There are 3 Steps to BANS or Build a Nice Store Success, even in 2009 – do you follow them?

This post is part of the Watch Me Build a BANS Niche Site from Scratch series! Be sure to read all the posts for more information!

The Last year with Build a Niche Store

I haven’t blogged about BANS sites in awhile and it’s funny because I’ve seen some posts that try and say “BANS is dead”, niche store scripts aren’t a viable way to make money online anymore. Meanwhile there are lots of people quietly making a small fortune with their little empire of niche stores. I can see why some of them don’t blog about it – because BANS and niche stores in general just completely saturated the market, so much in fact that google took aim at niche stores and practically deindexed everything on a .info domain with eBay auctions of any kind.

When I started this series nearly a year ago I didn’t know a lot about BANS or niche stores at all. I purchased BANS for $97 and it the main attraction was the fact that you got an unlimited site license, and lifetime upgrades. Pay once, and use it forever on as many sites as you want seemed pretty attractive at the time. Problem was spammers saw this opportunity and paid $97 one time and wrote scripts to auto-setup 1,000 .info domains from godaddy for $.99 cents each. Those guys were just raking in cash before eBay moved the affiliate program from Commission Junction to in house (now the eBay Partner Network and before google attacked the problem of “thin affiliate sites”. This term (although not exclusive to) was kind of derived from a BANS site with nothing but eBay auctions and no content at all. While BANS has a section to add “content pages” it’s most certainly not the main focus of the software. Google’s targeting of BANS actually lead to a huge movement of setting up a WordPress blog in the root of a domain and then BANS in a subfolder and adding a theme that had some WordPress BANS integration.

Whether or not you have BANS installed on a web domain by itself, or as a subsection you can still make money. It’s not fair to unilaterally blame BANS and say “you can’t make money with it anymore”. Sure you can. eBay is a billion dollar business with hundreds of millions of visitors each and every day in every country of the world. But I’m not going to lie (like many bloggers) and say you can cash in and make riches over night. You have to put in the time to build up the site once you install BANS it’s not magic. It’s not rocket science either – you just need to follow a plan and take the time to work out all the details you need in order to be successful.

It’s also not like I’m claiming to be uber-successful with BANS like some, but I do get an eBay check each month and have for the last year since I first purchased BANS. I did start thinking about it again in the last month because my time got occupied with some other projects so I emailed some other “niche store owners” that I made contact with over the last year and asked them how they were doing. Everyone was having success, and actually much greater than mine to my surprise. The amounts varied from $1,500-$10,000 per month. I employed a few very basic techniques for just one week, and doubled the amount of eBay commissions I’ll receive this month. I won’t divulge exactly how much, but it’s more than a car payment and less than a mortgage.

How to Succeed with BANS in 2009

Whether you’re going to buy Build a Niche Store, or already have it setup you can benefit for my recipe for success (even if you’re already making money):

3 Steps to BANS Success

  1. Register with Google, MSN, and Yahoo! search engines
  2. Make Regular Updates
  3. Constantly work on Promotion

Let me break down these steps for you so they make more sense:

1. Register with Google, MSN, and Yahoo! search engines: Probably the biggest mistake I see in BANS sites is that the owners don’t register the sitemap file with the search engines. Many people dropped their .info sites once google started targeting BANS, but I kept mine. I still make money on it (even though it’s not listed in google) – mainly from MSN and Yahoo. I talked to one niche store owner last week that makes $1,500 a month from his niche store from MSN traffic alone! Your sitemap is how the search engines know of any changes of updates to your site. BANS version 3.0 has a feature that creates a “sitemap.xml” file in the root of your BANS store just like this one. Google might look for that file even if you don’t submit it, but in my experience MSN and Yahoo don’t always. I didn’t see any MSN traffic at all until I registered with MSN Live Search and submitted my sitemap. I wrote about this along time ago – you can find out in my previous post Increase Traffic with MSN, Yahoo, and Google!

2. Make Regular Updates: This is another (nearly constanly) missed step. I even do it (all the time). Search engines like activity, and to them activity equals current information. I’ve learned some weird things about this too – completely by accident. I always thought with BANS sites that I had to write new content pages to get more traffic. While that is definitely the best source or more visitors, if you just login to your BANS site every day and change a few words on one page, or maybe add a paragraph and a Youtube video to an existing page – that updates your sitemap. An updated sitemap gives the search engines something new to index, only if you physically took 60 seconds to add a few words. Viewing my stats I realized that I got more visitors every single time I made an update – no matter how simple. Don’t just make updates (when you can) – make “regular updates”. If you let your site get stagnant for a month or more with no update, you’re just asking the search engines to drop you down in the results.

