Thursday, July 31, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #6

Since we left off last with the Niche Store student, we have gotten some backlink building done via directory submissions. This time around we used Jon who goes by the screen name skolvikings on the Build A Niche Store forums. Jon's service included 250 link directory submissions to various free directories with the ability to choose various anchor text for the links. We of course chose the 3 targeted keyword phrases we have been using for the home page which were, Han Radio Supplies, Ham Radio Sales and Used Ham Radio Equipment. Jon is currently offering a special discount package for the next couple weeks only. You can order 250 directory submissions for only 19.95! This is over $10 off his normal rate. You can order in two ways, multiple 250 packages for the same site (max of 1,000 per site), or you can order the 250 package for multiple sites. It's completely up to you! His turnaround time is very very fast and you get a detailed report of submissions upon completion. Jon personally submits your site to the directories by hand as his service does not rely on automatic submission software. The order form is here and I highly suggest using his service as time is money. You can also visit his affiliate marketing blog here.

We have started to see a few more organic hits to the site, but still have a ways to go. Next up will be the task of article creation and submissions and we will likely use Need An Article for the article creation and submit by hand to the major article directories. We will also rotate out the bio section and link to as many pages of the site as we can via good anchor text. Also we still need to get a link/resources page up pointing to other trusted ham radio sites. About 10 links to manufactures or ham radio info sites will do just fine. This task will take a few days and we will probably have an update in a few more days. If you are just joining the action you can follow us from beginning to end in this Niche Student On Board series right here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Niche Store Hosting And You

I wanted to dedicate a post to the seriousness of choosing a good host if you are indeed serious about your online niche store business. If you are a veteran webmaster or are comfortable with configuring host in and outs, feel free to stop reading here. If you are a newbie to webmastering I highly advise you to read on and promise me I will not hurt your feelings.

If your site is not loading fast and working 99% of the time you will not be successfulness. Also you run the risk of the search engines indexing a down page.

I deal with tons of emails and private messages from the BANS forum every week and it amazes me how many times it ends up being a hosting problem. If you are indeed new to all of this, there is a reason the manual says to use Hostgator. Hostgator is the host of choice and many many people use it and are accustomed to it. You will get better support with any other small problems by the forum if you are using them as so many are using it as well. I currently use 5 hosting companies for all of my websites and can only recommend 2 to newbies because of the ease. Those two are Hostgator and Lunarpages. Both these host use almost identical setups and both run BANS flawlessly. If you insist on using Godaddy or another host, do not expect much help. After you learn the ins and outs, by all means move to other host or VPS hosting services.

Below is a breakdown of the two plans I suggest.

Hostgator - Baby Croc plan gives more than enough space and unlimited domains, subdomains and databases. It cost 7.95 a month and I suggest buying a year at a time.

Lunarpages - If Hostgator is not for you then Lunarpages Basic Plan is quite similar with a little less storage for the same price. The FTP process is a bit slower, but very usable.

Once again these two host are very friendly for newbies and trusted and endorsed by a ton of BANS users.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Put Off Things Today That Should Of Been Done Yesterday

Getting little things done daily in Niche Store building is very very important in your long term success. Now I do understand that not everyone is on a level playing field concerning time they can dedicate to their stores, but every little thing counts. Remember that everyday your business is either moving forwards or backwards. Their is no such thing as a business just standing still. Either you do small task today to inch forward or you do absolutely nothing and make a giant leap backwards.

Some small task that can be accomplished daily are submitting to link directories, adding social bookmarks, writing a small original article, sending out emails to like sites requesting link trades and even better optimizing some neglected meta tags. Do not fall in the rut of doing nothing as it is much harder to climb out of that rut and getting back into some sort of routine. Success in niche store building depends on hard work. Even if you are not 100% sure that you are doing things the right way, at least you are doing something and can learn if indeed it is right or wrong.

Life moves pretty fast and time is a precious commodity. what you do today is very important as is what you do tomorrow. Very few people succeed in online money making because they fail to do the work. They do just enough and then stare at the stats pages and wait for the money to roll in. If you have made any money whatsoever thus far, you see that EPN and BANS does work and it is now up to you to make it work better and refine the process.

Make a conscience effort right now to do something everyday and you will plant seeds for future success. At the end of every day ask yourself this question: Did my business move forward today or did it go backwards? Hopefully you will say it moved forward.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Making Content Links The Same Color Store Wide

If you want your content links to match the same site wide in your Build A Niche Stores, you can add the simple code below to the top or bottom of the the theme CSS file. Of course you need to change the hex code color to the color you desire, but it is a quick and dirty fix as to not have that default blue link color show up.

a {
color: #BF0A3A;

a:hover {
color: #000000;

Here also is a color palette to bookmark that has the hex colors listed as well.

If you are a newbie and want to know how to make a text link via html, the below code will show you how.

<a href="">Your Link Text Here</a>

Have a great Monday and keep your heads up!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #5

Checking back in on our Niche Store Student On Board Series, we have submitted and received 100 social bookmarking links from digitalcrew, a member on the Build A Niche Store forums. He runs a great service and provides fast and friendly service. He also sends a very detailed excel report of all submissions along with some screen shots. This service allows you to use 3 different title anchor tags and we submitted our 3 target keyword phrases for the front page. I highly suggest you check out his BANS Social Bookmarking service in this link. It will be money well spent and the turn around time is fantastic.

