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Zlio Review – Add a Shop to Your Blog

ZlioOver the last week or so I’ve been playing around with ZLio (aff) – a service that enables you to add a a shop to your blog or website. The most similar thing I’ve seen previously is Amazon’s aStore and Chitika’s Shoplinc program.

ZLio’s service is a very professional looking set up with some great features. It has previously been released in France and it’s only more recently been launched out of the US (they tell me there is a UK version on the way). You can tell that they’ve developed their product for some time now as it is quite advanced in how it can be used.

The best way to fully grasp the features of Zlio shops is to start one and start experimenting – before you do let me spit out some features and first impressions for you below.

While you read them feel free to check out the ProBlogger Bookshop Zlio that I whipped up (it took me about 15 minutes once I added all my products – they mainly come from my essential books for bloggers list). I’m yet to do any customization or personalization of it but you’ll get the idea of what can be achieved hopefully.

Picture 5-3

  • easy to start – you can literally have a shop up and running in a few minutes (they boast as little as three clicks)
  • millions of products to choose from – they’re working with 100 French and US merchants (from big ones like Amazon and Buy.com to smaller ones with real niche focus)
  • varied commissions – depending upon the merchants you choose to work with commissions can range from as low as 1% right up to 20% (that’s the range I’ve seen so far). This is a CPA (cost per action) model – so you’re only paid when someone makes a purchase. This is one of the big differences from Chitika’s shoplinc which is CPC (you’re paid per click on products).
  • multiple shops per account – this is great if you have multiple blogs that you want to add specifically targeted shops to
  • search engine indexable – search engines will start indexing your shop with the potential to drive SE traffic at them
  • templates – there are a variety of templates available to make your shop look and feel like it matches your blog. Once you’ve chosen a template you can drag and drop elements around your page to make them look they way you want. Also brand it as your own by adding a logo.
  • customization – if you’re a little more technically minded you can also do some coding to make your shop look your own by editing both the CSS styles and header/footer sections
  • easy to use – adding products is easy and managing once they’re in your shop is great using categories. If there was one area I think they could improve it would be to give ways of uploading multiple similar products at once to a shop (adding products one at a time will hopefully ensure quality – but is quite time consuming).
  • Blog Layout – in addition to the standard shop layout you can have your shop set up in a blog layout for something a little different.
  • RSS ready - each shop has it’s own RSS feed
  • Personal recommendations – when adding products you’re given the opportunity to label it as a ‘featured product’, ‘favorite product’, ‘I have it’ or ‘Add it to my wishlist’. You can also add your own descriptions, tag the product and even review it.
  • metrics ready – add your own stats tool like Google analytics, site meter etc
  • ZlioZone – a widget that will allow you to feature items in your store on your sidebar
  • Community – there’s also a ‘community’ element of Zlio that I’m yet to really explore. It seems to have an element of social networking around it.
  • Comments – those visiting your shop can leave their own reviews on products.
  • Price Comparison – if the item that you’re featuring is available from multiple merchants readers are given a tool to compare the price of it.
  • hostable on your own domain – integrate your ZLio shop even more into your blog by putting it on your domain

Zlio will be a great option for many bloggers wanting to add a shop to their blogs. I’d recommend playing around with it a little to see if it fits with you first – and if you go with it to add it to your own domain name to make it more integrated with your blog.

I’d also highly recommend linking into individual pages within your shop from your blog when you write on the products in the shop as this will help increase sales as well as get it more highly ranked in search engines. For example link to categories like blogging books or even to individual products like Advertising Secrets of the Written Word.

Similarly – personalizing your pages as much as possible with your own reviews, tags and descriptions will help a lot.

