Growing an audience and driving traffic to your affiliate website is important…
...But you need to convert those visitors if you are going to make any money.
Affiliate marketing is performance-based. Depending on the affiliate program you join, you get paid when you generate a sale, a sign up, or another desired action.
If your affiliate site is efficient at converting visitors, you don’t need a huge amount of traffic to generate a decent income.
Boosting your conversion rate by 1% can be much more profitable than driving an additional 10,000 unique visitors each month.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) helps you get more visitors clicking your affiliate links and joining your email list.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of CRO, introduce you to A/B testing, and show you 15 actionable tips to boost your conversion rate.
- What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
- Conversion Rate Optimization Tips & Techniques for Affiliate Sites
- 15 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips
- Check for Broken Affiliate Links
- Get Your Audience to Overcome Common Objections
- Implement Exit-Intent Pop-Ups
- Product Comparison Tables
- Offer Alternative Products
- List the Pros and Cons
- Strategically Placed CTAs
- Quality Content
- Star Ratings
- Focus on Improving Page Speed
- Boost Trust with Media Mentions
- Optimize for Mobile Users
- Disclose Your Affiliate Promotion
- Utilize Video Content
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization is the process of making improvements to your website to increase the number of visitors who commit to a desired action.
For affiliate marketing sites, that action is usually clicking on an affiliate link and making a purchase or opting into an email newsletter.
CRO helps you understand how visitors interact with your site…
...How you can make your copy, headlines, calls to action (CTAs), and other web page elements more persuasive.
It’s essentially about making your website more compelling and useful to your audience…
...And generating the maximum value from the effort you put in to create your affiliate content.
Conversion Rate Optimization Tips & Techniques for Affiliate Sites
A/B Testing to Boost Conversions
A/B testing is a scientific approach to conversion rate optimization.
In simple terms, it’s the process of creating two versions of a web page and seeing which one performs better.
By setting up a competition between the two versions of a web page and measuring performance, you can see what works best with your audience.
How Does A/B Testing Work?
Here’s an example of how A/B testing works and how it can help you generate more conversions.
Let’s say that you have created a landing page to increase opt-ins to your email list.
You decide to test two different CTAs to see which one generates more conversions.
The first version of your landing page uses “Subscribe Now!”.
The second version of your landing page uses “Yes, Sign Me Up!”.
You set up a test and send 1,000 website visitors to each version of the landing page.
Once the test is complete, you compare the number of signups to see which CTA performed better.
If one of CTA significantly outperforms the other, you can send all of your visitors to that version of the landing page and increase the total number of signups.
A/B testing works best when you test one element of a page at a time.
If you test entirely different page designs, you can end up with messy data that makes it hard to see precisely what impacts conversions.
Even small changes can make a significant impact on your conversion rate.
HubSpot utilized A/B testing to see if the color of a CTA button would impact conversions:
The results showed that the red CTA button was 21% more effective at generating conversions.
By testing different elements of your web pages and making small incremental improvements, you can make your landing pages and affiliate content more impactful and persuasive.
How to Do A/B Testing in 6 Simple Steps
1. Choose a Page
You want to want your experimentation and testing to generate the maximum boost to conversions possible.
It’s always a good idea to start with your most important page first.
That could be a product review that generates lots of revenue or an opt-in page for building your email list.
2. Select an Element You Want to Test
Identify a single element of your page that you are going to test.
For landing pages, you can test different variations of your CTA, including:
The CTA is one of the most important elements of a landing page…
...And it can have the biggest impact on your conversion rate.
3. Define Your Hypothesis
A/B testing isn’t blind experimentation.
You want to have a defined aim - a hypothesis that you will prove or disprove through testing.
For example, you could conduct testing to see if moving your CTA button above the fold will generate more conversions and opt-ins.
4. Create a Variant
Create a copy of the web page you want to test and change the one element that you decided on in your hypothesis.
If you’re changing your CTA button position, that’s the only element of the pages that will be different.
Everything else should be identical.
5. Launch Your Test
Start testing and wait for the results to come in.
You can run A/B tests for a certain amount of time or until a specified amount of traffic has been sent to each version of the page.
Your testing software will tell you when the test is complete.