Upon receiving this service most of the pages were re-indexed by Google very quickly. Also a trickle of organic traffic has started to arrive as well. The front page now has been re-indexed as well.

The next step will be directory submissions and they should be completed in the next coming days and I will update that status as well in the next post.

We have already seen a climb in Google on some targeted keywords. Ham Radio Supplies now ranks #24. Still a ton to be done backlink wise, but you can see some quick results are starting to come in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Make A Sitemap Index For Multiple Sitemaps

Having sold many of the Wordpess BANS templates, the biggest question I get support wise is what to do with the multiple sitemaps. well I highly suggest making a sidemapindex file and submitting that to Google or put in your robots.txt file. This is easy accomplished by copying the code below into notepad and changing the address of the sitemaps listed. Save the file as sitemapindex.xml and upload to the root directory of the site. It should map out the locations of your multiple Wordpress and BANS store sitemaps into one easy sitemap xml file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="">

Friday, July 25, 2008

10 Google Trusted Article Directories

Article submissions in the world of SEO and Build A Niche Stores is here to stay. Most people do not have the time or money to pay for total syndication of their articles so I have compiled a list of 10 Google trusted article directories. These should be on your short list to submit to. By trusted I mean at the time of this post all directories listed have what are called site links.

When submitting to these directories I suggest you make sure it is original content and that you rotate out the links in your bio to point to as many pages in your store as possible and make sure to vary the anchor text on those links. This is the best way to take full advantage of these top directories and the links they allow you to have. Make sure to thoroughly read the rules of each site. Submitting to these 10 only will make a difference. These are all popular directories and it is likely your article will be picked up by bloggers or other webmasters and published on their own sites with the backlinks still in tact. So if you are cramped on time or cash, make sure these 10 are on your short list.

Ezine Articles
Go Articles
Ezine Hub
Search Warp
Articles Base
Article Biz
Article Alley
Article Trader

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fast Niche Store Profits With Very Little Work

Well hopefully you did not hurt yourself trying to get to the main text of this post. Build A Niche Store builders and online internet marketers in general are constantly trying to find the quick and easy way to riches. I have been around the block a few times with web site building and internet marketing and can tell you that you need to erase the quick and easy thought from your head.

Everyone is quick to sell you 100 backlinks for a price, but you have to ask yourself, where are those backlinks coming from? Are they from trash neighborhoods? Will all 100 backlinks be dropped at one time or will they be dripped in? Remember that Google is no dummy. Too many backlinks at one time showing up in the wrong places can hurt. Social bookmarking is a different story as it is more accepted for the web 2.0 world, but I would not go higher than that number in a month for one link.

Build backlinks slowly and naturally. Now, it is ok to get an article syndicated with links in the bio as article syndication is natural. See almost every Associated Press article fits this as well. A 6 month time frame is reasonable expectations for a store to meet its ranking goal.

If it were so easy to buy your way to the top of the SERPS, the price would be much higher and the rules would be rewritten as everyone would be doing it. The next HOT thing is right around the corner in the BANS forum. Be careful when jumping on the new HOT things being offered. 9 times out of 10 that HOT thing will hurt you more than it will help you and you will be lighter in the wallet to boot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #4

Since we left off last with the Niche Store student, I knew this stage would take the most time. He also has a job to contend with and I do know it makes it tough. This is the stage where most Build A Niche Store builders drop the ball. The power of original content can not be ignored as it is the blood of the body. As you can see with the students Used Ham Radio Equipment site is still changing little by little. Flip through the store pages and you will see most are getting some content on them. Also the main page content has been revised and is original and keyword driven.

Stats wise, there is a trickle of organic traffic coming in now. Yahoo has re-indexed the front page while Google has not. Google has re-indexed several interior pages though.

Here are few things waiting to be tackled.

1. Finish each pages content.

2. Create a links/resource page linking to authoritative ham radio sites.

3. Start the backlinking process.

Like I mentioned he has a full time job and is under time constraints. Hopefully the backlink process can start this weekend and I will detail it thoroughly in the next post. You are starting to see how a BANS store should look like when it nears completion. Once the backlink process is through, we will concentrate a little more on a few more original content pages. If you are playing along at home, go back through your store page by page and see if it matching up to the students store.

If I were to be asked how long this store is away from a decent income, I would say 90 days for the shear fact that no backlinking process has started and Google has yet to reindex the whole site fully. Once the backlinks are placed the Googlebot will come back around more regularly. One positive note is he is up to #35 in Yahoo for the search term Ham Radio Sales, which is one of his target keyword phrases for the main page.

The next update I give will be after we do the backlink process and that is depending on how much time he has to dedicate to the site. Please read back through the earlier entries and as always PM or email me your questions on things you do not understand.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Popshops Items On Your BANS Store

I have been playing around a bit with PopShops the last month and adding some items to some Build A Niche Store pages. I did it in a controlled site that had tons of organic traffic. I was quite amazed at the results. Sold quite a few items using this method. Now let me say this is not for every niche, but you might be surprised at what you might find. The free version outputs javascript so that is a drawback as SERPS do not pick up or cache it, but the paid version gives you PHP code and integrates in well with a little tweeking. Hopefully the BANS 4.0 will have the ability to easily add php includes and I might dedicate a future post to it. The javascript code can be added in the bellow ads section and by using the 3 column BANS product listings, it allows the flow to be quite seamless. You will need to register with all of the affiliate programs other than Commission Junction if you want to show the products from affiliate programs other than CJ vendors. I will probably use it more and more on other stores of mine when I can get back around to them. Give the free portion a go and play around with it.

