There are many things that help you rank higher in search engines. Is a good website design one of them? Yes, it is. Here are ways it helps:

1. Superior Navigation
SEO experts will tell you that poor site architecture would make it more difficult for you to rank for your target keywords or phrases. Apart from the fact that a poor navigation will make it difficult for your visitors to get to the pages they really need to see, it would also make it difficult for search engine bots to index as many of your pages as possible. A good website design service knows (by experience) the most effective navigation structures for search engine bots. Apart from the fact that they will ensure you have an XML site map, they’ll also place HTML site maps at strategic points on your site. This means that both human visitors and search engine robots will be able to get to all your pages easily.

2. Lower Bounce Rates
What do visitors do when they get to a website that looks like a spam site? They click away quickly. What do they do if they can’t find what they want easily? They also click away. A professional design inspires confidence in your visitors. They stick around longer and look at what you have to offer. Because your designers have taken the pains to ensure easy navigation, they can easily find what they are looking for. A great design calls attention to the most important messages you have to pass across. Therefore, your visitors are more likely to engage with your content. This keeps your bounce rate low (A high bounce rate will keep you away from the first page of search engine results).

3. Highlighting Relevant Tags
A good website design service understands the importance of different tags. They know what should be done in every particular case. For example, they will optimize your alt tags in such a way that your site will be properly positioned to attract free traffic from image searches. Furthermore, they’ll ensure that important tags like your title and description are done right. These are critical to the overall performance of your website in search results.

4. A Fast-Loading Site
It is very important that your pages load fast. It is a fact that search engines consider them to be one thing that makes for a good user experience. This means that a site that loads faster would have a higher ranking than one that doesn’t all other things being equal. However, you may NOT know how to go about this unless you are a professional designer (This is usually the case for media-rich sites).

There are many things you stand to gain by having a professional website design company. Here are few that stand out:

1. A Good First Impression
It is said that you do NOT have a second chance to make a good first impression. People address you the way you are dressed. Good intentions are NOT enough. Good impressions matter. Your site’s design gives a first impression of your business.

2. A Look And Feel That Welcomes
Every niche has a look and feel that is appropriate. A good web designer is an artist that does a job of translating your message into a design. Your visitors just feel comfortable and “at home” on your site.
What would make people comfortable in a bar won’t make them comfortable in a church. In fact, they’ll be turned off. The same applies to your website’s design. Don’t assume that what worked for your friend’s business is ok for your site. Every business has its point of differentiation. That must be reflected in the design.

3. Better Search Engine Rankings
If your visitors click back hurriedly to SERPs (Search engine results pages) when they get to your site then you are hurting your rankings. While there are many factors that can make them run away as fast as possible, a poor design is one.

Also, a poor design can reduce visitor engagement and increase your bounce rate. A good designer will ensure that the design enhances your message and makes it easier for visitors to find what they want. This makes for a better user experience and that helps your rankings.

4. More Visibility
There are galleries that feature well designed sites. Your site might be featured on those at one point or another if it is well designed. This will give you visibility you couldn’t have got otherwise. Furthermore, it gets you an editorial link back to your site (Something that will improve your ranking with search engines).

5. Superior Conversions
I was shocked when a top internet marketer (Keith Baxter) said that “design has surpassed copy” as the single most important conversion element. This is NOT an educated guess, but based on tests (according to him). While he stressed that good copy was still essential (we all know that), he pointed out that a good design was now more important. But don’t take anyone’s word for it: Look around you? Check the best sites. Do their designs look like the work of people who are still on Dreamweaver’s free trial? If you want to get better conversions with the copy you have on your site, get a professional website design.

A good designer will call attention to important parts of your message. He or she would ensure that your visitors’ eyes are directed from one point to another until they click the “buy” button.

6. Focus On Other Parts Of Your Business
You need a lot of different skills to get even an average website design. But you are NOT a designer, are you? You have a business to run and do NOT plan to start a course in design. Let the pros design your site while you focus on your business.

Let’s assume you are a business owner whose executive time is worth $250 per hour. If you spend a whole week trying to get basic skills that will help you knock out a decent website and actually build your site, you have actually lost:

8 X 5 X $250 = $10,000 (Assuming you work just eight hours every day).
Painfully, you’ll still end up with an average design at best. But consider what a professional designer can do for you with that amount? And the best part is your business continues running because you are smart enough to lets professionals do what they do best.

