Setting Up Links and Banners

Introduction

When a webmaster signs up for an account at your top list you will want to provide them with text links and/or banners that they can use to send hits to your site. AutoRank Pro offers several different places that you can provide them with links and banners to use, and this document covers how and where to do that.

Tips For Displaying HTML code

For each of the examples below, assume that the HTML code you want to display is this:

<a href="http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi?id=USERNAME">Vote For Our Site</a>

To provide your members with links and banners you will often need to provide them with the HTML code that they will need to use. HTML has some built in features that will allow you to easily do this. The first method is to use the <xmp> tag. When you use this tag any HTML enclosed inside the <xmp> </xmp> tags will be displayed as HTML code instead of rendered by the browser. Example:

<xmp>
<a href="http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi?id=USERNAME">Vote For Our Site</a>
</xmp>

Secondly, you can use &lt; and &gt; to display the < and > characters, respectively. Since browsers try to render anything enclosed in < and > characters, this will allow you to display HTML code without it being rendered by the browser. Example:

&lt;a href="http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi?id=USERNAME"&gt;Vote For Our Site&lt;/a&gt;

Finally, one of the preferred methods for displaying HTML code is to use a <textarea> tag. Using a <textarea> tag you can display a text input box that contains all of the HTML code. The web browser will not render the HTML code inside a <textarea> tag, but will instead display the raw HTML code. The only limitation is if you plan to use a <textarea> tag as part of the HTML code that you want to display. That will not work, so you will need to use one of the other methods.

<textarea rows="5" cols="70">
<a href="http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi?id=USERNAME">Vote For Our Site</a>
</textarea>

Tips For Displaying Banners

On almost all servers the cgi-bin can only be used for CGI scripts and you should not place your banners inside that directory. To make sure that your banners display properly you should place them outside the cgi-bin directory. Whenever you reference one of your banners from an AutoRank Pro template you should use the full URL to the banner to make sure that it is displayed correctly. For example, assume that the banner you want to display is located at http://www.yoursite.com/banners/large_banner.gif. On any of the AutoRank Pro templates you should use an <img> tag with the full URL to display this banner. Example:

<img src="http://www.yoursite.com/banners/large_banner.gif" border="0">

Basic Link Syntax

If you want to figure out the unique link that a member account needs to use to send hits to your site, it is quite simple. All you need to do is take the In URL from the Edit Options interface and append a query string to the end of it. A query string consists of a ? followed by some text. With AutoRank Pro you need to supply the account username in the query string. To do this you use the text id=USERNAME where USERNAME is the username of the account. For example, assume the In URL is set to http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi and the account username is USERNAME. The link would look like this:

http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/autorank/in.cgi?id=USERNAME

Before The Account is Created

If you want to supply links and banners to webmasters before they signup you will need to include them on the accounts_add.tpl template. While we recommend against this (because the unique link that they need to send hits to has not yet been generated) it is an option. You can edit the accounts_add.tpl template to include the banners or text links that you want your members to use. Since the unique link has not yet been created at this point, you cannot provide them with it at this point.

Immediately After The Account is Created

To supply links and banners to webmasters immediately after they have created their account, edit the account_added.tpl template. You can edit that template file to include the banners and/or text links that you want your members to use. The ##Tracking_URL## template variable will allow you to get the unique link that the member needs to send hits to. You can use that in your template to produce the exact code that they can copy and paste onto their site.

Any Time After The Account is Created

AutoRank Pro includes an account maintenance interface that can be accessed by pointing your browser to accounts.cgi?login. This is for your members to use so they can edit their account and get link syntax to use. Your members can access this page at any time to get the links that you want them to use. The accounts_links.tpl template controls the banner and links page, so you can edit it to include the banners and links that you want your members to use. The software comes with a default setup that you should change to reflect how you want your links to appear. For example, the default template has a link that is labeled 'Visit NAME OF YOUR SITE'. Obviously, you don't want your members using that link so you should change the 'NAME OF YOUR SITE' portion of that link to the real name of your site.

The ##Tracking_URL## template value can again be used on this template, and it will be replaced by the unique URL that the member account needs to send hits to in order for their clicks to be tracked. You can use the ##Tracking_URL## template value anywhere on the accounts_links.tpl template, and this will allow your members to copy and paste the exact HTML code they need to use.