Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Microsoft IE8 To Have Privacy Features Added

Thought I would make a post about the new beta Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 browser that is coming out. Supposedly it will have a privacy feature that will need to be enabled. Some are calling it a "porn mode" so users can cover their tracks. Like most features, several users will not even know how to use it, so I do not see it as a huge threat to the cookie distribution business or BANS Stores. Private browsing opens up a separate window; when closed, it deletes records of cookies, passwords, search queries, temporary Internet files, form data and words typed into the address bar. This will need further scrutinization once released. I suspect I will be able to get a copy from the newsgroups very soon.

A number of folks have looked at the way the latest beta of IE8 will be used as an anti-Google weapon. One aspect of it: a privacy mode that theoretically could prevent Google (or anyone else) from collecting useful information for ad targeting.

How I Like To Use Adsense On BANS Sites

While Adsense ads are often debated about on their effectiveness on Build A Niche Stores, I still have a great deal of success with them when I use them. Primarily I like to use them on pages that are highly niche keyword driven and prefer to match the color scheme of the ads to the the color scheme of my site. By doing this it looks a little less adsensy (is that a word?). They tend to look more like text links then they do ads. As I have said in numerous other post, I do not really try to hide the fact that I am an eBay affiliate and list auctions on my site. That said, some people just do not like eBay for some reason or another. My adsense ads give me another chance to monetize my surfers. A quick test run of a week or so will let you know if you are making pennies or are making quarters or even dollars per click. If you are only making a few pennies, then see about searching out some longer tail keywords and adding them to the page in the form of unique content. Surprisingly you might find that you can increase the earnings per click if you fall into a competitive long tail phrase. Once again, Adsense might not be right for every BANS site, but overall I think you can find that it can produce a sizable income stream if done right and effectively.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Red Cross Needs Your Support

A little public service announcement. In the advance of Hurricane Gustav making landfall, I highly suggest you make plans to donate to the Red Cross if you can. Having been through many hurricanes in my life, I can tell you that this will be very bad once again for the city of New Orleans, especially if the happen to end up on the east side of the eye. If you do not donate to the Red Cross, make sure to donate to whatever organization you can, that will be helping in the recovery relief effort.

Keeping Your Mind Right

As many know that read this blog, I do a lot of reading. Not big novels ore text books mind you, but short and easy positive mental attitude type books. Being self employed and especially full time in making money online has it's ups and it's downs. I am not talking about the monetary part either. What I have found more so lately is the higher profile I become, the more people try to knock you down or steal what you have. Not surprising in the least. You would be surprised to know that even another blogger scrapes this very blog for their own monetary gain. What I am good at is controlling what I can control and forcing out of my mind what I can not control. An oldie but goodie I just picked back up and reread last night is:

Life Is Tremendous

It only contains 100 pages and is power packed reading. Great to read again and again. Keeping your mind right is very important for anyone, especialkly for the self employed.

What do you read to keep your mind right?

Friday, August 29, 2008

BANS Owners Working Very Close With Steve From EPN

I wanted to make sure to point out a post this morning from Kelvin, one of the owners of the Build A Niche Store software. Kelvin stated he has now had personal contact with Steve, who is in charge of the eBay partner network. Kelvin is putting together a presentation of exactly what BANS is, so Steve and he are on the same level as BANS moves forward in development. Once again Kelvin points out what most of us already know and that is to surround your niche with keyword driven original content that helps edify your niche and is useful to the surfers. I commend Kelvin on his efforts of communication in attempts to continue to keep the software compliant and ahead of everything in the niche building software area.

The post is here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ebay Suing Digital Point Owners For Cookie Stuffing

That I would give you a quick heads up on some legal action eBay is taking against the Digital Point owners for alleged cookie stuffing. I am not one to pass judgment, but on the surface it appears eBay does have legitimate evidence on this. Nonetheless, this will be interesting to watch.

How To Come Up With Niche Site Blog Topics

When I make a post on one of my many Wordpress/BANS sites, it can often be a challenge to break from the norm of conjuring up a product review or news item for that niche. I often time turn to similar niche blogs or forums to do some quick reading on what people are asking, stating or looking for. With a quick 30 minute run I jot down a few ideas and can usually come up with enough to at least carry me through a couple of post.

You can use the Google Blog search to find related blogs to your niche and use Google itself to find related message boards or forums. Look for questions of "how to" or "tip" type post. The internet is a powerful tool, just be creative in using it and in no time you will have niche specific topics to post about.

How do you find niche topics to blog about?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pink Steve Comments On The BANS Software

Came across an interesting thread on the EPN discussion board regarding a user asking particularly about the Build A Niche Store software. Steve replied as I hoped he would in that thread, basically stating that it could be used to build great niche sites or lousy ones. His further comments reflect what I have been trying to state for quite a while, where one should build a niche site first that educates the surfer with original content and reviews. simply putting up an out of the box BANS store will not fly under the radar with EPN or with Google for that matter.

BANS Forum Member Writes Articles

Got an email from a long time blog reader randomthinker, who asked if I would get the word out that he is currently writing articles for BANS users who need content for their site, blog or for articles to submit to article directories. You can view his offering here. Jonathon is a stand up guy and needs the work. I am sure he will send you a sample of his writing as well to view. I highly suggest you look into contracting him out if you feel his quality of work meets your needs.

Hurricane Gustav Could Make For A Long Next Week

At the time of me making this post Tropical Storm Gustav is many miles from making a US landfall. That said current models have it making landfall around the Louisiana Mississippi state line. These models are continuing to swift east more and more. While we are not anywhere near a panic mode yet, Pensacola is very gun shy now since Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis. Should the models and projections shift any more to the east, we will be square in line for the most powerful east side of the storm. I bring you up to date on this so if an email or private message is not answered timely in the next few days, you will know we are getting prepared for a strike. Luckily I have already filled up some gas cans and the generator has been primed. However I have several elderly neighbors and family that usually depend on my help as well. I will be attentive to the day to day business of helping people in the mean time, but wanted to let everyone know what my situation could be. Thanks for all the emails I get and the great comments on the blog as well. Lets all just pray it dissipates and just goes away.

Life on the Gulf Coast is absolutely fantastic and dealing with hurricanes is just part of it. The older I get the more inclined I am to get moved out to Las Vegas even quicker. What is the worse thing that can happen out there to me? Vegas take all my BANS store earnings? LOL!

Always Give The Surfer An Option To Buy Something

With the dawn of the Wordpress Build A Niche Store template integration and the ability to build more of a niche hub, one should not lose sight of always giving the surfer the ability to purchase something within a couple of clicks. Even though our BANS stores or other product integrations are not at the forefront of the site, does not mean it is not easily accessible from anywhere on the site or in individual post or pages. I do not just mean in the navigational menus either. Perhaps you make weekly blog post on a product review or news on a specific brand or product, always put a link in that post or page to a product page featuring your auctions or affiliate store listings. If you post a review of fuzzy red widgets, link them directly to the fuzzy red widgets you have for sale using strong anchor link text. This will also help over time in deep linking throughout your site. You can also change up the anchor text in the next post, should you post in the future about fuzzy red widgets. You can not make the horse drink, but you can engage it and lead it to the water source so to speak.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do Not Hide That You Are An Ebay Affiliate

As we delve more and more into what EPN wants from us as affiliates, I hearken back to what I have been preaching for a while. Do not hide the fact that you are an eBay affiliate and list products for sale on eBay. I wear the now listed on eBay image with pride and never cloak any of my affiliate links. If you have to trick someone into clicking your links and setting a cookie, you are going about it the wrong way.

