Anatomy of a Successful Affiliate Website: Layout Template Ideas & Examples
Your website is the backbone of your affiliate business...
...And like any business project, you'll see better results if you make a plan before you start creating your site.
By taking a look at how successful affiliate websites work from the ground up, you can identify the key components that every profitable affiliate site shares.
That's what we're going to do in this article.
We're going to identify the must-have elements of an affiliate website.
So when you create your site, you'll know that you have every crucial feature you need.
- Components of a Successful Affiliate Website
- Affiliate Website Layout Ideas & Examples
- Web Design Tips
Components of a Successful Affiliate Website
Your domain name is a crucial part of your website branding.
It's how people will remember you.
That's why choosing a brandable domain name is vital to the success of your affiliate website.
A brandable domain name is easy to remember, easy to type and gives people a good idea of what your website is about.
You can get really specific to your niche or go for something broader that leaves you room to expand the topics you cover as you grow your affiliate business.
Roasty Coffee is an excellent example of an affiliate site with a brandable domain name.
It's snappy and memorable.
You immediately know what the site is about, and it leaves plenty of room to cover multiple topics in the coffee niche.
You can use Instant Domain Search if you need some help finding a brandable domain name that is available.
This website helps you to find available domain names related to a topic.
Enter a seed keyword or topic in your niche, and the domain generator will return a page of available domain names.
Search engine optimization (SEO) goes way beyond shoehorning a few keywords into your content.
There are millions of websites out there, so you need to implement SEO best practices from the get-go if you're going to be found online.
Organic search traffic is the lifeblood of the majority of affiliate sites.
Research from Travel Payouts shows that affiliate sites generate an average of 68% of their traffic from search engines:
There are a bunch of tactics you can implement to boost your ranking in search results.
The first step is to identify the keywords that your target audience is searching to find information in your niche - keyword research.
Once you've created a list of target keywords, use them strategically in your website copy, meta description, and meta titles.
You'll also need to make sure your site is optimized for mobile users, fast to load, and easy to navigate...
You should also think about a backlink strategy.
Backlinks are an important search engine ranking factor.
When a third party website links to your site, it's like a vote for your content.
The more authoritative and relevant the third party site, the more valuable the backlink.
It's essential to think long-term about your SEO strategy.
Putting together an SEO strategy before you create your website will help you fast-track your site to the top of the search results.
Successful affiliate sites are built on continual improvements to generate more traffic and conversions.
You need to know how people are finding your site, which pages they spend the most time on, and how well the different elements of your website convert.
Web analytics provides real data to help you to track, measure, and optimize your website.
Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool.
According to W3Techs, 54.9% of websites on the Internet use Google Analytics:
It's entirely free to use, and it integrates smoothly with WordPress and all the popular website builders.
Understanding how visitors interact with your website is vital for optimizing your site for more conversions and affiliate sales.
Web analytics also shows you the effectiveness of your content and marketing campaigns.
With these insights, you can make informed decisions to focus your efforts on the campaigns and types of content that generate the best return.
By 2021, eMarketer predicts that US adults will spend an average of 3 hours 54 minutes on their mobile devices...
...And time spent on mobile has already overtaken time spent watching TV.
Your affiliate website needs to perform just as good on mobile and tablet as it does on desktop.
When you're choosing a WordPress theme for your site, look for a responsive, lightweight design that is fast to load and easy to navigate on smaller screens - especially on smartphones.
Mobile accounts for over 53% of total internet traffic:
Making sure your site performs well on mobile not only provides a better experience for your visitors, it's also crucial to your search engine ranking.
Google started mobile-first indexing back in 2015, but it plans to switch all websites to mobile-first indexing by September 2020.
In simple terms, Google uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking.
If your site performs poorly on mobile, you'll struggle to rank high in the search results.
Your website visitors won't know what to do next if you don't tell them.
Whether you're trying to grow your email list or drive traffic through your affiliate links, you need to attract the attention of your visitors and encourage them to take the next step.
A call-to-action (CTA) does just that.
It's an image or text button that encourages users to take action.
Here's an example of a great CTA from SEMRush:
The CTA uses compelling language and shows people what to do next.
When you create your website, place your CTA in a prominent position, and tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do next.
Be direct and to the point.
Aside from the copy, the color and position of your CTA can dramatically impact performance.
