BANS Review, Part 3: Developing A BANS Site

This is Part 3 in a review on BANS, aka "Build a Niche Store"
See Part One | See Part Two

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. It is super simple and incredibly fast to get a website up and running with this program. Click here for more information on BANS

Once you have your first BANS site created, its time to dig in and add your personal touch to it. In this third and final phase of the BANS Review, I'll walk through some of the customization options and share some tips to help you make the most of your new niche website...

In Part Two of this review, I walked through the setup and installation of my first niche affiliate store using BANS. In less than 30 minutes I had a brand new site up about Musical Instruments:

As I was getting familiar with the BANS features, I began to realize that this program works very much like a CMS - a Content Management System. You can add your own static pages easily, customize each of the pages the script creates for you, and basically create a fully functional affiliate site out of the tools & options in the Admin panel of your BANS setup.

In short, this system ROCKS! ;)

I'm not a big fan of automated systems or site builders with limited functionality. They usually generate websites with very little unique content and very limited features. That could even be said about BANS if you whipped up a site real quick and tried to market it "right out of the box".

That said, BANS is incredibly versatile compared to most site builders on the market, allowing you to customize the entire site - even the product pages it creates - to suit your needs. As I said, it works more like a CMS than a turnkey site builder and offers plenty of room to grow.

BANS definitely gets a thumbs-up from me for being easy to set up, easy to use, and as a super-fast way to create affiliate sites...

Developing Your BANS Site

Once you get your new niche site up and running, which should only take about 30 minutes at the most, it's time to flesh it out a bit and start customizing it. We'll take a quick look at some of the features and options that BANS offers, and the elements you should consider adding to your core site...

I started out with the basic site that you see in the screenshot above. The first thing I want to do is customize the template, and basically just make it look nicer. As you can tell, my basic colors are black, red & white. I created a quick graphic header and changed the page background to black - so now its time to make the rest of the site match that theme.

I'm not really a creative type, so I headed over to the BANS site to check out some of the styles that other users created. (You can see them by going to BANS and clicking Customer Stores). In addition to picking up some great ideas there, I checked out the Template Guide offered in the members-only area. This is an awesome detailed resource for every modification you can imagine!

Making changes is pretty much as simple as changing out the color codes in the style sheet. Even if you are not familiar with CSS and stylesheets, the Template Guide has simple instructions and screen shots for every kind of change you might want to make.

In fact, with a few simple changes to that one file, I got a whole new look:

Like I said, I'm not all that creative. But the difference between the before and after images you see here took all of about 10 minutes of tweaking. That's it!

Making Your BANS Site Unique

We now have a fully functional niche affiliate store. You could easily start promoting this site through Pay-Per-Click advertising, article marketing and other means. But in order to truly make your site unique, and ultimately rank well in the major search engines, you want to make it unique.

In addition to fleshing out your BANS site for good Search Engine Optimization, you also want to consider Visitor Optimization. This just means making it the best resource possible for your target market (your ideal visitor).

As you've probably already guessed, I know nothing at all about musical instruments. So writing up a bunch of cool unique content on the topic is not going to happen. But that's okay - there are other options ;)

I'll start by doing some keyword research to find out what my target market is looking for, in the way of information. I'll choose some keyword phrases and create new content pages around them. This is easy to do in the BANS admin panel of course - you can create as many content pages as you like, and put whatever you want on them.

Ideas for new pages on my musical instruments site might include: Instructional Guides, Learn To Play Guitar, Musical Instrument History, Antique Musical Instruments, etc - honestly I am just guessing at the moment.

Once I do the in-depth keyword research to get a feel for what my market wants, my next step will be to locate content. I'll need content for the site, for a free report I may want to offer, for articles to submit, and even for an autoresponder series.

As for the actual content, my first task will be in locating PLR (Private Label Rights) Content that I can modify and use. Second is to outsource the writing to a freelancer. I might have them create resource pages, write reviews (based on reviews shown on Amazon, for example), and do the research to write How-To articles.

Of course, if you choose a niche you are familiar with, you can do this type of work yourself.

Adding New Streams Of Revenue

The basis for the BANS site is to build a niche store that uses the eBay affiliate program. While this is a great way to monetize the site, you'll want to add additional revenue sources to your new site as well.

