Category Archives: Basic Site Configuration

Initial Basic Configuration Settings & Options

Step-By-Step Crucial Initial Configuration Settings

Admin Panel ‘Main’ Menu Section:(on the top right under the ShiftCode logo)

mainmenu03

>E-Mail –Creating domain based email addresses covered elsewhere in this guide (this is not where you create an email address, it’s where you specify an already created email address you want to use for site member notifications)Once you’ve decided on what your site main email address will be for all site admin and user notifications then this is where you configure the ‘From Name’ and ‘From E-mail’ (this can be a domain based email address (recommended) or you can specify any other email address you would like to use for this purpose here (Gmail, HotMail MSN, etc.))

> E-Mail > Alerts– This is where you decide what email alerts you (the admin) want to receive from your site when certain events occur (as seen in the image below)  We would suggest checking every checkbox listed here and clicking the ‘Update’ button if you (admin) want to initially be informed via email of all important events (best to know rather than to risk not noticing)  [The default is no checkboxes checked – checking them all is recommended]

ealerts01

> Payment Methods– This is where you set up how (what payment methods and accounts)YOU will be paid from your site members for various site products and/or services you are selling (such as advertising, member account upgrades, etc.) This should NOT to be confused with site member withdrawal methods which will be discussed elsewhere in this document!  The admin panel describes this section as “Below are your default payment methods. The products that accept payments will also have a section for managing payment methods. They can either select default payment methods, or define separate payment methods. The product will use the payment methods below if default payment methods are selected.

The ‘Internal’ payment method stands for the ‘internal funds’ (in the form of the ‘cash’ or ‘points’) each site member has earned.  If you enable this payment method then your site members will be able to use their account balance to pay for purchases from your site.  It’s your own choice whether or not you want to enable this option but if your think about it then it makes total sense to enable internal funds purchases because most all of the items you are ‘selling’ on your site really are not an out-of-pocket expense for you – it’s virtually pure profit for you (advertising packages they purchase cost your little or nothing comparatively (‘banner impressions’ and ‘side panel ads’ are free to you) as do member account upgrades)

Think about it, if your member doesn’t have any way other than to withdraw cash or use the points in their internal account balances for prizes you must supply then those withdrawals cost you money out of your pocket immediately (most internal funds purchases generally don’t cost you anything to supply if you are smart about it)  Also, you can safely not require that internal funds purchases not be manually approved.  Enable internal funds (it’s a no-brainer decision)

Speaking of the other payment methods, we highly suggest that you select (check) the ‘Manually Approve’ (‘Yes, manually approve each transaction’) option on all payment methods (external) which gives you the option of double-checking that each payment has been properly completed and you indeed have been paid before the purchased item or service is given to the member.

That concludes what we consider to be the crucial configuration settings under the ‘Main’ menu section though we are still not done (off to several other sections)


Admin Panel ‘Products’ Menu Section:(the long list on the left under the blue ‘ADMIN PANEL’ heading)

productpanel01> Contact Form– (or otherwise known as a ‘Contact Us’ form) Enter your own email address here.  When a member (or a site visitor – not necessarily a site member yet) completes the Contact Us form then this will be the email address that you get notified from.  It’s suggested to leave the ‘Valid E-Mail Domain’ box checked to thwart certain spam attempts (the site’s Contact Us form is visible outside of the logged-in site member area and hence this is a common spam target)  Hover over the blue question mark button to the far right of each setting to get a better description of how it works.

> Inbox System > Configure –If you intend to use a site member username as the site administrator other than the default ‘Admin’ (when sending and receiving inbox messages, communicating in the Shoutbox (member chat area), etc) then input that username in the ‘Display Name’ field (this field is case-sensitive so use the same capitalization as your member account that will be acting at the site admin)

Inbox System Configure

If you are allowing your site members to send inbox messages to other members (note the first two checkbox options ‘Contact Downline’ (the member’s own referred members) and ‘Contact Members’) then it’s suggested that you also check the ‘Review Message’ checkbox so that you will be able to pre-review and approve or deny inbox messages sent by members to other members (that way you can moderate messages that are spammy, harassing, overly negative (complaining or insulting), to frequent, promoting competing GPT sites, etc.) before they are delivered to the intended recipient(s) and take corrective action before the potential damage is done.  Allowing members to contact other members is not bad in itself (in fact we recommend you allow it) it allows members to more freely socialize semi-privately and some members tend to be really helpful in encouraging and benignly coaching their downline to be more active on your site.  Just be aware the certain bad apples may try causing trouble and if you are reviewing and pre-approving messages then they are pretty easy to spot.

