Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How To Use The Wordpress Trackback Feature

What is a Wordpress Trackback?

A trackback is plain and simple a link back to another document, page or blog post. A trackback lets the linked to webmaster know who is linking back to them and what page or post is being linked to. There are three common ways to link to another document and they are a Refback, Trackback and Pingback, they all differ in how they accomplish the job. A trackback is a powerful way to obtain natural backlinks with like sites and can increase your sites traffic. Trackbacks are usely used when refrencing other non Wordpress legacy type blog platforms like Moveable type. Trackbacks are a way to notify legacy blog type systems that you’ve linked to them. If you link to other WordPress blogs in your post they will be notified automatically using pingbacks, no other action necessary. Today we will focus on Trackbacks to other non Wordpress blogs using the Wordpress trackback feature.

When you reference a blog post on another blog in one of your posts, using the trackback URL will ensure the other blog owner will be notified when published. This trackback notification will appear in the comments section of the linked to post.

How to leave trackback in a new Wordpress post?

Follow these easy steps to trackback to another blog’s post from your post.

1. Write your new post as normal and click Save. Do not click publish the post at this stage. Your blog post might include a quote or an excerpt from another blog and this is why you want to leave a trackback to it to give credit the other blog owner.

2. Next you will need to find the trackback URL of the blog post you are referencing. Visit the other blog you are referencing and find the trackback URL. You will likely find this URL between the end of the post and the start of the comment section of the page or post. Depending on the blog, the owner may or may not always show the Trackback URL.

3. After locating the Trackback URL, right click and choose Copy Link Location in Firefox or Copy Shortcut in Internet Explorer.

4. Return to your blog post and page down below the post editor section to the heading titled Trackbacks. You might have to click on the > sign to expand the section.

5. Right click and paste the Trackback URL from the referenced blog into the Send Trackbacks to: area of your post.

6. If you need to reference more than one blog post or page in your post, you will need to locate the Trackback URLs individually for each page you are referencing. Separate your multiple Trackback URLs in the Send Trackbacks to: area with spaces.

7. You are now ready to publish your own blog post. An excerpt of your blog post that links back to your blog post will now show up in the referenced blog’s comments or trackbacks section. It may be a short wait for the referenced blog author to allow your trackback if they have their blog moderation turned on, as the webmaster will have to appove it.

Why would I want to send a Trackback?

Trackbacks are powerful on both ends as they reference each others pages and are like a mini link trade of sorts. If done correctly within a common niche or subject, it adds credibility and authority to both sites.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How My Own Blog Taught Me Tons About Blogging And SERPS

3o1st post today! Seems like yesterday I started this blog. I had always read that to better understand the SERPS and blogging one needed to start a blog and be consistent with it. Now I had blogged before, but never consistent until I started this blog. Yeah, yeah, I have heard how using blogspot is wrong and you will never be taken seriously by using it, Yada, Yada. Whatever. All my many many other niche blogs are Wordpress and one day I might import this over to Wordpress but there is no hurry. This very blog ranks fantastically in the SERPS and in itself, really has helped me get a better feel for the SERPS and how effective and important it is to blog. If you are scared or overwhelmed by Wordpress as a newbie, start on blogspot, as it is pretty newbie proof and at the very least it will get you blogging and get you use to the effectiveness of it.

The SERPS love content! Original content! The more the better. Even 100 word post. You have to trust in that fact. You will get a feel of how to title post, what to blog about, what people are searching for and etc. I have urged several times in the past, if you do not have a blog, start one. Start one right after reading this post and post to it every day. Be consistent with it. It will take a couple of weeks to form the habit, but it will become a habit rest assured. Even if you just stumbled on BANS yesterday and barely know how to use that, start blogging now. It will be crucial to your long term success to learn how to blog properly. The more you blog the better you will get at blogging. When I read my early post, I shrink in my chair, but I have learned how to blog better by blogging daily and reading other blogs.

As for my 300 post plateau , thank you to all my past, current and future readers. This blog serves to help the every day niche store builder and I hope it has served you well thus far. I have tons of great things coming down the pike as well. So in closing, start blogging today as it will really teach you a great skill and will also serve to help you understand the SERPS better as you study your stats.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cool New Link Diagnosis Tool

Link Diagnosis is a cool new tool to help examine site backlinks and important competitor site information. Link Diagnosis uses the Yahoo search engine to get backlink information about a certain site. If the pages are not indexed in Yahoo then link will not be shown. There is also a site diagnosis feature that goes through every url in your XML Sitemaps file and reports if its indexed properly. They also have a great Firefox extension to go with it. Great little tool to play with to check up on what your competitor is doing.

Look Hard At Your Search Engine Keyword Competition

You can really learn a ton from merely looking and studying your competition for keywords or phrases in the search engines. Type in a keyword or phrase into Google and click through to every page in the top 10.

Here are 5 things to examine on each and every page you land on:

META tags: Right click and view the source page of each page. Look at the title, description and keywords used in the META tags in relation to the keyword phrase. Use this tool and see how they rank for the keyword or phrase.

Backlinks & Anchor Text: Insert the page URL into the backlink checker tool to see what backlinks the page has and notice what type of sites the are linking to the page and the anchor text used in the backlink. If they are internal links from the same site itself also pay note to the anchor text.

Age of Site: Use the Web archive to see the age of the site and the Whois for when the domain was registered. Check to see if age is playing a factor.

Check Top Keywords Driving Traffic: Use this Complete tool for the top 5 keywords driving traffic to the page. Is the site ranking well for those keywords as well?

