"Hello and welcome to
Best Buy, would you like to see our selection of pineapples?"
Would you ever expect to walk into an electronics store only to have them offer you a great deal on fruit?
How about going to the local gas station to find them offering you the best designer fashion? (Exxon Versace?) Sounds absurd right? Of course it does! But it's no less absurd if you do it online!
I am officially sick to death of irrelevant advertisements on websites. If I go to a site that is about learning to play guitar - on what planet is the webmaster on to think that I, at this moment, am looking for new apps for my (nonexistent I might add with only a slight hint of resentment) iPhone?
Not only am I incredibly unlikely to click on this ad, but the entire user-experience of the website has been ruined.
At Affilorama, we often talk about creating niche websites. What is a niche? A niche is a small subset of the market that is interested in one very specific thing. It might be a certain problem that needs solving, or a specific need that needs satisfying.
Relevance could not be more important in niche websites, because the person is likely to be there for one reason. If you have a website about curing acne - then what's the point in having anything on that website that isn't about curing acne? You can have as much information as you want about different subtopics of acne - prevention of acne, types of acne, causes of acne. You can even have topics that are related - dealing with other skin blemishes or marks, scars, etc. But an ad for "clean your computer's registry today!" - Not so much.
Now often when people are starting out in online marketing, they are so focused on making money any way they can with their website that they try to cram as many different monetization methods into the site as possible. Unfortunately, this often leads to completely irrelevant ads and pages on an otherwise good site.
A few months back I had a person come to me saying that they couldn't understand why they weren't making any money as they had good traffic coming to their site, and it was starting to rank for keywords. But when I had a look through the sites - the only means of monetization were ads to products that weren't at all relevant to the topic of the site.
Remember, you are free to set up a website on any topic you wish if you're interested in it - and I suggest you do! Websites like that can be an enjoyable hobby. But if you're trying to make money, then you have to think things through a little more. Having great website content doesn't matter if you've got no way of monetizing the traffic that comes through.
Now if you want to dabble into a new niche, great! Just don't put it on your old website! There's nothing stopping you creating multiple niche websites. Hosting that allows you to have multiple websites is very cheap, and domains are typically around $10-$15. You'll have two relevant, money-making websites rather than one confusing dud.
Another big mistake newbies can make in this same vein is that they distract visitors from the primary objective - i.e. buying a product through an affiliate link. Adsense is a great example of this. While Adsense is a great way to monetize pages that have high traffic but no other form of monetization, they're a very bad idea for many affiliate sites. If someone's come to your affiliate page, why would you want to give them any other options but clicking on your affiliate link? What would you rather have - a 50% commission on a $39.95 product or a few cents from a click on an Adsense ad?
People often put multiple monetization methods on a page because they hope that when someone comes to their site they'll click on at least one of them - but more often than not, the user will end up clicking none of them.
This is because it's very important to give users a logical path in your site - one that ultimately leads them to buying something. While you don't want to restrict their movements (another mistake), you want all paths to lead in the same direction - and you certainly don't want to actively distract people from that goal.
Here are a few key points for keeping your site on-topic and your sales path un-distracted.
- Remember your main goal is to sell: we often advise creating great free information resources like articles and newsletters - but this is a means to an end. You want this to lead in the direction of a sale (without being overly promotional). Giving away a ton of free information and having no obvious next step for someone to buy something is, while altruistic, not going to make you money in a hurry.
- Think like your customer: what is someone coming to your site looking for? Where do they want to go and what do they want to find? The biggest mistake any marketer can make is assuming that their customer thinks like they do, wants what they want and acts like they act. For the purpose of marketing, assume you are the strangest person on the planet (granted I find that a little easier) and you have to research and find out how other people are going to think and act about things.
- Draw it up: Draw a rough diagram that shows how people might be entering your site and where you want them to go. If you have an existing site, then Google Analytics is great for identifying the top entry paths for visitors - if you're building a new site, then you're free to plan as you wish. Just remember - someone arrives at your site for a specific reason, e.g. you have an article that interests them. How, with the least amount of distractions and fewest clicks can you take them from where they are to buying a product or, if you want a softer approach, signing up for your newsletter?
So please - no more pineapples in the electronic store! Keep things relevant and you'll keep visitors on the track to sales.