If you have not done so already, I highly suggest getting Google analytics installed on your niche stores and start tracking your bounce rate. The lower the bounce rate the more you are engaging your surfers which is exactly what EPN wants. Also look for returning visitors to your site and bookmarks. Repeat customers are fantastic and it means you have earned their trust as well.

Affiliate marketing is moving more and more into the mold that Pepperjam is using and that is transparency. The more transparent you are, the more trusted your sites are deemed.

More September Changes On Tap For Ebay

Wanted to alert everyone to the latest blog post from the eBay partner network concerning more changes that are on the way in September.

Some highlights include:

Checks and money orders no longer allowed

New seller standards: minimum 4.3 on all DSRs

Make sure to check your country specific changes.

Also for the UK program, R.O.EYE have just been appointed the affiliate marketing agency for eBay UK and would like to speak to the affiliates on the programme and understand your business model and how the programme is currently performing for you? What your thoughts are on the EPN interface and if there is anything further we can do for you?

Add PHP Code To Wordpress Pages With The Exec-PHP Plugin

There will be times when you may want to include PHP code to exceute inside a Wordpress post or page and now it is very easy to do with the Exec-PHP plugin. Whether you are adding other affiliate program products or just want to execute simple PHP code this widget can handle it.

* Download the Exec-PHP plugin archive and extract the files to your harddrive
* Copy the entire exec-php directory folder into /wp-content/plugins/
* Activate the plugin through the Plugins admin menu of WordPress
* Configure blog and user settings if needed

Pay close attention as you will have to turn off the Wordpress visual editor every time you make a post or page containing PHP code. Just click on Users and then Your Profile and uncheck the visual editor box and click update profile at the bottom.

Monday, August 25, 2008

EPN Transaction Download Report Changes Start In September

I wanted to update everyone that the Ebay Partner Network will be making a few changes to the Transaction Download Report in the September 10th release. If you are currently using the API to automatically receive and process this report, or are an active user of this report, please be aware of these changes and make the proper adjustments.

For more info on the full blog post on this, please view the post here.

Sneak peek At The New Wordpress 2.7 Dashboard

The great Shoemoney has posted a link to new Wordpress 2.7 dashboard. I thought I would pass on the link to you.

Wordpress continues to get better and better not only as a blogging platform, but as an overall CMS platform.


The new Wordpress 2.7 version is scheduled for release on or about November 10th but that could change per Shoemoney.

How To Follow Pink Steve On The EPN Forums

There is a very simple way to follow post made by SteveH who answers for the EPN affiliate program on the eBay partner network forum. The EPN forum has an advanced search feature that will help you follow ANYONES post you want.

Below is a link that will enable you to follow his post for the last 7 days. This can be tinkered with as well to meet your needs.

Where's Steve?

What Not To Add To Your Niche Site

I have had a few recent emails asking about a few Wordpress plugins that add automated content to your site. Caffeinated Content is one of the main ones I get questions on asking my opinion and Wordpress Direct is the other one. I could easily put up a referral link to try to make money off of these, but would not be able to sleep at night if you spent money on them. I have bought and reviewed Caffeinated Content and used the trial version of Wordpress Direct and can only suggest that neither is in my business plan of building niche sites. All most of these plugins do is produce a spam blog or splog, if you use todays buzz word. The only type content pages that should be used on your site should be pages that use unique original content. I write a ton of my own content and also use Need An Article for the other portion. Surfers need to be engaged through the content and then given the option to buy through your BANS store or other store listings on site. If you have to create automated, scraped content from Yahoo answers or other ezine articles, you are doing yourself and your store a disservice. Your niche site should be the authority on the niche. You can write reviews on products, provide links and post on industry related news, include history articles on your products manufactures and etc. The more unique your site is the more linkable it becomes and will over a course of time pick up natural backlinks which Google adores. Do not fall into the lazy trap of letting a spinner or content scraper plugin do the work for you. There are no short cuts to a fantastic, mega earning niche site. Surround your store with unique original post and content and reap long term benefits from it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How To Set Up A Popshops Store Page

This post will walk you through a simply store page set up with Popshops. This post assumes you are a Pro version user.

First log into your account and clich dashboard.

You should see the image below. Click Go and create new shop.

You should see the image below where you can name your new store and click Save.

Next you want to create the layout of products. I suggest 3 columns by howerever many rows of products you wish to display.

Next in the image below you can search for affiliates who list products matching what you are wanting to sell.

Click a company in the results and from the center box, add the products you wish top show on your shop page. When done you can click the customize button up top and change the look and styles of the products. The Holiday showcase option is the best and most configurable. I prefer a width of 175 pixels, but you can play with that number depending on the template you are using.

Click the Pop It In Tab and select PHP in the drop down menu. Pay attention to the Network ID Mangaer on the left. If it is red, you will need to enter in that affiliate programs id number.

Copy and paste the PHP code into notepad for safe keeping on your hard drive, should you need it for quick reference. You have now successfully set up a product page.

Popshops Wordpress Plugin

For the upcoming integration of Popshops pages inside of Wordpress BANS templates, I suggest going ahead and downloading and installing the Popshops Wordpress plugin.

  1. Download and unzip the Popshops plugin archive to your harddrive.
  2. FTP the Popshops plugin folder to the wp-content/plugins directory on your Wordpress Installation.
  3. Log in to your admin panel and activate Popshops pluging under the 'Plugins' tab.
  4. Go to admin -> options -> PopShops
  5. If you don't have one already, create a PS account and add your network affiliate IDs (if you have them)
  6. Activate the Popshops API key.

We will next post we will configure products in the Popshops admin panel.

Page Link Navigation Wordpress Plugin

There are times when you will create a page via Wordpress and simply not want it to show in the page navigation. Either because of space in a top navigation or for other reasons such as posting the link in a separate navigation space or deeper inside your site. Here is a fantastic plugin I use for managing pages. You can download the plugin here.

  1. Download and unzip the plugin archive to your harddrive.
  2. FTP the plugin file to the wp-content/plugins directory on your Wordpress Installation.
  3. Log in to your admin panel and activate Page Link Manager under the 'Plugins' tab.
  4. Go to the new panel under the 'Manage' tab called 'Page Links'.
  5. Select and update the pages you want included in your site navigation.

You will need this plugin for a few Popshops integrations we will be making to the BANS Wordpress templates.

The "I Also Have A Store Attitude" Of Niche Site Building

As I have been talking about for a while, you need to be building niche sites that also happen to have stores. I call this the "I Also Have A Store Attitude" Of Niche Site Building. With the new buzz word being "Engaging The Surfer", a store will perform much better with the store as the back thought. What I mean by this is to lead the surfer to exactly where he wants to go. With the development of the BANS Wordpress Templates, this gives the ability to build a solid content laden niche site or hub, that also happens to have a niche store attached. And by niche store I am not just referring to BANS stores. I also mean adding other affiliate program store listings as well.

