There are different ways of building an affiliate site. Depending on your market, audience, the products you’re promoting, you can go for different styles of design, presentation, and even use different marketing methods.
What is common to all affiliate sites, though, is quality. Or more accurately – focus on portraying the site as being of really high quality. If your site doesn’t look professional then visitors may question your credibility and end up leaving your site to try your competitors.
There are many elements that make up a quality site. Thankfully, most of them can be handled by a well-crafted WordPress theme.
(Getting a quality theme is the first and most crucial step to take. If the theme you’re using does not look professional no other practices or tricks can save you further down the road. Getting a quality theme is a mandatory foundation for your future success.)
However, if you already have a nice theme this doesn’t mean that your work in the quality department is done.
Marketing messages published on the web these days are a combination of text, video, and images. If you attempt to get your message across effectively by using text only then you’re in for a surprise. If it had been 1998, it could have worked. But in 2012 … not a chance.
Nowadays, people expect rich experiences when they visit websites. If there’s only text then the whole site starts to look strange and suspicious. No matter what type of site you’re running you need to be using some visual elements to help you present your message in an attractive form.
The ideal situation is when you have the budget and the conditions to produce your own video or have one produced on your behalf. However, if you’re not at this stage yet, the bare minimum is to use some quality images.
Images are great for many different purposes online. Just to name a few:
- They’re great to visually break content into smaller blocks.
- They’re great for focusing attention on a given element.
- They’re great for presenting the actual product you’re promoting.
- They’re great for providing tutorials on how to use a given product.
- They’re great to go along with text testimonials (when they present the actual person).
- They’re great as product demonstration screenshots (for digital products).
But in order for them to be able to do all of the above they need to be of high quality. Low quality images will not only not do their job, but will actually work against you. Yes, using low-quality images is even worse than not using images at all.
For that reason you have to learn some principles of image usage. How to select the best images and where to get them from.
Good Photos vs. Bad Photos
There are various kinds of images affiliates can use on their sites. Let’s have a look at some of them. All of the following examples have slightly different priorities, so it’s important to discuss them one by one.
However, there’s one rule common to all kinds of images – they can’t be too small or enlarged digitally. Just to give you an example of a good image (the first one) and a bad version of the same image enlarged digitally (the second one).
As you can see, the second one is completely out of focus, and it’s not pleasant to look at. You can tell right away that something is not right. Whenever you want to use an image always remember to choose only the ones that are big enough and are in focus.
This is one of the most common kinds of images. The most important detail about them is to get them from the product creator directly whenever possible. Also, make sure that the images are taken without anything in the background, and that they present the product in the most attractive form possible.
If the product consists of many elements then make sure to display all of them to get the best effect. No matter what you’re promoting people always want to get as much value for their money as possible. So if you show every single element of the product you’ll probably get a better response.
Here are some good examples:
And some not so good examples:
Testimonials are one of the most used elements in online marketing. Whenever there’s a product on sale it’s always accompanied by a number of testimonials submitted by real users of the product.
Photos are great for testimonials. If you display a testimonial author’s photo along with the text then the whole package gets a personal and honest feel. But it needs to be done properly to work.
First of all, don’t use stock pictures of people, or ones that look like stock pictures. You must get your hands on some real photos – ones where people are in the middle of their daily activities, or where they’re actually using the product. Stock pictures look fake because the sole professional feel of the picture indicates that it doesn’t really show the actual person who wrote the testimonial.
The most important thing about screenshots is their size. If you’re trying to show what’s going on on the computer screen then you need to make the image adequately big.
For example, here’s a screenshot of the ClickBank Marketplace:
And here’s another screenshot of the same site:
The second one doesn’t make much sense, does it? You’d be surprised how many people display such screenshots on their sites. The job of a screenshot is not to show that there is a piece of software, it’s to show what this piece of software actually looks like.
Try to get screenshots from the product owner or make them yourself if you have access to the product you’re promoting. If you can’t get your hands on a screenshot in the proper size then don’t display anything at all.
There are lots of other kinds of images you can use as part of your affiliate content, but let’s stop here. The above examples present the most common usages of images, and knowing the most important qualities of these images is more than enough to get you going.
Simply keep these guidelines in mind whenever you’re searching for a picture for your site to go along with your marketing message.
Finally, here are some possible sources of images:
- Get it from the product owner, or the affiliate section for the product.
- Take them yourself. If you know what you’re doing and have the possibility to take a truly quality photo.
- Flickr. But only Creative Commons images available for commercial use.
- iStockPhoto or other stock photography site. You shouldn’t use any photos of people, but for other things this is a really good source of images.
What’s your opinion on using images and video as part of various sales messages? Have you ever experienced with different images and compared them against each other?