BE AN AFFILIATE - PART 4: STYLE OR SUBSTANCE?
We've spoken about content first in this guide, perhaps counter intuitively as the first thing a potential customer will encounter is the look of your website rather than what it may or may not have to read on, right? Not quite so, you see, most of your traffic will come to you via the search engines, subsequently if you have a lousy page rank then you can kiss the big bucks goodbye. Content is written for two purposes; yes it is for your customers, to inform them, aid them in their decisions and finally to convert them as a commission figure in your affiliate account. But, before you even get to that stage you will actually need visitors to come to your site. Content is there just as much (truth be told, perhaps even slightly more) to get a decent rank from the search engines, which will directly relate to an enormous increase in traffic with your strongest keywords if done correctly.
Once you have your page rank and your traffic, content will be the thing that keeps your visitors on your page, hopefully clicking through to the companies you are acting as an affiliate for and earning you money.
In case you don't already know, what you have been doing so far, from finding your domain name, to choosing your market, building the site and starting to add content, is called SEO, short for search engine optimization. This balance between searchable and readable content is called SEO copy and good SEO copy will get you to the top of the search engine lists and keep the customers converting clicks into commission for you.
Now this is not to say that the way your site looks is not important. Looks are just as important, but these will come into play later on in the game. The search engine crawlers do not really care what your site actually looks like, they focus on how it is layed out, and the content. In the early stages of your affiliate site you should be far more interested in getting your page rank up, rather than making that easy mistake of focusing more on the look of your affiliate site, thinking it ought to look professional first. We would advise the exact opposite, do your reading on SEO, make sure the site is optimally set up and stuff it full of content.
Once your rank starts to rise, then you can worry about sexing it up for the customers, because chances are that before you achieve a reasonable rank, you probably won't have any visitors either. When the rank rises and the visitors start trickling in, then you hit them on the design front. Do your research, check what the top affiliate websites in your market who are using the same keywords as you are doing. Use this only as a guide and try and improve upon their designs with your own. You will want to be bold and striking, something that will leave an impression on your visitors because so many affiliate websites nowadays all look the same and fail to do this. Also, simplicity is key, make navigation of your site a breeze or you will loose people. Your written content should be indexed and searchable, supplemented by high quality images and most importantly, that all-important “buy now” button, or link through to the sites you are acting as an affiliate for should be child's play to get to, your site should ever so subtly lead your visitors to it.
Get these points right and you will be raking in that affiliate commission in no time.