Ideas include:

  • Google Adsense
  • Books/Products from the Amazon.com affiliate program
  • Affiliate Programs for Related Products
  • Your own Reports/Info Products

I'll be looking heavily into PLR, and also into info products related to the musical instruments market to see what kind of JV's I might be able to strike up. At the very least, I want to put together a free report to encourage visitors to get on the mailing list for the site.

I havent set up the mailing list yet, but that's definitely on the list. You MUST have a mailing list ;)

I hope this overview helps you decide whether BANS is right for you. If you are looking for an easy way to set up your very first niche affiliate site, I would highly recommend you go with BANS. Even as a seasoned affiliate marketer, I am absolutely in love with the system and will be using it to create new niche sites... over and over and over.

This ranks right up there in my tool-set with WordPress!

Best,

P.S. If you want to see my BANS Site, to get an idea of the end result, you can check it out for yourself: www.SearchMusicalInstruments.com

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Thanks Al and Lynn,

    Here is what their support said:

    "It doesn't matter whether you are using a Mac or PC as our software is a web-based application but Safari does cause problems with the built in WYSIWYG HTML Editor inside the admin panel and so you would need to use FireFox to add content to your store."

    I guess there should be some way around this problem. For example, would it be possible to use an external WYSIWYG HTML Editor to copy and paste ?
    Which one do you recommend(free one if there is) ?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. ok, bans support guy told me that yes, those who have problems with Safari, can use external WYSIWYG Editor. Here is what he said:

    >>>When you upload a BANS store there is a folder named - scripts - which controls the built in WYSIWYG HTML editor...

    If you don't upload the - scripts - folder then there will just be a plain input box that you could then paste HTML into using an external WYSIWYG HTML editor :)

  3. ...and btw, a new bans v 3.0 is coming out on Monday.
    Lynn, did you know that ?

  4. Ahh MACs - and the old line ending code :) - now I understand your problem.

    OK, you love Safari (my sister has this too and seems quite content with it) but there definitely used to be a difference between Macs, PCs and they way they handled line endings when using server-based script editors. Macs could definitely corrupt the display be adding in line endings instead of displaying the wrapped input text in a paragraph, for example. I'm glad there's a solution to this.

    Looking forward to Bans 3.0 on Monday.

    best
    Margaret

  5. Now I see where you're going. Interesting workaround. One piece of advice would be to wait for BANS 3.0 at this point if you haven't already built.

    Let us know how the external editor solution works out. One thing a lot of people do with post that request help, is that they rarely end the string with the outcome and details. They just leave it hanging. To me that is annoying. When searching for a solution, finding the perfect thread, and after reading every post it just ends with a "played around and fixed the problem"

    Al

  6. Hi Al..zal..al..zal..al...;-)

    I guess you're using BANS, how long ?
    do you like it ?
    I like the idea very much, they are smart people there.
    Does it work with say, half.com and amazon ?

    ok, I'll tell you why I posted the follow up, I like this site! I like Lynn! I think she is a gem!;-)
    I feel that this site is one of the few very best ones offering help for almost nothing.
    Whatever I discover I'll post here and on forum.
    I just need to come up with $90 to get bans.
    maybe I go and sell something on ebay...

  7. Does it work with say, half.com and amazon ?

    It works specifically with the eBay affiliate program, but you can add other promotions to your niche store once you create it - in addition to the eBay affiliate listings.

  8. Thanks Lynn,
    wouldn't it be nice if they make it work with Amazon and half.com ?
    I'm sure they have it in mind..

  9. Hi Zal

    You can really do about anything you want to. BANS allows you to easily ad content pages which can be monetized. I easily added 3 featured sellers wby using additional feeds from ebay tools. I also added ebooks. I guess what I'm getting at mostly is that BANS initially sets up as an eBay category niche store but, then you can pretty much add revenue streams as you see fit.

    My store hasn't done very much but, that is my fault for not getting it out there yet. That will be happening soon as I have learned a lot more about the marketing end of the business. I learned a lot about modifying my BANS store as I wanted a different look to it and not a cookie cutter look. That meant I had to invest the time to learn some html, css, and php. That can all be applied to other sites.

    Al

  10. I've decided not to build my BANS sites just yet. Whatever site one builds, whether a BANS site or a blog, it will require the same amount of time and effort in generating traffic and pre-qualified visitors.

