In the Business Blogs That Work, Part 1, we shared some expert advice from social media marketing guru Tamar Weinberg for getting a blog up and running. We keep stressing the need to get your blog going because it can be such a great tool for driving traffic to your eBay listings and your eBay store.
In this article, eBay PowerSeller, writer and speaker Skip McGrath shares some additional advice that's especially germane to eBay sellers. Not only does he describe how to go about fashioning a blog that will boost your eBay business, he describes how you can earn big money through affiliate programs and through Google's AdSense program.
First, here's a bit more background: McGrath's eBay username is mcgrrrrr, and he sells mostly in the Home & Garden category. He also sells photographic light tents for eBay sellers. In addition to being an eBay PowerSeller, he's also a Top-rated Seller.
We understand that the idea of creating a blog from scratch can freeze those fingers. Where do you start? As other experts have told us, McGrath suggests you consider a niche blog covering the same product niche in which you're selling on eBay.
"This can be an awesome tool for driving traffic to your eBay listings," he says. For example, "if you were selling some type of collectible such as Flow Blue pottery and you write about that in your blog, you will get found in Google and Yahoo when people are searching for those products."
You can then simply list your auctions, or import a Scrolling Gallery from Auctiva, for example, to display your listings at the bottom of your posts, he adds.
McGrath's own blog offers tips and strategies for e-commerce sellers selling through eBay as well as other channels. This broader approach works best for him given his reputation in this industry as an eBay expert, and the fact that his own niche is not product-specific. But the posts that work the best at driving traffic to his listings are specific to his products; within those posts he can link to his listings.
"If I write a post with tips for taking good photos for eBay, I would put a link to my eBay Store, where I sell the EZ Cube Digital Photo Light Cube Tents," he notes. "I have done that, and it has resulted in sales."
The trick is to find an affiliate program that relates to your content—and that has good products you can stand behind
Promoting your blog
Like other bloggers, McGrath promotes his own blog by posting elsewhere. He'll post on related blog sites, for example, and include a link back to his own blog. Also, when he writes a new post, he'll tweet about it on Twitter (where he has 9,800 followers) and post a message on Facebook. In addition, McGrath works hard at crafting his titles, heads and subheads, to boost the chances that Google and other search engines will include his posts. These efforts seem to be paying off quite well. His blog traffic runs to about 300 to 400 visitors a day. He also has another 200 or so people who subscribe to his blog through an RSS feed.
Now, you don't have to promote just your own listings to make money from your blog. You can also join the eBay Partner Network, which is eBay's affiliate program. Once you do that, "when you blog, you can grab your listings from eBay to display in your blog, or you can grab other listings, and if they sell you will earn an affiliate commission from eBay," McGrath says.
The really good news is that there are many other affiliate programs besides eBay's. In fact, one source, Affiliate Scout, describes nearly 30,000 such programs! Don't fret. In his book How to Make Money Blogging From Home, McGrath covers this whole topic in detail. To narrow the field, he suggests you join affiliate programs relating to your blog's content. So if your blog was about some aspect of food or cooking, you would join affiliate programs such as Omaha Steaks or Wine of the Month club, he says. Similarly, if your blog was about photography, you would look into affiliate programs such as those from B&H Photo, Ritz Photo or HP Snapfish.
"The trick is to find an affiliate program that relates to your content—and that has good products you can stand behind," he says. "Because when you recommend something, people tend to hold you accountable—as they should."
But wait, including links to your eBay listings and participating in affiliate programs are not the only ways to make money from your blog. There's also the Google AdSense program.
"This is where you put free code from Google on your blog, and they will serve up ads that relate to the content of your post. When people click on these ads, you earn money. Last year I earned more than $20,000 just from that one source," he says.
So there you have it. A blog can be a way to drive people to your listings, earn money from affiliate programs and take advantage of Google's AdSense program. And all this activity takes place 24/7. So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!