Why Website Usability Is Important For Brand Experience

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Building a website to market your brand is an exciting task, but it’s also one that comes with its fair share of challenges as well. There is a lot of different ways you can approach designing a website isn’t there? And it’s easy to get carried away.

In today’s digital world any business hoping to make an impact will need a website to showcase their brand, but website’s today can do so much more than just display information. They offer you unmatched versatility and reach but just because you’re a creative individual doesn’t mean you can build a high-quality website.

A lot of people make mistakes when crafting their website because they simply lose sight of what their website is supposed to do. They instead focus solely on the visual aspect and while this is incredibly important there is more to a website than just what it looks like.

That might sound strange when you consider how important a consistent image and design is when it comes to a website. But you have to ask yourself how good a website will actually be if it’s unusable? A striking design might make it look nice but if you can’t use the website is it actually any good?

The answer is no! An eye-catching design that also relates to your brand identity is important, but you also need to make sure your website is usable and when we say usable we mean usable by everyone. It’s important that no matter who your target audience is that your website can be accessible to everyone.

For example, let’s take a look at the Nicholson Original London Dry Gin website, it features a striking design that relates to their brand but is also simple and easy to use. Navigating their website is easy even for someone who as never really used a computer before, for example, the menu bar at the top easily highlights the separate areas of the website.

Getting the balance between an attractive design and maximum usability can be difficult because they are very closely connected but it can be done. If you’re ever struggling you can always take inspiration from your competitors, but make sure you don’t just copy everything you see.

How Do You Achieve Maximum Usability?

Well, that is the question, isn’t it? How do you build a website that showcases your brand effectively and is usable by a wide range of people? You need to plan carefully and know your brand inside out to ensure you build the best website possible and that isn’t always easy.

In fact, it rarely ever is that’s why freelance web designers are so popular, building a website is relatively simple but building a good one isn’t. But we can help you, below we’ve outlined some tips that will help you ensure your website is both the perfect representative of your brand and easy to use.

Keep It Simple

The word simple is a strange one, isn’t it? In certain circumstances, it can be bad but when it comes to website design it usually means the opposite a simple website doesn’t mean a poor one. Let’s consider the Nicholson Original London Dry Gin website again, it might be simple but it’s still striking, and a great representative of the businesses brand isn’t it?

A simple design can still be innovative as well, it doesn’t always mean basic, but it does mean you have to think about all the aspects of your website carefully. There are a lot of variables to take into account but as a general rule, the “less is more” approach is usually a good one to take.

Across Device Functionality

The internet has changed a lot, hasn’t it? In fact, I think there’s a good chance that many people reading this aren’t using a computer you could be browsing on your tablet or your smartphone. This is something you really need to take into account when designing your website because across platform functionality is essential.

Mobile web surfing is becoming more and more popular and the highly sort after audience groups like millennials and generation Z are more likely to utilise mobile devices so if they’re your target audience you need a website that will look just as good on a smartphone as it will on a tablet.

But even if they aren’t your target audience a website that works across multiple devices is still essential for effectively promoting your brand. So, make sure you ensure that your website is easy and simple to use across all devices.

Focus On The Text

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, don’t they? And that’s true graphics, photographs and videos are incredibly important when it comes to designing a website, but the text is just as important and it’s an important factor when it comes to ensuring your site’s usability.

And I’ am not just talking about SEO (although that is important as well) it’s important that your text is clear this goes for things like headings, menus, and titles.

It’s also important that you know how to effectively write for the web you need to be descriptive and interesting but also get to the point quickly. The layout is very important as well so break up those paragraphs and use features like bullet points and lists.

Use Images Strategically

When it comes to building your website, images are very important as I previously mentioned and not just as a design tool. They also affect the usability of your website as well, so it’s important that you know how to use images and photographs strategically.