6. Analyze the Results
Analyze the results to see which variation of the web page performed best and generated the most conversions.
If your variation outperformed the existing page, your hypothesis is proved correct.
Even a small percentage improvement in your conversion rate can result in significant gains over time.
A/B testing helps you learn what your audience finds appealing and what changes you can implement to make your affiliate site more profitable.
A/B Testing Tools
You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive software to conduct A/B testing.
There are some great free tools that have everything you need to test your web pages and boost your conversion rate.
Google Optimize is a free A/B testing tool that seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics.
You can use the intuitive dashboard to set up A/B tests, analyze your results, and work out what works best for your audience.
However, it doesn’t have some of the more advanced features you’ll find on paid testing tools.
You can only run three concurrent tests, and you are unable to restrict tests according to the device the visitor is using.
Paid tools like Optimizely and VWO offer more advanced capabilities…
...But Google Optimize is a free tool that is perfectly capable for the vast majority of affiliate sites.
15 Conversion Rate Optimization Tips
Testing can be a great way to learn about the preferences of your unique audience.
However, there are some universal CRO best practices that will make an impact on every affiliate site.
The following actionable tips will help you to boost your conversion rates and make more affiliate sales.
1. Check for Broken Affiliate Links
There are multiple reasons why your affiliate links might stop working.
The merchant might switch affiliate networks, the affiliate product could simply run out of stock, etc.
You could be sending traffic to a 404 error page.
Even worse, you could be sending traffic to the merchant’s website untracked and not receiving credit for any sales.
Managing your affiliate links and fixing broken ones is a lot easier if you use the right tools.
If you’re an Amazon affiliate, you can use a paid tool like AmzLinkChecker to scan your site for broken links, products that are out of stock, products with bad reviews, and more.
The tool scans your site and provides a report like the one below:
If you promote products from ClickBank, ShareASale, or other affiliate networks, Thirsty Affiliates has a link checker tool to help you identify broken links.
In terms of free options, you can use a WordPress plugin like Broken Link Checker.
Regularly checking your site for broken affiliate links is vital for conversions.
A single broken link on one of your important money pages can significantly dent your affiliate revenue.
2. Get Your Audience to Overcome Common Objections
Your affiliate content’s job is to position your offer as a solution to the problem your audience is experiencing…
...And to get your audience to overcome any objections about purchasing the product.
How do you get people to overcome their hesitations and click on your affiliate links?
By directly addressing their concerns in your content.
Make a list of the common objections that your audience might have about purchasing your affiliate product.
These might include:
- Does the product solve my problem?
- Why should I trust you?
- What if the product doesn’t work?
- What if I change my mind and want a refund?
Once you have identified the common objections, address them directly in your affiliate content.
Here’s an example from Website Planet’s review of Bluehost web hosting:
The review addresses the main objections of the target audience.
After purchasing the hosting, what happens if you decide you don’t like the service or encounter a problem and want your money back?
By addressing your audience’s hesitations and objections, you increase the chances of people converting and clicking on your affiliate links to complete a purchase.
3. Implement Exit-Intent Pop-Ups
Exit-intent pop-ups are great for boosting opt-ins to your email list.
You can also use exit-intent pop-ups to promote your affiliate links and boost your conversion rate.
When a visitor clicks to leave your site, a pop-up is displayed.
Lots of affiliate websites use exit-intent pop-ups to encourage visitors to sign up for a newsletter.
Here’s an example from the affiliate review website Spy:
You can create an exit intent pop-up using a free WordPress plugin like Popup Maker.
There are also many paid plugins and tools like Thrive Leads that come with a bunch of additional features and options.
If you have a money page like a product review, you can create an exit intent pop-up that encourages visitors to click your affiliate link and go to the merchant’s website to make a purchase.
Some users will read your review but go back to Google or to the merchant’s website directly to make a purchase.
An exit-intent pop-up can targets these users and boosts your conversion rate.
However, you shouldn’t use exit intent pop-ups for your Amazon affiliate links.
This tactic is against the affiliate terms of Amazon Associates and can get you banned from the platform.
4. Product Comparison Tables
Internet users have notoriously short attention spans.