Note: I will be adding the next post in the Niche Store Student On Board Series on Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Edit PHP Files With Free PSPad

The more you delve into Build A Niche Store building or website building as a whole, the more you will have a need to edit code or more especially php files. Code is hard enough to read as it is but there is a free application that can help make it a ton easier when working with php files. I have used PSPad for quite a while and love the easiness of it. Imagine notepad on steriods for php editing. The software is totally free. I highly suggest you add this to your arsenal of free tools. Play around with it and get the feel of it before making any changes to any php code.

Also I hope to post an update on the Niche Store Student Series on Tuesday, as the student is close to moving on to the next stage of traffic building.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

LSI Google Search Command & Quintura

The importance of using Latent Semantic Content (LSI) is a term you will need to be getting use to in SEO of websites. I dedicated an early post to it as well. Today I want to touch on a a Google search feature that will let you see terms that Google considers relevant to your keyword.


When typing the above in Google, you will see that bolded words including movie, film, MPEG, clip, films, video, videos, cinema and etc. These are words Google sees as relevant to the word movies. So instead of keyword stuffing the word movies in your webpage you could include these words as well to help let Google know what your site page is about.

Quintura is also a great tool to find semantically related words as well. Play around with both and the understanding of using LSI in web page building. Latent Semantic Content is here to stay, so I highly suggest you start building web pages this way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pepperjam CEO Kris Jones SEO Book Review


I just picked up the new book by Kris Jones, CEO and President of Pepperjam. I could not wait to get my hands on it and Amazon had it to me in three days. Spent most of last night reading it and must say it is quite thorough. While I am no newbie to SEO, I am also not a guru and learned a few new things right off the bat. The book is very thorough with some great illustrations. The text is a little on the small side so I did have to break out my reading glasses. This book is jammed full of info and is friendly enough for newbies as well. This is probably the best money you can spend to invest back into your BANS store business. It is paperback and almost 300 pages. Pepperjam is now a major player in the affiliate marketing industry and Kris Jones is a well respected veteran. Do yourself and your Niche Store business a favor and buy this book.
Search Engine Optimization: Your visual blueprintfor effective Internet marketing (Visual Blueprint)

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Perfect Niche Store Front Page

The front page of your Build A Niche Store is probably the most important page of your store. This is where 90% of your traffic will arrive to, when finding your store via search or external links. A great front page should have at least 400-600 words of unique content that encompasses your keywords or phrases for that page as well as related words or phrases. It should also include other targeted words that are included throughout the store as well. Search engines love clear and concise information of what the site is about. Great front pages can pull in great search engine organic traffic for more than just the targeted keywords for that page. I also like to only list 9-12 product listings on the stores front page and make them most relevant to the overall nature of the niche store. The rotation of those product listings is great search engine food of fresh word content to mix in with the front page content. New stores can survive off of organic search results until they find their proper place for the targeted keywords in the SERPS. Merely a paragraph or two will not suffice. Take your time and write out a well thought out keyword rich front page and the organic traffic will surely arrive.


By no means am I saying internal pages should not have content on each page as well, driven more specifically around the keyword or phrases for that particular page. What I am trying to say is that a good front page can be sort of a catch all page as well. Content is important on every page to get that particular page to rank for it's keywords. just wanted to clarify.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #3

Ah, the sweet sound of light bulbs coming on in a head. You can not beat it. This is the third post in the Niche Store Student On Board Series. The student is learning that there is more to Build A Niche Store building than meets the eye and is eating the elephant one bite at a time. What he has learned, will help in the initial building of future BANS stores and will help shorten his launch time. As you can see with the students Ham Radio Supplier site, quit a bit has changed, while maybe not so much to a visible eye so we will recap what he has been doing.

What he has accomplished!

1. Every store page has been researched for the keyword phrases he aims to target for that particular page. This is no easy task and will eat up some time if done correctly. You can page through his store pages and see the title tags. Eventually each page will have a paragraph or two backing up these keywords on page.

2. Nice well written description meta tags now. At first he had the urge to cookie cut them, but I reminded him how the search engines like uniqueness. Your description tag is also your selling tag in the SERPS as the surfer is likely to see this if searching for your keywords or targeted phrase. This too takes a little time to do right.

3. You can see his store navigation text has changed as well. Initially these were left to default, but now the anchor text/store page link better reflects what the user will find on that page and also helps in internal backlinking process as well.

4. Changed the product layout to #4 to better give a real store appearance. Also he has cut down on the main page listings to 9 and internal store page item listings to 18. This gives great balance to the pages and looks very clean now.

5. He is almost finished with better targeting each store page with items the surfer will be looking for on that page. I recently made blog post on how to do this and he has followed it very well.

6. By default of all the other work the Google adsense ads have become a ton more relevant as well to each page and the ads showing will surely be better paying per click. Google adsense really takes into account what is on page and can target it nicely if you paint a clear picture.

In conclusion he is learning a ton of little things that go into building a store before it even hits the viewer or SERPS eyes. Keyword research and an overall plan for your store must be well thought out. He will be able to streamline his time frame in future stores with knowing exactly how each and every store page should like. He has done very well in this latest boring process of niche store building.

What he is working on now!

