Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Profiting From eBay Images With A BLOG

Shortly after I started selling on eBay I began archiving all the pictures I used in my auctions. I kept the pictures in case there were problems with the buyers.

I rarely had problems with buyers, but when I did the pictures came in handy. In one case I was able to show the item returned wasn't the item shipped. Another time when I had a buyer claiming I'd neglected to mention damage I was able to show an item wasn't damaged when I listed it on eBay.

I don't want you to think all buyers with complaints are scammers, so I'll mention there have been cases where the buyer was right and the pictures helped him.

Looking back about 50% of the time the buyer was wrong, and 50% of the time I was wrong.

Another reason I kept the images is I wanted to use them to build a website about toy trains. I sell mostly used toy trains and over the past 10 years I've sold most of the pieces Lionel made in the 1950s, and lots of other interesting items.

I had built a website with pictures of my collection, but there was no way to make money from it, so it just sat for years with no changes or updates. As I moved it from one web host to another parts got lost and many of the links became broken.

In 2004, I was going to rebuild the site and put a small link on each page to eBay so readers could see what the specific train would bring on eBay. I'd use an affiliate link to get paid if the reader bought something on eBay.

I never even started this rebuild. It would have required rebuilding every page, and seemed like too much work.

In 2007, I found a new way to do this. Rather than rebuilding the site, I stuck a WordPress blog on the site and just started adding new articles using the pictures I took for my auctions.

I liked the idea of using a blog for a few reasons:

  1. WordPress is free and easy to set up. There are also lots of plugins available - many free - to customize the site.
  2. WordPress allows me to write a new page in minutes without having to do any coding or file transfers. Wordpress also updates the blog's navigation when I add new pages.
  3. WordPress allows the blog to be searchable. This means people can search for articles about specific trains. It also means when I go to add something I can do a quick search to find out if I already did an article, and find related articles.
  4. WordPress allows me to quickly edit and update blog posts I've already written. This means if I sell a different version of something I already wrote about, I can quickly add the pictures to the existing article. I can also go back and cross link related articles to give readers a better experience, and improve my search results.
  5. The search engines like blogs. Many of my simple pages come up quite high in the rankings for the maker's name and the model number.

I won't spend any time explaining the first four reasons I decided on a WordPress Blog, but I will explain the fifth.

I use long tail keyword strings in my blog posts. This means I am seeking to get search engine rankings for phrases with two or more words.

For example I have a page about a toy fire truck made by Schuco. If you search on Google for "toy fire truck" or "Schuco," you probably won't find my site.

However if you search for "Schuco fire truck" on Google, my blog comes up first. That is true whether or not you use the quotation marks.

These longer phrases get fewer searches, but are much easier to get higher search results. Just use the phrase as the title, and once or twice in the post.

The article is just a brief history of the item with the dates of manufacture and a few simple pictures. A page like that takes about 5 minutes to write and will bring in small dribbles of readers from search engines for years or decades.

Then get some links to your blog from other websites and you'll get good search results.

With enough pages I'll get lots of traffic from the search engines. Once I get caught up on all the old images, I can quickly add new articles using my eBay images in a few hours once a week.

I mentioned earlier there are lots of plugins to customize WordPress blogs. The auction pictures and links are managed by a plugin. All I did was add a search word "Schuco" to the article at the bottom and the plug in does the rest.

Even better, I get paid whenever someone uses those auction links to go to eBay and buys something within a week.

If you regularly sell any type of collectible on eBay building a simple wordpress blog like Train99 or MyTinToys.com using your pictures is an easy way to get some additional revenue from your pictures.

The plugin I use isn't free, but it's cheap.

The plugin is called WPeasybay*

NOTE: When I wrote this article in 2008, eBay paid a percentage of their fees from any sale within 7 days of a buyer clicking on your affiliate link. At that time using this system I was making $12-1800 a month. Since then, eBay has changed their payment formula and now I only make between $5 and 30 a month. This drop in revenue is larger than many people using the system because my toy train website was hacked and removed from Google so I no longer get Google traffic. Once I get Train99.com back into Google, I should be back in the $100 a month range.


* WPeasybay is an affiliate link. I get a small commission if you buy the plugin, but the price you pay remains the same.

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