*This is article 5 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 the Perfect Home Page
The “Home” page is most likely the most important page on your website as it’s typically the page a customer lands on when the first enter the website. Customers make purchasing decisions based on a wide range of consumer behaviors, many of which revolve around pure emotion. If a customer lands on the home page of a website and hates the color scheme or overall design, then there is a good chance they will quickly leave and never come back. The content within the top portion of a page that can be viewed before the customer has to scroll down the page is referred to as “above the fold”. It is very important that the “above the fold” on the home page contains some type of call to action (CTA) to grab the customer’s attention. This prevents the customer from bouncing (leaving the website immediately) because they don’t like what they see in the first 30 seconds of being on the website.
The home page is typically a “snapshot” of what the website is about, and often contains several links to help a customer navigate to the right page. The content and links contained on the home page of a website revolves around the type of website being built / purpose of the site. Most DecoNetwork affiliate websites are built to serve 1 of 4 purposes: to either promote Decoration Services, sell Retail Products, make money through Fundraising custom & pre-decorated products, or as an order portal to make placing orders easier for customers with many employees. It is a good idea to create a cloneable template of each type of affiliate client / website you work with so that it can be launched and ready to go in minutes.
The Home Page = Decoration Service Website
Most DecoNetwork fulfilment centers have a primary website that is used to promote custom decoration services/products. The homepage on a decoration service based website typically has some type of call to action through either a banner, slider, or combination of content/widgets. Because a custom decoration based website typically contains a lot more content than any other type of affiliate website most of the home page will contain several links to make navigating the content easier. It’s a good idea to look at your home page like an executive summary in a business plan. Just like an executive summary is a snapshot of a business plan, the home page is a snapshot of your website. Like an executive summary, it’s often a good idea to do it last because it is so important and is a summarization of the entire website/business plan.
The Home Page = Retail Website
One of the most common types of affiliate websites is one that focuses on selling retail pre-decorated products. These websites typically don’t have any focus on allowing a customer to create custom products and instead wants them to shop through retail products just like any other ecommerce website. A retail website’s content will most often revolve around the decorated product listing and categories widgets and/or the design listing and categories widgets. So it is common for one, if not all four, of these types of widgets to be used in some way on the home page of a retail website.
The Home Page = Fundraising Website
A fundraising based website is very similar to a retail affiliate website. However, instead of focusing on acting like an online retail store, a fundraising website is used to make money. The big difference is that an online retail store is a brand that was created to sell pre-decorated products whereas fundraising is often done by an individual, organization, or company, who already has something going on and is looking to capitalize financially.
The Home Page = Ordering Portal
When most people hear the phrase “Affiliate Website” they think of an ecommerce online store. However, a better way to look at affiliate websites is that they are a type of sales channel that can be used to collect orders in a wide range of ways from a wide range of types of clients. One of the most often overlooked ways to use an affiliate website is to turn it into an “Ordering Portal” for your bigger clients to use for placing bulk individual orders over a period of time, typically for employees. By going into the back-end of your website and then into “Store Configuration”-“Customer Options” and then select the option “Customer Must Be Logged In To View Website,” you will turn the website into an ordering portal that can only be accessed/seen by individuals who either have an account or the generic password that the website owner creates. An ordering portal is not like a decoration, retail, or fundraising website and instead most often revolves around the home page displaying all of the content on the website. Ordering portals should be designed to be extremely simple to use for the customer with the fewest possible amount of clicks. So an ordering portal affiliate website home page will typically revolve just around a “Decorated Product Listing” widget that customers can use to place fast orders.
The Home Page = Sales Rep Application
The last and least commonly used type of affiliate website is one that is built to be used as a sales rep tool, much like an application. Nowadays sales reps typically have a mobile device (phone or tablet) on them at all times that can be used to accomplish something with a customer. Phones and Tablets rely heavily on mobile applications built for either Apple IOS or Android devices to make something more productive or for entertainment. The problem is that Apps have to go through a series of authorization checks, and can be a hassle to update to make sure that the app doesn’t hurt a user’s device. A work around / great solution is to build a website that acts like an application and can be saved on a the desktop of a mobile device just like an app. The concept of using a website as an application makes the most sense for sales reps as they can use it as a tool to quickly communicate products, prices, and everything else about the business. A sales rep application website typically revolves around a home page with just a series of buttons to be used as the navigation for the website. If you need help building a sales rep application website or any other website please contact us at DecoExperts@DecoNetwork.com