Sunday, January 12, 2014

Web Design - Is Simpler Better?

I was just talking to a college about some design that they were working with and the question came up if the site should be visually appealing with lots of features for users to take advantage of or if the site should remain simple and to the point. This is one of the hardest decisions for webmasters making a new web site, as well as for the powers that be of the largest web properties on the planet. Facebook is a great example of a fairly simple layout that has now become bloated with overly complicated settings, features and widgets that all clog up your screen. This site has tried to keep it simple, but they have unfortunately been forced to complicate the site to offer new features to their huge existing member base. As you may have read online, many of the changes received a warm welcome, while others caused some members to go elsewhere to connect with friends.

Not all webmasters are forced to add features to keep users interested. In most cases the content itself is much more important that most any other aspect of a website. However, feature rich sites do have their place. If your website serves a purpose or offers a service, you may really want to focus on the web app and how it works over the design of site initially, after all have you ever seen how Twitter looked on its launch date?

This site is about as simple as they come. It was created using the free platform and my readers come here to learn and find out about new webmaster techniques and tools. I do not fill the screen with spammy ads and crazy offers, just great content and once and a while you will find a product or service listed that I think is great. Producing frequent updates of relevant content has kept up the readership by itself with no flash or flare needed.

Below are a few rules that I think will help a first time blogger and a corporate webmaster on the right track no matter how big or small their goals are. I look forward to any feedback you may have about these thoughts and concepts and enjoy!

Define Yourself With Content First

No matter what, you really want to be known for what you and your website has to offer, not a cool logo, or a widget that lets viewers play with a bouncing ball. As a webmaster part of your duty is to assure the layout of the site allows a viewer to not only find what they are there for, but also to offer an appealing look that will not scare them away. If you keep cranking out killer content, the actual look of the site falls away on the sidelines.

If you are using a C.M.S. you can switch the look and the feel of a website rather easily and instantly with themes or templates. This means, content wins and this should always be your first and foremost focus. Choosing an appealing theme or changing a layout down the road, will rarely if ever scare of existing readers or site members. With this in mind, get to the meat, crank out killer content and then you can fine tune your website's aesthetics later on.

Only Bring On Features That Count

With feature rich content management systems, it can be easy to pop on new plugins and add new features at a minutes notice. However, many people keep adding things that may look cool but never get used by real users. Eventually users start becoming inundated with all the fluff and never get time to get to the meat of your site.  Adding useless features will slowly but surely scare away viewers due to the over-complexity of your presence online. In many cases added features can also slow your site load time and now that it is public knowledge that this is taken into consideration by Google in your ranking, this is a very bad thing.

Ask And You Shall Receive!

It is a good idea to ask your users what they want. Most of the time they are glad to share thoughts and ideas about what they believe would make your web site even more useful to them. You can easily implement this by utilizing a poll or simply requesting comments or social feedback from your followers. This is a instant win, because you really want to be preaching to the choir here and this will help you do just that. Don't be afraid if you can't make everybody happy either. There will certainly be some nonsense and some ridiculous requests because...well people are crazy on the web sometimes. However, that doesn't mean that you will not get some amazing constructive criticism for free.

Borrow But Don't Steal

This can be a tricky rule, but lets admit it the greatest from of flattery is copying others, right? All I mean to get across here is that it is OK to look at other sites that may have similar tribes following them and borrow a good idea here and there. After all, look at Facebook and Google. You never want to totally steal a complete theme, wording or logo. You can get away with borrowing simple concepts or moving in a similar direction as others. If your design needs something and you just can't put your finger on what it is, take a look around see what you like and what you don't, then move forward with a new layout accordingly. This is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and find something that is already proven to work.

If you are interested in professional assistance with your new or existing website design, I would love to help! Just drop me a line on my business site here : NS Technologeis - Web Alchemy and Consulting

Thanks for reading and make sure to find me on Google+

Author : Nick Simpson

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Are Some Good Affiliate Programs To Work With?

As I discussed in a previous post called "So Many Affiliate Programs - How To Choose Wisely", what signifies a "good" affiliate program really depends on you, your business and the market that you specialize in. Deciding which one will truly be profitable for your web site or web presence may take some serious consideration and some testing in many cases too. The programs listed below will give new affiliates some good ideas to get started without needing to perform research. If you would like your affiliate program added to the list just leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.

