I like to keep things diversified so i’m willing to try anything that can run on autopilot once it’s setup. I started thinking about playing with datafeed sites when Nick Mattern put out Review Plugin For WordPress. I consider him a friend of mine so I bought his software and started playing around. (Please keep in mind that even though this is the software I used for this case study, Nick no longer owns the product and I’m not sure about the quality of the newest versions). Here are the steps I used to build a datafeed site:
Step 1 – Pick A Niche
The first thing I chose was the niche I was going to use to build out this site. I considered different affiliate programs at CJ, Linkshare & Shareasale. Part of my consideration was how many items they had in their datafeed as well as how much information the datafeed contained. I eventually settled on 1 affiliate program that had about 3,000 products in their datafeed and the niche was based around fashion with a decent commission rate (20%).
Step 2 – Buy Domain
I bought a domain with the main keywords related to the niche located within the domain name.
Step 3 – Setup WordPress & Datafeed Plugin
Setting up wordpress is pretty self explanatory. I used the “Review Plugin For WordPress” as my datafeed importer. Quite honestly I only wanted the software for this feature.
After I cleaned up the database file that I downloaded from the affiliate network I started the import process. The process of importing a datafeed to wordpress is pretty simple. You need to setup a template which grabs all of the information out of the database and places it in the correct place on the page. Here in the post template I used:
Title of Post: [PRODUCT NAME]
Body of Post:
[PRODUCT NAME] – [$PRICE]
[PRODUCT IMAGE LINKED WITH AFF LINK]
Product Description: [PRODUCT DESCRIPTION]
[PRODUCT NAME] is currently in stock at [MERCHANT NAME]
For more information about this item please click here. <—AFF LINK
If you have already purchased [PRODUCT NAME] please leave a review below.
This post template would allow all 3,000 products in the database to have the same look when they get published to WordPress. Rather then publishing everything at once I opted for a drip feed. I let the posts feed into the wordpress site over a period of 6 months rather then all at once so that it would look more natural to search engines.
Tip: Since i’m hosting this particular site on a crappy shared hosting plan, I found that the import process would continually freeze up. I guess the process takes a lot of resources on the server. The fix I found was to break the datafeed file into smaller files and import that way. I just wanted to mention that in case you hit a glitch like I did.
After this step my datafeed site had posts and new ones appeared throughout each day.
Step 4 – Find a Decent WordPress Theme
I used SkinPress – Simple & Free
Step 5 – WordPress Plugins
Here you will find a linst of the plugins I used & why:
Review Plugin For WordPress – Used for importing the datafeeds
Akismet – To keep the Spam under control
All in One SEO Pack – To auto-create appropriate SEO tags.
Link Cloaking Plugin – This allowed the tons of affiliate links all over the site to look like internal links ie domain.com/goto/1 – I thought it would be better for SEO then rogue affiliate links all over the place.
Scheduled M.I.A.s – I was having an issue with the scheduled posts actually going live when they were supposed to. I kept getting the error “Missed Schedule” so this plugin fixed that issue.
WordPress Suicide – To get my post template correct I needed to try it a few times. To retry I needed to remove everything that got imported into the database. This plugin can clear your posts database.
WP Super Cache – Speeds up WordPress when you have tons of posts.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Allowed each product listing to show several links to similar products. Kind of like an Amazon cross sell.
That’s everything I did to get the site online. Next was promotion which will be Part 2 of this case study.