In the early days of affiliate marketing, site makers didn’t bother much with design beyond basic functionality. The accent was on content and everybody tried to cram in as much affiliate content as possible. Today, we know better. User experience (UX) is not based on content alone, although it plays a crucial role in attracting and keeping users. Design and functionality are also important, with some experts claiming that they impact UX in bigger measure than even content. While this is highly debatable, the truth is that content alone won’t put you over the top, especially when faced with fierce competition in affiliate marketing tools these days.
The most common mistake novice marketers make is designing a site around their idea of functionality. This is a completely wrong approach. The design should be based on your users, not you or your preferences. The bottom line is that the better experience your users have on your site, the more willing they will be to give you their money. And that should be the driving force behind every design decision you make.
What is UX?
People often confuse UI and UX, thinking they are the same. They are not. Think of it as a car. What kind of a gearbox it has, the shape and position of instruments and the type of infotainment system would be UI. However, how the car drives is UX. Ultimately, that is what decides how happy you are with it and whether you would recommend it to your friends. That isn’t to say that UI can affect UX tremendously. You are more likely to like a car with a great AC than one with a dodgy one. Experience depends on the person also, as our preferences will determine how well we perceive the world around us. That is why it is important to focus on the broadest possible appeal when designing a user interface for your site.
User Interface (UI)
UX depends in large part on User Interface (UI) and the way it is designed. The exact parameters will depend on the type of affiliate business you are running. For instance, an e-commerce site will have a vastly different UI than a site with affiliate links. Regardless of that, the basic idea behind UI should be the same. Less is more. Achieve as much functionality with as little clutter as possible. Take a look at any successful affiliate site, especially igaming niche affiliates such as Askgamblers.com, and you will see what we are talking about. People don’t come to your site to marvel at your technical proves. They came because they need something, and you should present it to them without making them jump hoops. Complicated navigation is one of the best ways to lose a customer and never see them return. This is the classic application of the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) principle.
User Experience Honeycomb
In order to be successful and drive conversion, the design of your site has to meet certain requirements. These requirements are best described through adjectives creating something called user experience honeycomb. First, it has to be useful to your users. It also has to be usable, so they can actually use it without too much hustle. Desirable is next, meaning that people want to visit it. Then we have findable, closely related to usable. Credible means that your users trust you and the content you publish. Finally, it has to be valuable to them. Achieving all seven of these may sound daunting, but it is quite possible. There are plenty of examples on the net that has managed it and have thousands of happy users to confirm it. For instance, see the cases of the top UX design agencies.
How To Measure Impact Of UX
Experts have gone to great lengths trying to quantify the impact user experience has on the success of a site. You can find various diagrams and formulas that explain the connections and how much UX affect conversions. While that is all well and good, we find that measuring UX is possible using much simpler metrics. Are you achieving your business objective? If yes, your users have a satisfactory experience on your site. What all complicated math equations fail to tell you is that UX is a means to a goal, and that goal is business success. As long as you are happy with the way your business runs, there is no reason to tinker with UX. Understanding it will help you in the long run, but don’t change things just for the sake of change. In other words, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
The impact of UX and design on the success of your affiliate marketing business can’t be overstated. It can help you achieve some spectacular results. Likewise, it can lead you to ruin. The first thing you need to do is take a long and hard look at your skills and abilities and make a decision. Can I do this or do I need to hire someone? There is no shame in outsourcing site design, especially when it can make or break your business. Letting professionals handle it is almost always a smart decision.