1. With the front and back yards now cleaned up and the house having a fresh coat of paint, he really needs to work on content, in particular the front page content which wasn't even his to begin with. We are looking for about 500 plus words wrapped around the three targeted keywords of the page while mixing in other on site keywords, brand names, types and etc. The front page content is very very important and mixed in with the 9 store item listings text, should provide good organic search results as he tries to climb for his page keywords in the SERPS. This must be original and unique.

2. He will start the backlink process using free directory submissions, social bookmarking submissions and a unique article submitted to the free article ezines.

3. Each page then needs about 100 words or so wrapped around the keywords phrases targeted on that store page in a non cookie cutter fashion. This can be knocked out one page a night over the coming weeks as we really want that front page a priority and pulling in organic traffic.

4. Build a link/resources page linking to some ham radio manufacturer and other trusted ham radio sites and try to accomplish a few link trades with a few of them. The link trades can come over time, but linking out to relevant useful websites is encouraged if not overdone.

This part of the task will take a few days with the front page content being the priority at this stage. Hopefully it will be up before the Google bot passes by again, so it gets cached quickly. If not the site will be at the mercy of the next time the bot passes through, which we hope to speed up in the backlink process. The student is doing very well and starting to follow advise flawlessly. I hope to give you the next update on this student by Saturday or Sunday. Make sure to check out the students blog here. If you want to see all of post related to this series, click here!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

To Cloak Or Not To Cloak

Since the inception of Build a Niche Store 3.0, BANS store owners have been given the ability to cloak the url of product links. Since the ability to do so, a ton of changes have occurred outside of the BANS platform. First and foremost, eBay has taken over their own affiliate program from Commission Junction and Pepperjam has exploded on to the scene as an alternative to the Ebay Partner Network. There has never truly been one definitive answer to if cloaking is or isn't allowed. First let's take a look at what cloaking is. The word cloak means: something that covers or conceals. To cloak a link means to hide the true destination of the link. Now at least we can agree what is means. What exactly are you trying to conceal? Are you concerned that the rover url may cause concern to the surfer? Are you afraid the surfer may know it is an eBay ad? I have done a few split test in the early release of EPN and found that stores uncloaked, did slightly better than cloaked stores. Was this test scientific? No, not at all. A further deeper inquiry into both EPN and Pepperjam has led me to believe that cloaking the url can get you in trouble with either program. I have nothing written to back this up and neither source wanted to go on the record about this. Read the EPN Code of Conduct very thoroughly and you can interpret this in many ways. Just because Build A Niche Store gives you the ability to cloak, does not mean that it will not break either programs code of conduct. Since running my test and research, I now have every one of my stores uncloaked. My earnings have not suffered one month. My EPC ratio is still solid and I still convert the same amount of bids to winning bids, give or take a percent. I am in no way telling you that you will get banned from either program for cloaking, but I am telling you that I highly advise against it through my interpretations and conversations. Why would anyone want to jeopardize something so good, which such a fine line. I do not think the benefits justify the consequences. If you have any doubts yourself, you should contact either EPN or Pepperjam directly and make a clear definition and get a clear answer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Make Your Store Items Match What You Are Promising

Getting the web surfers trust is important in Build A Niche Store building. Nothing aggravates a shopper worse than not finding what he or she is looking for. If you are promising a surfer antique red widgets with blue fur on a page, you better be showing antique red widgets with blue fur on that store page. Not wheels for antique red widgets with blue fur or antique red widgets with green fur. Get my drift? Most eBay sellers are lazy and put their items in the wrong category or list it wrong in the title. You can not control that, but you can control what you show on your store pages. I reference a previous post on the eBay search operators and using them correctly in filtering out what you want to show. You can also use price as a filter as well. It takes some time to get use to using these filters, but if done correctly, you can ensure that 99% of what you show will be antique red widgets with blue fur. Remember that you want the surfer to get from point A (your store) to point B (eBay holding a cookie) with the fewest amount of clicks possible.

Expanding on this a bit, you may have a content page with the history of antique red widgets with blue fur on it, make sure you add an easy to find link on that content page that connects them to the store page selling antique red widgets with blue fur. This is also a great opportunity to use internal anchor text links to fortify on-site content. Most web surfers are very lazy as well and need things pointed out to them in easy terms. Qualified organic traffic converts the best if you send them exactly to where they want to go in the fewest amount of clicks. they are using the search engines for a reason. They are looking for something. Help them find it quickly and you will profit.

Go check out your store pages today and see if in fact you are showing the items you are promising the surfer they will find.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Google Operators Are Standing By

Wanted to touch this morning on a few of the Google search operators you can use to not only look at your Build A Niche Store, but sites you might be competing with or thinking about competing with. You can find the listing of Google operators here. Another good reference site on advanced operators is here as well. One of the most under used is the related operator. This can be used to find what Google considers sites that are related to one another and can also be used to find sites that you might want to consider getting backlinks from as well. If Google considers a site related or relative to a keyword or another website, then surely getting a backlink from that site will help your overall ranking. Remember that Google loves relativity. If you have a guitar store, you probably do not need to be getting a backlink from a chainsaw site and visa-versa. The Google operators can tell you a bunch about your website like the latest cached copy it has in the index, info it has thus far on your site or backlinks it considers strong. Make sure to bookmark and play around with the operators when you have a chance, so you can use them to your advantage in the future.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #2

OK, this is the second post in the Niche Store Student On Board Series. As you can see, my student is still not ready to turn in his two weeks notice to his boss. He is a baby step closer. LOL. You can see his Ham Radio Supplies store by following the link. As you can see, he has buggered up the heading while making some changes. I know what he did and will go over it in the next post after he fixes it. I want him to learn how to correct his own mistakes if possible. It is a easy fix, he just left out some tags when he was editing some navigation tags. The student is starting to follow directions a bit better after a rough start of not following directions. I think I have taken a good chunk of enthusiasm out of him as well and he is starting to get a couple of "Oh" and "Ah" moments. Which is good. I joke about the enthusiasm part, he is just starting to understand though that he has a lot to learn.

