Surely the most widely used platform for affiliate marketing is WordPress. What began as a small personal project by Matt Mullenweg in 2003 now powers 14% of the world’s websites.

What makes it so attractive is the ease at which third-party plugins can be added and utilized, with nearly 20,000 available for download on the main repository alone.

Last year in my job as a developer I had the unfortunate experience of trying to work with a WordPress installation that had previously been integrated with a commercial affiliate marketing product.

It was a nightmare trying to deal with such poor, substandard software and when I looked for an alternative there were no free plugins that could parse and handle bulk feeds.

So on my “Things to do in 2012” list I added “create a WordPress plugin to parse feeds”. After countless hours of development I launched it last week under the name of Affiliate Hoover.

This WordPress plugin takes XML or CSV feeds and turns the content into individual posts. The only required fields are a title and description. The rest are optional but they include creating items based on content type, automatically adding nofollow to all external links, creating categories and tags, specifying whether the item should be immediately published or saved as draft, limiting the number of posts, filtering out content based on keywords and specifying whether you wish for commenting and trackbacks to be open.

The biggest problem when creating software such as this is that affiliate marketing companies don’t have an agreed data standard between them, so the structure differs from one commercial concern to the next.

It is for this reason that XML support is limited to a few certain companies for now although it should be possible to use CSV files from any source.

The code is modern and well-written (support for PHP version 5.3 and up only) and my personal testing demonstrated that it should be possible to create posts from a feed of 500 in around 10-15 seconds. I haven’t tested it on a shared server but you really should avoid running WordPress on this environment anyway because it’s just not powerful enough for the average WordPress build.

It is fully integrated into the WordPress platform so it should work smoothly with other third-party addons such as the well-loved WordPress SEO plugin.

I plan to expand upon the features of the plugin in the coming weeks and months, including adding the ability to download and parse remote feeds on a daily basis, so once you have it set up to your requirements it will automatically update itself.

All feedback is welcomed.

This post was written by Andy Walpole of andywalpole.me.