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  1. #1
    What tools are you using?
    I'd like to see this forum become more of an active community of Avantlink affiliates so I want to get a few threads like this going.

    So....what Avantlink tools are you using and which are performing the best for you? I pretty heavily rely on the datafeed client and have built multi-merchant full catalog directories with it. So far so good and most of my sales originate from it.

    I also use the DOTD RSS feeds. I have a specific forum which uses the vBulletin RSS feed manager to create new threads. Only a few views here and there and a sale every now and then. I also run rotating DOTD banners on the content pages of my site.

    I used to have a random product display builder area on each page of my site, and did get a few sales from it, but I didn't think it performed well enough to dedicate so much real estate on every page.

    Anyway, let's start sharing some techniques using Avantlink tools that are working well...

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Great idea AlpineZone I'm a pretty teeny affiliate so I probably can't offer too much info but happy to share with ya what I can.

    I use a mixture of AvantLink's tools. I'm not exactly the umm most computer smarty person around so haven't gotten brave enough to try all of em yet. lol Naturally I use a lot of the regular ole small banners and text links.

    Yeap, use the DOTD banners for quite a few of the merchants if not all of em. Am not at AL right now so am not sure what the name of all of the tools are. I use the text links for the DOTD, too. (would be javascript since I haven't learned the rss stuff yet) Where my site was hosted before there was a problem with php so switched to another host not that long ago and am slooooowly learning how to use more things. (with quite a bit of help from a very nice Burgerboy )

    Trust thinks he's the most computer techie challenged here but still think I'd beat him for that award easily. Have just gotten my second datafeed for the merchant's entire site on mine, little merchant.(with quite a bit of help from a very nice Burgerboy[img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] ) only think one's been indexed so far. Plan on using it for some more merchants and maybe experimenting with just some categories instead of everything.

    Don't wanna make it sound like AL wouldn't help me cos I know Gary or Scott would in a second if I asked either one of them at any time. I'm pigheaded tho maybe. I wanna learn how to do things myself when I can on my own before cryin uncle and asking others for help. Burgerboy and I both use FP and have the same type of cpanel so he's able to help me. Since Gary had been my affiliate manager a waaays back and knows I'm not the most computer smarty person around, I wanted to learn how to do it then surprise him with my computer smartiness

    Only rss I think I have are the little icon thingies but not sure if people have subscribed to them or not. (told ya I'm techie challenged) Most of what I've been using are the javascript options for things but want to change that soon as I get a little bit of time. Just logged into AL and it's the Coupon Feed Syndication tool instead of the techie term "icon thingies"

    hmmm am trying to think of what else

    Have used the product display builder quite a bit and use the dynamic coupon tool. That would probably be what's worked the most so far.

    Don't know how I coulda forgotten this one Am using one of the videos cos....it's a teddy bear.

    Think I've covered everything. lol Will have to make sure to check back in and see what others have to say.

    Thanks for sharing, too.

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlpineZone
    I'd like to see this forum become more of an active community of Avantlink affiliates so I want to get a few threads like this going.

    So....what Avantlink tools are you using and which are performing the best for you? I pretty heavily rely on the datafeed client and have built multi-merchant full catalog directories with it. So far so good and most of my sales originate from it.


    Anyway, let's start sharing some techniques using Avantlink tools that are working well...
    Well...

    Hi AlpineZone,

    While I can agree with that, and I too would like this forum become more of an active community of Avantlink affiliates so we can learn more about how to use Avantlink, I am afraid to post here sometimes.

    Not because I am afraid to ask any question, but because I am still too new to Avantlink, and I have noticed that not too many other affiliates post questions here.

    Ok, just to be clear!

    If it's not ok to post all my Avantlink, headache questions here, I can't post my feel good testimonials neither.

    Ok, I'll be nice and just give one example:

    It took me too many months to finally figured out how to use those raw datafeeds by myself, even tho I would never had found the road map to get there, if it wasn't for all the help that NatureBoy provided to me last year when I was stuck.

