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Anyway, I have several webmaster friends who agreed to place links to my store from their websites, which at least got the ball rolling. Then I submitted the store URL to the Open Directory Project.

The Open Directory is the granddaddy of web directories, and inclusion even gets you listed in Google's shopping directory; and best of all they don't charge a submission fee. Just don't expect to be accepted right away. Many webmasters have reported wait times of a year or longer before their sites were reviewed and included in the directory. You can also pay a small fee to be included in directories like JoeAnt or or Romow Web Directory - Shopping.

There are also hundreds of smaller hub directories on almost any subject you can imagine. Just go to Google and type "specific keyword" + "submit a site" into the search box (replacing the "specific keyword" with your target keyword, of course) and submit your store url to as many of these directories as you can.

Another strategy for getting links that I've used for years is writing and submitting articles to article directories like EzineArticles.

You can write articles related to the types of books you sell, then submit them to one of these directories (or as many of them as you can find) with the agreement that other webmasters can publish the articles on their sites. In exchange, you're allowed to include a link to your store or website at the bottom of the article. I've had several articles that have, over time, provided hundreds of links to my websites, all for free.

Blogging is another way of positioning yourself as an expert in your field and driving traffic to your store. You can set up a free blogging account at Blogger.

and post blog entries two or three times per week, including links to your store pages. eBay even provides a tool to broadcast your store listings as an RSS feed so that subscribers can receive your updated listings on a daily basis.

Another good idea for promoting your store off eBay is to register a .com domain name, then re-direct it to your store. It's a lot easier to tell someone to look you up at "JoesUsedBooks.com" than something like "http://stores.ebay.com/joesusedbooks." And with domains costing as little as $8 a year to register, there's no reason not to have a .com of your own.

Once you have some quality links into your store, you can start focusing on getting more traffic from within eBay itself. Since store listings only show up if there are less than 30 auction or Buy-It-Now listings under a given keyword, a lot of your store inventory is basically invisible to your target market. I suspect this is one of the reasons that many booksellers have had less than stellar results from their eBay stores. So you need to run some of your inventory as auctions or Buy-It-Nows, then cross-promote your store to the visitors who view your listings. Try to pick titles that will get a lot of interest and match the bookselling niche you specialize in (assuming you do specialize in a particular niche).

Another store feature that I've had good luck with is the "custom listing frame" option. With this option turned on, every visitor to one of your auctions or store listings sees your logo and store navigation - with categories - down the left side of the page. This gives all your listings the same look and feel as your store, and invites buyers to click on your category links and explore the rest of your inventory as well.

Other good ideas include writing a monthly newsletter to keep in touch with your customers, taking advantage of eBay's "My World" feature to let potential buyers get to know you and your interests, submitting your listings to Google Base, running a craigslist ad with a link to your store, and writing an eBay Guide that will give you and your store more exposure to potential buyers.

In short, there are lots of ways of building your brand name and getting more traffic - and sales - to your eBay store. Just start with the ones that fit into your schedule and budget, and go from there.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: BookThink highly recommends using Google Base Store Connector to give your Store listings more exposure. It's free and easy to use. Download it here. ]

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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