What he has accomplished!

1. The new template is up and just needs to be fixed from his edit mistake. Overall looks great going forward. Blue builds trust.

2. He added 2 chunks of Google adsense and is tracking them on a separate channel as well. That way he knows that clicks are coming from that site. Also he has taylored the ads to draw atention to the right side of the screen. the blue pops out at you. I highly suggest if you use adsense to set up a separate channel for each site. Several of you might want to debate Adsense. I am not going to debate it, I use it and love it and earn great with it. If you have fears of it or do not trust it, use something else. I stand behind Adsense as a great earner on stores built the right way.

3. The site was missing a robots.txt , an updated sitemap.xml file and a privacy policy. He used the fix sonjay posted and I referenced in this post. His robots.txt is here. He also added a solid privacy policy as well.

4. He added a traffic stats counter from sitemeter at the bottom in the footer. This is mostly for my benefit as I can start to see referrers and check a few things at a glance instead of logging into his server stats. If you are playing along with this series it is up to you whether you want to add it or not in the footer. This is merely for me and will be removed once I am done with the training.

5. He settled on the keyword phrases below to target for the front page. These are used in the front page title tag. He has made a mistake and added them store wide, which he will need to change. These keyword phrases will be used for the front page.

Ham Radio Supplies | Ham Radio Sales | Used Ham Radio Equipment

These are keyword phrases we will attempt to target in our upcoming rewrite of content on the front page as well. Also we will use these key words in anchor text when acquiring backlinks to our site. See below.

Ham Radio Supplies
Ham Radio Sales
Used Ham Radio Equipment

6. Wrote a description meta tag and keyword meta tag for the homepage. He then used the free tool here to score is page for three phrases. He ran his keywords one at a time through the tool and scored very well.

In conclusion you can see that he has been cleaning up his own back yard right now. If this were a brand new store, he would still be ways away from releasing it to the public. This site still has a long ways to go.

What he is working on now!

1. Fixing the mistake he made in his header.

2. Going through each store page and keyword searching for 3 phrases to target for each and every store page. Each page should be targeting two to three keyword phrases that best fits that store page and what you are trying to sell. These will be used in each page title tag as well.

3. Writing good description meta tags for each page and filling in the seldom used keyword meta tags. Each page needs to be unique and targeted separately.

3. Fixing the anchor text in the store navigation to use target keyword phrases. Example of a change would be instead of Antennas, it would be Ham Radio Antennas in the store navigation. This helps your internal linking structure SEO wise as well.

In conclusion, the work he has ahead of him is where we separate the serious people. Going page by page getting keywords targeted and tested is boring work, but if done right will pay dividends later. Take the time and do it right. Filling in the meta tags properly is time consuming as well. I have a feeling this will keep him busy a while.

He has a blog going here and you can follow along with his post. He is improving daily on his blogging skills, but needs to lose that black background. i wonder if he will see this and change it. Hint Hint! We will update his progress on Monday or Tuesday so stay tuned.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Google Ranking Update

Amit Singhal, who is in charge of the ranking team at Google, gave an update via the Google blog on Google Ranking. Amit hits a couple of key points about Google ranking process. It is a very good read and seems like their will be subsequent updates coming as well. i suggest everyone slide on over and give it a read.

I Made Mistakes Too - Top 5 List Of My SNAFUS

I know sometimes it seems that I can make it all look too easy as far as BANS store building is concerned, but let me assure you I made and still make mistakes myself. Plenty of them. Part of your development will be to make less mistakes over time and streamline your process of getting a new store launched, optimized and earning money. Here are a my early top 5 mistakes I made in my Build A Niche Store early days. See if you share any of these with me.

1. Store niches were too broad and I was trying to be everything to everyone. No research into the niche, I just dove right in.

2. No proper keyword targets were defined. I just threw up what I thought was a good title and went from there, built it by the seat of my pants and on the fly.

3. When I added content, I added other websites content. This will do you no good. If it aint yours, it really has no business on your site. If you read something you think will help your surfers, just link to it. It is your duty.

4. I did not understand proper anchor text use and how to apply it off site and on site.

5. Spent too much time on how the store looked instead of concentrating on how to gain organic traffic. It should be done the other way around, worry about getting recognized first and buff and polish the store second. Plenty of pretty stores never get seen.

That is just a quick glimpse as my list is a mile long. Everyone makes mistakes, but recognizing them early will save you a ton of time and head banging.

Sunday should be the second post in the Niche Store Student On Board Series. So stay tuned. Have a great Saturday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #1

I have taken on a new student for a period of about 4 weeks. Now let me start in saying I am no BANS guru or self proclaimed expert. I know what works for me and have just happened to make more mistakes than most of you. I have some free time as right now I am going through some of my slower neglected stores and giving them some attention and it is not as time consuming as when I attack a new store build. My student has agreed to let everyone follow along in the process of taking one of his non productive stores and hopefully making it a producer. Let me add that this is not an over night transformation. What the student does today can take 90-180 days to start seeing results. We hope to streamline and shorten the time line, but he understands that it could take that long. You should too. I hope to try to make 2-3 post a week concerning his store makeover. The student does not know this yet, but he will be blogging about his own journey as well on his own blog, so you should be able to follow along there as well.

