How to install the DatafeedR plugin for managing datafeeds and adding affiliate products and links to WordPress blogs
This is the third installment of the series “How to Build an Affiliate Store in WordPress“
The next step in creating an affiliate store in WordPress is to actually setup the datafeedR WordPress plugin and configure it’s options. In the first installment how to build an affiliate store I talked briefly about why datafeedR is one of the best solutions, and in the second installment Setting up WordPress for an affiliate store, I gave an overview of how to setup WordPress and get it ready to use the blog as an affiliate store type of web site. Next, I will show you how to setup datafeedR itself.
What is DatafeedR?
DatafeedR is an “affiliate datafeed management service”. They will do for you what you can’t do on your own. DatafeedR is the only product or service I’ve ever recommended (other than web hosting) that has a monthly fee. I’ve already had a few questions about why in the world I would use or promote a product like this that cost money month after month. The answer is, it’s worth every penny and there isn’t anything else like it ANYWHERE online that I’ve found to date. Their service saves me more time than anything else I’ve ever used.
DatafeedR manages the datafeeds
They have datafeeds for 200+ merchants through Commission Junction, ShareASale, LinkShare, and Clickbank – which contain more than 30 million products. They strip all the garbage from the datafeeds and give you tools to easily add the products to your WordPress blog, in ways you never thought possible.
DatafeedR has a WordPress plugin
Part of the DatafeedR service is the downloadable WordPress plugin that comes with it. The plugin is the bridge between your blog and the datafeedR service. In the Datafeedr online members area you can setup stores in the “factory” area. Basically you will be creating categories and subcategories for products, and choosing products from various merchants. When you are down you download the store in a text file. Using the “import” feature of the DatafeedR wordpress plugin the store you created is setup in your blog, complete with home page, categories, search, and more.
Key Datafeedr WordPress Plugin Features
- Store structure including categories and pages
- Completely control over all permalinks, titles, and descriptions
- Ability to create and modify templates at any level
- Search functionality
- Give products multiple attributes such as “featured”, “best selling” or “on sale”
- Delete or edit individual products from your blog admin without going back to the “factory”
- Ability to add original content ANYWHERE
- Assign images to categories
- Sidebar widgets with search, categories, products, or pages navigation
- Exclusive “product drip” feature, which creates blog posts from store products are specified intervals
DatafeedR is a Complete Service
DatafeedR charges a montly fee because they have ongoing maintenance. It’s not a plugin you download and configure and use one time only. As merchants add and remove new products to their data feeds, DatafeedR updates it’s data feeds adding new products from merchants and removing old products that are no longer for sale. If you used to copy and paste link code from affiliate sites and placed in your blog before, you would have no way of knowing which ones were still for sale and which ones were not. With datafeedR if you export a copy of your store from the “factory” on a regular basis – you will constantly be updating the store by importing the feed within your blog to have the latest products available. By the same token, if you tried DatafeedR for a month or two and build a store with 1,000+ products, the store does not go bad after you cancel the datafeedR service – the links just get slowly outdated over time and go bad one by one as merchants update their product listings and links. If you are serious about making money online as an affiliate, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want this service – or why anyone would ever cancel. I will show you why as I go through this series.
Initial Setup of the DatafeedR Plugin in WordPress
Uploading the plugin
After you signup for the service, you just upload the files to the proper places per the readme.txt file. This includes uploading the /dfr directory to the root of your blog, and uploading the contents of the DFR-Plugin/wp-content/ to the /wp-content directory of your blog.
Activation and Affiliate ID’s
Next you active both the datafeedR plugin and widgets in your WordPress dashboard under “Plugins” on the top right. You will need to add in your affiliate ID’s and set the initial store options. As in the picture below, just add your affiliate ID’s in the proper places – you only need to add the ones that you know you will be using. I entered them all except for Bridalux and NetShops.
Next in the store options are breadcrumbs and global settings. You have the choice of breadcrumbs on or off, the root name of the store, what you want the separator to be, and whether or not to display them on the home page of the store. You can choose to mask (or cloak) your affiliate URL’s (or not), and whether or not to resize product images.
You have complete control over permalinks and rewrite values specifically for your datafeedr store, including category, product, and search pages. You can even change the images and redirect URL directory name.
You can choose if products appear when accessed from specific WordPress pages, including the front page, single posts, category pages, archive pages, feeds, trackbacks, search results pages, and just pages. It’s great to have this kind of fine grained control.
The last section for general store options are the “drip settings”. I previously mentioned that datafeedR had the ability to “drip” products, which essentially takes a single product page and creates a blog post from it. This of course moves it to your blog home and pings the blog engine crawlers that you have new content available, as well as places a new post on your RSS feed for subscribers to read.
