Monday, November 29, 2004

Mailing Lists & RSS Feeds

Two good things to share with you from the weekend:

1- the new site made another sale on Saturday :) These first two sales were small dollar amounts, a percentage of the customer's total, but very promising just the same.

2- I set up my "product feed".

The product feed is basically just an RSS feed, using the WordPress platform, but features products and product categories instead of "content". After 3 installations, and several attempts at it, I finally have it set-up and looking the way I want it.

2 main changes I made to the original template are that I made all of the links blue, and removed the commenting feature. There were other modifications, of course - template colors, etc - but those were the two main differences I wanted to point out that I made for this "product feed".

The comment feature on WP just "looked" unattractive on the individual product pages (IMO), and I thought it might be confusing for the Suzy Shopper out there (vs those who are internet savvy and know what it all means).

As for the link colors, standard "link blue" is what most people are used to seeing on a web page, and I didnt want to cause any confusion - or make the links hard to spot. (They tend to blend into the text somewhat in the original WP template)

Don't worry - I didnt work more than 90 minutes on that this weekend... I actually took most of the weekend OFF ;)

My next step with this new site is to integrate the feed into the pages, and to do it in such a way that visitors understand their options for 'subscribing' to the updates. In addition to subscribing to the feed, I'd like for visitors to have a way to sign up via email for those updates.

I was planning to use Bloglet, but their info states that it is for Blogger & MT blogs only. Hmm. Maybe I'll check to see if this will work with WP...

But ahhh - thanks to Google, I just found a WordPress Email Notification Plug-in! Perfect :)

I could easily set up a mailing list through my Aweber account, but honestly - I just want this whole site to run on auto-pilot as much as is possible. I can update the RSS feed and the web pages, and the rest can just run behind the scenes.

Which brings up another thing that has been on my mind - the fact that I created this entire site manually. Yes, I used an 'affiliate feed', but it was static - not dymanic. I know that the merchant offers a "private feed" (outside of what they offered publicly), so I have emailed the affiliate manager and asked for more information on this (hoping it is dynamic and may save me loads of time in the future with site maintenance!).

Okay - that's it for now! Just wanted to let you in on the progress, and share that the 2nd sale was made :) Also, I'm very pleased with how the product feed looks in both FeedDemon and on My Yahoo!. So from here I'll just continue updating the feed, and working on that Link Strategy ;)