New users purchase Associate-O-Matic all the time, and often the same questions pop up. Some of these have been covered before in this blog, but to save time and frustration, I’ll recover them here, along with a few that haven’t been mentioned before. So in no real order…
1. How do I make my shop open with www.mysite.com instead of www.mysite.com/shop.php?
If you don’t have one, create an .htaccess file in the root directory (the same area where the shop.php and admin.php files are) of your web space. On some webhosts you have to create it as a text file (like htaccess.txt), then change the filename to .htaccess (just as shown).
Into the file, put this as the top line: DirectoryIndex shop.php (if you rename your shop.php file to something else, change this command to match the filename).
And that should do it.
2. Can I have multiple stores in the same account?
Unless your webhost specifically forbids it, sure. The key here is to create a subdirectory off of your root directory for every site you want to have. So if your site is www.mysite.com, then you should have:
And so on. When you get a domain name you wish to assign to a subdirectory (and set the nameservers to point to your account), you use the Addon Domains function of your website control panel (common if you use Cpanel; ask your webhost if you’re not sure where this function is). This allows you to link a domain name to a subdirectory. So ‘www.mysupersite.com’ can be linked to /sub1, ‘www.mikesellswidgets.com’ can be linked to /sub2, and so on.
Then you install AOM into each subdirectory and they operate as entirely separate sites. It doesn’t matter if you set up several at once, like I’ve shown here, or do them one at a time over a long period. The method is the same – create a subdirectory, link a domain name to it with the Addon Domains function, then upload AOM into the directory and create your site.
3. Is upgrading safe?
AOM is designed to allow upgrading as easily as possible. All your customization settings that you enter into the Control Panel are saved in the cfg.saved.php file (located in the /aom subdirectory). Upgrading has no effect on this file. The main files that are affected are the admin.php and shop.php files, plus some of the cfg files in the /aom subdirectory (not cfg.saved.php!), and the images.
Once the upgrade is installed, however, you must log into your control panel and save. This converts the cfg.saved.php file contents to conform to the new version. You can save a copy of the cfg.saved.php file on your computer if you wish, and in fact this is a good idea in case the version on your webhost is ever damaged or lost.
If you have edited any other files directly, such as cfg.lang.php or cfg.css.php files, these will be overwritten in an upgrade. Most AOM users never touch these files, but if you do, you must manually re-edit these files. If you’ve changed the name of shop.php to something like index.php, the upgrade will still add the new version of shop.php alongside your previous file.
Also, if you customize any buttons or other AOM-included images, these will also be overwritten and returned to their default appearance. Because I have so many stores with custom buttons, the first thing I do when I get a new version unzipped is to remove the button files from the /image subdirectory. I also keep a set of all my custom buttons on my hard drive, just in case.
But normally an upgrade (either a version upgrade, or from the 30-day or Lite versions to the full version) will not affect your changes, except as noted above.
4. I forgot my Control Panel username and/or password!
In the /aom subdirectory, a file called cfg.login.php is created when you first set up your username and password. If you forget them, just log into your webhost and delete this file. This will reset the login details, so you can create a new username and password. This file has no effect on your AOM customizations, and is not touched during an upgrade.
Sometimes you may need to delete the AOM cookie in your browser, as it’s expecting the original login details. Usually if you can log in, but are kicked out of the Control Panel when you try to save anything, it’s a sign that the cookie needs reset. Information on how to remove cookies is available in the Help section of your web browser, or online. Once you delete the cookie, AOM will automatically reset it for you when you log back in to the Control Panel.
5. How can I install Google ads (or other) in my store?
Ads, links, etc from Google, Amazon, or anywhere else can be added quite easily. You will be furnished with some code (such as from Google’s AdSense site), which goes into a Custom Box in AOM. Look for the Custom Box tab in the Control Panel (or dropdown menu if you are using a v2.x-3.x AOM site). You may need to create a custom box by adding the number of boxes you want, then pressing the ‘Go’ button.
Once the box is created, you paste the code into the large ‘content’ box, and make sure the type is set to ‘Raw HTML’. You can also select things like the border color & size, header text if desired, and page placement. A pop-up diagram is available to show the various locations on the page you can position the box in. If you have more than one box in a location (like L for left side), you can set the order number of the boxes.
Save when you’re done, and that’s it. A few things to be aware of:
- A custom box in your Control Panel with no information in it will not be saved, so if you open 5 boxes and only enter data for two, the three empty ones will vanish. You must reopen them when you have something to put into them.
- If you number a box for an area that contains other boxes, like the left-side column, you should also number the other boxes that go there. Often people will number a custom box, but fail to number the categories, subcategories, narrow by price/brand, most gifted, most wished, etc. If they’re not numbered, they are all assumed to be ‘0’ (zero) and thus placed above any other box if it is numbered.
- If none of the boxes are numbered, they are ranked by importance, so categories, subcats, and on down the line, with custom boxes generally last. Many new users will rank their custom box at #1, then wonder why it’s actually showing up at #7 or so.
So that’s some oft-asked questions. I had a few more things to discuss, but as this post has gone on, I’ll save them for later in the month.