Do not limit yourself to just Google results, also check Yahoo and MSN. See if the same sites are ranking in the top 10 on multiple SERPS and pay particuliar note to those that rank in the top 10 on all 3.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Build A Niche Store Wordpress Plugin WP BANS Review

I received an email from Casey Christensen who owns Designs by Casey. He wanted me to test and review his new Wordpress BANS plugin and give a review of it. The plugin is called WP BANS and can be found at http://www.wpbans.com. I gladly accepted being a beta tester and am grateful for the opportunity to review it.

The plugin simply put, pulls a designated amount product listings from your Build A Niche Store and inserts them into the bottom of your Wordpress blog post or page. It can ad products using keywords from your post title, top category or a custom field. The colors of the background and border can be changed as well.


You will need Wordpress installed on the root of the domain and BANS installed in a folder preferably named store. While not a must, it is a good idea to have a Wordpress/BANS template in place as to have a matching seamless template throughout the site. It appears it will work with both using different templates though.


I downloaded and unzipped the plugin to my hard drive and first noticed there was not a README or directions file enclosed. I am sure it was because this was a beta package and am sure it will be included in the purchased product. Dealing with tons of plugins in the past, I had a pretty good idea what to do. The plugin folder gets uploaded into the Wordpress plugins directory as with any plugin. You then log into your Wordpress admin and activate the plugin. Click Settings and then WPBANS in the menu bar. It nicely told me that WPBANS cannot find your store. You need to edit the BANS store location in the WPBANS Settings. I then inserted /store into the path area and was on my way. The "Get keyword from" option is a bit confusing and will need more clarification as I myself have never really used the Custom Field option of Wordpress and clarity on that would help. The other options are pretty straight forward and are very user friendly from my standpoint. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the easiest, I rate the install process an 8 and can easily be upgraded to a 10 with a detailed README file.


I proceeded to write my first post and chose to use the title of the post to base my product selection on. Once I get a better handle on the custom field, that will likely be my selection in future use. Upon viewing my post I found what may be a bug. It did indeed pull matching products, but the product display runs into the title of the next post and also seems to have inserted an extra table row above the product listings. The listings seem to overlap the post area as well in the template I am using. The products indeed matched what I was wanting to show. This indeed is likely just a cosmetic bug and should be simple to fix. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being fantastic, I rate the initial usage process a 6 and it can easily be upgraded to a 10 with a fix of the bugs and clarification I noted.


The plugin definitely has a bug or two but should be rectified very easily. It seems it will be very user friendly and seems to work with both EPN and Pepperjam versions of the BANS software. It is very straight forward and can be up an running in a post in a matter of minutes. My overall initial rating from 1-10 with 10 being the best is a 7 and it is only a days work from being a 10.


It would be nice in future releases to have the ability to decide which post you want to display products in. I suppose using the "wpbans Custom Field" it would be possible to just leave it blank and no products would show. It would also be nice if the whole product title could be displayed under the listing as well. I would suggest giving an option to not cloak the links as I am not a huge fan of cloaking myself and every user should have that option not to cloak. A very detailed README file should be included as well.


This plugin is a hit, especially for those BANS users that have moved on into BANS/Wordpress integrations . You can never have too many weapons to choose from in the affiliate marketing world. $67.00 is a fair price to pay in my honest opinion and this plugin will likely evolve very quickly. It is straight forward and beneficial to every BANS user. I appreciate Casey letting me review and beta test this fine Wordpress plugin and look forward to more works of his in the future.

The site I tested this on is below:

Below is a preview video of the plugin:

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Thoughts On The Economy

As I looked at my front window this morning, I saw a U-Haul moving truck parked in the driveway of the house across the street. There is no for sale sign up and I thought one of the teens must be moving out. A little later in the morning I noticed a vehicle parked on the street in front of my house with a well dressed man sitting on the back of it. I went out to investigate and he informed me the house is being foreclosed upon. I live in a very nice neighborhood, but even it is not immuned to the economics in this country.

Also this morning Washington Mutual was seized by the feds. The fallout of the economy in my honest opinion is almost at it's rock bottom. Luckily the only way I have been affected is by the rise in cost of everyday consumables and utilities for the most part. Some investments have gone backwards, but I am not a panickier and know at some point they will rebound. All of my rental properties are paid for so I am in good shape there.

America is in this shape because of irresponsible lending and glut of us the citizens. People bought over their heads and lenders made bad loans as well. The bailout will help, but every US citizen needs to be more responsible for their actions. A ton of hardships are self inflicted by poor choices. Now I do recognize some situations are different and not all self inflicted, but overall you are where you are because of daily decisions you make in life.

My best suggestion going forward is learning from your mistakes and making better fiscal responsible choices going forward. If you have purchased the BANS software or are involved with any online marketing, you have made a great choice. It's gives you the ability to create another source of income and you are only bound on the limits of your imagination. Start really applying yourself to it and you will reap the rewards.

Start teaching your children the value of the dollar and the pitfalls of credit and over extending ones self. We live in a world where just because a friend or acquaintance has something, we feel we have to have it as well. The keeping up with the Jones's has to stop. The Jones's likely can't afford it either.

While it will likely be after the election until things get a bit rosier, now is the time to rely on yourself and not anyone else. Take matters into your own hands and educate others to do the same. Stop blaming the government and take responsibility for your own actions.

What's New With Google?

Today I thought it would be a good day to check in with what is new with Google. The Google blog has an interesting post up about the next internet that is worth a read. Pay close attention to the talk about mobile internet access as it is not new, but I think it will really mature by leaps and bounds over the next 5 years. Application, websites and everything related will be designed to accommodate this wave of technology. Tons of major websites already tailor to this. See ESPN.mobi and Yahoo.mobi. I myself have been buying a few .mobi domains and storing them. Another great read is the future of mobile.

