Damn It Feels Good to Be an eBay Affiliate

Entrepreneur 30 comments

About 2 months ago I read a post over on EarnersBlog where Stuart outlined the process for creating a WordPress powered eBay affiliate store and was inspired to try it out. The general idea behind it is use WordPress to create a niche store running the phpBayPro plugin ($39 to purchase) and earn commissions through Commission Junction, who handles eBay’s affiliate program. It sounded simple enough and Stuart was convincing enough that I gave the process a try and I’m glad that I did.

Over the past month I’ve setup a total of 2 niche sites running the phpBayPro plugin and WordPress and I’ve found the whole process to be quick and profitable. Below you can see a screenshot of my earnings for the past 20 days.

eBay Affiliate Earnings

I know it’s not a blow you away number like $10,000 or anything, but it’s a modest sum of around $300 over 20 days which averages out to $15/day. But, the best part about this is that I’m making this off of just 2 sites which means each niche store is earning over $150/mo. Over the next 2 months I’m planning to launch and promote another 10-20 of these stores and if I can keep an average of $150/mo per store I could end up generating over $3,000/mo from my niche eBay stores.

What is even better is the fact that I recently developed phpBayAds (eBay Affiliate Ad Units) and I’m starting to generate cash using these ads on a number of websites that I own. I know one of the rules that you always read about making money online is to “never put all of your eggs in one basket”, but another rule that I like to follow is “strike while the iron is hot”. If this process can generate a good income over the next few months then I will maximize this revenue and when it starts to dwindle I will move on to new concepts. Right now it’s clear that the eBay affiliate arena is hot and I plan to cash in on it.

One thing to remember about making money through the eBay affiliate program is that it all hinges on your ability to drive traffic to your sites. The hardest part of creating these niche stores is getting people to visit them. Currently I’m driving around 40-70 unique visitors a day to my stores and as long as it’s targeted quality traffic you will definitely see conversions.

Good Luck!


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I’m a Blogging Failure

Entrepreneur 12 comments

FailureWow, it’s been another month since I’ve posted on my blog and I’ll admit, I feel like I’ve failed with regards to blogging. I took an extended break back in July and made the goal to post with more frequency. I took a one month break in October and again I vowed to be more consistent. And now I find myself in that same predicament, just 2 months later. So the question I have to ask myself now is do I have what it takes to be a blogger?

When I first got into blogging it was an extremely exciting day. I saw what others were doing with their own blogs and wanted to be part of it. Since then I’ve racked up just about 100 posts and generated over 700 comments (not a bad ratio). Yet, my inconsistency is killing me and this blog. Just when I reach record numbers for unique visitors, I shoot myself in the foot and disappear from the blogosphere. So what do I do?

I’ve thought a lot about this blog over the past month or so and the thought of just totally abandoning it had come to my mind. However, I don’t think I could ever do that. I’ve put too much time into this blog writing posts, responding to comments, and designing its current theme to just throw it all away. So then I got to thinking how I can make this blog survive.

It’s obvious that what I am doing right now just isn’t working. Trying to post on a daily basis, with a quality article just isn’t going to happen at this point in my life. I have way too many things to do in the day and not enough time to do them all. So the thought has crossed my mind to post sporadically over the course of the month (say 1-3 times per week) with updates on my money making, articles on techniques, etc, etc. I think this would be a much more manageable task for me and not put the pressure on me daily to come up with a genuine quality article.

What does everyone think of this strategy? All I’ve ever read regarding a blog posting schedule is consistency, consistency, consistency. So that leaves me to wonder can posting sporadically work? Will my RSS readership and unique visitors count still increase? Is anyone else using a similar posting strategy?

When it all comes down to it, I can’t justify scrapping what work I’ve done here. Honestly I like being able to post my thoughts, findings, and goals (when I have the time). In the end I might not have what it takes to be a full-time “problogger” but that was never really my goal in the first place. My real goal is to become a full-time internet entrepreneur making a living from my websites and web businesses and that I am still fully committed to.

Thanks for your continued support!


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Tis’ The Season for Affiliate Marketing

Entrepreneur 17 comments

Holiday Shopping CartoonRecently I read a post over at Blogging Fingers, where Matt proposed an idea where he creates a simple storefront using WordPress to sell products through affiliate links. His ultimate thinking is to cash in off the site for the next month to 2 months (prime holiday shopping time) and then sell the blog/site in late January for the standard 10x monthly profit. Assuming he can get $100/mo or so during the holidays he could be sitting on $1000 come January.