You can draw attention to your CTA by using contrasting colors.
HubSpot experimented on the impact of color on CTA on conversions.
They sent 2,000 visitors to two versions of a landing page.
The design and content were the same for both landing pages, with the color of the CTA the only difference between the pages.
The red CTA landing page received 20% more conversions than the green CTA landing page.
That doesn't mean you should make all of your CTA buttons red.
What works for your website depends on your niche, your audience, and the rest of your website design.
But it does show that color plays a significant role in CTA conversions.
The position of your CTA is also important.
Lots of people think that placing your CTA above the fold generates the most conversions.
However, this isn't always true.
Content Verve increased conversions by 304% by moving the CTA below the fold.
Sometimes you need to explain your offer to your visitors before they are ready to make a decision and take action.
The best place for your CTA depends on your webpage and your offer.
If people don't trust you, they won't listen to your recommendations and click on your affiliate links.
Trust signals and social proof are elements you can use to increase trust and make people feel more comfortable checking out what your website has to offer.
- Media Mentions
- High-quality images
- Social media accounts
- About us page
- Contact information
- SSL Certificate
Lucie's List is an affiliate site that does a great job of using trust signals to make visitors more comfortable and trusting of its affiliate reviews.
Meg Collins is the founder of Lucie's List, and she tells you all about her parenting story in the detailed about page on the website:
High-quality real images help to show the person behind the website, and the story helps to show that Meg is writing from real-life experience.
On the homepage, Meg utilizes two powerful trust signals; media mentions and testimonials.
Meg showcases popular websites and newspapers where she has been mentioned.
Visitors associate the authority of these publications with Lucie's List.
They trust Meg because The New York Times and Pregnancy & Newborn also trust her.
Below the "As Seen In" section, there's a detailed testimonial slider.
The quotes are detailed and highlight the value and benefits that subscribers have gained from the website and newsletter.
This is a powerful way to establish trust and utilize social proof.
People are more likely to listen to what you have to say if they see other people have benefited from your advice and recommendations.
Catchy Headlines & Subheadings
Your headlines play a pivotal role in the success of your website.
A headline will attract the attention of your visitors and compel them to stick around and explore what your site has to offer, or it won't, and your visitor will disappear back to the search engine.
Your headline needs to be eye-catching, and also help people understand what your website is all about.
Keep it short and sweet, restricting your headline to 10 words or less.
If your headline is accompanied by a large image that shows the theme of your site, you don't need to go into as much detail in your headline.
Let's take a look at the Roasty Coffee homepage again:
Roasty Coffee makes a clear and comedic statement to showcase the value it offers.
The headline does a great job of summarizing the website's goal and the benefit that visitors can expect to gain.
Stating how you can help people achieve a high-level goal is a great tactic to spark people's interest.
The next step is to craft a compelling and impactful subheading.
The subheading is usually placed underneath the headline.
Think of your headline and subheading as a boxer's one-two punch combination.
The headline attracts the attention, and the subheading closes the deal.
Subheadings go into more detail and persuade people to stick around or convert on your CTA.
Let's take a look at Roasty Coffee's subheading:
The subheading showcases the benefit (make barista-level coffee), and reduces the barrier to conversion by using bold caps for the word FREE.
The headline attracts attention and states a high-level goal, and the subheading reinforces the value of the offer, and the benefits people can receive by subscribing.
Both the headline and the subheading perform a crucial role, working together to encourage people to enter their email and click on "Subscribe Now."
The first thing your website visitors will notice is your images.
It only takes 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image.
High-quality, relevant images can encourage users to stick around and engage, while poor quality or cheesy stock photos can do the opposite.
Your images should be high-quality and relevant to your niche.
Your visitors' first impression is going to be shaped by your images - you want that critical first impression to be positive.
Images can have a significant impact on your conversion rate.
The software company 37Signals increased its conversion rate 102.5% by utilizing a large photo of a real person on their landing page:
There are lots of websites where you can find high-quality free images for your website, including:
It's a good idea to check out what your competitors are doing and try to differentiate your brand through your choice of images.
You won't rank high in search results if you publish blocks of text stuffed with keywords and a few product images.
You might drive some traffic in a narrow niche without any competition, but that short term win won't last long...
...Another website will come along with richer content and outrank you in the search results.