Another big buzz story is the Google advertising agreement with Yahoo. Google has now dedicated a website on the facts about the deal that I am starting to digest myself.

Also fairly news is the Google Website Optimizer. This also is something I have been crawling through slowly in my spare time. Here is a link on how it works.

What have you found lately new with Google?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wordpress RSS Feed Plugin

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is used to publish frequently updated web publishing such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video works in a standardized type web format. An RSS feed usually includes full or summarized text, plus meta data such as the publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit those publishers by letting them syndicate content quickly and automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from their favorite websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

RSS feeds can be aggregated by other websites to show a quick synopsis of headlines and provide an accurate link to the publishing. This benefits both sites as it can provide a one stop view of various website publishing's on one page.

Configuring an RSS feed page related to several related sites in your niche can induce repeat visitors yo your site as well. You can use RSS feeds from Ezinearticles, Digg, Google or your favorite blog or newspaper.

A great Wordpress RSS feed plugin called MultiFeedSnap is available from Colin Caprani. This plugin enables you to show feeds from more than one source on a Wordpress page or post.

Installation of MultiFeedSnap Plugin:

  • Download the Zip-Archive and extract all files into your wp-content/plugins/ directory
  • Go into your WordPress administration page, click on Plugins and activate it

Usage of MultiFeedSnap Plugin:

Enter the following tags in your Wordpress post or page:

where feedurl is the url of the feed you wish displayed
To choose the number of posts you wish displayed from each feed (let's say 8), use:

[feedsnap, 8]feedurl[/feedsnap]

When the number of posts tag option is omitted, the default is used which is 5

Multiple sets of tags are possible, separated by whatever content (html, text, etc.) you wish.
MultiFeedSnap only replaces the [feedsnap] tags with the formatted feed data, and so all other
formatting is retained.

Demo links below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shopzilla Wordpress Plugin

As you can tell I have been adding quite a few of other affiliate program products to my niche sites. I have discussed the PHPBAY Pro Plugin, Popshops Wordpress plugin and the Commission Junction Wordpress plugin in early post. Today I will go over the Shopzilla Wordpress Plugin from Pro Bargain Hunter.

This plugin displays offers for a single product using the Shopzilla API. It also features a template tag to show product offers inside your blog post and caching of product offers to speed load times.

The Shopzilla Publisher Program is a pay per click kind, so each time your visitor clicks on these links to check the product you as a publisher earn a small commission form Shopzilla.

Before you will be able to use the plugin on your Wordpress blog, you will need to apply for a publisher account with Shopzilla. When you are approved you will get assigned a publisher ID and API access key which you need to enter at the Shopzilla plugin configuration screen.

To install the Shopzilla plugin:

1. Upload the "shopzilla" directory to the plugins folder (wp-contents/plugins).
2. Activate the Shopzilla plugin in the Plugin Management screen.
3. Go to Settings >> Shopzilla
  • Fill up the publisher ID and API key provided by Shopzilla.com
  • Enter the maximum number of product offers you want to display
  • Enter the default placement id to use with your product offers (this option can be overriten each time you display offers)
  • Set the maximum cache time. This represents the number of hours between which the plugin checks for new data from Shopzilla.com
4. Create a "cache" folder inside "wp-contents". CHMOD the folder to 777
5. Use the template tag anywhere within your blog post or page

Usage of the Shopzilla plugin:

To Display multiple offers for a specific product in a post or page, make sure you have filled in the Shopzilla API key and publisher ID areas in the setup

In your post html, use this tag:


The Product ID can be found by searching the product at Shopzilla.com and pulling out Product ID from the resulting URL. For example a search for "ipod nano" will return multiple products. Click on one of them and analyze the URL. It should look like this below:


The number at the end (633034954) is the product ID for "Black Apple iPod Nano 8GB"

Placement ID is optional and can be omitted. In this case the ID from plugin options will be used.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making Effective Niche Wordpress Blog Post

Blog post can be dang near about anything. You can give new product updates related to your niche, recall information, news or just a simple product review related to a product inside your niche. If you are posting on a regular basis to your blog (at least twice a week), try to zero in on what people are searching for and make the blog post as effective as possible. I like to use the Google Keyword Tool when I have come up with an idea or subject for each blog post. You can use this to target a few less competitive long tail keyword phrases and really zero in on a target. The title of the blog post should be built around the phrase. Lets say 1999 red fuzzy widgets is your topic and you notice that 1999 red fuzzy widget accessories gets a fair amount of searches using the tool. You could the post a title like: Top 10 1999 Red Fuzzy Widget Accessories Everyone Should Own. Surfers love to the point top 10 list or a variation of it. In that post simply give a quick bold listing to each accessory (which you individually keyword research) with a sentence description of each. You can then link each bolded listing to its appropriate BANS store page or even use the PHPBay Pro Wordpress Plugin to list a handful of related listings right in the very post. I like to use no more than 5 PHPBay listings myself in a blog post, because I feel it gives a less spammy look, but you can play with this number as well. I do not put auction listings in every blog post, because I want the surfer to know that not every post will be in his face and plain and simply not every post will justify listings. At the end of a blog post, make sure to point your reader to your RSS feed or subscription box to receive future updates. Returning surfers are a lifeline and you would be surprised over time how rewarding repeat surfers can be.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Lesson Of Simplicity

Many of you should be well aware of Shoemoney. If not I highly suggest you subscribe to his RSS feed to read him daily. One of Shoemoney's early successful sites is Nextpimp. This ringtone site has undergone numerous changes throughout the years, but even in it's current form you can see how simply it really is. It is very clean and very easy to navigate as well. With the BANS Wordpress template integrations, it is easier than ever to build a clean and unique Build A Niche Store site. When in doubt, keep it simple and clean. There is no sense in adding 14 banner ads to every page, when a few will suffice. The cleaner more unique looking a site is, the more trustworthy it looks to the surfer. Is your site clean looking and simplistic?

