Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Alternatives to Ebay

Ebay sales down a little bit? The answer may be to try one of the alternatives to Ebay to increase your sales and exposure. The sites listed on this page are great Ebay alternatives that can be used to supplement your auction income.

Before you think you can abandon ship on Ebay, that's not a good idea. It's still the largest auction website, with millions of potential buyers visiting the site on a daily basis. Using these alternatives are just a good way supplement your income on Ebay, not replace it.

Read more about the top alternatives to Ebay and which ones would be a good fit for your ecommerce business here:

The Best Ebay Alternatives to Ebay

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ebay Store Templates - Give Your Store a Makeover

Have you thought of updating the look of your Ebay store lately? If you're looking to make a better impression with your customers, this one of the best ways to do so. A lot of people spend time trying to build links, get better products, and get more people in the front door. Once they get in the front door, you need to make sure they feel welcome and aren't put off by the design of the store, or the level of professionalism.

Is the look of your store a little tired, old, or even just the plain old default settings that they provide you with? These Ebay store templates are a good place to start, and many of them are free. Ebay itself provides you with some great templates to spruce up the design of your store at no cost (though they don't advertise them very heavily for some reason). Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're contemplating redesigning your storefront:

  1. Give buyers what they want as soon as they get in the front door. Buyers like lots of photos, and they like to be able to find their way around your store easily. Don't bog it down with useless stuff or extra categories that simply aren't necessary, just make it easy to find what they're looking for.
  2. Be sure to include a search box for your store. Let them search around your inventory and see what you have. As great as your store looks, they still want to get in, make a purchase, then get on with their lives.
  3. Come up with a more professional looking logo. If you can't design one yourself, they're for sale for a very reasonable price on Ebay and elsewhere. You just have to look. Or, maybe you might know someone that would design one for you. The point is, if you aren't a graphic artist, then you should highly consider this. It is the symbol of your business, after all!
  4. Make sure the design of the store compliments what you sell. If you're selling cookware and the background of your store is neon green with peace symbols, that's not only irrelevant, it's a turn off. Go with something subtle and stick with neutral colors. Reserve bold colors for where you really want buyers to see something, and avoid large, gaudy, overly colorful text (and by all means, avoid Comic Sans!).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Advanced Ebay Promotion Using Squidoo

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about using Squidoo to increase Ebay store sales on Professional Squids. This post went into detail about the benefits of creating a lens for your store, and how you can make the best use of them to drive traffic and sales. In addition, there's the part one of this post on promoting your Ebay store with Squidoo, which you should read first. Now that we've covered some of the basics, let get into some more advanced strategies for using Squidoo and Ebay together.

When you organize your Ebay store, you're going to want to make it as easy for buyers as possible. That means you'll want to separate all of your items by brand and type of item. If you don't have enough items to do this, then use a more general term to separate your items. The more items you have, the more specific you can get with your categories. This can also help with search engine optimization, since your store will have a link with anchor link text to that category page. For example, if you have a section called "collectible coke bottles," then you'll have a link headed into that category for that term. You may even want to expand upon that by using the custom pages on your store.

When you create custom pages, think of them as landing pages. Your home page is your main page, but each custom page could be focused on a different aspect of your business. If you sell types of computers, you could separate them by brand or type, and dedicate an informational page, also showcasing your items, on that page. Ebay allows you to use HTML on these extra pages, so spice it up by adding photos, simple graphics, header tags, bold tags, italicize, underlining, and as much content as you can fit in. One thing you won't want to do is link outside of your store from this area. Keep buyers in, not headed out, unless it's to harvest email newsletter subscriptions or to have them follow you on Facebook or Twitter.

Once you've created your masterpiece custom page, then it's time to promote your page using Squidoo. When you create your lenses, you'll want to work around the custom page and your store categories. You can try making one lens for every category, or a couple of lenses (or more) for every custom page. Creating related content is going to work best. To cite the previous example, let's stick with computers as a theme. If you created a custom page about Dell computers, then creating Squidoo lenses about "saving money on Dell computers," "how to add memory to your Dell computer" and "The Best Dell Laptop Computers for Travel" might be good topics for your niche. On these lenses, you'll want to work the title of the custom Ebay store page into the text of the lens somewhere, and also hyperlink that keyword term to the page. Using bold might be appropriate as well. For best search engine results, you may want to include this link somewhere in a paragraph instead of pasting it at the bottom of the page.
  • Note only one link to a specific page will be counted by search engines.
  • Link to your other custom pages and store categories when appropriate.
  • Link to your other Ebay lenses using the featured lens module, or by using keyword anchor text.

