When I first planned out my series on creating an Ebay Partner Network affiliate site from start to finish, I did not intend to include this step. When I joined Ebay Partner Network, I already had a great deal of existing sites, and I was switching over from the old CJ program so I really did not have any issues getting accepted. It has come to my attention since that this is actually a pretty important element of this whole series, particularly for beginners starting out who do not have an existing website. I’ll preface these instructions by saying that I am not 100% sure on the best way to approach this because my experience was quite easy, but I believe by following these instructions you should be on the right track.
Location, Location, Location
From what I’ve heard, it does matter where you live as far as getting an Ebay Partner Network account. If you live in Nigeria, you’re probably not going to get accepted by Ebay very easily. If you live in North America, or most parts of Europe, or Australia, location will probably not be a big factor. If you do get rejected based on your location, you may just have to find another affiliate program – Amazon may be a good place to try. I’ve also heard it’s possible to purchase an existing Ebay Partner Network account from someone else, but I would imagine this is probably not a viable long term soluton, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Have an Existing Website
Ebay will ask you for your website when you sign up. Once you get an account, you can add as many additional websites as you want, but I believe the initial website you submit in your application will weigh heavily on whether you get accepted or not. If you don’t have an existing website yet, here’s what i would recommend. Follow my initial instructions on choosing a niche just as you would if you were already accepted by Ebay. Then, instead of setting up the WP Commerce Steel theme to look like my demo site, just start by creating a basic Blog. Use any regular free wordpress theme. I would recommend my WP Contempo theme, Munchen theme or Teel theme for this. These all have a clean look and feel and are appropriate for a variety of topics. Get the blog set up, and start adding content. Do not add any pages to the blog yet – except for possibly a brief about page and a contact us page. You can go back and add product pages once you get accepted by Ebay. Instead, start by writing blog posts, and let your site display like a regular blog. Once you get accepted, you can move all the blog posts to a blog page, and resume setting up the site for the WP Commerce theme.
Content is King
Work on adding content to your site. If you submit a basic WordPress template with 2 or 3 posts in it to Ebay, they may not take you seriously. Here are some ideas for adding content.
Add articles – you’re probably going to want to do this anyway at some point to help with SEO, so try to come up with some articles on your topic. I recommend you use 500 words or more per article, but at least be sure to have 300 words. Also, try to include pictures with the articles, this will help your site look more professional. If you can get 5-10 quality articles on your niche, this will help a lot in both getting accepted into EPN, and also down the road for SEO.
Add Product Reviews – this is a great way to add content to your site, especially if you’re dealing with a very specific niche that doesn’t have as much substance to produce articles for. Creating a product review is pretty simple. One way to do this easily is go to Amazon.com, and search for products in your niche. The nice thing about Amazon is that most products have been reviewed by users, so you should see a lot of existing feedback for products in your niche. Choose a product within your niche on Amazon. Find a nice picture of it and combine the user reviews on Amazon to create your own review. Do not copy user reviews, make sure you write the review in your own words using the user feedback as a guide. You can add lot of content to your site by creating reviews like this, and it will help you pick up long tail search traffic. Plus, in the event you don’t get accepted by Ebay, you could always find another affiliate program through CJ and possibly still promote the products you’re reviewing that way.
Find some news – certain niches like cell phones always have interesting news. Find news stories about your niche and rewrite them in your own words. Some very specific niches may not have a lot of news, so this won’t apply to everything, but give it a try.
Overall, I would recommend trying to generate at least 20 blog posts worth of content. You want your site to look professional to Ebay and make it seem like it’s well maintained. The more content you can add up front, the better, and it will help you just as much after you’re accepted, so all you’re really doing is slightly altering the order in which you go through this tutorial.
Keep it Simple
To do this right, you shouldn’t need anything more than a clean website with quality content. I strongly recommend you avoid cluttering your site with adsense and other affiliate offers before getting accepted into EPN. You can try, but you probably won’t make very much by having those extra ads starting out, and it could potentially hurt your chances of acceptance, so if it were me, I would absolutely avoid adding outside advertising.
Share Your Experience
Like I said, I had it pretty easy so I don’t necessarily know all the right moves to make, but if I had to do it from scratch, I think following the above guidelines would be a practical approach. If you have a story about how you got accepted or if you’ve been rejected before, share your experience with us and help make this smooth for others. Feel free to leave a comment about your experience below.