Give it a go and tell us how it works for you in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Fran6 says:

    Hi Darren,

    I started my 2 first shops in December (http://fran6art.zlio.com & http://etre-zen.zlio.com). I found very easy to set it up and to customize it. Zlio was launched in France first, that is why my shops have already few months. The system is really simple and it is a very good opportunity to “monetize” your blog. In France, we have the “payperclick” system, so you get paid for every click to any partner. I am sure that you will get it soon too. The SEO is very good too, even if it is always interesting to tag your articles and give good descriptions to them.

    For me, having a shop linked to your blog is a good opportunity to share things you like, such as books, computers, softwares, until it is in relationship with the content of your blog.

    Give us some feedback in several weeks to see if it is still interesting for you !

    Fran6

  2. Frank Johnson says:

    Darren: I looked at Zlio a week or so ago. I’m curious how you see it competing (or not competing) with your Chitika business. Seemed to me (after an admittedly brief glance at Zlio) that there would be quite a bit of overlap, but I could be wrong.

  3. james says:

    I notice a couple of issues right away: Half of the items in your shop don’t have images. That’s a huge no-no (and it was a problem with 5% of Amazon’s aStore before xmas). There’s also some currency sign wierdness – prices are showing as 19.95 $, which screams “Woah, Nellie! There’s something foreign about this site.

    I’m somewhat doubtful that this will convert better than aStore because:
    1) Amazon skillfully recommends related products in the sidebar.
    2) aStore incorporates Amazon ratings (which seem to be a great comfort for prospective buyers)
    3) aStore pays a minimum of 4%, and most likely 6-7% for most popular sites.

  4. Ari says:

    Seems to me that Zlio is a big money making operation. While it could certainly help monetize your blog they are the ones making a killing.

    Everytime someone buys a product from a Zlio site, Zlio makes a nice commission on the affiliate sales and passes a smaller percentage to the person hosting the Zlio shop.

    Zlio is an affiliate to all those sites and products and anyone who sets up a subdomain with Zlio becomes a sub-affiliate.

    Just a thought. I could be wrong. Analyzing these biz opps is what I do all day.

    Either way it doesnt hurt to try it especially if you could make some good passive income with it.

  5. Brian says:

    Something like this would fit well into my blog, I think. Being relatively new at this I would love to have some sort of shop (separate from my site) where I can just make a list of stuff *I* want to buy. If I want it, it’s likely I’ll mention it in the blog at some point. If I mention it I can just send people to the shop to buy it.

    My beef with Zlio right now is that it…….is……very….slow.

  6. Miha says:

    Can you add Zlio under your own domain?

  7. John Hood says:

    Amazon aStores are performing well! However, this looks quite compelling too. I particularly like the fact that publishers can add site tracking i.e. Google Analytics to shops.

    Looking forward, it would be great if RSS Feeds can receive the FeedBurner treatment too.

  8. jhay says:

    Looks formidable compared to the aStore. Though I don’t use it, maybe I’ll give both a try one more time.

  9. SifuPhil says:

    Thanks for the link, Darren. It looks like a nice idea, and I started working on it this afternoon.

    One problem I’ve encountered is that I was able to set up my categories and add a few items, but now for the last 6 hours every time I search for items to add it gives a “No Items Found” response. This is in the “All Categories” listing also, and I know it worked initially for the search terms I used.

    Could just be some of their servers are down, I suppose, but just wanted to give a heads-up to everyone.

  10. Fran6 says:

    @Miha: Yes, you can add Zlio under your own domain

  11. Ben Evert says:

    I too had problems trying to search for items. Nothing was found, so it said. Frustrated the hell out of me. Really makes me re-think if I want to have a blog store with this company.

  12. Kanwal says:

    I have also setup my own Zlio shop for all things SharePoint.

    Check it out at http://sharepoint.zlio.com

    I will continue to add more products as they become available.

  13. kiapp says:

    You can really make money with zlio. I started my zlioshop at the beggining of january and one month later i make between 15 and 20 euros a day with some of my shops :

    http://canape.zlio.com or http://moncaviste.zlio.com

    This systeme really works.