EDITED to add his blog:

I highly suggest if you have a new store or are thinking about making a non producing store come alive, you follow along with every update and make every move according to what the student does. I am not doing it for the student, I am teaching the student what to do and how to do it. I will let him make many mistakes along the way, but hope to teach him to fish instead of just handing him the fish. I will entitle every post dedicated to the training as "Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #1" etc., so it will be easy to keep up with. I highly suggest you subsrcibe to my blogs RSS feed as well, so you never miss a post.

So lets get started.

The site is and I have provided the original screen shot and you can click on it to see a larger version of it.

What is wrong with it?
Let's tear it apart first with everything that is wrong with it before we start going forward.

1. The current template he has looks to be not installed correctly or unfinished, giving the site an unprofessional look. Also let's face it, it looks like a BANS store.

2. There is no clear path of the keywords or keyword phrases he is targeting on the store other than ham radio, which is very broad and very competitive. If I can't see the target keywords, how can Google see them?

3. All of the store menu and individual store pages seem to be left to default BANS/eBay settings and wrapped around a top ham radio category. I have posted many times on my blog that for a store to be successful, nothing should be default.

4. What content he has on the site, seems to be lifted from elsewhere. This is not unique or original and will get no love in the search engines.

5. Very few inbound links to the site, just a couple from Quassia mostly.

What is right about it?

1. Great domain name as it has ham radio in it.
2. The store seems to be mostly indexed.

First assignment for the student!

1. Get these templates and install correctly. We want to put a fresh coat of paint on the store and give it a more professional look without it looking so much like a Build A Niche Store.

2. Keyword research 3 main keywords for the front page. They need to be associated with the overall direction of the site and also not too competitive. We want some middle of the road keywords that are reachable in the search engines. We will not be targeting "ham radio" as it is just too short and too competitive plus by default that keyword will be used a ton in content and in links anyway. We want some longer keyword phrases that include ham radio in them. We will be be using the links below for research. If you are playing along at home, see if you can pick out the 3 keyword phrases we will decide on for the front page.

3. Make a blog post about what he has learned and what he has done thus far per my instructions.

We will check back in a few days to discuss the progress and go forward with the next step.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Google Keyword Tool & Latent Semantic Indexing

As many know by now, Google has opened up and delivered a little closer look at search volume numbers with the latest update of the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. I know a lot of people are getting caught up in the numbers it delivers, but I want to use this post to delve deeper into the tool and latent semantic indexing. The link I just supplied you is an excellent read posted on SEO Book. Take the time to read it and understand it. Google is getting smarter by the day and is getting better at weeding out the keyword stuffers and spammers. This is great news for all white hat Build A Niche Store builders as well. LSI as we will call it, looks for relativity of words on pages and finding relations between terms (synonymy and polysemy). I will not rehash what is already written from the link I gave earlier, but do read it.

So how does the Google keyword tool help in this? If you are using it for phrases and even single keywords using even the broad search option and synonyms checked it will give you a glimpse of not only the longer tail phrases, but the words that are closely related to the search as well. Try searching for refrigerator using match type broad and make sure Use synonyms is checked. If you page down you will see the heading "Additional keywords to consider" with other terms listed without the word refrigerator in them. So lets see, Google is telling me to consider these keywords!!! Why? well Google has learned what is relevant to the word refrigerator. In theory (and I have seen this) you can rank high for various keywords and they not even be mentioned on that page.

Let me wrap this up into a tighter ball for you. You get tired of hearing this from me, but your BANS store has to have unique original content on it and I will go a step further that will tell you keyword stuffed original content is not what I am talking about. I am talking about natural original content or articles that contain your keywords you are targeting and many natural relative keywords as well. If you know and understand your niche, you should just write from the hip and natural as your knowledge on the niche and related words will flow through. Just write it for the web surfer first and for Google second. If you are in a niche you know nothing about and do not have the time to research it, I highly suggest NAA service. I highly highly endorse them and are letting them write more and more of my content. Content spinners and rewriter programs are not worth the risk in my opinion. If you do use one make sure it sounds natural and passes a uniqueness test. you will likely make so many edits that writing it yourself would save more time.

So use the new Google numbers, but also be aware of "Additional keywords to consider"! When Google tells me point blank to consider something, I take heed.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Image Alt Tags & Image Size

If you plan on adding a picture or image to any of your Build A Niche Store pages, I highly suggest a few things. First make sure you resize the picture to fit your needs and by that I mean you might have a huge picture that you want to display at only half the size, do not set the atributes to pull a larger picture and resize via HTML. It is less taxing on your server and the web surfer to offer up a resized image that loads quickly. a great free tool that I always use is the Irfranview program. You can easily resize a picture or image to fit the needs of the page you are displaying it on. after resizing then upload the new image to your server and add the source in your code. There is nothing worse as a web surfer to visit a page of website only to have to wait as a large image file is served and then downsized.

