(Affiliate) Landing Page Optimization

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”

The Actual 1st Impression

Your Web site’s landing pages are the ones consumers get to first. Your landing pages can be your home page and a few pages inside your main site, stand-alone pages or pages that combine to form a “microsite” targeting a specific audience. Study what your site’s visitors tell you through actions you can measure. They provide the best feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Use that data to guide your landing page optimization project.

Many home pages try to address all visitors’ needs equally and to direct visitors where they want to go. But that isn’t all you need to do to create effective landing pages.

Prioritize your visitor

Instead of helping every kind of visitor, craft landing pages that help your priority visitors, the repeat customers who seek “mission-critical content” from your site.

If your “business’s performance would grind to a halt if you removed certain content from your Web site,” that content is mission critical.

“All of your hard work comes down to the few precious moments that the Internet visitors spend on your Web site.”

Planning and Strategizing

Determine what elements to tune and list the site’s current problems which involves a lot of thinking, data study and also analysis. Sort them into common themes based on raw page performance data that identifies where your visitors come from and how long they stay. Then, make precise, informed changes to your pages and see how the results compare with the original versions.

To begin, clarify your Web site’s business goals and financial targets. Next, consider the effectiveness of any steps you are taking to attract and keep customers.

Write a test plan, implementation plan and quality assurance plan. Prioritize Web site issues that have the greatest impact. Most likely, you will tune and test pages relevant to those issues first.

Now, you must deal with the following concerns in detail:

“If your audience consisted of a six-year-old in San Diego and a 74-year-old in New York City, it would be silly to describe your ‘average’ visitor as a forty-year-old from Kansas.”

The Main Components of Online Marketing

Online marketing is the act of convincing customers to come to your Web site, making them feel compelled to act and getting them to come back. These three pivotal online marketing activities are called customer “acquisition, conversion and retention.”

“The skill sets to get the best results from your landing page testing program are very diverse.”

Online customer acquisition methods include advertising, “search engine optimization (SEO),” “pay-per-click (PPC)” participation, affiliate outreach, social networking and e-mail lists. The acquisition process doesn’t stop online. Offline support activities may include traditional advertising, media and industry coverage, promotions, referrals and print marketing.

Conversion occurs when you persuade visitors to take a measurable action you want them to take, such as asking for a catalogue, sending an e-mail or buying a product. Landing pages are not the only factor that shapes a conversion rate. Others include your brand, your competition, the time of year, site design, your security and privacy practices, the product’s ability to sell itself to visitors, and the visitors’ own physical and emotional states when they reach your site.

Remember that no program, no matter how good, ever earns a 100% conversion rate.

“The best landing page version will be found statistically (by watching behavior of thousands of people), not through qualitative or small-scale usability testing.”

Retention means that a customer comes back after the first conversion. Retention programs use e-mails, newsletters, Web site feeds, blogs and loyalty rewards.

In determining where your Web site’s traffic comes from, try to cover all the routes to boost your chances of higher conversion rates. Conversion rates are a key indicator of a site’s effectiveness and a good benchmark, though you must assess other measurable factors as well.

To measure conversion, track these quantifiable actions.

  • “Advertising” – Look at the number of times people clicked on ads on your site.
  • “Click-through” – Measure how many times visitors land on pages they seek.
  • “Education” – Look at the time visitors spend on informational pages.
  • “Downloads and printouts” – Review the number of requests for content.
  • “Form-fill rate” – Count completed forms, even if they only require an e-mail address.
  • “Purchase” – Study rates for people who add items to their shopping carts without completing checkout. Also measure completed orders by revenue or profit per sale.

“It’s not the picture, and it’s not the headline that determines the performance of the ad. It is their particular combination.”

The “lifetime value” (LTV) of a conversion measures a customer’s value for the duration of his or her relationship with your firm. Most businesses need to look at the average length of these relationships, rates of repeat buyers versus new ones, sales volumes, referrals and success in upselling or cross-selling other products. If you sell a product that customers are not likely to buy twice, calculate only the profit margin for each sale.

“If you choose to ignore variable interactions, you have no one but yourself to blame for suboptimal results.”

To measure the impact of a landing page’s conversion rate on a company’s profits, experts work with three figures: variable cost percentage” (the “total of variable costs on an incremental sale as a percentage of revenue”), conversion improvement percentage (has the new landing page generated more conversions?) and annual revenue only from Web-based sales.