> Membership –This is a main area that attentive GPT site admins tend to visit often to keep track of what members have joined, their current status (as shown by colors), and just to browse each member’s profile just by clicking on their username looking for obvious issues such as bogus information in required fields, etc.  Also notice that in the upper right corner when you click on the “Search Duplicate” text then it will switch between two modes – a ‘Search General’ (default) where you can search your members by numerous general information fields while when you click on ‘Search Duplicate’ then you enter a very powerful duplicate information search mode when you can discover site ‘cheaters’ who either have multiple accounts (which you should not allow under any circumstances) or members who bypassed normal site security by entering bogus information into required fields (such as entering ‘123 easy Street’ in a Street Address field – also you should not allow)

Search Duplicate

> Points System > Configure– This is where the currency values and exchange rate is configured.  This is where you will assign a value to whatever you wish to call your site’s ‘points’ currency.  It’s highly suggested that YOU GET THIS RIGHT in the first place.  You want your points system to be easy to figure out and conforming to the familiar standard exchange rate already established by many GPT sites that came before yours (the below image is the default settings – this is the ‘before’ image)Points System Configure Defaults (BEFORE)BIG(HUGE)TIP / HINT: –>First, let me point out the complete line of thirteen (13) blue question mark help icons help icon - hover overon the right (as seen above) – hover over them to discover better descriptions of what each field item does / means.  These question mark hints are purposely strewn throughout the ShiftCode GPT Admin Panel (Notice them!  That’s what they are there for!)

Now to suggest the ‘right’ points configure settings:

Points Name:This is where you will define what you will call your site’s points currency name (what you call your points on your site)  Yes, you can just leave them named ‘Points’ as many have done before you.  Also know that you can pretty much name your site’s points anything you want!  Yes, shillings, coins, gold bars, pirate treasure, silver, wooden nickels, whatever you want (insert the name there)

Auto Reset: This option may have had a very good purpose way back years ago when the GPT sites concept was younger but if you know what’s good for you nowadays then it’s best to just leave this option set at the default zero (0) days value.  Essentially this is a setting that allows you to specify that if your member hasn’t used (converted, ordered a prize, or otherwise spent) his points in his account balance for X days then they go away (ouch!)  If you do enable this option and you don’t have some unique new legitimate purpose (other than cheating your members out of their earned points) for doing so to maybe change this option from the default zero… (risking that one or more very vocal GPT member sees his points go away unjustly and complains publicly)  Hint: Leave it at ZERO!

Conversion Rate:(Important!) The default (generally right) setting is 100 points = $1.00 (thus the field rightly has a default ‘100’ number in it)  This is where you are configuring what monetary value (if any) your site’s points will represent (or ‘hold’)  The standard amongst the vast majority of successful GPT sites currently operating is undoubtedly 100 points equals one dollar (if you change this then just know then we have seen it lead to member confusion and eventually making that GPT site a generally less popular place for GPT regular members to frequent due to the the confusion factor)

Enable Your Withdrawal List / Payment Proof Page

ShiftCode provides a built in list of all withdrawals you have paid and you have the option of enabling or disabling this withdrawal list page.  On every ShiftCode GPT site IF the admin hasn’t disabled it then if you add ‘/members/withdraw/list.php’ to the site’s URL then you’ll be able to see all the withdrawals that have been paid.
If the admin has disabled the page then you’ll only see a plain white page with the phrase “This page is disabled.” on it.
Personally, I feel that this page can be a great asset to promote and you should enable it.  If your site is brand new and doesn’t show many entries then chances are people will understand knowing that the site is new.  Here (below) is what a typical withdrawal list page looks like (though this one comes from a site with a dark design theme):   (to see this page LIVE on this site simply click on the image)
Withdrawal List Page
The setting to disable this page is located in the very last section of the left side navigational ‘products’ menu under the ‘Withdraw’ heading.  So you would go to Withdraw > Configure in the admin panel to get there.

Withdraw > Configure

Here You’ll see a page like below and if you want your Withdrawal List page active and public then simply make sure that the option ‘Public List:[ ] Disable viewers from seeing the public withdraw list.‘ is unchecked and then click ‘Update’:
Enable Withdraw list
You can then make sure that your withdrawal list / payment proof page is truly enabled by simply surfing over to http://www.YourOwnGPTSite.com/members/withdraw/list.php

Once you have a few payments under your belt then that is a great time to promote that page and also don’t forget to link to that page from somewhere else on your GPT site as well (the default template doesn’t link to this page anywhere by default)


One other thing I’d like to mention is that you also have the option of making this Withdrawal List page (or any other page on your site) the default page people see when they’ve clicked on a referral link (sent to your site as the referral of a present site member)  I’ve seen this strategy work well with a few sites (that way then the referral can see that your site is indeed a regularly paying site the second they are sent to your site!)
The way you accomplish this is by going to Membership > Configure from the left site admin panel navigational menu.  Once you get there you’ll see a page like is shown below (showing the Referrals section only  intentionally):
Referring to Your Withdrawals List
The setting that we’re specifically interested in here is the “Referral Page:[            ] This should usually be set to the homepage or the registration page.” drop-down box.  Simply change this setting to ‘Withdraws’ and now all referred members will initially see you Withdrawals List as payment Proof page.
Personally, from a GPT site member’s point of view I’ve always found it incredibly rude to be directed to a page long registration page as my first view of a GPT site (?)  I’d much rather browse around a few pages before committing to signing up.  This setting is where you set that page that referred people get sent to your site – first off (their very first impression of your GPT site !)  Do you want that page to be a long page with a whole bunch of personal question registration fields to be filled in – first off? NO!

