Guest post by 2020Media customer Andy Clark
My wife Rebecca asked me to setup a website for her that could showcase some silk flowers. As a way of judging interest for this market we decided to build it using affiliate links.
I had built affiliates sites before using hand crafted PHP and HTML, but as I would not be managing the site myself something easier would be needed. The site needed to be flexible to grow and change with the business and low maintenance.
We asked 2020Media to provide a managed WordPress site and register the domain. That service comes with managed upgrades, backups as well as some handy plugins for images, SEO and analytics. 2020Media also provided us with quality WordPress themes from CSSIgniter and the selected theme was installed by Rex. The themes had all the features you would expect from a modern theme such as responsive design and easy to use widgets.
After experimenting with custom post types and an affiliate plugin, I realised that the theme had built in support for WooCommerce and that in turn supports affiliate links. After installing the WooCommerce plugin the setup adds in all the pages needed for the shop.
The plugin allows you to categorise and enter the products. As there was only a handful of products these were entered manually, import tools are available if you have many to enter. When entering the products you need to select the external/affiliate option, enter the SKU and affiliate link and set a product image. Additional information can be added in the product short description which will allow people to find things via the search.
The theme is responsible for the display of the shop and products. It can be configured and customised without any need for coding. A simple bit of styling was added to hide the shopping cart and the site was configured to show the shop on the home page. A product search widget was added in the sidebar and the product categories were added to the menu.
All in all a very easy way to get an affiliate site up and running and it provides a solid platform going forward. The whole thing was up and running in a few hours.