You shouldn’t just upload a stock photo and call it a day, you need to make sure the image relates to your brand and business. Does the image support or enhance the accompanying text in any way? Learning how to use images effectively can take some practice so don’t be afraid to experiment but remember the image should have a purpose beyond just looking nice. 

The Changing Face of Affiliate Marketing within the Gambling Industry

what is affiliate marketing getting started - The Changing Face of Affiliate Marketing within the Gambling Industry

Affiliate marketing has long been the go-to strategy of online gambling sites as a means of generating online traffic and custom. Normally, a hybrid deal of CPA and revenue share is often negotiated between affiliate and operator. In recent years changes in gambling habits and government legislature within the industry have changed the methods and practices of many online platforms which has substantially reduced the reliance on affiliate marketing that some operators once gauged their success upon

Pressure has recently been placed on the gambling industry to end the gambling affiliation schemes that many providers still rely on substantially. Negative publicity arose around affiliate marketing after Guardian reports suggested that tipsters were earning up to 30% commission on the losses of gaming customers.

After pay-per-click advertising within the industry dramatically increased in cost due to the competitive nature of the industry, attention was turned to affiliate marketing as a means of bringing in custom. It could be argued that the exponential growth of new demographics that the industry targeted created an endless marketplace for affiliates to discover. 

The reality is sometimes slightly different. Many affiliates often use covert tactics to lure in potential customers. Many of the tipster platforms that you see across social media often sometimes post long shot bets that can entice the most vulnerable of players. Alternatively, many choose not to reveal the detailed terms and conditions that often come into place with reduced or free online bets.

Tarnishing the good name of the industry

In recent years Affiliate marketing has gained quite a dirty name in gambling circles for this very purpose. Revenue is made by having customers that are always playing. Although affiliate marketers bring in the players they are merely a short-term fix to cover for a lack of brand or quality associated with the operator.

Many affiliates have rebranded themselves as performance marketers in an attempt to cleanse the name they are now associated with. Although affiliate marketing is still a large part of the marketing spectrum within gambling, many operators have chosen to build from the bottom and opt for the long-term approach of cementing a brand identity and implementing a solid SEO strategy.

Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots said: “Here at Easy Slots we found that during the short-term using external affiliate marketers was a beneficial way of creating a surge of interest around the beginning of our launch.”

“We’ve since found that affiliate marketing is often only a temporary stop gap that seems to exhaust itself after a certain period of time. We are in the process of combining our SEO strategy with an in-house affiliate marketing manager leading us to monitor both the quality of traffic that is being drawn to the site while also practicing in a way that is both ethically suitable to both the players and the industry. Learn how to gamble responsibly today.

Affiliate marketing is still very much a prominent marketing strategy within the industry but has certainly dropped off in the wake of other proven long-term strategies like SEO. As the industry continues to grow in new unchartered territories with unpredictable markets in China, Scandinavia, and Latin America who knows what will emerge from the affiliate marketing scene. Will affiliate marketing work in these culturally deferential territories. Only time will tell. 

11 Factors to improve website usability

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We’re told to not judge books by their covers when we’re young – and while it’s a nice sentiment, I’m afraid to tell you that the practice doesn’t stick with us through to our grown-up internet shopping days.

We’re a fussy bunch, we’ll ditch a website as quick as a flash should we struggle with the navigation, not be enamoured by their imagery or be turned off by their layout.

However, according to SM Design Studio who are a Los Angeles web design company there are factors relevant to every website and some are more ‘crucial’ than others to get right.

If you want your ecommerce site to succeed, you’re going to have to overcome the most common pitfalls that see users hitting that ‘back’ button – and there’s a lot of them – but, fortunately for you, we’ve covered the most common 11 here…

  1. Load time

The first contributing factor to the usability of your ecommerce site happens before the first image or piece of text has loaded into your user’s browser.

The speed that your store appears on screen can make a MASSIVE difference to whether or not anyone sticks around to use your site, let alone decide how easy it is to use. Cause people to wait more than 3 seconds and you’ll lose somewhere between 38% and 44% of your audience.