At the end of his post, Matt challenged anyone who was up for it to do the same thing and see what they could do in terms of profit per month as well as the overall sales figure in January. So given the challenge, little risk and potential profit, I decided to take that challenge and develop my own niche storefront.

1. Pick the Right Niche
The first step is to find the right niche to exploit. One of the keys to picking a good niche will be to find one that is exciting and the reader will need to buy a product to get involved with the topic. Matt talked about this in his post too. It’s important that those viewing your site will be in BUY mode, not just reading mode. This niche blog won’t be like other blogs with tons of content. It will be limited content and lots of affiliate links and images. The key is to push the reader into the buy.

Another important aspect to think about when it comes to picking your niche is how web-savvy your intended customer is. Chances are you should stay far away from the technology niches because those who know anything about technology will likely know a little bit about web sales and steer clear of your semi-obvious affiliate site. Make sure to spend a bit of time picking the right niche, it will be the hinge for all the sites success.

2. Buy The Domain
Once you have a niche, you’re going to need to buy a domain. Try and pick a domain which is keyword rich and further emphasizes the fact that your blog is actually a store (a place to buy). Domains with shop, online, discount, and store coupled with your keywords should do well.

3. Setup the Site
I think Matt had the right idea when he chose WordPress for his storefront. It’s perfect because it’s already a fully featured script capable of almost anything. Couple that with the fact that there are a plethora of plugins available and the thousands of themes and you can put a store together in no time. What I recommend is to install the latest WordPress, find a relatively simple WordPress theme (2 columns, 1 main header) and install the All-In-One SEO Pack and Google Sitemap Generator. This should make the blog nice and SEO friendly and give you the best chance of establishing some organic traffic.

Once you have the blog setup (design completed and domain setup) you should start adding content. I would recommend that you write 2-3 simple review style posts detailing specific products with affiliate text links embedded within the post. I’ve found that it’s giving a better CTR than plain old affiliate image boxes.

4. Choose an Affiliate
In terms of which affiliate program to use, you can choose any you like and that fits your niche. In both Matt’s and my case we used Amazon’s affiliate program to place both links and product boxes on our sites to sell the products. I would recommend you try this first as we did. I am going to let this method run for another couple days and gauge how many sales it generates and move on from there. If I don’t see enough revenue coming in I am planning on switching over to eBay’s affiliate program to see how it differs. (note: Amazon’s affiliate cookie only lasts for 24 hours only, while eBay’s lasts 7 days)

5. Promote It
In order to keep the costs that it takes to create this site low, the only methods I am going to use to drive traffic to the site are going to be free. This will include the use of social networking traffic, primarily StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Squidoo, etc and other sources such as forum postings, craigslist, blog commenting, etc. So far, 1.5 days into the sites operation I’ve driven close to 1,000 unique visitors to the site and I’m eagerly awaiting the update of my affiliate statistics.

How Much Time & Money?
The great part about this holiday niche site idea is that that the only real cost involved is the $8 it cost me to register a domain name with GoDaddy. Of course you will need hosting, but I already have several hosting accounts so I just tossed it on one of those accounts as an Addon domain. In terms of how long it took me to set the site up, it took the better part of a day. This included all of the steps I listed above. Besides that, I continue to make a single post per day on the blog highlighting a new product and I also spend a bit of time each day promoting it as I’ve listed above.

Conclusion
The way you have to think about this is that it’s a guaranteed win no matter what. You spend $8 and some of your time creating a site that will undoubtedly sell for at least $25 no matter the sales statistics and you learn a lot about site creation, affiliate marketing and traffic building. That plus the possibility of making well over 20 times your initial investment makes this something that you should definitely try. Matt encouraged me to give it a try and now I’ll encourage you to do the same. If you go ahead and create your own site and sell it in January, I’ll link to your progress and sales post in January.

Good Luck!


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December Goals

Entrepreneur 3 comments

Bum Campaign DonationsI talked yesterday about how November went in terms of statistics, earnings and projects and now that December is upon us it’s time to talk about what I want to accomplish this month and more importantly by the end of the year (kind of shocking that it’s here already). So without further ado, here are my goals to accomplish by year’s end!