Keep Your Fonts Consistent

Keeping a professional look on your Build A Niche Store sites is very important. Time and time again I help people who are struggling to earn better money and the first thing I notice is the overall site appearance. Now let me say that I do not expect everyone to be a graphic designer and in this post I am more or less focusing on the written content part. I can not urge enough to keep your font and font size as consistent as possible throughout your site. It looks amateurish to see different pages in different fonts and font sizes. Sometimes you only get one chance at a first impression. Colored text is a big turnoff. Now it is OK to color a highlighted bolded keyword phrase every now and again, especially if it links to another page, but do not go overboard. Look at other major e-commerce sites out there and notice the consistency they keep with font sizes and font types. You can really learn alot from visiting some higher profile stores. Pick a font and size and stick with it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Robots.txt Wordpress Plugin

Forgot to mention a great robots.txt Wordpress plugin I came across recently. This is great for tweaking your robots file for your Wordpress BANS templates and should be used when Wordpress is installed on the root. Also here is a link to some frequently asked questions about robots text files.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day And Nether Should A BANS Store Be

Here is some earth shattering analysis for you that I have done on my biggest income producing stores. Are you ready? It will blow your mind.

Sites that I took more time on building and planning out, are my biggest producers.

Yep. I know. I could not believe it myself. Sites that took a week to 2 weeks to properly build page by page using the category #2 function and thoroughly researched page by page for keyword phrases and unique content are my top producers.

Now a lot more goes into it than just building of course as backlinking and offsite SEO is involved, but it should serve as a lesson. Take your time and build them right. Do not get in a hurry. Yes, I know I have more time than most. What might take me 2 weeks might take you a month. I do not know each of your time allotments, but I do know many of you rush to build a site in a single night. It shows. That is not a jab, I was right there with you many many months ago. Hearken back to a post I did on How I like to Build Niche Store Pages and put it into action. It will take longer, but the finished product will be much better.

My old man always drove home this one saying into me as a youngster, "Are you ready for the belt?" OOPS, maybe it was this one: " Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it again!"

Take your time folks, it will reward you in the long run.

Friday, September 19, 2008

CJ Commission Junction Wordpress Store Plugin

I have recently purchased ans started using the CJ Friend Commission Junction Wordpress plugin. It is quite an impressive plugin for the price and it enables you to concentrate on adding product listings in a store format to Wordpress post or content pages.

Below are some of the features:
  • CJ Friend is user friendly
  • Build affilate pages quickly
  • Great on searching feature
  • Scheduled post feature
  • Built in post templates
  • Customizable post feature
  • One product per page or multi product per page
  • Customizable title feature
This plugin is great for adding more diversification of CJ products to Wordpress BANS stores.

Click here to visit the CJ Friend plugin page and demo.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

15 Years With The Same Business Partner

Today I celebrate being married to my business partner for 15 years. Not only is my wife my wife but she is my business partner as well. Although she does not build websites, write articles or acquire backlinks, she is very important in my business. My wife has an extensive financial background from her time in the banking industry and handles my company books and banking. All I have to concern myself with is the day to day operations of our online endevours, real estate and investments.

We lived together for almost 7 years before getting married, so in truth we have been together almost 22 years. We revaluate goals yearly and very rarely miss hitting our goals. It is truly a blessing to be in a position where both of us are always at home and have the flexibility to drop anything we are doing to take care of anything that might pop up unexpectedly.

We went to lunch today out at the beach and discussed how great things are and talked about where we are going next and some of the great ideas I have been working on. No matter how crazy some of my ideas are, she is always supportive and a great sounding board day to day. She is not over the top in spending money and we are completely debt free except for our mortgage which is very close to being paid off.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is if you have a spouse or a loved one be on the same page as you are. It makes it that more easier in day to day operations and trials and tribulations every business goes through.

So today I celebrate and am thankful for having the best business partner in the world and the best wife in the world. I tryuly am a lucky man.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If I Ran The EPN Affiliate Program...

As I have noted in the past, EPN (eBay Partner Network) is really struggling to find their identity in the affiliate world. This is to be expected to some degree for a company that brings an affiliate program from an outside party to in house, but the madness seems to continue. From day one with Commission Junction they should have had one thing understood, you can't stop the cheaters. The cheaters are always one step ahead of you. Knowing that one fact, you can then work backwards from there.

If I were to take over this program right now, here are a few things I would change:

  1. Lower the ACRU payout - Yes. I know it hurts our wallets, but to pay up to $50.00 for new sign up is ludicrous. Pay $10.00 and work backwards from there.
  2. Rate ACRUs Every quarter - EPN should rate the ACRUs every quarter and grade from 0-10 with 10 being the highest. Plus this will give them 90 days to play with the money and get a better handle on who is cheating and who is sending quality traffic.
  3. Pay anyone who refers a sale - Every affiliate that sends a referred sale should earn the percentage of the final value fee. This is a fixed assumption and already figured in. At least their would be a standard everyone could count on.
  4. Communicate better with affiliates - Not everyone cheats and everyone from the day one newbie to the seasoned veteran loves to be able to be heard.
  5. Be patient with newbies - Even if a new affiliate is brand new the game, put them on some sort of trial basis or wait for payout period. Even if it ends up being a full quarter waiting period. Cheaters hate to wait to get paid and this would deter them from multiple accounts.
  6. No double standards - If I can't round trip a customer, then the same should go for EVERY affiliate, regardless of what other services you provide eBay. Fair is fair.
  7. Monitor cookie stuffing - This is not as easy at it seems, but there is a reason Las Vegas casinos hire people that have gotten caught cheating from them. Why? Because they know how to cheat.
  8. Hire a proven affiliate manager - Bring in someone from the outside who is proven as an affiliate program manager. Buy paying top dollar and running a great program will be worth the top dollar being paid for that position.
  9. Define better rules - While I understand codes of contact and affiliate agreements need legal jargon, they also must be clear and concise as well with no gray areas. Even rednecks like me need things spelled out for them.
  10. Cheaters will always exist - I said this early on in this post. If you accept this fact first, you can work backwards from there.
What things would you change if you ran EPN?