Below is an example of how I am migrating things:

Natural Dog Treats

As you can see on the test store, there are 3 pages of Popshops product pages that have been integrated into the theme. This is very easy to do and I suggest you tune in next week as I will be starting a series on how to integrate other affiliate program products into any of the Wordpress BANS Templates.

You can change the heading titles as well. I merely used "Pop Shops Store" as a title as an example.

To get ready for this series, I highly suggest you get signed up with the Pro Plan from Popshops and have your favorite niche store template loaded on a domain with Wordpress on the root and BANS in a folder named store.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dancing With Tropical Storm Fay Today & Sunday

Well it is our turn to dance with Tropical Storm Fay today on the Florida Panhandle. I hope to post more later today, but one never knows if the power will go out and stay out. I have been through my share of hurricanes and tropical storms in my life, but Fay has been quite interesting. The path it has taken will be one for the ages, along with how many landfalls it has made. This storm has dumped plenty of rain and flooded many parts of Florida thus far. After going through Hurricane Ivan 3 years ago, Fay is nothing to the residents of this area. Living with hurricanes is just part of life in Florida. At least we do know when they are coming, unlike tornadoes. Any how, if I do not post more today or Sunday, you will know I am in the dark going stir crazy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ebay Town Hall Jihad @ 1:30 PST Today

This is your friendly reminder that in about 30 minutes, I highly suggest tuning in to the eBay Town Hall.

You can listen here:

Make sure your voice is heard and insist the whole show is dedicated to the EPN debacle.

Build A Niche Store Has Your Best Interest In Mind

It was very refreshing to see Kelvin post his thoughts today on the forum addressing the recent EPN terminations and his early game plan on how he and Adan intend to move forward. Rest assured no harsh and rash decisions will be made in the further advancement of the BANS software. I know that they realize the need to open the platform up to other income streams through various other affiliate programs. As I mentioned yesterday in the future of affiliate marketing post, things are wide open and always changing.

What To Do Now?

1. I would take a good hard look at your stores and see which ones are viable in adding additional affiliate programs. Take an inventory of all sites and look to find matching product lines offered by other affiliate programs. Pepperjam, Amazon, Linkshare, Commission Junction, Netshops and Popshops are great starting points. Get signed up for these programs now instead of later.

2. I would keep your eyes peeled to this blog, I will devote the upcoming post to adding these additional forms of income to your stores.

3. Stay active on the BANS forums as the dynamic shift is beginning and you do not want to miss a thing. Keep yourself informed.

4. I will be needing some beta testers very soon for some integrations of my own, so stay plugged in to this blog and email me if you might be interested.

5. The fifth thing is to keep your head up. This is not the end of the world, but the beginning of something truly great.

I would like to thank Adam and Kelvin for a terrific product and appreciate everything you guys do to continue making Build A Niche Store head and shoulders above the rest. BANS has changed my life.

Build A Niche Store Owners Weigh In On The EPN Debacle

Sorry for the shorter post today, but I am up to my ears in helping BANS users via email with some alternative solutions to the recent EPN terminations.

Below is a link to Adam and Kelvins thoughts on the EPN Expirations.

Please pay attention to the following quote:

Outside of EPN discussion - there have been a few posts requesting the modification of BANS to incorporate different product feeds.

We do have our own ideas about what BANS could evolve into or alternatively what "BANS-like" products could be released which could open up different avenues and hence opportunities and with the latest BANS changeover behind us we were planning to spend 2-3 months on site development and testing with the aim of exploring and answering the questions of what works and what doesn't both in the context of maximizing eBay affiliate revenue and also in effectively utilizing other income streams.

These are major changes which aren't going to be implemented off the back of rash decisions or panic situations and my primary concern at the moment is that eBay comes forward with information about what they want from their affiliates moving forward so that we can both understand their direction and if required adapt to match it.

Pink Steve From EPN Chimes In Again

Wanted to point out another post by Pink EPN Steve on yet another ATTEMPT to address the recent changes in EPN. The link takes you to the Ebay Partner Network Forum.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

EPN Responds To Affiliate Terminations - Town Hall Call Friday

I wanted to alert everyone to a thread on the EPN forum where Steve has ATTEMPTED to clarify the recent termination of some affiliates. Really nothing new is learned, but I do suspect this thread will heat up. Also I suggest you listen and call in to the eBay Town Hall call Friday August 22nd from 1:30 - 3:00 PST. I highly suggest EPN users take over this Town Hall meeting. Now is your chance to make some noise to get some answers.

Staring Into The Crystal Ball Of Niche Store Building And Affiliate Marketing


With one lemon comes the opportunity to make lemon aid. While the second round of EPN terminations has everyone on their heels, it should serve as a lesson to open your eyes to other streams of income and not leaving the all the eggs in one basket. I have talked for quite a while on how I use my BANS stores as a platform for other affiliations as well. You should note that BANS is not the problem. The problem lies in being 100% reliant on just one affiliate program. Thus far my dealings with Pepperjam have been excellent although I have yet to get a nasty form letter from EPN. It serves as a fall back.

The recent ability of adding your BANS stores to Wordpress templates now opens up the door to even more possibilities. Wordpress is here to stay, at least for a long while as it is head and shoulders above any other blogging platform. Wordpress plugins are getting better and better and most affiliate programs are starting to cater to Wordpress features. The end result of this is being the ability to have the best of all worlds. Not only is Wordpress BANS templates great for building around your Build A Niche stores, it also opens you up to adding different affiliate program products as well. Popshops right off the bat comes to mind as one that has a Wordpress plugin. Many many more will be surfacing as well. Pepperjam not only is a eBay affiliate rep, they also represent 100's of other retailers that are coming on board. When you add them to the list of Commission Junction, Amazon, Linkshare and Shareasale, this opens up a great selection of products to niche around.

Going forward you consider what I have been preaching for a while. Build niche sites with stores attached. Build niche hubs, niche communities. You will see by running only 10 great niche hubs that it will produce a very healthy income. Do not lock yourself into one form of income. Affiliate marketing is wide open and getting wider everyday. Affiliate marketing also is constantly evolving as well. When one door closes another one opens.

This post by no means is to bash the EPN eBay program, it should serve as an eye opener to broaden your scope of other forms of income. You should seriously consider bettering yourself at the Wordpress platform and seriously consider integrating your BANS stores into them. They put the power of 2 great platforms together as one and open up other easy to add forms of income.

How To Convert EPN Build A Niche Stores Over To Pepperjam

I have gotten a few emails on asking how to update existing EPN BANS stores over to Pepperjam stores. It is a very easy process.

1. Make sure you are already a member of Pepperjam. If not you can sign up here.

2. Once approved you will be issued an affiliate ID number. You will need this number after converting over your stores.

3. Search for the eBay affiliate program once approved and click join. Follow the on screen instructions.

4. Visit the update section of the Build A Niche Store forum and enter in your ClickBank receipt number you got when you first purchased BANS.

5. Download the BANS v3.0 EPN to PJN Convertor Pack to your hardrive and unzip.

6. Back up any existing files on your server as a precaution should something go wrong. If you have modified the index.php or FrontControl.php files then updating your US v3.0 EPN store to work with Pepperjam will overwrite these files and you will lose the modifications you have made. Make note of any modifications you have made.

