if at all possible and lots of keyword driven ad wording as well. US Free ads is really worth the monthly fee.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Back to building niche stores

After about a week or so of doing some BANS tutoring and building a few custom BANS niche store templates, I am getting back to business of building some new niche stores. I highly suggest you register a domain for use of experimenting with new templates. It makes it very easy to tweak some of the templates for niche store use. I also may mention that you may want to brush up on your css codes as well. I will share a must have bookmark with lots of great resources for webmasters. There are a ton of useful sites here that will help with your niche store customization.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

EPN Ebay rss feeds affecting Build A Niche Stores

By now you may or may not have seen some of your Build A niche stores may have been throwing an error on store pages that normally show products. You are not alone, as it seems to be everyone. It is because eBay EPN is working on the rss feeds they use and it has been buggy all afternoon. The problem is not with your BANS software. feel free to stop by the BANS forums, where all of the niche store builder type hang out to discuss items such as this.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tags explained and how they help in SEO

I thought I would make this post about clarifying what some of the tags do in relation to search engine optimization for your Build A Niche Stores. There is a great article here on a breakdown of everything and it is a very good read.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ebay EPN tracking well with BANS Build A Niche Stores

OK, all panic should be over as it appears that the Build A Niche Store (BANS) updates with the new eBay EPN program are tracking well and converting. The great thing is that it even reports bids as well as other things.

If you are seeing clicks in your report panel, then all should be good to go as it is tracking. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have repeat visitors to your Niche Stores, they may still be locked into that 7 day cookie through Commission Junction (CJ). All of the current BANS updates seem to be working fine with a few minor bugs unrelated to tracking. I highly suggest you back up your databases if you are unsure with the update process to the new eBay EPN affiliate program. Things should only get better from here forward.

One double check is to turn off your url cloaking and hover over an item, you should see the web address down in the bottom. Look for your campaign ID in the url. The beginning part of the url for US users should look like below.

ETA: Several other BANS blogs are scaring people into holding off updating, I for one say it is safe to go into the water. Make sure to read the readme file in each update as it was a breeze on my end.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Magic of Thinking Big with your Build A Niche Store

Now that we are past the EPN eBay update for Build A Niche Store. I wanted to turn you on to one of my favorite books that I think should be in every BANS owners library. The Book is called "The Magic of Thinking Big".

There is so much negative in this world that you have top constantly equal it out with positive thinking or as some call PMA (positive mental attitude). This book does the trick and should be read and re-read at least 4 times a year. Let me tell you that BANS works, but it is up to you to work it. This book will help release some bigger thoughts in your head and will translate into bottom line profits for you as well.

Now go get this book.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New eBay EPN Build A Niche Store BANS Update is ready

Greetings and good news!!! The new update for the eBay EPN is ready for Build A Niche Stores or BANS. These are available for all versions including 3.0, 2.0 and 1.3 and 1.2. Below is the email:

Hi All,

We're happy to say that the four versions of BANS - 1.2, 1.3 (whichincludes 1.3.1), 2.0 and 3.0 - that we had planned to update to work with the new in-house eBay affiliate platform are ready for you to download.

You will need to go to the appropriate download area:

PLEASE NOTE: is setup to work with the new platform but eBay have yet to update the RSS feed for this country. As soon as eBay update their RSS feed for everything is already in place to work correctly. If you are building stores then please place the update of your stores on hold until we inform you that the RSS feed is active.

1. For all ClickBank purchasers (95% of BANS users) please enter your ClickBank receipt number to access the download area (using the "send receipt number to your email" if you do not have it) at the following url:

2. For those special offer purchasers through either Jim Cockrum or Lynn Terry please enter your PayPal email address to access the download area at the following url:

PLEASE NOTE: If you have any problems accessing or downloading the updated versions of BANS please submit a support ticket to our download support center found here with your full name so that we can answer your query:

Inside each of the download areas you will see 2 download links for each of the four updated BANS versions - a full download and an update pack, all of which contain the reference "EPN" which signifies that they are the new versions.

For all future stores that you build you will need to use the full download (which also includes the modified manuals).

To update your existing stores you will need to use the appropriate update pack for the version of BANS that your store was built with. Inside the update pack you will see a "Read Me" file which will walk you through updating your store(s).

You have until May 1st to complete your updates as after that date your current links will no longer be effective.

To assist in this migration we have set up a new forum section called "eBay Affiliate Migration" which has four sub-sections which correspond to the four updated versions of BANS - 1.2, 1.3 (which includes 1.3.1), 2.0 and 3.0.

For any problems or questions relating to updating your existing stores with the new files please post in the appropriate forum.

Kelvin and Adam


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