In the weeks and months to come, you should start to see your individual custom pages start to pick up in traffic. If you have traffic stats enabled, try seeing what search terms people are using to get to your page and tweak the page as necessary to include more information and keywords. Most SEO analysts say the sweet spot for keyword density for any given term is about 2-2.2%.

If you're not seeing an increase in traffic, then it could be:
  • There are too many keywords and it's stuffed.
  • There aren't enough links yet, so Google hasn't found the page.
  • There isn't enough content on the page for search engines to index it. Try adding more content. 1500 words is a good start.
  • The topic of the page is confusing. Try simplifying it to something people are searching for.
As traffic starts to pick up to these pages, you're going to want to capitalize on that by adding new items, creating new lenses, and finding new avenues to promote all of your pages. Blogging and article writing are the next step in this process, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

This same strategy can be used not only for Ebay, but for Amazon items, CafePress items, and Etsy items.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Promoting Your Ebay Store with Squidoo

If only online promotion were free for your Ebay store… oh wait, it is! Squidoo is a completely free website that allows you to make your very own articles, called lenses. These one page “lenses” are the perfect way to talk about your website and direct search traffic to your store. Squidoo also has a relationship with the Ebay Partner Network, so you’ll be getting commissions for every sale that you drive to your own items (or other people’s items).

The first step in using Squidoo is to sign up. Second, you should evaluate your niche, and write about what you know. Write first about what you know best. Be sure to link to your Ebay store throughout the lens (only one backlink counts per page, but you can sprinkle links throughout the content to direct buyers to your store).

To get started, pick a topic that you know the most about. Let’s say that you sell fuzzy animal slippers. The first lens you create should probably be on fuzzy animal slippers. Talk about the different types of slippers, give buyers tips on sizes, and give them recommendations on what type of kids like certain types of slippers. Also talk about your store somewhere throughout the page (buyers usually click at the top and bottom of pages, so those are wise choices on where to link to your store). Think like a buyer, and know what your buyers want.

Throughout your lens, you can also use the Ebay module to pull a feed of your current auctions. You can also sort by category and keywords to pull only certain relevant items into the feed. This is very handy when you’re trying to break your page down by certain types of items, brands, or styles.


Five Things to Make Sure You Include in Your Squidoo Lens
1. Link to your Ebay store and your About ME page. You can also link to your specific store categories and custom pages that you’ve created. This will help those pages get indexed by Google, and help drive search traffic.
2. Use keywords throughout your lens and in the titles, but don’t overdo it. Some SEO analysts state that 2% is a good ratio to shoot for when using certain keywords, while others say it’s higher. When writing your lens, it’s a good idea to aim to use keywords, with the intention of ranking for that specific phrase (the title of the lens).
3. Include many different types of modules, and include plenty of photos. The more photos the better. Ebay has the Text Module, Flickr Module, Polaroid Module, Table of Contents, Featured Lenses Module, Link List, and of course the Ebay module. Try them all out and see what works for you.
4. Make your lens at least 1500 words. Not all successful lenses are over this amount, but most of them are. Google loves content, so talk it up.
5. A guestbook. Guestbooks provide valuable feedback from readers, and allow you to network within the Squidoo community. To take it a step further, reply to visitor’s comments with your own two cents.

You can also try to combine your Squidoo marketing efforts with blog marketing for your Ebay store. Link your lenses to your blog, and vice versa, and you're sure to eventually pull in some heavy traffic to your store.

One more thing. Squidoo has a poll module which you can add to your lens and get potential buyers to answer questions like "what else should you include in your store?" and "was the store easy to navigate?" It's an easy way to get some free feedback.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wall Street Doesn't Get It: Ebay Isn't Amazon

wall street bull
Would you trust the opinion of Wall Street for one second with your business? You can turn the caps lock off with that resounding "NOOO!!!" Running a business and inflating stock prices are two entirely different things, and that's why Ebay shouldn't listen to Wall Street.

RBC Capital Markets has stated they would like Ebay to be more like Amazon, and offer order fulfillment services. This means you, the seller, wouldn't have your inventory. You would be shipping it off to Ebay, and they'd have to handle the fulfillment. Imagine Ebay employees with your feedback in their hands? It's really laughable. No one cares about your business more than you, and that's what sets Ebay apart from Amazon in the first place. Otherwise, sellers would already be selling on Amazon using their order fulfillment service. Any Ebay seller can tell you this would be the worst thing to ever happen to the online auction site ever.

AuctionBytes points out that when your goods are in your hands, you won't have to worry about shrinkage or improperly shipped items. Whether this statement will hold any water with how Ebay runs itself, only time will tell.

