Blogging: Relevancy of Content and the Mistake of Misleading Target Audience
Category likeness to » Blogging. Added to Authentic Society 44 years ago.
In this article I talk about the complexities of content relevancy, the focus of website visitors and how important it is not to mislead the visitors of your website by placing affiliate or Google AdSense links on the page that are disguised as regular text links. The intention of the latter would be to increase sales, however by misleading your visitors you are likely to only increase your CTR without necessarily making any sales at all from the resulting clicks. While this may give the website owner hope, it may not be the smartest thing to do if you are after monetizing your website's content. To understand how this works we need to analyze the behavior and psychology of the visitors of the blogs and websites that we create.
A beginner blogger: But I thought that the more click-throughs I get the higher are the chances of my website getting commissions.
This is true for links that lead to places the visitor thinks they lead to. Once the visitor realizes that the link he or she just clicked didn't result in gettng to at least an approximately desired destination, the visitor is likely to close the browser tab with your website in it right away as it did not fulfull that visitor's intention. This is a very important psychological element of browsing. The visitor has no way of knowing where the link leads to before clicking on it. We rarely look at the status bar at the bottom of the page as it often seems like an unnecessary step.
People would rather read broken-English tutorials about what they are interested in rather than read well-written articles about subjects beyond their current focus.
While Google is doing a great job at matching content with what people are looking for, plenty of times a person is found on a page he is not interested in, even though Google and the website content writer tried their best. This often generates a bounce rate of 100% for that user. A good title for a web-page must always be matched with the content of that page. But not all information can be expressed in a text-based title. Misleading a visitor by manipulating web page title text or content with the intentions to drive traffic to your website is not desired. Such tactic will greatly increase the chances of that person to never return to your page. This is a good thing to keep in mind, however, we do not always have control over the circumstances, and sometimes a webpage with a clear title and relevant content does not keep a visitor's focus for a long period of time. Some of the reasons for these circumstances are unknown due to the complexity of their nature.
I'd like to repeat this out of importance: there is a difference between a Google AdSense link and a simple text link. People who use the Internet have been able to make this distinction so clear that they almost automatically know that a link with smaller letters underneath and a URL is most likely an ad. While a blue underlined section of text is a simple link that is most likely to lead to another page on the same website, or to a relevant page on another website. Links that are found within the paragraphs of text usually imply that they lead to an external location, while links that are grouped in lists are perceived as internal website navigation. Hiding affiliate links disguised as simple text links is not advised if your interest is building a valuable resource of information that people would like to retur to in the future, or suggest and recommend to friends. These seemingly basic logistics influence the trust in your website by the visitors by a great degree. People are not unintelligent and they will feel that the author of the website is trying to mislead them or that the intentions of the owner of the website is to get them to buy a product or simply end up on affiliate websites that save their cookie. Some people, having realized that, will erase cookies generated from such links or never return to your website again. These are the same people that perhaps under different circumstances (where the website owner seemed more honest about the design and intentions of his website) would satisfy the intention of their navigational focus, which would result in building trust in your website and therefore increasing the chances of participating in the monetization scheme.
As a website designer and content writer, your focus must simply lie in letting visitors do what they want to do, and not what you want them to do. This means not inventing clever ways to increase the click-through rate to your affiliate links by implementing trickery or strategies that mislead your users. You must make a clear distinction between website links and affiliate links. Before showing a list of affiliated links, ensure that when a reader is looking at those links that they indeed will lead to another website. Try to focus on leading the people who browse your website to the right places with links that seem obvious and give them a clear suggestion as to what the links mean. Which links are advertisements? which links lead to other pages on your website? These questions must be answered by the layout and design of your web pages. Giving the choice to the visitors of your website is one of the most important and most effective "invisible" optimizations you can make to improve usability, credibility and trust in your website as well as the revenue it generates.
Here is a realistic example. One of the most effective placement areas to display links that are often clicked is at the bottom of an article. The effectiveness of this location to place additional links must not be underestimated. It is well-known by many bloggers and website operators who have ever tracked statistics in a real-world situation, that people will readily click on links located in that area for multiple reasons. Lets consider some of these situations:
The visitor actually read and enjoyed the article, the trust in your content is starting to build and the visitor is now curious about what other knowledge he or she can gain from your website. The visitor readily clicks on additional links at the bottom of your article to explore other information. It is not uncommon for the reader of the article to also bookmark that page before leaving for the next page. However, some visitors will bookmark your webpage only after finding more than one page of content that has any substance for them. Perceived substance of a website plays a big role in making that decision.
The visitor is scanning your webpage. Unfortunatelly this visitor in particular doesn't like to spend time reading and is simply looking for key pieces information in your article. When reaching the bottom of the page without noticing anything of interest in the body of the article at a quick glimpse, but having noticed that the article is about relevant or a similar subject, this visitor is curious enough to click on the links at the bottom of the page to continue his or her search and scan another page.
The visitor intentionally scrolls down to the bottom of the page to see if there are user comments to gain quick insights on other people's experience with the article, without having to read the entire article. Remember the importance of visitor focus. Logically, this case has a lesser chance of the user clicking on the links placed at the very bottom of the article. However, if your link's text sounds relevant or the user decides to change his or her focus by the time they reach the bottom of the page in search of useful comments, they may still click on the links at the very bottom of the page. While people do have a focus while browsing a website, that focus may also shift. some of this is simply not under our control as web-designers and we must accept the unpredictability of circumstances.
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