Online Selling & Marketplaces in 2015

As you have probably gathered by now, I do a bit of online trading.. (understatement)
A few years ago, my list of online marketplaces would have included ebay(uk), amazon(uk), cqout, “play” store, and ebid.
These days, I’ve narrowed it down to ebay(UK) and amazon(UK). I sell more stuff on Amazon than ebay by a massive margin.
While it has become much cheaper to list items on ebay, it’s still FREE to list on amazon, plus you simply use their catalog system – meaning no tedious listing blurb.
I currently have a large inventory on Amazon, but only list the occasional item on ebay.co.uk (eg a Korg microsampler, sold to a German via ebay worldwide shipping).

I have completely stopped bothering with cqout – I sold barely anything, and the site is painfully slow to navigate. I’m amazed it’s still there! And why does it insist on listing prices in $dollars on the UK site?
Play Store closed down some time ago, after Rakuten took over. That was a shame – I sold a few books on play.com.
eBid UK still seems to be there – but as I recall, their audience is tiny compared to eBay. Their USP (unique Selling Point) was no listing fees. I’ve requested a password reminder, but I’m still waiting.. not impressed.

Over the last year, I have used Gumtree a LOT more than before – it’s a good place to source cheap stuff. Example – a pair of powerline adapters for a tenner. (RRP £50-ish).
Finally, I have also bought a few things on local Facebook trading groups. Well worth a try. Example: a pair of doctor marten boots for £30 – RRP £80. They’re great, BTW.

A couple more that I haven’t tried are Etsy and Preloved.  Etsy is mainly nad-made stuff, and Preloved is second-hand classifieds.

Recommended Reading

Add eBay listings to your WordPress pages and posts – the easy way!

When I need eBay listings on my sites, I don’t mess about – I use Wordbay.
Wordbay started out as a free, but limited product, supported by taking a percentage of your commissions.
Which was fine, but it’s now a FULL, INDUSTRIAL GRADE, COMMERCIAL PRODUCT.
So it’s no longer free, but it’s certainly a bargain for what it does.

Get the Wordbay WordPress eBay plugin

ESSENTIAL Plugins for WordPress

WordPress is immensely powerful straight out of the box, but it’s possible to add pretty much ANY functionality you want, and it’s usually for free.

This is a list of the TOP Plugins we use at q292u.com.
They are in no particular order.

AKISMET.
ESSENTIAL anti-spam system. Free to non-commercial users.
Filters out unwanted (spam) comments automatically, and provides stats on what it’s doing. ESSENTIAL.

FEEDBURNER FEEDSMITH.
Redirects all RSS feeds to your Feedburner feeds. So you can control all RSS activity. From there you can do e-mail Subscriptions and much more.
Including automatic TWITTER integration! Get a feedburner account. ESSENTIAL.

ALL-IN-ONE-SEO.
Handles ALL aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Options to rewrite article titles, handles Keywords, meta tags, everything. There’s also a “PRO version. You won’t need it. ESSENTIAL.

ADROTATE.
Handles advertising on your site. Very comprehensive. Individual ads are created and then made into groups. You can then position the groups as widgets, in posts and on pages. Ads have start and end dates, and tracking can be switched on or off. Better than maxbannerads. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED

WPTOUCH.
Creates a mobile version of your site on the fly. All you need to do is access the site via a mobile device. The interface looks like Apple iOs.
Very smart. ESSENTIAL There’s a PRO version as well.

WP AUTO TAGGER.
Automatically adds relevant tags to your posts as you create them, based on post content. It’ll find tags you hadn’t thought of. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

WORDBAY.
Add relevant eBay listings to your posts and pages. This plugin is NOT free, but it’s worth the money. Simply set it up, and use shortcodes to position ads. Now includes a widget as well. RECOMMENDED.

FEEDWORDPRESS.
Automatically creates posts on your blog, based on predefined RSS feeds. Excellent. RECOMMENDED.