Knowing Your Target Audience

As you work to understand your market, you’ll be surprised by what you learn. Just be open to whatever comes. Begin by figuring out the “five Ws” (who, what, when, where and why) as they apply to your market and Web site.

Your Web logs will tell you volumes about your visitors, including which browsers they use, what pages they view, how long they linger and if they’re first timers. Web analytics software gathers these tallies. Some programs let you export the data into your customer relationship management (CRM) software for further analysis and reporting.

“There is a disconnect between how our brains evolved and how we are forced to use them on the Web.”

Studying your audience’s personas and behavior gives you the insight you need to create Web pages that address their lifestyles and needs. Read up on personality assessment tools, such as Myers-Briggs and Keirsey-Bates, and learn about empathy-enhancing ideas, such as the Platinum Rule, which says, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

This will help you understand how individual traits can affect people’s response to your site. Use interviews, observations and other interactive tools for “persona” creation, crafting a fictitious biography of a person who uses your site, the roles he or she takes on, and how he or she completes tasks.

“All the planning in the world will not save you.”

To get a “comprehensive view of who needs to accomplish what,” weigh user’s jobs, what they are trying to do and their decision-making processes, summed up in the acronym AIDA: “awareness (attention), interest, desire (decision) and action.” When relevant, add S for “satisfaction.

Use this information to ensure that your site designers have “thought through in detail how to guide the right people through the right activities in the correct order.” Understanding visitors’ decision-making methods helps you guide them to what they want. Help them make decisions smoothly by giving them good reasons to act. Don’t make people wait or overwhelm them with unimportant distractions or calls to action. Check the effectiveness of your banner ads or pop-ups; they don’t always work.

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”

Your pages serve “browsers” who “have an unmet need,” “evaluators” who are comparing choices, “transactors” who are buying and “customers” who may buy again.

Build these visitors’ confidence by offering guarantees, accepting returns, providing alternate ways to buy, having good security and keeping their personal data private. For credibility, use testimonials, white papers, case studies, client lists and reviews. Once a visitor decides to buy, stay out of the way. Be wary of adding unanticipated steps, like upselling or cross-selling options. Registration may turn visitors away, even though it gives them the future convenience of not re-entering data. They may not come back or they may prefer not to divulge their contact information. Scrutinize your forms. What do you really need to know? What questions can you drop to avoid creating barriers?

Tuning Up Your Site

Think about your visitors’ “roles” (for example, a matchmaking Web site might have “prospective,” “new” and “experienced members”), “tasks” (what visitors want to do on your page) and “decision-making processes” to identify problem areas in your landing pages.

Use Web analytics to study visitors’ locations, technology choices, frequency, duration and degree of interaction with your site. Analyze where they came from, what internal and external search words they used, and which pages they visited most. Test usability by having consumers (not employees) comment and note surprises or problems as they work with your site. Consider hiring usability experts to give objective feedback; such data tends to spur employee action. Enlist opinions from focus groups, surveys and blogs.

When tuning your Web site, consider the three parts of the brain and the three learning styles.

The reptilian brain manages fight-or-flight situations by acting on instinct; it can’t learn from the past. The limbic system decides on likes and dislikes using emotions tied to need. The neocortex manages voluntary movements and sensory data. Landing pages appeal most to the limbic system. Visitors learn and recall information using different learning styles. “Visual” learners rely on cues like graphics, charts and videos. “Auditory” learners need sound and voice support. “Kinesthetic” learners are doers who like interactivity, problem solving and evidence.

Standard Web design practices rely on usability assessments, information architecture, accessibility, scannable content, structure, an appropriate tone that avoids jargon, and visual design that makes the most of page layout, color and graphics.

Within this framework, identify online problem areas and tinker with your landing pages by checking:

  • “Breadth of impact” – Which factors have the largest impact on your site.
  • “Most important conversion actions” – Which consumer actions matter most?
  • “Biggest possible audience” – Identify and test the pages that capture the most visitors and, thus, generate the most revenue.
  • “Most popular paths” – Use Web analytics to determine where most visitors arrive and to track their flow. Remember some visitors are more valuable than others.
  • “Most prominent parts of a page” – Prioritize the most crucial page elements.
  • “Granularity” – Determine how detailed your changes need to be.
  • “Sweep” – Can you adjust within today’s framework or do you need radical change?
  • “Coherency” – Do each page’s elements unite in a comprehensive whole? Look at your combination of presentation, structure, headers, footers, navigation and all other elements. Be sure that you’re emphasizing the genuinely most important things and then give everything else less attention. Edit out lower-priority elements.
  • ”Audience segmentation” – Test the new site for all visitors or focus on a specific group, tracking traffic.
  • ”Longevity” – Will your changes have long-term effects?