To build a profitable affiliate website with sustainable passive income streams, you need to offer valuable content to your visitors.
When you create rich content that is in-depth, comprehensive, and engaging, you increase your chances of maintaining a high ranking…
...And building a loyal audience that trusts your recommendations.
For example, let's say that somebody visits your site looking for a baby carrier product review.
If you have great rich content on baby carriers, the visitor will listen to your recommendation and click your affiliate link to make a purchase.
When the same person needs a highchair, they will come back to your site because your rich content was helpful when looking for a baby carrier.
The more value you offer in your content, the more likely your audience will trust your recommendations and keep coming back to your site.
The Wirecutter is an excellent example of an affiliate site that delivers enormous value in its product reviews and buying guides.
The Wirecutter's best cutting boards buying guide is nearly 7,000 words in length, covering every aspect that somebody looking to buy a cutting board needs to know.
Alongside well-researched quality content, they provide high-quality images of the different recommended products.
The Wirecutter has become one of the most well-known and respected affiliate sites by delivering crazy value in every product review and buying guide that it publishes.
Research from Stanford University reveals that 75% of website credibility is design related.
When somebody finds your website, you want them to see you as a legitimate and trustworthy source of information.
If people don't trust you, they won't believe your recommendations and click on your affiliate links.
A poor quality design can make people question your credibility.
Some people might even think you're running a scam.
You want to make a positive impression on your visitors.
That means you need to invest the time to create a well structured and well-designed website.
To help you get a feel for good design, we've listed some examples of well-designed sites below.
Before we get to those, here's a quick overview of what good website design entails.
Beginner affiliates often get carried away with their creativity, using too many graphics, colors, and images on their website.
This can result in a cluttered design that distracts the visitor and offers a poor user experience.
Keep it simple and focus on making your website easy to use and intuitive.
You don't want to force people to think and work out how your layout and site navigation work.
Make it as fast as possible so people can find their way around your site and locate the information they are looking for.
According to Hacker Noon, 76% of consumers say that the most critical design factor is "the website makes it easy for me to find what I want."
You can achieve that by making your navigation intuitive and your layout instantly familiar.
When designing a page, think about the end goal or action that you want people to take, and build your webpage from there.
Every element should support the end goal of the individual web page.
Affiliate Website Layout Ideas & Examples
Let's be honest.
Internet users are selfish and impatient.
If you don’t provide a reason for people to engage with your site, they won't stick around.
They'll disappear back to the SERP and use a competitor's website.
So what makes a good affiliate website layout?
The Internet has been around for a long time now, and you can see plenty of websites with great layouts all across the web.
We've compiled a list of great affiliate website layout ideas and examples below.
A New Mode is an excellent example of an affiliate website that utilizes an article style layout to promote affiliate products.
It uses SEO promotion tactics, targeting keywords related to its affiliate offers.
This layout works well if you create valuable and compelling content that is highly targeted.
This article targets a pain point that millions of women experience and use search engines to find solutions online.
The page follows a magazine-style layout, with plenty of white space around the text to increase readability…
…And important parts of the article highlighted in bold quotations.
The pain point is agitated early on in the article before the affiliate offer is introduced as a solution.
The author of the article backs up the trustworthiness of the affiliate offer by revealing the positive results they have achieved.
In the closing paragraphs, there’s a call to action that encourages visitors to click through to the affiliate offer sales page.
Here’s how this affiliate layout works in five steps.
- Write content about a pain point that you know your target audience is searching for.
- Agitate the pain point and show how you understand the problem.
- Establish credibility.
- Show how you have overcome the problem using the affiliate product.
- Promote the affiliate offer as the solution to help people overcome the problem.
Reviews are one of the simplest ways to earn your first commission as an affiliate marketer.
There are thousands of review sites online, but if you can find a unique angle or a niche without many competitors, this type of layout can be very lucrative.
Solid keyword research and trust signals are essential for this type of affiliate layout…
…And you should include the pros and cons of the product and a final recommendation.
People don’t expect products to be perfect, and sharing the negatives of the product helps boost your credibility with your audience.
High-quality images are also essential for review content.
The higher the price of a product, the more research people do before they make a purchase.
If you’re promoting a high ticket item, you’ll need to cover everything that people want to know before committing and making a purchase.
Reviews usually feature more CTAs and affiliate links than other layouts.