The list below is by no means the only sites you should look at when gearing up for a new marketing plan utilizing an affiliate network for your method to monetize your efforts. However, if you are new to affiliate marketing these programs will give you some solid insight to what is available and what types of affiliate networks are out there. Many websites offer their own affiliate setup for their own products so if you are looking for something specific to promote that cannot be found on these networks, it can be as easy as searching Google for some products and looking for the word "affiliate" on the web sites you find.

5 Affiliate Programs You Should Check Out

  1. - Possible the big daddy of all affiliate programs. This huge online retailer offers any product under the sun, but does not give a big commission until you are really moving quite a bit a product. If variety is what you are looking for and physical products work with your site, this may be the best place to start.
  2. - Commission Junction has been around for many years and has a huge offering of affiliate products, both tangible goods and digital. Unlike amazon this affiliate program requires you to apply for an become approved before you can start promoting and profiting. Some automatically approve but this extra step can become tedious.
  3. - If you are looking for digital products to promote this may one of the best places to start. ClickBank has a huge marketplace and offers digital goods that cover almost any category or niche that you can imagine. They do offer healthy commissions on many products, but be careful if you are not selling items fast enough you may see your commissions disappear due to their strange payment policy.
  4. - This is a smaller, but quickly growing affiliate network that makes it quick and easy for affiliates to create and offer products and services to others to sell and profit from. This is actually where I started my own affiliate program recently because it seemed to be rather straight forward and it just works. Since my launch less than a week ago my affiliates have already made over $300 on this network with my IM products, so make sure to give them a look too. Learn more about Nick Simpsons Affiliate Program here.
  5. - This site has been around for many years and is the preferred affiliate network of many and you will will find the customize-able widget style ads to be fun and easy to setup and if used correctly on a tangible goods blog can be profitable too.
To Success,

Nick Simpson

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So Many Affiliate Programs - How To Choose Wisely

Webmasters already know that there are thousands and thousands of affiliate programs available to make an extra stream of income with, but how to choose.

This can be a very difficult situation because it has been proved through science that the human mind hits a certain stage of paralysis when it is confronted with to many choices or two many decisions at once.

This is where many new webmasters simply give up. Much to do with the web as we know it can be a bit overwhelming and choosing a winning affiliate program is just one example. Below you will find some easy steps to pre-approving and then choosing the right affiliate program to promote to give you the best chances of success in the cut throat world of online marketing.

How To Pre-Quality An Affiliate Program

  1. Trust is of the utmost importance, so you should make sure that you are only looking at affiliate programs that have been proven by the test of time or that are already in motion. Joining brand new affiliate programs can allow you to ride the wave a new success, but you don't want to get caught in the undertow of a loosing system either.
  2. Are others already making money with it. You can always search Google and find everything bad you ever wanted to hear about any program, but going on to marketing forums to ask for real feedback is a better way to learn about a prospective affiliate program.
  3. Try to find affiliate programs that have extra promotional material to help you promote the products. This can make a huge difference when it comes time to promote.
  4. Only check out programs that offer content, products or services that are in your niche. There is no reason to waste your time looking at sites that will not be able to help you offer your readers what they want.

How To Choose A Profitable Affiliate Program

  1. Look for high commission percentages and a high epc. The commission percent shows you how much of each sale you will make while the epc (earnings per click) shows you how much the average person makes per click on the specific affiliate program or product.
  2. Narrow your search to products that are very complementary to your niche or market. At the same time you need to make sure it is not competitive to your own product or service if you are offering one.
  3. Finding programs that are on large affiliate networks to work with is a great way to find a diamond in the rough, but it is also important that the offers on these huge networks are trusted and have a good backend system to funnel clients through.
  4. Residual income is a lot easier if you can find products/service that are subscription based. You can go for the big ticket items, but it is much easier to sell a service that keeps paying you each month, so make sure to look for these services on various affiliate networks before you proceed.
  5. Finding out how and when you can get paid is a big factor that you should consider. Many programs make you wait a long time to get your payouts while others may even offer instant payments in some situations.
Using the lists above you can definitely get in the right mindset to start hunting down a high quality and profitable affiliate program to work with. Another thing to keep in mind as you become ready to start promoting and working with affiliate program is the fact that no matter how careful you are, mistakes will be made along the way. So there is no time like the present to get started and start making some extra income, learning while you are earning is much preferred to waiting and waiting just to get started. Don't forget to check out my own affiliate program on my personal blog here, Nick Simpson Launches IM Affiliate Program and start profiting from the same proven products I have been working with. If you have any questions or comments, I look forward to hearing any and all feedback in the comments section of this post.