Disclaimer - If Pink Steve or anyone else from EPN reads this, please know this post is meant to help, not attack. EPN has provided a healthy income and lifestyle for me and I do not pretend to know everything although I have been affiliate marketing for quite a few years and have seen damn near everything. Please use this post as constructive criticism. Amen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

15 Must Have Plugins For Wordpress BANS Templates

I have had several purchasers of the BANS Wordpress templates request that I do a post on the plugins I use on with Wordpress Build A Niche Stores that I have. Well your wish is my command.

Below are 15 must have plugins I use on my Wordpress BANS stores:

  1. PHPBay - This is a plugin that allows you to show eBay auction listings on an actual Wordpress post or page. This gives the ability to target smaller niches or trendy hot products without having to build a complete store page in BANS. Support is excellent and it works flawlessly.
  2. Popshops - This plugin is great for targeting 1000's of products from multiple affiliate programs such as Commission Junction, Pepperjam, Linkshare and Shareasale to name a few.
  3. Exec-PHP - This plugin enables you the ability to run actual PHP code in a single post or page in Wordpress. Very very handy to have installed.
  4. All In One SEO Pack - This is a must have Wordpress plugin to help make your CMS very search engine friendly. Consider it steroids for Wordpress.
  5. Google XML Sitemap Generator - Just as the name says. Creates an XML sitemap for Wordpress to submit to Google, Yahoo and MSN.
  6. CForms - Easy to use form creator that ads customizable contact form to a Wordpress blog.
  7. Privacy Policy Generator - Another must have plugin for generating a privacy policy for any site.
  8. Wordpress Redirection Plugin - Easily redirect old URLs to new URLs with this easy plugin. Great for 301 redirects.
  9. Page Link Manager - Easy to use plugin that lets you manage page links and hide them if needed.
  10. SEO Smart Links - This plugin automatically links certain words in a post or page automatically to the URL of your choice. A huge time saver for busy bloggers.
  11. Similiar Post Plugin - The name says it all. Displays similiar post under each blog entry. Great for targeting ceratain niche buyers.
  12. Wordpress Database Backup - Makes backing up your database a breeze.
  13. Evermore Breadcrumb - Automatically display a short preview of your blog posts on your home page. Each preview includes a link to the full post.
  14. Easytube Youtube - Makes adding Youtube videos to a blog post a breeze.
  15. Exploit Scanner - Helps keep you allert to blog hacks and exploits.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Double Column BANS On Root Wordpress Template


I now have released the new double 3 column BANS template converted to Wordpress and can be installed with BANS on the root and Wordpress in a directory called blog.

This theme has both sidebars enabled for widgets as well.

This template is also very EASY to install and I am also including 8 style sheets of different colors for those that do not know how to edit the template colors.

I have tested this on both Hostgator and Lunarpages hosting and should be compatible for any server that allows PHP includes.

As always, I offer great support on every purchase as you can see by the feedback on the BANS forum. Demo can be seen here.

Template pack only cost $29.00 Buy Now

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How The BANS Wordpress Templates Work

I have gotten a few emails and private messages from newer BANS members inquiring how the BANS Wordpress templates work and if they can convert established stores. I thought I would use this post to educate all who may be curious.

The templates are just that. Templates. The tie together both BANS and Wordpress with one theme. The navigation menus, ad spots and sidebars are all tied together via PHP includes to give a seemless finished product. A current store can be converted easily as it is only the template you are changing, not the content. If you are converting a site that has BANS installed on the root, you will need a template that utilizes BANS on the root and Wordpress in a directory named blog. You can easily move BANS off the root if you wish and into a directory named store if you want to use a template designed to use Wordpress on the root. I will be glad to help with doing this as well if interested.

If you have made any major customizations to your site like PHP includes in the header or footer, I will be glad to help consult you on integrating these back in as well.

Both versions work great regardless of BANS or Wordpress being used on the root. I do lean toward using Wordpress on the root if at all possible as it opens you up to a bit more customization down the line. This is not a must however as several sites I have that utilize BANS on the root and Wordpress in a blog directory also perform well.

I hope this clears up a few things for the newer users of BANS and as always feel free to email or PM me any specialized questions you might have.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Double Column Template Width Fix

Several people have emailed me wanting to know if the width of the new Double Column BANS template could be fixed to show no scroll bars.

Open the styles.css file in your BANS admin and look for all instances of 994 and change the number to 953.

in addition you will need to search for both instances of the code below:

width: 550px;

and change to

width: 520px;

Lastly find the code below:

height: 110px;
width: 45%;

and change to

height: 130px;
width: 44%;

You will also need to resize the logo.jpg file to 953x147 pixels.

Let me know if this does not solve your problem.

Friday, September 12, 2008

eBay Partner Network Agreement & Terms & Conditions Changes

Today EPN released a new agreement & terms & conditions changes. Below is a copy of the mail that was sent out.

