Update August 2009
Unfortunately, rule changes with EPN have made it so that you cannot direct affiliate traffic from a “3rd Party Site”, such as Blogger, to eBay as of August 1st 2009. I think this was a poor decision on their part but it is what it is. I’ve switched my previous Blogger blogs over to different monetization, most notably Chitika.
The Updated Template
Here’s the updated template: Minima Template For eBay Affilliate Blogger Blogs. Let me know if you encounter any problems with it or have any questions about it.
And here’s a screen shot of my revised Duosonic blog.
The main difference here is that the eBay Sniplet code has been moved from the main post area to the sidebar. The Blogger Spam ‘bot seems to be more OK with links appearing in the sidebar, perhaps because it writes these off as ads. Note that I’ve expanded the sidebar area to 570 pixels to accommodate the Sniplet and moved it from the right to the left side of the page. The content area gets the remaining portion of the 1024 pixel width minus a small bit of padding. Also note that I’m limiting the number of items to 10 rather than 25 as before. This should also be more ‘bot friendly.
One key trick with the Sniplet is the search criteria which, in my case, I’ve expanded to include a couple of other Fender short scale guitars. To get the OR functionality on a search so that the Sniplet will retrieve any listing with a keyword found in a keyword list, place the whole list inside of parenthesis and enter a comma separated list inside them like so: (duosonic,mustang,musicmaster). This way you’ll get back all of the items that match your keywords within the category you select.
BANS vs. Blogger
Some people have asked about this so I wanted to go over my thinking on it.
First of all, BANS, or Build A Niche Store, is an excellent program that is designed around building a store like website for eBay products. It does one thing and does it very well. It will produce a site that is more likely to induce a potential buyer to click through to eBay than a blog platform alternative. If buyers don’t click through, you won’t get paid and if there are fewer click throughs then less you will be paid.
The problem is that BANS does cost money, not only for the software, but for the hosting and domain as well. While a good hosting plan and bargain .INFO domains can make it more affordable, it still can cost about $300 to get started on the scale that Vic talked about. Using Blogger can be a cheaper alternative that allows you to build up a site portfolio at virtual no cost to you.
Blogger, of course, has it’s own problems, such as the overzealous spam bot I ran into, and other little annoyances. You don’t have as much control as you would in a self-hosted BANS site. Plus, it is a blogging platform, not an ecommerce platform, so this will impact your click-thru rate. Another factor is that you’re kind of shoehorning in something that may not always fit well. Setting it will cost you some time and may require some light HTML/CSS programming knowledge.
The way I think of it is that Blogger is like selling souvenirs outside a baseball park. You may do well but you’re more subject to the whims of regulations and your opportunities for buyers may be limited by your location. BANS is like having a brick and mortar souvenir store near the stadium. You can present more buying opportunities, more products and you’ll be less subject to regulation.
BANS and Blogger Together
Here’s the big plus I see though. Blogger is an excellent complement to your BANS efforts. As I mentioned in my previous post, Link Cluster Building Ideas, Blogger blogs are ideal as part of a link cluster to support your sites, including BANS sites. If you do this, why not make your supporting blog eBay affiliate friendly? It doesn’t matter to you where the visitor clicks through to eBay as long as you get credit for any purchases they make.
This also gives you the opportunity to go after long tail search terms related to your niche by writing long, keyword packed, rambles. For example, your BANS site might show up well for a search for “Acme Golf Shoes” but your rambling post about golf shoes might be first in results if the visitor searched on “what are the best golf shoes for wet or soft turf“. The good news is that either way, you get paid if the visitor buys something on eBay after they click through.
Also, using Blogger first can allow you to test out potential niches or to find micro-niches where a full investment of time and money in a BANS domain might not be warranted. Of course, this is also an option if you’re short on cash. If the niche looks good, you can move to BANS and use the Blogger blog to reinforce the BANS site. If it doesn’t pan out, you’re not out any money and you may get some trickle traffic and purchases.
Let me know what you think about the updated Blogger eBay Template and BANS vs. or with Blogger by leaving a comment.
UPDATE: A little off topic but by simply using the terms ‘eBay‘ and ‘golf shoes‘ in this post I picked up about 20 links from scrapper splogs. Interesting.