There is no free lunch. However, there is something I like to call, “A little bit of effort for a lot of return.” eBay Partner Network is one of those opportunities. You might have heard about the glory days of getting $25-$50 for free account signups back when eBay had their affiliate program on Commission Junction. Make no mistake, those days are gone. However, this does not mean that there is no money to be made with EPN. On the contrary, it can be quite a nice little extra stream of income. Let’s look at how it’s done.
Before we go any further, if you don’t have an EPN account, go here and sign up for one right now. It takes them a little while to get around to approving you. You can do the setup without your account and API key, you just need to have it before you go live with your site.
First of all, you are going to pick a niche. There are many eBooks and blogs written just about picking a niche, but let’s not overcomplicate things. All you are looking for is a small niche, something that gets around 20,000+ searches on Google every month, and it has less than 500,000 resulting pages when you search for it on Google. To get yourself kick-started, I like to check out eBay Pulse. The various Top 10 lists they have there for different categories are a great place to start. If you can’t find anything small enough, then laser target even more. Too much competition for baseball bats? Zero in on one specific brand of baseball bats, a smaller brand even. The more targeted the better, as long as there are searches for it every month.
Once you have picked your niche, the next step will be choosing the platform for building your website. The most popular options here are phpBay and BANS, but these both come at a cost. They are worth the money, but if you are looking to just start out with your first EPN niche site, I would recommend McJiffy. It is a completely free open-source script, and I’ve used it for profitable sites myself. The rest of this guide will assume that you are using McJiffy. Once you have got your platform squared away, it’s time to set up your website.
You will want to buy a domain name with your relevant niche keywords in the domain itself. You also want to have some type of value-based keyword in your domain. Examples: CheapHuffyBikes.com, PaylessNintendoGames.com, etc. I would recommend sticking with a .COM or .NET, stay away from .BIZ or .INFO, they look cheap and spammy. We are going to be promoting our EPN site through SEO, so it needs to be relevant and easy to remember.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle will be hosting. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, I’ve used Hostgator shared hosting for this, just make sure you get the Baby package with unlimited addon domains. This way you can use the one hosting account to host all your niche sites. Quantity is the name of the game with this tactic.
Now that you’ve got all the components, it’s time to put them together and build your first EPN site! Unzip your McJiffy script, and upload it to your hosting account on the root of the domain that you purchased. There’s just a couple of modifications that need to be made to the McJiffy site to maximize profit. First of all, use Google Images to find a relevant header image for your website. You can just leave the green default header in there if you want, but the image will make it look much better. Second, you will want to write a description of your product and/or website. Something like, “About Huffy Bikes”. This doesn’t have to be 100% original, you can grab content from Wikipedia or even the company’s official website and bio, just make sure you re-write it in your own words so that Google won’t penalize you for duplicate content. Try to keep this description/bio to around 300-500 words. If you suck at writing, you can hire an article writer to do this for you for very cheap. Just check around on the various forums.
All of these steps should take you several hours if you are quick, and a few days if you are taking it easy. We’re going to take a break at this point to let you get started on your website, and pick up next week on Part 2: Marketing Your EPN Site.
Now go get to work!