Do everything you practically can to bring homepage loading time down to an absolute minimum.

  1. Make your homepage right

It might sound obvious – but your homepage really needs to make it clear that people are on a site that will sell them the product they’re looking for. Product images are important – and it’s also important that they correspond to what people are coming to your site looking for.

For example, you might have the best range of bikinis this side of Rio and a great email campaign that tells people so – but if they click through and see your range of winter jackets, don’t expect to sell much swimwear.

Studies show that you’ve got roughly one-twentieth of a second to make the right impression. That amount of time doesn’t allow for the human brain to make a solid conscious thought-based decision – but we’ve learned to base these snap thoughts on the colours, structure and layout of what we see – make it right or lose people.

  1. Complex filters

Menu filters can be awesome – but there’s a very thin line between superb and annoying.

If you make a menu filter over complicated you stand a chance of narrowing customer choice too far, meaning they’re left with just a very small number of available products. While they might well have chosen these options, users can be left with a bad impression of the store if they perceive that there are too few products stocked.

There are going to be standard filter options based on your industry – so do some research and see what will work for you.

When you’re doing your research, look out for subjective filter options – and remember them so you don’t fall into the same trap. What’s ‘leisure use’ to one person might be ‘professional standard’ to someone else – so stick to hard facts when you’re narrowing people’s search.

  1. Always let users search

It’s important to give people a rip-cord they can pull before hitting back and navigating away. A constant search bar at the top of the page gives people exactly this – and probably stops them clicking elsewhere when they’re tired of the product they’re currently looking at.

Essentially, the search bar gives you a second bite at the cherry – for example:

You don’t have the jacket a customer is looking for – so their instinct is to go back to the address/search bar at the top of the page. If you can offer them a search before they get their – they’re likely to glance over your range of jeans before they leave.

  1. Show stock levels early

There’s little as frustrating as getting all the way through your shopping process – sometimes choosing multiple items – before progressing to your basket and finding out that the first item you chose is out of stock.

Stock levels should be displayed on every product page. If they’re not, you stand the chance of really irritating customers – and irritated customers don’t persevere and keep spending money with you.

  1. Great imagery

Images are all we have when we’re shopping online – and if they’re not up to scratch you can expect to lose a huge number of people – who’ll all to go on to find a site that accurately shows what they’re shopping for.

Now, it might be time consuming, but showing images of every possible colour and design is vital. People don’t buy unless they’re confident – and they’re not confident unless they can envisage exactly what they’re going to get.

  1. Lots of product content

A massive number of online stores are guilty of going way too light with their product descriptions – and, just like scrimping on pictures, it’s going to put people off.

What you essentially risk by going light with your product content is putting a hurdle in the way of the purchase – and when people get to the hurdle? They’ll either look elsewhere for an answer – or they’ll ask you. Either way, your conversion levels drops significantly.

Words and pictures – a killer combo – and absolutely key if you want to maximise your sales.

  1. Stick to cart conventions

A quick and simple tip!

Don’t be quirky with your basket – sticking to the conventions keeps people confident. It needs to be somewhere near the top right of the page and should show the basket total price and number of items alongside it.

  1. Make add to basket obvious

Quick and simple tip number 2!

It needs to be extremely obvious how a customer adds a product to their basket. Make sure buttons are prominently placed and in an eye-catching colour.

  1. Basket etiquette

Again, keeping things predictable when people are reviewing their basket and checking out is really important unless you want your customers walking away with debit cards in their hands…

Confirm every detail of the product – including:

  • A picture (in the right colour/design)
  • Size
  • Quantity

Make it easy for someone to delete and item – it might sound counterproductive but if they don’t want it you need to make it simple for them to put one thing back – rather than abandon a heaving basket.

