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  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    dont get me wrong there are a few things it saves you time on..

    but overall the basic idea that you just get a datafeed txt file from a merchant.. bang it through webmerge and wala you have a 2000 page site is far from the truth

    im working on a cellphone merchant... and I have had to go into the datafeed at 4 new columns, in each column add new stuff, just so that when i run it through i can get pages to be named more specific..

    secondly.. im finding that unless after you have create 2000 pages you go into each page and add your own content or go into the datafeed decription columb and go through every row changing the description.. you are going to end up with a site that has the exact same wording, images, specs as 30 other sites out there. the only edifference will be how you lay it out..

    So im wondering wether its really saving time at all compared to just going and creating each page manually and adding your own content. either way... every page you create has to have your own content not the merchants otherwise you will end up with exact same site as someoen else..

    another thing... i was checking out another affiliates site who uses datafeeds and though each page they have on their site the title is different, the metatags ( keywords, description) are the same on every page..

    I know engines dont give those too much weight anymore. but..still... the same generic description for every product page is going to be a bit lame i think in googles eyes.. i can see it working against you instead of for you..

    so your left with making the choice to go into every page after there created and adding unique keywords and descripton geared towards that page...

    which bring me back to how differnt is this compared to just doing it manually..

    I thought the basic ideas behind datafeeds was... create a 3000 page product site.. without having to create each page manually... yes that can be done.. but not without some heavy datafeed editing.. which defeats the point of a month later the merchant wil send you an updated version and instead of just replacing it.. you now have to go into it. figure out whats new and copy and paste it into your EDITED version you did the month before..

    seems like a ton of work to me...

    Personally i wonder wether its just not worth sticking to manual site making.. that way you can be sure that all the data will be in the right place on the page, all links will work, all content will be unique and all meta will be unique to the page..

    Datafeeds bears an earie resemblance to Traffic Equalizer. in terms of it can bang out hndreds of pages based on keywords but you have to go into each one after and add unquie content and change the meta...

    as traffic equalizer uses 3 templates aswell.. and well every page is going to be based on a template..


    Where is the time saving in all of this??
    seems like overall its going to take longer than doing a manual site.. as your going to have to go into every page anyway.. to make each page unque..

  2. #2
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    far far away....
    YOu make a gret point!

    you Do have to go in and edit each page so it is unique... if you don't you're wasting your time...

    A good case could be made for just skippin Webmerge all together... and creating pages manually...

    I think what is lost by most Webmerge users is that webmerge will convert a datafeed into templates, that's right templates...that can be edited into webpages.....

    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  3. #3
    Action Jackson - King of the World
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    it's not hard at all to make the pages unique. You just got to know what you're doing and experiment

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005

    You are basing your assumption that everyone uses WebMerge the exact same way on the exact same datafeeds which is a fallacy to begin with.

    - Some of us have our own products in databases that we use WM to build sites with. The prospect of someone having the same exact products as I do is unlikely.

    - There are ways to add unique content without adding it by hand if you know what you are doing...that is what differenciates one site from another (like using SSI to add Amazon content via David Cusimano's script).

    - If you are using Excel and know something about Excel formulas you can use certain Excel functions to manipulate the data to create different titles, descriptions and etc without editing by hand.

    However if you want to talk about a tool that takes merchant feeds and creates massive clone sites I was just shown a new page builder similar to Traffic Equalizer that works from merchant feeds and from what I've seen EVERY site built by this program will look like every other site. At least with WM there are no cookie cutter templates to work from. Generally speaking the information from the datafeed is utilized to either construct stand-alone unique websites OR to integrate the content into existing websites.

    Personally I have a system that I use where I can take virtually any datafeed, strip out all but the essential information, and build a complete site in less than a day and except for the product picture the average website visitor would have trouble matching my site to any other site on the Internet...isn't that what the Internet is about anyways...choices?

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    "it's not hard at all to make the pages unique. You just got to know what you're doing and experiment "

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    First, we could have a race in building 2,000 pages, or even 50 pages. We know who will win, but that's not the real question. The real issue, is how well can one customize each page they create.

