fontclutterIf you keep staring at your webpage trying to figure out what exactly is not quite right about it – have you considered the possibility of font clutter? Credibility based-design is crucial for a website’s success. You want your pages to look professional and clean. It only takes two seconds for an average web user to identify whether a site is trustworthy or not. The presence of many different fonts can easily spoil the first impression for someone coming to your site for the first time. They might not even know what drove them away from what you have to offer, and your site will never get a second chance. So, better get the font thing right!

Many designers follow the rule of three fonts per page. I suppose, you can get away with four, but that should be it. It is especially important not to have too many fonts show up above the fold. This may be a more difficult task that it seems at first. A website can have numerous creatives, including the ones that come from external ads. And you probably have “a special font” that you used for your logo. All these fonts count towards the number of fonts that you are allotted per page. You really don’t get to explain to the visitor that the logo graphic simply needs a curvy sans serif font, while the banner ad uses a Gothic style font to advertise a medieval combat game. Add to that the header, the tagline, the links and the body text – and the visual impact of the page is already in jeopardy.

What should you do? You need to make an inventory of the fonts on your landing webpage, and the website in general. Carefully examine the graphics and identify the font. If needed, use an online service to figure out what exact font is being used. You can also get a simple tool that lets you find out the font of any given line of text on any site. If you see your inventory list of fonts exceed three, it’s time to take action. Consider replacing some fonts with different typefaces from the same font family that you use more extensively. Also be cautious about overusing different styles of the same font (bold, italics, all caps) – that also amounts to font clutter.

And here is a bonus tip. Take before and after snapshots of your landing page. Compare the two to make sure that you indeed made some progress in reducing visual clutter on your website. How does it look? As long as you did not reduce the number of  fonts to just one boring sans serif font of the same size, the page should look just right!

pillCongratulations, you have a high-traffic website!.. Ok, even if you don’t, you should read on if you want to monetize a website and just have no idea where to start. I am here to help!

There are, of course, numerous ways to monetize a website. I will not attempt to list most of them here, because I don’t want you distracted. Instead, let’s concentrate on something that is easy, worry-free and relatively profitable: Amazon Associate program. The gist of this program is that you can have links on your site to just about anything that’s sold on Amazon. When someone follows this link and buy a product you get a percentage of that sale. Not a huge percentage, but it adds up. It does not even matter if they bought the exact product that your site advertised! A lot of people will probably recommend a different approach, namely Adsense – Google’s contextual advertising system. I could just tell you to trust my words, but I will gladly allow you to make your own educated decision. Here is what you need to know.
Why choose the Amazon affiliate program?
  1. It is easier to apply and be accepted into Amazon’s program. That’s because Amazon primarily cares about sales. They are unlikely to question what practices you follow to bring traffic to your site, how trustworthy and authoritative your site is and so on. Google might actually have a whole number of criteria on which they will evaluate your online assets.
  2. With Amazon Associate program you get to decide what individual products or categories you want to see advertised on your site. Google Adsense will attempt to make that decision for you, sometimes with strange results.
  3. Everybody shops on Amazon. Sure, you can have affiliate links for all kinds of websites, but if your audience is broad and diverse Amazon will look familiar to everybody.
  4. If your traffic is high enough there is always a chance to get some high rollers. They will almost accidentally go to Amazon from your site and end up buying several high-ticket items. Don’t forget that around Christmas time everybody is a high-roller. If someone decides to quickly take care of their shopping list after following your affiliate link you can be well rewarded.
  5. When Amazon pays you it is possible to ask for a check or to get a virtual gift card instead. Sometimes “Amazon  bucks” are preferable. If you end up getting a free Bluray player as a result the satisfaction may be far greater than getting $100 in your bank account. A free Bluray player is something to talk about, especially when it comes to getting support from your family members in your online efforts.
  6. Google Adsense has different rules about what you can do with their contextual ad blocks. They have strict policies about their positioning on your web pages in relation to other design elements. Amazon, on the other hand, does not worry about it. The reason is simple. Google protects the interests of paying advertisers, who need to be sure that they get quality traffic. Amazon welcomes all traffic, because you only get paid as an affiliate when a sale happens.
How to implement Amazon affiliate links
Once you have been approved for Amazon Associates program and log into your account, go to the regular amazon.com page and look around for some medium to high-priced items that might be relevant for your audience. If you are convinced that your site’s audience is completely random and there is absolutely nothing that all your visitors have in common, try to find some popular items that everybody wants, such as the latest model of Kindle. Amazon gives you a choice of different ad formats that you can use, but you can also create your own graphics, so that your ads looks fresh and inviting. If you think you know what exact products your audience is interested in you can go to those products pages on Amazon and click on “Link to this page” in the gray strip on the top. This will create a link with your affiliate code for this precise product. Make sure you use tracking ids. This way you will know which ad got more clicks even if the actual sales data does not look significant.
The absolute best place for an affiliate ad on a web page is “above the fold” which means that your visitors will see it immediately after coming to the page in a browser. You may also want to place ads in those locations on the page where the visitor’s attention will be naturally drawn by your content, and also at the very bottom where their eyes will pause after the page had been scrolled all the way down.
Setting up your site with Amazon affiliate links is a solid way to start maximizing its earning potential, but your should certainly not stop there!

vintage_health_biscuit_ad_posterWhen visitors arrive at one of your pages and spend some time consuming the content, how many of them stay around for the second course? Yes, it may be too early to expect them signing up for your newsletter, but you should do your best to create incentives for exploring other pages on the site. Now, there is always hope that one of the site’s categories or a sidebar link will appear interesting to the visitor and they will follow that lead. Better yet, make it a goal that every piece of content that you post contains a link to another page that is relevant. Which exact page you link to may be subject to testing, but there is one very important trick you should also use. Employ social proof! Don’t just say “See also: <insert link>,” instead consider phrases like “Visitors who like this page also enjoy reading: <insert link>” or “People who are interested in this subject also like to read about <insert link>.” Of course, you must try to stay objective and fair. Don’t try to push your visitors to a page that does not really have anything to do with what they have been reading. You must always deliver on your promises, so it may be best to point people to the pages you for sure know to be popular across the board. Just try to vary the wording a bit. Nobody likes to see robotic pages.

So, go through your site’s pages any see which ones don’t have any suggestions regarding what the visitor should do next. Implement this tip and enjoy the traffic on your site that has just become “stickier”.

If you found this information useful, you should consider learning how to improve clickthrough rate by optimizing the number of words in links.