NOTE – This covers version 0.9, I am working on an update that will cover the additional features in later versions.
This is a pretty interesting and important part of this whole tutorial series. You really need to have this plugin if you are serious about being an eBay Partner Network affiliate. You can purchase the plugin here: https://www.psp-tubes.net/wordpress/auto-content-generator-using-the-search-function-of-your-phpbay-site. I don’t make anything by recommending it, so this is 100% sincere.
Anyway, in a nutshell, the Search-2-Post plugin replaces the tradtional search box on your blog. It looks the same, but the functionality is a lot different. Basically whenever a visitor uses the search box on your site, the plugin will create a new page of auctions based on their search combined with the specifications you enter when configuring the plugin.
This is essential for 2 reasons – most importantly, it lets your visitors create new content for you, and you don’t have to do anything but sit back and watch. Second, by monitoring the searches visitors are making you can get a great feel for what kinds of products within your niche people are really looking for – which can help you create new content, or even completely new sub-niche sites.
This plugin is so versatile that setting it up can be a little complicated. In fact I’m not 100% sure I’ve even found the best possible way to fully harness it’s power, but I have some good ideas.
Let’s take a look through the configuration settings, so you can see what I like to do. You’ll need to go to Appearance -> Widgets for this one, there isn’t a settings page. If you haven’t already added it, make sure you’re on sidebar-top (if using the WP Commerce Steel theme) and drag it over. Then click Edit and we’ll go through each field in the configuration:
If you’re using the WP Commerce Steel Theme, I intended for there to be no title for this widget. To do this, you need to put 1 blank space in the widget title box. You can feel free to add a title if you want, but I think it looks better if you leave it blank. If you’re using any other theme where the search box is in a left or right sidebar, you can absolutely give the widget a title like “Search for Mini Laptops” or whatever you feel like.
Blank Lines to Insert
Pretty self-explanatory. If you’re using the WP Commerce Steel theme, you shouldn’t need any blank lines, if you use a different theme, you’ll have to experiment.
New Text Above Search Box
Again for the WP Commerce Steel theme I leave this blank, however on other sites, I like to put some basic instructions in this area, and I have found that it helps. For example if you’re selling shoes you could put something like: Example: Size 6, or Brown. This will help your visitors understand what to type in the search box, and I’ve found that it does seem to help.
Input Box Width
Another pretty self-explanatory one. I just left it blank and the width was fine for me. You should only need to change it, like the widget says, if your sidebar is too narrow.
You can do whatever you want here, I usually just like to go with “Search” to keep it simple, unless I happen to have a lot of space to have a big button for some reason.
Make Posts or Pages?
This is where it gets interesting. You can really go either way, it depends on ultimately how you want your site laid out. One option, is you can make Pages. In this case, the pages won’t really be linked to you’re site, and they’ll just kind of be floating within your blog. The plus side is if you use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, all these pages will still be included in your XML sitemap and have a chance to be indexed by search engines.
The other option is to make Posts. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you will need to have somewhere to store them. If you have a Blog attached to your site that you update often, you will have to modify the index.php file in your theme to stop the posts from the category you associate with PHPBay from displaying mixed into regular Blog content.
Actually, you don’t really have to, but you probably should or else your site won’t look good. The other option, I touched on in my last installment – if you aren’t using a Blog at all for your site, you can set your blog up as a Recent Searches page, integrate it with Search-2-Post, and even use the WordPress default Recent Posts plugin to display the most recent searches. I highly recommend this route if you don’t intend to feature a content rich blog on your site.
Either way, choose whichever you think will work best.
(Only matters if you choose Pages above) The only thing to note here, is that whatever page you select as the parent page will be included in the URL that is generated. So for example if you choose the Home page, you URL will look like www.yoursite.com/home/your-new-url.html. It doesn’t matter that much, but try to choose a page with a relevant name so that you don’t have something like /home/ included in hundreds of URLS you generate.
Regardless of how you want to integrate these posts with the rest of your Blog, you probably want to create a Category called Recent Searches, or something to that effect and use that as your category.
New Page/Post Title
This field controls what the title of the newly generated page/post is. You have the option of putting in a ton of text using the operators provided to create long titles, but I usually like to keep it simple with this one and use just %%keyword%%, which will make the title of the new post/page equal to the search term entered by the visitor. One of the reasons I do this is because a lot of the time I set these up as Posts, and use the Recent Posts widget in my sidebar. If you tell Search-2-Post to generate a long title, it will look really stupid when combined with the Recent Posts widget, so I like to keep it simple.
New Text Above Auctions
Another really important setting. You will probably want to use the options available so that your new pages will have several sentences of text at least before the auctions. You can start by using the following text:
[[Below are|The following are]] the results [[returned|we found|that we found|that we have located]] for you based on [[the keywords |the words ]] %%keyword%%, that you entered. If you [[get|see]] to few items then please [[broaden|change]] your [[search terms| keywords]] a little. If you see too many [[items|listings|options]] then please narrow your [[keywords|search words]] and search again.
This text will work for pretty much any site. I stripped the HTML out, but you could add a < strong > tag around the keyword and also some line breaks to enhance the text. You can also modify the actual text however you like. If anyone comes up with any cool ideas on how to use this, please share in the comments below.
New PHPBay Tag
This is where you add your PHPBay tag. Here’s what the tag I use on my Mini Laptops site looks like:
[phpbay]%%keyword%% mini laptop,1000,””,””[/phpbay]
In the first parameter, we must use the %%keyword%% variable. I also added Mini Laptop so that the results are more accurate. For example if I did not add “mini laptop” to that parameter, someone could come to the site and search for “Dell” and get a page full of results for just about every product Dell sells including desktops, monitors, etc. So basically we want to make sure all auctions on the results page will have the word Mini Laptop in the title. In the second parameter, I usually just put 1000 for number of results just for the hell of it. You could put a higher number or a lower number, whatever works for you. The last two parameters I left blank. The 4th parameter is for negative keywords, which you may want to add, or as people start making searches on your site, you may find new ideas for negative keywords, so it is useful to have.
This is pretty much up to you. Most of the time I just keep it on Leave as Entered.
New Profanity Words
Here’s where you enter a list of profanity separated by commas to filter out any spam or malicious searches. You should be able to find such a list by googling for it.
I like looking through searches as they come in, so I have these sent to my regular email. If you do not check your email regularly I would probably not recommend having these go to your main email because you will have a million emails to go through whenever you do check it. I stay on top of my email and delete these messages as they come in throughout the day, so it’s no problem for me and I like seeing what people are searching for.
Yes. If you’ve been following my tutorial you should absolutely have the All in One SEO plugin installed. If you aren’t checking Yes here, you may want to read through this tutorial series again.
I’m not sure that PHP redirects work with Bluehost because I think I had some trouble getting them working initially and I’ve used Java redirects ever since. You can certainly try PHP redirects, do a search, and as long as everything works go for it. Otherwise use Java.
You should be all ready to go and with this powerful plugin installed, you should be ready to start making some cash. We’ve gone over many details of researching a niche and setting up the actual site. Now it’s time to focus on content building, on-page optimization and link building strategy.