7. A Branded Look That Stays For Years And Sticks
Do you think McDonald’s logo was designed by an amateur? Can you identify with that logo everywhere you see it? How long have they stuck with it? That’s the point. You need a design that brands your business or is in sync with your business theme — One that you can stick with. You need it done so well it won’t need to be touched for years.

The longer you stick with your design theme, the more it brands you. So everywhere people see it, they associate you with it. Think Google. Think Amazon. Think Facebook. Everything about their design reinforces their brand. Even when they update their website designs, they maintain the feel we’ve all associated each of them with. Those are NOT mere coincidences. They are the careful creations of skilled designers. That’s something only a professional designer can do for you.

8. Savings On The Long Run
How much do you lose to visitors who are turned off by your poor design? How much will that amount to over the years? How many hours do you spend every now and then trying to tweak it to look more like those sites you love? Couldn’t you have done something better with that time? What is the cost to you over the years? Make out some time to think and you’ll see that getting a pro to do the job will actually save you a lot more on the long run.

9. Cross-Browser Compatibility
Have you ever designed a site that looked right in Chrome, but had the logo misaligned in Internet Explorer? You can guess and tweak till the cows come home or you can just let people who know how to code things properly handle this stuff for you.

A good web designer knows what makes each browser treat codes the way it does. But more importantly, they know what needs to be done to make them compatible with every browser out there.

Eighty percent of the result you’ll get from your affiliate program will come from twenty percent of your affiliates (the very effective ones). Furthermore, it’s even a smaller percentage of your most effective affiliates that will be responsible for a greater part of that eighty percent. Let us call them the 20 percent of the effective 20% — Super affiliates.

Therefore, you have to devote most of your resources into getting those special partners who will be responsible for the bulk of your revenue. However, there are things that you must take care of before approaching them (They are very busy people who get offers from a lot of people on a daily basis)…

1. Make Sure You Have Proven Figures
These guys are hard workers and have resources to promote products they believe in. However, they will always ask you for critical details about your sales process. They’ll like to know how much a visitor to your site is worth, for example. Don’t make the mistake of going to them with feasibility studies. They need hard data from real world marketing. Therefore, make sure you promote your product through smaller affiliates and other traffic sources so you can get real data — They won’t take your word for it. They’ll test things themselves. That’s how they became so successful.

But that said; it is very important that you are prepared with critical details that you know a serious business person would need in other to commit their resources to promoting your business.

2. Make Sure You Have A High Conversion Rate
A poor conversion rate will turn these people off. Therefore, make sure you have invested in a great design and sales copy. Furthermore, make sure you have tweaked your sales process or funnel to a point where it extracts the most value from your visitors.

Simply put: The higher your conversion rate, the more likely a super affiliate would promote your product/service. Why would they waste their time and resources on your product if they have better options?

3. Make Sure You Can Give Him/Her Something Better Than The Competition
It is NO secret that super affiliates get different commissions from regular affiliates (And it makes sense). Every good affiliate manager knows this and this applies to your competitors too. Therefore, apart from the fact that you must be willing to pay them more than others who promote your product, you must offer them something better than your competitors are offering.
Like I pointed out earlier, these people get a lot of offers every day. So do your best to make yours stand out.

4. Make Sure Your Product Won’t Hurt Their Reputation
Super affiliates are into what they do for the long term. Therefore, they won’t take a second look at your product if they believe it is over hyped and won’t deliver top value to their subscribers. Don’t forget that they are super affiliates because they’ve built a strong reputation in their niche. Therefore, make sure you have a great product. The better your product is (compared to what is considered the standard in your niche) the better your chances. You can increase the value of your product by adding personal consultation, one-on-one support and other things that will make your customers very happy with your product. Super affiliates like promoting great products (It makes their work a lot easier and reduces the incidence of refunds which eats into their commissions).

5. Make Sure You’ve Made Things Easy For Him/Her
These folks are very busy. Therefore, do everything within your power to make things as easy as possible for them. Prepare special promotional emails for them. Sign up for them and include their login details when reaching out to them. Make it a lot easier for them and they are more likely to choose your program.

You might have heard a lot of affiliate programs. You’ve observed that many businesses in your niche have theirs. But what’s the real benefit in setting up one? This article will show you what your business stands to gain with an effective affiliate program.

1. No Customer Acquisition Risks
What would you be able to do in your business if you knew you had no customer acquisition risks (That is, if you are sure that your advertising dollars are spent only on visitors who end up buying your product)? That’s what you get with an effective affiliate program (the pay-per-sale model especially).

