WP Amaz-One Update – Review and Tips
Until the February 2012 update, I managed my Amazon affiliate sites with the WP Amaz-One plugin. It’s not inexpensive and it’s not perfect, but — for anyone with an Amazon affiliate site — it’s been essential. And, even since this early February update, it’s still a very useful plugin.
In February 2012, an important WP Amaz-One plugin update was released. If you had the older version and you’re not sure how to update, click here for my tutorial with screenshots.
My review: Some good, some not-so-good
Here’s my preliminary review of this update:
This update was important for a couple of reasons, including the latest WordPress update and policy changes at some social media sites, regarding automatic posting. The update handles those two issues.
This Amaz-One plugin update also includes some cool new features, such as the ability to change the post layout, select different Amazon buttons to use, and automatically add product-related videos from YouTube.
However, some of these new features are clearly in development. (That’s fine. The only way a plugin developer knows what works and what doesn’t — after a limited beta release — is to see what happens when all users use the new version.)
Later in this post, and in a later post, I’ll explain what I’m doing to work around the temporary snags.
New buttons, new layout options
I love the new Amazon buttons. The red is definitely my favorite, since it’s been shown that red tends to trigger action. However, yellow (or gold) triggers right-brain activity, so someone may react (and buy) more emotionally with the gold buttons. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)
I like the new layout, but I tend to use the plain vanilla version anyway.
The video option is brilliant, when it works. So far, with a day and a half of testing, it’s only accurate half the time. A “visit England” post featuring a guidebook review… it included a Tanya Roberts video, “Tanya Roberts Outrageous Love…” Umm… not quite what I had in mind.
If you find the wrong video on your post, you can delete it by clicking the Delete button in the Custom Fields section of your WordPress post screen.
If you don’t see the Custom Fields sections on your Post screen, here’s what to do:
1. Click on “Screen Options” at the upper right corner of the dashboard.
Then, a whole list of options will open at the top of your dashboard. Be sure “Custom Fields” is checked. Then, reclick on “Screen Options” and that list will close.
Once you do see the Custom Fields options in your Post screen, continue with these steps.
Here’s a screenshot of the button to click. (I think you can update the keywords and see if you get a better video, but I haven’t tried that yet.)
I can live with that. I mean, it’s a cool option, when the bugs are worked out… if they can be. (People can spam YouTube videos with fake titles and keywords, so I’m not sure that any plugin will always add good, relevant videos.)
Then there’s what happens to posts from the earlier version of Amaz-One. It looks like 95% of them are fine, but — now and then — one of them goes wonky. The price is $0.00 or something weird like that. Again, with automated posting software of any kind, there will be some errors.
One of my posts vanished from the on-screen navigation, but it’s still in the Sitemap. Weird, but — as I said — almost every plugin has glitches. This one isn’t critical. I’m only mentioning it so, if it happens at your website, you don’t panic.
The blank screen
It’s a little unsettling to see the post screen completely blank, so I can’t edit the post or add to it, in that screen. However — in the Feb 2012 update — you can use the Custom Fields options to edit your post. (See that link for screenshots.)
Then, save your edited post as you usually do.
My only problem so far? I’m generally limited to the 250- or 500-character post size that I initially specified. (I’m saying “generally” because once — and only once, so far — I was able to expand the post so it’s longer. I’m still trying to get this sorted out, with the Amaz-One developer.)
In general, this plugin does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it better than before: It automatically posts Amazon products, with reviews (if you want to include them), on a schedule.
So, I’m still using this plugin and including it in sites that I sell at Shiny Websites.
However, at this point, I don’t see any easy, reliable way to expand Amaz-One reviews the way I like to. I’m talking about the kinds of edits I make, described in my articles, Amazon Product Posts – Adding Content, and How to Enhance Your Amazon Product Posts.
I hope that Amaz-One will resolve this issue, soon. The developer assured me on 16 Feb 2012, “We are working on making some changes as per feedback from users. Will soon send updated version where it will be easy to change the content.” (Emphasis added.)
So, fingers crossed, the update will arrive soon.
In addition, I know that most people don’t do the kinds of editing that I do. So, it may not be an issue for you, at all.
My temporary fix for Amazon expanded reviews and posts
Until the new update — the one that once again allows us to change the post text easily — here’s what I’m doing:
First, I’m still using WP Amaz-One. It finds products and adds them as tagged posts, quickly, efficiently, and on a drip-feed schedule. Generally, I’m leaving those posts as-is. So, if you buy one of my Shiny Websites, you’ll still receive that plugin.
And, I’m still writing expanded reviews and related articles… but separately.
For that, I find the ASIN (or ISBN) for the product, by clicking on the product link (“Read more” or the “buy now” button) in the Amaz-One post.
Then, I look at the URL where I landed. It’ll look like this:
That set of numbers (sometimes letters + numbers) immediately following the /dp/ are the ASIN. (Do not include the % or anything after that.)
I enter that into another, free plugin, Amazon Product in Post.
To install that plugin, here’s what to do.
First, go to Plugins > Add New in your WP dashboard.
Then, use the Search from on the Plugins – Add New page. Type in “Amazon Product.” That’s usually enough to locate the correct plugin.
The next screenshot shows the plugin you’re looking for. Install it and activate it.
Once it’s activated, you’ll need to add your Amazon keys and your Amazon affiliate ID so you receive your affiliate commissions for each product. You’ll do that in the Amazon PIP > Amazon PIP Options screen, on your WP dashboard.
With that set up, I’m writing the kinds of extended reviews I’ve usually included with some of my Amaz-One posts. Then, I enter the ASIN number (as explained above) into the Amazon PIP form, and ask it to post the product links below the post contents.
I can set that post to appear the same day as the related Amaz-One post, or on an earlier or later date.
Why use both plugins?
I know people will ask me why I’m using both plugins. The simplest answer is: Because I can*… but that’s a little too quick an answer, so let me explain.
First, Amaz-One is a good plugin and I’m hoping that another update will make it as useful as it was in the past.
For now, it automatically finds and posts Amazon products for me, on a drip-feed schedule. If I’m too busy to add anything else to my website, it’s still updating on its own, so my website always looks fresh for the search engines. That’s important. It’s also the primary purpose of Amaz-One.
So, it’s worth keeping.
In addition, my new websites will include both Amaz-One and Amazon Product in a Post plugins. Together, these plugins allow me (and you) to have a fresh website, running on autopilot. And, you and I can add the content-rich articles that make these websites stand out, attract more traffic, and earn more money.
Questions? Comments? Use the comment form with this article, so I can reply.
*I tried running both WP-Dollar and Amaz-One, together, but it looks like the database gets confused. I can’t have both activated at the same time. Even with one active and one not, the combination have conflicts. So, though I’m happy to add WP Dollar for clients who prefer that, I can’t recommend having both installed on the same site.
On the other hand, Amazon Product in a Post and Amaz-One can run simultaneously without problems. That’s what I’m using.