Monday, I had the opportunity to brainstorm with dozens of affiliates on the topic of maximizing data feeds or affiliate data feed files pulled from affiliate networks into WordPress websites. The end results is that we were able to share and gather up a long list of useful tools that WordPress and other website users can deploy to pull content into their site from a data feed file with affiliate links.
What is a Data Feed File in the Affiliate World?
Essentially the Data Feed File can contain information that can be used to populate content on a website. It typically in either csv or xml formats. If this affiliate data feed file is formatted correctly and if the correct tools are used, this data can be imported in to a WordPress website to either populate brand new pages or posts or even a new content type.
So merchants such as Amazon.com or Walmart.com or many merchants on Affiliate Networks such as CJ.com, Linkshare.com, Buy.at and others will sometimes provide a file that can be downloaded containing many different products, their respective affiliate links, image links, product descriptions, possibly even customer reviews, video embed links and more, depending on the merchant or the network or the file.
How can a Data Feed File be used on a WordPress Website?
In theory, if site owner has a WordPress website (there are other ways to do this outside of WordPress, but this article is particularly concerned about WordPress methodologies), they can go to an Affiliate Network, establish an affiliate relationship with a merchant such as Walmart, download a data feed file from the network, and import that file into your website, creating dozens, if not hundreds of pages of content. Typically one page of content for every line of data(products or items listed).
Basic Data Feed File Concepts
The key to making this work hinges on using the right tools for the job to manage the download of the data feed file, and then import that file into a WordPress website in a way that correctly creates content.
Intermediate Data Feed Concept
In some cases, a merchant may not provide a data feed file in a format that can easily be imported into WordPress. In these cases there are some tools or online web services that work to reformat the file that is provided into a useable format for WordPress.
Advanced Data Feed Concept
From an SEO perspective a website owner does not want to simply copy a file with a product name and description provided by a merchant and load that as a page on their website. Odds are very very high that such content would be considered duplicate content.
To avoid duplicate content, a website owner needs to either add to, edit, or manipulate the content of the data feed file and add something unique to it so that the provided content only counts for about 20% of the content on the future page that will be generated.
ShopperPress Plugin for WordPress demonstrated at Affiliate Summit UnConference
HAVE TO CLICK THESE LINKS FOR IT TO WORK!
In Orlando at Affiliate Summit UnConference, Brett Burky (follow @brettburky) demonstrated the power of ShopperPress to help manage the import of data feeds from multiple sources directly from within the WordPress admin environment. ShopperPress offers direct connections to many different Affiliate Networks, Amazon.com directly, even some of the services that make it possible to reformat data feed files into a more usable format, or combine files from multiple sources into a single source.
ShopperPress is a full ecommerce (shopping website) plugin. The data feed file is just one aspect of its very advanced functionality. A website owner that purchases ShopperPress (current prices $79, which includes a current discount from the normal price of $199) can set up their own ecommerce / shopping website. This can enable them to sell their own physical goods, digital goods such as downloads, or about anything else that can be sold on the internet. Those are all additional things that can be done.
Practical Application for Ecommerce users of WordPress using Data Feed files
Lets say that you have a website that sells decorative mirrors. Maybe you make mirrors yourself and sell them, maybe you import them from China, maybe you bought a warehouse full of them, or maybe you are a collector of mirrors and sell them too.
Just using a generic product concept
In any case, maybe at the end of the day you have 50 different mirror products. You sell those directly and use ShopperPress to manage the sales through your website.
You could ALSO use ShopperPress to pull in other mirrors from other retailers via an affiliate connection or offering.
Or you could cross sell products that go with mirror sales (maybe mirror mounting kits) or possibly something that might be a good demographic cross sale, like sconces to hang next to a mirror.
Using ShopperPress in this way, your own online webstore will look larger as you will have more products that appear in your store.
You might be better able to generate cross sales making your business more profitable, possibly to the point that you can save your customers money on the actual mirrors that you sell direct making you more competitive than other mirror sales people.
Practical Application for Bloggers using WordPress & Data Feeds
Let’s say you have a well performing blog article talking about the latest and greatest advances in baby monitors. Your blog article is so good that it is ranking in the top 10 of Google SERPs for Baby Monitor reviews and you are getting thousands of unique page views a day.
But if you place just a single affiliate banner link on the site for maybe the top baby monitor, you find that it doesn’t convert! You then try other affiliate links or banners sporadically through the article and no luck there either.
One day you happen across an article talking about the importance of utilizing best seller lists in blog articles to help people reading a blog article see what the masses are finding useful. Its not only good to get people off the fence and acting, but it also opens the door for best selling accessory lists, or best selling products that people of the same demographic might be interested in buying.
So now you go out and pull in a data feed file from Amazon of their best selling new parent/new mother books for the demographic play. You hop over to buy.com, buy.at and Wal-Mart.com for the best selling monitors and accessories, pulling each into your site as a data feed file, listing the items either within your article or possibly in a unique widget that only appears in a sidebar on that blog article.
Commission, Commission, Commission!!!
Networks that offer Data Feed Files
|Buy.at (pronounced Buy At)
Disclosure – I personally have had the most financial affiliate success with Digital River, LinkShare, RegNow & ShareASale in that order. I’ve had minor success with Commission Junction and Amazon.com.
