This is the story, from conception to final solution, of a new method of monetization for content websites and blogs. It spans the last 24 months.
What it has led to is a way to bring all of the products listed on eBay that are relevant to the theme of your site into a targeted eBay affiliate store you earn affiliate commissions from.
The tool which now makes this possible is called Build A Niche Store.
How it all began
A couple of years ago I redeveloped an old motorcycle resource – CustomBike.org. It was receiving around 500 unique visitors a day and at that time I was using AdSense as the sole method of monetizing these visitors.
I was still relatively new to the internet game and had not properly explored affiliate programs. As I looked outside AdSense for other methods that would help convert a larger percentage of my visitors into profit I came across eBay's affiliate program. I've always liked eBay. It is an incredible place if for nothing else but the absurdly wide variety of products it has listed for sale.
At this time my niche was motorcycles and within a couple of minutes on eBay I’d found out that there were over 7,000 bikes and over 100,000 motorcycle parts listed for sale.
All of these products were of relevance to the visitors CustomBike.org was already receiving and it soon became very obvious that if I could somehow get these in front of my visitors Custom Bike could be making a lot more money. If done correctly it would also be doing this day in and day out just like AdSense did.
My solution at that time was to use eBay's own affiliate tool, the editor kit. It took several weeks to integrate several hundred of these, each of which targeted a specific product or type of product into the site. Because the site was basic HTML I had to manually create a page for every new editor kit I wanted to include. The end result was a navigatable category structure of sorts that formed two very basic eBay affiliate stores, one for motorcycle parts and one for motorcycles for sale.
On reflection this was both very time consuming and incredibly tedious work, but you know what it's like when you get an idea you can see something in. That said, would I do it again now? No way!
Still, the encouraging thing was that it worked and it was just a few days before I made my first referral commission. In the following 12 months the site made just under $30,000 from a combination of eBay (product commissions and member sign-ups) and AdSense. eBay accounted for just under half of this total revenue. I had effectively doubled my site's revenue by bringing eBay's products to my visitors.
Knowing that the eBay affiliate program could make me money, my next idea was to target a specific and under competitive niche market directly with eBay products. Remember, Custom Bike was already established so this would be a different type of challenge.
Findusedmotorcycles.com was born around 15 months ago and was the first of what I now call my “niche eBay affiliate sites”. Using the eBay editor kit again, I created some manual pages which covered the different motorcycles for sale. I broke down the market by replicating eBay's category structure and then by using the Overture Keyword Research tool to extend where necessary.
As with Custom Bike, the results were very encouraging. The site received targeted search engine traffic very quickly and over the last 12 months it has made an average of $300 every month on autopilot. A nice thing about this niche is the affiliate payouts. eBay will pay you up to 65% of the revenue they make from a sale you refer. Because of the high price of motorcycles the affiliate commissions range from $20 to $35. This site needs to convert on average only 12 browsers to eBay buyers to reach $300 a month. Not bad for a very basic affiliate site!
All I'd done was the reverse of what I'd initially done with Custom Bike. Rather than adding eBay products to an established site I had used the eBay products as a foundation around which to build a targeted content site.
On both of these projects the job of integrating eBay had been long and tedious but it had converted. After trying both these methods on several other websites and blogs I turned away from actually trying to make money through eBay and looked for a solution that could bring the method to life and remove the labor.
As I delved deeper into this I became friends with a fellow internet marketer who is a talented software/script developer (which I am not) and he came on board.
As we spent more time looking at eBay and the way the internet works in general it became clearer and clearer that in the same way Google contains all of the world's content, eBay contains all of the products. Regardless of the niche a particular website or blog targeted, eBay would have the products that were relevant to it.
If we could somehow isolate eBay's products according to the project which we wanted to use them on we would be able to reduce the length of time it would take to bring them to a site from weeks to minutes. If it was possible you could achieve what I'd originally achieved on Custom Bike and Find Used Motorcycles at the click of a button.
Build A Niche Store was born
After a couple of months spent at the drawing board we realized our original aim and our final PHP script replicated the entire eBay category structure. From one store setup file, we could now choose a category out of the 28,926 that make up eBay, press “Build” and instantly have a searchable and navigatable eBay affiliate store targeted to the niche market that the chosen category represented.
This meant that regardless of the niche a website or blog targeted we could in one move create an eBay affiliate store that would contain all of the products and associated category structure related to it. With a second move we could add this into the existing template and the site could be more effectively monetizing its visitors within 20 minutes.
If you do a search on eBay for the main keyword that your website or blog targets you'll get an idea of the number of products that are related to your niche just like I originally did with Custom Bike. With Build A Niche Store it is all of those products that you'll be able to immediately integrate into your site.
It is very probable that you are sitting on at least one uncovered goldmine which could be monetized more effectively by bringing eBay's products directly to your visitors!
I hope you enjoyed my story and have found it insightful. If you're interested in finding out more you can view working case studies, use our live demo and speak to us directly at our website – Build A Niche Store.