The next thing I want to mention is the ALT code text, ALT text is used to identify the image to the search engines and any web surfers you might be surfing your site with image viewing disabled in their browser. You can read more on adding ALT codes here. They can help out a little as far as SEO goes as well. If you have a site about pink widgets and the title, description and keyword meta tags are all properly done to say the site is about pink widgets and you have images alt titled about various pink widgets, it helps confirm your page is about pink widgets. You also might pick up a surfer or two visiting your site from doing an image search in the SERPS. So take a little extra time and go the extra mile when adding images or pictures to your pages.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Using Picture Videos For Backlinks & Traffic Generation

Creating traffic and backlinks to your Build A Niche Store is an ongoing task. If you are using Windows XP, you probably have Movie Maker installed on your computer. This is a great tool for creating videos even if you do not own a video camera. You can make video slideshows and even set them to music. All you need is a collection of pictures that you may have downloaded from the net and an mp3 of a song that fits the bill. You can use the add title feature to create intros and outros that list your website address on it. I am not going to get into specifics, but I will list some great free tutorials on how to do this. It is very very simple.

The sites listed above should be everything you need. Try to make your clips at least a few minutes long and make sure you advertise your website on them.

The promotion of these videos is quit easy. Below I will list several video sites you can submit your videos to. Some will even allow you to put an url in the description.

Make sure to write good keyword titles related to what people are shopping for in your niche. Also make sure to include as many tags as it will let you add. Some will be nofollow links, some will be follow. The best thing is they tend to be watched by many and added to different websites by people. In fact I found another BANS owner that adds videos to his site and had my video included that promoted my store in the same niche. You never know when these videos might produce a shopping visitor to your store and you will likely acquire a few backlinks along the way. It is a free tool siting right on your harddrive and you should put it to use.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wordpress Build A Niche Store Template For BANS

Due to the success of the BANS templates I released, I have had several request to design a template that integrates Build A Niche Store inside Wordpress.

Below is a Green Wordpress template that implements your store pages from BANS into Wordpress. Cost is $24.00 for the template and comes with installation directions.

This is suggested for new store installs only.

You should have some working knowledge of Wordpress if you are going to buy and use this template. You will need to install Wordpress on the root domain and set up a folder named store on the root domain. You will upload your BANS files to the store folder and install it there.

The template allows you to edit the widgets and order in the left sidebar. The right sidebar must remain intact.

The template can display products using all 5 layouts of BANS.

Content pages are built via the Wordpress admin.

The top logo image is 300x90 and can be replaced by a logo of your design with the same size.

If you have any questions before purchase, please contact me by email or private message on the Build A Niche Store forum.

Support will be offered on installs, but any modifications will be the responsibility of the buyer as the template is complex and modifications will cost extra.

I will have a demo site posted later this evening.

Click to see larger screenshot

Buy Now

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Turning Pages Off In Build A Niche Stores

If you are in the admin section and click on store or content pages, you have seen the ability to turn pages off or on. By default they are all on, but you might wonder what instances you would want them off. Perhaps you do not want a page to show up in the navigation tree for one. Lots of BANS stores prefer to list their Sitemap and Privacy Policy Pages in the footer. You can achieve this by turning off those pages and manually adding them into the footer section of the template as these pages are not so important to the surfer. The only bad thing about turning off pages is that they will not show in your xml sitemap and will not be picked up by the search engines unless you have a link on your site pointing to that page or a link from another site pointing to that page.

Another instance where you might use this is if you have a thank you page that only gets seen after a contact form is filled out and the submit button is pushed. Once again this page would never be seen by the search engines or even need to be seen. You also might create your own 404 error page that need not be indexed as well.

Make sure when creating any content or store page, you decide right then if you are going to want the SERPS to see it, because if it is left on it will be in the sitemap and COULD be indexed at any time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

HTML For The Newbies

This is another post geared at the newbies of Build A Niche Store or newbies to webmastering as a whole. There are tons and tons of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) html editors out there. Even Build A Niche Store comes with one as well. Although these editors are easy to point and click and have easy menu items, you are going to have to learn basic HTML at some point. There are two great sites for learning HTML. One is Html Goodies and the other is Web Monkey. There will be times where knowing code will help you in so many ways. Just because these editors make it easier on you, does not mean you should not know how to adjust what is under the hood. HTML is very simple to learn and there are tons of printable reference sheets on the web as well. Mix this learning into your routine and learn it. Once you have gotten HTML down, you need to move on to learning CSS with stands for cascading style sheets. Knowing CSS will help in editing your own templates and code for your BANS stores as well.

Friday, July 4, 2008

BANS Questions Of The Week


Happy 4th of July!!!! I am proud to be an American.

As promised on Fridays I am going to start answering questions I get via email as a blog post. I get quite a few that are quick answers and a few that are long drawn out. Here are a few that are great from this week.

Is BANS dying?

No! BANS is not dying. It seems like we go through this stage about 4 times a year. Google does not hate BANS and EPN is alive and well. Build great content driven stores worth linking to and you will be just fine. I do suggest you start modifying the looks of your BANS stores going forward. Start thinking unique, template wise. BANS is here to stay and Adam and Kelvin are always on the move with upgrades and improvements.

What is the single most important thing I should be doing after installing my store?

I would say make sure you have changed everything that is default about it. Including meta tags on every page. Getting it search engine optimized is an art and is very important and should not be left to default settings. It is a boring task for sure, but take the time and do it right.

How much do you make online with your stores and what do you do for a living?

Well that is pretty blunt and to the point. I will tell you this. I left a job as an Executive Director of a small Chamber of Commerce because of what I make online with my sites. So I guess you can say my job is now BANS full time. I also own 3 rental houses and two other high traffic non BANS sites. I am 40 and a work at home husband and dog owner. If you have any doubts about BANS making money, you need to get it out of your head. Once my light came on, my earnings went through the roof in a matter of 3 months.