As you can see in the example, there’s a summary at the top of the page, and a sticky CTA in the sidebar of the page to encourage users to click on the affiliate link.
Guides and how-to posts are a great way to target high search volume keywords.
You can drive traffic to your site and promote your affiliate offers as an additional resource.
This type of layout works well with software, hosting, and other digital products.
The key to this type of layout is targeting a problem people want to overcome or a goal they want to achieve.
This how-to post shows people the step by step process to create a blog.
People that want to create a blog need to purchase hosting.
That’s where the affiliate promotion comes in.
The post features affiliate links to hosting providers as a tool that people need to purchase to complete the step by step guide.
Because this type of layout features actionable content, it’s easier to convince visitors to click on the affiliate link and make a purchase.
Free Webinar Layout
Webinars are a great way to open up a conversation with your audience.
Once your audience is watching, you have an excellent opportunity to promote your affiliate offers to an engaged audience.
To get people watching, you need a landing page layout that encourages people to commit and opt-in.
Abby Lawson does a great job of communicating the value on offer and utilizing the components we mentioned above.
Abby is a successful affiliate marketer, but she’s promoting one of her own paid for courses in the webinar…
...You can use the same tactics to promote affiliate offers.
The page promises the value that people will receive.
Even if your webinar is free to watch, you need to give people a good reason to spend up to an hour of their time and give you their email address.
It’s a well-designed page that is 100% focused on convincing visitors to register for the webinar.
There’s a compelling headline, scarcity tactics, and trust signals.
Abby includes a video message on the page that provides a preview of what people can expect from the webinar.
Research shows that landing pages with video content see up to 80% more conversions.
Once people are watching live, you can build a deeper connection with your audience and promote your affiliate offers.
Free Course Layout
Free course layouts are an excellent way to grow your email list and promote your affiliate offers.
You can promote affiliate offers within your course and directly through email marketing.
To create a successful quiz style layout, you need to highlight the value on offer.
The example page’s headline and subheading do a good job of attracting the attention of visitors and communicating value.
It’s also important to reveal what people can expect.
The page does a good job of highlighting how long the course is and what subscribers will receive.
There’s a single call to action, with social proof in the final paragraph to help seal the deal and boost conversion.
When people can see that others have already benefited, they’re more likely to convert and take action.
Quiz Style Layout
Quizzes are a great way to engage your website visitors and direct them towards your affiliate links.
A recent survey revealed that 79% of marketers plan to use more interactive content like quizzes and free assessments.
This type of layout is so effective because it encourages your visitors to interact and engage with your content.
Before visitors interact, you need to highlight the value they will receive in return.
This example page does a great job of clearly explaining what the respondent will receive for completing the quiz.
You also need to make it clear how much time the visitor will need to invest.
There’s also a clear call to action to encourage users to begin the quiz, without any distracting sidebar advertisements or content.
You can recommend your affiliate products to solve the problem the user has identified through their answers to the quiz…
…Or you can offer a free resource in return for the user opting-in to your email list.
Once a user is signed up to your list, you can promote your affiliate offers directly through email marketing.
Web Design Tips
It's your visitors that will read your content, click on your affiliate links, and earn you money as an affiliate.
The most important thing to remember when you're creating your site is to always think about your website visitors.
You might think that the flashy graphics on your homepage look great, but your audience might not agree.
Luckily, millions of websites are already on the web...
...And there's a ton of data and established best practices to help you create your affiliate site.
We've compiled the top seven data-backed web design tips so that you can build your site on proven tactics.
Speed is Key
You need to make your website as fast as possible.
Numerous studies show that loading times impact every website metric you should be tracking.
- 53% of people will abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay results in an 11% reduction in page views.
- 52% of people state that fast loading times are important to their website loyalty.
If your website is slow to load, you'll suffer from a higher bounce rate, fewer conversions, and a loss of affiliate income.
Page speed is also a verified search engine ranking factor:
You can make your website faster by choosing a lightweight WordPress theme, limiting your use of graphics and images, and using caching plug-ins.
Plug-ins like WP Rocket and WP Smush cache your website and compress your image files to reduce the demand on your WordPress server and increase your site's speed.
Plug-ins can be great tools for reducing loading times, but too many can also slow your site down by sending HTTP requests.
If you don't use a plug-in, uninstall it from your website.