7. Open the Update Files folder. you should see 2 folders and 2 files listed. Upload all the listed folders to the appropriate section and location of your current BANS store location. Make sure to approve overwriting of files if asked.

8. After uploading the files is completed, you can log into your BANS admin panel and click the Setup tab.

9. Enter in the affiliate ID issued you by Pepperjam in the section number 4 called Affiliate ID and click save down at the bottom.

10. I do suggest that you do not use the cloaking feature in the Pepperjam version of BANS.

11. Wash, rinse and repeat for other existing stores.

How To Join Pepperjam's eBay Program

I think several that are joining Pepperjam are not applying for the eBay partner program. Signing up for Pepperjam is the initial part, but to represent and be an affiliate of eBay, you have to apply for that as well and be approved.

After being initially accepted into Pepperjam, log into your account and click the Find Partners button. You will then see the form below.

Next type ebay in the Keyword(s)section and hit the search button.

Ebay should show in the results. Click the check mark box to the left and click join on the far right. Follow the rest of the on screen instructions.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Build A Niche Store eBay Category Updates Ready

Just got news the new category updates for BANS is available for download. Below is the email release!

The databases for v3.0, v2.0 and v1.3.1 have been updated to
contain the latest eBay category structure.

For all "new builds" with v3.0 please log in to the appropriate
download area to download the latest complete version of v3.0:

1. For all ClickBank purchasers (the majority of BANS users) please
visit: -

2. For all special offer purchasers via PayPal (from Jim Cockrum
and Lynn Terry recommendations) please visit: -

You will need your ClickBank receipt number for download area 1 and
your Paypal email address for download area 2.

If you have any problems downloading the updated BANS v3.0 please
submit a ticket to our "download support" department -

To update your existing store categories please download the
relevant file from below and once downloaded please read the
"READ-ME.txt" file for further instructions (this is the same
category update procedure as the one sent out on the 26th May 2008):

Free Website Trade Publication From Website Magazine


Thought I would share the free subscription you can get from Website Magazine. This is a totally free subscription and my first issue is on it's way.

Website Magazine is a trade publication that focuses exclusively on the business of running a website, tips for running a successful website, solutions for building website traffic, the latest Internet industry trends and stats, as well as news analysis on the Internet industry.

You can never have too much information so I highly suggest getting your free subscription, today!

Ebay Offers New Pricing, More Incentives, and Other Changes

Came across this announcement from eBay this morning that states some changes in listing fees. In a nutshell it appears really eBay is shuffling the front end cost to the back end cost. It will be cheaper for sellers to list, but they will pay more in a final value fee if the item sells. All in all on the initial surface, this is great news for Build A Niche Store builders as we get paid off of the final value fees. You can see the new eBay fees here. In addition to the eBay pricing change, they are extending the listing duration of all Buy It Now items fixed price listings to 30 days.

Here is an AP story on the news as well

When Passion Meets Niche Store Building

As I was bumping around in the Build A Niche Store forum on Tuesday, I came across a user that does not post too much but did offer up a link to one of his stores. The user screen name is Largemouth Herald and to no surprise his site is Florida Bass Fishing. What is so refreshing is the fact that you can tell Herald is totally passionate about bass fishing and it shows in his site. He also ranks great for his target keyword and I am sure he gets his share of organic traffic as well. Also his fishing gear store is not front and center, and is using an early early version of BANS. This is a perfect example of taking something you are very knowledgeable about and turning it into an income producing outlet. A lot of niche store builders can really learn a lesson from his site. The only thing I would offer up to Harold is to in the near future considering re wrapping the whole site into a new Wordpress BANS type site that will enable him to perhaps manage the site better, but if it is doing fine right now, there is no sense in fixing that which is not broken. I'd like to thank Harold for giving me the opportunity to use his site as an example of passionate niche store building.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #9

It has been a while since we last checked in with the Build A Niche Store student as we were waiting on a few things to get done before proceeding. first the student was one of the many that was terminated from the EPN affiliate program, but has since been reinstated after sending an email asking for a review of his account. The student has since joined Pepperjam as well and is currently waiting for approval as to have a fall back option if something like that were to happen again.

The student purchased a few articles from Need An Article and submitted one to Ezinearticles. Here is his Ham Radio article. Notice the great keyword rich title and the effective use of the links in the bio section. It did take a little longer for approval as most first time users usually get scrutinized quite a bit depending on which editor they get.

Organic traffic continues to grow from the search engines and with the addition of more content on site, this store has real long time earning possibilities.

Next the student will submit the article off to other article directories and will change up the links and text in the bio section along the way.

Below are the current front page keyword rankings in the SERPs:

Keyword Phrase / Search EngineGoogleYahooMSN
Ham Radio Supplies2210X
Ham Radio Sales1234X
Used Ham Radio EquipmentX6X

MSN has really been bouncing around as of late and I suspect the site will settle back into its previous high rankings after this shuffle that is going on. It seems MSN is testing a few new algorithms at the moment.

I am winding down training now with this student and in the next post we will summarize his earnings, rankings and what needs to be done going forward.

If you have missed any of this series, you can get caught up here.

EPN Reinstating Some Terminated Affiliates

I have been getting a few good emails from readers who were terminated from the ebay Partner Network affiliate program and now are getting reinstated. The common thing these individuals are doing is sending an email politely asking to have your account reviewed. Let them know your ways of generating traffic to your stores. The email address those are using is:

While you are waiting, you might want to sign up for Pepperjam if you have not done so already. The waiting time for approval is about a week, so the quicker you sign up the better. The BANS Pepperjam version of the Build A Niche Store software works fantastic as well. I highly suggest using both methods as not to be married to just one program, plus Pepperjam offers a ton of other affiliate programs from major advertisers as well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free BANS Wordpress Template - Single Right Grey


I have had several request to convert over the stock Build A Niche Store Templates to Wordpress/BANS templates. The popular one right now is the new single column templates Adam and Kelvin just released.

I have converted over the single right grey template to start with and the css can be adapted to other colors as well. I wanted to put out a basic one for everyone to play with first and more colors will follow soon.

Here is the demo to the grey Wordpress BANS template.

The free download is here.

You can buy me a cup of coffee if you like my work!

Regular BANS Templates Conversions Coming Along

Many have asked me to convert over the regular BANS templates to Wordpress/BANS templates and this project is close to being finished. You can see the early August progress here below and I am almost finished most templates.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How To Be A Better Blogger

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert blogger, but I will say that I have become a much better blogger than I started out being. I hated to write and by hate I meant loath. I hated English in high school and dreaded writing papers. So what changed? I learned early on in this business of online marketing, be it Build A Niche Store sites or this blog, that unique content was the only way to go. When I started this blog, it was for the sole reason to force myself to write with the attitude of that if I built it, they would come and I would get better the more I blogged.

With the emergence of the BANS Wordpress templates and the ease of integration of the two, it is even more necessary to use this fantastic platform to take advantage of both worlds. Now with Wordpress BANS stores, you need not have to blog everyday on them, but at least twice a week is recommended. A quick search of the web on your niche and you can easily come up with a topic to blog about twice a week.