If you are a blogger, you know how invaluable this feature is (if used wisely). It’s not meant for you to setup a spamblog or autoblog (although you could) – that will just get you thrown out of google eventually. What this could be used for is to review the products of your store one by one, and when they are dripped to your home page, add original content to each and every one! If you blog multiple times per week with completely original content, you could also use these posts to fill in the days and times you don’t have hand written content (just don’t overdo it!).
You see here from the options that you can turn it on and off, you can set the time based interval, you can even choose to copy your datafeedr store category structure into your blog categories (or just place those posts in one category).
The nice thing about this feature is that datafeedR keeps track of what products are dripped, so the same ones aren’t used twice. Once they are all used up you have the option of getting email notification, disabling the drip, or repeating the products again. You can even have comments and pings turned off for the dripped product posts.
These are all the general “store options” for datafeedr, and once you have configured them all you have to do is login to the DatafeedR members area and create your store in the “factory” so you can upload it into your blog and populate your new datafeedR store with products.
Creating your first DatafeedR Affiliate Store
I’m going to show you how I created an affiliate store with 6,000 products for my guitar blog in about 20 minutes.
Before you do this there are 2 requirements:
1. Make sure DatafeedR has the feeds you want
2. Make sure you are signed up for and approved for the merchants of those feeds
I wanted to add products for several music merchants, so I checked what DatafeedR had. There were two I wanted, but one wasn’t in their list. I contacted them and asked them to include it, and 48 hours later it was available. They may not be able to grant all requests, but in my experience they were very accomodating (and quick!). Next I logged into my Commission Junction and ShareASale accounts to make sure I had applied for (and was approved for) those merchants. Remember – you can’t build links and include products from merchants you aren’t signed up for (you won’t get the commissions!).
Once in the members area, you just click on the big “Build Your Store” link. This takes you to the “factory” homepage, where you can watch 2 videos describing how to build a shop (or just go straight to your shops). I liked the fact that these videos were available (the first time), they answered a lot of questions right up front before I even got started.
You can create up to 99,999 shops – and if you ever reach that limit, God help you! I’m creating a new shop called “Guitars”.
Now I create a category called “Electric” and click to “add products to this category”.
Next I choose what affiliate service to use. I could have chosen “any” to get results across all 200+ merchants at all affiliate houses, but I specifically wanted to choose ShareASale Merchant “SameDayMusic”. I entered “fender” into as a text keyword (to search product titles and descriptions).
My search for products returned 264 records. You can see in the images below that not all the products listed are actually guitars. In addition, each results has some “tags” listed at the bottom you can use to additionally filter your product results.
I refined my search a bit by adding the tag “electric-guitar” and making the minimum price 200 dollars to weed out all the accessories that were coming up (and were also tagged with “electric guitar”). This quickly whittled down the selection to just 66 guitars – exactly what I wanted!
Now I have some very flexible options for adding these products to my store. If I wanted to I could just go through one by one and click “+ add to category” to each and every individual one I want to add. But that’s time consuming – and I got exactly the results I wanted. So – all I have to do is click on “subscribe to this search” to add all 66 products to the “Electric” category of my store. I can even add these to a new category right now if I want, and I can rename, modify, or edit my categories at any time, at any level.
The beauty of using the “Factory” to create shops and stores in the DatafeedR site is that you can do all kinds of products searches across multiple affiliate houses and merchants, and add them to whatever categories you want. As you can see in this image, you can also go back to any category and edit, copy, or delete those subscribed to searches at any time. You can also individually remove any products one by one as well.
So, in about 20 minutes I was able to setup a very nice category and subcategory structure like this for my store:
I was able to add over 6,000 products from 5 different merchants, and I even get a detailed listing of how many products I added to each category. Now all I have to do is click the “download shop” link at the top to get the text file containing all my store’s products to import into my blog.
Importing Your New DatafeedR Store into WordPress the First Time
Once you have created your first store in the members section of the DatafeedR web site (the “Factory”), and you’ve downloaded it to your desktop, all you have to do is login to your WordPress blog (with the DatafeedR plugin enabled) and go to “DatafeedR -> Import Feed”.
Once you’ve done this, you have instantly created an affiliate store in your blog. Now of course, there are hundreds of additional options for you to explore and setup, like sidebar widgets and navigation, adding original content, category and page templates, and dripping products into posts. You can even take it one step further (which I will) and add things like YouTube videos, amazon products, eBay auctions, and more throughout the store.
The next post will explain and explore some of these options in greater detail. You can view the store I created in 20 minutes in this example by clicking here.
Building affiliate stores in WordPress using datafeedR is both time saving and profitable