Related posts:
* How to Save Money on Ebay Fees
* How to Handle Problems with Ebay Customers
* Shipping Ebay Items

Friday, July 2, 2010

DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings)

DSR’s are the Detailed Seller Ratings, or the star ratings system appointed to each seller. In addition to leaving positive, negative, or neutral feedback for a transaction, they’ll also have the opportunity to rate you on shipping costs, item as described, fairness of shipping costs, and communication with the buyer. Ebay now uses the DSR ratings to promote certain sellers on the Ebay site. If you have stellar DSR ratings, you could wind up having more clout in the Ebay search than sellers who do not have a good DSR ratings. Like feedback, honesty is key to getting good DSR ratings. The other major factor is the cost of shipping and the speed of delivery. Shipping the item out as quickly as possible and offering free shipping are good ways to boost your DSR ratings.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ebay Seller Tips Blog Weekly Recap

Take some risks, don't live in your parent's basement!
June 21-June 25

People sell on Ebay for a reason, and those reasons are usually to make more money than our jobs can provide, to work from home, or to get rid of things around the house. You might also be a business looking to expand its reach by selling online (and where else to look but the biggest online auction marketplace in the world?).
The best way to grow beyond your wildest dreams on Ebay is to not actually depend totally on Ebay. Huh? Well, you’ll have to do some marketing of your own, outside of Ebay, and you’ll have to take some risks that might involve selling products that have never been sold on Ebay before. If you can corner a niche market and dominate that market, assuming it’s a large enough one, you can pull in a decent amount of money from Ebay. Do your own marketing outside of Ebay, and you might just double those profits in the form of publishing royalties, Adsense income, affiliate revenue, and new sales driven to your store. Maybe making a living off of Ebay isn’t much of a reality for many, so why not think of making it just part of your plan of action? A business idea of selling products on Ebay, in addition to your own website, a blog, and some online articles could pay off in dividends down the line.

Since there were so many posts this week on the blog, I’ve decided to recap them into a post here. To help you reach your goals, here’s what was posted this week on the Ebay Seller Tips Blog:

Monday:

Why Your Auctions Aren’t Making Money
Sometimes it’s not “what didn’t I do right?” It’s “what did I do wrong?” With Ebay, this means eliminating doubts and fears in the buyers head. This post went into detail and about what your auctions might be lacking, and what might be killing your traffic, clicks, and sales.

Tuesday:

Approaching Businesses About Selling Their Products on Ebay
Ebay does have a stigma involved (still). When people hear the word “Ebay,” they automatically think “used gym shorts” or “grilled cheese Virgin Mary.” Ebay might sometimes be associated with junk, as well as the eccentric (sometimes also junk). For some, you’ll never be able to convince them that Ebay is a great place to grow their business. To them, it’s a risk to have their items listed alongside the likes of the Grilled Cheese Virgin Mary. Could this be bad for their business? It’s your job to eliminate fears of those potential clients of yours, and tell them the countless benefits for them, their customers, and their future.

Wednesday

What Customers Want from an Ebay Seller
It’s not about what you want, it’s about what the customer wants. You might love to have your storefront a hot pink color with loud music blaring and glitter falling as you visit the homepage. Your customers might beg to differ! Think about their needs, and what you would think if you visited a page like the one you are visiting. Would you trust it, and more importantly, would you buy from it? If you can’t honestly answer the question, it might be time to get some opinions for unbiased third parties, or at least read the post and see if you can improve your store today.

Thursday:

The Complete List of Where to Find Inventory for Ebay
If everyone knew where to get inventory for Ebay, they still might not make a living off of it. The fact is, you’ll still need to have to put in some work and some sweat equity to make your business profitable. So, here it is, cut and dry, the best places to find your inventory.

Friday:

How to Sell Artwork on Ebay
Ebay isn’t the first place most people go looking for artwork to decorate their home, but it is the home to some really great treasures. The key to making an art business on Ebay thrive isn’t the price, but the consistent offering of well-made professional, original products. It’s also about how well you can spread the word about your art business in a non “sell-out” style. Artists have it tough, and people are especially judgmental about artists who market their artwork. On the other hand, without marketing, you may be living in your parent’s basement forever. Just look at Thomas Kinkade! Clearly, he’s a great marketer, and you can find plenty of his prints available on Ebay.

Next week, some great posts are already lined up. Follow this blog for those new posts (click the follow button on the sidebar), and if you haven't considered it already, visit the Salehoo inventory website to gain access to their massive inventory list and niche building resources.