3. Constantly work on Promotion: Many of you will read this point and be like “yeah, yeah, I know – build links, comment on blogs, write articles, exchange links, I know, I know…”. Let me be clear on this – if you’re not making money – you don’t have the traffic. I’ve not heard from a SINGLE BANS owner “I get 5,000 visits a day and I make no money…” The people that make very little money get very little traffic!!

So – I’m telling you to go back and re-evaluate your activities. I don’t care what you “think” you did to promote your BANS site, it’s obviously not enough to get the money YOU wanted or you wouldn’t still be reading this article – would you? I read something the other day that really hit home with me, it was about bloggers promoting a particular program on Clickbank, in fact it was about “super affiliates”. A “super affiliate” is someone consistently making $10-100,000 per month – and I’m not talking about people “building lists” or hyping the next garbage eBook either. I’m talking about people promoting eBay, Amazon, LinkShare, Commission Junction, etc. The article said that they “uber-successful” affiliates did all kinds of online promotion but many thought article marketing worked best. In fact they felt it was the best link building exercise (for them). In their particular page they had a landing page for a particular product to promote, and to be successful indicated that they needed a MINIMUM of 50-100 articles to promote that ONE page.

Now I’ve always thought of myself as pretty good in the linkbuilding and promotional department. But in over 2 years of using EzineArticles.com to submit articles I only have 35 articles live. Looking at them again today I realize that all 35 combined promote maybe a total of 7 different pages (sites). If I wanted to be like one of those super affiliates, for those 7 pages or sites I have used article marketing only 5 times each – and the super affiliates use a minimum of 50-100 articles per page promoted. I guess I’m about 315 articles short aren’t I? But then again, the very first BANS site I started with this series Used Cell Phones only gets a couple hundred visits per day. I make money with it, and nearly every day it has a sale. But if I’d written 45 more articles to promote it I’d probably have 9 times more traffic, nearly several thousand per day, which would probably amount to 10 sales per day and probably $1,000 per month in income from just that site.

In the beginning I commented on a log of blogs and forums and did link building for that BANS site, but stopped after 4-6 months maybe. Constant promotion is just that, and my biggest flaw it looks like was not only stopping the promotion but not using any goals to quantify it.

Calculation of Results

Now that I’ve slapped you in the face with little dose of reality let me remind you that these goals are actually achievable if you (and I) are willing to put in the time. You (like me) should be evaluating where you are at right now on your main BANS sites and projects online.

Take your main BANS site:

  1. How many visitors does it get per day?
  2. How much does it make per month?
  3. How many articles did you write to promote it?
  4. How often do you update it (in any way)?
  5. How many links did you build (forums, comments, etc)?

All the Super Affiliates (and successful BANS owners I know) get more than 1,000 visitors per day, and the better ones all get 5-10,000 per day. NOT ENOUGH VISITORS – is probably the one reason you aren’t making the money you want to. To be successful in 2009 you need a plan to get from point A to point B.

MAKE THE PLAN:

For my site (for example) I have 5 articles and need 45 more. I probably need to build at least 40+ links as well, and update 4-5 times per week. I would like to execute this plan within 30-60 days.

MAP OUT THE TIME:

– writing 45 quality articles would probably take 45 hours (an hour each)
– building 40 links is roughly about 5 hours work (for quality comments and not auto-commenting spam programs)
– updates 4-5 times per week is 5-15 minutes each time

This means (for my work schedule) writing an article per day 5-6 days per week for 2 months, doing small updates 4-5 days per week and building links every day. We’re talking about basically 2 hours constant work 5-6 days per week for two months one just ONE page of ONE BANS site for success.

Procrastination and Distraction HELL

Like I posted last week in blogging diligence, the worst problems I have are putting things off, too many projects, and distractions. If I own 40 domains and maintain 20 working web sites the work I put in every day is a little bit on as many as I can. I haven’t concentrated enough focused effort on “just one site” to get incredible results. Figure out what you want and how to get there, and then work the roadmap you laid out diligently. It’s funny when I think about it, because really Forrest Gump could make money with this kind of plan (and probably would be better at it). Mainly because he wouldn’t question “why” – he would just plod along and do it, and success would follow. Did you ever have a teacher in high school tell you that if you saved 10% of every pay check you earned and banked that money (and never touched it) by age 30 you’d be a millionaire? You could have been a millionaire by now from your regular 9-5 job but just weren’t diligent enough to do it. Now do you understand why there are so few “super affiliates” out there?