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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    I have operated my site for 6 years. Going thru the school of hard knocks method of learning affiliate marketing, I have come to find the more professional your site looks and operates. The more your customers will trust your site with their money.

    My original site designs were stripped down, basic and fast loading. But the sales were slow. So, I redesigned, adding more graphics and got more conversions. I ran with the design for a few years.

    Now I have a truely custom, unique and professional look. Using internal databases, SEO, custom graphics, internal tracking and CSS, I have a site that is generating conversions, repeat visitors and merchants requesting and paying to join up.

    To anyone creating a new site, remember a quality design will bring customers who will trust you with their purchases. Creating a site that will allow someone to find the information or product they are looking for quickly will be seen as a site to bookmark and revisit again.

    Learn all that you can about site design. I have been learning for 6 years and I'm still learning new things everyday.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  2. #2
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    I couldn't agree more, My day job is for a hosting company that also does web design, and some of my customers have told me that their conversion rates have nearly doubled, due to the design of the site itself.

    You can instill a sense of security in your customers (whether false or true) simply by making your site look professional!!!! Good post.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    I agree 110% !!
    Ray Thomas
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    I agree too. It never ceases to amaze me, the number of folks that slap things up, and think it's going to stick!

    Another item for the list, is a good site search function.

    With enough experience, sites can be human friendly (and even comfortable), while being SEO as well.

    Fred

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    I must say, that I absolutely 100% agree, as well. I spend much of my day working with our web designers (as part of my job is copywriting) and I am always stressing to them how important it is for our designs (whether they are site pages or emails or banners, etc.) to look professional and attractive and to be representative of the products we sell.

    AmyB

  6. #6
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    I agree.. of course is true.. why should not be true ?! I find it normal...

    If was not true, ment that ppl like to spend their money on obscure sites.. never know if they get what they pay for...

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    With Identity theft on the rise and so many people scared of putting their CC numbers into ANY web page.. The professional LOOK and FEEL does make a HUGE difference in sales..

    Even if your not actually selling the products but sending them to your merchant to buy.. the site sending them must also look very professional or they think somethings up..

    I was told when I first started that the DESIGN was secondary.. BUT I rank it right up there with SEO.. for SALES..

    Oh yea - I AGREE 110%

  8. #8
    Member skishopmatt's Avatar
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    I completely agree. Buy_online, I think that your comment about the search function needs it's own topic. It's so important and SO underestimated. If they can't find what their looking for, they're not coming back. Ever.

  9. #9
    I agree with you,and it goes with the content and fast loading. Site design is the very first thing that they will notice so you should stimulate them from that element. When you do that, it will help build trust.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I'm also in 100% agreement. This is the sixth year for my site and I'm finding that it's all about quality, not quantity. This year I'm actually reducing the over size of the site and making better pages - one at a time - manually. It only stands to reason that, with all the new sites cropping up every minute, you have to stand out above the rest, gain trust and generate repeat visitors. I use my daily junk (snail) mail as a guideline for page design.

    Take notice of what you open, what you read and what you chuck in the trash. My habits are similar on the web. Even without spam filters 99% of it can be recognized in a split second and deleted. My current traffic levels are lower (another subject) but sales continue to improve.
    ~Ernie

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Some great points here and I agree that design is very key. Navigation and functionality are also important. If you offer features that nobody else offers, people will respect you more and offer more of their time. Navigation is just as important because you want your visitors to find what they're looking for and use your tools effectively.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I've been a self employed "designer" for over 35 years (before before I could legally drive) and I believe that good design is only a function of good planning. Design is not just "good looks". Frank Lloyd Wright said, "Form follows function." and this does't just apply to architecture. Begin studying the the customer's problems and define their needs. Provide them with the tools to help fulfill their needs and desires. Make it easy! Organize your resources in a logical, simple manner. I built my first site for myself and my wife to shop. I shopped my site more than I promoted it and found all the points of confusion and have been cleaning it up ever since. And remember the number one rule of planning: Plans Change. Good design is never final. It's a process that never ends. Patience will produce results.
    ~Ernie

  13. #13
    lurk
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    I redesigned my companies website with a much better look (and more efficient) you can design a site to look good, or to perform well... but if you design a site that looks good and performs well, then you are set.

    I tried to design the site to gain more leads, our company had a 25% increase in leads after I launched the site .

  14. #14
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    If we knew then what we know now...

    But a little bit of the pleasure of this job is the DISCOVERY of the new things, so it was also worth the time spent tweaking/redoing/starting over from scratch etc
    Last edited by Billy Kay; April 28th, 2005 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Edited 'cause my spelling was atrocious!!

  15. #15
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    This may be slightly "off" but yet I think it may fit in with this topic. Else, mods just split it off, if it's off topic.

    I do understand the importance of design - and also understand that different design factors may influence conversion with different markets.

    I've got a couple of sites that do OK, and one that does great on budget merchants (one in particular, with one CJ merchant that's a consistent performer) but another site could do a lot better. It seems the "cheap stuff" isn't converting on that site as I'd like it to, as it does with the other site. There's a different market niche between the two. Soooo.... I think I"d rather aim toward quality and "ambiance" rather than pricing as a conversion incentive with the second site.