  14. PratikG says:

    I have also started my online shop at zlio.Let’s see if it works or not.

  15. Kanayama says:

    Zlio is a great way to mix your personal passions, fun & money!

    I first set up my French Japan oriented shop http://enviedejapon.zlio.com last December, and opened more recently my US shop http://japan-around.zlio.com .

    Go ahaed, it will become very addictive to play with the products & the statistics…

  16. Dazd says:

    I’ve had a Zlio store for a couple of weeks now. While I was enthusiastic starting out, my flame has dwindled. I find a little annoying the e-newsletter is in French. Also, they have created groups for discussion purposes and this is a novel idea. However, it must be functional and translated for non-French speaking individuals. The search for products needs some adjusting, IMHO. I want to add movies and such but unless you search by title, it would take weeks to add 48 movies/music CD’s.

    I remain optimistic and will continue to mold the store. I am a little disappointed in the lack of traffic and currently to date no sales. It was easy to set-up but generating traffic and sales is the real headache. This, right now IMHO, isn’t for the novie person looking to make a few dollars…such as myself. Maybe I’m wrong but I’m of the opinion that you need to be well-networked or tech savvy to make this work.

    My advice to Zlio.com, if they are reading this, your US/Canada store fronts are booming…you really need to ramp up the accessories and English newsletter.

  17. Pradeep says:

    Hi

    I came to Zlio website through your blog and since you are testing the product I thought it would be better if i brought to your notice a serious anomaly in zlio shops…or maybe its just nothing.

    See, I have set up a few shops a couple of weeks ago and i have been trying to promote it through my blogs and a squidoo lens I created.

    When i registered at Zlio I was given a 5 digit reference id starting with 36***. Today when i wanted to use the reference id to refer a friend I noticed that this reference id has changed to 39***. Initially i was like wtH…but then i got confused. I have changed the password to my zlio shop my email id and the reference id and links on my blogs and zlio shops.

    Could you do a check on it please…I do not know if someone has hacked my reference id and using it for their benefit or if zlio itself is involved. Zlio has recently posted on their website an interview from me… I just do not know what to think about this…

    Could you kindly explain?

    Thanks
    Peter

  18. The other month I started a zlio web store that is called The Hot Sauce Collector — I have developed a thesis on zlio that with a disciplined focus on a specific product niche you can drive a product coverage advantage over larger sites that have to be broader in nature. — I’ve been trying to push the limits on how far the customization can go, and recently generated my first revenues, which is encouraging to say the least.

    Source:

    http://zlio.com/?r=50260

  19. I actually started a zlio web store called the Jolly Green Girl’s Shoppe which features Eco-friendly products which also relates to my blog. It took me couple of days but I put up a header, catagorized it and everything. I am just waiting for people to come and visit it. I also sent off a massive email to my friends to join the site. Only one did. :) I am just wondering if this is all worth my effort. Do people really buy from a store that doesn’t have the stock physically? Just wondering. And ProBlogger I checked out your store and dear you do need to spruce it up. :)

  20. Lisa Peake says:

    I set up my zlio its called the johnny depp store. Selling loads of great products to do with Johnny Depp e.g DVD’S, toys etc.

    The only thing is i’m a little confused about what this has to do with blogging. I made my zlio without my blog in mind and didn’t realise the two could be connected. In what way can you add the site to your blog?

    Help!!

  21. this is a great site and i have over 10 referrels.still no earning though

  22. Vicki Funes says:

    I got an email today from AdSense telling about Zlio’s great plan…not only can we easily set up shop, but we can add AdSense, too. Sounded great. So, I tried it out.

    It was impossible to find out what products were available before signing up. So, I signed up…figuring that among the “thousands of products” they claim to have, that I’d probably find enough stuff to stock a mini-store.

    My readers have mentioned particular products, so after signing up that’s what I looked for. No luck with exact matches…so I tried for things that were similar. OK, I found some…but when researching each product closely, I found that most were “currently unavailable.” And what about the “many” merchants with which Zlio claims to work? Why weren’t these products available from a different merchant if the first one was out of stock?

