The Anatomy of a Website in Relation to Google AdSense Ads and Affiliate Marketing
We all like to believe that our own website is the best, it has the best design, best layout, best AdSense placement and so on. But all websites that are properly designed for browsing and easy navigation contain the same basic elements.
There are good and bad cars. But they all have wheels, an engine, a windshield, door and a hood, at the very least. You do expect your car to have a door, don’t you? In the same way all websites, good or bad, contain the basic ingredients that most people expect to see. Badly designed websites ignore some of these elements. Great websites take advantage of them.
Your Website Logo
Did you know that your logo doesn’t have to be a graphic image? This is because the main purpose of a logo (for anything, a website or a TV channel) is to enable the viewer to associate something with a visual representation of it. In fact, some of the logos are the actual names of websites or companies.
A logo is naturally designed to be very simple because one of its main functions is to make it easy for the viewer to remember it in their mind. A logo is an impression, or an impression of a feeling, even when it is represented with a number of precise geometrical shapes and colors. When you think of FedEx, it is difficult to bring to mind the actual shapes of the logo, yet it is easy to perceive it as a mental image that represents the company.
The logo is one of the first things that may pop into your mind when you remember something you have seen before. Logos are designed to be recognizable. The value offered by a company defines that feeling you get when you see the logo again which is strategically accentuated by its geometry and colors.
In terms of website design the logo has one additional purpose. By clicking on the logo visitors are expected to be brought to the homepage of the website.
The Website Header
The header is an important element of all websites. Try taking the header out of the equation and something doesn’t feel right about the website anymore. People simply expect headers. Headers are used to navigate the website because that is where the links to the main categories of a website are located.
The header is a great place to express the purpose of a website because the header is normally visible from every single page on the site. When people find an article on your site using a search engine, and the header communicates the purpose, the visitor may feel enticed to continue discovering other content located on your site.
The header is an excellent location for the Google AdSense horizontal leaderboard ad set to display Images Only. Try to integrate this ad into the graphic content of your header and sort of masquerade it.
If your website is about a technical subject, for example making sites, then it will be difficult to convince people to click on your ads unless you make them look less like ads. Generally, people who are looking for information about computers are much more likely to know what Google Ads look like.
Visitors must be able to navigate the content on your website with ease. The main categories of your website should be located just below your header. That is where visitors expect the main categories to be. Remember, that the location of all standard elements of your website depends on where visitors expect them to be, not where you think it’s a cool idea to place them.
In addition, sub-categories are commonly located on the sidebar of your website, usually close to the top of the page. Putting ads into areas where navigation of a website is normally expected to be found is a strategy that will result in a higher CTR on your ads. However, when you do this, you decrease the visitor’s engagement with your navigation and content on your website.
If you wish people to discover the content on your website, place ads below navigation links. If you wish to make more money at expense of less people coming back to your site and telling about it to their friends and relatives, place ads into a more prominently visible area.
Because I put so much effort into writing each article for my website, I am interested in the idea that people actually read my articles. Because of this I try to place ads into secondary locations, below navigation links. The ads are still being clicked, but I’m not interested in higher CTR. I am interested in building more traffic to my website, which is a result of visitor’s engagement with my content because people are more likely to tell others about my site if they found the content to be useful.
Add the Google’s Custom Search Engine to the upper right corner of your site and add a note above it asking visitors to use it to find other content on your website. This search engine also displays ads that can serve as just another stream of income. You can configure the search engine to display Google search results directly on the same page it is embedded on.
Body / Content
The body of your website is where your content resides. This is the most important location anywhere on your website because great content is what contributes to the popularity of your site. This is where the value you have produced is presented to the visitors of your web page.
It is believed that ads placed inside the boundaries of your content will produce higher CTRs.
If the subject of the content on your web page relates to some type of a product that you believe is relevant to the targeted traffic it generates, you have the advantage of marketing affiliate products within the first paragraph of your content. This strategy, of embedding affiliate links directly into the first paragraph on the page is extremely useful. I have used this strategy myself to successfully market books related to the subject of the content situated on that page.
Again, the content of the page located in the body of your site is the most important part of your website in general. Try making your first paragraph engaging, start it by saying something relevant and interesting. Use the second sentence in the paragraph to place a link to a related affiliate product.