QUICKCACHE.
Excellent caching plugin, creates static version of all your posts and pages as they are created. Far better than SUPERCACHE.
ESSENTIAL if you use a lot of plugins, or have a lot of visitors.

EXCLUDE FROM NAVIGATION.
Some themes automatically add all pages to navigation menus. This is how to stop it. Adds a checkbox in the editor. ESSENTIAL.

GOOGLE XML SITEMAPS.
Automatically generates and submits sitemaps to Google. You can also submit these to Yahoo and Bing, yourself. Helps with SEO. ESSENTIAL.

WORDPRESS-DB-BACKUP.
Automatically create scheduled database backups and e-mail to yourself.
Simple and effective. ESSENTIAL.

SMART 404.
Attempts to redirect 404 errors to relevant pages based on search query, and URL requested. Reduces bounce-rates. ESSENTIAL

Mail From.
Simply changes the return e-mail address for automatically-generated e-mail messages to something like “NOREPLY@domain.com”. ESSENTIAL.

Google Analytics.
This adds Google Analytics tracking code to all your pages and posts, so you can keep tabs on everything. You need an analytics account. ESSENTIAL.

SIMPLE SOCIAL BOOKMARKS.
Adds social bookmark icons to your posts. Allows your readers to recommend your posts on DIGG, REDDIT, SLASHDOT, etc. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

CONTEXTUAL RELATED POSTS.
Adds links to other relevant posts on your site. Engages visitors, and keeps them on your site longer. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

GOOGLE +1 BUTTON.
The new kid on the block. Allows visitors to mark relevant posts, adds kudos and visibility on Google.

FACEBOOK LIKE BUTTON.
Allows visitors to “LIKE” your site on Facebook. Facebook is a massive audience, not to be ignored. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.


Old eBay RSS feeds died last night!

eBay appears to have (finally) pulled the plug on the old-style RSS feeds.
All our RSS feeds starting with “rss.ebay..” started generating errors last night.
We’ve now switched them all to the new “rest.ebay…” format.
Doesn’t seem to be any better.. but at least no errors..


All sorts of problems

Came back from holidays to find three sites down!
a SWIFT E-MAIL TO UNLIMITED support, and it turns out that all three had been suspended for hogging the server last Thursday. Sites re-enabled, and tracing switched on. We’ll see what’s going on..
RSS feeds don’t seem to be getting updates properly, either. I’ve manually updated the feeds this morning. The two issues may be related. (eBay RSS feeds..)


All sorts of problems

Came back from holidays to find three sites down!
a SWIFT E-MAIL TO UNLIMITED support, and it turns out that all three had been suspended for hogging the server last Thursday. Sites re-enabled, and tracing switched on. We’ll see what’s going on..
RSS feeds don’t seem to be getting updates properly, either. I’ve manually updated the feeds this morning. The two issues may be related. (eBay RSS feeds..)


Squidoo Revisited

Ive spent a bit of time recently updating my Squidoo lenses.
What the hell is that? I hear you ask..
Well, it’s a kind of Web 2.0 website development system.
You create a Lens (site) by picking modules, and organising them to form a site.
You then configure the modules, and add your content. I find that I get a steady stream of traffic from mine.

I (now) have a separate lens set up for each website, with links to the site, and an RSS feed from it. Lots of pictures, lots of links.

Each site also has eBay and Amazon affiliate modules..

Oh, and apparently my original Squidoo Lens (Quirky Cars) is now a “Featured” Lens…

I’m watching the referrals in GA Stats. May be interesting..


New Feedburner feeds

Created several new sub-feeds for www.quirkycars.net These are:
classic-mini
3-wheeler
muscle-cars

These are used to power my signatures on relevant forums. I’ve changed the link addresses to point direct to the relevant categories and tags. (This is how I found the wp-ebay-ads fault.)


Plugin problems!

Ran into a problem on www.quirkycars.net where only some of the posts in a category or tag were being displayed.

The last post returned would be incomplete, and the “older posts” link etc would be missing.
traced the fault to wp-ebay-ads plugin. I’ve had to disable it as it makes the site unusable.

Fault reported to author.