    Because in my store’s category, only one merchant seemed to supply every single item. If Buy.com didn’t have it, then my new little store wouldn’t be able to stock it.

    Waste of time! I’d be willing to try again later if merchandise in my category really becomes available. Until then, it’s a very frustrating waste of time.

  23. R.Sonier says:

    I started with Zlio a few weeks ago with my first shop Play Games Shop and now i have four boutiques. Zlio have a lot products to promote, pay per clic commission and adsenses. Zlio used to be with Amazon but i don’t know what happen cause they’re not with them anymore? Now they’re with Barnes and Nobles and other great merchants. I was kind a beginner on the internet marketing and Zlio seems to be a great way to begin. Still not a lot earning though, but well i’m confident. With times and efforts to increase my visitors.
    http://www.zlio.com/?r=105337

  24. I just started my shop and it has taken me two days to get 440 products added. How is zlio pronounced anyway? Am I the only one that doesn’t know that? I was trying to get a second store going but it just goes the screen that says “please wait” has anyone else had this problem. I hate the fact that not all of the pictures show up, so I took those out, but I logged on this morning and there are more. arrgghhh. It’s free so what do I have to lose. Do I have to have a BLOG or can I just advertise on other blogs? I have earned nothing but I’m hopeful of a little pocket change if nothing else. http://www.spook.zlio.com

  25. doomer says:

    Looks formidable compared to the aStore

  26. Peter says:

    I have been a member on zlio for a few months now and have been promoting two of my stores online. In the past months that Ive been online I have earned close to a 100 dollars and more…but what concerns me is that of the money that has been earned only a payment of $2 has been validated so far in the past 5 months. which means although the site shows $100 in earnings only $2 is available to me, the rest remains with Zlio.

    I am begining to wonder if the whole process is genuine at all and that I am not wasting my time promoting something for which I may not earn anything at all.

    I have written to Zlio on several occassions only to receive a standard reply that does not give me much details…

    Hope something good news turns out from zlio soon

  27. Kizzy says:

    I now have 4 zlio shops, which I’m very optimistic about. I haven’t made much money yet, but there is great potential. The key things seem to be
    - choosing a niche you know about
    - customising your store (including writing your own product descriptions and reviews)
    - promoting your store on your blog
    Some niggles mentioned earlier have been sorted out; the newsletter is now in English, the currency is consistent, etc.
    You can use either a sales commission only model, or a mixture of sales and pay-per-click, which is a great idea.
    There are minor annoyances, such as that the search facility doesn’t work particularly well, and that items are still in the catalogues even after they are no longer available from the manufacturer.
    These aside, though, I think it’s pretty impressive, and how much you get out of it is going to be very much dependent on what you put in.

  28. djibs says:

    Hi everybody,

    I think that ZLIO is quite an easy way to earn some money on the net! At least easier than most of the stuff i’ve seen so far!!

    ZLIO which gives you the opportunity to create very easily your own customized shop on the Web, you can choose your topic and your items among thousands (computers, clothes, music, CD,DVD,…)

    Everytime you sell a product, you earn a commission (from 2% to 25%). You also earn money when people click on the products!!

    The good thing is that you can add a widget on your blog showing some products you are selling which is also an easy way to attract traffic on your shop!

    You can also display google ads on your shop which is an extra way to earn money!!

    I started a few months ago and this is the site that helped me most to earn money on the web

    If you want to register, that’s really easy, just try it: http://www.zlio.com/signup?r=253833

    You would be nice to leave me as a referer, it will not change anything for you but bringing new registrations is also a way to earn more for me…

    Would be happy if you let me know how it’s going on!!