1. Increase RSS readership above 100
This was also one of my goals for this past month, but I didn’t quite make it. I peaked at 86 subscribers I believe. I would really like to hit the century mark and I think it’s doable within the next 30 days. Today my count shows 73 subscribers which means I need another 27 subscribers by year’s end. Breaking it down further, that’s just about 1 subscriber per day that I need to attain. How can I do that? Well I think I need to post consistently and push my subscriber link!

2. Develop New Projects
Unfortunately this was one of my goals for the past month too. I was semi-successful at it, but not to the point that I wanted. I was able to launch 1 small niche site, which is doing alright (still needs to get some traffic) and I’ve done some significant planning on another one of my major site ideas. This month (time permitting) I would like to start the development on that major project and further develop my current projects. I have one “competition” that I’ve begun work on and I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

3. Increase Overall Traffic
I’ll admit that my biggest weakness as an internet entrepreneur is my marketing skills. I have the PHP and design skills to create sites and projects from the ground up, but once they are done I have a hard time driving significant amounts of traffic to them. I usually rely on small amounts of organic traffic and the occasional stumble….not the best method. So in December, I would like to work on those marketing skills and make a push to drive more traffic to this blog as well as all of my other niche sites and projects.

4. Enjoy the Holidays
I know the internet never sleeps, but I think especially during these holidays coming up it’s important to spend time with your family members and those who are special in your life. Although I have set goals to attain in my business life, I want to make sure that I put the time in to relax and enjoy the holidays with those closest to me. I’ve already started the Christmas shopping (all online, boy do I hate going to stores to shop) and I’m making plans for the holiday visits.

That’s it! Four *simple* goals for me to accomplish in the next 27 days! Yikes, I better get to it. If you’ve set any goals for yourself in December, please leave a comment or link to your list. I know Jamie already beat me to it, way to go!

Best of Luck!


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November – Month in Review

Entrepreneur 9 comments

Performance Review CartoonAh I can’t believe that it’s December already. When I hit Thanksgiving just a week or so ago, I was shocked the month was coming to a close so quickly and found myself swamped with work at my day job. Unfortunately this pile of work made it impossible for me to get time to write here the past week and I apologize for that. But since it’s the beginning of a new month, it’s time to review how last month went for me, so here it is:

RSS Readership
At the start of November I set a goal for myself to reach 100 subscribers by the end of the month. Looking now at my Feedburner stats, it’s clear that I fell short of this goal….currently sitting at 64 subscribers. It’s not all bad though! On November 20th, I reached a level of 86 subscribers and I think had I had the time to post consistently through to the end of the month that I would have made it much closer to 100. Thanks to all of those people who have subscribed to my feed.

Traffic
Although my RSS numbers didn’t make it to my goal, I was able to have a record-setting month in terms of traffic for my blog. I ended the month with 3844 unique visitors and 33,442 page views. Overall this is close to 1000 more unique visitors than I’ve ever received in a single month which is definitely encouraging.

Earnings
Well, this months earnings are solely from my other web projects, not including this blog. Since I’ve redesigned this blog I haven’t focused much on monetizing it. I’ve created the room to sell advertising, but haven’t made a push to sell the space. If you’re interested in a 125×125 banner placement, contact me for special rates. Getting back to the earnings, this past month I made $296.32 which was made up primarily of ad placements on JustPressPlay and a few small niche sites I just started.

Projects
This past month was busy busy busy in terms of the time I devoted to my day job and other non-internet projects which has left me with very little time to work on a few projects I’m trying to get off the ground. I was however able to start 1 niche site and so far it’s doing alright. It’s completely built, but now I’m focused on bringing traffic to the site, which I’ll reluctantly say is one of my weakest skills. Besides that project, I’ve written a 4 page outline for another project I’m hoping to start work on. I think it has potential, but only if I can get it completed within the next 1-2 months, so we’ll see.

Personal
I think you get the idea that this past month has been a busy one and I’m not sure when things will slow down. With Christmas coming quickly, I’m going to be doing a juggling act over the next couple weeks to make time for my day job, my internet projects, holiday engagements, and a wedding that I’m going to be the best man of. It’s going to be busy, but I hope to make time for it all and to make time for posting regularly here.

Overall, it was a pretty decent month. It had its good and bad points, but has left me with some signs of encouragement. I think if I can keep up with writing regularly and start developing some of my project ideas that the coming months could be very exciting for this blog and my online ventures. How was your November?


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