Niche Designer

An Exploration of Niche Site Design and Development


Visual Design Stats

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

I love statistics. There is nothing more helpful then data telling you what works and what doesn’t. So I love trying out new statistics programs. Crazy Egg is like no statistics program I have seen. It allows you to track where on your design users click. I think this is going to be great for niche site developers because now we can see where people click and improve our site design to generate even more revenue. It works kind of like eyetracker research, except that it tracks mouse clicks and represents them either on a heatmap or in graphical format:

Crazy Egg Heat Map Graphical Representation of Clicks

I don’t think they are allowing any more beta testers at this time, but the official launch is set for mid-April. I’ll be sure to post with an update when their service is available.

Amazon Store Template

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

With Amazon Web Services you can create an amazon store on your own website. This way you can sell amazon products and make money with Amazon Associates. I have found Amazon to be a great way to make make money.

Niche Template

Monday, February 13th, 2006

I have created a template system for new niche sites that I make. I’ve used this method on the last few sites I have created and it works great for me. My system isn’t fully automated like a site generator. Instead its a matter of copying a small template for each page and entering my own articles into each page. This way I have genuine content without spending extra time to code it. This system also has a contact, links, about page, plus an auto-generated sitemap. So far, its working out well for me, so I thought I would share my system with my readers. You can see the template at work on my MRSA website. (more…)

Why a fixed width column has higher CTR

Friday, January 13th, 2006

I have found more evidence that appears to prove my narrow column over full screen design theory found in my design that sells post. Eyetools Research of CSS Zen Garden shows the difference in how users read web pages based on design. The content of the two sites are exactly the same. Only the CSS has changed, which makes it a perfect experiment! You can see in the picture below that the original layout(left) gets much less attention than the version 145(right). I would hypothesize that Version 145’s use of the fixed width column has a lot to do with its increased attention. In the picture below you can see how the narrow column seems to guide the eye toward the content and thus focus the user’s attention. Eyetracker Results for CSS Zen Garden

One example of a narrow column layout I used can be seen on my Wholesale Silk Fabric Site. I got the layout from OSWD and it is getting a really high CTR so far.

Design that Sells

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

The aspect of niche marketing that I am most interested in is how the design of a size correlates to its ability to sell, or in my case it’s CTR (Click Through Rate). Since I have a heavy background in science (I’m a biochem dork), I love experiments. That’s how I think of my niche sites, as experiments. I do something, I wait and watch. I take notes on a spread sheet of every little detail. Then I try to change ONE thing based on my observations. I wait more, take more notes. If that change was a success I bask in glory for 5 seconds only to start the process over. If it didn’t work, I scratch it and go back to the previous version. I’m sure lots of niche marketers do this. From what I see, it’s the only way to survive.

My Results so far:

  • Give them less options. I know it looks nice to have extra stuff and more options, but everything extra you add to the page is one more click that doesn’t result in cash.
  • Narrower is better. I know most of the web uses larger than 800X600, but I find that my sites which have a set narrow column intended for a 800X600 screen (usually 760px or less) do better. This is likely connected to the first point about less options. The narrow column guides the users’ eyes and gives them a definitive space on the screen to concentrate. Note: I’ve been reading about eye-tracker tests, and not only is it very interesting, but I think it could prove valuable to niche site creators.
  • Use color to your advantage. Contrasting colors can help you define your content. Use two colors that contrast to call attention to a special section of your site (like your ads) or to your narrow column of content. One great example of what I am talking is a template by Bo Bang of Marketing Syndrome. I used this high CTR template on my Sump Pumps site, which is an idea I also got from Bo Bang. You can see how this template calls attention to the ads by negative contrast. The Ads aren’t a color that sticks out (their white in fact). Instead, the header above and the content below contrast against the plain white of the ads to make them stick out.

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