As both an affiliate and an affiliate manager, I’m consistently observing both ends of the business spectrum. Although more diverse in day-to-day operation, the overall goal of gaining gambling traffic and converting this is fundamental to both business areas.
Affiliates are very flexible with content and are not held back by corporate restrictions, therefore they’re acutely able to focus on gaining traffic through various sources that the operators aren’t able to, such as long-tail keywords through search engines.
That being said, a large portion of affiliates, in my opinion, place too little importance on actually analysing the traffic when on their website, something that operators regard as key. Whilst I’ll always view gaining the traffic to my affiliate sites as more importance, it’s certainly opened my eyes to ways that I can improve my financial return through a few simple steps. As this article explains, reconciling marketing and user experience initiatives is a particular pressure point which should be addressed.
User experience (UX) optimisation is an iterative, trial and error process, but there’s a definite science behind it: Heuristics, page analysis (hits, clickstreams and bounce rate) and multivariate testing form part of the methodology. I’ve worked with countless affiliates who with simple additions, such as buttons or a responsive design, have seen revenue jump dramatically.
Based on the study of several gambling affiliate websites, I’ve managed to come up with five user experience tips from some of the most common mistakes:
1. Incorporate responsive web design
In 2012, William Hill counted a 260% annual increase in mobile betting revenues. This upsurge in mobile betting has afforded more importance to responsive web design: Can your website adapt its layout for viewing across computers, tablets and smartphones?
Given development costs and Apple’s stringent regulation of gambling apps, the online gaming industry is moving away from Apps to the mobile web – facilitated by HTML 5.
As Kayla Knight explains in Smashing magazine, responsive web design, “consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.”
In a world where mobiles are becoming more used and intelligent every day, it’s important to ensure your site is responsive to all devices.
2. Devise clear calls to action
Calls to action cement user trust and understanding, and most importantly, drive engagement. Little to no emphasis on these is arguably my first and most important suggestions to new affiliate who sign-up to Castle Casino.
An effective call to action will stand out through size, colour and surrounding negative space. It should incorporate a dynamic verb and a vibrant, click-friendly button. And remember, a homepage should stick to one call to action to avoid confusing the user.
On this live roulette information page, Roulette Games embeds a bonus comparison table at the top. The partner list cements brand familiarity, the bonus information acts as the financial hook, and the green ‘Play” button contrasts with a grey background to capture user attention and inspire action.
You need to ensure that anyone who accesses your website, no matter on what device or level of intelligence, is greeted with a clear and simple way to access what matters to you.
3. Keep copy simple and scannable
Users should be able to familiarise themselves with a website’s products and services within seconds of arrival. They need an obvious value proposition.
One area where I feel affiliates need to improve is in the use of beginner friendly gambling lexicon. Casino lingo such as ‘play through’ and ‘match bonus’, and sportsbook terms such as ‘parlay’ and ‘handicap’ might be lost on novices. Avoid complex terminology, particularly in your conversion pages. CasinoCheck have addressed this issue by building a glossary section – ‘CasinoPedia’ – which also acts as a SEO-friendly net for people seeking clarity on Google.
According to the Nielsen Normal Group, users on the average web page “have time to read at most 28% of the words.” With this in mind, copy should be delivered in concise, bite-sized chunks. Short, punchy sentences and a liberal use of bullet points, images and white space make content easier to absorb.
4. Minimise choice and features
This might be going against the grain for gambling affiliate websites, but I’m coming round to the benefits of a clear, uncomplicated interface, which limits user choice and decision making. According to UXmyths.com, decision paralysis and ‘feature fatigue’ serve to frustrate the user, which means keeping things like promotional banners and live feed tools to a minimum.
Quoted on UX myths, neuropsychologist Susan Weinschenk advises: “Resist the impulse to provide lots and lots of choices to your customers. Remember they will SAY they want lots of choices, and you will think that lots of choices is a good thing (because you like them too), but too many choices means they won’t buy at all.”
It’s something gambling affiliates – a lot of who live by the mantra ‘more is better’ and traditionally offer an exhaustive list of casino games and strategies in order to gain long tail traffic – might have to take on board.
5. Include a search input box
Gambling affiliates websites with a rich and diverse content base should integrate a search input box to enhance credibility and satisfy user queries.
Affiliates such as Jackpotfinder and Oddspreview have adopted this feature, whereas websites such as AskGamblers have gone a step further with predictive text search.
If you’re planning on adding a news or an extensive blog section to your affiliate website in order to support SEO, then it’s a worthwhile investment.
About David Merry
David Merry spent the first part of his professional career in the link building strategy team at London based search marketing company Greenlight Search.
He now heads the online marketing team at CastleCasino.com and focuses the majority of his time on SEO and their affiliate program. You can learn more about Castle Casino’s affiliate program at CastleAffiliates.com.
As well as this David is the founder of gambling media company, RightCasinoMedia.com.