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Product Affiliate Templating: What's best?

Discussion in 'General Affiliate Marketing Forum' started by Atlantean, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Atlantean

    Atlantean Guest

    I am new to this game, so if I come across as an idiot, please be gentle.

    I have a friend who was recently hired as webmaster of a narrowly-niched website that gets an average of 3000 visitors/day and earns an average of about $3000/day. This is the first time he, and me by proxy, have been able to take a look behind the scenes of a profitable ecommerce site. He has also been made head of their affiliate program. The site purveyors also manufacture the products they sell.

    Taking into account what he was learning behind the scenes and subtracting the manufacturing element from any consideration, we began to contemplate how we could use this new-found knowledge.

    The answer was simple: Product Affiliate Programs. We would set up similar websites selling products for other companies.

    Thus, we began searching for companies to represent with the intention of essentially "mirroring" their product lines on our own custom designed, SEO oriented, template system.

    At this point, we now have some knowledge of the inner workings of a profitable ecommerce site, we have a few products to sell, and we have an SEO optimized template system to implement. Now the template system needs to be "populated" with products, each within a structure that looks like this: index.html/category/sub-category/productpage.html. This is the structure recommended, nay, insisted upon by my friend, as the best for SEO purposes. I, on the other hand, disagree on the grounds that not only is his method very time-consuming, it is also not neccesarily better for SEO.

    What my friend is advocating is a static site structure that requires flat-file product include template that has to be edited to create each product file. Then, of course, that include template is plugged into the overall site template to create the finished page.

    My stand is that the same result can be accomplished using a web-based CMS and MySQL. I have already set up a customized database for this purpose that requires that I click on one icon on my desktop which opens a browser to the ACP for login. Then I just fill out the form fields with the pertinent data and submit. The data is called to the template and the page is finished. Takes no more time than it does to fill in the data. No text editor or FTP software and much more simplified page creation and editing system. This is, as anyone already knows, is a standard practice.

    My friend insists that if you have the structure set up where the resulting product URI looks like this: widget_name.com/widget/blue_widget/small_blue_widget.html, you will fare better on PR/SERPS than you would if you were to have the structure that I am advocating and looks like this: widget_name.com/widget_info.php?page=small_blue_widget.php. My argument is that both have the ability to achieve the same PR/SERPS, so why not simplify the entire process, therefore saving valuable time, by using a database system?

    So...my questions are, what are your opinions on what is the best way to populate a product affiliate site? Would it be better to use ecommerce software like OSCommerce for this pupose? What are methods that you use for creating a product affiliate site. Example product: model trains.

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  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet Affiliate affiliate

    I'm not so sure the structure of the URI matters that much any more at least to Google. She is pretty good at spidering PHP? URIs these days I think.

    Have you looked into datafeeds at all? YOu don't mention anything about them, but that's exactly what you need to import into the site. But you also no matter what you do need to be careful about duplicate content penalties from the search engines. So you need to customize the data so it's not exactly like the merchant's store and 30 other affiliate stores.

    Here is my datafeeds 101 article in case you don't know much about them. Most affiliates I know use Webmerge software but there are other otpions.

    Here are the free datafeeds and instant store builder options offered by some of my clients. http://www.5staraffiliateprograms.com/IPC-datafeeds.html

    Hope this helps!
  4. Atlantean

    Atlantean Guest

    Hi Linda =)

    I have already read the material for which you provided links.

    Out of several products I feel I can concentrate on according to my research, only one offers a datafeed. However, that one datafeed is formatted tab-delimited to work in Excel, which I do not have. Therefore, I will have to handle the data manually. And yes, I will be manipulating it to avoid duplication, which also takes time.

    As for the merchants who aren't offering datafeeds, I am, at first, developing smaller, customized versions of their sites with a selection of products, just to get live. Over time, I will add products until, eventually, all products are included and opitmized for search.

    The sites I am creating will not include pricing information and all links will take the customer from my site to the merchant's registration and ordering page using my affiliate link code. BTW, in your experience, will I have access to the customer's personal information such as email and real-world addresses so that I can use it for follow-up marketing?
  5. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet Affiliate affiliate

    Hi Atlantean,

    You asked:
    Nope, you are just passing a lead and have no way of knowing who buys with most affiliate programs. Now you could do your own lead capture on the front end by offering a "deals and steals" newsletter or offer a free report or something to capture email addresses to remarket to. And you should.

    Wanted to share Shopster which may really be interesting to you. It's sort of a combo affiliate, ecomm, drop ship program. You own the store and the customer data but shopster provides the products and does the shipping. It's a VERY interesting hybrid. Check out the info!

  6. Atlantean

    Atlantean Guest

    Hi Linda

    I have seen, signed-up for and been accepted to Shopster as a result of seeing it on this board. It looks good so far.

    I will try to figure out a way to incorporate something that attempts to get an email address before I pass the lead to the merchant.
  7. jmarto

    jmarto Affiliate affiliate

    my experience...

    check this site, is fully created with the shopster program and as far as i know it has lots of customers: http://www.yourretailer.com