    Good luck
    Djibs

  29. Brian says:

    The only thing I haven’t liked about Zlio is that it encourages the referral spam like Mr Djibs just gave us an example of. The real key is to have a niche market. I run philadelphiaeagles.zliostore.com which I’ve been driving business to via word of mouth in the Philly area.

  30. weijiasun says:

    Alright, i think up to this point most of us here all know about the ins (like how the process of setting shop is easy, the social networking element of Zlio, etc) and outs Zlio such as the search facility is a drag, some products show no image, etc etc.

    My purpose of writing here today is ask everyone including myself this question : Is there any way that we could do to beat Zlio? To make this service better for the users, the merchants since we all familiar with their business concept (which is IMHO a good one) and mistakes.

    Regardless of the critics of Zlio, they seem to have some brand power which probably creates some barrier to enter this market?? And on top of that there’s always the big Amazon and their aStore. Seems like a hard task for the small fishes out there? Any thoughts, suggestions?

  31. Rob says:

    I joined zlio a few days ago. I have 5 stores and tired eyes. No income yet but thats not surprising. Certain frustrations though. At the moment i cant upload any items and cant contact zlio as theyre busy upgrading.
    There seems to be a lack of available merchants for a UK shop compared with french for example. I think finding a niche is important so ill probably end up dumping some shops.
    One concern is that many who set up shops earlier in the year dont seem to have updated for months which suggests they wern’t doing very well. We’ll see!

  32. Dave says:

    I just joined but am not very impressed to be honest. I have not seen any commission rate above 3.5% – nearly all products i have tried offer only 1%.

    That means if you sold 10,000 products are £20 each – your earning are only £2000 and to be honest i doubt many sites will be able to see any more than 500 products without spending £££ on marketing.

    If anyone wants to prove me wrong then place your money earned in the last month with your URL – as knowbody is talking about their earnings which is a terrible sign to be honest.

    Also – searching for products is a nightmare as you can’t browse by category and you can’t even filter the highest paying commission %!

    I just spent 3 hours searching everything from TV, Computer, Video Consoles, Gadgets, etc – only a few offering 3.5% – nearly all of them only 1%!

    That is a complete waste of time!

  33. Rob says:

    I’m going to persevere a bit longer. Im concentrating on 2 shops only. Ive learnt a bit about SEO and where I was going wrong. Ive also changed the URL of one shop getting rid of the zlio part of the address. I have no doubt that a few people, perhaps not in the uk though, are making a nice little side income, but they will probably have a nice niche, a personalised store and good SEO skills.

  34. thierryf1968 says:

    I completely agree, zlio is a complete waste of time, don’t bother…

    particularly since they got many problems with google deindexing their shops (too thin, duplicated contents)….

    shop owners must now enter some description and tags… takes a lot of time for a very small return

    don’t waste your time here

  35. san says:

    i’m tired after searching for products, comparatively its very easy in astore to find and add products, i can’t change the template…im leaving zlio …goodbye!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Problogger.net est un des blogs les plus connus sur Internet. Chaque jour, Darren Rowse, son auteur, donne des astuces pour profiter au mieux de son blog et de gagner de l’argent avec. Aujourd’hui, il nous apprend qu’il vient d’ouvrir sa boutique Zlio ! Pour ce qui ne connaissent pas encore, Zlio est un système qui vous permet d’ouvrir votre propre boutique sur Internet en travaillant en direct avec de grands partenaires de la distribution comme Amazon, ou encore Apple et j’en passe. [...]

  2. [...] ProBlogger shows off his new Zilo Storefront which looks pretty dope. [...]

  3. [...] “ZLio (aff) – a service that enables you to add a a shop to your blog or website … they’re working with 100 French and US merchants (from big ones like Amazon and Buy.com to smaller ones with real niche focus).” http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/02/15/zlio-review-add-a-shop-to-your-blog/ [...]

  4. [...] months ago, Darren mentioned about having an online store to accompany your blog, and, I figured out it would be nice if I have one online shop for my Karaoke blog too After [...]