Don’t worry if it’s not the registration page because when they click upon a referral link then a browser cookie get’s set thereby making the person that referred them to your site the person credited for the referral (no matter how much surfing they do – as long as they don’t clear their browser cookies)
If everything went well with the above change then when you log in to your site as a member then you will see that the member’s ‘Your Referral URL’ has also changed to the withdraw list (as seen below)  I’m strictly speaking of the “/members/withdraw/list.php” part:
Referral URL Change

Country, IP, & ISP Blocking and How to Set the Countries Your Site Serves

Q) How Do I Set the Countries My GPT Site Serves?

A) Here’s the Procedure:

BLOCKING:
To set what countries your GPT site blocks then first go here ‘Admin Panel > Main (Right Side Menu Top) > Configure > IP List’ and take a look at the ‘Block Coutries List:’ (should say Countries – missing an ‘n’ yes)  Click on [edit] and then add the countries you want blocked to the bottom portion of that feature and then go all the way down to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Update’ button to save it.

Correctly identified GPT site visitors that are blocked (by country, by IP address, or by ISP on this page) will see a blank plain white page instead of your site when they go to your site’s URL.

It’s a matter of subjective opinion and/or a matter of data depending upon how you approach the issue but if you Google search ‘countries that the most online fraud originates from’ then you’ll see a number of sites with lists.

The Countries I Routinely Block Are: Afghanistan, Anonymous Proxy, Egypt, Holy See (Vatican City State), Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of, Nigeria, Palestinian Territory, Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Now to explain a few of my choices further:

  • Holy See (Vatican City State) – For the record I have nothing whatsoever against the Pope – only I highly doubt anyone in the Vatican would seriously legitimately seek to log in to my GPT site and do offers for money, and;
  • Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of – The names of South Korea (the democracy friendly to the USA) and North Korea (ruled by a communist dictator, etc.) are pretty counterintuitive – ‘Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of’ is actually North Korea, and;
  • I block all countries from which I hear there is a large amount of political instability & chaos, has no legitimate government, I’ve had a large amount of fraud coming from in the past, is a common suspected or actual source of terrorism, and/or is known to be belligerent to the United States of America (USA) [personal subjective choice], and;
  • One oddity that you may notice on the countries list to choose from is ‘anonymous proxy’ – no, it’s not actually a country (I suspect most people would figure that out)  It means that the site visitor has been flagged as having a high risk of having connected through a proxy server.  Proxy servers are connections that people can make online to obscure their true location. Yes, you would want to add ‘anonymous proxy’ to the ‘Blocked Countries List’.

ALLOWING:

Setting the countries your GPT site serves and in what languages is handled by going to ‘Admin Panel > Products (Left Side Menu Middle) > Membership > Configure > Security’ and take a look at the ‘Register’ (lower) section.  Here is where you set what countries you are allowing to register on your site and which languages you’ll serve.

It’s really not as complicated as you may think it is (having to select all the countries that are not on your blocked country list)  You could actually leave the ‘Allowed Countries’ setting at ‘All’ (all countries added to the bottom section) because your country blocking will make sure that anyone reporting to be from any blocked countries theoretically will not even be able to get to your site’s new member registration form page (if you remember – blocking will render a blank plain white page to blocked countries – even the registration page would be blank white)

I, however, would like to be as precise as I can in governing my GPT site so I’m more inclined to go to the trouble of removing my blocked countries from my ‘Allowed Countries’ list (therefore, if they ever are allowed to see the registration page for some reason then they still will not be allowed to register)

To have only your non-blocked countries on your ‘Allowed Countries List’ is as simple as removing them from the bottom box and Updating (saving) the page.
So, these are the countries that my GPT site will serve (my ‘Allowed Countries List’):

Aland Islands, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Asia/Pacific Region, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Europe, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, France, Metropolitan, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Micronesia, Federated States of, Moldova, Republic of, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Other, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Satellite Provider, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, United Republic of, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U.S., Wallis and Futuna, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The ‘Allowed Languages’ list is pretty easy as well.  I know this goes (allows) by the site visitor’s browser language set.  Though I actually only want English speakers I choose to add all the languages listed because I know that though someone may know English then their browser language may be set to their normally preferred language (and I don’t want to disallow them because of that)  Now if you want to specify languages then that is your own preference (my own ‘take’ on how this section operates may indeed be wrong though I doubt it)

I would suggest that you check all of the three boxes below the Allowed Languages section and Update the page.

Since we have most of this configuration page finished then let’s jump up to the top section of the page and set those pretty important ‘Login’ settings.  I suggest you set them up as follows (shown in the image):

Login Settings Page