It doesn’t matter how strongly a single variable performs by itself on a page; success requires a team of variables that work together. Identify “input variables” that you can tune and “output variables” that you can test. Build a recipe from those variables, concocting different combinations and options to compare with the baseline. The easiest way to conduct a test is to use “A-B split testing.” Provide two versions of the same page at the same time. Use identical variables except for a single difference you are deliberately testing. Multivariate testing, in contrast, looks at more variables to see which recipe works best.


If you’re interested in starting to make money online or even starting a blog. Please read How to start a Blog.

“Start testing immediately. A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.”


(Traffic) How to promote your website?

Once your domain and website is up and running which include your basic pages, product reviews and articles it’s time to start promoting them.

Now, if you’re serious on affiliate marketing, you should spent only 20-30% of your time on creating new content and the rest of time promoting those content.

Because there’s no point having those content if nobody reading them.

Also, you don’t need a lot of pages on your site to make money. 20-30 pages should do the trick.

Try to keep the articles / review between 1000 – 3000 words each. Answer all the questions people may have that are related to your article.

So, here some of the tricks to promote your website.

(1) Find forums that are related to your niche

Forums are gold and a great place to source for traffic. This is where those who are interested in the products / niches your promoting hang out.

Therefore, start posting useful information or answer people questions they might be asking in the group. Therefore, study your niche and be a master.

On the other hand, asking question is also a great way to find answers and can give good content ideas for your website.

Most forum also allow you to have link in your profile and a link in your forum signature that will be displayed under your post or comments. Therefore, make this signature stand out.

Make it a mysterious to build curiosity to get them to click the link.

Find forums using this website – http://linksearching.com/

(2) Niche related community sites

Community sites resembles forums which they can be a very good place to drop a link to your site. But don’t tell them it’s your website – pretend your asking questions about something related to your page you’re promoting and then drop your link.

Example,

Hi there everyone, I’m really struggling to learn piano and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on a tutor. Do you think ‘link A’ is a good online course? I was just reading ‘your website/linkA’ and it does look good but I want other people feedback. Thanks.

(3) Comment on related blogs

This is a great way to get people to your site while helping google find your site. Most blog comments are no-follow backlinks, but at least there’s links pointing to your site.

So, find blogs related to your niche and comments on them. But please make sure that you did not spam,spamming never helps. Try asking questions or even give your opinions.

Try to do this for about 3-5 per day. And over time, the flow would likely to increase. And make sure your comments are genuine, not some copy and paste nonsense.

Try being yourself when commenting.

Oh yes, remember to be nice. Nobody likes a mean dude.

(4) Video Marketing

In the video you can watermark it with your domain name, mention your website in the video and add a link to your pages in the video description.

Among Vlog that you could try for free would be YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and Metacafe.

So, try to upload to as many site as possible.

(5) Social Media Marketing

Spamming can get you banned, and trust me, I’ve been banned for more than once.

Also, don’t be too insecure to share other people stuff especially if it’s good, it would be better for your image. This shows that you’re resourceful and actually can and want to help others.

Making money is good, but our life purpose should be serving others.

(6) Create free blogs web 2.0s

This could be a awesome way to build traffic albeit might be of the most time consuming. Which could also helps with ranking your pages in search engines as well.

Consider sites like

  • blogger.com
  • weebly.com
  • tumblr.com
  • bravenet.com

Just remember to link your main websites to these mini-sites.

Which could also give more authority to your main site.

(7) Find your competitors backlinks

Find your competitors backlinks by using tools like (http://www.backlinkwatch.com/). Simply add the competing website in and it will load all their backlinks. Then, try to promote your own link to those sites.

(8) Be everywhere your ideal audience is

Marketing is all about being where your audience is and getting the word out about what you have to offer.

These seems simple, but it’s might not be as easy as it sound. Therefore, expect learning course.

(Affiliate) Affiliate Marketing Basic & Quick Guide

Here’s my note quick start guide to help you started in this (slightly) lucrative world of affiliate marketing.