What is your favorite free tool you use?

Not many good ones are free anymore, but one I use on every site I build is not a secret to my blog readers. It is the free SEO tester. It is not the end all do all tool for SEO, but really is a great tool for both newbies and veterans. I use it now more as a game to see if I can get a 40 on my first pass through it with a page.

I am new to niche store building, what target number for keyword searches should I be focusing on.

If you are using a tool like SEO book keyword suggester, I would say anything 30-50 in looking at the Google number. I know that sounds low, but if you target and capture a high Google ranking for even a term that gets searched for 30 times a day, the sales are usually there. I dominate quite a few terms with those types of numbers and they produce nicely. Just depends on the niche, but those numbers are obtainable by newbies to get there feet wet with.

What is your second favorite search engine after Google?

Well, I only use Google primarily myself unless I am backlink checking with Yahoo, but I find myself liking LIVE right now at the moment, because they are so manipulative right now and the traffic usually converts good. A good search engine optimized site with only free link directory and article backlinks can dominate LIVE in a matter of two weeks or less. I am sure they will change there algorithm soon, but right now I can get instant traffic from them on new stores until my proper place with Google is obtained.

Keep your questions coming and I will address more in the coming Fridays. Have a great holiday weekend. Send all questions to address listed below.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Phooey On The Summer Slow Down


It is that time of year again when the chicken littles of the niche store building process come out and spread the notion of Summer slow down. Let me first say that if you were tied to just one niche or one brick and mortar store, your niche could be affected. When you throw BANS into the mix, there is no reason to moan. You are not limited to anything except your own imagination. The truth is people continue to buy and sell things on eBay everyday. If they are buying, then you need to find what they are buying and put that item in front of them. You have an endless inventory of products right at your fingertips and a proven platform named eBay handling everything. My numbers in June broke all my previous monthly records and I only added one new store during that month as I was busy going back to neglected stores that needed attention. If you are blaming a season on not making any money, then you need a check up from the neck up. People still buy during the Summer and some niches even get better than normal, it is up to you to find those niches and get them in front of people. A very under utilized tool is the Terapeak service. this is one of the best paid services a Build A Niche Store user can have. Now go find those hot niches before Fall comes as I hear a Fall slow down is also on the way followed by a Winter slow down.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Searching For Backlinks From Related Sites

Some easy searches in search engines can sometimes uncover possible related sites that may accept link exchanges or even better free link submissions. If you are going to do any link exchanges, make sure the site is in the same ballpark as yours. You can play around with the search terms below in both Google and Yahoo and probably find a good handful of backlinks worth pursuing. The less links on the page the better as more link juice will flow to your site. this is not some hidden secret, but one technique that needs to be touched on every now and again. Feel free to experiment with the phrases as well. I have uncovered a few great backlinks using this method for myself. Below are the search terms.

1. intitle:add+url "keyword phrase"
2. intitle:submit+site "keyword phrase"
3. intitle:submit+url "keyword phrase"
4. intitle:add+site "keyword phrase"
5. intitle:add+your+site "keyword phrase"
6. intitle:directory "keyword phrase"
7. intitle:list "keyword phrase"
8. intitle:sites "keyword phrase"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pepperjam Giving New Affiliates 10 Bucks

PJN July Promo

If you have yet to join up with Pepperjam, now is this time. They are giving $10.00 to each new publisher for signing up. I have been using Pepperjam for a while and have been really happy with the support and the attention to detail. They continuously are adding more and more advertisers as well. Pepperjam Network is Now Offering a $10 Affiliate Sign On Bonus. Join Today.

Making Use Of The Info Domains

I have read where quite a bit of Build A Niche Store builders have suffered getting info domains deindexed for the time being. Some have made it through and most have not. Luckily I did not get caught up in this on BANS stores, but do own a couple of info domains myself. It could be a Google glitch or it could be a filter on Google as well. Personally I feel Google will let these creep back into the index over time. Perhaps a solid backlink or two will get them back in. Here is my suggestion for those uneasy with it.

If the domain name is niche specific in nature, I suggest putting a niche specific directory up on the domain name. You really have nothing to lose. There are great free scripts out there, more notably PHP Link Directory. If you can set up a Build A Niche Store, this script is a breeze. I am sure you are saying not another stupid directory, but I will tell you that there is a shortage of good niche specific directories out there. I would populate the directory with 12 to 20 good categories and fill in some links in each category. Throw up some Google ads and a few niche specific ad banners from Pepperjam or Commission Junction and let it fly. I would also set it to demand reciprocal links for submissions as well and set the feature link price at about $3.00 each. Demanding reciprocal links from like sites should not be a problem, because even I have no problem linking to a site on a link trade that is in the same close realm as I am. The best part about being the niche directory owner is you can also link to your own BANS store. Perhaps you have moved the initial build to a top level domain already. If you haven't, this might not be a bad idea. Lets face it, you already bought the domain, so why not take an afternoon at put it to work for you. Google likes niche specific directories a ton more than the standard all encompassed crap that is out there. Make sure the submissions you receive pass the mustard and are relevant to the directory. Do not take just any submission. You can also submit your directory to some of the directory list out there. There are a ton of list that will list you, just do a search for them. Also if you have a US Free Ads account, make an add asking for link submissions. Tons of affiliate marketers browse those as well. Turn those lemon info domains into juicy lemonade.


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