*This is article 4 of 5 of: The Steps to Designing an Affiliate Website in Minutes
Designing an affiliate website can often feel overwhelming if you have never used DecoNetwork’s content management software (CMS). By breaking down the website design process into simple steps the software starts to become less intimidating.
An Introduction to Designing Core Pages
There are many variables that must be configured when it comes to designing a website that can make the entire process intimidating. However, if you look at designing your website as having a handful of pages that each need to have a small amount of content, then it’s actually quite simple. Creating the content itself (writing text, creating images, & sliders) typically takes more time than getting it to display nicely on your website. So, if possible, it’s always a good idea to first gather all of your content before you start working on your website. The good news is that DecoNetwork’s software is loaded with powerful widgets that automatically display the majority of the content on your website. Let’s take a look at the most common pages that an affiliate owner might have to configure, besides the “Home” page.
The About Page
The “About” page, often referred to as the “About Us” or “Our Company” page, is where you want to talk about yourself / organization / company. The about page used to be much more important in the earlier days of the internet as it was often how customers made sure a website was trustworthy & legitimate. Nowadays the about page is much less important, and consumers are more worried about prices, quality, customer service, and turnaround time. This is not to say that the about page should be ignored. The about page should be used to explain who you / your company are, what you do/offer, how you do it, why consumers should buy from you, and where to get what you sell. It is often a good idea to talk about your company’s mission statement, guarantees, return policies, and contact information.
The Contact Page
The “Contact” page is used to share contact information and/or a form for a customer to fill out to get in touch with the affiliate website owner. The contact page is very straightforward and by default contains at least a contact forum widget, and sometimes a map showing the location of the affiliate website. If you don’t like the default content on the contact page, then go to “Panels-Contact Us” and add one of the handful contact content layouts that will take less than a minute to polish if necessary. It is becoming more common for the “About” Page to be merged with the “Contact” page to become About / Contact as the content from the two pages make sense to bring together into one page and thus one less main navigation link.
The Create Page
The “Create” page is used to display blank products on your website. The “Create” page is like the “Products” and “Designs” pages in that each are a system page designed to display products or designs and automatically generate subpages and other navigation tools for the customer. Since these pages are what we call “System Pages” they should never be turned off as that would disable the ”List” widgets associated with the page. The create page is typically only used by fulfillment center websites that are looking to promote/sell custom decoration services/products. The create page displays all of the products that an affiliate website allows customers to customize and revolves around three widgets, Blank Product Listing, Blank Product Categories, and Blank Product Filter. The Blank Product Listing widget lists all of the blank products available for customization. The Blank Product Category widget displays all of the categories / subfolders of customizable blank products. The Blank Product Filter widget allows a customer to sort through products by making simple checkbox selections. This allows a customer to find exactly what they are looking for based on a number of variables including the product: color, brand, decoration process, and price.
The Products Page
The “Products” page is used to display pre-decorated (retail) products on your website and revolves around two widgets: Decorated Product Listing and Decorated Product Categories. The Decorated Product Listing widget lists all of the pre-decorated products available for purchase. The Decorated Product Category widget displays all of the categories / subfolders of pre-decorated products. The products that are displayed on the listing and category widgets have to first be created as “pre-decorated products” within the back-end of your website. When a customer clicks on a product it will take them to the “Decorated Product” System Page, where the customer can choose the size, color, and maybe personalize and/or customize the artwork. When creating a pre-decorated product it is important that you understand the difference between personalization and customization, as it will determine how much freedom you give customers with editing a design and pages they used to complete their order.
The Designs Page
The “Designs” page is used to display store and/or stock designs on your website and revolves around two widgets: Designs Listing and Designs Categories. The Design Listing widget lists all of the store designs available to be used as a decoration. The Designs Category widget displays all of the categories / subfolders of store designs. The designs that are displayed on the listing and category widgets have to first be uploaded within the back-end of your website. When a customer clicks on a design it will take them to the “View Designs” System Page, where the customer can see what the design would look like on a dozen or so products. The designs page is often used as a complementary, and sometimes substitute, for the products page/widgets as it revolves around selling retail decorated products. However, instead of alreadying having the artwork on a product you let the customer first select their design and then the product they want it printed on.
The Designer Page
The “Designer” page contains the powerful design tool that allows customers to create a custom product in minutes. The designer page/tool is not very editable compared to a typical content widget. The color scheme of the design tool is the primary variable that can be changed, and must be done by going into “Design-Style Editor” and going all the way down the bottom. The designer tool/page is 100% responsive, which few design tools can claim, and is one of many aspects of DecoNetworks software that sets affiliate websites apart from others in the decoration industry. Tip: Unless you want your customers to “Start Designing” or “Design Their Own” right when they land on the website, it’s a good idea to hide the designer page from the menu. This pushes your customers to first choose a blank product from the “Create” page before going to the designer.