    I've decided to continue building my primary business for now and to focus all my energy on that. I'm feeling much more confident now that I am focused instead of being scattered all over with every new thing that comes along.

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't use BANS, I'm just saying it doesn't fit into my schedule at the moment. BANS will come later when it fits into my business plan, and when I'm ready to branch out into secondary revenue streams.

  11. Florentina says:

    I've heard about BANS sites only recently but from what I read it involves a lot of work to make a decent amount of money because ebay commisions are so low. Reading your article makes me think it isn't so hard to create this type of sites. I'm thinking of giving it a try.

  12. Its pretty simple, really. And you can monetize them with more than just the eBay affiliate program too, which helps a lot.

  13. Lynn:

    I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but any updates on this site in terms of traffic and revenue? And is this the only BANS site you have running so far?

    Travis

  14. It is the only one so far, yes. I will sit down and check my stats on the site once I get caught up here (I just bought my first home & moved - its been nuts here!). I'll be sure to post an update soon ;)

  15. California Jerry says:

    Lots of changes happening at eBay too I hear. Will those have any effect on BANS from what you can tell? Looking forward to hearing about your site. Hope all is well with your new home.

  16. Yes, I heard about that as well and I'm looking into it - hopefully there will be an easy integration. Thank you, and thank you for the kind words on your blog this week! :D

  17. Best Website Builder says:

    Lynn,
    Just wondering how your BANS website is doing right now? I mean, how much income the website is generating right now... BANS looks pretty interesting but IMHO, I'm not sure if it works since your sample don't have enough content.

  18. I havent worked on it much since I initially set it up, but as I said above I will check the stats and report in on that - and I'll also be using that sample site in case studies throughout the rest of the year. Stay tuned ;)

  19. Nell Taliercio says:

    Can you download the software (I'm assuming it's a program you run on your own computer) on two computers? I need it on my laptop and desktop. I emailed supprt and have not heard back and checked their help files and found no answer to this question.

  20. Its actually a set of files that you install on your hosting server, so all you would have to do is burn them to a CD or transfer them through your home network.

    Long story short - you're good to go ;)

  21. Nell Taliercio says:

    Oh really? Sounds like something I'll have my VA do. LOL Thanks Lynn.

  22. Great info. Thanks!

  23. I am teetering on the edge of purchasing this, so it would be great if you could do an update on how you have got on and how many visitors you have had or if you have made any money.
    Many thanks

  24. Will do - I'll work on publishing some updates soon. In the meantime, for even more ideas for your BANS sites, see: http://www.clicknewz.com/1225/passion-vs-profit/

  25. Hey Lynn I have been following along on your bans reviews. I have over 200 of these sites now and I'm getting anywhere from 4-20 unique hits per day. Trickle traffic that pays. I'm getting on average about $1 per day per site. some do much better (as you make $25 when someone signs up for ebay) and some don' t more than $.20 a week but on average I'm getting about a buck a day.

    With bans it's all about quantity quantity quantity and proper keyword selection. That's what everybody really needs to know to make money with bans. If you work the right keyword strings and get your links you WILL start to rank. All you need is like 20 uniques a day...and the right keyword. I go semi broad on the index and super targeted on my pages. For instance my index might be " Gibson Guitars" but my other two pages will be "Gibson Les Paul Custom 1960 re-issue" and "Gibson Les Paul Standard Pickups".

    In my experience, time is better spent making another bans site and getting links with anchor text (or else you wont make money) rather than slaving over one site and making it super pretty and special. That's a waste of time and you can't make any money that way. I aim to make a buck a day...from 200 ( it will be 500 soon) sites. That's how it is really done.

    Although your header looks nice and it is wise to change the header to something less generic. But again, experience tells me this, not the experts. Just like I've learned from experience that mixing diff types of monetization on one site is a loser idea. It just doesn't work and anyone who says it does doesn't make any money online. Sure, diversify your income but do it with different sites.

    20 uniques a day---$.50 to $1 per site---build hundreds of sites. Keep building and building and building and getting links and more links and when your links get counted you will make money.

    Look, I'm reading your blog and the comments from your readers and you are all having fun with bans. It's easy etc...but I can tell that all of you are totally clueless!

    You all seem like nice folks here at this blog and it kills me to see you all are like the blind leading the blind. Do what I said and you'll finally make money.

    Good luck all!

