When we put a paysite online the usual assumption is that if the design is decent and the content is good, people will buy. A lot of site owners experience a very rude awakening when they launch a site and nothing happens. Obviously marketing is truly the key and traffic is critical to a site’s success but even with all the traffic in the world, a site needs to be setup to convert sales in order to generate returns.
It’s not uncommon to fixate on design and to want to make your site unique but is this really the best way? And is it really necessary? The answer is almost always no to both questions. Usually more sales are achieved with a simple and direct approach where the goal is to make the site as enjoyable for the end user as possible and make it as easy as possible for them to sign up. Ideally, the entire process should flow smoothly and be effortless and require very little thought. After all, you want your customer’s attention to be on your content, not on the technical process or, heaven forbid, the difficulty in buying.
The main things you want someone to see should be easily accessed from the main page of the site and with no more than one or two clicks.
The following are a handful of ways to help make this happen for any site:
The main things you want someone to see should be easily accessed from the main page of the site and with no more than one or two clicks. It’s OK to have content that goes many pages deep and it’s actually a good idea to take advantage of depth for SEO and showcasing the size of a site. From a sales perspective, however, the content and information on the shallowest levels beginning with the site’s main tour page should be the main selling points. The newest and strongest content should be up front along with the site’s key selling points e.g. text or images letting people know the site is all HD, has exclusive content, frequent updates, interactive features and so on.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
The desire to reinvent the wheel and “make things better” can be strong. In most cases this is an urge that should be resisted. For some sites, primarily the 10 percent in true fetish, high art or specialty niches, uniqueness can be helpful as the competition is usually just a few other high traffic sites in the niche. The other 90 percent of sites out there (which include sites that most people are building these days) will benefit more from sticking to common trends and familiar user behavior. This means employing layouts, navigation and content presentation that a lot of people are used to seeing.
The reason a majority of the bigger adult sites look somewhat similar is not as much that they copy each other but that they follow basic trends that are also used by mainstream sites people visit frequently. By emulating the layouts, elements, navigation styles and behavior aspects of sites like Facebook, Google, YouTube or Amazon, we increase the odds that someone coming to a site for the first time will immediately feel comfy cozy and know what to do next.
KEEP YOUR FOCUS
Don’t stray from your goal. I cannot stress this one enough. Your goal when it comes to basic site presentation is to reinforce selling points. If we were to break it down into a heirachy of goals, that would be the primary goal. A secondary goal might be to make the site attractive to affiliates or to increase SEO for higher search rankings. Sales points should be hammered into a potential customer’s mind on every page of the site and should start from the moment they first hit the site’s main tour page. Not sure what your site’s selling points are? The easiest way to identify them is to answer the question of “Why would someone want to join my site?”
Sales points differ for every site although some like content quality or update frequency are usually similar. Things that set your site apart from your main competitors should be emphasized. Perhaps you offer higher resolutions, more interaction, this is the only source of the content or the site has some special member benefits or multi-platform capabilities that make it a good value. Try to work these points in subtly and not so subtly on every page by mentioning them in header graphics, sub headings, content descriptions, and join links. Don’t be afraid to mention the same thing more than once on a page and to introduce it in the header and reinforce it in the middle of the page body and once more in the footer.
DON’T MAKE THEM THINK
Make the entire process painless. Several years old but still a great read especially for anyone new to site building or interface design is the book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. You want someone to come to your site and be able to quickly and easily navigate options without much thought. Most importantly, you want them to be able to figure out how to purchase with no thought. This means prominent, clearly labeled join links and buttons. Steer clear of cutesy graphics and “buttons” with designs that may be mistaken for images. Make it obvious when something is clickable by underlining text links and using buttons that are obviously clickable.
You know the sales lingo “always be closing.” Guess what? If you run a paysite, whether you realize it or not, you’re in the sales business. You should always be closing. Don’t publish content or text that leaves anything up to chance. Show the good stuff but not too much. Leave people wanting more but make sure they know what’s inside the site and why they should pay. Make it clear to people that there’s a huge difference between what they see and what they will be able to see once inside. Make them want to get inside! A site’s free area is much more than a place to show samples and hope the customer convinces themselves to buy. It’s a way to communicate with them and let them know why they should buy and also to showcase only the very best content, the stuff you feel will convince them to buy so they have to do less work of convincing themselves.
AJ Hall is a 12-year adult industry veteran and the co-founder and CEO of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult CMS software for the online adult entertainment industry. Elevated X powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for industry awards 11 times and won the 2012 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.