    For example, I can run a 10,000 record datafeed through Excel, then WebMerge in about two-hours. It will be different than any other datafeed site (on the Internet) using that merchant's feed - with each individual page being different. - including meta tags, page title, and even banner ads in the navigation area. By the same token, there are some feeds that get re-run with only a few minutes of preparation.

    One of the reasons folks use WM, is so that they can hand-tweak each feed, and make it unique. In fact, some of us feel that if we can't make our feed unique then why bother - it's just more SE spam.

    Those sites that have the same information in the meta-tags just aren't putting a couple of extra minutes into their design (shame on them). Putting info into that area can be done in WebMerge, PHP, Perl or just about anything else.

    If you're having trouble figuring out ways to customize each page, then it may be time to look at a different datafeed. Simply put, some of the feeds out there have very little information in them (no keywords, one-line descriptions, etc.). Time to move on to a Merchant that has better info.

    If you have established one set of templates for a merchant already, then you might be able to use that as a starting point for the next merchant. I am not saying use the exact same thing, that's just more spam - but use as a starting point. The tags you use will be almost the same for each Merchant, unless you have a complicated design.

    Again, the focus needs to be on the content you put into the page, based on the content available in the datafeed.

    What areas are you still having difficulty with?


  6. #6
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    jacked by sylon
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jackson992:
    it's not hard at all to make the pages unique. You just got to know what you're doing and experiment <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with you. After I experimented for about a week - Now all of my pages are different and keyed for the product that is on the page.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LastHope:
    dont get me wrong there are a few things it saves you time on..

    but overall the basic idea that you just get a datafeed txt file from a merchant.. bang it through webmerge and wala you have a 2000 page site is far from the truth <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    On the contrary, WebMerge does exactly what it aims to do: building pages from templates more rapidly than is possible by hand. At a fraction of a second per page, I haven't seen a typist yet who can beat it.

    The problem you introduce is a real issue, but isn't related to WebMerge or even to datafeeds in general. At the heart of this is the question of the difference between mere searchbot fodder and an effective site that closes sales.

    As guerilla marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson pointed out in his column in the premier issue of Revenue magazine, it takes more than just tossing a data feed onto the web to build the trust that converts hits to sales.

    An effective site doesn't just rely on a vendor's datafeed alone, but will also take the time to add unique value to the shopping experience. These value-added features can include articles and tips for your specific target customers, feature unique products that will be of special interest to them, and of course will be presented in a professional-looking site that tells the customer you're serious about being a trustworthy sales rep for them.

    This is true of all sales-oriented sites, regardless of whether they're built with ASP, Miva, or WebMerge. The tool isn't the message -- it's still all about content, and a professional presentation for that content that makes folks want to do business with you.

    Take a look at our WebMerge Gallery page, as it shows a wide variety of the things people build with WebMerge. Sure, most of those folks have written to tell me how their hits ran way up and their workload dropped by using WebMerge. But the most important part of their story is that those site managers recognize that the goal isn't to get hits, but to close sales.

    I'll take a site that gets a hundred hits and closes 20 sales each day over one with a hundred thousand hits but closes none.

    The difference between a site that makes an effective sales presentation and one that doesn't isn't a function of the software used to build it, but really it's a matter of knowing your customers and demonstrating a commitment to providing them with an excellent shopping experience.

    If you're earnest about delivering a great experience for your customers, WebMerge can help you deliver an efficient, consistent presentation for the products there.
    Richard Gaskin
    Developer of WebMerge: Publish any data feed on any site

  8. #8
    Newbie sa00's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Talking about ways to clean up data feeds, I find that the data feed clean up part pre-merge to be the most boring and time consuming part of this. However, I see it as a "must do" to ensure a better end product.

    I would love any feedback on what formulas or ways exist to get Excel to check for duplicate entries under same column and any other clean up tips that can minimize time spent doing this.

    As for WM and customizing your pages, that's up to the user's imagination, not WM. WM is only the tool to do this with. I used to use a macro, but it was too limited. Now with WM, I am free to merge any file size. If I could just find out how to clean data feeds automatically instead of manually...

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