We’ll be iterating documentation here many, many times as we continue to build Group Deals and get feedback from our community. We plan on having screencasts and on-site documentation for everything from basic configuration, theming, extending the plugin with action/filter hooks and lots more.
For now, though, we have the basic configuration instructions.
Doing this in order is important.
- Make sure your server meets all of the minimum requirements. (Especially make sure PEAR is installed on your server.)
- Make sure you are running at least WordPress 3.0+.
- Download, install and activate WPEC 3.8+ (Don’t know how to install plugins? Read this.)
- Download, install and activate the latest Groupon Child Theme (Don’t know how to install themes? Read this)
- Purchase, install and activate Group Deals.
- Once everything is downloaded, installed and activated, in that order, create a home page if you have not already in the Pages tab.
- If you have not already set your home page as your static page, do that under Settings > Reading. Step-by-step instructions here.
- Now, go to the Vendors page. Create a new vendor here.
- If your vendor wants to be paid via PayPal, they must have a Business Verified account.
- Go to Products, create a new product. Pay special attention to the following -
- Make sure to set a category
- Make sure to set an ‘Advertised Price’ and ‘Daily Deal Price’.
- Fill in the Main description, Fine Print, Group Deal Details and Highlights.
- Be sure to choose your Vendor from the drop-down under Business Details.
- To add an image, simply upload one in the standard image area. Set it by clicking the green “Use as Product Thumbnail” link. Optimal width for images in the child theme is 440px.
- Set your Stock Control settings, if necessary.
- Hit “Submit” or “Update”.
- Adjust your menu under Appearance > Menus, if you want.
- Adjust your store configurations under Settings > Store, if you want.
- All of the main themed functionality is abstracted from the theme. That means you get to go to Appearance > Widgets and place them as you choose. All of the boxes that were on the left side are now widgetized. Optimal configuration is to have the “Buy Now & Price” first, then “Progress Bar”, then “Time Left to Buy”.
That’s all you need to do to activate your deal!
You’ll definitely want to go to the Group Deals page under Settings and set the API key you received (Not much will actually work without that.). You’ll also need to enter your PayPal business email account. Then you’re all set. Whenever you activate a new deal, anyone who has subscribed will receive an email with that deal. When it tips and expires, all of the payments are handled automatically. Speaking of automation…
We’re utilizing WordPress’s WP_Cron class for automated tasks. This is super awesome – but it does carry some limitations. It does a faux cron – rather than the server doing a task by itself, we’re able to hook into WP_Cron to tell it to do something at a certain time. If that time has passed, and the site is visited, it will run that task. Pretty simple. The tasks we use WP_Cron for include sending new deals to subscribers and sending emails when deals expire. However, it all depends on the site being visited. If your site is getting 800+ visitors per month (roughly one per hour), that’s more than sufficient to utilize WP_Cron for these tasks. If you’re not getting that many, there are some solutions for you depending on your skill level.
Beginner - If you’re a beginner in terms of technical programming knowledge, the simplest way to trigger the cron is to visit your site yourself. Visit it a couple times a day and you’ll be just fine.
Intermediate - If you’ve got a bit of technical know-how, you can use a free service like SetCronJob to visit the site every hour. Some beginners could probably do this, too
Advanced – If you’ve got some advanced technical knowledge, you can set up a cron job via SSH or Plesk or CPanel, depending on your server, to run wp-cron.php (In your root WordPress folder) at precise intervals and set DISABLE_WP_CRON to true in your wp-config.php file.
Again, all of those solutions are only necessary if you get less than 800 visitors a month, or roughly one per hour.
Your Group Deals plugin won’t work without an API key. You should have received it in an email, as well as on the transaction results page when you purchased the plugin. If you have lost it or it doesn’t seem to be working, first check that you’re entering it correctly. Then, make sure that your site URL in your General Settings matches the domain you entered when you purchased the plugin. If it’s still not working, shoot us an email and we’ll get you squared away.
If you’re running multi-site, there are a few things to be aware of:
- Don’t Network Activate the plugin, activate it on a per-site basis; same with WordPress E-Commerce.
- Don’t use subdirectories, use sub-domains instead.
- If you’re running multi-site, but the primary blog/site isn’t running Group Deals, the automatic one-click upgrader won’t work. We’re working on a fix, but in the meantime, just activate it on the main site once in awhile to see if there is an update, or just follow the blog or subscribe to the newsletter, and we’ll let you know
- If you’re running multi-site and using domain mapping, you’ll need separate API keys. No extra charge, just contact us and we’ll get you squared away.