Don’t spam your site with affiliate links in every first paragraph on every page. Ideally you want to promote products that are actually helpful to the audience of your website. You want to think that people will remember your website because it is through your website they discovered and bought something relevant to their interests. This is why it is important to actually know the purpose and qualities of the products you are selling on your website. When you know what those things are, you can mention them in the sentence where your affiliate link to that product is residing. This way the reader has a reason for clicking on it. It becomes more than a link. It becomes a suggestion.
The sidebar is another important element of our site. All secondary items of interest such as additional navigation options and content discovery ideas should be included there.
In my observations the very first thing on the sidebar gets clicked on the most relatively to other things. Sidebar content can even compete with header content.
If I want people to sign up for my newsletter, that is the place I put my newsletter sign-up form. Because of the naturally narrow nature of website sidebars, they are very competitive in terms of the space you can use.
If I want to start promoting a new product, or see how well an AdSense ad is doing on the sidebar, I will prioritize its position over the newsletter. Generally you will need to track statistics and figure out for yourself what the best placement for things on the sidebar is. This should be determined not by thinking in terms of the best place on the sidebar (we already know that it’s the uppermost part), but in terms of what it is that you are trying to do more of. Want to promote Amazon books on related subjects more often? Place an Amazon link at the very top of your sidebar above all other sidebar content.
You don’t always have to optimize ads or affiliate links for maximum performance on the sidebar. Because the sidebar is one of the competitive places on the site as far as the space goes, instead of the ads, you can place 3 or 5 links leading to the top content on our site, so it can be discovered. Content discovery is a tactic that will make it more likely for people to share your content with others. Each opportunity for someone to link back to your website counts.
I like to place my social network buttons at the conjunction of the header and the sidebar. This seems to be like a legitimate placement for these buttons. They don’t interfere with the content of my website nor with the content of the website’s sidebar. Yet they appear to be usable and don’t clutter the general appeal of the website’s layout.
That Place Between The End of the Content and the Footer
Not quite the footer, but not quite part of the content either. This extremely important area of your website is very effective for making people do things. When the reader reaches the bottom of the page, they quickly realize that there is no more content on that page. This triggers a decision. Most of the time, the visitor is likely to leave your website. However, what they will do next will really depend on several things you can control.
The first thing on the list is the quality of your content. If you write a great article that is informative, educational and engaging, that will leave a good impression on your reader.
Even though creating engaging content is difficult, I still suggest putting all of your effort into learning how to create it. In order to create great content you will need to at least know the basic principles of writing. Since I love making websites and writing, I created a website with this purpose of helping people to learn how to write. Moreover, by making a website about creative writing I have learned quite a fair share of things about the written word myself.
Knowing how to write well is very important, because if you can use this skill to engage your reader, you can take advantage of using the are just below your written content to engage people to do all kinds of things related to the discovery of your website or even product promotion.
When people are engaged in your writing they build trust in your website. They bookmark your site and share it with other people, so that they can learn, too. If you can engage your readers with your writing, you can effectively use the area at the end of your content to forward people (who now have trust in the quality of your content) to other articles on your site, especially if you represent those articles with a picture related to the subject.
Because of high engagement rate of my content, on my own websites I often see people who browse up to 20 or even 40 web pages in one session. This has tremendous effect on lowering the bounce rate of my site. Try to engage your visitors to the point of where they will start sharing your content. This is one of the most important elements of a successful website.
If you give people a reason to link back to your website, even with small amount of traffic this phenomenon is bound to happen. And the more links people post back to your site, the more popular your website will become. This may create a snowball effect where your website promotes itself, a situation in which you definitely are looking to find yourself in with your content-based website.
The Unity of All Standard Elements of Website Design
All standard elements of a website exist for practical reasons. In this article I tried my best to describe the main purpose of these important elements that constitute the entire anatomy of a well-constructed website.
Remember that a website business always requires a long-term mindset. There are always things you can improve. By no means suggestions made on this page are final solutions to everything. They were achieved after months of experimentation and analysis.
If you follow the ideas mentioned on this page, your website will be ready to produce great results in the long term. The specific function of each element of your website will, in the long run, outperform a website which was designed based on instinct and feeling. Always check the results of your work using analytics software such as Google Analytics, and try to outdo the performance standards you set for yourself with the website layout you have already created.