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How to Build an Information Website that Sticks!

NOTE: If you need help with the technical aspects of building your web site (getting a dot com name, etc.), you may want to read this article first: http://www.2createawebsite.com/newsletters/issue2.html 

How to Build an Information Web Site That Sticks and Sells!

You've probably never heard a web site being referred to as "sticky". Nevertheless, by the time you finish reading this article, you'll know exactly what it means, and why anyone who wants to make money with an information web site should make their site as sticky as possible.

For starters, did you know that you could make money from an information-only web site? Many people don't even realize you don't need a product or service to earn revenue from their site.

Yes, it's true. 

Thanks to affiliate programs, you can build an information web site that generates enough revenue that will allow you to quit your day job. You just have to learn how to create a site that will make your visitors stick and order the products you refer.

A "sticky" web site is one that uses various tools to give the site depth, and keeps the visitors coming back for more.

Tools that make your site sticky:

1) Good Content/Helpful Articles
2) Games/Entertainment (Horoscopes, Lotteries, Sweepstakes)
3) Message/Discussion Boards
4) Newsletters

A lady emailed me once and said she wanted to build a web site for women's health but didn't really know what to put on her site or how to get started. 

I asked her if she was planning on making money from this site and she looked a bit confused. "No, I don't have a product to sell. I just want to educate women about health issues", she tells me. She didn't realize that you could still make money from information-only web sites.

I asked her if she had any articles about women's health. She told me that she hated to write, and that she was just going to build a 2-3 page site that lists some tips on exercising and eating right. 

(I struggled to keep from yawning in her face.)

First of all, you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you're building an information web site that’s only 2-3 pages long. Content is king and it can make your site very sticky. With a topic like health, there are hundreds of articles she could put on her site to give it more depth.

The Internet is the information highway. Billions of people come to the net daily in search of information. Why do you think directories and search engines like Yahoo and Google are so popular? People are always in search of something, so why not build a site on a topic you know a lot about and earn revenue from it!

I told her to visit http://www.articlecity.com. It's a site full of articles on all different topics that give you free reprint rights. This means you can republish these articles on your web site with no cost to you as long as you leave the articles intact. This is great for people who need content for their web sites, but do not like to write. 

By the way, there are over 60 health related articles on this site that she could choose from and reprint. 

Another tool she could include on her site is a message board for people to gather and discuss various health issues. She could divide up the board into several categories: dieting, exercising, medicine, etc. Message boards are really good tools for building a sticky site. People will return over and over again to respond and post new messages. 

EZBoard.com builds and offers free message boards for your site and setup is quick and easy!

A third thing she could do is send out a newsletter (weekly, monthly, etc.) that offers tips on eating right or other health topics. Newsletters are great tools that remind people to keep visiting.

All of these tools help make your site sticky. Remember that's your goal. You want people to come back over and over again. 

Affiliate Programs

Thanks to these programs, people that do not have products or services to sell can still earn money from their web sites. In an affiliate program, the company pays you, the affiliate, for referring people to their site. Any order that is placed as a result of your referral, earns you a commission or fixed dollar amount (depending on how the company decides to pay).

Affiliate programs are quite popular because they are easy to setup and most are free to join. Once you become an affiliate for a company, they normally send you a unique web site address that you will use to refer people to their products. Most companies also provide a statistics area where you can login to check your stats and see how much money you’ve earned.

Also note that you should only join affiliate programs that relate to the theme of your site. If your site is about sports, it does you no good to join an affiliate program where you'll be selling jewelry. People come to your site for sports, not diamonds. 

I know it may be tempting to join any and all affiliate programs that seem prosperous, but more is not necessarily better. Find 2 or 3 programs that relate to your site's theme and incorporate the affiliate links throughout the site.

Things You Should Know About the Affiliate World

As a web site owner, you must train yourself to think like your visitors. The reason most people don't get the sales is because they build their sites with themselves in mind instead of their visitor. Put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine what they are thinking when they arrive at your site.

Think for a second. When people go to a web site for information, most people do not have their minds set to buy anything. At first you may be tempted to plaster advertisements all over your site trying to get that person to click on your affiliate link so you can get the commissions, but that way has been proven ineffective over and over again.


Well, let's note a few things about the average visitor that will arrive at your site:

1) They come to your site for information so they are probably not in a buying mood.
2) They don't know you so why would they take your advice on purchasing this product you’re recommending. People look for credibility before they buy!
3) Most people do not buy on the first exposure. They usually come back a few times before they're convinced to open their wallets.

Now are you starting to see why it's so important that you make your web site as credible as possible? 

The unfortunate thing about the Internet is that it's faceless, and many people feel uneasy about giving up money for a product that is being blindly introduced to them. As the web site owner it's your responsibility to build as much credibility for your site and make your referrals appear as genuine as possible.

That's why it's so vital to help your visitors by providing them with helpful tips and articles. You should also build relationships with them via newsletters. And by all means, make sure your contact info is visible on your site (email address, etc) so your visitors know that they can contact you and also know that you are really out for their best interest and not just your own.

Credibility is so important for affiliates.

Don't try to refer people to products or services you haven't tried just to get the commission from the affiliate program. Be honest. If you like the product, say so. If you don't like the product, still say so. It really is okay to give bad reviews. In fact, people will respect your opinion more for being honest and it helps build your credibility even more.

What's The Best Way to Promote Affiliate Programs?

When you join, most affiliate managers will advise you to place banners on your site. (All you have to do is cut and paste the HTML code they will give you to activate the banners). I highly discourage this method simply because people just don't click on banners. 

They're distracting, flashy, and immediately put people on guard because it looks like a gigantic sales pitch. When's the last time you clicked on a banner and then proceeded to buy what the banner was advertising?


Most people feel the same way about them so they get ignored.

The best way to incorporate your affiliate links into your site is via content...good content.

For example, going back to the lady who wanted to create a women's health site. Let's say she had an article about weight loss. She could end the article with a sentence that says, "By the way, I know of an excellent program that will assist you with weight loss. I’ve used it myself and lost over 50 pounds. For more details click here." (and then she’d insert her affiliate link).

This is an excellent way to promote affiliate programs. Not only has she given them an article they can learn from, but she's used a personal recommendation to promote the product so the advertisement is less subtle and looks much more respectable than some flashy banner yelling at them to "CLICK HERE AND BUY NOW!!!"

What's the bottom line? 

Build a content-rich web site on a topic you know a lot about and make sure the site is sticky enough to BUILD and KEEP your web site traffic. Then join affiliate programs for products and services that RELATE to the theme of your site.  Build relationships with your visitors through email and newsletters and refer them to products that are nothing short of THE BEST.

Build site
Build content
Build credibility
Build income

Here are some helpful links...

Useful Content for Web Sites

Free Message Board for Your Site

A Very Organized Directory of Affiliate Programs You Can Join

Free, Sticky Tools for Your Web Site

How to Make Your Site SELL Like Crazy
*highly recommended

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