Oh – and the next step? That needs to be as obvious as getting to the basket in the first place. ‘Proceed to payment’ in eye catching colours and prominent placing wins the day.

  1. Focus on the check-out

Virtual checkouts differ from real checkouts massively. While you’re waiting in a queue in real life you’re a captive audience for the gifts, socks or snacks the retailer wants to tempt you with. Online the story is different though – you want your customers 100% focused on what they’ve got and getting over the payment finish line.

Now is not the time to recommend more products – now is the time to make the checkout process as light and simple as possible.

 

Can You Really Make Money from Affiliate Marketing?

Can You Really Make Money from Affiliate Marketing?

There will be many of us in jobs we don’t enjoy, just as there will be those who wish to look at a career that allows them to work from the comfort of their own home. In either instance, there are a slew of online careers you could follow, but one of the most popular is affiliate marketing.

When looking at how popular the affiliate marketing sector is, it can bring up two viewpoints. Some may consider that the industry is a viable seeing as so many are doing it, whereas others may feel that the industry is saturated and not worth venturing into. The truth is that there can be money made with affiliate marketing, but there it can take a lot of hard work.

The Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Depending on the experience some have with affiliate marketing, they can deem it a scam or the road to success. The truth is that there will be many companies that offer affiliate marketing, but not all of them will be reputable. This shows that getting into affiliate marketing requires a lot of consideration, as there’s not only the marketing to think about.

Some people may choose to work alongside one company, where others may start to work with numerous companies. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does mean that we must research companies before we start carrying out any marketing.

Carrying out Research

Before the dawn of the Internet, researching how reputable a company is could be costly and time-consuming. However, this is no longer the case, as online users can read a series of reviews without ever leaving the house. This doesn’t mean that we should rest on our laurels, we need to ensure that we’re perusing a series of online platforms to ensure that the company is trustworthy.

Just as we need to be vigilant, we also need to be forgiving in some instances. When researching a company, it’s important to remember that affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone, and some can feel that they’ve been lied to and will leave a scathing review as a result. Carrying out the research allows you to balance the opinions being made, and leave you in a position to make a well-informed decision as to which company you should work with.

Choose Products You Know

While it’s tempting to opt for the most profitable items, it’s important that you choose products or services you have an understanding about. This doesn’t mean that you should limit your options, but instead go for a market that has room for growth.  Take the family health vertical for example, you pick a product such as the best thermometer for kids or a parenting related service, so it really is worthwhile educating yourself on the chosen subject matter.

Just as testing the solution will give you an overview of the benefits, exploring the industry as a while means that you can help promote benefits, while offering content that delivers an answer to many asked questions. If you’re able to offer content that is educational and beneficial to the reader, then they will be more likely to click on an affiliate ad associated with the content.

Of course, this won’t work in every instance, it is a funnel that need to be maintained, even though you may be exploring other options.

Try and Test the Goods 

Depending on the product we’re looking to market, it can be beneficial to try the product or service yourself. Of course, this will take some investment, but affiliate marketing is a business. As such, you should list any purchases as an expense, and you can gain tax relief for this along with your other expenses.

Testing the product can not only put your mind at ease when it comes to the quality, but it will also help you when it comes to yielding a turnover. Affiliate marketing is effectively a sales role, and to gain commission you must ensure that you’re marketing products in the right way. This may be a banner on a website, or a product review. In either case, showing prospective buyers that you’re familiar with the product, as well as the service as a whole makes you a more trusted source.

Create a Business Plan

The reason why so many fail at the first hurdle when it comes to affiliate marketing is not being prepared. There can be many costs to consider when embarking on a career as an affiliate marketer, and those who aren’t prepared to make an investment may fail to make a return. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s something that needs considering before taking your first steps.

Creating a business plan not only gives you guidance in relation to your business goals, but it also ensures that you have an idea of how much investment will be needed. Once you are aware of what costs are involved, there’s nothing wrong with doing some research to see if any of the services are cheaper elsewhere.