How I Became A Better Blogger

1. I read other successful blogs and took notice of how they blogged and how they linked out and in their own site.

2. I just started consistently blogging everyday and have yet to miss a day posting on this blog. I feel guilty if I do not blog now.

3. I started learning my niches and the searches they were making and started blogging about what they were looking for.

4. I made and continue to make mistakes everyday and learn from those mistakes.

In a nutshell, that is it. JUST START BLOGGING!!! I promise the more you blog the better you will get. Now go blog about something, today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Import Large MYSQL Database Dumps With Big Dump

If you ever have to restore or import a Build A Niche Store database or any other database for that matter, you might have run into some timeout errors or hard runtime limits when using phpmyadmin in your cPanel. This frustrated me in the past until I found Big Dump. BigDump is a staggered MYSQL importer that executes only a small part of the huge dump and restarts itself. The next session starts where the last was session was stopped. This script is very easy to use. Just edit the database variables in the script, much like you would do with the wp-config.php file in Wordpress setups. Upload the file to the server and then view the location in a browser and follow the on screen directions. I was amazed how fast and effective this free script was. While you may not need this script right now, I promise that one day you will.

Friday, August 15, 2008

BANS eBay Category Update Coming Soon

Real quick I wanted to let everyone know that eBay has updated and rearranged some categories again. The RSS feeds on these changes are not live yet. As soon as the RSS feeds for the new categories are up, Adam and Kelvin will release a database update to download and install. In the meantime if you have pages showing no category, you might want to edit the category number for that page to be the parent category of the dead category and use the search query feature to filter that pages results.

Also the new BANS templates that were not displaying correctly in some browsers have been fixed and can be downloaded on the BANS site.

Build A Niche Store Blog - Cribs Edition!! Yo Yo!


Happy Friday! Thought I would break out the flip camera today for a Cribs Edition! Enjoy the grand tour of the BANS Blog Metroplex!

Have A great weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Periods Of Intensity

I plan on having a bit of fun with the Friday post, so I had a note to post another nugget today that I read last night. In the welcome back thread on the BANS forum that I started yesterday, Kelvin made an interesting statement that I really related to.

I prefer periods of's the drone of routine that I can't stand!

This is so me and it needs to be so you as well. I get so absorbed in stores, projects, scripts and templates that it absorbs me and I love it. I often times forget to eat and use the bathroom as well. LOL. You really need to make niche store building your passion and need to make sure you set aside as many "Periods of Intensity" that you can. You need to eat, drink, sleep your online success. Always and I mean always be doing something and moving forward. Break your routine of nothingness and start and finish a new or existing project.

I'm thinking of getting that phrase tattooed on me. If only I could get my wife to let me have another one.

Adding RSS Feeds To Build A Niche Store Content Pages

On some Build A Niche Store sites you might want to have a news page to show headlines or stories related to your niche. I see several people struggling with this and want to show you how this is done.

Copy the below code into notepad and save as testnews.php on your harddrive.


//$headline_style = 'news';
$headline_style = '';
$description_style = '';
$feed_url = '';
$show_detail = "";
$insideitem = "";
$tag = "";
$title = "";
$description = "";
$link = "";
$image = "";
$insideimage = "";
$max = 10;
$count = 0;

function render_news($feed_url, $showdetail, $headlinestyle, $detailstyle) {
global $show_detail, $headline_style, $detail_style, $max, $count, $insideitem,

$count = 0;
$show_detail = $showdetail;
$headline_style = $headlinestyle;
$detail_style = $detailstyle;

$xml_parser = xml_parser_create();
xml_set_element_handler($xml_parser, "startElement", "endElement");
xml_set_character_data_handler($xml_parser, "characterData");
$fp = @fopen($feed_url,"r");
// or die("Error reading RSS data.");
if ($fp) {
while ($data = fread($fp, 4096))
xml_parse($xml_parser, $data, feof($fp))
or die(sprintf("XML error: %s at line %d",
} else {
echo '<span class="top10articles">Syndicated content not available</span>';
echo '';

// Free up memory used by the XML parser

function startElement($parser, $name, $attrs) {
global $insideitem, $tag, $title, $description, $link, $image, $insideimage;
if ($insideitem || $insideimage) {
$tag = $name;
if ($name == "ITEM" ) {
$insideitem = true;
if ($name == "IMAGE") {
$insideimage = true;


function endElement($parser, $name) {
global $insideitem, $tag, $title, $description, $link, $image, $insideimage,

$show_detail, $headline_style, $detail_style, $count, $max;

if ($name == "URL") {

} else if ($name == "ITEM" && $count < $max) {
printf('<a href="%s" class="top10articles"

if ($show_detail)

else {
echo "";
$title = "";
$description = "";
$link = "";
$insideitem = false;
} else if ($count >= $max) {
$title = "";
$description = "";
$link = "";
$insideitem = false;

function characterData($parser, $data) {
global $insideitem, $tag, $title, $description, $link, $image, $insideimage;
if ($insideimage) {
switch ($tag) {
case "URL":
$image .= $data;
if ($insideitem ) {
switch ($tag) {
case "TITLE":
$title .= $data;
$description .= $data;
case "LINK":
$link .= $data;


<style type="text/css">


/*Main Template Links*/
A { color:#000000; text-decoration: none; }
A:hover { color:#FF0000; text-decoration: none;
<font size="3"><b>CNN</b></font>
<font size="2"><?
render_news("", false, 'news', 'news', 5);
<b><font size="3">Fox News</font></b>
<font size="2"><?
render_news(",4313,0,00.rss", false, 'news', 'news', 5);
<b><font size="3">Yahoo</font></b>
<font size="2"><?
render_news("", false, 'news', 'news', 5);

Then upload the file to the root of your domain. When done load the page in your browser to see if it loads correctly.

If it loads the headlines, you did it correctly.

Now create a new content page in your admin section and call the link name on the right Test News and the Page URL test-news.

Now open up the footer section of the template you are using and add the code below to the very top line in the footer.


Click save and the load the new content page in your browser.

It should not be very hard to figure out how to change the feed urls in the script and you can add more feeds by just adding more lines at the bottom, following the pattern. You can also change the fonts and colors as well very easily. You should be able to tailor this to pull feeds on any content page of your site.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Soggy Journey

Kelvin asked me to write about my journey through BANS for the redesign of the new Build A Niche store website and of course I did not hesitate. Kelvin has been absolutely fantastic to work with and he and Adam continue to amaze me with new improvements going forward. If you have any doubts about the BANS system going forward, you need to release them. BANS continues to evolve and trust me when I say new things are always on the horizon.

You can read about my Build A Niche Store story by following the link.

Build A Niche Store Forum Back Up And Running

See ya on the new forum.

BANS Forum & Website Almost Back Online

Just got the official email that BANS is about to go back live. Below is the text of the email from Adam and Kelvin!

We are in the process of pulling together the last few changes and
BANS will re-open sometime later today as planned.

Before opening we wanted to go over what we've been doing and why.

There have been many things that have been right about BANS but
also many things that have been wrong and this last few months have
involved a sorting process where we have stepped back,
re-structured and re-defined what BANS means to us, the place it
has on the internet, the value it has as a product, the
possibilities it holds as an income producing concept and the
purpose the community forum should serve.

