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