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Blog & Development History

20/08/17 Amazon best sellers RSS feeds

Amazon provides RSS feeds of their best sellers for each browse node e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/rss/bestsellers/PCHardware/561932/

EZamazon can now display those RSS feeds on the homepage, lister page and product pages. On the homepage the RSS feed is based on your site wide root browse node, on the lister and product pages the feeds are relevant to the browse node of that level of the Amazon hierarchy you are viewing. The Amazon URLs in the best seller RSS feeds have your Amazon associate tag written into them automatically so if any visitors click on the links they will be transferred to Amazon with your associate id set so you can benefit from any purchases.

The great thing about the RSS feeds is that the performance of loading these feeds is much faster than using the API for best seller calls. So you can speed up your page load times by turning off the best sellers carousels and turning on this new feeds feature.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

index.php
product.php
admin.php
/fragments/listerEngine.php
/fragments/news.php

Amazon best seller rss feed Amazon best seller rss feed controls

11/08/17 Bug fix to the admin blog page

It was brought to my attention that their was a crictical bug with the admin blog page, this was a result of the recent RSS enhancement work and has now been fixed. Apologies, if you are affected by the issue, to resolve it you will need to upgrade to the latest version of:

adminBlog.php

11/08/17 RSS feed aware related products

Now in the RSS feeds section in the admin panel you can turn on a feature to show related Amazon products amongst the news feed. With this feature turned on EZamazon will display a related product per news item if it can find one based on the keywords in the title of the news item. For example in the screenshot a gamepad was returned relating to a news article about games. There is also two new options to display the RSS feed on the PLP and PDP pages and to control the size of the media images in an RSS feed.

A minor speed enhancment was also made in this upgrade so that we cache null product search results from Amazon. So for example if we can't find a product related to a particular news item, then the next time around the page loads we won't repeat that expensive (timewise) API call to Amazon.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/admin.php
/product.php
/index.php
/css/global.css
/fragments/listerEngine.php
/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/news.php
/fragments/searchRelatedProduct.php
and in /xml/siteConfig.xml <showNews> needs to be renamed to <showNewsOnHomePage>

News Aware Related Products

10/08/17 Related YouTube videos

The PDP page can now show related YouTube videos, with this feature turned on, the products title is automatically fed into a YouTube video search as the page loads.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

admin.php
product.php

Related YouTube Video

09/08/17 Disqus comments/reviews

The PDP page now has a new Disqus comments component which can be turned on via the PDP settings on the admin page. You can sign up for a free account at https://disqus.com and with this new component switched on visitors to your site can leave comments or reviews on the PDP pages. You can also customise the title of this section so you can aim it at comments or product reviews.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

product.php
admin.php
/css/global.css
/fragments/disqus.php

Disqus comments

08/08/17 RSS feed amends

The RSS feed reader component now displays images if they exist in the RSS feed. The RSS feed reader can also now be included into custom pages by using the code:

<?php require_once "../fragments/news.php"; ?>

Due the the increasing prominance of this feature it has also been given it's own section on the admin page. Another minor amend in this update is that the last 5 blog articles will be rendered as links into the header if 'Blog' is used as a main navigation link.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/adminHeader.php
/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/news.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php

15/07/17 Category tags on product pages

The EZamazon product page now shows related category and subcategory tags on the product page as part of the product details.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/productTags.php
product.php

Product tags

14/07/17 Cats and brands list

An EZamazon user requested if the list of cats and brands shown on the homepage, brands and category homepages could be shown in a list instead of a paragrpah. So now there is an control in the admin section under general shop settings where you can select if these show as a list or a paragraph.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

admin.php
/css/global.css
/fragments/listCatsAndBrands.php

The list of cats and brands shown on the homepage, brands and category homepages can be shown in a list instead of a paragrpah

26/06/17 Running EZamazon from sub directories

Added a new sub directory setting in the site owner settings; this means EZamazon can be run in sub directories e.g. http://mydomain.com/shop/

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

admin.php
/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/listerBlocks.php
/fragments/listerEngine.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php

31/05/17 Amazon associates earnings May 2017

May has been a good month for my Amazon assoicates earnings so I thought I would share a screenshot from the Amazon associates portal. As part of producing the EZamazon software, I also maintain three demo stores to test the code out on. These are the demo store, my chilli source site and my gear4festivals site.

I think it's fair to say I don't actively do much maintenance on these three websites or do any promotion of them, they just kind of sit there in the background as test beds for code changes.

