Tips & Advice
5 Simple Strategies To Boost Your Minisite Sales
Creating minisites can be a great way to make money from affiliate programs.
1- or 2-pages long, minisites are quick to create, and they focus on one thing only - making the sale (or pre-sale) at the merchant-partner site!
-- Aside --
I, like many other successful affiliates, make a full-time living online by creating and promoting such affiliate minisites, and have done so since January 2002.
It's no longer 2004, though, and the minisite-rules have changed a little!
a) It's now not as easy to rank highly on free search engines, especially the dominant Google, with 1-page websites.
b) Getting cheap pay-per-click listings on Overture is definitely getting harder (with the recent raise in the minimum bid to 10p).
c) And, there are simply too many "me too" competing minisites.
So it is now more important than ever to offer something else to your minisite visitor, other than a compelling reason to just click-thru to the merchant site. (So 1-page sites like my http://www.mobile-phones-4free.co.uk will eventually stop earning money!)
Yes, I'm talking about the C-word: content. But it's not just about content; it's time to create a micro-site (as it were), that concentrates on the following strategies:
Build Trust In Your Minisite
1) Build Trust In Your Minisite
As I said above, there are many minisites out there, some of which offer very little in original content. Why should anyone trust a "me too" minisite that looks the same as so many others? (Yes, you may make some sales but you could make a lot more!)
Site visitors *may* click-thru to the merchant-partner site from your "me too" minisite, but it's unlikely they'll ever return to your site. And if your site doesn't have basic contact information on it, and basic site navigation, they may not even do that.
There is a better way - build trust in your minisite.
==> How To Build Trust
- Create a professionally-designed fast-loading website, with high-quality images, and easy-to-use navigation. Write a clear, compelling headline too.
- Make sure your site design meets the need of your visitors. Take a look at your log files, or website stats, to see what keywords people are using to find your site.
- Create a site-map with links to all your major pages (as well as links to the major search engines (like Google)).
- Include product reviews, and provide alternatives (alternative products,
or alternative places to buy the same product).
- Create an About-us page, and describe you and your organisation, how you do business, and the merits of your merchant-partner site(s). Use testimonials from the merchant site, if available, and put your contact details on the site too
- Ask for site feedback (and offer a unique bonus for doing so)
- Add a site-disclaimer page. Basically, you are not liable for the operation of the merchant-site, but are available to help if required.
2) Capture Your Site Visitors' E-mail Address
The whole purpose of your minisite is to send your visitor to another (merchant-partner) website. The merchant makes the sale/lead or they do not, but it's unlikely you'll ever see your site visitor again.
That's why it's vital to try and capture your visitors' e-mail address, if you can, before they leave your site.
==> How To Capture E-mail Addresses
- Write a newsletter/ezine containing information your site visitor is interested in. And sell the benefits of subscribing to your newsletter (make sure there are some!).
- Offer a relevant competition or prize-draw.
3) Automate Your Minisite
Basically, automation means being able to:
You spend less time *doing*, and your site spends more time *earning*.
(In 2000, I spent hours and hours and hours updating one of my sites, but it *still* didn't make any money. So, believe me when I tell you this: automation is very important. Automation simply lets you focus on what's working; lets you make more money, in less time!)
==> How To Automate
- Create your minisite using templates. You are then able to make site-wide
changes by simply editing one template.
- Create your minisite using cascading style sheets (CSS)
- Create an anti-spam feedback form (Master Feedback form)
- Create a frequently-asked-questions autoresponder, and use it to provide general answers whenever anyone gets in touch. (How easy it is for you to set up an autoresponder depends a lot on your chosen web-host, I'm afraid, but there are hosted solutions you can use like Aweber, GetResponse or AutoResponse Plus - read my autoresponder reviews here!)
Basically, if you find yourself spending a lot of time taking a certain action on your minisite, try and find a way to automate it if at all possible!
4) Test Your Minisite
Testing what works and what doesn't work on your minisite is very important (especially if you're paying for visitors to come to your site via pay-per-click search engines).
=> How To Test Your Minisite
- Make sure all your links work, and your site looks good on at least
IE6 and IE5. Visit NetMechanic for assistance in this
- Invest in a decent website statistics package, and find out things like: how many visitors you get; where your visitors come from; and what search terms they're using to find your site
- Track your links (inbound and outbound) with ad-tracking software. Find details at http://www.ad-tracking.com
- Track your affiliate links. For merchant sites belonging to the following
UK networks (and Commission Junction), you can simply add the following
to your affiliate links:
5) Promote Your Minisite
Obviously, you have to promote your minisite, but I only want to cover the site-promotion basics in this article. And there are some easy things you can do, whilst building your minisite, that will improve its search engine ranking.
==> How To Promote Your Minisite
- Try and make all the links on your homepage link to internal pages on your minisite; i.e. try and have no links to external sites available on your home page.
- Create a links-page - yes, really! - and make it easy for other sites
to swap link with yours. Here's an example (not mine)
- Link to your other minisites (if you have them) at the bottom of the page separated by |, say.
- Promote your site-map (see above) to the major search engines.
- And finally, visit a website promotion guide (like mine below) and do the basics: http://www.howipromotemywebsite.com
==> Article Summary
So there you have it, 5 simple strategies you can use to boost your minisite sales:
1) Build Trust In Your Minisite
Remember, minisites *are* great ways to make money from affiliate programs! You just need to adapt your minisite strategy a little, and go back to the basics of how to build a trust-worthy website.
Thanks for reading; I wish you every success.
Steve M Nash
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