What we have implemented now is the first stage of the future of

Despite the growth of the "niche store" concept and the popularity
of BANS as a product, the truth is that BANS as a whole remains in
its infancy - both in terms of the potential capabilities of the
software and the combined knowledge of all users with regards to
the successful implementation of the niche store concept as a model.

As our understanding of the internet continues to evolve the more
possibilities we see and over the coming months we will be
exploring these possibilities further with the aim of improving
BANS as a platform for succeeding as an eBay affiliate.

The re-presentation of the product on the front of the site and the
structural changes we have made are all part of this puzzle and we
recommend that you take the time to read through the new site once
we're open as it will give you a better understanding of what you
are a part of and the purpose (in our eyes) that the product and
platform serves.

In terms of direct relevancy for you as an existing BANS user we
appreciate that the community forum is the most important part of
this puzzle and it is something that has had a lot of thought in
recent months.

The fact is that it is very easy to control a forum - you simply
handle it with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and constantly delete
both posts and users.

However, if this is the only future the forum has then it will be
removed as it adds nothing to BANS as a platform for succeeding as
an eBay affiliate.

The opposite ideal of this is that it evolves into an invaluable
learning ground for successfully using BANS and the changes we have
made have been introduced to provide this framework for future

Whether this ideal is achieved is now as much about the collective
will of the BANS user base as it is about structural changes we
make as a community spirit and will to learn and make progress
cannot be artificially created by us.

All we can do is provide the framework - the growth of the
community forum as a positive platform for success is down to you.

The forum will continue to evolve over the coming weeks as we sort
through the archives and move posts to new relevant sections,
remove some of the posts which hold little value and evaluate the
effectiveness of the new structure and forum sections.

We have not used vBulletin (the new forum software) before and are
still in the process of familiarizing ourselves with its features
and as such changes to the features available may also occur.

The link below leads to a little pdf we have put together that
walks through the new rules and the new forum sections and their

Please read it before "diving in" and making posts later today.

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

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

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

With a project like BANS there is no middle ground.

Food for thought...

Kelvin and Adam

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beware Of The Dark Side

There is always a better mouse trap being built somewhere in the world. The same goes for techniques in making money online. Everyday more and more techniques and services are being marketed to both new and advanced affiliate marketers promising quick and lucrative results. The more you delve into this business, the more things you will come across. While I have not seen everything, I have seen a bunch of things that are slickly marketed that on the surface look very white hat. Affiliate programs and their managers are getting smarter and more in tuned with what is happening in the affiliate world, along with Google as well. If your in for the quick buck, then these might be appealing to you, but if you are in for the long haul of building quality e commerce sites that will produce a long term residual income, I highly suggest turning the other cheek. Guaranteed traffic programs are on top of the list. They promise x amount traffic for a certain dollar amount. Make sure if you do buy traffic, you know exactly where it is coming from and how targeted the traffic really is. It is not uncommon for sold traffic to be that of trojans, viruses or exit traffic from porn sites. If a traffic purchase program looks good, put it to the test on a test site that might be built with info only and no affiliate links. Study your traffic logs to see exactly where the traffic is coming from and put it to a litmus test. The best traffic is traffic from organic search engine queries, link trades with like sites, social web 2.0 sites and article marketing.

Having used the first part of this post to warn you, I will use the second part to say that some black hat techniques can be useful in gaining knowledge that might apply to another technique. I have learned quite a bit from the black hat world that has generated a few ideas of my own that are white hat. Some black hat techniques have even crossed over into everyday acceptable practices, with the cookie being on top of the list. In any event, make sure you research out any new techniques when applying to your own sites. Also remember there is no quick and easy way to long term success. Being smart and applying hard work over a long haul will be more lucrative and rewarding.

May the force be with you all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wordpress BANS Templates - Passion Duo Themes


I had another customer order for the Passion Duo Wordpress template conversion for BANS, so now I am able to make these three conversion packs for sale.

These template packs only require 1 file edit and are very easy to install and upload. These also all function with all 5 Build A Niche Store product layouts and both sidebars are widgetized and can be added to.

The demo for the blue BANS theme can be found by clicking the link. These will make fantastic looking BANS/Blog stores. The 3 theme conversion pack cost only $29.00. Enjoy and happy store building.

Buy Now

Pepperjam As An Alternative To Ebay Partner Network EPN

I had a lengthy phone conversation with Michelle from Pepperjam this morning concerning a few questions I had about the Pepperjam Network Ebay affiliate program. My main reason was to call to ask about future tracking of individual stores like the eBay partner network does with campaign ids. Michelle said they are currently working on technology to better help individual store tracking. She also said there is no time frame yet established for this to be implemented.

Secondly, I have been getting many emails and private messages from Build A Niche Store builders that have been terminated from the EPN program asking what they should do. While I have not experienced any problems with EPN myself, I highly suggest you get signed up and approved for the Pepperjam program as soon as possible and convert over those stores from the EPN BANS build. The conversion process is very easy and the update files are located in the Build A Niche Store update section of the website. While I do not have a explanation for the termination of so many users, I can only venture to speculate that EPN is clamping down some aspects of the quality of traffic or perhaps only wanting higher volume affiliates. Again that is only speculation. Michelle said that she has not heard any reasons as well. Rest assure Pepperjam has been very good to deal with thus far and the account reps are very prompt in returning calls and answering emails. I live by the motto of always being prepared and I suggest that even if you have not been terminated from the EPN program, that you at least get signed up with Pepperjam and approved for the eBay program.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

BANS Wordpress Templates - Purist Build A Niche Store


I did a couple of conversion request for the Purist BANS Wordpress Templates for some customers and am now releasing them to the rest of my readers. This template conversion pack includes all 6 colors of the Purist Wordpress template series. The install conversion is now as easy as just editing one file in the conversion pack and uploading the files. This is the easiest conversion install ever. Cost for all 6 BANS Wordpress template conversion packs is $29.00. Take your Build A Niche Store to the next level with these great templates.

Buy Now

A demo of the red purist BANS Wordpress template can be found by clicking the link.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Making A Good Article Directory Submission Bio

Article submissions to free article directories as most know is a great source of backlinks for your Build A Niche Stores. I see many submissions though that do not take full advantage of the links available in the bio section footer. First and foremost, make sure to read the submission rules of each and every article directory and make sure you know what type of links are allowed and how many you can have. These rules differ from directory to directory. Some will not allow html links at all so in that case make sure you use the proper format. For directories that do not allow html make sure to use the full domain including the hypertext transfer protocol or the http. So that would look like this:

Other directories that do allow html in the bio footer often limit you to a max of three links. Make sure to utilize as many as allowed and deep link to pages in your store with the target keyword phrase in the anchor text for each link. If I were writing a bio for this blog and were allowed 3 links it would look something like this:

Soggy owns and operates a Build A Niche Store blog, where he offers Wordpress Build A Niche Store templates and standard BANS templates for sale.

Simply html code to make a link is below:

<a href="">Google</a>

Of course there are word number limits in the bio section as well, so make sure to stay within the rules.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What To Do If Your eBay EPN Account Is Terminated

I am getting a few emails and private messages asking me what people should do if their EPN account gets terminated. First of all I suggest you look to see if you have gotten any warnings from them. If so I would reply right away with the questions they ask you to reply with answers to. Second, get an email out to them pronto asking them to review your account. Third, any questionable practices of traffic generation on your part need to be addressed. A question you need to ask yourself is, would I mind explaining this source of traffic to EPN. Make sure you read and reread the affiliate agreement and code of conduct once again.

