There’s no doubt about it: eBay is a great site. You can easily buy & sell items, sometimes for a fraction of their retail price. The site’s been so successful there are swathes of auctioneers actually making a career out of eBay and its auctioning tools.
But what if you’re sick of eBay cutting into your hard earned cash by way of commission fees? Well, why not host your own auction site? It’s simpler than you might think.
Why Would I Want My Own Auction Site?
Maybe you won’t, maybe you’re happy with eBay and the way that site works. But humour me for a moment. What if you could be in complete control of the site that hosts your auctions? You wouldn’t have to pay any commission, and you’d be in full control of the look and feel for the site. You could even let other people add auctions to your site, undercutting eBay and making some extra cash in the process. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? Well, you could have all of this by simply setting up a WordPress site, and installing one simple, but awesome plugin: WordPress Auction Plugin.
Setting It All Up
Once you have your WordPress site up and running, you need to add the WordPress Auction Plugin. To do this, click on the plugins menu from within your WordPress dashboard, click on add new, and search for “wordpress auction”. Find the correct plugin (as shown below) and hit the install, then activate buttons to get the auction system up and running. Next, create a new page on your WordPress site, and call it something like “Auction”, then in the editor window, add the shortcode [wdm_auction_listing]. This will then inject your auctions into the “Auction” page. Finally, hit the publish button to set the page live on your site.
Creating An Auction
Now we have done all the leg work, it’s time for the fun part: creating auctions and making some cold hard cash. When you activated the WordPress Auction Plugin, you may have noticed that a new menu called “Ultimate Auction” had been added to your WordPress sidebar. Click on this to be taken to the setting screen for the WordPress Auction Plugin. From here you can configure important settings like your currency, payment method (yes, PayPal is supported), and your email address. Once these settings are configured, you can hit the “Add Auction” tab to get started creating your first auction. The add auction screen is very straightforward to use, and has all of the settings you would imagine to see on any auction site. A title, some info about the product your selling, the ability to add images, the length of the auction, and of course the price. Once you’re happy that all the details are filled in, click on the save changes button and your auction item will be published and visible on the “Auction” page of your site. If you want to have a play around with the WordPress Auction Plugin yourself, the developers have set up a demo site for you to play around with. With the WordPress Auction Plugin, visitors can add comments, send you a private message about the auction item, and see the bidding history right from the bidding window. The whole interface is very clean and simple to use, so visitors will be able to come along and start bidding very quickly. This bodes really well for the system, as the most successful sites tend to be the ones with the shallowest learning curve.
If you want to make changes, or delete a live auction item, you can do so by clicking on the “Manage Auctions” tab from the “Ultimate Auction” section of WordPress. From this screen, you can edit the auction, delete it, or even end it. The free version of the WordPress Auction Plugin is designed for personal use, by one user account. But if you want to set up your own alternative to eBay, then you can upgrade the plugin for $99. This will allow visitors to sign up to your auction site and start listings of their own. With the pro version of the plugin, you can also charge commission to your users.
WordPress plugins mean users to do pretty much anything they like with a web site – even building their own eBay alternative . So maybe you’re a scorned ex-eBayer that simply wants more control, or maybe you just want to have a yard sale with a digital twist. Either way, you can accomplish this with a WordPress site and the WordPress Auction Plugin.
If you are looking at making the next best thing to eBay, you will need to look into optimising your WordPress site, or even upgrading to some better VPS hosting, to cope with the extra demand that may be put on your site. Let’s face it: no one likes a slow website.
Are you running your own eBay style auction site a different way? If so, feel free to leave some feedback below.
Image credit: Paulo_Santos, Flickr