opinion

Paysite Power: Just How Good is Your Performance?

A.J. Hall

There’s been a lot of discussion on XBIZ.net lately on the importance of paysite optimization.

The responses that follow are typical of any message board discussion, where you get varied opinions stated as facts. It’s difficult to know who’s right, who’s wrong and what really matters.

Where I differ from some experts is that based on 14 years of working with paysites and hundreds of paysite owners, I believe most site owners should focus more of their energy on content and sales.

The truth is that what’s being shared is nothing more than opinions. In most cases there’s more than one right way to do things, and what may be the best thing for one website won’t be the best thing for another.

Depending on perspective, everything can be both extremely important and totally unimportant. In the large scope of what makes a site successful, very few single elements will make or break a site. Exceptions to this would be critical flaws or points of failure, but most of the things people are asking about don’t have all that much impact.

What we’re trying to do as site owners, webmasters or marketers is optimize sites to make customers happier and make it easier for a site to close sales. Anything better, anything “more” is just that — more.

Sometimes this “more” can be a seemingly simple site tweak that can make the difference between two sales a day and 10 sales.

Site optimization is as much of an art as it is a science.

There was a recent XBIZ.net discussion where someone asked if a plain join page is better. Perhaps — but only after arriving at the conclusion that there’s no way to alter the page to increase conversions. There are no rules, no right or wrong ways, no “best ways” because site owners will always be testing and trying new things to see if they make a difference in a positive way.

In that particular discussion it didn’t take long for someone to point out that a site owner need only look at what the big sites are doing and deduce that they’ve already tested it so what they’re doing must be the best way. I certainly can’t disagree with the logic but don’t agree with the conclusion, nor would I ever suggest that one of my CMS customers replicate what other sites are doing and assume it’s the best way. What may be the best way for another site you look at may not be the best way for your site.

Something people overlook is that what works on a big stage doesn’t work the same on a small stage. For example, the sound system at a big rock concert in a stadium arena isn’t going to work well for the live band performing at your local bar next Friday night.

What works for the Reality Kings and Brazzers of the world might work differently for them because of their branding, identification, traffic source and a variety of other factors that will differ widely from those of more than 90 percent of other adult websites.

This isn’t to say what works for them won’t also work well for every other site but that it may not be what’s “best” from a sales optimization standpoint. If someone asked me to draw a pie chart showing what makes a successful paysite it would be split into three equal parts: What’s being produced (content), how it’s being presented (sales/marketing) and how it’s being promoted (traffic).

These areas are given an equal share because without each of them being equally strong, a site will fail. My definition of failure is when a site doesn’t attain the goals of its owner. A site that’s doing an above average job in all three of the areas in the pie chart stands a very good chance of being successful.

Where I differ from some experts is that based on 14 years of working with paysites and hundreds of paysite owners, I believe most site owners should focus more of their energy on content and sales. My reasoning is that the amount of effort required to promote a really good site is far less than a mediocre one. Starting there increases the chances for a site to be successful.

The first step in paysite optimization is to identify your customers and their motivation for buying. Before you start making changes and optimizing your web site you’ll want to to spend some time reflecting on things, looking over your site and giving serious thought to the following questions:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Why are they buying your content?

Once you can answer these questions in detail you’ll be in a position to use the tips and strategies I’ll start sharing in next month’s XBIZ World column to optimize the performance of your website.

AJ Hall is a 14-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 and 2014 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.

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