EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 161 - February 19, 2006 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Blogs for eBay Sellers

By Kelvin Cook

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Last month I wrote about using a blog as an eBay marketing tool (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y206/m01/abu0158/s04). In today's issue, I want to continue that idea and expound on the planning needed to make it work. I will show you the steps to naming your blog, coming up with a purpose for the blog, and selecting blogging tools. All of these steps should be done prior to actually building the blog.

Naming the Blog
A blog offers the ability to increase your brand recognition. Choosing a well thought out name for your blog offers the chance to do just that.

Naming your blog is a chance to use an important keyword or to reinforce the name of your online store. My eBay store is called Fitzgerald's Collectibles and my mugs blog is called FitzMugs, with the tag line, "Fitz blogs the mugs so you don't have to" (http://fitzmugs.blogspot.com).

I wanted the name of my blog to echo the name of my store, and chose a name that would let people know that my blog is related to my store. You can do the same or choose a name for any number of reasons. But my point is that you should think about it. Plan it and take advantage of the opportunity to increase your brand.

When naming your blog consider a tag line to go with the name. The tag line can help to reinforce your brand and possibly give your readers a reason to think of your store. Both the name and tag line can promote what you sell in your online store.

Purpose of the Blog
Prior to creating a new blog, I write a two to three sentence paragraph outlining the purpose of the blog. Below you can read the paragraph that I wrote for FitzMugs:

"Fitzmugs blog is a web log about collectible mugs. The latest news about mugs, glassware and other ceramics are presented. The purpose of Fitzmugs is to document and present collectible mugs. Mugs as collectibles and memorabilia will be covered."

A paragraph like this will help you stay on track as you make entries in the blog. As you blog day in and day out, it can become difficult to stay on topic. But if you have a well-written purpose, it will help you keep your focus.

Also, when you have a blog, you will want to submit it to various blog directories (http://www.lights.com/weblogs/directories.html). Many blog directories will ask you for a description of your blog. If you write this outline beforehand and think about what the purpose of the blog really is, then you will have this step done. If your blog is in a directory, it's more likely that potential customers will find it. And if your blog is easy to find, then your marketing efforts will be more effective.

Selecting Blogging Tools
There are many tools that have been created specifically for blogs. These tools will help your blog to be more effective as a marketing platform. Among them are:

Counters: allow you to see how many readers have viewed each entry;

Affiliate marketing tools: some blogging programs allow you to display ads - on my blog, you can see my affiliate ads for eBay and Amazon;

Various linking strategies: blog rolls, for example, which are links to other blogs;

Social networking tools: allow you to share your blog with people in your online social network; Del.ici.ous, Furl, LinkedIn and Flickr are examples. Bloglines allows you to show friends which blogs you subscribe to;

Tagging tools: allow you to categorize your entries - this can help your blog get picked up by directories;

Commenting tools: allow readers to post comments on your blog entries;

Track back tools: generate links to other blog posts that mention your blog posts;

RSS tools: allow readers to add your blog to their RSS readers.

You should give thought to the tools that you want to use in your blog and where you want to place them. The reason this is important is because it is not always easy to add new tools or place them once you have started your blog.

Also as you consider tools and how to use them, you will think of better ways to market the items that you sell. Certain tools for blogs allow you to show images of your items. Some tools allow you to use tags and categories that might even be keywords or products that you sell.

As you build your blog and fill it with content, you may get new ideas and you may chose different tools. But if you have thought about your tools beforehand, this will be easier.

As you consider building a blog to market your online store, think about the name you give the blog. Give some thought to the purpose and write a short paragraph that you can use to stay focused as you blog. And finally, consider the blogging tools that you will use. Doing this will help you build an effective marketing blog.


About the author:

Kelvin Cook is a blogger who lives and writes in San Diego, CA, where he collects and sells military collectibles, toys, tee shirts and books. He maintains the Online Seller Tips Blog at http://onlinesellertips.blogspot.com, a blog devoted to tips, tricks and tools for the eBay, Yahoo, Amazon and iOffer online seller. His eBay store is found online at http://stores.ebay.com/Fitzgeralds-Collectibles and he uses the eBay ID: Fitzgerald0_0. Email him at Fitzinator at gmail dot com.


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