Saturday, November 29, 2008

How Can I Use My Website in Conjunction with eBay?

How Can I Use My Website in Conjunction with eBay?
Copyright © 2008 Paul Smithson
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You may already know that eBay doesn't allow the direct promotion of websites within auctions, but did you know there are ways to promote your website on eBay without violating any of their terms of service so that you can directly benefit from the millions of visitors they bring to the table?

First of all, you can put practically anything you want on your 'About Me' page. eBay allows you to advertise almost anything there, as long as it isn't illegal or offensive. This is a wonderful starting point for you to add links to your website, and direct any visitors who view your 'About Me' page to your main web site, or any other web site you might want them to see.

Another place where you can freely add links to your site is on an eBay blog. Many people aren't even aware of the eBay blog feature that lets you host a blog right on the eBay site. You can put almost anything you want on the blog too - including a link to your site. This gives you an instant back-link from a domain with huge authority. As of right now, there are no 'nofollow' attributes on links there, so it's a great place to get a back-link.

You can also promote your site through your auctions by advertising your site within your products themselves. If you're selling info products like eBooks or videos, you can provide the URL of your website within the product itself.

If you're shipping physical goods, you can include your URL on a 'thank you' card inside the package. If you have an e-commerce website that sells similar products, you can send your buyers to your site to buy related merchandise, instead of having them buy through eBay. This will save you from having to pay the eBay fees for those purchases.

You can also include your URL in every email you send out to winning bidders, and to those who ask you questions about items. You should consider setting your email signature to include the URL to your site so that you'll never forget to give it a plug.

Another common tactic is to watermark photos with your URL. If you're listing a product on eBay, you'll most likely be including at least one photo of the item. You can put your URL on that photo, so people who view the auction will see the URL, and might visit your site and purchase there instead. This is another way to avoid some of your eBay fees. You might even get lucky and have several visitors come to your site and purchase from a single auction listing, which means increased revenues and a substantial saving on eBay fees as you won't have to pay anything on the sales that come directly through your site.

One final point is that it's worth remembering that not everyone likes buying from auction sites. Many people prefer to buy direct from the seller, and by using the above techniques you give people a chance to do exactly that. Of course, you will still be paying fees on any sales made through eBay, which is only fair, but by using the above techniques you can help generate additional business on every single listing.

Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe's leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.

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