Here at MoreNiche, we have several super affiliates who make literally thousands of pounds each week in sales through their affiliate sites. Who wouldn’t love to know how they do it? Well, whilst we can’t just show you their sites (that would be cheating), we can give you some insights into what some of the most successful affiliate sites on our network all have in common. Take a look at the factors below. How does your website fare in comparison?
1: First impressions count
The immediate thing which strikes us about the top affiliate websites on our network is the first impression they give. With top performing affiliate sites, there’s no guess work involved for the visitor as to what the site’s about. The very second a visitor lands on the homepage, they know whether the content is going to be useful to them or not. There’s no question of whether this site is about anything other than the topic in question.
This is mainly achieved through images, header text and obvious navigation points which are labelled with wording related to the topic the site is about. The graphics are highly relevant and engaging. Often they make you do a double take. For example, images of a fantastically fit bodybuilder working out is extremely enticing to someone looking to become the same. They can’t help but look at the image and read the text which goes with it.
It’s important to note that although these images exist, they don’t take over the entire page to the point that there is little text to be seen. The balance has to be just right to achieve the desired result, which is to firstly engage the reader, secondly inform them about the product and thirdly refer them to the merchant site.
2: Have a sensible header
On all successful affiliate sites, the header doesn’t take up the majority of the page above the fold. A good affiliate site is as sleek as possible whilst still portraying a sense of being an informational site. The header is no more than an inch or two tall and contains within it a clear and obvious logo with which the site will become easily recognisable whether the visitor spots it on site, through social media or even offline. Which brings us to point number three…
3: Build a trusted brand
We find that many top affiliate sites are built around a brand. The brand is easily recognisable and instills a sense of trust in the site. Once the visitor has built up a positive association with this brand, they will spot it on a newsletter or Facebook post in the future and instantly know that this content is going to contain interesting information which is relevant to their interests. Think about that funny facebook page you follow. Don’t you just always know that when that little icon pops up in your feed, the content’s probably going to be worth a read?
4: Create Convincing content
The content of a top affiliate site is visually pleasing, engaging and grabs the visitor’s attention with a clear call to action for each part of the site the affiliate wants the visitor to click on. It’s important to point out that by visual, we don’t mean ‘cluttered’. Get the balance right between sleek and visual, and your site will look professional and enticing.
The text itself is well written and genuinely interesting to the reader on a good affiliate site.
The best test for your own website is to forget you own it and put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. Would the review you just read really convince you that you wanted to consider buying this product? Would that article about how to build better abs really make you think ‘Wow, this site is helpful, I’m going to bookmark it/sign up to the newsletter to receive more stuff like this’?
If you believe it will, test it again on a friend or relative who is interested in the niche of the site. Give them three URLs (yours and two of your competitors, but don’t tell them which is which). Ask them to write down what they loved and hated about each site and ask them to rank the sites by which one they would use again and which one they would never visit again. Don’t try to alter their opinion in any way; it’s important that their feedback is neutral and unbiased. Don’t be offended if they prefer the other sites features either, learn from it!
The more friends you can ask to test your site in this way the better. Every genuine unbiased opinion is absolute gold dust to you.
5: Excellent navigation
The navigation is clear and easy to read on a good affiliate site. There’s no hunting around for a menu bar, no windows 95 style pop outs all over the place. Just one main, clear, bold menu at the top of the page. It’s not all about where your navigation is either; think about whether the menu can actually be read!
Top affiliates pay attention to the colour scheme of their site. This means text stands out clearly. Forget dark blue text on a light blue background. No one wants to have to work hard to find their way around a site. If the text isn’t clear, visitors will simply leave for another site! Think black on white, blue on orange, purple on yellow. Whatever your choice, make sure you choose colours from the opposite ends of the colour wheel to ensure they contrast well.
If you’re not sure whether your site is easy to navigate, check outHotjar.com. This free tool allows you to install an on-site survey which will ask your visitors what they thought of your site, how easy they found it to use etc.
Another option for you is Usertesting.com – this is less intrusive, although not free. With Usertesting.com you can actually ask individuals to record their voice as they browse your website, so you can see from a video exactly how they navigated your site. From this you can tell whether the content interested them, whether they found what they were looking for and more. Again, all extremely useful knowledge to have when trying to work out just why that particular page you need people to visit gets no traffic!
6: Consistency throughout
The product reviews on a top affiliate site are easy to find, on ALL pages of the site. It doesn’t matter if the visitor is reading a post about building their abs, or a recipe about making a spanish omelette, the fact remains that always in their corner of their eye are those links to the product reviews… you just have to work out exactly where that needs to be!
7: Perfect your pre-sell
The product reviews or product information pages are highly detailed and make the visitor feel compelled to purchase the product in question before they even visit the merchant’s site. They mention the visitors problem, offer a solution and describe why this solution is ideal for someone just like them. The reviews answer every nagging question the visitor may ever have about the product before they even realised they had it, leading to them hunting down the page for the link to the product as fast as their mouse will take them.
This link should be added towards the end of the pre-sell information. Adding a call to action to visit the merchant’s site too early on in the review can lead to a poor conversion rate due to the visitor not really wanting the product, but merely clicking out of curiosity. Make sure your call to action is clicked on only after the visitor decides they can’t live without this product, and see your conversion rates improve dramatically!
8: Don’t let them forget you
A good affiliate site is lovable. The content is so great, there is always a reason to return (and an easy way to do it, such as a newsletter signup or social icons to click). Whether it’s fantastic unique content, workout plans to follow, videos to watch, tools to use (macronutrient calculator/calorie calculator etc) or maybe even a forum for them all to chat on, there is always a reason for a visitor to return to a good affiliate site. Does your website add enough value to make it worth coming back to again and again? Firstly, make sure it does, secondly, get the visitors details so you don’t have to rely on them remembering to come to you!
9: Be responsive
All top affiliate sites use responsive themes. Is your website mobile friendly? If not, it really should be by now! 80% of internet users today own and use a smartphone for browsing. If you think about it, when do you get to look at the internet mostly? Sitting on the bus, in front of the TV at night, waiting in the doctors surgery? Chances are, you’re doing that on your mobile, not your PC. Get mobile-friendly for profit’s sake! Run a check on Google’s mobile friendliness tool to be sure your site has what it takes to keep up with mobile users. To ignore this would be sacrilege these days.
10: Be quick
Page speed is a boring but essential topic for any website owner. Not only does a slow site turn visitors off, it also turns search engines off ranking your site well. There’s little sense in having all of the above if it takes five seconds for the site to load. The majority of visitors will never see it as they will instead click back to find something else. Five seconds is a long time to wait in the world of the internet!
Do your site a huge favour. Sign up to Cloudflare. Not only will it dramatically improve your page speed, they also offer a free SSL certificate on their basic plan, which costs nothing. Having an SSL certificate is soon to become an important ranking factor in the eyes of Google, so it’s never a bad thing to have that little green ‘padlock of trust’ in your browser bar.
Of course, there are other factors which determine how successful an affiliate site becomes. The traffic source is particularly important for example. There’s little sense in sending poor quality, irrelevant traffic to your site such as paid to surf traffic. Pay instead for highly targeted traffic such as pay per click, or better still, learn SEO.
As a general rule of thumb, always remember the formula:
“High quality traffic + High quality content site = High conversion rate”
It’s as simple as that, but all too often, so many affiliates do one without the other and still expect the end result to be fantastic.
For more information on ensuring your website converts as well as possible, check out this fantastic article from Emily on ensuring your site is designed well.
What do you think makes a great affiliate site? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!