A recent study revealed that Generation Z has an average attention span of 8 seconds!
Some people that visit your site don’t want to have to read a lengthy product review or comparison in full.
They want a quick recommendation to help them purchase the best product for their needs and get on with their day.
Product comparison tables are a great way to communicate the essential information people need to make a purchasing decision.
Rather than scrolling down the page and scanning for the information they need, a comparison table brings all the vital information together in one place.
Amazon utilizes comparison tables on its product pages:
The comparison table lists the essential product details and includes a star rating to help people decide on the best option.
Amazon invests millions of dollars every year on conversion rate optimization...
...It includes product comparison tables because they work!
You can leverage the same tactic on your affiliate website to improve your conversion rate.
5. Offer Alternative Products
Listing alternative products is a great way to make your content more helpful to your visitors…
…And it’s an effective way to boost conversions.
If a visitor reads your review and decides they don’t want to buy the product, they still have a problem.
They are still searching for a solution and they might be interested in alternative products that are a better fit for their needs.
Listing alternative products can also be a powerful psychological persuasion technique.
When somebody reads a review that covers a single product, they are thinking:
Should I buy this product?
When somebody reads a review that lists alternative products, their thinking switches to:
Which product should I buy?
This switch in the reader’s mind can significantly influence their decision to purchase a product.
If you are an affiliate for the alternative products you list in your review, you can make a commission whichever product your reader decides to buy.
6. List the Pros and Cons
Pros and cons are vital for boosting the conversion rate of product reviews.
They make it easy for visitors to scan your content, highlight the main product features, and help readers decide if they want to buy the product.
As a general rule, you want to include more pros than cons.
You should use a bullet list format to make it easy for the reader to compare the pros and cons and quickly process the information.
Here’s an example from Website Builder Expert:
Like a product comparison table, listing the pros and cons helps you boost conversions by presenting the critical information people need before making a purchasing decision.
7. Strategically Placed CTAs
CTAs are the most crucial web page element for conversions.
Every page on your affiliate website should have a purpose.
For most of your affiliate content pages, that purpose is to get your visitors to click on your affiliate link and make a purchase on the merchant’s website.
A click on your CTA is what defines a conversion.
Strategically placing your CTAs can help to attract the attention of your visitors and boost your conversion rate.
You want your CTA button to stand out from the rest of your webpage.
For affiliate reviews, placing a CTA next to the product image can result in more conversions.
The image catches the visitor’s eye and is often the last thing they look at before deciding to make a purchase.
Here’s an example from the affiliate site The Prepared:
You can also include a CTA above the fold at the top of the page.
This is where most of your visitors will look when they land on your site.
And at the bottom of the review near your conclusion.
This is where your visitors have read your content and are deciding whether to make a purchase.
8. Quality Content
You get paid when people click on your affiliate links and make a purchase…
…But that doesn’t mean your affiliate content should read like a sales page.
Quality content is vital for conversions.
Your content should educate the reader about their problem and how your affiliate product can help them to solve it.
If your web page is struggling to convert visitors, it might be down to your content.
Aside from being grammatically correct and free from typos, your content should:
- Highlight the benefits of the product
- Targeted a specific audience
- Speak the conversational language of your audience
- Hook readers in with a compelling introduction
Quality content is the backbone of your affiliate website.
If your content fails to engage your audience, testing CTAs and different color schemes won’t help you to generate more conversions.
Get the basics right before you experiment with the finer details.
9. Star Ratings
Star ratings help your visitors to compare and judge the quality of products easily.
You’ll find star ratings or marks out of ten ratings on almost every product review online.
These ratings are universally known and accepted by audiences.
They see a product with 1 star out of 5 is an indicator of a bad product…
…And a 5-star out of 5 rating is a glowing recommendation.
Marketing company Sidecar Discovery conducted an analysis of over 100,000 online businesses to determine the impact of star ratings on sales.
They discovered that a 5-star rating correlated with a dramatic increase in sales:
While this data is collected from businesses and not affiliate websites…
...It does show how influential star ratings can be on conversions.
Here’s an example of a star rating on the affiliate review site Running Shoes Guru:
Star ratings can boost your conversion rate by making it easy for visitors to quickly judge the quality of a product.