Follow Hick's Law
In simple terms, the more choices that people have, the longer it will take them to make a decision.
That's Hick's Law.
What does it mean for your affiliate website?
You can increase engagement and conversion by limiting the number of choices that you offer to your visitors.
If you offer a large number of options on your homepage or in your navigation menu, you make it less likely that your visitors will click on anything.
When you create a page, identify a primary action that you want your visitors to take.
For your homepage, that could be encouraging users to opt-in to your email list.
For a product review, you want people to click on your affiliate link and make a purchase.
Let's take a look at an example:
MailChimp is a large website with hundreds of articles, guides, and product pages.
But it limits the homepage to a single goal.
You can also limit choices by reducing the number of options in your menu, deleting excess form fields, and using a single call to action for each page.
There's an old design phrase that is as relevant in today's digital world as it was back when it was first coined by the US Navy back in the 1960s.
Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Simple designs usually work better than complicated designs.
You should avoid anything overly complicated and strive for simplicity.
This principle is backed up by a Google study that revealed people don't like complex visuals.
The more complex the design, the less likely people are to find it attractive.
When you're designing your site, avoid any unnecessary graphics, animations, sidebars, etc.
Your web design elements should support the purpose of the page.
The more distractions you add, the less likely people are to focus on your content and click on your affiliate links.
Follow Web Design Conventions
The Internet has been around for a long time.
As a result, people have certain expectations when they visit a website.
If you break the conventions people have come to expect when it comes to the navigation and layout of a website, you'll frustrate your users.
Here's a real example of a website that doesn't follow these conventions:
This chaotic website doesn't use a grid, randomly lists navigation options around the page, and uses weird fonts and colors that make the text unreadable.
It's a headache in website form.
According to Adobe, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.
For the example website above, that figure is probably closer to 100%.
When somebody visits your website, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to find their way around and locate the information they are looking for.
If you make users stop and think, there's a good chance they will disappear back to the SERP and never revisit your site.
Orbit Media conducted a study of 50 top marketing websites to determine the common conventions of a website layout:
You should also use your logo as an internal link to your homepage.
Research from KOMarketing reveals that 36% of website visitors click on a website logo to navigate to the homepage.
Don’t Use Cheesy Stock Photos
Stock photos aren’t all bad, but you should avoid overused and cheesy stock photos.
We’ve already mentioned Unsplash and other websites where you can find high-quality images.
You need to make your website feel authentic if you are going to inspire trust in your audience, and cheesy stock photos do the opposite.
Use real photos if possible.
If you can’t, spend some time finding a high-quality image that represents your brand and differentiates your site from your competitors.
According to research by NN Group, website visitors ignore stock photos of people, but they do look at authentic images of real people.
Utilize White Space
White space is the area of a webpage that is left blank.
It's the area between your text and page elements…
...And it doesn't have to be white.
Here's an example of a homepage that utilizes lots of white space:
First-time web designers often think of areas left blank as wasted space...
...But white space is an essential part of your page design.
According to Stanford University, white space plays a crucial role in how people rate the trustworthiness of a website.
White space allows your design elements and text room to breathe…
...And it directs your visitors' attention to the crucial parts of your page.
Research shows that increasing white space around your text can improve readability by 20%.
A cluttered and busy page design distracts your users.
A clean design that utilizes plenty of white space makes your message clearer.
Social Share Buttons
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content on social media.
Social share buttons help you to do just that.
More shares on social media also result in a greater chance of your content ranking high in search results.
According to a study by Webaholic published on CoSchedule, Facebook and Twitter are the most used social share buttons, with Google + and LinkedIn also performing well.
For every blog post and piece of content you publish, you should include social share buttons to allow users to share your content easily without clicking away from your website.
You can encourage users to share your content without impacting your bounce rate.
The focus of your page should be encouraging users to convert and click on your affiliate links.
You don’t want people clicking away to share your content and failing to click your affiliate link and convert.
First impressions are vital.
You've got a matter of seconds to capture the attention of your audience.
Focus on your audience's needs and have a clear goal for your webpages - the next step you want your visitors to take.
Grab the attention of your users with an eye-catching headline and use a strong call to action to tell them what to do next.
If you incorporate the above essential components, you'll be well on your way to creating an impactful affiliate website that offers a great experience to your visitors and generates conversions and affiliate sales.
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