    So now, while I may no longer care about those only two time limit a day to get that raw feed, now I may understand the reason, even if I don't agree with it 100%.

    And here is my testimonial about that raw datafeed tool:

    Once you figure out how to use it, it's a piece of cake!

    And here is my only tip:

    Once you figure out how to use it, all you need to do is just change the merchant number, and you can use the same import script for any other Avantlink merchant. (Just use the new link on that line.)

    ------------

    What?

    Want prove that I am ok with that raw datafeed tool now?

    Ok, so I joined another Avantlink merchant and I had no problem getting that datafeed on my site not even once. (So what do I really care about the two time limit a day anylonger.)

  4. #4
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Product Feed by RSS.

    Period
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I am using them all, except instead of the raw feed like Mr. Sal uses I'm using their Datafeed Client. Like Mr. Sal, I figured out how not to take 45 minutes to make links for all the places I might like to put them - just by changing the site code.
    If anyone has figured out how to add a dynamic (.php) menu include to the template - That would be helpful. Needing to update the various templates every time I add a new page seems unproductive but maybe that's just me. AvantLink has some great tools.

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    I am using them all, except instead of the raw feed like Mr. Sal uses I'm using their Datafeed Client. Like Mr. Sal, I figured out how not to take 45 minutes to make links for all the places I might like to put them - just by changing the site code.

    If anyone has figured out how to add a dynamic (.php) menu include to the template - That would be helpful. Needing to update the various templates every time I add a new page seems unproductive but maybe that's just me. AvantLink has some great tools.
    45 minutes?

    It just takes me less than a second to change the merchant name from my import script.

    What menu?

    The categories menu?

    If you show me yours, I would show you mine!

    .


    .
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    Anyway, here is the core data to get my menu's from any merchant there! (one at the time)

    --------
    $result = mysql_query("select DISTINCT Category from $merchant_table ORDER by Category ASC") or die (mysql_error());
    while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result)) {
    $catname = urlencode(strtolower($row[Category]));
    echo "<a href=\"$catname.html\">$catname</a><br>"; }
    --------

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    You are most generous o Mr. Sal, but the 45 minutes is not to get the raw datafeed, it's to get all the variations of a merchant's banners encoded for each site that I might eventually want to put them on. By just using a list of my various site codes I can download one version and change it for the site I decide to use it on - whenever.
    Someday when I figure out all the scary stuff about MySQL then I will appreciate your generosity 1000 times more.

  8. #8
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    it's to get all the variations of a merchant's banners encoded for each site that I might eventually want to put them on. By just using a list of my various site codes I can download one version and change it for the site I decide to use it on - whenever.
    Before I give up on you, I want to ask you a question, because I am confuse by what you have posted there. (what I bolded)

    If this is not what you need, don't reply, but if this is what you are asking for, just let me know and I will PM you the code.

    If you just want to include merchant #1X banners on your merchant #1X site template by using a php code on your pages once, and from just one place to make any changes to any omount of banners from that same merchant #1X store, then I may be able to help you, but if you're looking for any other thing, I don't know.


    Just to make it clear for you, here is an example of what I mean:

    Suppose I have an Avantlink merchant that sells shoes, and I have 10 banners from that shoes merchant, if I want to rotate those 10 banners from that shoe merchant on every page on my shoe site, all I need is just two php pages, one with the do things code, and one with the actual banners code.

    So all I have to add to my pages like the index.page, category.page and anyother.page would be just this: <? include("this-banner-code-here.php"); ?>

    If that's not what you are asking for, then disregard this post.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    Once you figure out how to use it, all you need to do is just change the merchant number, and you can use the same import script for any other Avantlink merchant.
    Yep. I also use the same template file for all my datafeed clients.

