Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Web Site Credibility: Give and Get

I have written before about web site credibility because I think that it is an important topic, especially for an affiliate marketer. Large web companies can establish a great amount of credibility through high-profile advertising campaigns that introduce people to their brand. For the lone webmaster, which is what affiliates tend to be right now, that kind of publicity is hard to achieve. For many of us, our biggest branding opportunity is a visit to our site.

So, how do you establish credibility on contact? As I have discussed before (and has been shown in studies) the look and feel of your site is important. If your site looks good, people might stay around to check it out. Many new affiliates have problems in this area. I think it's because we, web site builders, all have a "crappy web site" phase in our lives. Mine was in Junior High. Since then I have become more enlightened. I ditched the tiled background image, the animated mailbox, the guestbook, etc. If you are stuck in the "crappy web site" phase, please learn about the WWW Consortium, and visit W3Schools for some sweet tutorials.

Anyway, that wasn't what I wanted to talk about when I started this post. I wanted to talk about quality. About good content. If you want to be successful as an affiliate you're going to have to play by the rules of business (and life). The rules-or rather-rule, since there's just the one, is that you have to give to get. See, businesses don't make money, they make products. The ones that make the best products, the ones that people really want, are the ones that usually get the most money in return for their efforts. Essentially, we reward companies (or web sites) for helping us out, making our lives better, or otherwise fulfilling some need or desire that we had.

Here's where credibility comes in. A quality product, something that people can easily see for themselves, establishes credibility (or maybe trust, or confidence) like nothing else. No web design tricks will ever make your site credible if there's nothing of value on the site. In other words, a new suit can't make a dead man dance. On the other hand, if your site offers something of genuine value, your visitors will not only stay, they'll come back for more. They'll tell their friends. They'll link to you without you having to ask. You will become rich.

Moral of the story: Give something to the web and we will return the favor.


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