  26. We're totally clueless, ey? That's a rather bold statement. While I agree a lot of the people posting in this thread are learning, I wouldn't say they are clueless. If you read the posts, it's people wanting to learn more about the BANS system - and how to use it effectively.

    The fact that you have to build 200+ sites to make $200/day leads me to believe that BANS is not for me. I make that with just 2 sites. Now you tell me who's clueless?

    I'd rather build QUALITY sites that will withstand the test of time - rather than build a bunch of thin affiliate sites that will sooner or later get knocked out of the top results.

    And you can integrate eBay with your WordPress blogs through the phpBay Pro plugin, but you already know that since we're all so clueless.

    Travis

  27. There are several long-winded comments on the BANS review threads here at ClickNewz by this same person. I havent decided yet if I am going to remove them or respond to them. Its not worth a big debate, but does leave some points open for clarification.

    At any rate, I'm down with a feverish cold and not up for it today. So that's that for now.

  28. I have looked at your SearchMusical.....com site and it looks exactly the same as eBay. As a customer, why would I go to your site instead of just going to eBay myself? Are you offering anything else of value that isnt on eBay? Please tell us if you are making any profit. Y ou havent answered that question yet.

  29. Hi Frank,

    That site was set up as a 'demo' while reviewing the BANS software, and used as an example for visual results during the review.

    I will be using it in case studies for future posts, but havent actively worked with that particular BANS site as of yet.

    Many of the sites I share publicly get 'ripped off' in one way or another and so dont make for good long term studies but rather visual examples. Make sense?

    To answer your question, the goal is to get your BANS site in front of the target market in other ways. Sure someone can go straight to eBay and search for products, but your goal is to get in front of the people in user groups or that search on the search engines and then redirect them to eBay from there.

    Social Marketing and SEO are both excellent means of funneling that traffic.

  30. Work at Home says:

    Travis, you make $200 a day with two bans sites or blogs? Which is it? Hey travis, what happens when the algorithm changes or something else happens and your 2 sites are suddenly not making money. This happens to everyone at one time or another. Remember all the folks who built up their sites and rank using reciprocal linking? Well they're not ranking like they used to.

    It took me 2 weeks to set up those bans site because it's so fast and easy! Of course, I didn't make money right away (on a couple I did with a pre-owned domain and a sweet link from a pr4 blog).

    Travis, I know you can be successful with a so called quality site but it takes a long long time that way. The way I do it you can start getting paid almost right away. Great for beginners too because it's not complicated and THEY can make money...even if they are clueless...with a hundred sites.

    Besides, I doubt you are making that...show us one of your sites. Mine look like shit but they rank and make money. Let's see your $200 per day sites. I doubt you'll post it.

    Lynn, if you can't tolerate an opinion that is different than yours or a personality thats different than your then delete my comments.

    Do you even make any money with your bans sites? And if so show us a step by step to make it happen. I dont give two hoots about making it look pretty, I want to know how to make money with them.

    I challenge you to show us JUST ONE bans site. I'll make one along the same keywords and in 4 months we'll see who ranks where on the serps.

    I'll show my ONE bans site if you do. I know it's not usually something you want to do (showing sites) but lets show your readers who knows what about getting targeted traffic and ranking.

    Like a case study. I'll tell you right now you don't stand a chance because I actually do this for a living.

    Travis you too. Show us your site. I'll build a shit blog with crappy content and outrank you with seo too.

    Lynn, I have to say you 've been pretty tolerant with my long winded comments, but at least I add some fresh content to your page:)

  31. neo2012 says:

    Gee, I hate stepping into the middle of a good pissing contest but I gotta at least ask..... Why is everyone so secreative about their BANS sites? I thought the whole point of starting a website in any form is to get your site seen and used. How can that take place with the "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" point of view? Hell, some of my sites make a little money and others dont and I actually encourage people to take a peek....

    http://mediazene.com/disney-collectibles
    http://shop-vintage-guitars.com
    http://mediazene.com/all-about-guitars

    Sorry Lynn - You can kill the links if you think its inappropriate. My point is we have all put in the work to get our sites listed and looking nice (or not), lets show em off and get people to use them like we originally intended.

  32. Frank:

    I don't use BANS. My point is, a guy can either build hundreds of websites to make $200/day OR one or two quality sites and make the same thing. I'd rather do the latter.

    As for immediate income, I do that too - with PPC.