It’s a risk-free way to grow any business. They don’t buy, you don’t pay. You pay them from what they’ve already brought in. There’s NO risk whatsoever here. The good thing is that you can divert your resources and efforts to other parts of your business since you know your marketing is well covered.

2. Increased Brand Recognition For Free
Your affiliates will keep promoting your product/service and business on their sites and other properties even though you only pay for visitors who convert to buyers (or whatever your predetermined action is). The more people see and read about your business, the more it registers in their subconscious. Your brand is being etched into their minds without you having to pay for it. Remember, you only pay when they deliver a predetermined response.

3. You Have Partners Who Will Rise In Your Defence
The web has evolved a lot from what it used to be just a decade ago. There are many conversations going on about products in your niche. It’s humanly impossible to chip in a word or two about yours every where it is being discussed. However, with a strong army of affiliates your reach is extended. These people will rise in your defence if someone tries to de-market your product. And because they are NOT seen as the product owners or creators, their views often carry a heavier weight. Furthermore, people in the niche respect their opinions. After all, they have the most influential blogs and sites within your niche.

4. A Trusted Group Of Beta Testers
How do you know if a product meets all the requirements of your target market? You simply ask them. However, you need knowledgeable users if you want inputs that will help you release a product or service that will stand the test of time. Most powerful affiliates have web properties where they interact with people in the niche (And that’s apart from the fact that they are very knowledgeable themselves). So what happens if you need suggestions for an upgrade or a new product? You have a ready pool of trusted beta testers. Remember, they now have a stake in your business and would like to do everything to keep it profitable (NO affiliate likes to change links on articles they published two years ago).

5. A Strong Launching Platform For New Products
Do you have a great product idea? Just go ahead and develop it. You don’t need to bother yourself about promoting and marketing it as long as it is in the same or related niche. You already have an army of affiliates who will help create a pre-launch fever and help you rake in as many sales as possible within your first week.

In Conclusion…
You can see the great possibilities that an affiliate program will unlock for your business. However, the problem for you is that you don’t know how to go about setting up one. That shouldn’t be a problem: Just ask the company handling your online marketing and they’ll tell you what to do.

One affiliate, one very good affiliate, can change your business fortunes forever. Therefore, it is important that you do everything within your power to set up an affiliate program as soon as “Yesterday” if you want your online business to grow risk-free. The big difference between this model and other promotional model is that it usually does NOT involve a lot of capital. All you have to do is get certain things right from the onset.

If you have been wasting a lot of your hard-earned cash on different advertising models and been getting less than satisfactory results, it is time you switched to something that takes the risk off you. However, you have to ensure that your sales funnel has been tested and proven to convert well before you attempt to get others involved. That said; affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote any business. However, there is a difference between setting up a program and having one that is very effective. For an effective affiliate program, you have to take certain steps. Here’s what we recommend:

1. Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse
This is something you shouldn’t joke with. Everyone who has the capability of sending qualified leads to your site will like to know what’s in it for them. Remember, they are taking all the risk off you. They are the ones going out on a limb; NOT you. You only pay them if they deliver a sale (if you are using a pay-per-sale model). Therefore, make the offer as attractive as you can while staying profitable. Remember, it is better to get 30% of the profit on one million sales than to get 100% of a thousand. So how much should you offer? As much as you can afford to without having to pay them out of your pocket or disrupt your cash flow.

2. Provide Additional Incentives To Affiliates
You can help the decision making process easier for a lot of folks by giving additional incentives. For example, you can offer a sign up bonus. However, make sure you don’t make a payout until such an affiliate has brought in enough sales to justify the bonus (This is to discourage people from signing up with fake identities). You have to work this out beforehand and include it your terms (Nothing will hurt your affiliate program more than shifting the posts when it’s time to make payments). You can also have performance incentives. You can offer an all-expenses paid trip to any affiliate that hits X number of sales within a given period. You can also reward top affiliates by giving them bigger commissions. Get creative. You want people to go out of their ways to promote your business.

3. Offer Lifetime Commissions
One of the things that will make you stand out is offering lifetime commissions. Many businesses don’t do this. They may pay generous commissions for the first sale but then they take all the profits thereafter. Believe it or NOT, affiliates are a lot smarter now. They know that there is something known as the lifetime value of a customer. While it is your business and you can choose to run it however you deem fit, you will show yourself to be a very fair business person if your affiliates see that you are NOT only going to reward them for the first sale but also for every sale you make from their referrals.

You will have a very “lethal” combination if your product or service has a recurring feature: Your affiliates can build residual income (Don’t we all love making passive income?). This will make your affiliate program a lot more attractive and help you sign up very committed people.

