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We’re Starting the Epic Niche Site Battle!

“Let’s do this!” is how I responded to a LinkedIn message from Barnabas of TheDadWallet.com & SerialBoss.com.

Back in May, Barnabas reached out to Wallet Squirrel following up on all our talk about building a niche website. He’s been wanting to do the same thing and he suggested we do something like Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel and compete to see who could make the better niche website.

F*#k, I freaked out. This is the first time I’m going against a real blogger and sharing every step of the process. What if my ideas suck?

Although terrified, I REALLY want to do this. I want to build something awesome with everything I’ve learned the last year. So I accepted the challenge of what we’re calling the “Epic Niche Site Battle”!

Niche Site, What Is That?

In an older post, I gave 50 Examples of Amazon Affiliate Websites. Essentially a niche site is a website that caters to a particular narrow group of people with a common interest. For example, people who own large fish tanks could be a particular niche. You could totally have a website about that!

You can also monetize these niche websites and have them make money for you. I’ll admit, that’s my motivation to start this. I’m hoping to build a passive income with this new website and use that money to buy more dividend stocks.

How the Competition Works

Barnabas and I sat down (via Google Hangouts) to lay out how the competition works.

Duration: We are giving each other 1 year to build & grow our niche sites. Starting on January 1st of 2018 we’re starting our site and giving comprehensive reports quarterly on both our blogs (walletsquirrel.com & serialboss.com). We each may add additional posts, but we have to share all of our stats every three months. Whoever has better key metrics at the end of the year wins.

What We’re Competing On: We’re both building niche sites to help us grow our incomes, so making money is key but not the only factor. We are tracking 4 key metrics we both felt were vital to the success of a niche website.

Updates: We’ll share our updates quarterly with January 4th as our first post. Damn that’s soon!

  • First Update – March 29th
  • Second Update – July 5th
  • Third Update – September 7th
  • Last Update – December 6th

Rules: The only rules we came up with were:

  1. No one else can help us. I can’t have my buddy Adam helping me or hire any Virtual Assistants. The same goes for him. It’s just him and I each bootstrapping a website from scratch.
  2. Paid Advertising must be deducted from profits. I don’t plan on using a lot of Paid Advertising since I’m poor and don’t want to spend money, but I may try $50 in Facebook Ads to see/track if it helps.

That’s it. All else is fair to build the ultimate niche website!

Full Transparency: We’re sharing EVERYTHING (good times and bad) except the domain names. We want to be as transparent as possible since we want to help others build niche websites and show how it’s done, but we’ve both heard horror stories of people using similar domain names and stealing traffic from new sites after the keyword research has been done.

I may share my domain name at the end of the competition, once established, but it’s up to Barnabas to share his or not. For now, we’ll call our respective sites the Wallet Squirrel Niche Site and the Serial Boss Niche Site.

My Previous Niche Site Experience

So far my previous niche site experience leaves room for improvement. In the past I’ve built 4 unsuccessful niche websites, but each one got better.

That’s right, I’ve built 4 awful niche sites in the past. It’s time to build something awesome!

Starting when I was 24 I built my first niche site reviewing online universities, it was called Top5OnlineUniversities.com. It was awful because I wrote generic school descriptions and only made money with AdSense. I hated myself for building something so lame. So I quit after a year.

At age 25 I built a website called LanguageMindMaps.com (it’s not up anymore). I wanted to use my graphic design talent to create mind maps of typical conversations in different languages to help people visually learn new languages. It was better looking but I had no way to really monetize it and knew nothing about marketing. It failed because no one was searching for the term language mind maps.

At age 26 I built a deodorant niche website that started doing well for the keyword search, but it lacked ways to monetize the website. Plus I wasn’t exactly thrilled to tell people I had a website on deodorant. So since I wasn’t excited to market it, I lost interest and it died.

