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1 , Never spend too much of your time and energy on site design and looks - Shed your ego , your site is not the reflection of your personality or taste ...The surfer never gives a sh*t about how your site looks - Remember your sales url's are not meant to put on the card you give the girl in the bar :)
2 , Your passion is different from business [unless your passion is debt consolidation or online gambling :) ] , so never confuse business with life!
3 , SEO's are in the "I NEED IT NOW" market irrespective of the industry . So give the surfer what he needs right there and dont distract him much with chocies and stupid stories ...if he typed "dark green round widget" and landed on your site for GOD's sake give him the link to buy instead of blah blah'ing how your cousin's niece liked dark green round widget :)
4, Experiment constantly and dump the niches which are not producing and beat to death the niche which makes dough .
5, Automate , Mass produce and Clone your Success ...
6, Marketing in general and direct marketing in particular is a number's game and affiliate industry is no exception
7, Domains are a $9 commodity
8, SEO is a zero sum game and here dog eats dog .
9, if your traffic is based on SE's ,remember we are not in a long term industry and you can be 100% sure your son is not going to inherit the business :) , so never reinvest or spend all you make ,hide most of it under the carpet!
10, Stay under the radar and never post like this on a public forum :)
Perhaps the big affiliates have mastered the right mix of simple/ugly/dancing bears in the background. I have not.
The best case-study would be McDonalds. They have apparently spent millions doing customer flow research and it boils down to this...
1) Get the customer in the door through a variety of means (traffic)
2) Greet them with a friendly smile and ask them "can I help you" (buy button)
3) Don't make the atmosphere too friendly, you want people to eat and leave.
4) Build as many stores as possible with as little expense as possible using the same designs and principles (huge amount of cookie cuttering here)
etc etc .... I'd never call a mcdonald's store ugly.
However, do keep in mind that this is not the only model that works.
For me a lot of it comes down to trust. I don't care if a site is just giving info about other sites and links. But whatever site I end up on that wants to take my CC is where it matters for me. I just feel if I can't even trust there judgement on making a halfway decent site, how can I trust them with my business? A website is sort of like a virtual building in itself. If it looks like it is a halfway constructed, falling apart shack it doesn't give me an impression of trust.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 4:41 am (utc) on June 16, 2004]
Edit: Yes please do test these theories! We would love to hear about your tests. Make your sites how you see fit. No one here is forcing you to make them a certain way.
I think you are in the wrong forum.
No, why would your site have to only sell and be about someone else's products? The majority of sites that participate in Affiliate programs are not sites "about" and dedicated only to the affiliates products as some are talking about having here. They are about there own products or there own content but with Affiliate links and advertisements laced throughout. Sites don't have to be only about the Affiliate merchant. Ebay is a great example of a site that simply has many Aff. banners and links throughout they make money on. But I wouldn't say that Ebay is an "affiliate" site.
Gopi's advice would apply to almost any online direct marketing site, no matter what you are selling.
Not everyone has to conform to the same specific cookie-cutter mold.
The Baker's Dozen from Native New Yorker are: