An affiliate site normally has two purposes: to impart information to its visitors, and to help them decide what to buy. Your goal is undoubtedly to make money from your site, so you need to make it as user-friendly as possible, as well as ensuring that you offer the best products to your visitors.
Here are 10 tips to help you make sure your website is hitting the mark and not leaving your visitors wanting more.
1. Put your user first, not your profit
As an affiliate, the temptation is always there to go for the highest-profit product you can find, and recommend it as the best. The problem is, it isn’t always the best, and you’re only recommending it because it will make you a lot of money.
If you want to build and keep a good reputation, you need to recommend products that work, are reliable, and do what they are intended to do. Anything else is dishonest, and doesn’t put your user first – and when your user is happy, they’ll come back for more.
2. Follow the search engine guidelines
Your site should use HTTPS, be mobile-friendly, and load quickly. Not only are all these important for the end-user experience, but they also improve your search engine rankings. Nobody wants to wait around for a page to load, and nobody wants to try and navigate a desktop sized site on a handheld device.
3. Follow the law
In most countries, you are required by law to state that any products shown on your site are affiliate products, and that you will get a commission for selling them. While this is morally covered in point 1 above, if your country requires you to state this legally, then do so.
It’s not common for a site to be shut down for selling affiliate products with no written notice of the relationship, but it is quite common for affiliate partnerships to be terminated if your omission is spotted.
Play it safe, and follow the law.
4. Include a strong and clear call to action
If you’re selling a product, make sure you have a “buy” button, or an “add to cart” option. More than that, make sure your user knows that they need to press that button soon. If it’s a special offer, it won’t last forever!
5. Get social
One of the fastest ways to spread the word about a product or site is to use social media. Make sure you have social media accounts set up for your website/brand, and that you use them. Follow people in similar markets to yourself, and announce any deals as soon as you can.
Include social sharing buttons on each post and product on your site to spread the word even further and faster. Don’t miss out on any opportunity to promote your website.
6. Build a list
Email lists are SEO proof. Once you have someone signed up, you can send them the latest info about your new offers, and don’t have to wait for them to find it through a search engine. A list of names and email addresses associated to a particular niche is a valuable tool, so make building a list a priority.
7. Make sure of buyer intent
If you are targeting keywords in order to get people to your site, make sure you are targeting the right keywords. Let’s use “Ferrari” as an example.
Most people who search for the word “Ferrari” are looking for pictures, videos, and so on. Probably 90% or more never intend to buy one, but will instead dream about owning one.
People who search “Ferrari cost” or “Ferrari price” are probably split 50/50. Half of them want to know how much their neighbor has spent, the other half are genuinely interested and wonder if they could get one.
People who search “buy a Ferrari” or “where can I get a Ferrari” are looking to buy a Ferrari. This is known as “buyer intent” – they aren’t just having a look around, they are seriously interested in getting the car of their dreams, and are trying to find a way to get hold of one. Perhaps you can help.
People who search for “free Ferrari” are just being hopeful, and will never buy anything from you.
If you can target keywords and phrases that have definite buyer intent, you are likely to sell more than if you don’t determine buyer intent.
8. Use charts and tables
Charts and tables are great for comparisons, and the more visual they are, the better. If you are actually selling Ferraris, a graphic showing how fast each model goes with lines in bright colors will be more likely to interest someone than just a table with numbers – however, a table with specifics in will be much more informative than having nothing at all.
People like to be informed, and the more you can make it look attractive, the better.
9. Have a search facility
If you are running a niche based site, you may well get a visitor who is interested in the general concept of your site, but not necessarily in the page they landed on – perhaps they want a different model, or a different feature, or an alternative color. By having a search facility on your site, you can help them easily find what they are looking for.
10. Use quality content
Always use quality informative content. Never copy and paste reviews from another site, and definitely never take content that has already been used on another site. This will negatively affect your search engines rankings, and could easily get you banned from affiliate programs.
Of course, it’s far easier to “borrow” content from somewhere else rather than create your own – but by doing so you risk your entire income stream.
The better quality your content, the more likely your visitors are to be happy with your site, and happiness breeds trust – and that’s when sales are made.