At age 27 Adam (of Wallet Squirrel) and I built a Halloween Costume website. This was something that looked cool, had great keyword research and did really well. However, it was just a seasonal website so the rest of the year I lacked interest in maintaining it since it only turned a profit once a year. That lack of motivation destroyed me and I game up. By the time Halloween came around again we didn’t have the keyword strength and lost tons of traffic. It’s slowly been dying.

Now! I plan to build something that’s graphically cool, that I’m excited to share with other people, has awesome keyword strength with a topic I can write about throughout the year. These are the guiding factors for my new niche site.

Strategies

It was pretty funny when we shared our initial strategies, they were very different approaches. So we’ll get to see two common strategies in action.

I wanted to go with a traditional affiliate site where the purpose is to rank high for a particular keyword then get my audience from my niche website to a product as fast as possible. When people use my tracking codes, I get a portion of the sale if they buy anything. So my strategy is to gain traffic through keyword targeting and quickly get them to a product site quickly. The idea being the more people I get to a product site, the more products that will sell.

Barnabas with SerialBoss has a bit different strategy. He plans to make most his income from Google AdSense rather than affiliate sales. So he is focusing on ranking highly in Google in a particular niche and gain revenue through visual AdSense ads.

Overall: I anticipate I may make more money first, but he is playing the long game by trying to become the premier expert in a particular niche field. If he can rank highly for one particular keyword, it’s easier to start expanding into other similar keywords and significantly grow his traffic.

So It Begins

I’m currently in the pregame phase. I’ve built a few niche sites in the past, but none have been overly successful. I really have no idea what I’m going to do. I know I’m going to build an affiliate niche website and it’s going to follow rules I stated above from past lessons learned, but I don’t know exactly what it will be yet. I don’t even have a domain name in mind.

So I’m currently rapidly typing domain names into GoDaddy.com to see what’s available and sounds good. Rapidly strategizing in my head because on January 1st we’re going fulling speed!

Does anyone want to join?

The main Epic Niche Site Battle is between Barnabas and I, but anyone is welcome to join in. Does anyone want to join us building a completely new niche website in January? Sign up for my email newsletter below to follow the action!

How to Sell Stuff on Ebay – Tips and Tricks to Selling on Ebay

How to Sell Stuff on Ebay – Tips and Tricks to Selling on Ebay

Over the last couple of months I have been trying to get rid of items the pose as distractions from my goals. You might have read about it in my Self Improvement – Get Rid of Your Distractions Right Now series. Here I talk about selling items that distract me from my ultimate goals. These items include an extra TV my wife and I do not need, a Xbox One, couple extra laptops, some games, and my old Nikon camera. As you might recall in my latest article on getting rid of distractions I had sold only one item for $100. Well, over the last couple of weeks I have been able to sell a two more items to warrant an article to be written on how to sell stuff on Ebay. Overall, I have made just over $500 from these items which will go directly to help pay our car loan off.

Let’s Get Started

Let’s get the basics out of the way so we can learn how to sell stuff on Ebay. To get started you will want to make sure you have an Ebay account. If you do not, sign up for a new account. If you do, head over there now to sign in.

You will also want to hunt around your home to find some items to sell on Ebay. This can be anything from a football to a fancy golf club set. I recommend only selling items on Ebay that will be easy to ship. For example, I will not be selling that extra 42 inch TV on Ebay. That would be too difficult to package and get to the buyer in one piece. Unless I saved the original box, but who does that? Instead I will sell the TV locally on Craigslist. For any help on selling your stuff on Craigslist check out Andrew’s How to Sell Something on Craigslist and Make Money article.

Price Comparison

Before I decide to post I like to explore Ebay, searching for similar items to see what they are selling for. As you are posting, Ebay will help out with pricing but I like to do the beforehand research for my data points. The more you know about your competition the better you can price or add incentives to make the sale happen.

I search for similiar keywords for what I am selling. Not only do I try to compare apples to apples. I also try to compare similar products that are different such as brand new, older/newer models, and so on. I usually make some mental notes on what the trends are but write down some notes if it helps you. During this search I am looking for several different items.

