At least one desktop computer:
A second computer (laptop or desktop) can serve you well when handling secondary tasks like uploading completed files, storage of completed files. (The examples and other descriptions here assume you have one workstation/PC).
Note: The requirements for WebMerge by itself are considered a minimum:
For creating data driven affiliate web sites, the following might be considered a minimum:
Remember the speed of the processor governs how fast WebMerge creates pages, so an investment in a processor that takes you from 500MHz to Quad-Core 2.8 GHz, it is money well spent (and it is relatively cheap).
Once again, our focus is on using the page generation tool called WebMerge. WebMerge has an evaluation version, but it is limited to building/using only twenty records/pages. Anecdotal evidence suggests that WebMerge will usually pay for itself within three months of purchase.
Excel or similar spreadsheet program:
As discussed in the previous document, "What is an Affiliate Datafeed?" you will also need something to manipulate the data feeds prior to having WebMerge make pages for you. This tool is required in order to clean up your data feed (more about that later), and properly format the data, so that the pages you generate are different (better) than other affiliate marketers selling the same products. This step can be skipped, but your data feed will not perform in Search Engine results, as well as your competitors. That is a little secret that not everyone catches on to, and is one place where differences are added in. It is also a great place to add value to what the visitor sees in her browser.
If you use (as a minimum), MS Excel 2000 or 2003 you’ll have a program capable of looking at feeds with up to 65,000 records. This is a good start, and will cover most of the feeds out there. If you need something more robust, Microsoft Excel 2007 or 2010 can handle one-million records! MS Access, or Calc from www.openoffice.org, may also provide the performance needed. Something with a strong search and replace capability is also extremly important in this type of program.
What about your operating system?
First, almost any MS Windows or Mac OS will work (Windows NT/2K/XP/Vista/7). However, the later versions of Windows are a little more robust in handling large numbers of files. A really trick setup is to have WebMerge installed on a Windows machine or Mac, with a second computer running Linux, and connected through a LAN. This is far less expensive than one might imagine, and is worth thinking about.
A good File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program must be used to transfer the files to your web server (host). The FTP program is also used to retrieve the feeds from either your server, or the merchant’s server. There are many available, and if you have any experience on the web, you already know about FTP.
Web hosts like GoDaddy have web interfaces that allow uploading. Regretfully, these are not suitable for our purposes, as they cannot handle thousands of files.
WebMerge also has the capability to upload the completed work automatically, using a built-in ftp application!
Your Internet Connection:
Earlier we discussed handling large files, or large numbers of files in the case of your completed work? Well if you don’t want to be spending your entire life uploading to your site, a fiber or Cable type high-speed connection is mandatory. A 56K dial-up connection is simply not robust enough to accomplish uploads of more than a few dozen pages. Well performing DSL may be suitable to accomplish your goals.
What about my MAC?:
It will work just fine, system 8.0 or later please.
Revision 3 (2014)
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