    And I have already posted one of my sites. You didn't catch it? Again, who is clueless here???

    Travis

  33. Work at Home says:

    Lynn, thanks for putting up with me I know I seem like a dick but I'm speaking the truth and sometimes it sounds ugly.

    Travis, I didn't see that you had posted one of your sites on this post. My bad. I should have taken one more look.

    Travis, how long does it take to make money off of a "QUALITY" site? %99.5 percent (!) of the people out there trying to build this "Big A-Lister" site don't make it. It takes friggen forever. And besides, money is made by far and large off of search engine traffic with a need, not off of stumble readers and feed readers, which is what the A-Listers keep spouting off about.

    I don't know anyone personally making tens of thousands each month with bans but for me it's gravy. Two weeks and I had two hundred sites set up. I'm making money almost right from the start. Even a clueless noob can't screw it up. It's not this big deal to set up 200 bans sites. I did the whole thing in two weeks. Promotion and all. Some of them are still half ass but I'll get to them.

    You make it sound like its a big friggen deal to set up 200 sites! It takes 10 minutes to do one. I do it all day and night and it's over.

    Neo2012--It's not always wise to show your sites that make you money because people can cause you trouble if they want. Especially if your upfront and to the point like me.

    Yeah, you can start your own flagship site and maybe in a year you can make some money. But with bans for noobs, the easiest and quickest way to make them money is with quantity.

  34. Lynn, if you can’t tolerate an opinion that is different than yours or a personality thats different than your then delete my comments.

    Opinions and personalities are always welcomed here at ClickNewz. Foul language and being rude & obstinate are not - so watch your step ;)

  35. Work at Home says:

    Lynn if you think I'm foul here you should see me on a political blog! :)

  36. Interesting, I was just reading another guys blog he was saying that 14 of his bans sites go slayed by google and kicked out of the index. I wounder why?

  37. work at home says:

    Probably because he put it on a dot info domain. Spammers love dot info domains and goog is making it harder for them to get indexed. All I do is create a folder called 'blog' and install a WP blog, do ten or fifteen posts, a couple solid pr 4 links and it's indexed.

  38. He did say it was a .info site. Must be the reason why he was kicked out of the index.

  39. People are quick to blame the software, when its usually mis-use of the software that causes any kind of 'slap' or de-indexing ;)

  40. Margaret MacGillivray says:

    I still have my .info bans site - http://www.diamondearringandnecklaceset.info/ seems to have lost its pr but I haven't done anything in the way of link building for it and I certainly haven't added unique content to it for quite some time. However, searching google for the diamondearringandnecklaceset word/phrase does show that google still knows about the site.

    I checked my stats for September and find that I am getting hits from other search engines - the percentages are:

    Windows Live - 57.3 %
    MSN Search - 16.3 %
    Google - 9.8 %
    Google (Images) - 8.1 %
    Yahoo - 6.5 %
    Unknown search engines - 2%

    It pays to remember that Google isn't the only search engine in town. It also pays to remember that web sites can be developed and marketed all over the place - the key to success is how you establish them and what efforts you make to ensure that they can be reached and spidered by the bots.

    Now that I've been prompted to think about this site again, I'd better go update it and do a little link building :)

    Margaret

    • Margaret MacGillivray says:

      The months have passed - and I remembered this discussion on Lynn's site. So, I just wondered, first of all, Lynn - how are you getting on with your bans music site? have you kept it - and is it still pulling in some income for you?

      I saw a post somewhere recently which claimed that google hates straight bans sites while yahoo loves 'em. I'm not sure, but I can say that the diamond... site which I mentioned before hardly gets any google love, but I still get traffic from the other search engines. That converts to some money as well - which is amazing, considering I've hardly done anything to the site at all.

      Best
      Margaret

  41. Thanks for the post, I have been having the same problems.

  42. Google is slapping thin BANS sites and soon people who are knocking out shoddy sites will be back hear asking for advice on building a stable business.

    I have used BANS in the past it works well for what it is but I now use drupal and phpbay which works exceptionally well

    http://www.carsukforsale.co.uk

    The above site uses the phpbay api script

    Build lots of sites but make sure they are built for the user and you will be fine "thin" sites wont last long

    Good luck

    Danny Cutts

  43. Lynn,

    Still no numbers for your BANS site? I was really looking forward to it when I saw when someone asked you which was a long time ago.

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