I ordered my copy of BANS this morning, to review over the weekend...
I was in and downloading the product in less than a minute. Its set up through ClickBank, which takes PayPal, so I didnt even have to whip out a credit card - I just paid for it out of the affiliate commissions in my account.
The download file included a 74-page detailed User Manual, the templates & files and access to the BANS member-only forum. I unzipped the files, opened the manual for a quick scan (very impressive!) and headed over to the private forum...
In addition to the User Manual which is included in your BANS pack, there is the BANS member area which contains a community forum made up of a large knowledgebase of over 25,000 posts covering just about everything from installation to traffic generation and a growing selection of BANS related tutorials.
I have to say, I'm really impressed with the BANS site. Its not the typical one-page salesletter that you see for a software program or info-product, but instead an entire community and resource. I love the model, as it really gives you a sense of the support they offer. Instead of feeling like a buyer, you click the order button ready to become a member. Very "Web 2.0" for a sales letter...
The BANS Member Forum is impressive as well. There are over 30,000 posts already, so its pretty active. I headed over to the Tips & Success Stories section first - just to see what I'd find there. Exactly what I expected - lots of happy BANS users
I set up my profile at the Member Forum, added it to my bookmarks, and headed off to dig into the User Manual...
Once you've familiarized yourself with the software it will not take you longer than 10 minutes to build a basic store leaving you with plenty of free time to use the built in features of BANS to develop your store and employ effective marketing strategies to bring relevant people through to relevant products...
Lesson 1 of the 9 lessons went into detail on how to set up hosting, choose a domain name and join the eBay affiliate program. Since I am not a new user, and am already an affiliate for eBay, I simply scanned this section and focused on choosing a niche and selecting a domain name.
Picking a niche - Hmm... where to start Well the obvious, of course! I headed straight over to What's Hot on eBay's Seller Central. Since these niche websites revolve around eBay products, I want to get an idea of what's hot on eBay these days.
The affiliate program pays a percentage of the high bid, so I definitely take an interest in higher priced product types. I also want to choose a niche that has a wide range of product listings - to ensure there is plenty to build a site around.
Another idea is to look at product types that would attract new people to eBay, as their affiliate program pays up to $25 for new registrations. In this case, the price range would be less of an issue - and while it might take a little creativity, you'd want to target a market that may be new to eBay. People who are into electronics and computers for example, most likely already have an eBay account.
I started by looking over the Buyer Behavior Report, and then checked out the Hot Items by Category. Again, you can find both of these in the What's Hot section on eBay. The current report is for November 2007, so it's very up-to-date.
Looking over the categories, the first two that caught my attention were Musical Instruments and Business & Industrial. Both of these just might fit my criteria of reaching newer users and having higher prices.
There's no magic to that, really. Its kind of a "go with your gut" thing. I'm sure no two people would select the same categories or make the same decisions right off the bat. At any rate...
Between the two, Musical Instruments interests me more. My son plays bass and I love live bands (again, no magic - no science). A quick search on WordTracker shows 1252 searches a day across the major search engines for the phrase "musical instruments" - so that's a good start.
Related keywords in the "Super Hot" section of the What's Hot report for Musical Instruments - like electronic keyboards (88/day), trumpet (2012/day), flute (1906/day), vintage guitars (211/day), drums (3534/day) etc - have decent numbers of searches as well.
I like the idea of working with such a wide range of related products, as this will get wider exposure in the major search engines. And in addition to eBay's affiliate program, there will be plenty of alternate revenue sources to work with as well - affiliate programs, Google Adsense, etc.
So the niche for my new BANS site is now chosen: Musical Instruments. That was easy . Obviously you can get more specific with your niche, or work with a combination of niches. For the sake of this example, and my first BANS site, I just went with an easy choice.
Next on the task list is choosing a domain name. I start by looking at my base keyword in WordTracker to see if I can find a good combination of words to use in the "dot com":
1252 musical instruments
158 used musical instruments
91 discount musical instruments
88 homemade musical instruments
84 yamaha musical instruments
MusicalInstruments.com, UsedMusicalInstruments.com and DiscountMusicalInstruments.com were all three already taken - as expected. I settled for SearchMusicalInstruments.com (I love an action word in a domain name!) and registered that through GoDaddy.com.
Now that I have the niche chosen and the domain name registered, I'll simply set up my first BANS site on my HostGator account (you can host unlimited domains & sites on one hosting account for less than $10/mo).
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this BANS Review where I'll show you the site I created, and let you know if it was really as easy as they claim...