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Affiliate Web sites - basics


Making websites can be very frustrating for affiliates. Web site must be made to sell product, rank well on search engines, visitor must be encouraged to click on affiliate link, list go on and on...

You can not make some kind of personal site, sit back and expect loads of cash. You cannot fill page only with affiliate links and banners, and expect that somebody will click on those links. Pays per click model is behind us, and click is not enough, visitor have to be motivated before clicking on link.

Shortly, to be successful affiliate, you need to learn how to build profitable web site, and at the same time, that site must be useful for visitors.


What website?

O.K. you can use PPC (payPerClick search engines) to promote products, but even on that case you need at least one landing page, or domain for redirection.

What means, you need to learn some HTML code, what is not a problem, there are many good tutorials and tools. Whatever website is built, or CMS used, keep this order: Plan (construction, theme)=>templates=>content=>traffic=> ads according to traffic.


Tools:

Web page editors

WSIWYG, or "What You See Is What You Get" editors are popular for beginners. Some code editing can be required, but simple coding can be learned fast. I suggest that you try NVU editor, it is free. It is not perfect, but for that price... If you are looking for a good and popular editor, FrontPage or Dreamweaver can do the job. Online WSIWYG editors can be used too, for practice.

WSIWYG editors are messing HTML code, use it only to make template or initial layout. This complete site is made using one old template and textual editor, and a few HTML tags. Open source of this page and you can see that is not too hard. Page can be edited using notepad, anywhere, anytime.


Graphic tools

They are not only used for making buttons and banners, graphics program can be used to making complete page. Anyway, avoid too many images on page if it is not necessary. Page loading time is important. You need an useful page, not Christmas tree.


Web page templates

Web page templates are a good choice if you are not web designer, or don't have a time to bother with design. Add links and content, tweak a little, and page done. Some level of HTML coding is also required, so take a look at web page tutorials. Photoshop template requires editing in photoshop (slicing). If you are using page templates, choose simple and fast loading. Content and navigation are more important than look.


CSS:

If you are using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for formatting layout, move CSS code in separate file. That is the first thing you need to do. Advantage of separated CSS file is that you can change look of all pages without editing every of them, and webpage code is cleaner. Don't play with CSS too much. Load page without CSS to se how it is looking. Is it still readable? Is it compatible with all popular browsers?


Java, Javascripts, Flash

Your visitors are looking for problem solutions and information, not for fancy javascript effects and big pictures. Leave those effects for teenager sites.

Add usability to web site. Usability means easy navigation and fast loading pages. Don't forget interesting content.


Use tables for formatting

If your content is a few screens long, use two or more tables, not one big table. Many visitors today are on fast connections, but what with the others still on Dial-Up? With more tables, your page loads faster, and visitor can start reading visible area, while other tables are loading below.

For tables, try not to use fixed width (pixels), instead try with percent. Or, make a few fixed table pages and serve according to visitor screen resolutions. Can be very annoying if my screen resolution is 800x600 and site is made for higher resolution. If menu is on the left side, it will be first served to search engine spider. We need content on top. So, or move menu to right side of page, or use little trick with table cells, where menu is pushed below main content in source, and on page it is still on the left side. For tableless (css) two columns layout, use floats.


Other Tools

Web page generators

This kind of software can generate and link pages together, you need to fill empty fields only. They are expensive, but time savers also.


CMS - Content Management System

This is looking simple. Enter your content, affiliate links and site done. No, it is not that easy. Small learning curve is required, but you don't need to know HTML. With free CMS plug-ins and themes, it is possible to make excellent community site with blog, forum, etc...
Almost every good hosting today offers some kind of CMS or blog application with "one click" install. So, try it. And, please, try to change template. Too many sites were made with default templates (themes).


BLogs

Everybody is blogging today. Popular blog can pull visitors to your site or affiliate links. Search engine simply likes fresh content. So think about that, like addition to your site. One of the best tools for blogging is WordPress. Be warned. Search engine spammers just started to use automatically generated blogs. Everything must be abused.


Linking - navigation

Only a few most important guidelines:

- Provide easy navigation to visitors, not more than three
  clicks from main page to the last level page.
- On long pages, add additional menu to bottom of page.
- Add link back from every lower level page to higher level page,
   and to main page.
- Add simple "site map" page and link every page from there.

Stay tuned, this above was only overview, more detailed descriptions will be added soon


Site comments script

"Instant Site Comments" is the script you can include to existing static html pages, what means that your visitor can comment articles on your static HTML pages (like blogs comments). In other words, you could have a blog without converting any static page to dynamic.
- instant site comments script website -



Next part of this guide is Web Site theme




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