Let the Online Success experts review the resources before you invest your time and money!


home :: articles

The secret ingredient to product sites

by Jeanette S Cates, PhD

As an online business owner, you recognize the importance of diversifying the types of products you offer. And while most of your business may come from selling digital products, it's not unlikely that you also offer tangible, physical products. Whether it's vitamins, exercise equipment, poker chips, or quilting fabric, there is a vast market for non-digital products online. Happily, most of the vendors of these products offer affiliate programs.

But if you've ever built an affiliate site based on a particular theme, you know the challenges. There are hundreds of products, each needing its own web page. There are multiple levels of navigation. And that spells a lot of html pages to create.

But there's an easier way!

Enter datafeeds and automated tools. Automated tools, such as SMG (see the review at OnlineSuccessReviews.com) essentially do a "mail merge" with the information from the datafeed.

In fact, if you've ever done a mail merge in your word processor or email program, then you understand the process. Using a web page template, you insert a placeholder or "tag." One tag might say "use the product name here," another tag says "put the product price here" and a third tag says "insert the picture of the product here."

The datafeed itself is a file similiar to a spreadsheet. It holds the product information, with one row per product. For each product there is a column for name, price, image, etc.

So why are datafeeds important?

Vendors of physical products (as opposed to digital or soft products) have started recognizing the value of datafeeds and are offering them to their affiliates. Instead of your having to look up each of the 250 products you want to offer in your storefront, you can download the datafeed and quickly generate the site. This saves you time and effort and makes it more likely you'll create a site using that vendor's products.

And what about a datafeed of your products? If you have more than 3 or 4 products, consider creating a datafeed for your affiliates. Even if you sell digital products, a datafeed can be a convenient reference for your affiliates. Plus, if they want to merge your products with other vendors' a datafeed makes that process quick and easy.

For example, let's assume you only want to feature 20 products on your site, but they are from 4 different vendors. Sure, you could hand-code each page. But what if you just created a single datafeed copying and pasting from the individual lists? In the long run that may be a more efficient way to achieve the goal of an easy-to-navigate, quickly built site.

So start noticing datafeeds and their use. It's another tool for your Online Success arsenal.

About the Author

Dr. Jeanette Cates, The Technology Tamer, has just released the SMG QuickStart designed for owners of the Secret Money Generator and those considering its purchase. Jeanette works with independent professionals who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into gold.

(c) 2005 Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site so long as the paragraph above is included.

Other Reviews

Secret Money Generator
Automate the process of generating web sites with datafeeds from vendors.


When you're ready to make money with your telephone - from the comfort of your home.

17 ways to improve your current website.

A Tactic a day... keeps your website healthy and happy. Download your copy today!