Dear Affiliate,

As you may already know, our newest release of the eBay Partner Network went live on September 10th. This new release incorporates additional reporting functionality to more easily track your traffic's performance on eBay, as well as a new Campaign Quality Report that will help you determine the quality of new registered users you send to the US program. As of November 1st, ACRUs payouts for all publishers in the US program will calculated using these quality tiers. For a full description of all the new features in this release, please check out our blog post about it from last Friday.

Please also note that the Network Agreement and Advertiser Terms and Conditions have been updated with this release. Please review these documents thoroughly to make sure you fully understand the updated policies. Some updates you may want to pay special attention to include:

- The eBay UK and eBay FR programs now allow eBay sellers to become affiliates (in their programs.)
- Any transaction resulting from traffic that has been redirected off of an Advertiser site (e.g. eBay.com) will be disqualified, and you will not receive commissions.
- Paid Search: Bidding on KW eBay or any variations is not permitted in any program.
- If you choose PayPal as a payment method, your PayPal account must be verified in order for your payment to be released. To learn more about how to verify your account, go to https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/verification-faq-outside

The updated Network Agreement and Advertiser Terms and Conditions will go into effect for existing publishers on September 19th. If you choose not to accept any terms set forth by the new policies, you may end our affiliate agreement before September 19th by closing your account under the Account: Business Information section of the eBay Partner Network interface. Please ensure before you close your account that a payment method has been entered and is correct as you will not be able to edit this information after you have closed your account. If you have any questions regarding the new policies, please contact customer service.


The eBay Partner Network Team

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget What Happened September 11th


Today I am going to get up on my soap box. I do not make a habit of this as many know that read this blog or converse with me on the forums, phone or email, but I wanted to rant a bit today. Today is the 7th anniversary of the day we as Americans came under attack. Whether or not you lost a loved one or know someone who did, you were attacked as well. I remember exactly where I was that morning. I was driving down a major highway in town starting some sales calls for my coffee business I owned at the time. I was listening to the Lex and Terry Radio Show, when they commented that a plane just crashed into the one of the twin towers. They at first, like everyone else thought it might have been a small plane or just a horrible aviation accident. At that time nobody really knew it was a commercial jet. Not too long after they said another plane just hit the second tower and said it looked like a commercial jet. Lex and Terry said this was no accident. I was real close to my dad’s house and pulled into the subdivision to duck in and check out the television coverage. As I drove down their street a neighbor of theirs comes out waving her arms frantically. I did not know here and she did not know me and I pulled over to listed to her in hysterics tell what happened. I tried to calm her down and then went on to my dad’s house to watch things unfold. I will never forget the towers falling and the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach.

I remember the weeks and months after and how patriotic my city and the United States as a hole was. Ribbons, signs and American flags were attached to vehicles for quite a while and the United States was as united as I have ever witnessed in my life.

Here we are 7 years later and not only has the patriotism vanished, our country seems more split than ever. Everyone claims their rights are being violated in one way or another and everyone tries to rewrite or interpret the US Constitution to fit their own needs or agendas. I will not get into politics as that is a rant for another day.

We live in the greatest country in the world and take everything for granted. We want everything right now and exactly as we want or we throw a tantrum. We need to take a step back and each and every one of us needs to reexamine how great we have it here. If you do not like your local, state or national government, then get out and vote and do something about it. Do not go throw rocks and tear things up just because you do not like what is going on. Take control of your own life. Put yourself in a financial situation that helps you control more things personally and do not rely on others. You have an opportunity in this country to achieve any dream you put your mind to.

Never, never, ever forget what happened that September day and how that opportunity was threatened. Also remember all the lives that were affected that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is EzineArticles Targeting Ebay Niche Stores And BANS Sites?

Just got an email last night from a student of mine that informed me that one of his latest original articles was denied because links in his bio section pointed to what the editor termed "an auction site". Below is the email he received minus a few things to protect the students identity.

problem status because it links to an auction site. I'm sorry, we
are no longer accepting links to auction sites. Please edit the
article to link to a page which is not an auction.

Thank you,
Member Support

Now I personally have yet to receive an email like this myself and am curious if others have received one similar. The current sites I submit articles for my own being use the Wordpress BANS templates and look more like a blog e commerce store than a BANS store. Not sure if that is helping it get pushed through or not or if this one editor just has it in for eBay niche stores.

If you have received a similar response from Ezine Articles, please comment to this post. Before I initiate a full blown jihad on the EzineArticles forum or contact form, I would like to know how wide spread this is. While I do think articles should be denied that link to thin sites, I know for a fact my students site offers great content on his sites as well. If ANY site offers value more than just auction listings and ads, it should be accepted in my opinion. Why else submit free unique content to article directories, if not for the backlink? I think we need to get to the bottom of this quickly.

Have you been denied from EzineArticles because you link to auction listings?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BANS On Root Wordpress Template

Several continue to ask for a Wordpress Build A Niche Store template with BANS on the root for existing stores.

I now have released the new 2 column BANS template converted to Wordpress and can be installed with BANS on the root and Wordpress in a directory called blog.

This template is very EASY to install and I am enclosing 8 additional style sheets of different colors for those that do not know how to edit the template colors.

Tested on both Hostgator and Lunarpages hosting and should be compatible for any server that allows includes.

As always, I offer great support on every purchase as you can see by the feedback on the BANS forum. Demo can be seen here.

