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  1. #1
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    Is there a better way than manualy editing and posting links???
    I am new to the whole affiliate marketing thing and as I am building my first site (an electronics site linking products from various retailers) I am wondering if there is a good way to make all my links show up the same (same format, i.e.: linkable picture 150 x 150, a linkable title, and a couple lines of description within a frame in one post) on my site. Different services give you links in different formats and I am finding it a lot of work to recode these links so they appear uniform on my site. Any suggestions?? Please help. Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    What you've just described is called a datafeed. You can find more information about integrating and utilizing datafeeds here.

    There are tools like WebMerge that can help you create a data feed from a supplied database and there are also services like GoldenCAN and PopShops that handle the creation aspect for you and allow you to focus on integrating the feed with your site.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
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    Thanks rematt for that info. I am aware of data feeds and how they work. That will be something I tackle next week or so. I was just wondering if when getting "individual" links from a retailer if manualy copy and pasting code into an html editor and positioning things, resizing images and stuff like that was the norm? It is extremely time consuming and would only allow a person a limited amount of links you could do in one day (well, I am sure some guys are really fast and could get about 100 done a day) but that is extremely tediuos work. I wanted to know if there were other ways, or is this just how its done??

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Follow rematt's advice and go with datafeeds. You may be able to do 100 items manually per day but with a datafeed you could do thousands in no time flat. If datafeeds are in your plans, you're far better off in the long run to work on datafeeds now and get that going. Each day you do it manually, you're actually losing productivity by not utilizing datafeeds.

    Once you get your process down, adding new feeds/products is a snap.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  5. #5
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    OK, i am convinced. My day today will be spent learning data feeds. Thank you very much for the info!!!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Welcome to ABW bigendz13 - Webmerge can take the data from a datafeed and turn it into html pages, even whole websites for you. It is not free, but they do have a free trial download that works to help you decide if it will do what you want done. You may spend some time to create your template, and check over the datafeed, but when you hit the button, it can create thousands of pages in under a minute.
    To create uniformly sized thumbnails from different datafeeds, use css to control the max-width for the class of image you code into your template.
    Some basic info about Webmerge is here: Fourth World WebMerge Help and they have a forum on ABW.
    Good luck

  7. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigendz13 View Post
    I was just wondering if when getting "individual" links from a retailer if manually copy and pasting code into an html editor and positioning things, resizing images and stuff like that was the norm? It is extremely time consuming and would only allow a person a limited amount of links you could do in one day (well, I am sure some guys are really fast and could get about 100 done a day) but that is extremely tediuos work. I wanted to know if there were other ways, or is this just how its done??
    As Greg said, working with individual links is very inefficient and should be avoided unless you're looking to highlight a single product or small category. However, I understand that sometimes working with large numbers of individual links is necessary to accomplish what you're trying to do.

    In those cases I format the individual links into a .csv file and use a WebMerge template to normalize and integrate them. If you're working with Linkshare, they make it very easy to integrate individual links by letting you select the links that you want and then having them export the links as a .csv file much like a datafeed file. With other networks there are varying levels of manual effort involved but their links all eventually make it to the same WebMerge template before posting. Not as quick and easy as using a complete datafeed, but it does provide you with a small level of automation. Perhaps others have found more ways to work with larger numbers of individual product links more efficiently.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  8. #8
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    Thanks again rematt. That was actully the answer I was looking for originally. I have noticed that you can save data as .csv files. I will try and learn how to implement this to a webmerge template (after I learn how to use webmerge hahah) and stick primarily with data feeds (once I learn how to use them) lots of work/learning ahead. Again Thank you to everyone that responded to my question. I am sure I will be back often in the future.
    Last edited by bigendz13; October 13th, 2010 at 08:50 PM.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    If you can build your own html pages you're 90% there with WebMerge. Just put <img src="[WM-FIELD: Thumbnail]" alt="[WM-FIELD: ProductName]"> in your page where you want the image to be for example. You would need to use the actual Field Names as shown in your datafeed - but that is the general idea. They have tutorials that are very helpful.

  10. #10
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    Ok so I just wanted to update you guys on what I have accomplished today. I didnt mention that I am running Joomla websites. I looked at popshops, goldencan and webmerge. They all looked like great services, but i didnt want to pay monthly fees and stuff like that. Then I found cms shop builder from joomlashopbuilder. This extension did cost 100 bucks, but it was soooooo worth it. It does everything all the before mentioned products do, but no monthly fees or forth click nonsense or service fees. I have already got two niche websites made today all fully populated with products and catalogs, ready to go!

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That's great! Sometimes it makes a big difference which platform you're on.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigendz13 View Post
    Ok so I just wanted to update you guys on what I have accomplished today. I didnt mention that I am running Joomla websites. I looked at popshops, goldencan and webmerge. They all looked like great services, but i didnt want to pay monthly fees and stuff like that. Then I found cms shop builder from joomlashopbuilder. This extension did cost 100 bucks, but it was soooooo worth it. It does everything all the before mentioned products do, but no monthly fees or forth click nonsense or service fees. I have already got two niche websites made today all fully populated with products and catalogs, ready to go!
    That's great! Look how much progress you made in such a short time! When I first started working with datafeeds, back in my affiliate days, a lot of my pages were hand coded. It could take 50-100 pages to display one merchant's feed. It took a while to tune it but I got that down to 6 pages. With 6 pages I could add any feed I wanted.