Try to be fair with your ratings, but don’t shy away from giving a 5-star review to products you feel offer the best solution.
10. Focus on Improving Page Speed
Page speed has a dramatic impact on the conversion rate of your website.
- A 1-second delay can reduce conversions by up to 7%.
- 53% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
- A 2-second delay in loading time can result in a 3.75% reduction in clicks.
Today’s internet users expect web pages to load quickly, and they won’t stick around if your site is slow to load.
You can improve page speed by:
- Enabling browser caching
- Choosing a lightweight WordPress theme
- Compressing image files
- Using a content delivery network
- Upgrading your hosting
- Limiting the number of plugins used
The faster your website, the more likely it is to convert visitors.
You can test your website speed by using Google’s free tool, Page Speed Insights.
This tool shows you the current performance of your site and offers recommendations to improve your page speed.
11. Boost Trust with Media Mentions
Media mentions help to boost the trustworthiness of your affiliate website.
Including the logos of authority websites where you have been published or mentioned lends you credibility.
When people trust you, they’re more likely to listen to your product recommendations and reviews…
…and your conversion rate will increase.
Here’s an example of Brian Dean’s media mentions on Backlinko:
Websites like Forbes and Inc. are universally recognized and respected.
The logos act as a stamp of approval for the content on the website.
You might not be able to get featured on the same websites as Brian Dean, but you can target high authority websites in your niche.
Guest posting is the easiest way to achieve media mentions.
If you reach out and successfully get a guest post published, you can display the logo on your affiliate website.
12. Optimize for Mobile Users
Around 50% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
People use their smartphones for a huge range of tasks…
…Including researching and purchasing products online.
By 2024, Business Insider estimates that 45% of all e-commerce sales will take place on smartphone or tablet:
As an affiliate marketer, nearly half of your conversions will take place on mobile devices.
If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, you’re missing out on affiliate sales and revenue.
There are many things you can do to make your site optimized for mobile users, including:
- Using a responsive WordPress theme
- Designing pop-ups for mobile users
- Enabling accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
- Limiting the number of text entry fields on forms and opt-in pages
- Ensuring CTAs are clickable on smaller screens
You can use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your webpages are optimized for mobile:
Enter the URL, and the tool will conduct an analysis and provide a results page like the one above.
13. Disclose Your Affiliate Promotion
Being honest and upfront with your audience is always the best strategy.
If people feel like you are hiding something or not being honest, your credibility is gone.
You’ll miss out on a conversion and struggle to build an audience.
Including a disclaimer ensures that you won’t break any rules of your merchant’s affiliate program…
…And it can also help to boost your conversion rate.
Here’s an example of an affiliate disclosure from Adam Enfroy:
By being honest and upfront, you can establish a relationship with your audience built on trust.
It also helps to build empathy and encourages visitors to buy through your affiliate links.
14. Utilize Video Content
According to research by Animoto, 73% of people will go on to make a purchase after watching a video about a product.
You can boost your conversion rate by creating videos to accompany your written affiliate content.
People are more likely to purchase when they feel they understand the product and know what they will receive after they part with their hard-earned cash.
Answering questions and helping people to make the right purchase is the key to all affiliate marketing promotion.
Video content helps people to understand the product and clears up any confusion.
You can boost your conversion rate by including video reviews or product explainers.
According to a Statista, 74% of people are concerned about their privacy online:
For the U.S., that number increases to 83%.
You can even include a message like Lucie’s List to reassure people that you won’t bombard their inbox with spam:
Including a message like this helps build trust and convince people to give you their email address.
It can be a simple but effective way to increase the conversion rate of your opt-in page.
We’ve covered the basics of A/B testing and the most effective ways to increase your affiliate site’s conversion rate.
The best way to carry out conversion rate optimization is to focus on your most profitable blog posts and product reviews first.
Use the above tactics and techniques, and you’ll see an uplift in conversions.
However, every website is different.
The only way to know exactly what will boost conversions is to carry out testing.
Once you conduct A/B testing to find out what is most impactful with your audience, you’ll know how to improve your conversion rate from the get-go when you create new affiliate content and landing pages.
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