Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been putting my sites through a rigorous audit in order to maximize user experience (UX), page views and conversions before re-investing further into my sites.
In fact, one of my goals for 2014 is to focus on much more user experience, brand loyalty, coding and curate better content than all of my competitors.
The following article provides details of how to successfully audit your affiliate site, make improvements and prepare for the New Year.
Go Though Analytics and Improve Important Pages on your Site
It’s amazing how much you can learn about a website just by analyzing its analytics. I often find that as a Webmaster I plan my most important pages (e.g. casino listing reviews) without actually studying where my users are going.
In order to audit your site using analytics, I recommend looking at your highest traffic pages, entry pages and exit pages for the last 30 days.
Study the users’ actions, time on site, bounce-rate % and page views for each page to decide how to improve it. I recommend doing this for the “top ten pages” in each of the categories above. Analyze how you could improve that page with better content, a better CTA button (replace text links), another CTA button further down the page, screenshots, maybe even add user reviews and rating to increase customer confidence.
In order to improve CTAs, there’s a really useful plugin that you can buy from Flytonic.com that you can see being used here, which helps to increase conversions easily. If you make all of those changes above then in addition to generating more conversions you’re also likely to increase your rankings and UX too.
- Install a plugin to open all external links in a new window in order to reduce your bounce rate and increase your time on site.
Set up Goals in your Google Analytics account (e.g. users who visit the URL http://www.website.com/go/*) so that you can see where the majority of conversions are coming from. This simple method allows you to view your most valuable pages with respect to conversions.
This is a really useful guide for using Google Analytics to weed out low quality content and fix any Panda-related issues.
Improve the User Navigation and Menu Structure
A common flaw among affiliate sites is that they completely lack a good menu structure, logical flow and user navigation in-between articles.
A good affiliate site should make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for and encourage interaction and sharing. Replace your simple drop-down menus with dynamic multi-column menus, add clear CTAs to the end of your articles and install customized widgets for each page/post. This will also help you increase your goals with regards to Point 1.
I’m also a fan of the Zemanta Related Posts Plugin, which adds thumbnail images and related posts to the bottom of your articles.
When adding additional content to your site, you need to ask yourself what you want the user to do next. If your plan is solely for him to read the article and leave then you have a flawed structure. Ideally you should have some sort of call-to-action such as an email list, recommended casino, exclusive offer or related article to read.
Improve the Coding and UX of your Website
I think heading into 2014 your bog-standard affiliate sites that just contain generic content and links are going to get left behind and be replaced by sites that have invested heavily in user experience (UX), design and coding.
I’m already seeing trends in Google’s rankings where sites with dynamic ranking tables and coding are ranking well above other sites even with little or no backlinks.
The type of things you can do to improve your pages includes page-jumps on important lengthy pages such as this slot game knowledge bank, add dynamic tables (e.g. click to order columns) so that users can compare casino sites and features, and add user ratings plugins to your articles (this helps with schema markup too).
Geo-target users on your site
If I were to guess I’d probably say that only 10% of affiliates geo-target users based on their IP address and location. In an industry where countries and states are constantly changing their laws and regulations (e.g. New Jersey), I think geo-targeting is really important, at the very least for a US and non-US divide. Again, I think Flytonic.com provides a very cheap and effective plugin for geo-targeting users.
Make your Site Mobile Responsive
The latest reports show that around 20% of all Internet traffic is through mobile devices. Furthermore, Google announced earlier this year they would be adding new rankings algorithm changes to reflect sites with poorly constructed mobile redirects and Matt Cutts confirmed that their algorithms use a different Page Rank model for mobile and desktop users. This means if your site isn’t responsive ten it may rank poorly for mobile users.
In conclusion, I’ve provided five excellent tips for improving your affiliate sites for next year. Rather then ordering more content and expanding your outreach campaigns, I think many affiliates should spend 2-3 weeks looking at the improvements listed above.
Sam Miranda is a senior editor and content strategist for Right Casino Media. You can follow him on Twitter here.