Template pack only cost $29.00 Buy Now

Monday, September 8, 2008

Use Google To Solve Error Problems

I have learned tons about coding, PHP, html, databases and etc. just by using Google. Many times it does take a bit of searching but usually there is someone out there that has suffered my same problem. The more comfortable you get working with code, the faster you will progress. We all make mistakes and all have errors, it is the nature of webmastering. Solving the problems is what sets apart the great webmasters from the casual ones. When a site or a set of code throws an error, simply copy and paste the root of the error into Google and have a go at it. You will be amazed at what you will learn. Keep digging and always back up your current code, database or files before trying fixes you are unsure of. Using this method has made me more self reliant as I rarely run into an error I can't fix. Sometimes it will take a few hours, but I never give up on it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Always A Spot In A Niche For You

Sorry for the late post as a harddrive was going down on me today and I needed to make sure I had info backed up.

Tonight I wanted to go over the fact that their is always a spot in a niche for you to master in addition of just being a store. Perhaps you provide unique news feeds for products or recalls or even specialize in a style or size of something. Maybe a limited edition of a certain product. Or autographed items even. What ever your niche is, really do some research on it. Visit some related forums and look for things people are looking for or asking questions about. If people are looking for something and noone is providing it, that is your niche. Delve deep, I promise it is there. It is amazing at what you will find with a little bit of research.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

11 Ways To Be Non Engaging


I thought I would make a list of 11 ways to be be non engaging to the eBay partner network program.

Be careful... SARCASM ahead!

1. No Original Unique Content - This is the easiest way to be non engaging. Just throw up an out of the box BANS store and let it fly. This will make you a thin affiliate doorway site and offer no value to the surfer or the internet.

2. Hide That You Display Ebay Listings - Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a big fan of not hiding that I list eBay auctions. Some people will be turned off and leave right away because they do not like or trust eBay. Let them know up front. Show the "Now On eBay Logo" and if you need to, put a disclaimer that you are an eBay affiliate.

3. Cloak Those Links - I know, I know, you got a letter from EPN or PJ saying it is OK to cloak. Yada yada. Cloaking is not being honest and is not engaging. If you feel different, be my guest and cloak away.

4. Standardize Your BANS Look - Make sure you do not stand out as different. Try to look just like the other 1000's of other BANS stores out there.

5. Put Your Ebay Store Listings On The Home Page - Forget about using that space for keywords and info on what surfers can find at your store and easy navigation to where they really want to go. Just be in their face like a used car salesman.

6. Do Not Review Hot Items With A Blog Post - God forbid you let them know how good a product is and get them really revved up to buy.

7. Put Up Standard Navigation - Do not easily organize eBay listings by category. Make it hard and confusing for the surfer to find exactly what they need. Just take your chances and let them use the search feature. Who knows, they may find it.

8. Do Not Optimize For Long Tail Searches - Someone looking for limited edition red fuzzy short steel widgets is probably just curious about them, they would never buy if they found them easily.

9. Do Not Give Them Other Ad Alternatives - If they do not like your eBay stuff, make an automated popup that says GET LOST! Tell them you do not want any of their money.

10. Make Your Site Look Like Las Vegas - Instead of giving them a few alternatives to shop elsewhere, put up as many banners as you can get your hands on. 100 is too few. If you need to put up banners of products not even related to meet the 100 quota, so be it.

11. Never Never Respond To Customers - Ignore people who send emails or comments via your site. Responding to their questions or comments will surely waste minutes of time you could use to add another 100 banners.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Tips On Engagement From EPN

EPN has a blog post up on Tips for Sending Engaged Buyer Traffic to eBay Sites. In the post the describe a little bit better what they mean by engagement of surfers they also suggest that a user is far more likely to be engaged if they knew prior to the click that they were going to be driven to eBay. They suggest maximizing the amount of unique content on your site and integrating eBay links within your content.

In the last paragraph they state they will screening new affiliates even tougher, so if you are new, make sure the Build A Niche Store site you submit in the application process is up to all standards.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Who Links To Your Competition And Why?

You can really learn a ton from looking at your competition in the rankings for particular keywords or phrases. The top 10 on the major SERPS are there for a reason. More than likely you will find they have great backlinks and possible an abundance of them using varied anchor text. Also you will likely find other reputable more established closely related sites linking to them as well. I will once a gain point you to a free tool that I have pointed out before. Backlink Watch can show you a majority of backlinks for any site. Take a good look at the sites linking to your competition. Are they mostly directory listings? Are they solid like sites? Are the forum post? The good thing it will also tell you is the anchor text pointing back to the site along with the number of outbound links the site linking from has on the particular page and whether or not it is a nofollow link or not. Are these places you can get links from. Most of the time they are. A bunch of times it will not take as many backlinks as your competition has to outrank them as well. I would gladly take a solid backlink from a like site in the same general realm of my niche than I would 100 link directory links. The less outbound links a site has on a page the better the juice. Not all backlinks are created equal. That is why you certainly need a mix of them and vary up the anchor text as well to remain natural looking. Google the keywords your are trying to rank for and look at the backlinks for all top 10 sites. You will likely pick up on a few patterns you can learn from doing this as well. Are the backlinks trades or are they one way links? Is your competitions site very content or info heavy that it seems to pickup backlinks naturally because it is linkable to. Do the research you will be amazed what you find.

Is your site linkable to? Is there a reason people should link to your site?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

EPN Transaction Report Changes Starting September 10th

Below is the current notice from EPN....

As explained in our Blog Post published August 19th, we wanted to make sure you're aware of the enhancements to the Transaction Download Report in our upcoming September 10th release. If you are using the ePN 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.

Field Changes:

We will be adding three more fields to the right of the existing data columns (note that there will still be an unused last column, which will now be to the right of these three new fields). These three new columns are the Site ID, Meta Category ID, and Unique Transaction ID.