Despite this though this month they have earnt me £124.21 as you can see from this screenshot of the Amazon portal. What I find incredible in this period Amazon dispatched 185 orders which was worth £2,387.94 in sales to them from three sites I neglect! That's generated from a total of only 721 clicks with a conversion rate of 25.38%

Amazon Associate Earnings May 2017

30/04/17 Link Rel Link Prev

EZamazon now uses the HTML attributes rel="next" and rel="prev" to indicate the relationship between individual product listing page URLs. Using these attributes is a strong hint to Google that these pages are a logical sequence to improve Googles understanding of EZamazon paginated content.

For example if you go to page two of the demo store product lisitng page for memory sticks, if you view the source in the head section you will see a link prev tag for page one and a link next tag for page three.

You can read more about these tags and how they help on Googles search console help page or Googles webmaster central blog.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/header.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php

26/03/17

New YouTube video on the subject of how you can create an online store without needing bricks & mortar space, having your own inventory or having to fulfil orders. All achieved by using the Amazon associates scheme which allows you to earn revenue by selling Amazon products. EZamazon is the easy-to-use store builder which is designed with website novices in mind and is designed to get you up and running quickly with an Amazon associates store.

14/03/17

A new section has been added to the admin panel which allows you to add additional 3rd party tagging to your EZamazon site. These sections can be used to add additional JavaScript or meta tags to your site and you can specifiy if the code appears either in the head of the site or in the footer.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

admin.php
/fragments/footer.php
/fragments/header.php

Section in the admin panel to add additional tags into

25/02/17

EZamazon now gives visitors the option to select how many results they'd like to view on each page between 12 and 20 results. This improvement fixes a previous issue with only 10 products showing per page.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/css/global.css
/fragments/listerBlocks.php
/fragments/listerEngine.php
/fragments/resultsPerPage.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php
/fragments/sortOrder.php

Results per page

20/02/17

5 reasons why I rate the Amazon associates affiliate program

After a while it’s natural for online content producers to start to consider revenue generating avenues to monetise and reward themselves for their time and effort spent building content. Whether they are creating content by blogging, creating YouTube videos, building an instagram following or by using some other channel or combination of these.

Google AdSense is the first port of call for many content generators, sadly it tends to be a disappointing low source of income in most niches and it can take months or even years to reach the payout threshold. For example drawaplanet.com which I launched in 2009 is yet to reach Googles payout threshold of £60, although it is currently on £45.39 as of the time of writing. So it is earning me £5.67 per year in AdSense revenue which is ok I guess for a site I all but neglect and I should get my £60 payout in 2020! This site is not optimised at all for AdSense at all and has little content apart from some user drawn images.

People who look beyond Google AdSense may stumble across the more lucrative channels of affiliate marketing which works simply; you promote other people's products on your website or channel and for the referral of leads which generate sales you receive back a percentage of that sale. The percentages you can earn can vary highly between the market and products sold.

Affiliate marketing in the past has had a bit of a bad rep where the more unscrupulous among affiliate marketers will promote anything to make a quick buck, even if they know the products suck.

The Amazon associates affiliate scheme was one of the earliest (incredibly it launched in 1996, amazon.com launched itself in 1994!) and is now one of the largest affiliate programs. Amazon operate with tight margins and as a consequence the percentage of affiliate revenue is lower than you will find in other affiliate schemes with a maximum of 10% commission being paid out. However there are many reasons why this is still one of the best affiliate schemes around as I will illustrate below. Amazon’s operating agreement also requires affiliates to be above board with how you promote their products so it’s a much more straight up world to operate in.

Due to the low commission and relatively short lifespan of the the Amazon affiliate cookie the Amazon associates scheme is often underrated among affiliate communities. However despite all of this it is possible to turn a profit by becoming an Amazon associate.

Here are five reasons why I rate the Amazon associates affiliate program and continue to develop my Amazon affiliate store software EZamazon (https://ezamazon.co.uk) to help people to operate Amazon affiliate stores.

1 - Amazon associates is reliable and straightforward

Amazon's affiliate scheme is easy to sign up for with no hoops to jump through and you can be paid directly into your bank account once you reach Amazon's threshold for payment, which is £50 in the UK. Amazon also increases their commision rates the more sales you make.

2 - Amazon is the most trusted ecommerce brand on the Internet

44% of US households regularly shop on Amazon and due to this familiarity most customers won’t think twice about making a purchase if it’s done through Amazon's own secure checkout. This is why affiliate store scripts such as EZamazon transfer their basket contents to Amazon.

3 - Amazon is the king of conversion

Amazon's website basket and checkout are very highly optimised to squeeze every second out of page loads times and the layout of each page has been iterated upon again and again until the maximum possible conversion rates have been achieved.