  10. #10
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    If anyone has figured out how to add a dynamic (.php) menu include to the template - That would be helpful.
    2busy, have a look at this blog article and let me know if it's what you're looking for: Using PHP includes with the datafeed web service client

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Yes, Gary, that is what I have been looking for, ironically I gave up about the time that article was written. I had been trying to add it to the template using the same <php include.. that I use for the rest of the site and could not get it to work.
    Mr. Sal, sorry but that is much more complicated than what I was trying to do. I just wanted to be able to go to the "Get Merchant Ads" section and copy the banner links available there but there is a different code for each site you have so Merchant Banner A needed to be "Merchant Banner A for Site 1" , "Merchant Banner A for Site 2" and so on. By using a list of the site codes I can copy "Merchant Banner A for Site 1" and change it to "Merchant Banner A for Site 4" without needing to have a separately coded link...but your banner includes look interesting!

  12. #12
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    Hi, I am literally a complete novice when it comes to using affiliate marketing tools like the ones Avantlink are using, but I have to say they are by far the most helpful and responsive company I have come across so far. My website is an on topic niche site that I am trying to add a store to using the data feed client. I would like to see some examples of what others have achieved using this tool to see if i am on the right track, but I guess this is a little difficult without violating the terms of the forum. I too had a problem with includes, which I use widely on my main site, but didn't seem to work on the shop template. If i ever get the hang of php I look forward to trying to sort out my includes on the store. (yes please don't laugh I don't know any php at all, thats why I am using avantlinks tools!) Would also like to be able to format the shop more to my liking, but I guess only certain things are possible right.

    anyway I cannot believe I have got as far as I have with this, thanks again avantlink.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mikemycroft
    I would like to see some examples of what others have achieved using this tool to see if i am on the right track, but I guess this is a little difficult without violating the terms of the forum.
    Add a "http://gear." before and a ".com" after my username. Hopefully that doesn't violate anything.

  14. #14
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I'm using the datafeed tool.

    Click on the link in my signature to see a site that I have using the datafeed tool.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  15. #15
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    Burger boy, Alpinezone, I am well impressed with your sites! It makes my efforts look a little amateurish . I think I am going back to the drawing board for this one...

    Its great to have something to go at though.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy
    I'm using the datafeed tool.

    Click on the link in my signature to see a site that I have using the datafeed tool.
    Wow! Talk about a niche site. Nice job!

  17. #17
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Most of my sites are shopping centers but I have one niche site that makes a lot of money so I thought that I would add some more and see what happens.

    That site is a new site.

    Right now I'm in the process of building a coupons and deals site since affiliates appear to make money with them and people are looking for coupons and deals because they're broke.

    Look out Connie - here I come.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I decided to try following the instructions to add my menu includes; I went to the blog post linked to above and found the instructions. I like to have everything handy to do something I haven't tried yet so I copied the instructions into a plain text file. If you're going to add in your includes with their instructions, DON'T do that, copy it into a php formatted file on Notepad++ (I had used plain old Notepad). I ran into trouble because a single quote is not an apostrophe but Notepad doesn't know the difference. David Clark at AvantLink helped me out of my mess, and it's working fine now. It can be done Once you fix one shop.php file I would guess you can use the same shop.php file for any other template you're using as long as the include has the same filename/location. This means that when I update the menu for that section it will be automatically updated for all the pages in that section. Yay!

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Burger boy, Alpinezone, I am well impressed with your sites!
    Me Too! I have to second what mikemycroft said!
    And for Mike, The best way I've found to make your shop look the way you want(If you don't have a LAMP or WAMP setup on your computer) is:
    1. Make your shop page the way you would if it didn't have any AvantLink content. When it looks right to you, merge the elements of your page with the elements in the template page, putting the [AL content Links] where you want them to appear on your page.
    2. Copy their CSS from the AL template.html page into your .css file.
    3. Upload it according to instructions, but to a new folder that isn't linked to the rest of your site.
    4. Visit that page at http://www.yoursite/foldername/shop/shop.html
    5. View page source (make a copy to work from if you want)
    6. Edit the .css where needed to make the finished page look the way you want it to look.
    7. When you're satisfied with the results, move the template back to the folder on your site where it should be.
    You may not get 100% of what you want because there is no way to control how many products will show up for any given category and some settings in the feed can't be controlled by css but you'll get pretty close to what you're trying to do.
    IF you do have LAMP/WAMP setup then you can do it on your desktop.
    Once you have a template.html file that looks and works the way you want it to you can use that template for other shops, altering the layout or colors or content quite easily.

