Web-Procreate.Com - Datafeed and WebMerge Section

Setting Up WebMerge to Build Affiliate Web Sites

Setting up WebMerge to build pages can be challenging the first time. Once the first successful run is accomplished, things get a lot easier, and you can concentrate on the smaller details. WebMerge will do all of the page building work for you once the detail template, and index template are setup and the WebMerge settings file has been saved.

Two-Tiered Hierarchy

Starting with the simplest design, a two-tiered hierarchy will help with understanding the concept of tiered site/navigation design. A two-tiered design results in only one index page. A two-tiered site utilizes detail pages for individual products, and an index page for category navigation. This single index page can serve as the main landing page for visitors, or be merchant specific and linked from your main landing page.

Figure 1 Two-Tiered web site hierarchy
Fig. 9 Two-Tiered Web Site Hierarchy

Where things go – planning your site

The following are important items, and should be well thought out prior to building anything:

-   Site navigation for published pages.

-   What directories (folders) at the web host will contain index and detail pages.

And on your local desktop computer, the locations of the following:

-  data feed (database) Received from the Merchant.

-  index template

-  detail template

-  Settings file

-  Detail pages

-  Index pages

Once this is completed, these files can be used repeatedly, in order to be better organized. A faster workflow and process will result after creating a couple of sites. Consistency will mean a faster and easier process for all additional builds.

Figure 2 Directory (Folder) examples for storing settings, template, and completed files.
Fig. 10 Directory (Folder) examples for storing settings, template, and completed files.


Data Feed File (Exported File)

After starting WebMerge, the first task to accomplish is selecting the data feed file. This is the file already formatted, cleaned up, and ready to use to build pages. In order to select the file click on “Exported File…” on the “Sources tab” in WebMerge.

TIP: In WebMerge, when locating the directory where your data feed file is located, and the file is not visible, it may be necessary to click on the "Files of type…" selector, and select "All files…" This action should display all files in the directory.

Settings File

The WebMerge settings file is the file used to save the configuration for a single data feed in WebMerge. The settings file contains information including; the locations where WebMerge writes completed Index and detail pages, the location of the data feed file, and other configuration information specific to a particular data feed. Some site designs like three and four-tier hierarchies require more than one settings file. Conversely, a two-tiered site requires only one settings file.

After selecting the data feed file in WebMerge, save the settings file. This is accomplished from the "File" pull down menu. Some thought should be given to the name, as future names for a particular merchant's data feed will be easier to track. Additionally, you may wish to make re-direct pages, or build a three or four-tiered site later with this merchant's data feed file. As stated above, three and four-tiered and redirect designs will require separate settings files.

TIP: The current file extension for WebMerge settings files is ".4WW" For example, naming settings files as "xyz-merchant_2tier.4ww" or "xyz-merchant_redirect.4ww" is possible./p>

Remember, when building or updating many data driven web sites, a well thought out scheme for naming and saving files is always a good idea. The settings files required for a particular merchant should all be saved in the same folder. For example, you can always use the same directory (folder) name in each merchant's main folder for the settings file - naming it "settings," or put it in a folder with your templates, called "templates." Use any name, but the naming convention should be consistent.

TIP: WebMerge has a feature called "favorites" in the "File" pull down menu. With the favorites menu, one can save settings files, so that they can be loaded by simply selecting them from the Favorites list instead of hunting for them in different directories. Favorites need to be added manually through the menu, and are a real time saver.

Completing the configuration in WebMerge is the next step in building sites.

Revision 4 (2014)

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