In the mean time I suggest you jump over to Pepperjam and get signed up and approved.

BANS Will Be Closed Monday and Tuesday Next Week

You should of received the notive this morning that BANS will be shut down on Monday and Tuesday of next week. I have been in constant contact with Kelvin and there are so great improvements coming. Below is the text of the email!

We wanted to let you know that we will be closing the whole of the
BANS website (forum and support centre included) on Monday 11th
August at 9am BST (UK time) and will be re-opening on Wednesday
13th August.

We have been working on making structural improvements to BANS (of
which the new support centre was the first) and this down time is
happening to enable us to implement these changes.

Comprehensive details will be sent out early next week but below is
a summary of the things that will be changing:

1. New site design.
2. New presentation of BANS on the main website.
3. New affiliate centre.
4. A re-work of the member area.
5. The inclusion of new templates.
6. The conversion of the forum from phpBB to vBulletin.
7. New forum sections.
8. A forum clean up including the deletion and moving of posts.
9. The introduction of forum rules.
10. An expansion of the technical knowledgebase contained inside
the support centre.

We have run tests converting the forum from phpBB to vBulletin and
the "carrying over" of both the forum threads and the registration
details is not a problem. Thus when BANS re-opens on Wednesday 13th
you will be able to log in to the new forum using your existing
username and password.

Until then enjoy your weekend and keep your eye out for further
details early next week.

Things are changing...

Kelvin and Adam

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #8

I wanted to use this post to update where the student is at this point regarding earnings, traffic and another update on rankings. Since the revamping of the website, the used ham radio equipment store as earned in the neighborhood of $50.00. Not bad at all considering up to this point all that has been done is onsite SEO and some traditional link directory submissions and social bookmarking. Traffic is still low as expected, but is producing high quality organic searches. Sometimes one gets so caught up in volume, when in reality, one should worry more about quality of traffic. Give me 10 actual shoppers over 1000 tire kickers every day. The student is submitting his first article written by NAA this afternoon. I will go over that process in an upcoming post, after it is accepted and cached by Google. One thing that is interesting is the geographical traffic the store is receiving. People all over the world use ham radios so it is not a shock. Hopefully in the upcoming BANS version there will be some geo targeting features that can better convert foreign traffic. Below is the updated rankings for the front page keywords we are targeting. As of right now the store is on page 1 of Yahoo for all 3 terms and in the top 20 results for all 3 terms in MSN. The Google rankings should slowly improve over time.

Make sure to check out all the post in the Niche Store Student Series if you have just started reading this blog.

Keyword Phrase / Search EngineGoogleYahooMSN
Ham Radio Supplies2696
Ham Radio Sales189420
Used Ham Radio EquipmentX53

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Google Insights For Search Tool Released

Google released a new tool today. With the Google Insights for Search tool, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. Makes for a great little tool to add to your niche research.

Is Somebody Sleeping In Your Niche?

With Build A Niche Store becoming more and more popular with it's ease of Niche Store creation, it is not uncommon to have several people competing for the same niche. Do not be alarmed if your initial web research reveals a few competing stores. I will tell you that not a lot of people are building stores properly and are also not doing the work necessary to make their stores produce. Every store can be overtaken, including my own. There is always someone out there that can take what you have. Do not be afraid to go after a niche, just because someone else is in it. Competition makes everyone better. Now this does not mean to right after the iPod niche, but I think you get where I am going on this. I get a few emails from readers every now and again that get so concerned when they find competing stores in the same niche as theirs and they ask me what they should do. I simply tell them to out work the other stores. Your competition is on page one of your target keyword phrases, not the other niche store, unless it happens to be on page 1. The world wide web is still very wide open and there is a place for the serious niche store builder who is willing to do what it takes to fill that space. Someone somewhere is buying your niche product, you just have to put your store in front of their eyes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Niche Store Student On Board Series Post #7

While we are still getting the articles and article marketing together, I wanted to give you an update on the rankings thus far for the Niche Student Ham Radio store. The table below shows the 3 search phrases we are targeting, along with the rank in the 3 major search engines for that term. I use the Rank Checker Firefox plugin in stay on top of the rankings. It is very easy to install and use. As you can see below the site has a great beginning, especially in MSN. As I have stated in the past, MSN is very manipulative right now from an optimization standpoint, but I do expect this to change soon. All that has really been done thus far is to better optimize the site, link directory submissions and social bookmarking. The article marketing we are working on right now, will only fortify the rankings and hopefully improve them. Organic traffic continues to climb although still on the low side which is to be expected this early in the process. More unique content, along with more backlinking should allow for this store to seed nicely. I will give the next update on this series in a few more days.
Keyword Phrase / Search EngineGoogleYahooMSN
Ham Radio Supplies27816
Ham Radio Sales1903025
Used Ham Radio EquipmentX503

Monday, August 4, 2008

Christmas Is Coming For Niche Stores

Yes I know it is early August. Knowing the length of time needed to properly get a Build A Niche Store seeded well in the SERPS, I suggest you get those stores planned out and started soon. My wife shops year round for Christmas and I do not mean presents. She collects Santa ornaments and gold and white themed decorations. So when you think Christmas, do not just think presents. Think ornaments, decorations, stockings and all of the things that go along with just getting a home set up for Christmas. There are tons of niches that can be built around, from antique or vintage ornaments, Disney ornaments to NASCAR ornaments. Are you getting the drift? If you are one of my many female readers, this probably is setting off tons of ideas in your head. If you are one of my many male readers, I have a suggestion for you. Go ask your wife for ideas. Go look around at some regular online Christmas stores, that will get you a good idea of some micro niches to pursue. If you start now, you can have your Build A Niche Store built and primed in no time.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ezine Articles Platinum Level

If you intend to make article marketing a big part of your Build A Niche Store backlinking process, I highly suggest you get your Ezinearticles account to platinum level as soon as possible. Platinum level enables faster approval on your articles and they go live almost the same day you submit them. I always make Ezine Articles the first place I submit a new article to, as once it is approved it gets crawled and indexed immediately. I also social bookmark it on sites that allow ezinearticle links (some do not). It is not uncommon for an article to get picked up and syndicated on several blogs as well. These backlinks to my own pages and the individual ezine article page help tremendously. I even have a couple PR4 pages on there as well. These articles ended up getting some good love in a short amount of time as well.

To achieve platinum status one needs to submit and get approved 10 good articles. You should plan on each article being at least 500 words to be on the safe side. Write your content the way I mentioned in my writing content post yesterday and you will be right on the money. Think long and hard about the article title as well, as a great title with a good long tail keyword phrase on an ezine article can rank very very well on it's on, thus producing a small traffic flow on it's own. In general articles on ezines do not produce all that much traffic, but it does happen. Ezines are mostly good for the link love. Try to submit at least one good article a week and you will have you platinum status in no time.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Writing Good Sticky Content

I get a ton of emails and private messages asking about what I do as far as content goes. The best content is of course original and unique to the web. Content or articles must be related to your site or overall theme and must be natural sounding. Too many times I see people using content spinners or niche store writing programs that are just plain and simply awful. The time it takes to correct that mess can be used to bang out 500 words on your own. You need to be writing for people first, not the search engines. If your site where to ever get manually reviewed, it would be dropped in a heart beat.