4 - The Amazon affiliate cookie is site wide

When a visitor transfers from your site to Amazon, they may transfer across to a particular product, however if they decide to purchase another product instead, you will still earn your commision on this other product. The amazon referral cookie lasts for 24 hours which is less than you will find for other affiliate schemes but think about it, this is Amazon, the best converting ecommerce site in the world as per my point 3. It’s not uncommon as an affiliate to have a site which lists cameras and see affiliate revenue coming from unrelated products such as cooking utensils for example.

5 - Amazon has a huge inventory

Amazons large inventory means you can choose to promote products you truly believe are worthwhile and whatever niche your site is on, Amazon is bound to sell some related products to help you monetise your content.

18/02/17

Minor security feature added, the admin header now shows the time and date of when the admin panel was last logged into, along with the IP address it was last accessed from.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/adminHeader.php

Last logged in time

16/02/17

WOW! http://www.gear4festivals.co.uk was recently upgraded to EZamazon version 3.0, looking at the Google webmaster tools it looks like Google had dropped off crawling the site. On closer inspection, it turns out Google has just eased back from crawling a peak of 96,427! pages in a single day on the 2/14/17 to a more hosting friendly average 2,000 pages per day which barely registers on the same graph. This really shows the power of EZamazon to utilise the Amazon browse node structure and be dynamically indexed by Google for products and categories which are related but exceed your sites core pages.

gear4festivals.co.uk Webmaster Tools Screenshot

15/02/17

EZamazon cache controls now feature the ability to set a maximum cache size in megabytes which is handy for sites with hosting which has a limit on how many files can be stored.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

admin.php
/fragments/adminHeader.php
/fragments/cacheSize.php
/fragments/xmlCleanUp.php

Admin Cache Controls

29/01/17

The contact form now has a captcha to help prevent unwanted spam emails.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/captcha.php
/fragments/formHandler.php
contact.php
/fragments/captcha.php

Contact Form

25/01/17

EZamazon upgraded to work over HTTP and HTTPS connections.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/header.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php

22/01/17

A more advanced hidden feature of EZamazon is that you can clear the Amazon API reponses by visiting the URL http://yoursite.com/fragments/xmlCleanUp.php?now=true this gives site owners the ability to setup a cron script to load this URL periodically to keep control over the amount of disk space used for the cache if using a host which has limits on file storage.

15/01/17

Some small enhancments made:

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/doNotEcho.php
/fragments/siteEngine.php
sitemap.php
admin.php
/fragments/footer.php
/fragments/header.php

11/01/17

Sale now on, 15% off silver and gold packages.

10/01/17

Improved synchronisation between the cache time for the Amazon API calls and the XML clean up job released.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

/fragments/ezAmazonClass.php
/fragments/xmlCleanUp.php

07/01/17

The security of the password reset functionality has been improved, you now have to enter the admin e-mail to get a password reset e-mail, if you don't know what the e-mail address is or you leave the field empty the page takes 10 seconds to refresh which should help to deter attackers and it doesn't confirm anything unless the correct e-mail address is entered.

Existing Platinum customers can upgrade to this feature by ensuring they update the following files to the latest versions:

adminPasswordReset.php
/fragments/adminHeader.php
/fragments/breadcrumb.php
/fragments/header.php

02/01/17

More new features:

  • There is now a new announcement slot which allows you to create announcement messages to appear at the top of all product pages and product listing pages. Highlighted by the red arrow in these screenshots.
  • It is now possible to switch off all Amazon ecommerce settings. This means whilst EZamazon is a Amazon affiliate store at it's core, you could use it as a pure blogging or website CMS tool also if you wished with the ability to link through to Amazon products.
PLP announcement slot PDP announcement slot Toggle ecommerce mode off admin panel screenshot

01/01/17

The blogging capabilities of EZamazon have had a major overhaul over Christmas and been completely re-written from the ground up. In summary the benefits of the new blogging system are:

  • Independent blog post management
  • Automatic date-stamping
  • Read more links for articles over a configurable length of character count
  • Permalinks to each blog article
  • Pagination with ten posts displayed per page
  • Include products into the posts using the curly bracket markup the same way you can in the customer pages: e.g. {{'B01DFKBL68','B01GAGVIE4','B00Y3TM6CO'}}
New blog posts admin section

31/12/16

Happy New Year from EZamazon!

Wishing you all the very best for 2017. Thanks for all of your support in 2016 and we can't wait to see everyones successes in 2017.

65 new features were added to EZamazon in total during 2016 and we also have many new ones planned for 2017!

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