  1. What is the trending price?
  2. What are people offering for shipping?
  3. Where is there a gap for me to make my item more marketable?

When I am selling something on Ebay, I am not looking to make the most money by squeezing every dollar out of the buyer. I am looking to selling my item quick and get some extra money. This might cost me $10 to $20 on either the products cost or in shipping but it is worth it to me to sell quicker.

Taking Photos

I am pretty picky with this tip on how to sell stuff on Ebay, but you know I love taking photos. Taking good photos of your product is crucial to know “how to sell stuff on Ebay”. Photos of the items you’re selling helps the buyer gain trust in you. If they do not trust you, they will not buy from you.

Here is what I do. Grab the item I am selling and put it in a well lit room, I want the buyer to be able to see everything about the product. I hate the Ebay images taken of a black item in a dark room. I cannot inspect any details to see if it has any dents or scratches. Okay, rant over.

When putting my item in the bright room I do not just place it anywhere. I put it on a large, flat area that is clean and clutter free. Potential buyers do not need to be focusing on my dirty underwear in the corner of the photo. From here, I grab my phone. That is right, you do not need a big fancy camera to take these photos. Camera phones can work really well. I then snap some shots of every angle of my product. If it has any dents or marks, I make sure to be upfront of those in the photos. This also helps gain more trust from the buyer. If you’re upfront about the dents, they’ll believe you’re upfront with them about everything about the item.

Overall, taking photos is not that tough and they do not have to be super fancy, as you can see in my example below. Worry about composition, lighting, and allowing the photo to inform your potential buyer because a photograph really does speak a million words. This is why you should be thorough with them.

Even though these photos are rough they still tell the story of the condition for the Xbox One.

Even though these photos are rough they still tell the story of the condition for the Xbox One.

Writing Your Description

Not only should you be thorough with your photos but you should also write an excellent description. This allows you to explain the product, what comes with it, and what is wrong with it. Do not skimp on the details. Just like with the photos, the more you share the more the potential buyer will trust you.

Personally, I like to make the descriptions as personal as possible. This makes it sound like the buyer is dealing with a real person rather than someone just trying to make an extra buck off of them. In the description, I like to tell a story about an experience with the product that gives more details about it. With my camera, I was able to share where it has been and provide some images it has captured at those destinations.

Shipping

Shipping is the most annoying part of how to sell stuff on Ebay for me. I really do not like it at all but Ebay has made it a lot easier over the years. You can select whether the buyer pays for the shipping or if you will include it within the selling price. I have done both. If I feel like the product is in a competitive market then I will throw in the shipping to be more appealing to a potential buyer.

Lately, based on my price comparison research, I decided to have the buyer pay for shipping. With Ebay’s interface, it’ll walk me through how to properly price the shipping costs. I usually just go with the recommended pricing which has worked out well for me.

Shipping made easy so you can sell your stuff on Ebay.

Shipping made easy so you can sell your stuff on Ebay.

After the Sale

Here is when I want to communicate promptly with the buyer. This does not have to be much, but a quick thank you and status update on when I will get the item shipped out. I have noticed that I get higher reviews when I communicate with the buyer quickly. Of course, with higher reviews the more trust you gain from other potential buyers.

I also make sure that I ship the item very quickly. Ebay gives us three business days but I try to get it shipped the next day. The buyer will be more satisfied with their experience. You can either go through Ebay to print the shipping label or go to a shipping center yourself. I recommend using Ebay’s service if you have a printer. This will save you money and time by not waiting in line at your local post office.

Now Go Sell Your Stuff on Ebay!

Ebay is the classic eCommerce site for anyone to sell a product. Because it has become so big over the years it can be a little intimidating to post an item on the site. That is why it is best to take these tips to learn how to sell stuff on Ebay. Hopefully, these tips make your experience a bit easier and less intimidating.

For other side hustle ideas check out our list of different Ways to Earn More Money. Andrew and I are always looking for new ways to earn extra income. This list consists of many different side hustles that we have tried ourselves.