(1) Choose a profitable Niche.

There’s a lot of products (physical and digital) in all different kind of niches. Therefore, strive for something that you actually interested in.

(2) Find a domain name

Once you’ve a niche or idea of what your website is going to be about. You now need a domain name (website name / address).

Preferable something short and sweet and related to your chosen niche.

(3) Get Hosting

You need website hosting so that your website can be online. You need to choose a hosting plan that is in your budget. For that I would recommend Bluehost.

(4) Install WordPress

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes editing and adding pages very easy. It’s free and perfect for creating affiliate websites.

(5) Find a theme / template

There are literally thousand of themes (free or paid). Choose free ones first so that you would be able to keep your cost under control.

Remember that you’re not currently making any money yet.

(6) Get your basic pages running

It’s a good practice to include these following pages up and running when you start.

  • About
  • Contact
  • Affiliate Disclaimer

(7) Find products to write reviews on

To get you started, lets try to find 2-5 products in your niche to write reviews on.

These products should have an affiliate program so that you can make money recommending them to your readers.

(8) Find Q&A or FAQ most related to your niche

Jump to Q&A sites like yahoo answers or quora and search for your niche related questions or even products you going to write review on. Remember, maybe there people asking question about them.

The reason why you want questions is for the articles you are going to write to complement your review page.

Tips: List all the question 1st, then, answer them all.

(9) Keyword research – finding long tail keywords

Need to find out more keywords that are easy to rank in the search engines.

Then, you need to write more articles around those long tail keywords to bring in traffics.

An example of a broad keyword ‘weight loss’.

An example of a long tail keyword ‘weight loss pill for women’

Set up your social media sites:

This includes

  • Facebook page
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

(WordAds) How WordAds CPM calculated

This is actually a record of my chat with WordPress Staff. Not actually helpful though. Just to put it in context, the bulk of my traffic are from United States. So, I’m not entirely sure where the higher CPM rate would come from.

Although if you were to browse through the web, most would suggest CPM rate of $2+ or a minimum of $0.65 as the quoted forum from below conversation would suggest.

The response are actually helpful.
My earnings in 2018 ($41.49 for average CPM of $0.12)
My earnings in 2019 (Jan) (Aprox. $6.64 for CPM of 0.03)

I’m sure if you’ve been to any blog you might seen the ads below

Make money off your blog (WordAds)

If your intention is to live off the money you would’ve made from WordAds, you might need to reconsider.

Or at least learn how to do affiliate marketing (which I’m currently trying to do)

Blogging has been fun, but I felt like I’ve been cheated. How come the CPM is that low, or maybe that I’m naive.

Regardless, my advice is, if you want to blog, make sure your have multiple stream of income, learn how to do affiliate marketing, and make sure you love your niche.

Otherwise, the dream might be short-lived.

So, here’s the conversation

Me:

How to increase my CPM? Why my CPM is typically between $0. 0 – $0.01?

WordPress Staff:

Hello there! Could you please tell me more info on what you’re referring to? the ads statsindication of CPMits very lowAverage CPMI see, please wait while I take a look. In WordAds you’re paid per impression (when the ad is seen by a visitor), not by click. That means the more visits you get, and the more visitor uses your site, the more you’ll earn. What you can earn depends on different factors: Like the amount of traffic and where it’s from.

The ads that are displayed. You can see more in https://wordads.co/faq/ As for increasing CPM, it depends on the ads served, and this could vary.

You can see a related discussion about this in the Forum: https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/wordads-cpm-fluctuations/

I will be closing this chat window for now. We’ll be here if you need anything else!

Me:

The visitor are more than normal but the cpm only decrease rather than increased.

WordPress Staff:

Similar to the reply in the forum link above: “The total earnings per ad varies from month to month. Advertising rates fluctuate constantly as the online ads system is similar to the stock market where advertisers bid in real time. Additionally rates are vastly different depending on the country the viewer is visiting from. Unless you have the same exact number of visitors from the same countries every single month, you’ll never be able to calculate a consistent rate just by Earnings vs. Impression totals.”

Me:

Thanks.


On the other hands, my overall experience with WordPress staff has been quite good, they’re are rather easy to deal with and friendly.

In case you are interested to start a blog, I would recommend Bluehost, since it is a cheaper option related to WordPress.com.

Additional reading