In Part One of this BANS Review I ordered and downloaded the product, chose a niche and domain name, and set up my hosting account. That got me through Lesson One of the manual.
I decided to print out the 74-page User Manual when I sat down to begin the actual installation and set-up of my new BANS site.
If you are not already familiar with BANS, it stands for Build A Niche Store and its a cool new product for developing affiliate sites that is getting rave reviews. You can read my initial thoughts and also Part One of the BANS review for more information...
The installation was actually pretty simple. The manual guides you through the process step-by-step, including detailed screen shots of each step. Things like uploading files, changing file permissions, etc, are like second nature to me - but I really loved the detail in the manual. Anyone can set up a niche website with these instructions in front of them - its practically foolproof!
While the files were uploading, I read ahead in the manual. You only have to change the permissions on one file - or actually one of the directories. That only took a second.
Next was creating the MYSQL Database for the script to run, which also included step by step instructions and screen shots. Again, it only took a few seconds to have that step completed.
Within 10 minutes I was logging in to the Admin area of my new BANS site! And honestly, what took the longest was waiting for the files to upload, and then reading along in the manual to make sure I didnt miss a step. Amazing!
My basic BANS site was set up just as quickly as they said it would be...
Now it's time to start customizing!
I have to confess - I'm really enjoying this.
Lesson 3 in the User Manual walks you through each of the areas within the Admin panel, explaining each of the options and how you use them. The Admin area was pretty much self-explanatory, but the instructions certainly dont hurt!
Lesson 4 walks you through setting up your online store (your niche site). At this point I'm still only 15 minutes into it, at the most (and that includes me typing this as I go, with laundry running and dinner in the oven lol).
Niche Site Development
Customizing your new BANS site is as easy as following the on-screen instructions, step by step. There are 14 fields to fill out that relate to your store's niche and your preferences (and the manual walks you through every single one - there is NO guesswork here). The process took less than 5 minutes.
If you read Part One of this review, you'll recall that I chose Musical Instruments as my general niche for this niche store.
This is how my new site (SearchMusicalInstruments.com) looks at this point in the setup process:
Lessons 5-9 walk you through selecting a template and fleshing out the details for your new online store. Just 15-20 minutes into it, I'm already ready to select a customized template for my new site and begin customizing the look and feel.
This section of the User Manual gives you many customization options, including creating your own templates or modifying the templates that are provided. The documentation for each of the options is excellent - very detailed, and including screen shots for each.
I want a custom header graphic for my musical instruments site, so I headed over to iStockPhoto and found a cool graphic to use for that. I didnt spend a lot of time on this step, so I may create something a little nicer for the site later on. For now, I just wanted to get through the steps and check it out.
I am now part way through Lesson 6, and ready to customize the Home Page. Already the site is starting to shape up nicely:
I am VERY impressed with the Build A Niche Store system already, and looking forward to continuing to work on this project. The admin panel is super easy to use, the entire process is lightning fast and super simple, and there is no end to the customizations you can do - including editing category pages, adding new pages, adding new content to existing pages, etc etc etc...
In Part 3 of this review, we'll look at the next steps: fleshing out your BANS store for the highest ROI, as well as other ideas and options to make the most of your new BANS site ...