    What are the critical design factors in moving from pricing as a conversion incentive to upscale, higher priced buying motivations? What is there about design that would be conducive to higher priced sales?

    What's the difference it takes in design to convert for a site geared more toward an upscale market or product line?

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Hi Webworker,

    If I was designing a site for the upscale crowd, I would create a design similar to a magazine for fine quality merchandise,( i.e. Robb Report, etc. ). This would create a sense of familiarity with the viewer. You would have to be very informative because the viewer cannot touch the product and needs to be able to imagine that feeling.

    Also if your product answers a customer's problem or need, you have to point it out and answer it or them.

    I would use good quality thumbnails linked to larger display images. You would also need to have very good descriptions. And of course your link to the additional information and pricing.

    Remember your call to action statement. You have to ask for the order and tell them how to order.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It never ceases to amaze me, the number of folks that slap things up, and think it's going to stick!
    They do it because IT WORKS, except when taken to extremes.

    While the viewers do seem to have a lot better taste than they did in 2000, I strongly doubt that they've become design conneseurs(sp) either.

    IMO the design should still be relatively basic, for an affiliate site. Even though the true "I just typed this in" look doesn't have the punch it used to, it still doesn't take a design genius to get decent conversions. "A little dab'll do ya" as an old saying goes. The problem with many design-lovers is that they forget they're trying to sell STUFF, not web design services!

    As for features, I think they're fine as long as they actually help (rather than just "wow") the user. Otherwise you may find more people *playing* with your site than actually shopping there!

    I do still get a decent CR from some of my oldest pages, though, so total plainness isn't utterly obsolete! I've noticed that it is certain select categories that are still doing well with plain default font just typed in. Perhaps those prospects want something more "academic" looking? (Funny thing is, if they *read* the page, they'd see that it's a pure ad with nothing academic about it...)

    That points up another fact: The audience. Webworker and Darkstar 7 touched on one part--the fact that there's a different audience for cheap stuff than there is for the high-end stuff. But there's other differences as well, between the audiences for specific product lines, which affect which style will go over. For instance, even if the income levels are equal, the audience for vacations would want a totally different type of site than the audience for car parts. And a diet-oriented site would have a different audience than one dedicated to pampering yourself. Etc. etc. So it's not just a matter of creating a "professional" atmosphere, but a *particular type* of professional atmosphere.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  18. #18
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    I know that sites that are less than pretty have been very effective. The thing that bothers me the most is that those Aff's failed to evolve. What I mean is they just keep using the same page, same design, and pumping out more and more pages.

    Sure, traffic was coming in, they make money, but you ever wonder if that site might have looked just a little better if they would have made even more money and had better click thru rates?

    Also what I mean by evolve is not getting crazy like putting up fancy graphics, flash, etc... But just making the pages look more "crisp" Like using CSS to control header sizes, maybe creating simple boxes around menus, just giving it a more professional look.

  19. #19
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    But just making the pages look more "crisp" Like using CSS to control header sizes, maybe creating simple boxes around menus, just giving it a more professional look.
    I've had mixed results there... I've redone some sites with CSS and left others alone, and I've found that for certain categories it works out well and for others I might as well stick to the "intermediate" version (a border and a better font than default). While it hasn't lowered the CR anywhere, if I bother to redo a site's design I want to see an *improvement!*

    As for the header sizes, usually if I type "H1" I mean it...

    maybe creating simple boxes around menus,
    I've seen that done really well--that and sites with the text areas having a 1-px border, but when I try it I end up with it looking out of whack with all the different areas being different lengths! And making fixed lengths is no good...I never know how much text'll be in a description. So I've had some frustration in that area. It seems much more obvious when things don't line up exactly right with CSS...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Once nice trick is to contain one table inside another table to create a border. I usually build a bgcolor=#000000 table with a cellspacing=1 then the table inside that is bgcolor=#FFFFFF. It'll create a clean 1px black border around it and it's much nicer than using bordercolor=#000000 and doing border=1. Firefox doesn't color the border properly when you do that. It's very common now and really makes a huge difference.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  21. #21
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks! I knew there had to be a more foolproof way to accomplish it...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    No problem,

    This is if you only want the border around the outside of the table which I normally do. If you want the border present inside the table you just set the bgcolor=#000000 cellspacing=1 and set the bgcolor=#FFFFFF for each TR. It's nicer to use 2 tables IMO.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    Valid point Leader. Design should always be an enhancement to the sale. Not a hinderance. Design your site for your audience and their expectations. A clean, simple, professional design will only help the sales process.

    If you have two sites with the same product, one professional and one not, which would you use?
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  24. #24
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    CSS can be a pain, I usually end up doing alot of tweaking but I do love that it eliminates alot of html code. Depending on what you read, CSS is "suppose" to be good for SEO.

    You want to see some pretty cool CSS stuff, not really for designing your sites for selling, though a few of the examples I have used, http://slayeroffice.com/ and for layouts check out, http://www.inknoise.com/experimental/layoutomatic.php, this one is very nice.

  25. #25
    Newbie Dasha's Avatar
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    Quality designed website is like a high street boutique store (as opposed to your dead end kiosk!). Quality web design 70% of your success!

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