Big 3 Data Feed File Manipulation Services
- DataFeedFile.com – Price Comparison Shopping Script Integration Tool CPA CPC Linkshare Commission Junction ShareASale Data Feed Fileupdate 2013 When I first added DataFeedFile.com to this list, I better understood what they offered. 3 years later, it is no longer as clear to me. It seems as if they can be helpful if you have multiple affiliate accounts that all have the same products (lets say Microsoft Office for sale or something) and Datafeedfile pulls in the latest price on that product from each merchant and helps you list it with your affiliate links.
- DataFeedr.com – DataFeedr supports the following affiliate networks:
- PopShops – Affiliate marketing with Data Feeds
16 WordPress Plugins that Can Help you with Data Feed Files or Data Feeds
- ShopperPress – Really a Shopping Cart Theme, not a plugin, but ShopperPress has lots of plugins including the tools to manage data feeds built in!
- WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin
- Software Shop
- WordPress Easy CSV Importer- Use any csv file to make 500 or 1 million posts or pages.
- Supports use with ShopperPress or ClassiPress,
- automated updating or manual,
- import all at once or spread it out over days or weeks,
- import to the blog your logged into or use the blog your on to put the data into a totally different blog (Blog 2 Blog),
- use custom permalinks or the default,
- use the default post data or
- Apply your own from data or
- Increment random dates between a date range you establish
- Schedule future posts or publish everything straight away
- Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer – “This plugin not only automatically changes any Amazon link on your site to use your affiliate ID, but it also changes the link to point to the user’s local Amazon store. So if your visitor is visiting from the UK they’ll get a link to Amazon.co.uk, if they’re visiting from the US they’ll get a link to the same product on Amazon.com.”
- AppStore Links – “Updates all Data directly from the Apple AppStore Server. Setup caching-times for images and content. Use TradeDoubler-ID and plugin automatically creates Affiliate Links to the AppStore. You can easily add Links to the Apple AppStore with using [app ##idnumber##] in your posts, pages or comments. The ID number is the number from the official AppStore URL.”
- CSVPiG – CSV Datafeed Import Plugin CSV Data feed Import Plugin (Free and Pro version available) – “a datafeed import pluginfor WordPress. It transforms affiliate data feeds into professional WordPress blogs with thousands of content rich self-publishing posts.”
- Your CSV can include:
- Affiliate links,
- Pproduct images,
- Bullet lists or
- Anything you want.
- CSVPiG easily deals with anything via its Post Template engine or design multiple post templates and have CSVPiG rotate through them as it publishes so each of your posts will look unique.
- Your CSV can include:
- DataFeedFile.com (DFF) Featured Product Plugin –(alternate location http://wordpress.datafeedfile.com/ ) “…select a product, compare prices from different merchants, place it in the middle of your blog, and earn commission on sales.” To be used with the DataFeedFile.com service 100% free
- DataFeedFile Product Show Case Plugin – “Price comparison shopping in your blog! With DataFeedFile’s Product Showcase plugin, you can create an entire showcase of several products for price comparison, place it in the middle of your blog, and earn commission on sales”
- Wp E-junkie Shopping Cart
- Shopp Improved
- Affiliate DataFeed File -Price Comparison Shopping Script Integration Tool CPA CPC Linkshare Commission Junction ShareASale Data Feed File
- WFReview – One of the nicest data importers for WordPress I’ve seen. The Auto review functionality is dark gray to black hat imho, but love the import tool. Would like to see these tools split into 2 different plugins maybe.
- ComparePress – “Use ComparePress to quickly add and manage a full SEO price comparison system on your existing blog or web site.” Check out http://ComparePress.com for the full overview
- Owagu.com’s massive datafeed loader for ShareASale - “This very powerful plugin from owagu.com loads any ShareaSale affiliate data feed into your WordPress automatically and adds categories accordingly…”
Videos and Tutorials: How to set up Affiliate Data Feed Files in WordPress
WordPress Plugins that are Currently Out of Date (tracking in case they are updated again in the future)
- iTunes Affiliate Link Maker (iTALM) – (Currently only supports WordPress up to Version 2.8.6 see AppStore Links plugin for possible solution alternative) “The plugin adds an itunes button to the visual editor which when clicked bring forward a jquery dialog containing a search for the iTunes store link maker.”
- WP-Affiliate(Only supports WordPress up to version 2.5)
- ShopperPress DataFeed Importer – (Currently only supports WordPress up to 2.8.6 see recent updates in ShopperPress itself) “Inject any CSV file data into the WordPress database as new Posts with ShopperPress affiliate Data Feed Importer, try the demo now!”
- CSV 2 POST Free Edition – (Currently only supports WordPress up to Version 2.8.6) “Inject any CSV file data into the WordPress database as new Posts with CSV 2 POST Pro, try the demo now!”
Non WordPress Data Feed Solutions that Could be Shoe Horned in
WebMerge (currently v2.6 as of the writing of this article) – This software program (not a plugin) has been around for years. It essentially takes a database and converts it into individual static html files, which can then be loaded up via ftp. If you wanted to shoehorn these into wordpress, it wouldn’t be a far step to convert the html into an xml import file, even though some of the solutions above might be easier. The real use for this tool might be in working outside of WordPress itself. It comes with a free trial, which I believe is limited, or the full single user license at $99. (multi user packages also available.
Thanks to Shawn Collins and his awesome audience at Affiliate Tip who together tipped me off to WebMerge for converting data feed files to html resources. It was mentioned in a comment chain.