4. Have A Multi-Tier System
There is a reason multi-level marketing companies experience phenomenal success (I mean those that have excellent products): They have a system that makes early adopters leverage the hard work of others who join after them. A person is going to be more motivated to sign up and work hard to promote your product if they realize that they’ll get paid both for their efforts and those of people whom they introduced to your business. The numbers can add up quite easily. If you are going this route, make sure you find out what the law in your location says about such arrangements. You don’t want to end up being accused of breaking the law. Also, be careful about how you set this up. You don’t want to end up with a pyramid scheme.

5. Provide Training To Help Them Succeed
While a number of your affiliates will already be acquainted with all the tips and tricks of affiliate marketing, many will have yours as their first commitment. Therefore, you have to provide them all the training they need to succeed. Don’t forget that their success is yours too. Share things that you’ve tested and found effective. If you can afford it, get a seasoned internet marketer to prepare solid training material to help ground them in the art of affiliate promotions. Yes, they might use your training elsewhere but they’ll forever be grateful to you.

And you know what? There’s a law called the law of reciprocity. It states that human beings like returning the favors they are done. In this case, they’ll feel good about your business and send over both new customers and affiliates to it. Who wins? Everyone!

6. Start The Process
You have set out a great plan. You have worked out all the commissions and incentives that will get the world’s best affiliates begging to join your program. But there’s one thing left…
You just have to start the process. Until then it is just a figment of your imagination. Start the process.

So how do you start? Pick the right affiliate management software and have it set up (Get an affiliate management software if your site runs on WordPress). Get promotional material in place for your affiliates. Now go out and apply all your promotional skills in getting the word out. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. You can make adjustments along the way. Affiliate marketing is one model that every smart online business includes in its marketing.

Who are you and why should I buy from you? Why should I even pay any attention to you? These are very important questions every small business encounters. Therefore, it is important that you develop marketing strategies that address them. One tried and tested strategy is developing content that presells.

While content that sells is meant to pitch the prospect, content that presells is meant to put them in the best frame of mind to receive your pitch. In fact, if done right, you wouldn’t even have to make the pitch for them to buy. So how do you go about developing content that presells?

1. Show Them You Are An Authority
Who would a person listen to if they have been diagnosed with a brain tumor? A thousand noisy touts? The politician who promises heaven and earth or the doctor who’s just been named as the top expert in brain tumors? People listen to experts. In fact, many people will do anything their doctor recommends. Why? They have come to the conclusion that he or she knows what’s best for them.

So how can you demonstrate that you know a lot more than the average person? How do you differentiate yourself from wannabe experts? You give them content that proves you are very good in what you do. Give them articles that solve their problems. Give them tips that make their lives easier.

How did you get to the point where you’ll do anything your doctor says? You tried what they said on minor issues and found that they worked. By the same token, your prospects will be more willing to buy anything you recommend if you can only show them (in smaller things) that you know what you are talking about. High value content is key here. Don’t try to hoard useful information. Give it to them and they’ll begin to see you as an authority.

Another thing that helps build authority is association. If people see you on a TV show with the country’s leading weight loss expert, they will pass on some level of authority to you and consider you a weight loss expert. That’s why good web development companies leverage the assets of recognized authorities in your niche to pass on some that authority to you. An example of this is submitting great guest posts on the leading sites in your niche.

2. Show Them You Care
People really don’t care about what you know until they know that you care. Many people will always show a preference for people who have shown that they care. The internet makes it very easy for a business to follow up on prospects. You can give them little gifts (that really don’t eat into your marketing budget) from time to time.
You can share their pains and allay their fears in ways that were NOT possible a decade ago. Web 2.0 means you can connect with people at a very special level. Replying to their comments and keeping them updated on the various social sites is one way you can show that you care — One way to show that you are NOT just a merchant but a friend. An autoresponder series can be set up to send them messages that help them deal with various challenges. That’s another way to show you care.

At least, 80% of the content you send out to them must be focused on helping them — Only 20% or less should sell to them. Do this right and they’ll happily respond to you whenever you sell to them. We all prefer dealing with people who care about us (We call them friends).

There are a many ways to show you care. Also, there are many tools that can help you show your prospects that you care. However, they require that you master them well before you attempt to use them. You don’t have time for that as a business owner. Thankfully, a good internet marketing firm can help you develop a well-rounded pre-selling strategy. You reap the rewards while you focus on the core aspects of your business.