Try to write it short complete paragraphs and try not to run on sentences. Now I am now English major by no means, but my writing has gotten better over time. I still farm out a lot of work to Need An Article, but that content I usually end up tossing to the Ezines. The content on your own site needs to be yours or highly approved and proofed by you. Especially if someone else wrote it for you. I like to write as if it was coming out of my mouth. Even with my blog post I find myself talking out load as I type my post.

Stay far far away from duplicate content or just copying an ezine article or wiki page. While it looks good and filling on your site, you will not see the benefits from search engines. If you must use it, only copy the first sentence or two and then link straight out to the article itself. Google and other SERPs are getting much better with finding duplicated or stuff spun closely to the original.

Using Latent Semantic Content really helps lend relevancy to your overall theme. Make sure you use words that are closely related or identifiable with your niche. If you have a site about the Boston Celtics, you would of course use words like basketball, NBA, Massachusetts, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers. These words are all closely related to Boston Celtics and are LSI heavy.

I like to revert back to old lesson learned in school on writing short stories, use the Who, What, When, Why & How method. This method works fantastic for interior store pages. You can easy fill in 300 words of an individual store page using this method. Make sure to structure the content with the reader in mind.

On regular content pages, it depends on the particular niche I am writing for. One niche could have a ton of major companies related to it and you can slowly start writing pages on the history of a said company. You can also write about the history of a certain item in your niche as well. I always like to surf Wiki and do some research on the web if I am dealing with a niche I know nothing about. Read about 2 or 3 articles related to what you are writing about and then simply put it into your own words. Just make sure the information you provide is accurate and fact based.

If you are really stumped, head on down to your local public library, you remember those? Break out an older encyclopedia and Thomas Register books and research that way. Also there should be a ton of free books to look at related to your niche as well. I did this recently when I dropped my wife off to shop down town. The library was right around the corner and I hadn't been there in years. I made several photo copies of some pages to use for notes on content.

On sales pages, try to use call to action statements such as Buy Here or On Sale Now. Bold your keywords if you like, but do not do any unnecessary bolding for the sake of bolding. Bullet points are also good in pointing out several features, especially on store pages. Make sure you have keyword density, but do not sacrifice the quality of the article to achieve it. Density is playing less and less a factor in the SERP rankings. Keywords should not be repeated more than 4-6 times per 350 words.

Make sure your title is keyword phrase related for that page or article title if submitting off to ezines. Well though out keyword driven titles can really drive in the organic surfers, especially if backed up with great off page anchor text.

Writing good content just takes practice. I used to loathe writing, but it is integral in the online world. I still use Need An Article on many task, but I still write a lot of my own on site content as well. You will get better as you go, I promise. The better the content you have on site the more authoritative your site becomes. Authoritative content sites get linked to by others which over time builds better natural backlinks. Also good LSI relevant content does fantastic in pulling in organic search engine traffic. If you plan to drive your site to page one of Google, you better get to writing. Writing leads to more income, which is why I enjoy it so much now. My high school English teacher must be rolling in her grave.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Studio Press Wordpress Build A Niche Store Templates

Do to the overwhelming response to the first BANS StudioPress templates I did, several have requested that I convert them to BANS Wordpress Templates. The conversion pack for all 4 templates listed here Daily Blog Tips is $22.00.

That is 4 conversion packs that are super easy to install.

To the right is a screen shot of the Green One and the demo store of the green is listed here:

Green BANS/Wordpress Demo

Buy all 4 for just $22.00

Buy Now

Does Your Site Have Canonicalization Issues?

2 comments and or 2 different sites in the eyes of most SERPs. You may have no control over how people link to you, be it with or without the www. A good test is to type this into Google:

Look at the results returned. Are you seeing both www and non www urls? If so this is no good. Make sure to notate how many pages are indexed. Another check after that is done is to type this into Google:

If you are seeing a different amount of pages returned then the first search you more than likely have canonicalization issues. The first thing is to log into your Google webmaster tools account and let Google know your preferred domain name. This is under the tools section in your account. The next thing you want to do is apply the .htaccess canonicalization fix.

Redirect Non-www to www code below that goes in your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.yourdoman\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [L,R=301]

Redirect www to Non-www code below that goes in your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdoman\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [L,R=301]

Don't be burned by letting the SERPs think you have duplicate content of your site on your own site. Make sure you make a backup of your original .htaccess in case you do something wrong. Try typing the opposite of what you want oin your browser to make sure it does redirect properly.

EPN To Implement New ACRU Pricing Structure

Below is the latest update for the EPN affiliate program. I see this as great news as I drive great quality traffic and i see a ton of repeat bidders. If you are sending good clean legitimate traffic to eBay, I do not think there is cause for alarm.

As part of our ongoing effort to reward our best marketing partners and promote trusted commerce on eBay, we are implementing a new pricing structure for Active Confirmed Registered User (ACRU) compensation. The new pricing scheme is based on quality, instead of just volume, and will reward top publishers with up to $50 per ACRU driven to eBay.

Starting today, August 1st, new publishers that join the eBay Partner Network will be placed in this new quality-based pricing structure for the US program.

All publishers that joined eBay Partner Network before August 1st will remain in the existing pricing tiers for a few more months so you can have time to look at the data and see how the change will affect you. As of November 1st, all publishers will be placed in the value based pricing structure for ACRUs.

Here's how it will work. Each publisher will be placed in a quality tier at the end of each month based on that month's and historical traffic. The tiers will range from $1 to $50, and the higher the expected lifetime value of the customers a publisher sends, the higher the tier the publisher will receive. We expect that most affiliates with a history of driving good, consistent traffic won't see a lot of variability from month to month.

Publishers that join after August 1st will be able to see what tier they fall in by going to the programs tab and selecting payments structure for the US program. This tier will be updated on the 9th of each month and will reflect the score for the previous month. The tier will be 0 for the first month while we calculate your first score. Note that your ACRU earnings in your reports will reflect this tier.

If you joined before August 1st, you will continue to only see the same volume-based tiers for now. In September we will release a new separate report that will allow all publishers to break down, by campaign, the quality of the ACRUs you are driving to eBay. We will send more details about this report in a few weeks.

Please note that this change only affects compensation for new user registrations (ACRUs). Payouts for revenue share will continue on the same volume-based tiers for both new and old users. While the current change only affects the US eBay program on eBay Partner Network, we are evaluating this system on a country by country basis and will provide additional updates as they become available.

For more details on how the new pricing structure will work in the US please log into eBay Partner Network and visit the eBay US terms and conditions in the "Programs" tab on eBay Partner Network. There are also FAQs in the Help section of eBay Partner Network and in the user guide in the advertisers and programs tab under "value-based pricing".

We want to continue to reward quality publishers and seek to continuously improve your experience in the program. This change will allow us to match payouts to the value of users and ensure we pay out our best affiliates the highest amounts. Thank you for your service and continued commitment to our relationship.

eBay Partner Network


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