To your success,

Nick Simpson

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Get A New Look With A Free Wordpress Theme

Ready to jazz your website up and not sure where to start? If you are using WordPress as your content management system then changing the look of your whole website can be done in a matter of seconds using the themes option. You can download themes and upload them to install them on your wordpress installation or you can even use the search option in the Appearance >> Themes section to find new ones for free. You can also browse the same set of free WordPress themes on the WP Extend Themes section of the website.

You can have a lot of fun choosing a great new look for your website or blog. However, it is important to choose one that is easy to read and navigate too. After all, you are doing this for your readers right? Learn how to get design tips from your readers in this article we posted a few days ago.

If you want something a little more fancy and something that is not being offered to all the users who are browsing WordPress' site, check out these other sources for free WordPress themes listed below.

Get More Free WordPress Themes Here

Check out all these free beautiful themes for your WordPress site! This list is just a short review of some of great companies and people out there that are sharing their hard work to the WordPress community for free!
  1. - This site offers some themes with very clean layouts and is a great resource for anybody looking for a new look.
  2. - You will find some great themes that have huge images in their featured section, if you are looking for one of those magazine layouts, this is a good place to start.
  3. - This site has some really cool themes that are free, but it seems like their may be some paid ones in the listings to, so make sure to see what is really free and grab some goodies here.
  4. - This site has some amazing looking themes, again they sneak in some paid ones, but for the most part this is a great resource and has plenty of pictures to help you search.
Have fun changing your blog look and feel and feel free to share some of your own resources for free WordPress themes in the comments of this blog post.

To Success,

Nick Simpson

Monday, June 11, 2012

Build The Website Your Visitors Want - Reader Layout Tips

For many webmasters finding the right design can take weeks or even months. For others, even though they have a great design, they simply cannot stop tweaking and making changes to the look and layout that they already have. The problem for most designers and web masters is the fact that their tastes change, so there is simply no end to the editing and changes that come.

This is not a good thing, to many the look and feel of a website is part of the brand. Just think, if a visitor comes to your web site one day, reads a couple post and decides to bookmark your page to come back and when they do come back a few days or a month later, the site doesn't even look familiar. This can be very off-putting and can also make it hard for readers to find your site by visual searches which are becoming much more popular. Looking through bookmarks, images of recently visited pages and these visual searches like the new Yahoo Axis make it very important that you can keep things very similar and not make drastic changes often if you can afford not to.

Get Reader Recognition Using Your Design

You want your readers to remember your site and not wander what has happened or if they are even on the same site every time they come to visit. It is also important to understand that not all template changes, but some, will move content use different tags and this can all lead to re-indexing or confusion on the search engine spiders to keep your site ranked consistently.

The question is how to you build the perfect website layout? There is a simple answer and you already know it, because you read the title of this article. You need to focus on what your visitors and readers really want. If you can somehow take their interests into consideration, this is always the best way to build a site that will be memorable, but also one that does not need changed near as often.

Get Free Answers To Your Website Layout Questions From People That Count

Don't listen to that weird guy who lives in the apartment next to you or your 83 year old grandmother. Getting input from the people that count the most (your reader) is much easier than you might think. You can get feedback from your readers in many different ways. You can make example or ask questions about changes in an online poll on FaceBook or your main site. This can be a great way to get some instant feedback. Another great way to get honest input from your user base is by emailing your list or your members and asking for suggestions or feedback on specific things you are considering changing.

Thanks For Reading And Look Forward To Your Comments

This website has a very simple layout that most of my readers enjoy because it is simple and straight to the point. However, my readers are here for one thing and that is rock solid content on how to build a better website and how to drive crazy traffic to their pages. So, you will see no fluff here, just meat and potatoes. However, I am always open to suggestion as I was saying earlier. If you have a design suggestion or some layout changes that you think will make the Free Webmaster Tips website even better, just leave a comment below!

To Success,

Nick Simpson