    Keep at it, with your drive you'll be teaching us tricks before long.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  13. #13
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    An update.... After using my previously described solution for a couple of days I still found myself doing a lot of manual tasks. This was still leaps and bounds faster than copying and pasting, but I want to be as efficient as possible. I then joined PopShops for their free thirty day trial. This is a little different method of populating my website with products as you can do it dynamically off of their server/database using scripts. With CMS ShopBuilder I have to download .xml/.crv files individually to my home computer, CMS ShopBuilder then loads the data feeds on to my server/database then creates "static" content on my Joomla site. This was great I thought for search engine friendliness, but I still have to make some edits to my article posts (individual items), and manually update products every day, this is still very time consuming. I wanted to create a website that would require very little maintenance and one that had current, most recent products available every day automatically. PopShops is the solution for this. The only problem I thought I might encounter was that fact that dynamically created web pages are not search engine friendly (or at least very deep). My work around: Create menu/link navigation and narrow down my products to very specific categories. Also using URL SEO friendly re-write which is a built in Joomla option. This did require me to write (well actually copy and paste) quite a few different scripts to be used throughout my site, but once I have it all set up, there will be almost no maintenance! I will keep you people posted.

  14. #14
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    Helpful thread - Thanks to the OP and those who replied
    This thread was very helpful and interesting to me. Learning how to use data feeds is something I need to learn how to do and the products mentioned, to make this process easier, are interesting. My thanks to the OP and those who replied.

  15. #15
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    OK...another update. I have been very busy, but I have my first site using Popshops API completed (the front page "daily discounts" is done with the basic shopbuilder tool, because it is easier to update everyday, but every other page is pure API). It took a lot longer than I had hoped, but then again I had to teach myself everything. Have a look and tell me what you think. If you have any questions as to how I was able to figure out the API and apply it the way I did feel free to ask as I now know first hand how frusturating it can be to try and learn this stuff on your own. (popshops offers no, none, zilch help when it comes to using there API and furthermore programming the .php in order to make use of it, but I did it!) Looking at the date of the first post on this thread I realize it took me about 3 weeks to do this...not bad in my opinion. Now I can knock out a new site in a couple of days...anyways...have a look.. Moderator Note: Link Removed - Please Read the Rules I hope I am not breaking any rules by posting that link..
    Last edited by 2busy; November 10th, 2010 at 08:27 PM.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    It sounds like you've been hard at work. There is a forum here where you can post your site for review: http://www.abestweb.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=146

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigendz13 View Post
    OK...another update. I have been very busy, but I have my first site using Popshops API completed (the front page "daily discounts" is done with the basic shopbuilder tool, because it is easier to update everyday, but every other page is pure API). It took a lot longer than I had hoped, but then again I had to teach myself everything. Have a look and tell me what you think. If you have any questions as to how I was able to figure out the API and apply it the way I did feel free to ask as I now know first hand how frusturating it can be to try and learn this stuff on your own. (popshops offers no, none, zilch help when it comes to using there API and furthermore programming the .php in order to make use of it, but I did it!) Looking at the date of the first post on this thread I realize it took me about 3 weeks to do this...not bad in my opinion. Now I can knock out a new site in a couple of days...anyways...have a look.. Moderator Note: Link Removed - Please Read the Rules I hope I am not breaking any rules by posting that link..

    Hi bigendz,

    I have recently purchased cms shopbuilder and I saw that you offered to help if someone needs it on how to use that extension, I have some questions for you but I don't know if you would be available for it, it is about an issue I am running into right now and few other questions about how to match fields.

    Thank you

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    An update.... After using my previously described solution for a couple of days I still found myself doing a lot of manual tasks. This was still leaps and bounds faster than copying and pasting, but I want to be as efficient as possible. I then joined PopShops for their free thirty day trial. This is a little different method of populating my website with products as you can do it dynamically off of their server/database using scripts. With CMS ShopBuilder I have to download .xml/.crv files individually to my home computer, CMS ShopBuilder then loads the data feeds on to my server/database then creates "static" content on my Joomla site. This was great I thought for search engine friendliness, but I still have to make some edits to my article posts (individual items), and manually update products every day, this is still very time consuming. I wanted to create a website that would require very little maintenance and one that had current, most recent products available every day automatically. PopShops is the solution for this.
    bigendz13 found that it was too much work to use that tool and went with PopShops as the solution.

  19. #19
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    I also had a great deal of trouble mathcing fields when manually doing the data stream.. I never could get it right no matter how many combinations i tried. The free CJ api interface always worked great though! I emailed the developer awhile back and he said in the next update there will be some fixes and an ability to interface with Linkshares API. I do think this is a good product considering every article/product that you publish with this tool becomes its own web page and is SE searchable...just needs to have some bugs worked out of it.
    Last edited by bigendz13; December 8th, 2010 at 12:28 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigendz13 View Post
    I also had a great deal of trouble mathcing fields when manually doing the data stream.. I never could get it right no matter how many combinations i tried. The free CJ api interface always worked great though! I emailed the developer awhile back and he said in the next update there will be some fixes and an ability to interface with Linkshares API. I do think this is a good product considering every article/product that you publish with this tool becomes its own web page and is SE searchable...just needs to have some bugs worked out of it.
    Funny the developer told me the same thing 12 months ago and has not responded to follow-up requests since. Good concept but little to no support and a few notable bugs. Looking forward to the next version if it ever appears.

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