Some of the costs you need to consider are as follows:

  • Website Hosting
  • Professional Email Address
  • Ad Placement on Social Networks
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media Software (Hootsuite, Buffer etc.)

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you can start with as much or as little as you like. However, it’s important that we are realistic when it comes to potential returns. In some instances, people may not be too confident in making a huge investment. In this scenario, there is nothing wrong with using the basic tools you have to get a feel for the industry.

Overall

If you’re asking whether you can get rich with affiliate marketing, then the answer is yes. However, if you’re asking if it possible to get rich quick, then the answer is no. Affiliate marketing is much like any other role, in that you have to be knowledgeable and tenacious. Some days will be better than others, and there may even be times when you consider as to whether you should be undertaking such a role or not. But approach in the right way, affiliate marketing can be very profitable.

Is it possible to compete in the Online Gambling Oligopoly?

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Some industries offer ample opportunity to succeed if you have the correct basic ingredients in your repertoire. Whether that’s a small and efficient work force, an abundance of client demand, or a product that doesn’t have a sell-by date some businesses just work.

On the other end of the spectrum some business models are harder to decipher. The online gambling industry is a fairly new industry as far as trade and commerce goes with the boundaries not being completely ingrained so far. With online gambling being worth just under £5bn in the UK it’s only set to increase in prominence.

Furthermore, the accessibility of gambling onto our computer screens, mobile phones, and tablets has changed the connotations and reduced the stigma that is often associated with gambling. Although strict responsible gambling guidelines remain for good reason, the industry can now target demographics that wouldn’t often be associated with this area of recreation.

From a business perspective this creates many unchartered territory which you would think would only be a good thing, which it is if you know what you’re doing.

Breaking the walls of the Oligopoly

There are a number of factors at bay when attempting to grow an online casino, some of these are predetermined and some are down to you to manipulate. The Gambling industry seems on the outside an easy way to make money, the old saying ‘the house always wins’ being the mantra of many an external force.

With great propensity to make money comes significant competition in an industry where SEO and google search engine rankings can be the yardstick for success or failure.

It could be argued that the industry is dominated by 4 or 5 big companies. The likes of Ladbrokes, William Hill, Sky Vegas, or Coral.

These are companies who’ve been in the game a while and by definition of theirs names exist at the top of the pile through mass domain authority that creates immovable forces at the top. This oligopoly that exists at the top of the pile is a hard nut to crack.

SEO, Marketing, and Content

For the smaller slot platforms and casinos the most cost effective and competitive way to seize the market is through an efficient SEO and Content strategy. If you can build enough authority through a strategy of measured content and outreach then you can certainly challenge with the top dogs.

The nature of the industry relies wholly on google rankings with the exact opposite of a trickle-down effect occurring. If you’re at the top you receive the bigger proportions of the business and if you’re on the 5th page you are only receiving less than a percent of gambling traffic. Almost a microcosm for society where the top remain at the top and the bottom remain at the bottom. With a precise an efficient SEO strategy there’s no reason you can’t compete with the market leaders.

Building a Brand

The likes of William Hill are established names in the industry, almost household names. Finding the sweet spot between SEO strategy and building a relationship with a customer base or a demographic is the ideal compromise for new casinos in the industry.

Scott Manford, CEO of Wizard Slots said: “Here at Wizard Slots we seek to find the balance between technical strategies such as SEO, content marketing, and data analysis while also hoping to provide a more human, approachable face for customers to get on board with.”

“As time has went on and Wizard Slots has continued to grow we have noticed that the two go hand in hand and complement each other like for like. As your domain authority and presence in the market increased, so does the trust of customers and their loyalty to your brand.” View his website here.

Of course, there’s many variables at bay when competing with the fierce oligopoly that exists at the top of the online gambling pyramid, but these variants can also work in your favour and help you topple the pyramid through precise strategy and SEO methods.