New Field Details:

The Site ID will identify the site on which the conversion took place (e.g. eBay.com, eBay.co.uk, ebay.fr, etc)

The Meta Category ID will provide the top-level category of the item according to eBay's category structure (the "Leaf Category ID" available today only gives the most detailed category classification of that item. . With this information, you will be able to identify which general category of goods the item belonged to, and in turn understand which items convert best. For example, the eBay US category ID for Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories is (2559875).

Unique Transaction ID for Revshare transactions: this will contain a unique Transaction ID, which will help you to track each transaction individually, as well as any associated actions taken against this specific transaction, such as a credit.

You will be able to find more information on Site ID, Category ID and the Unique Transaction ID in the help section after the September 10th release.

For more information on how to correctly identify a transactions' Site and Category IDs see here:

Site IDs:

For the US:

For the UK:

Category IDs:

The list of US eBay Category IDs is here: http://listings.ebay.com/_W0QQfclZ3QQloctZShowCatIdsQQsacatZQ2d1QQsalocationZatsQQsocmdZListingCategoryList

For other countries, please check your corresponding country eBay site for the correct category IDs.

Non Paid Transaction Events:

As of September 10th, Publishers will also have the ability to view both Paid and Non Paid Transactions. A Non Paid Transaction is an action that happens on the site for which the relevant affiliate program does not pay out, e.g. a non winning auction bid or CRU in the US or UK. When you select to run the Transaction Report from your ePN Publisher Account, you will see a radio button selection that will allow you to choose to have unpaid transactions included in all the events you download for the transaction download file. The default setting is to show only payable transactions, as occurs today.

We're hoping these enhancements will allow you to optimize your traffic more effectively, as well as help you understand your site transactions better. If you are currently using the Transaction Download API we believe these changes will only require a minor adjustment. Keep in mind that if you simply delete the last four columns of the new report (the three new columns plus the existing unused column, which will be the last column as it is today), you will have the same report as you do today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Keyword Tool Data Differs

I was asked by a student of mine today, why the keyword data from tool to tool differs. Plain and simply it boils down to the data source. The Google keyword tool relies of course on Google searches and it is still unclear of the exact quantifying of their numbers and the percent related to true accuracy of the numbers. Some would suggest that Google is still not painting the whole data picture, but it should be in the ballpark. Other tools such as Wordtracker rely on meta search engine queries from Dogpile and Metacrawler. Together these engines account for roughly 3.5 million searches a day. Wordtracker can provide a generic volume estimator across several search engines. Keyword Discovery has 4 databases to choose from with one being an eBay database that includes numbers of times a certain keyword was searched for on eBay.

What does all this mean? All tools should be used in association of one another when deciding on keyword volume. Google will always get the most love, but the others I listed should not be discounted and can be effectively used especially on longer keyword phrase digging. When using any keyword tool, make sure to find out what the source of the data comes from and also the age of the data used.

Google Chrome Browser Now Available For Download

Firefox and Explorer have a new friend in the browser arena as today Google introduced it's new Google Chrome browser. Versions of the new Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux are still in development and not yet ready for release. Google says the project was initially inspired by other open-source type projects, including Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox. The Mozilla Corporation, who makes Firefox, and its parent company, the Mozilla Foundation, which develops Firefox and other open-source type projects, have a financial friendship with Google which was just renewed through November of 2011.

Microsoft has already responded to the news of Google's new browser saying, "The browser landscape is highly competitive, but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips ... and, more than any other browsing technology, puts them in control of their personal data online," Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch said in a statement.

I have downloaded and begun toying with it, but can not give you a good review as of yet. Usually anthing Google touches and dedicates themselves to, usually turns out good. I suspect it will go through many enhancements as it works through bugs and user suggestions.

Monday, September 1, 2008

For Good Onsite SEO, Think Like A Search Engine

Sorry for the late post, but Gustav has played with the power off and on all day. I took the opportunity to take a nap. lol

While I am not one to design a site just for the search engines, I always keep them in mind. When it comes to onsite SEO, I like to think like a search engine. Keyword stuffing is not the way, but I do not want the search engines to have a hard time figuring out what each and every site and store page is about.

I have had several PMs of people asking me to look at their store pages and rate their onsite SEO. What I am seeing is definitely some confusion on this. Some examples of what I see include paragraphs totally unrelated to what that page SHOULD be about. Explanations about why you chose a certain domain or why someone should shop your store has only one place on a niche site and that should be on a "About" page, not on the front page or a page selling items. You will only detract from the SEO if you do this.

Think long and hard about each and every page on your site and the phrase or phrases that page is trying to rank for. If you have a site page that is nothing but news headlines for the New York Jets, the top 100+ words on that page needs to tell the surfer and the SERPS that.

Below would be an example:

Welcome to our New York Jets news section, where you will find all of the New York Jets news headlines from various sources. We list headlines from the New York Post, New York Daily News, Newark Star Ledger, Jets Official Website and New York Newsday newspapers. We also carry news from all of the Jets blogs as well. Check back often as our news feeds update daily so you can keep up with Jets player news and press conferences.

Now the above was 79 words I just thought of off the top of my head and surely it can be expounded on. This will definitely let the SERPS know that that particular page is about New York Jets news. Get the drift? And that was for a mere news page. The same concept should be applied site wide for permanent pages and store pages. Make it easier for the SERPS by applying relevant LSI terms as well. If it is not pertinant to the overall direction of the page, leave it out of the text. You want no confussion for the SERPS to easily identify what each page on your site is about. Couple this with great meta tags and great offsite keyword text links and there will be no doubt in the mind of the SERPS about what each page on your site is conveying.

What ways do you like to use to think like search engines?


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