  20. #20
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    Lamp/Wamp is another learning curve for me; looking at alpine zone and burger boys site, I think I am going to build a more niche shop which ties in totally with the traffic I get, rather than use the Avantlink tool and whack a 1,000 item datafeed up that is totally undifferentiated from other feeds and with a lot of pages that prpbably wont get found by customers

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    AvantLink's datafeed client setup customizes the feed as it is delivered, each page gets indexed and can be found in the SERPs. You don't need a LAMP/WAMP setup, it just lets you work locally instead of via ftp.
    Each page has a different title and description, different keywords, it's not a cookie-cutter template. You create one template page and the datafeed client setup builds each page on demand and specific to your site as it is delivered.

  22. #22
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    If I understand it right - actually you design your own template. That's what I did.

    You put codes on your template where you want the different things to appear.

    You put the script that handles the feeds on your server.

    Every 24 hours the script contacts the network via ftp and builds all the pages and caches them on your server just like a cron job. That way they load a lot faster for you.

    It updates all of the pages to match the feed updates so your information is always current.

    At least that is the way it works for me.

    You put it out once and forget it and it takes care of everything for you from then on.

    You can spend your time working on your other sites.

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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Yes, BurgerBoy, you're right, I just put it a different way in case he was using the template 'out-of-the-box' already - since he said he wasn't too pleased with it. That's the part where I suggested that he make his own page the way he would if it didn't have any AL content on it, and then put the content links where he wants them to show up on his own page. Only suggestions, heaven knows we all work differently. I forgot the best suggestion of all - if you're running into a problem, just fire off an email to support *at*avantlinkdotcom because we all know they just sit around playing wii until an email comes in from one of us... or anyway they answer so quickly they make you think they weren't busy at all.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    You create one template page and the datafeed client setup builds each page on demand and specific to your site as it is delivered.
    2busy I really appreciate the reply, I have built a template page based on my existing site pages, and am in the process of making the pages look as integrated as possible. Can I post a link to the page without upsetting the moderators?

    The comment I made about Lamp/Wamp were just me thinking aloud really, the more I read the stuff on this forum the more I realise I have got a lot to learn just understanding thelanguage. I didnt know what LAMP/WAMP was until I Googled it!

    The 2 main concerns I have about the tool are the search was abysmal and the question of duplicate content. I think I can probably sort out everything else. What are your thoughts on duplicate content?

    I saw your comment on the speed the guys at Avantlink support reply. I'll second that!

    anyway thnks again for the reply I really appreciate it.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    If you're concerned about posting a link but you'd like advice you could always post your link in the Site Review forum here. Alpine Zone posted his link without posting one at all. The Site Review forum will get comments from many more people, a lot of them won't have any experience with AvantLink's template but you would get more general comments that are not template specific. Some folks just post their links in their ABW profile and some won't post them anywhere ever.
    You can set your descriptions to be inside <quote> tags so you don't have to be concerned about the duplicate content. Most duplicate content issues aren't product related anyway, it's when your content is copied or essentially copied and rephrased from somewhere else. Google knows what affiliates do, they're making a good buck off "duplicate content", heh, they just want you to add value to the consumer, present original information or research facts and present them in a new way. They want you to create a interesting site for your visitors, not for the spiders. The way your shop ends up is that it looks like you have created thousands of pages of products so if you can write articles that are relevant to your products or for users of those products and link to these articles, that gives you original content. Using AvantLink's ALE script in your template helps too, you can paste in links to the merchant's content as a straight, non-affiliate link and it becomes an affiliate link when it is clicked. No one's shop will be identical to yours.

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